Best WiFi Extender 2017

In a big building, or simply one with several walls, even the fastest high-speed internet will be reduced to an inconsistent trickle of limited access. In order to keep a WiFi connection as strong as it should be, people can employ extenders to boost the signal throughout a home.

Having a WiFi extender is like having a router in every room: connections are fast and stable everywhere one goes. This guide will provide a selection of extenders that are just right for every home, apartment, and workplace.

Compare: The 10 Top Rated WiFi Extenders

RankPictureNameBrandPriceRating
1netgear-nighthawk-wi-fi-range-extender-ac1900-2Netgear Nighthawk Wi-Fi Range Extender AC1900Netgear$$$4.8
2amped-wireless-high-power-wireless-n-600mw-smart-repeaterAmped Wireless High Power Wireless-N 600mW Smart RepeaterAmped$$4.7
3tp-link-tl-wa850re-n300-universal-wireless-range-extenderTP-LINK TL-WA850RE N300 Universal Wireless Range ExtenderTP-Link$4.4
4d-link-wireless-dual-band-n-300-mbps-wi-fi-gigabit-range-extenderD-Link Wireless Dual Band N 300+ Mbps Wi-Fi Gigabit Range ExtenderD-Link$$$4.6
5linksys-n600-pro-wi-fi-range-extenderLinksys N600 PRO Wi-Fi Range ExtenderLinksys$$4.7
6msrm-us300-300mbps-wireless-n-wifi-range-extenderMSRM US300 300Mbps Wireless-N WiFi Range ExtenderMSRM$$4.6
7linksys-wrt-ac1200-dual-band-and-wi-fi-wireless-routerLinksys WRT AC1200 Dual-Band and Wi-Fi Wireless RouterLinksys$$$4.6
8netgear-n300-wi-fi-range-extenderNETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Range ExtenderNetgear$4.5
9securifi-almond-touchscreen-wireless-router-range-extenderSecurifi Almond-Touchscreen Wireless Router/Range ExtenderSecurifi$$4.5
10tp-link-tl-wa855re-n300-wi-fi-range-extenderTP-LINK TL-WA855RE N300 Wi-Fi Range ExtenderTP-Link$4.4

Our WiFi Extender Reviews

TP-LINK TL-WA850RE N300 Universal Wireless Range Extender – Best Cheap WiFi Extender

The N300’s dual-band connectivity makes it highly versatile for a device in its price range. Though it doesn’t pack any individual features that make it stand out, it comes with every feature most small living spaces need from a WiFi extender. Its software is easy to set up and the other installation it needs is plugging it into a wall. Placed in the right spot, it can be a very effective tool.

Pros:

  • Dual-band network options
  • One 100mbps Ethernet port

Cons:

  • Limited range
  • No additional ports

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Amped Wireless High Power Wireless-N 600mW Smart Repeater – Best WiFi Extender for the Money

Amped’s Smart Repeater is an impressive piece of hardware at a competitive price, with enough features and processing power to stay relevant years to come. It provides great coverage at long range, eliminating WiFi dead zones indoors and giving homes added connectivity outside. Its fast and plentiful Ethernet connections make it an excellent choice for speeding up multiple devices.

The Smart Repeater is relatively easy to set up, if not a little time consuming. The device features several additional novelty options such as TX beamforming and WAN portioning, but the casual user isn’t likely to need to learn about these things.

Pros:

  • Multiple 1000mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Good processor
  • Long range

Cons:

  • Learning curve on certain customization features

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Netgear Nighthawk Wi-Fi Range Extender AC1900 – Best WiFi Extender Overall

The Nighthawk is leagues ahead of its competition and is likely to remain relevant for the next decade. It can handle speeds well beyond the average household service plan and extend those connections across a vast space without sacrificing much in the way of functionality. From antenna to processor, the Nighthawk is a device made to set the standard of excellence.

Despite its extensive capabilities, the Nighthawk is a surprisingly simple device to use. The device is robust with features, not limited to standard extension and networking but also offering media server and access-control options. Each of its features, from basic setup to printer sharing can be fine-tuned in Netgear’s web based “genie” app.

Pros:

  • Unmatched speed
  • Easy to use
  • Powerful processor

Cons:

  • Physically larger than other devices

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Our Top Rated WiFi Extenders

 

Best Overallnetgear-nighthawk-wi-fi-range-extender-ac1900-2

Best For The Money amped-wireless-high-power-wireless-n-600mw-smart-repeater

Best Cheap tp-link-tl-wa850re-n300-universal-wireless-range-extender

What Is A WiFi Extender?

A WiFi extender connects to a primary internet router, either over the air or by ethernet cable and essentially acts as a secondary connection source. Where signals lose strength over distance and through walls, extenders make up the difference by catching and boosting their effective range.

The ultimate goal of a WiFi extender is to eliminate internet dead spots within a building but but many extenders also support wired connections to provide further networking power.

A WiFi repeater or extender is used to extend the coverage area of your WiFi network. It works by receiving your existing WiFi signal, amplifying it and then transmitting the boosted signal. With a WiFi repeater you can effectively double the coverage area of your WiFi network – reaching far corners of your home or office, different floors, or even extend coverage to your yard.

WiFi boosters, repeaters, and extenders are mostly the same thing – devices to improve WiFi coverage. There isn’t a clearly defined difference between devices that manufacturers describe as “repeaters” and devices described as “extenders”. However, not all WiFi extenders work in the exact same way. There are several different kinds of devices available and below we aim to explain what those differences are and how they work, so that you can choose the best WiFi repeater for your circumstances.

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What Are The Advantages Of Using A WiFi Extender?

There are a couple of solutions to try before opting for a WiFi extender. The simplest is to try moving the location of your WiFi router. It should be in the most central location possible. If that doesn’t help (or if changing location just isn’t practical) check if your router needs to be upgraded. If you’ve had an older model for many years, it could be time for an upgrade to a more powerful model.

WiFi extenders are useful tools for eliminating internet dead spots in a house, apartment, or business. Where walls and competing signals reduce a wireless internet connection’s potency, an extender allows individuals to have fast internet on all their devices no matter where in their building they are.

As distance and the number of physical barriers grow from an internet router, the actual speed and integrity of its signal deteriorates. WiFi extenders are the simplest way to keep those signals consistent.


Considerations for Choosing the Best WiFi Extender

The effectiveness of a WiFi extender is determined primarily by its range and speed, which is determined by internal hardware and antenna types. Devices will pick up and extend signals better if they can precisely distinguish the right signal from the dozens that are typically in the air at all times and amplify it uninhibited by distance and physical objects. Additional features, such as Ethernet ports, increase an extender’s versatility among streaming devices, game consoles, and personal computers.

Range

One of the most obvious desirable traits an extender can have is a broad effective range. WiFi extenders are meant to help keep a consistent internet connection throughout a home and its immediate vicinity and for businesses, cover entire buildings. Individuals should check their space requirements and make sure the extender they want will match before buying.

Frequency Band

WiFi signals come in two frequency bands, most commonly 2.4GHz, which is a good range for passing through solid objects. However, 5GHz bands are gradually growing in popularity because they are less likely to experience interference from other signals in the air. An extender that is compatible with both frequencies is able to juggle between the two to provide the best consistent connection. Dual-band devices are a good long-term investment as most new mobile devices support the frequency.

Ethernet Speed

WiFi extenders don’t just boost the range of wireless signals but act as hubs for high speed wired connections as well. Used with streaming devices, game consoles, and smart TVs, extenders with Ethernet connections provide a more stable and direct connection. Ethernet ports come in a regular 100Mbps while Gigabit Ethernet is 1000Mbps. People with high-speed internet will want the latter to make the most of their service.

Available Ports

WiFi extenders typically output at least two things: wireless internet and Ethernet connections. The number of Ethernet ports determines much of a device’s versatility but other ports, such as USB, are big convenience factors as well. USB ports can be used to set up printers and other network tools so that they can be accessed easily from any connected computer or mobile device.

Conclusion

If parts of your home or apartment don’t get a good Wi-Fi signal, a wireless extender can offer a boost. The extender connects to your existing Wi-Fi at a location that does get a good connection and then rebroadcasts its own signal(s), extending your Wi-Fi bubble beyond your router’s range. It represents an easy solution to a common problem, but it isn’t the first thing you should try: Because an extender uses Wi-Fi to communicate with both your router your devices, you can experience a significant speed drop if the extender talks to your devices on the same band it uses to talk to the router, and not every extender makes avoiding this issue easy—or possible.

WiFi extenders change the way people use technology in their homes. Being able to access the net regardless of physical location adds an element of comfort to work and leisure. An extender not only creates those opportunities, but keeps wireless signals as strong as if one was sitting in the same room as the core router.

A powerful device such as the Netgear Nighthawk is in many homes the only way to unlock a service plan’s full potential. Instead of paying extra for more speed that never makes its way all the way around a house, an extender allows people to make the most of what each router provides.

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