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Wi-Fi Extender vs Booster | When to use Wi-Fi Boosters?


If you have a cable or fiber internet connection in your home, then chances are you also have a Wi-Fi Router. A Wi-Fi Router allows your devices such as laptops, mobile phones, tablets, TVs etc. to wirelessly connect to the internet. But one problem with almost all Wi-Fi Routers is coverage i.e., you cannot expect strong signals at each and every corner of the house. This is where devices such as Wi-Fi Boosters, Wi-Fi Extenders and Wi-Fi Repeaters come handy. In this guide, we will learn what is the meaning of Wi-Fi Booster and Wi-Fi Extender and how can we compare Wi-Fi Extender vs Booster.

In an earlier guide, we already made a comparison between Wi-Fi Repeater vs Wi-Fi Extender. Check that out for more information.

What is a Wi-Fi Extender?

As the name suggests, a Wi-Fi Extender is a device that extends the range of your existing Wi-Fi Signal to eliminate any dead zones in your home or office. Most modern Wi-Fi extenders work very simply.

You just plug-in the Wi-Fi extender into an outlet, turn it on, connect it to the existing Wi-Fi network and et voila. You can now cover all corners of your home with the same Wi-Fi Signal.

All the Wi-Fi Extender does is it grabs weak Wi-Fi Signals from your main router and retransmits the signal with improved strength. So, it is important that you place your Wi-Fi Extender where the signal isn’t too weak. The best position is halfway between the router and farthest point where you want to access Wi-Fi.

Earlier Wi-Fi Extenders use hardwired connection between the router and the extender or used Powerline Technology (a concept where Wi-Fi Extender-Transmitter uses existing AC Power cables behind the wall to carry Wi-Fi Signal to Wi-Fi Extender-Receiver). But almost all Wi-Fi Extenders coming now-a-days use the same Wi-Fi signals from the router to improve the signal strength and range.

As 5GHz Wi-Fi band offers much higher data speeds than 2.4GHz bandwidth, if you are planning to buy a W-Fi Extender, then make sure that it supports both 2.4GHz as well as 5GHz bandwidths.

What is a Wi-Fi Booster?

Wi-Fi Booster is an umbrella term for all kinds of Wi-Fi extenders and repeaters. Yes. The terminology is a little confusing but technically both Wi-Fi Extenders and Repeaters are Wi-Fi Boosters as they take a slightly weak signal and boosts its strength and retransmits the signal.

We have already seen Wi-Fi Extenders but coming to Wi-Fi Repeaters, they are somewhat interesting. The original Wi-Fi Repeaters connected to Wi-Fi Router over wireless connection and repeats the Wi-Fi Signal to increase the range of overall connectivity.

One problem with this generation of Wi-Fi Repeaters was that even though they increased the range of the Wi-Fi Signal, the total bandwidth is essentially halved.

The current generation Wi-Fi Extenders or Wi-Fi Repeaters are confusing same as they extend the range of Wi-Fi Signal by connecting to the Router over Wi-Fi but there is no affect on the bandwidth. Hence, some companies, manufacturers and publications use the term Wi-Fi Boosters to indicate either Wi-Fi Extender or Wi-Fi Repeater.

Comparison: Wi-Fi Extender vs Booster

There is no point in making a Wi-Fi Extender vs Booster comparison as they are essentially the same device. The confusion arises as different companies use these terms interchangeably.

The important thing you have to remember is what is the device you are looking for and what purpose it serves. You might find a device as Wi-Fi Booster in a seller’s listing when it is basically a Wi-Fi Extender or Wi-Fi Repeater.

When Do You Need Wi-Fi Booster?

Wi-Fi now-a-days is as important as electricity and running water. Whether you want to watch videos, work from home, stream movies, play games, or any other internet related tasks, Wi-Fi provides an easy and clutter free connectivity experience.

Sometimes, there are problems with Wi-Fi network such as weak or no signal after certain distance from the router or very slow speeds in a room upstairs etc. A Wi-Fi Booster such as a Wi-Fi Extender or Wi-Fi Router is one way to fix this issue with relatively low cost.

Cover Dead Zones

Wi-Fi dead zones are areas in your home (or office) that doesn’t show any Wi-Fi Signals. The reason can be the physical limitation of your Wi-Fi Router or due to structural aspects of your home.

In this case, placing a Wi-Fi Extender or Repeater, usually midway between the current router and the dead zone will definitely help the situation.

Increase Wi-Fi Speed

If the distance between your router and the device (laptop, mobile phone etc.) increases, then you may notice a drop in the Wi-Fi speeds. This type of problem is very common in homes that have Wi-Fi router downstairs and you want to access fast internet from upstairs (or vice-versa).

It becomes extremely frustrating as you cannot make quality video calls with slow Wi-Fi. A Wi-Fi Extender/Repeater will not only increase the range of your Wi-Fi Signals but it does it with full network speeds without any bandwidth limitations.

If you have a Large Home

It is difficult for a single Wi-Fi Router to cover your entire house and the problem becomes more significant if you have a slightly large home. Depending on the size of your home, you can opt for a mesh network (works better if you have wired connected for both the routers) or invest in a Wi-Fi Booster.

With some trial and error, you will decide on the best placement for the new Wi-Fi Extender or Repeater and you can enjoy seamless connectivity even if your house is very large or having multiple stories.

Get Wi-Fi in Garage/Outside

You want to sit on the porch, grab a cup of coffee and listen to a podcast or internet radio or watch a show on your iPad. If your Wi-Fi Router cannot provide you with enough signal or speed, then investing in a decent Wi-Fi Booster is the best way to solve this problem.

We can also access internet from our garages, which is usually slightly far from the main house. Even in this case, a Wi-Fi Extender will definitely increase the Wi-Fi signal strength and you can watch videos from your garage or make sure that your smart garage door opener stays connected.

Conclusion

A popular confusion among buyers is What are Wi-Fi Extenders and Wi-Fi Boosters. Wi-Fi Extender is a device that extends the range of your existing Wi-Fi Network by connecting to your present Wi-Fi signals. Wi-Fi Booster is a generic term for Wi-Fi Extenders and Wi-Fi Repeaters. In this guide, we saw Wi-Fi Extender vs Booster and also some important situations where/when you might need a Wi-Fi Booster.



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