What is the Difference between a Repeater and an Extender?

Both repeaters and extenders can improve your Wi-Fi signal and coverage in your home. However, they have different methods and varying advantages and disadvantages. Here is a short comparison of the two devices:

Repeater

A device that connects to your existing wireless network and rebroadcasts it to a wider area.

Pros

Cheaper than extenders – Easier to install and configure – No need for a wired connection.

Cons

Creates a new network that you need to connect to – Reduces the bandwidth of the connection by up to 50% – It may interfere with other wireless devices.

Extender

A device that connects to your existing network through a wired connection and broadcasts it to another area.

Pros

Extends the same network rather than creating a new one – Doesn’t suffer from reduced bandwidth – Ideal for areas with no wireless signal.

Cons

More expensive than repeaters – Requires a wired connection to the router – It may be harder to set up and configure.

How do repeaters and extenders work?

A repeater receives the wireless signal from your router and amplifies it before sending it out again. This way, it can cover a larger area and reach devices farther away from the router. However, this also means that the repeater uses some of the bandwidth of the original signal to communicate with the router, leaving less for the devices connected to the repeater. In addition, the repeater creates a separate network with a different name (SSID) and password, which means you have to switch networks when you move from one area to another.

An extender connects to your router through an Ethernet cable, a coaxial cable, or a powerline adapter. This way, it can receive the full bandwidth of your network and transmit it wirelessly to another area. The extender doesn’t create a new network but extends the existing one so that you can stay connected to the same network throughout your home. However, this also means that you need to have a wired connection between your router and your extender, which may not be possible or convenient sometimes.

Which one should you choose?

Choosing between a repeater and an extender depends on your needs, preferences, and budget. Here are some factors to consider:

  • The size and layout of your home: If you have a large or multi-story home with many walls or obstacles that block the wireless signal, you may need an extender to reach all areas. You can use a repeater to boost the signal if you have a smaller or more open home with fewer barriers.
  • The speed and quality of your internet: If you have a fast and reliable internet connection with high bandwidth, you may notice little difference between using a repeater or an extender. If you have a slow or unstable internet connection with low bandwidth, you should avoid using a repeater that will further reduce your speed and quality.
  • The number and type of devices you use: If you have many devices that use a lot of data, such as streaming video or gaming, you may want to use an extender that will provide more bandwidth and stability. If you have fewer devices that use less data, such as browsing or emailing, you can use a repeater that will suffice for your needs.
  • The ease and cost of installation: If you have an existing wired connection between your router and another area of your home, or if you don’t mind running a cable or using a powerline adapter, you may want to use an extender that will offer better performance. If you don’t have a wired connection or want to save some money, you may want to use a repeater that will provide more convenience.

FAQ

Which is better, the extender or the repeater?

Extenders are better for speed and reliability but need a wired connection and may be more expensive and harder to install. Repeaters are better for convenience and cost, but they create a new network and reduce the bandwidth and quality of the connection.

How does a repeater or extender work?

A repeater receives and amplifies the wireless signal from your router and sends it out again. A repeater uses some of the bandwidth of the original signal and creates a new network. An extender connects to your router through a cable and sends the wireless signal to another area. An extender doesn’t use any bandwidth of the original signal and extends the same network.

What is the difference between a mesh extender and a repeater?

A mesh extender is a type of extender that works with a mesh Wi-Fi system. A mesh Wi-Fi system has a main router and satellite nodes that communicate with each other. A mesh extender is a satellite node that connects wirelessly to the main router or another node. A mesh extender doesn’t create a new network or reduce the bandwidth of the connection. A repeater is not part of a mesh Wi-Fi system. A repeater connects wirelessly to your router, creating a new network with reduced bandwidth.

Is the Wi-Fi repeater faster?

A Wi-Fi repeater is not faster than your original Wi-Fi network. It may be slower because it uses some of the bandwidth of the original signal and adds some latency or delays to your connection.

What is the range of the Wi-Fi repeaters?

The range of a Wi-Fi repeater depends on many factors, such as the strength of your original Wi-Fi signal, the location and orientation of your repeater, the interference from other wireless devices or physical obstacles, and the quality and specifications of your repeater. Generally, a Wi-Fi repeater can extend your Wi-Fi signal by about 50% of its original range.

Does a repeater slow down the internet?

A repeater may slow down your internet speed and quality if you have a low-bandwidth or unstable internet connection. This is because a repeater uses some of the bandwidth of the original signal and adds some latency or delay to your connection. If you have a high-bandwidth or reliable internet connection, you may not notice much difference whether you use a repeater.

Which repeater is best for Wi-Fi?

TP-Link AC1750 Wi-Fi Extender (RE450)
NETGEAR WiFi Mesh Range Extender EX7300
TP-Link AC750 Wi-Fi Extender (RE220)