Powerline - up to 600 Mbps
What is a Wi-Fi Extender
Nowadays you can get a Wi-Fi signal almost anywhere in a city: malls, offices, cafeterias, hotels, shops and even in public transports. The connection there may understandably vary from good to no signal at all. But even at your own house, you are not safe from getting into a dead spot, where you cannot pick up even a single bar from your Wi-Fi router. Concrete walls, reinforced panels, weak output signal – these and many other things may become a barrier for the Internet access.
Wi-Fi extenders are the excellent solution to cover your entire house with a stable signal. As it comes from the name, they extend the existing Wi-Fi coverage by taking a signal from a router and retransferring it to the nearby area. In some cases, an extender simply boosts your router with additional antennas, in others, it creates a new network with a common router as an access point.
But right before we'll go further into details, you might want to take a look at our review of the best wireless routers with a thorough guide on how to get a Wi-Fi router best suited for your needs.
What Features to Compare
First of all, think about where you are going to use. Wi-Fi extenders sometimes are called repeaters and have a Designated Area of use. You can find models that are recommended but not limited to small houses or offices. The device amplifies a signal so that it could reach the farthest corners of an apartment, like when you have thick concrete walls in your building with a router's signal cutting through only one or two of them. For a cottage or an office, you might require a more powerful extender. In that case, we recommend taking a closer look at a Wi-Fi repeater that has adjustable external antennas with the gain power at 3 dBi or higher. If antennas are detachable, they can be replaced with more powerful or directional antennas in the future, but in most cases, you can simply point them in the required direction.
Without a doubt, Bandwidth and Maximum Speed are important as well. You want to buy an extender to get better coverage and speed in the first place, right? If those numbers mean nothing to you, just try to buy an extender with the same maximum speed as your Wi-Fi router. Check them in a manual and in contract to your ISP. Search for numbers like Mbps or Mb/s. Below, we've compiled devices that range from 300 up to incredible 1300 Mbps, so that you could choose the one that would suit your ISP traffic plan and walls layout best.
Setup and Controls are mostly done only once by connecting a device to your computer’s Ethernet port to set a Wi-Fi password. Normally, extenders work right away, but sometimes they have a CD with a special software to program an extender. Basic options like resetting or turning the device on-off usually have designated buttons on the body. If you prefer gaming but your family loves watching online video or downloading large files, an ordinary extender might not be enough, as the streaming video and big files take a lot of Internet traffic and can cause lags. Therefore, you might want to get an advanced model with an option to prioritize connections.
As for the Design, most of the time, extenders are simply plugged into a socket and look like compact boxes with or without antennas. However, there are models that have an external power cord and can be placed on top of the shelf or just sit on your table. That way you will always have them within hand's reach.
Finally, take a look at the supported Data Interfaces. There’re repeaters that have output LAN ports to connect them to other devices that have no Wi-Fi module, like a TV or desktop PC. Some extenders work with a power-line technology. It allows you to transfer Internet signal via the electrical wiring of your house. You will need 2 or more of such power-line adapters. After they've been plugged in the sockets, one of them will pick up a signal from the router via Ethernet cable or Wi-Fi, while the other one can receive it and retransfer further to other devices. Please note, that in most cases Internet signal can’t pass through electric transformers or power monitors.
You might also come across such specifications as supported network standards or access protection protocols, however, they are mostly interoperable only with many routers, so you might need this info only if you are going to install very specific routers in your office and need to protect confidential data. Still, common routers, extenders, and adapters are designed in accordance with Wi-Fi standards which oblige manufacturers to have the means for data protection. Set passwords, keep them to yourself and worry not - your information will be safe and sound.
Now, let's take a closer look at the Wi-Fi extenders we've prepared for you.
TP-LINK AC1900 RE590T TouchScreen
Give It a Touch
The first thing you notice in this device is the glossy futuristic design and, of course, it's 4.3" touchscreen - a rare and unexpected element even on routers. But getting one on an extender is a pleasant surprise. Turned out, you don't have to connect this TP-Link Wi-Fi range extender to a computer with a cord to configure connection settings. Network, adaptor's, and other settings can be directly accessed via the very same built-in display that has intuitive icons. There, you can input all the necessary commands and set a wi-fi connection password. On the screen, you can see the connection quality and speed to your Wi-Fi router. You may change the image on the display to the current time and date so that it could work as a simple wall clock and become even a more functional part of your room's interior.
For your convenience and comfort of use, all configurations can be done remotely on the Internet via your web browser. No need to leave the chair, turn the Internet on and specify the settings you need.
As you might have noticed, RE590T has 3 adjustable antennas and powerful 700 mW amplifiers that can attain up to breathtaking 1300 Mbps peak downloading speed at 5 GHz frequency. It can support several devices simultaneously. For example, you can watch streaming video and play games without cross-interference. This beast can even break through several thick walls to give you the stable network access wherever you need it. But with thin walls around it, you can cover up to 10,000 sq. ft. Wi-Fi zone, which is really huge. An awesome addition to large office spaces, big mansions or simply where the normal Wi-Fi router signal doesn't hack through thick walls.
The Fastest Broadband?
Speaking of high speed, you might be interested that the world's record of the quickest broadband to a private house was set in 2007 and belongs to the Sigbritt Löthberg. It was a part-gift part-experiment by her son Peter Löthberd, worker of the world-famous Cisco company that produces lots of software and PC hardware. At the time, she had the colossal 40 Gbps broadband connection. For reference, she could download a movie in HD quality (around 3-4 GB) in just 2 seconds! This record is yet to be broken, but later on, Peter capped the speed to 'mere' 10 Gbps for energy saving reasons. But even nowadays, you can still get only around 1 Gbps as a private user from the world-leading ISPs.
Nevertheless, the IT scientists are constantly working on improvements of the data transfer technology. For example, in September 2016, the Germany-based research tests - conducted by Nokia Bell Labs, the Technical University of Munich and Deutsche Telekom T-Labs - blew up with the out of bounds results. They have achieved 1 Tbps of data transfer via optic fiber cable. Although it's not yet designed for residential use, this might become a means to create a better high-speed connection between national-wide and smaller ISP companies or better yet - between their smaller service hubs. So, maybe the days of non-capped cable and wireless Internet are even closer than everybody thinks.
More Products to Consider
TP-Link AC1900 Wireless Router has exactly the same design as the Wi-Fi extender above. Together they can create a beautiful symmetry in your office or home with top-notch characteristics and superb speed parameters. Grab it, if you want to upgrade your home with a better Wi-Fi router.
TP-LINK TL-PA6010KIT AV600 Nano
TP-LINK AV600 kit is not a Wi-Fi amplifier per se. It is a pair of adaptors that has been designed exclusively for powerline connections. Still, they cope flawlessly, providing the Internet in the farthest parts of your house without tangling cables everywhere. They can also work in pairs with any of the devices above. All you have to do is connect one of the adapters to a router via Ethernet cable - no matter if it's wireless or not, plug both included adapters into outlets and connect the second adapter to a device like a PC or a gaming console. Boom! You have Internet access.
Both adapters support the latest version of the HomePlug AV2 powerline specifications that can reach astonishing 600 Mbps. And this is just by sending a signal through existing electric wiring! What is more, if you've already got powerline adapters from other brands, high chances are they will work together just fine, as the AV2 version supports most powerline specs. Another cool feature is that you may safely leave them in a socket for months without supervision. When you don't use the Internet, the patented power-saving feature drives the power consumption down by up to 85% compared to other powerline devices.
These adapters are also so compact that they can fit in your palm just fine. Not surprising, the manufacturer compares them to a credit card which has got the same size (although, it's not as thick, obviously).
As a conclusion, we can readily recommend this device for all those users who'd like to extend the wired Internet access from a router to PC, gaming console or any other device that has no Wi-Fi module without creating a net of tangled Ethernet wires all over the house.
TP-Link - Going Strong
As of today, the TP-Link products can be found worldwide in the computer markets. So, we decided to inspect, what else they have got to offer. Turned out, they have a list of products longer than the arm: ADSL or cable modems, routers, switches, powerline adapters, Wi-Fi signal boosters, Wi-Fi repeaters - you name it, they have it. We've checked out their latest devices and can assure you that the company continuously adapts to market uptakes and constantly implements the latest technologies in their production. Since their start in 1996, they have only been moving forward, and it seems like they are not ready to rest.
More Products to Consider
If you have several devices in one room that you need or want to connect to the Internet via cables, you may grab a 5-port TP-Link switch. It is used for data re-transfer from a modem or powerline adapter to 5 other devices at once.
NETGEAR EX2700 N300
Easy Fix for Big Issue
Everyone hates slow Internet. Usually, the key reason is simply a large distance from the router. When its signal is just not enough, invest your money in the quick solution named NETGEAR N300. The device has two small but powerful external antennas to provide Wi-Fi in a dead spot. It also has 1 port for Ethernet cable to wire up a PC or a TV to the Internet in case a device doesn't have a built-in wireless module.
The extender works perfectly right out-of-the-box. We still recommend checking out the official website for optional firmware updates. As for more advanced manual configuration, hook the device up to a computer using the very same Ethernet port and complete the initial setup. After that, you will always be able to readily access it from your phone or notebook via Wi-Fi.
Note, that N300 supports only 2.4 GHz frequency. It is slower than 5 GHz, of course, but also is the most popular one and can attain up to 300 Mbps, which is actually quite enough to watch a streaming video or play video games without any noticeable lags.
Cause and Consequence
Another reason of a slow connection is that you might have lots of Wi-Fi broadcasts in one place at once. This usually happens in a dense neighborhood or high-rises with lots of company offices. Wi-Fi routers operate on a certain amount of channels and tend to use the best one available. But that doesn't mean that the router next door won't choose the same one as yours. When every other neighbor has a router and all the signals are working in a tight area, the cross-interference is bound to occur. If you have two Wi-Fi sources close to each other, they may also conflict a bit.
In this NETGEAR extender, you have an awesome but frequently forgotten option to manually switch between the broadcasting channels, although this might require some twist of the wrist. Try alternating them in the device's settings and look for the best results using a speed test or official Android app by NETGEAR. Finally, you can also point 2 antennas in several directions to enhance the signal where you need it the most.
As a conclusion, NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi extender is a considerable choice when you have to quickly enhance your Wi-Fi signal for your tablet, phone or notebook. Give it a try, and see for yourself how handy and easy it is actually to use.
More Products to Consider
If your PC or notebook doesn't have a Wi-Fi module or it stopped working, check out our review of the best USB Wi-Fi adapters. Simply plug such device into a USB port and it will catch a wireless signal on the fly.
TRENDnet Powerline 500 AV TPL-410APK
Walls and Bridges
The Wi-Fi router is a great way to quickly build a network connection to the Internet. But the main bane of a wireless connection is a distance and thick walls. Yet, you can buy TRENDnet Powerline adaptors and forget about such nuisances.
For starters, we wanted to throw a couple of words about Powerline technology. It allows the Internet data transferring via the existing electric power lines in your house. Thus, you need at least two outlet adapters: one for creating the network within your wiring and the second one for retransferring it from another outlet to your devices.
In the shipment package, you get exactly 2 units: TRENDnet TPL-406E and TPL-410AP. Their installation is extremely simple: you connect the TPL-406E to your Wi-Fi router via Ethernet cable, plug it in an outlet. On the other side of your house, you plug the TPL-410AP in another outlet and it will automatically hook up with the first adaptor. The TPL-410AP has 2 built-in antennas that create the reliable Wi-Fi coverage right where it is. Moreover, it has 2 additional Ethernet ports for devices that have no Wi-Fi modules, like a TV, desktop computers or some gaming consoles. But there's more! You can buy additional powerline adaptors and extend the signal from TPL-406E even further in another part of your house.
With this TRENDnet Powerline kit, you can throw the Internet bridges through and over the thick walls of your home via up to 1,000 ft. of wiring in a straight line, which is usually more than enough for even large houses. Grab it and happily connect your tablet, phone or PC to the Internet regardless of how far the router is installed in your building.
TRENDnet aims to create only reliable, innovative and easy-to-use network devices to connect friends and families. The company started out from Torrance, CA in 1990 and had a long walk to success since then. Now, it's one of the leading manufacturers of wired and wireless network equipment with special attention to small details. All of their designs are made in accordance with ISO 9001:2008 quality certification. What is more, TRENDnet follows the environmental and wildlife protection policies, including RoHS, CEC, and WEEE directives.
More Products to Consider
Just a little reminder: don't forget to check out if you have enough ethernet cables join all of your devices together.
Motoraux 1200Mbps Dual Bands
Who Needs a Wi-Fi Router Anyway
Most extenders and repeaters require a Wi-Fi router to grab a signal from. However, Motoraux can work as the Wi-Fi router all by itself! Wire it up to your cable modem with Ethernet cable and it will create its own wireless access point for you. Of course, it supports the repeater mode as well. You can connect it to the Wi-Fi router with a cable or let it capture and retransfer the existing wireless signal from it.
It's pretty compact, easy to hide below the desk and features a great working range at 5 GHz frequency. You can manually adjust any of its 4 antennas orientation for even better performance. Combining all of the above - you'll get a universal device for upgrading your Wi-Fi network in a large office or a big house, even if you haven't got a Wi-Fi router yet.
Where Should I Place a Wi-Fi Extender?
When extenders were not yet introduced, people used to use soda cans or metal bowls for directing Wi-Fi signal in a specific direction. They cross-cut a can and set it like a satellite dish next to a router's antenna so as to create a 'beam' with reflected signal. Obviously, this method was far from being perfect. Although it helped boost Wi-Fi signal for a few feet in one direction, the reception's quality in the others was drastically worsened.
Wi-Fi repeaters or extenders have no such shortcomings. They pick up a router signal and create a new Wi-Fi zone. Nevertheless, you have to carefully consider the best placement for maximum efficiency.
Try placing a Wi-Fi signal booster in a vicinity of the router's signal but not right next to it. That way, there'll be minimal interference between these two transmitters because the repeaters would work on the same channel. Try finding a spot in the building where the signal is weak - and go for it. The easiest device to check the signal quality is your mobile phone. Just turn on the Wi-Fi module and look at the bars. Consider placing an extender where you have 1 or 2 bars. If your devices have external antennas, like this Motoraux range extender, don't be afraid to adjust them and point in a direction where the Internet access is needed the most. If the signal is poor, just move the device a bit closer to the router. And that's it. Following these simple steps, you will easily cover the entire house with a quick and stable Internet.
More Products to Consider
When upgrading your home or office network, you might get in a situation in which you don't have the Ethernet cable long enough to connect your non-wireless devices. Or maybe you want to connect a patch cord to another device but have no access to a router or server to change the cable to a longer one? Then, you can use female-to-female RJ45 adapters. Just plug the cable from a router in one port, and the cable from the device in another to get them wired up.
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