Say you have taken a wireless connection (continue reading here if you want some options) to your home and want to ensure that every corner of your home is connected! You even bought a new WiFi router for your home only to realize that the wireless network does not properly cover your entire home, leaving a few places with a weak signal.
Another similar common issue is moving to a new place and realizing that your current WiFi router does not have enough coverage for it.
The result of both of these scenarios is slow internet speed and dead zones inside your home or office. In situations like this, internet boosters can come in really handy.
WiFi boosters or WiFi extenders are an effective way to increase the internet speed of your existing signal without having to pay for a pricier internet plan.
Today, I will tell you all about WiFi boosters, including how they work and the pros and cons. Stay tuned!
What Is A WiFi Booster?
A WiFi booster is an accessory meant to be used with a WiFi router. WiFi boosters help to extend or amplify the WiFi coverage area. They are also called WiFi extenders, as they help extend the existing wireless connection.
Using these boosters can be an effective way of boosting your existing network to increase the network coverage as well as the internet speed. As a result, you will have a strong WiFi signal all over your home or workplace. Dead zones will also disappear as the existing signal will get amplified.
WiFi booster comes in many different types, and they vary by range, amplification power, frequency band, design, etc.
What Kinds Are Available?
You can find a WiFi extender in two styles – a tabletop WiFi booster and a plug-in WiFi booster. The former sits on top of a desk, table, or furniture and uses external antennas, while the latter plugs into a power supply.
Between the two, the tabletop style is great for wider internet coverage. The plug-in is great if there is just one room with a bad WiFi signal.
What About Frequency Bands?
When you are shopping for a Wi Fi booster, you will find two types of bands – single band and dual band. The single band has only one frequency band, usually 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. By contrast, the dual band Wi Fi has two bands that use both of these frequencies.
These bands are there to transmit data. Single band internet boosters are limited to the band frequency, so setting it up is more difficult as you have to stick to the specific frequency. It also gives a weaker WiFi network compared to a dual band WiFi booster.
Dual band WiFi boosters are better as it’s easier to install and provide a superior boost to your wireless signal.
Will The Range Be Enough?
Most basic 2.4 GHz WiFi routers have a range of 150 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoors. For 5 GHz, these distances get divided by three, meaning you get one-third of the WiFi coverage. This range is calculated from the access point, i.e., from where the router is located.
Internet boosters can boost this range up to 25,000 square feet, depending on the model of WiFi extender you have.
How Does A WiFi Extender Work?
WiFi extenders work by connecting wirelessly to an internet access point, such as a WiFi router or a hotspot. Then, the WiFi booster takes the existing WiFi signal transmitting from the wireless access point, amplifies it, then transmits the now stronger WiFi signal around it.
Usually, the booster comes equipped with antennas to help with the job. You have to set up the WiFi range extender with either a computer or a phone. Use the associated app of the device to connect the WiFi extender to your WiFi.
Many WiFi boosters use the WPS (WiFi Protected Setup) mechanism, which takes just a few minutes. With WPS, you just need to press the button on both the router and the booster, and they will connect by themselves. The device will then automatically amplify and broadcast the signal in its range.
Generally, you need to set up the WiFi booster in a midpoint between your WiFi router and the dead spot. The device needs to be close enough to the access point to connect to the WiFi signal comfortably while also being close enough to the dead spot to cover it with its range.
Once the booster is up and running, you can experience the magic by connecting to the WiFi with your phone, laptop, or any other smart device to test out the speed. Then, you will know for sure that they do actually work!
Are WiFi Extenders And WiFi Boosters The Same?
Yes, there is no difference between a WiFi booster or a WiFi extender. These terms are used interchangeably by different manufacturers. You can also see them with the name – WiFi repeater.
Do not get confused because these 3 terms are all the same. They just are named differently by different brands.
Do WiFi Boosters Really Boost The WiFi Signal?
The short answer is yes, they do, as long as you use them properly.
As long as you have an internet signal in need of a boost at your home, WiFi repeaters will work. But that is given that you place them properly. Oftentimes, people place the extender in a less optimal place, which results in a subpar performance, leading them to believe they do not work. If the signal is weak, a router can boost the network and introduce latency, which in return can give out a good signal.
For optimal performance, do not place WiFi range extenders behind any furniture, in between walls, or near appliances that can interfere with the wireless signal. Make sure to place it within range of the WiFi signal, or else it cannot boost the signal well. Ensuring these things will give you satisfactory results.
How to Know If You Need A WiFi Booster?
There are many instances where a WiFi booster could be the answer to your needs. Here are a few examples of when you should consider getting a WiFi booster.
There Is No WiFi Signal In Some Places of Your Home
If the signal is completely unreachable somewhere, it is called a dead zone. You can get two routers instead of one in these cases, but that would be costly.
By getting an extender, you can extend the coverage area of your WiFi, which will eliminate the dead spots and provide a stronger WiFi network in places where the signal is subpar.
Some Areas of Your Home Has A Weak Internet Connection
Ah, don’t get me started on the woes of slow WiFi. The struggle of trying to make a weak internet connection work is all too real for everyone. A WiFi connection can weaken for several reasons, the distance being the most common.
Walls, furniture, building structures, electrical appliances, etc., all can limit the coverage of your WiFi router. So, even if the router has a 150 ft. coverage and your home falls within the range, you may still get weak signals in places farthest from the wireless device because of such interference.
By getting a WiFi extender, such struggles can easily be eliminated without having to spend too much. It may also be worth checking to see whether you could get fiber cabling in your area to attach to your home which will dramatically improve your internet connection even without a booster.
You Moved To A Larger Home
Say your router worked perfectly in your previous apartment. It stopped giving you the perfect WiFi network after you moved. Rather than blaming your internet service provider, check if the new home is too big for the router first. There is only so much one device can do in a big home.
Did you know that the average size of homes has increased in the modern era? If you are in a particularly large home, it would be tough for one wireless device to cover the entire home. A WiFi booster would come in really handy at a moment like this.
There Is No Internet Signal Available Outside
Our dependence to stay connected to the world wide web at all times is increasing every day. So, it is natural for us to want our WiFi signal to extend to places outside of our homes, such as backyard, porch, poolside, front yard, garage, treehouse, etc.
This can easily be done by placing a WiFi booster outside of your home. Be careful to safeguard it from the elements, though!
You Want More Efficiency, Internet Speed, And Benefits From Your Home Network
Some internet boosters come with added benefits to make your home network more efficient, such as dual-band internet connection, beamforming, companion applications, etc. WiFi boosters are great for enhancing the speed of your internet connection.
You can also upgrade to the latest WiFi technology, such as the 802.11ac speed, without needing to replace the router altogether. A WiFI booster will also increase the capacity of your router to take on more connections and data traffic loads.
The best WiFi boosters also come with Ethernet ports which you can plug ethernet cables into – you can see a range of cable options over at https://serp.co/best/ethernet-cable/, but you should make sure you know exactly what type of cable your ports take before you go ahead and buy one. An ethernet port comes with many advantages. But, while you can consider getting a booster for the reasons stated above, we would recommend looking into mesh WiFi systems instead.
You Have A Limited Budget
Most of the benefits we have discussed above are better found in a mesh WiFi system. You can also just upgrade to a more powerful WiFi router with wider coverage for the same internet connection across all home devices.
However, both of these options are costly. If you are low on budget, then a WiFi extender can come to your aid instead.
Will I Get More Speed From A WiFi Booster Compared To My Wireless Router?
The internet speed you get from your subscription plan with your internet service provider is the maximum speed you will get. A WiFi booster cannot increase the speed any more than that. But it can, however, amplify the signal to broadcast it very efficiently. This will give the impression of a faster connection.
Suppose your internet plan provides you with 150 MBPS internet. This means, in perfect condition, you will get a maximum of 150 MBPS of speed. However, that does not always happen as the signal is not transmitted perfectly most of the time.
Now, suppose you have bought a WiFi booster that can support wireless signals up to 300 MBPS speed. This booster will not automatically increase the speed from 150 to 300 MBPS.
What it will do is take the current 150 MBPS signal, amplify and make it stronger as well as more efficient, and then re-broadcast the stronger signal. So, your devices will run faster, thanks to the efficient connection.
How To Check If Your WiFi Signal Booster Is Working
The obvious sign is getting better signals in the dead zone or weak spots. You can check your connected device for that. Other than that, you can also run speed tests to see how much your connection has improved.
Run some tests before you install the WiFi extender, and then run some after you’ve installed it. Compare the results to see how much better it is.
Make sure to record the results and look at them side by side, lest you forget or mix up the numbers.
What Are The Downsides Of Wifi Boosters?
There are a few small cons WiFi boosters come with. The first is that maximum typical WiFi boosters broadcast a new signal with their own name. So, you will have two separate WiFi signals within your home – one from your router, another one from your booster.
This can be a hassle because you will have to log in all of your devices to two networks and switch between them as you move around. Your home devices, such as smart TVs, speakers, thermostats, etc. all have to be connected to two networks.
It is important to note that not all WiFi boosters are like this, but most are.
Another caveat is that the extended signal from the WiFi range extender will almost always have less bandwidth compared to the original WiFi, meaning you will get slightly less speed.
So, that was all about WiFi boosters and their operation. By now, you should have a clear idea about WiFi boosters and every relevant info. If you are planning to buy one, make sure to check the requirements of your home as well as the details of your wireless devices first. Then, get something that matches both.
With great quality WiFi boosters, you will not have to struggle with a dead spot or weak signal in your existing WiFi network anymore. The investment is worth the convenience you get.