Home Mesh WiFi Repeater vs WiFi Extender: Which one to choose from?

WiFi Repeater vs WiFi Extender: Which one to choose from?

extender-vs repeater
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Wi-Fi technology has become almost inseparable with the COVID-19 home workspace. But these signals aren’t strong enough to cross obstacles and reach all places of your house equally. Being far from your router, signals can be so weak that a basic web page won’t load. Fortunately, we have a solution for that. 

Wi-Fi Repeaters are devices which will receive the wireless signal from your Wi-Fi, amplify it and then transmit the signal to wherever you are. These devices are also called ‘extenders’ or ‘boosters’, essentially meaning the same. Your repeater also comes with its own encryption. These devices are surprisingly easy to setup and use. Some limitations of Wi-Fi repeaters are creation of a separate network (the device is a separate connection which your devices must connect to, often it isn’t an issue but still is worth mentioning), limited bandwidth and having another device to configure (you must set up the device and configure it to your needs. Once done though, it needn’t be changed until necessary).

They are of two types:

  1. Desktop Wi-Fi Repeaters – meant to be placed on a desk or shelf and uses a standard power cable. The only downside being cable management.
  2. Plug-in Wi-Fi Repeaters – they plug into any available electrical socket. These are more commonly made by manufacturers. The downside here is that being too close to a wall and electric field slightly decreases performance. 

We have chosen from amongst the best brands with trusted reviews to bring you the top 5 Wi-Fi repeaters. When you are browsing for such devices, and if it is your first time in doing so, we advise you to thoroughly research online, and make sure your repeater has sufficient security measures in place to stop any malware attacks. 


1. Amped Wireless Athena-EX High Power AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE2600M)

This desktop extender is most impressive, with a coverage of up to 15000sq.ft. It has 16 amplifiers and 4 high gain antennas (meaning stronger signals).  It has Incredibly fast AC2600 speeds, and hence you can stream 4k or game without lag. The 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequency channels can give speeds of 800Mbps and 1733Mbps, respectively. It supports MU-MIMO technology for seamless multiple user interfaces and has USB 2.0, 3.0, and 4 Gigabit ports. The support is great, and they have excellent customer service.

Amazon Link for the product

2. Netgear Nighthawk X4 AC2200 Wi-Fi Range Extender (EX7300)

This plug-in mesh extender is from one of the old players in the market. It has a coverage of up to 10000sq. ft., with AC2200 speeds for seamless connectivity. A little cheaper than the top contender, this has dual band support for 2.4Gz and 5Ghz bandwidths, with speeds of 450Mbps and 1733Mbps, respectively (a combined speed of 2.2Gbps). There’s a dedicated 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet Port with smart auto-sensing technology. And since this is a mesh extender, you can create a whole mesh system at your home using your existing gateway or router. It has a smart roaming feature, which helps your mobile devices connect seamlessly as you move around the house. Extend your own Wi-Fi coverage with one Wi-Fi name and password (which works because this is a Mesh network Wi-Fi). It has a Push-‘N’-Connect setup, CD-less so that it can be set up on any device. It has (WPA/WPA2-PSK) and WEP protected access for your privacy. With Netgear being a well established and trusted brand, the warranty and customer service is excellent.

Netgear Link  link for purchase

3. TP-Link AC1900 Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE580D)

The new desktop extender from the well-established Chinese company TP-Link is another popular product on this list. With an impressive range of up to 10000sq. ft., this has three external dual band antennas (which channel both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequency channels) and High powered 700mW amplifiers. It has the latest beamforming technology, which is used in outdoor CPE devices of higher specs. This basically gives you stronger coverage wherever you need it by locating and targeting Wi-Fi devices. It has a smart system which let’s you discover the best spot to extend your Wi-Fi using their Intelligent Signal Indicator. Essentially, the LED lights change colour depending on your house’s best spot. It has multiple wired ports (Gigabit Ethernet ports) and is easy to configure and install. Streaming 4k and gaming isn’t a problem with AC1900 speeds and a 1Ghz dual core processor for fast connections with multiple users. It can work with any Wi-Fi device and has a universal compatibility. There is advanced security encryptions to keep your privacy and data safe, and there is also a 2-year warranty with 24/7 unlimited technical support either by phone or email contact. There’s also a concurrent boost feature which helps in boosting the network speeds. 

Amazon Link for purchase.

4. Linksys AC1200 Max Wi-Fi Range Extender RE6500

This new desktop Wi-Fi Repeater from Linksys is a little different from other extenders in the sense that it looks very much like a traditional router. But with this great size comes an excellent performance with two adjustable as well as replaceable dual band antennas. What’s more, should you want a slightly better performance, there is even a high-gain antenna version of the extender as well. It has an impressive range of 10000sq. ft. and offers AC1200 speeds. There are 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports given with the device. So directly connecting any PC, Laptop, TV, etc. is not a problem. Another unique feature of this product is that it has an Audio Jack Provided that lets you connect a stereo system so as to stream music wirelessly. It has the Spot Finder Technology which helps it detect the optimal area for setup. Any device can be used to set up the repeater and it is quite easy to do so. Maybe a con could be the fact that it is quite large and will occupy a good amount of space, hence one must take caution of that. The rest of the features are universal compatibility, WEP, WPA and WPA2 protection and WPS setup button, with an excellent warranty.

Amazon Link for purchase


5. Netgear Wi-Fi Range Extender EX3700

Another plug-in repeater from Netgear, this is a product that is much more affordable than the previous ones. The range it offers for coverage is up to a 1000 sq. ft. So it isn’t the most ideal for larger houses, where you would have to connect many such devices. It has dual band Wi-Fi antennas which can support speeds up to 750Mbps. And It has a universal compatibility, which means that it supports almost any b/g/n Wi-Fi device. This comes with a single Ethernet port for either your gaming console, desktop computer or smart TV. It is remarkably simple in its interface, operation and set up. It offers WPS setup for privacy and connects seamlessly with the push of a single WPS button. The best parts about this extender is the fact that it has a budget friendly cost and is compact in size, snuggly fitting in the corners of your house. The downside is the limited performance. The speeds are significantly lower compared to the others and so is the range (reduced to a tenth of the other options). 

Amazon Link  for purchase

An alternative to WiFi repeater would be WiFi extender. WiFi extender utilises electric power from a power supply for increasing the strength of the original signal. In simple terms its working is similar to that of a stereo amplifier. The set-up process can be done either via a WPS button or a smartphone application. They are designed to eliminate wired connections to your tech devices but there is a wide variety to choose from. 

A word of caution: With a wide array of malware detected on a daily basis, it is recommended to purchase WiFi extenders from well established brands. The following list below contains the 5 best WiFi extenders currently available in the market. 

1. Netgear Nighthawk X6S WiFi Range Extender (EX7300)

The Netgear Nighthawk X6S not only focuses on filling in the WiFi dead zones, it gives a strong WiFi connectivity throughout your home. But unlike other WiFi extenders, one cannot plug the Netgear Nighthawak into a wall socket. Its size is similar to that of a regular router (approximately 9 inches). As it is larger than any other models in this list, it may not be the first choice for those people who value space.  It consists of 6 antennas within its strong casing. 

Further, it contains 4 Gigabit ethernet ports providing you with the option to directly hardwire a smart TV or game console. A USB port is also provided if you want to transfer media files to other devices. It contains multi user MIMO and has a galloping speed of 3000 Mbps. Its tri-brand design looks very aesthetic, and it also provides Gigabit ethernet. 

You can also customize the settings of the Netgear Nighthawk. It may not be necessary if you are utilizing the extender for personal purposes but if the extender is for office purposes, the customized settings is a good add-on. For instance, it provides content scanning of new media files, enable TiVo support and add folders to connected devices. For individuals who have a big budget to splurge on the WiFi extender and if their requirement is large this one is their ideal purchase. 

Link to purchase

2. Linksys 7000 Max WiFi Range Extender 

Linksys 7000 is a good overall WiFi extender which is suitable for large spaces. It minimises connectivity disruption even in difficult spaces of your home. An appealing feature of this WiFi extender would be its minimalistic design as 4 antennas are contained within the device. It is compact and it can be plugged in your wall sockets with ease. With a speed of 1.9Gbps, this Dual band WiFi is suitable for large spaces. 

It also contains Gigabit ethernet ports, the next gen MU-MIMO technology and works with all WiFi routers. Installation is similar to all WiFi extenders – Plug the extender into an AC socket and then utilize the WPS feature to connect it to your home modem. It is also possible to connect it to your web browser. This WiFi extender allows 3 devices for prioritized connection and the rest can resort to sharing the remaining bandwidth. Overall Linksys 7000 provides you with a high speed WiFi extender devoid the complications of a Mesh system. 

Amazon link for purchase

3. Netgear AC1200 EX6150 (Top for easy usage)

For individuals who are not tech geniuses, then the Netgear AC1200 would be an ideal choice. Its installation process is very easy compared to the others. It provides you with one very strong connection 5GHz and 2.5GHz. Its feature of compatibility with most modems makes it a good purchase. It has 4 LEDs to inform the inform the individual about power status and connectivity readiness. The controls for switching the device on and off are fixed on the side panel of this device. The same location also contains WPS 

Its speed extends up to 1.2GBps and extends to large spaces. It is very easy to plug and like the other two extenders mentioned, it also comes with a Gigabit ethernet port and multi user MIMO. The Netgear AC1200 is also an ideal choice for people with large spaces and it is also capable of easily connecting with multiple streaming devices. 

Amazon link for purchase

4. TP Link AC750 WiFi extender RE220

Its extensive coverage of 1200 sq.feet allows it to be suitable for large spaces and eliminates the issue of dead zones even for wired devices via a ethernet port. The ethernet port can work as a WiFi adapter as well connecting it to Blu-ray player, game console or smart TV. You don’t have to restrict your connection to your television or laptop, but like any other WiFi extender you can connect it to firestick, google chrome cast, alexa echo, and so on. When paired with the archer A7 router, seamless roaming can be guaranteed due to one mesh technology. The installation process being so user friendly makes it an attractive option. A smart indicator light can relay the most plausible set up spot. Further it also offers a full 2 year warranty in case of product issues

Amazon link  for purchase

5. D-Link DAP-1650 WiFi Range Extender (AC1200)

D-Link DAP-1650 has a sleek black exterior and is slightly larger than the Linksys RE7000. On its side panel it possesses 4 gigabit ethernet ports, a WPS button to connect with your WPS router, and a power import. The package includes an internet cable, a power break and a user manual for the set up process. It connects up to 4 wired devices to your wireless network. It also consists AC1200 speeds up to 300Mbps (2.4GHz) + 867 Mbps (5GHz). It also allows extended internet access for wireless devices such as laptops, smart phones, tablets, and more. Further, it has one-year warranty as well. It is not fit for very large spaces but it provides good extendable WiFi connectivity for considerably wide spaces. 

Amazon link for purchase

Selection of a WiFi extender is significant as it is a factor for a smooth work life, gaming or even streaming without interruptions. Each of the WiFi extenders mentioned above has its own unique features. Hence, choosing an extender that suits your choices is significant. If you aren’t tech savvy, then the Netgear AC1200 would be your go-to WiFi extender. This is because there is very less technicalities involved whilst installing it. If you have a very wide space to cover then the Netgear nighthawk X6S might be an ideal but a costly option. If your requirements of a WiFi extender does not include covering a very wide space then the other four mentioned WiFi extenders will fulfil your connectivity needs. Hence there is no ideal WiFi extender which is best in the market. As every device has its own pros and cons, you have to choose the one which fits your needs. 

Since the selection process of an extender and repeater can be difficult we have made it easier for you, by providing clear distinctions of the two.

As stated earlier, WiFi Extenders are electronic devices which helps in extending coverage of your existing WiFi. These devices when connected with WiFi router helps in amplifying the signal and then boosting the signal with double coverage. They are also known as Wi-Fi range extender or WiFi coverage extender.

These are of 3 types of Extenders. All have the same usage but different working mechanisms. There are WiFi Booster, Extender and Repeaters which lets you boost the signal to Dead-Zone. WiFi Repeater and Extender are the most common forms. It can be used at home, offices, schools and places with large space with multiple floors and yards. There are Extender and Repeaters for different Weather Conditions as well. When it comes to safety there are chances of possible breaches but as technology improves, it results in more secure extenders and repeaters with the same level of security as traditional WiFi routers. Hence one needn’t worry on aspects of security. 

WiFi Repeater:

Alternatively known as ‘Network Repeater’, this device connects to your main modem wirelessly and transmit the boosted WiFi signal. These are one of the easy ways to install devices. Once connected to your existing Wi-Fi via computer, it is all set to go. 

One of the major disadvantages of Repeaters is speed loss. As Repeaters rebroadcast the signal, there exists a speed loss issue which can be serious is some of the cases.

There are various types of WiFi repeaters 

  • Weatherproof Repeater
  •  Solo Bands 
  •  Dual Bands

Dual Radio Repeaters help in decreasing the issue of basic speed loss. If the device has dual radios, it can speak to the main router on lower channels, and then rebroadcast on higher channels. 

Repeaters also feature the strength of picking the weakest Wi-Fi signal and amplifying it. The Smart Repeater Pro also has a very powerful high gain antenna that can pick up even very weak WiFi signals, and it rebroadcasts that signal on two powerful 3dBi omni-directional antennas. Further, WiFi repeaters are more affordable than WiFi extenders.

Step to set up a WiFi Repeater – 

  • Connect your repeater to a power outlet.
  • Connect your plugged WiFi repeater to a laptop or your computer.
  • Configure settings on the computer by logging into your WiFi network.
  • Once logged in, your repeater should connect to your wireless network.
  • You can now rebroadcast the connection through the repeater

Wi-Fi Extenders:

WiFi extenders are devices which are connected physically with your Wi-Fi router using the ethernet cable. The major drawback here persists in wired connection of extender which restricts easy mobility and easy setup. Hence it becomes difficult to move your device as required whereas Repeaters can be easily moved. One of the major advantages is that these are wired connections, so there are next to minimal chances of speed loss and can also have a strong bandwidth output.

WiFi Extenders can be used when there is a need for strong and reliable connection. Configuration of an extender is also easy to handle, but not as easy as a repeater. It is also a suitable option for gamers. Whilst playing games on your pc, laptop or your mobile phone a strong reliable connection is mandatory, thus making Wi-Fi extender an idealistic choice for gamers.

What are the major differences between these two?

These are some major differences which can help you in understanding better.

How exactly do these devices work?

Wireless Repeater connects using Radio Waves to build a bridge for faster connectivity and Rebroadcast them without any physical connection to your router. Repeater has to be placed within the range of the WiFi network to work efficiently and rebroadcast it with its own capacity. The same way WiFi extender works but with a wired connection.

There are brands which provide one of the best available WiFi Repeater and Extenders and here is the list of some of the best available options.

Following steps will help you choose what’s best for you?

1. Consider your budget and requirements.

Budget is one of the important aspects when it comes to selecting a device. Based on different types of devices, the prices vary. Some of outdoor extension devices are specifically made weatherproof thus making them more expensive than simpler ones.

2. Which extender matches the standard of your existing WiFi and router?

Your Wi-Fi and its router has some specific standards of connectivity, the extension device has to be compatible with its standard to work efficiently.

3. Placement of your Device? 

Placement of your device matters to decide on whether to buy a wired or wireless device. If the distance required between your router and the additional device is less, then wireless repeater can be a best option for you. If the placement of the device is further away, then a wired extender is the best option available.

Considering the above points can help in ease of selecting the best option out there.

Here are some of the best available devices based on our research.

Many brands specifically focus on Wi-fi devices and additional Devices.

1. TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender

The AC2600 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Range Extender connects to your router wirelessly, strengthening and expanding its signal into areas it can’t reach on its own, achieving speeds of 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.

MU-MIMO technology serves up to four devices at once, reducing wait time increasing Wi-Fi throughput for every device, and making each stream more efficient. Consist of 4 external antennas with built-in access point mode.

Purchase link

2. NETGEAR WiFi Booster Range Extender

Covers up to 1000 sq ft and 15 Devices with AC750 Dual Band Wireless Signal Repeater (up to 750 Mbps). Uses Netgears Own Wi-Fi Analytics App to give better analytics to optimise your existing or newly extended Wi-Fi network. It is compact in design factor. And is Universally compatible with many different devices like wireless router, gateway, or cable modem with Wi-Fi.

Purchase link

 3. Nest WiFi by Google

This is by one of the best tech companies out there. If budget isn’t your main concern, this might be the best available option for you. 

It has the same design factor of Google Mini and Expandable 802.11s mesh Wifi AC 1200 2×2 WiFi. One of the best features is that it has a built-in speaker.

Purchase link

4. TP-Link 2.4GHz N300 Long Range Outdoor WiFi Extender

These Extenders are specially made for outdoor usage be it at your yard or pool area. Has system level optimization for more than 5km / 3.1 Miles long range wireless transmission. Comes with built in 9dBi 2×2 dual polarized directional antenna, which is faster.

Adjustable transmission Power from 0 to 27dBm/500mW

Purchase link

5. TP-Link TL-WA850RE N300 Wireless Range Extender

Eliminates dead zones with 300Mbps wireless N speed. One of the additional features is its ethernet port allows the extender to act as a wireless adapter to turn a wired device into a wireless one. One of the inexpensive options available to buy.

Purchase link

As technology grows, there arises problems to it and then their solutions. This is why Extender, Repeater and Boosters Exist. Obviously, it is not always that one requires a need to set up additional devices for better connection when moving the location of your WiFi works too but if the problem still continues, we have our solution ready. Now that you know how these devices work, it will be a lot easier to search the one for you and use it efficiently at dead zones without any lags and loss of internet. Now you can sit around at your yard with no worries of connection loss and stay connected to the rest of the world or move around your office within your comfort zone and be productive. 

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