Best Wi-Fi Extenders

Review & Comparison, Last Update October 4, 2018
Want to have Wi-Fi in a yard next to your house? Or your phone doesn’t show all 4 bars on the second floor of your house? Then grab a Wi-Fi extender and expand the boundaries of your wireless router's signal. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2018
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Designated Areas
Antennas
Data Interface
Network Standards
Speed
Access and Data Protection
Power Supply
Warranty
 
PROS

The model extends the WiFi coverage by up to 14,000 square feet. The antennas do not just create a signal that is equally strong and reliable but also minimize dead spots. The Intelligent Processing Engine balances the demands of every device to keep every connection as fast and smooth as possible.

CONS

The extender is sensitive to voltage drops. 

OUR VERDICT

The TP-LINK AC2600 (RE650) is easily the best WiFi extender on the market for people who would like to cover the largest possible area with a fast and stable wireless signal. It's a bit more expensive than most but the range makes it a great long-term investment.

detailed parameters
Designated Areas

Very large houses, large offices

Antennas

4 external antennas

Data Interface

1 x Lan (RJ45) port

Network Standards

IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ac

Speed

5GHz: Up to 1733 Mbps

2.4GHz: Up to 800 Mbps

LAN: Up to 1000 Mbps

Access and Data Protection

64/128-bit WEP, WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK

Power Supply

AC (directly in a wall outlet)

Warranty

2 years

PROS

Smart Roaming will allow you to freely roam around the home without worrying about being disconnected at one point or the other. It automatically hands off your connection between the router and the extender. Smart Connect chooses the most optimal WiFi band for every device connected to the network.

CONS

The indicators are really bright, so they may annoy some people. 

OUR VERDICT

The NETGEAR AC2200 is a WiFi extender that puts the "smart" into a "smart device". The model isn't just impressive from a technological standpoint but also much more convenient and practical than most of its peers.

detailed parameters
Designated Areas

Large houses, offices

Antennas

4 internal antennas

Data Interface

1 x Lan (RJ45) port

Network Standards

IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ac

Speed

5GHz: Up to 1733 Mbps

2.4GHz: Up to 450 Mbps

LAN: Up to 1000 Mbps

Access and Data Protection

64/128-bit WEP, WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK

Power Supply

AC (directly in a wall outlet)

Warranty

1 year

PROS
Network settings are accessible via the touchscreen display. This alone already makes it one of the most high-functional and fastest Wi-Fi extenders on the market.
CONS
Some might find its size a bit too big. However, its slick design looks great on a table or a wall.
OUR VERDICT
The most advanced model in this review, that won't clash with a style of your place due to exquisite look. This TP-Link extender has tons of features for effectively expanding the borders of your home or office network.
detailed parameters
Designated Areas
Large houses, offices
Antennas

3 external antennas

Data Interface

4 x Lan (RJ45) ports, Wi-Fi

Network Standards

IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ac

Speed

5 GHz: Up to 1300 Mbps

2.4 GHz: Up to 600 Mbps

LAN: Up to 1000 Mbps

Access and Data Protection
64/128-bit WEP WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK
Power Supply
Cable 2.5 A power adapter (included)
Warranty
2 years
PROS

Using the Fastlane technology, you'll be able to establish one high-speed connection that will allocate the specified bulk of the traffic to a single device. The technology is particularly suitable for streaming HD content and online gaming. The NETGEAR’s WiFi Analytics app will help you identify weak spots. 

CONS

The model tends to heat up.

OUR VERDICT

If you live in an average house and would like to expand the coverage area of your WiFi, this extender from NETGEAR is the best bang for your buck. With it, you'll be able to establish a pecking order and allocate the wireless resources according to individual needs.

detailed parameters
Designated Areas

Small to medium houses

Antennas

2 external antennas

Data Interface

1 x Lan (RJ45) port

Network Standards

IEEE 802.11b/g/n/ac

Speed

5GHz: Up to 450 Mbps

2.4GHz: Up to 300 Mbps

LAN: Up to 100 Mbps

Access and Data Protection

64/128-bit WEP, WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK

Power Supply

AC (directly in a wall outlet)

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The Intelligent Signal Indicator will show you the best place to position your extender so it would be able to maximize its efficiency. Using the Tether app, available for iOS and Android, you'll have the ability to adjust your network settings directly from a smartphone. Its interface is user-friendly and intuitive.

CONS

The coverage area is relatively limited. 

OUR VERDICT

Though designed and manufactured by TP-LINK, the extender is compatible with most standard routers, as well as access points and service provider gateways. Being one of the most affordable options on the market, it is easily the best choice for smaller households. 

detailed parameters
Designated Areas

Small to medium houses

Antennas

2 external antennas

Data Interface

1 x Lan (RJ45) port

Network Standards

IEEE 802.11b/g/n

Speed

2.4GHz: Up to 300 Mbps

LAN: Up to 100 Mbps

Access and Data Protection

64/128-bit WEP, WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK

Power Supply

AC (directly in a wall outlet)

Warranty

2 years

TP-LINK AC2600 (RE650)

Covers an Entire Stadium

The TP-LINK AC2600 is all about its ridiculous coverage area. Using the 4 external built-in antennas, the model extends the WiFi coverage by up to 14,000 square feet. Naturally, with a range like that, this is one of the very few models on the market and the only extender in this review that will be able to cover a large office or the largest houses. The antennas do not just create a signal that is equally strong and reliable but also minimize dead spots, so you will be receiving a stable and solid signal in any corner of your house or the office.

While we're still on the subject of coverage, it wouldn't hurt to mention the Beamforming technology. Just like most high-end and middle-of-the-road routers and extenders from TP-LINK, AC2600 utilizes the latter technology to further improve and extend its already ridiculous range. As some of you may already be aware at this point, Beamforming works by detecting the direction of the WiFi connections and focusing the wireless signal towards them. This way, it helps strengthen the wireless performance of your office or place of residency.

Speaking of things that are always present in TP-LINK products, this WiFi extender is also compatible with the TP-LINK Tether application. Using the latter, you will be able to set up and manage your wireless network. With its intuitive user interface, you'll get to quickly assign guest privileges, schedule the network, and manage the device.

Review of TP-LINK AC2600 (RE650) Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender, 4x4 MU-MIMO

Long-Term Investment

Aside from the range, the model in question is defined by all of the network technologies. For instance, there's the usual MU-MIMO, a technology that allows the extender to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously over the same WiFi band. This type of communication is particularly great at maximizing the performance of every device involved, regardless whether they're running at the same time or not.

There's also the far less common Intelligent Processing Engine, a solution that works by balancing the demands of every device in order to keep every WiFi connection as fast and smooth as possible. It sounds like one of the most complicated technologies but, in reality, the engine simply directs the WiFi traffic to dedicated processors. After that, the engine just leaves it to the model's powerful dual-core CPU to take care of everything else.

Finally, we would like to give some attention to the simplicity of the setup. The extender utilizes a couple of LED lights. The blue one symbolizes a weak connection and the red one indicates a bad one, so it won't be difficult to find the perfect spot for the device.

Taking all of the above into account, the TP-LINK AC2600 (RE650) is easily the best WiFi extender on the market for people who would like to cover the largest possible area with a strong and reliable wireless signal. It's a bit more expensive than most but the range makes it a great long-term investment.

TP-LINK AC2600 (RE650) Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender, 4x4 MU-MIMO in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

NETGEAR AC2200 (EX7300)

Smart and Seamless Roaming

We really aren't the biggest fans of the term "smart" as it pertains to technologies and electronics. Especially considering the fact that the term has been thrown around so much lately that it is beginning to lose most of its meaning. That said, this is still the word we would use to describe AC2200, the mesh WiFi extender from NETGEAR.

There are a couple of reasons for that. First, there's the device's Smart Roaming system. As the name suggests, the technology will allow you to freely roam around the home without worrying about being disconnected at one point or the other. It does so by automatically handing off your connection between the router and the extender.

By the way, it doesn't have to be a house. As the model boasts a coverage area of up to 10,000 feet, this is an equally suitable device for an average office. It may not give you enough range to cover the largest office out there but the extender will most certainly be able to keep the most sizable house connected via a strong wireless signal.

Another point in the extender's favor is the universal compatibility of this model. Simply add it to your network and sync to the existing router. AC2200 is compatible with just about any router, gateway, or rented ISP gateway.

Review of NETGEAR AC2200 (EX7300) Mesh WiFi Extender, Seamless Roaming

Improved Communications

One thing that we always liked about NETGEAR's network solutions and the model is no exception is the ability to combine all of the visible WiFi networks into a single entity. This way, you can have it all under one WiFi name and security password, which is a lot more convenient than what you'd usually get from a different company.

Of course, the WiFi extender isn't devoid of the usual technologies that aren't inclusive to NETGEAR. For instance, the device incorporates MU-MIMO, a technology that improves the router's "communication" with multiple devices over the same WiFi band. In layman's terms, the technology maximizes the performance of every device connected to the network.

There's also the Smart Connect, a system that operates in a different way but brings the same solution to the table. Again, without diving into the technical mumbo-jumbo, this technology intelligently chooses the most optimal WiFi band for every device connected to the network. Thanks to the latter, you won't end up in a situation where one gadget is pulling more data than necessary and the other isn't getting enough.

But, considering what it has to offer bandwidth-wise, the WiFi extender should be able to cover all of your devices, with a 5 GHz channel that offers a maximum speed of 1733 Mbps and a 2.4 GHz channel that caps at 450 Mbps.

Again, we don't really care that much for the "smart" title when it comes to consumer electronics, but the NETGEAR AC2200 deserves it more than any other WiFi extender. The model isn't just impressive from a technological standpoint but also much more convenient and practical than most of its peers.

NETGEAR AC2200 (EX7300) Mesh WiFi Extender, Seamless Roaming in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

TP-LINK AC1900 (RE590T)

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.

Review of TP-LINK AC1900 (RE590T) Desktop Wi-Fi Range Extender w/ Touchscreen Interface

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.

 

TP-LINK AC1900 (RE590T) Desktop Wi-Fi Range Extender w/ Touchscreen Interface in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


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NETGEAR EX3700

Effective Extender in a Compact Body

The NETGEAR AC750 provides a reliable solution for your average households looking to extend the range of their wireless coverage. Equipped with 2 external antennas, this model will be more than enough to expand the coverage area of the WiFi router so that you'll be able to enjoy the strongest possible signal in any corner of your home.

It may not be the most impressive option on the market as far as speed and range are concerned but we actually like it quite a lot. For the most part, it is the device's practicality and convenience that makes the case for the extender.

By practicality and convenience, we mean a couple of things. First, there's the size of the model. Since the whole thing adds up to precisely 7 x 5.6 x 3.9 inches in overall dimensions, this wireless solution device from NETGEAR is noticeably more compact than the bulk of its competition. You can just plug it in directly into a wall outlet and its small and discreet frame will effortlessly blend into your home décor.

Another thing that makes this WiFi extender really convenient is its compatibility with NETGEAR’s WiFi Analytics application. Before you install the extender, you can use the latter to test the strength of the wireless signals in all rooms throughout your house. This way, you will be able to identify where the coverage is at its weakest.

After you set the booster up, run the WiFi Analytics program again. Now, you can apply its analytical prowess to check how and how much your network speed has been able to improve.

Review of NETGEAR EX3700 AC750 WiFi Range Extender

Establish a Pecking Order

Like we've said earlier, it isn't the most impressive extender in terms of the coverage area. But it should be able to eliminate virtually every dead spot in your average house. And if you put the app to good use, you might even be able to extend the wireless signal all the way to your backyard.

As far as speed is concerned, the dual-band booster will be able to provide combined speeds of up to 750 Mbps. It should be enough to cover the needs of every member of your family. Of course, we all have different needs bandwidth-wise, and the engineers at NETGEAR recognize that.

Using the Fastlane technology, you will be able to establish one high-speed connection that will allocate the specified bulk of the traffic to a single device. The technology is particularly suitable for streaming HD content and online gaming.

All in all, if you happen to live in an average house that is neither too large nor too small and would like to expand the coverage area of your WiFi, this extender from NETGEAR is the best bang for your buck.

NETGEAR EX3700 AC750 WiFi Range Extender in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

TP-LINK N300 (TL-WA855RE)

Enough for a Whole Family

Unfortunately, your run-of-the-mill router is not enough to cover even the most modestly sized house with an equally stable and reliable wireless Internet signal. You will have plenty of dead spots where the router wouldn't be able to reach. But buying a new router is seldom a solution. Instead, we would suggest investing in something like the TP-LINK N300.

What we have here is a really affordable WiFi extender. For a really modest price, it will eliminate every dead spot in your home, so you'll be able to enjoy a strong signal in every corner of every room.

Of course, being one of the most affordable options on the market, it doesn't really feature the most impressive coverage area. We wouldn't recommend putting it in an office (unless it is really, and we mean really compact). It may not even be enough to cover a sizable house. But if you don't happen to live in a mansion, the model will be just enough to match your needs.

Just like the majority of these extenders, the TP-LINK N300 comes equipped with an RJ45 LAN port. You can use it to establish a wired connection, which is still a much more reliable choice than its wireless counterpart. The LAN port will give you up to 100 Mbps, more than enough speed to juggle HD streaming in 60 fps and competitive online gaming at the same time.

The single 2.4GHz band, on the other hand, will be able to transfer and distribute three times the traffic, up to 300 Mbps. This is enough for a whole family to enjoy their favorite online ventures without any hiccups, lags, or disconnects.

Review of TP-LINK N300 (TL-WA855RE) WiFi Range Extender with External Antennas

Simplicity of Installation

What we liked about this WiFi extender is the simplicity of installation. The large WPS button on top of the device will do the bulk of the setup for you. After that, you should refer to the Intelligent Signal Indicator. This convenient technology will show you the best place to position your extender so it would be able to maximize its efficiency.

Of course, the convenience doesn't stop there. Like most TP-LINK wireless solutions, the model works with the company's Tether app, available for iOS and Android. Install it on your smartphone and you will be able to adjust your network settings directly from that phone. From managing the device in general to assigning guest privileges, the app will allow you to control every part of the process through a user-friendly and intuitive interface.

Finally, it is the model's universal compatibility that seals the deal, making it a worthy investment. Though designed and manufactured by TP-LINK, the extender is compatible with most standard routers, as well as access points and service provider gateways.

TP-LINK N300 (TL-WA855RE) WiFi Range Extender with External Antennas in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

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

Designated Area

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.

Bandwidth and Maximum Speed

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

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.

Design

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.

Data Interfaces

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 selected for you.

Sources:

1. Dong Ngo Networking buying guide, CNET. November 20, 2015.

2. WiFi Range Extender Best Setup Guide RouterGuide.

3. How Do Wi-Fi Range Extenders Work? eBay. June 29, 2014.

4. Wireless repeater, Wikipedia. July 3, 2016.

5. Dave Greenbaum Choose Powerline Adapters for Distance, Wireless AC for Speed, Lifehacker. October 16, 2014.

6. WiFi Boosters, Repeaters and Extenders, RepeaterStore.

7. Martyn Casserly Set up powerline networking adaptors, PC Advisor. September 11, 2012.

8. Dean Evans Powerline networking: what you need to know, TechRadar. January 17, 2014.

9. What is a Powerline Adapter, About. June 24, 2015.

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