WiFi Repeater vs Extender

WiFi Repeater vs Extender

WiFi routers can offer strong signals in a space up to a certain point. So as you move far away from the router, the signal becomes weak, and your WiFi reception becomes poor.

As a result, you need to amplify the WiFi signal boosting coverage where the signal is poor. To do this, you need a device, and it’s either you use a WiFi repeater or a WiFi extender.

Many people consider both devices the same, but they are quite different. In this article, we’ll explain what both devices are, how they work and how they compare. 

What is A WiFi Repeater

WiFi Repeater Vs Extender
WiFi Repeater Vs Extender – What is A WiFi Repeater

A WiFi repeater is a signal booster that enhances the range of your router’s WiFi signal.

It comes with antennas (internal or external) that receive signals from your router and rebroadcasts them, giving you a wider coverage area.

Keep in mind that a WiFi repeater should be placed somewhere it can access a strong WiFi signal. If you place it in a WiFi dead zone, it won’t rebroadcast the signal. 

How Does It Work?

To have a WiFi repeater up and running, connect it to a power outlet situated in an area with a strong WiFi signal; the signal strength in this area should be at least 50%.

The repeater works by creating a separate WiFi network from the one being broadcasted by your router.

While it recreates the network, it receives and retransmits data frames, so the amount of data frames in use is double that of your router.

Unfortunately, this cuts your bandwidth by half. So your WiFi reception can be very frustrating when you use it to transfer large files because the network has been halved. 

What is A WiFi Extender?

WiFi Repeater Vs Extender
WiFi Repeater Vs Extender – What is A WiFi Extender?

As the name suggests, a WiFi extender extends your router’s WiFi signal giving you more coverage.

However, it’s quite distinct from a WiFi repeater because it connects to your WiFi router via a Coaxial or LAN cable.

Using a WiFi extender is similar to adding another router where the WiFi reception is virtually dead. The extender will boost WiFi reception to a wider area from the dead zone. 

How Does It Work?

A WiFi extender doesn’t amplify or strengthen your WiFi signal. It only extends the coverage of your WiFi signal by sourcing it directly from your main router.

However, the latest WiFi extenders might not require a wired connection to your router; they can connect wirelessly.

But there are drawbacks of connecting wirelessly, such as the signal being blocked by pillars and walls. 

WiFi Repeater Vs Extender: Side by Side Comparison

WiFi Repeater Vs Extender
WiFi Repeater Vs Extender – Side by Side Comparison

Even though the purpose of a WiFi repeater and extender appears similar, their functionality is different, as we’ve explained above. 

You can connect a repeater to your router wirelessly, but you need a coaxial or LAN cable to connect a WiFi extender to a router. So how do both devices compare? Let’s see

WiFi Repeater

Purpose: Enhance WiFi Strength

Bandwidth: Reduces by Half

Connection: Wireless

Dead zone Functionality: No

Interference: Yes

Setup: Relatively Easy

Signal Amplification: Yes

Price: Cheap

WiFi Extender

Purpose: Enhance WiFi Coverage

Bandwidth: Stays The Same

Connection: Wired (Newer Versions Have a Wireless Option)

Dead zone Functionality: Yes

Interference: No

Setup: Complicated

Signal Amplification: No

Price: Quite Expensive

Which is The Better Pick?

WiFi Repeater Vs Extender
WiFi Repeater Vs Extender – Which is The Better Pick?

If you notice that the WiFi signal from your router covers most rooms in your home or office, we recommend a WiFi repeater. It can supply WiFi to the remaining rooms.

However, you need to boost your WiFi reception to floors or rooms separated by thick pillars or walls; a WiFi extender is better.

In fact, if the dead zones are far away from your working area where a stable WiFi connection is necessary, the best option is to get a WiFi extender.

Not only that, if you need more bandwidth in your home or office, get an extender because a repeater cuts your bandwidth by half. 

But under normal circumstances, your first pick should be a WiFi repeater if the area you need to cover isn’t large and there isn’t a lot of wifi interference.

After all, a WiFi repeater is cheaper than a WiFi extender, so you’ll be saving money. 

We recommend that a WiFi repeater be perfect if you’re a homeowner with a medium-sized home, but you can opt for an extender if you have a mansion.

WiFi extenders tend to be used more in commercial spaces such as offices.  

Final Thought

We hope you’ve understood the difference between these two devices. Most people consider them WiFi boosters because their functions are similar.

But as we’ve explained no need to spend a lot of money on an extender if you’re a homeowner, a repeater should suffice. 

See Also

How to Setup Xfinity Router

How to Setup Nest Wifi

Netgear Wifi Extender Setup

Best Modem Router Combo

Best Wifi Routers

Cox Internet Plans