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WIFI Repeater!! The router if you got from your ISP isn’t strong enough to cover your entire living space or office, you better not expect to get a better one if you want to avoid a bitter disappointment. Worry not, If your current WiFi coverage leaves a lot to be desired, you need a good WiFi repeater. With a WiFi repeater, you can significantly improve your WiFi signal strength in a matter of minutes and extend your WiFi network almost anywhere you want.
What is WiFi Repeater?
A WiFi repeater is the device which extend the coverage area of your WiFi network. It works by receiving your existing WiFi signal, amplifying it and then transmitting the boosted signal. With a WiFi repeater you can effectively double the coverage area of your WiFi network – reaching far corners of your home or office, different floors, or even extend coverage to your yard.
There are a couple of things you should be aware of, not all of these points may be applicable to you in your current setup & the new Wifi Repeater you intend to purchase:
Wifi Repeater Working Procedure
A Wifi repeater functions as a kind of relay system for your wireless Internet network. The repeater picks up the signal transmitted by your router and amplifies it while sending it throughout your home or office. You’ll also be able to get reception in areas where the signal previously could not reach. If you use a laptop, you’ll be able to work farther away from the location of your router, providing greater flexibility.
Because most Wifi repeater do not need to be directly connected to your router, you have maximum placement flexibility. For best results, the Microsoft at Home website suggests placing the repeater about halfway between your router and the computer you’re operating. If you intend to work in an area of your home or office that currently does not receive the wireless signal at all, the Wireless Nets, Ltd. website suggests placing the repeater at a point between the covered and uncovered area.
Step Wise Guide to Install WIFI Repeater
- You can place the router in a strategic position such that it is placed in more or less the center of your house. Always remember that the router creates a sphere around it with a specific radii.
- You can use a stronger antennae than the one that is included inside uour rouger/modem cum router.
- You can use wireless network extenders that act as Access Points and have the same password for seamless switching to another access point on the same network.
- If your router supports custom firmware, something like DD WRT, you can flash your router with such firmware and boost the output power (DO NOT go over country’s specified limits) and theoretically, boost your WiFi range.
- Lastly, if you can’t afford a range extender or simply, do not want to purchase one, you can use an old router lying around your house (provided you have one) and use that as a Network Bridge/Repeater and extend your WiFi range.
Application of Wifi Repeater
- When there is no wireless hotspot in an area
- In an area with much interference.
- Interference can be caused by many environmental factors such as microwaves (such as from a microwave oven), metal appliances or metallic coating or an impeded line of sight.
- When the distance between the computer and the wireless access point or wireless router is too great for the internal wireless network interface card to receive the wireless signal.
- When networking in an environment with interference and multiple computers, networks or hubs.
Some Tips to Install Wifi Repeater
- First things first, you need to know how the current WIfi signals in your house/apartment are propagating. If you have a laptop, use the following software below (free to use) and map our the signal strength in your apartment. Sometimes, just the correct placement does wonders.
- If you are in a single story house/apartment, try to locate your Wifi towards the center of the apartment, versus a corner.
- Understand and know which Channel you are using – it makes a whole lot of difference when you try alternative channels.
- Remember Wireless vs. Wired: Wifi operates half-duplex (it can only either transmit or receive at any given time), whilst the wired connection can do both at the same time.
- Make sure you don’t have too many users. 4-10 users are fine for a regular AP/Router, after which most AP/Router for homes crap out.
- Make sure you have defined DNS services in your AP/Router, try using Google’s DNS: 18.104.22.168 and 22.214.171.124. They can resolve a lot of issues.
- When purchasing a Wifi Repeater – see if you can invest in a Wifi unit itself. A Repeater has a singular function, but a Wifi AP can be used as a repeater and a stand-alone AP itself. It will be a few Dollars more, but can also serve as a backup.
- Do remember, then when you connect a Repeater, always do so in a Bridge Mode (else you will lose out on a lot of functionality).
- If you are in a multi-story dwelling, try to see if you can run an Ethernet between the different floors. It helps tremendously.
- It is always a good idea to have the antennas of your existing AP/Router and Repeater to be in the position as recommended by the OEM. Please do not try your own variations.
- Always avoid possible interference channels like the microwave, kitchen appliances, cordless telephone, etc. Try placing your AP Router/Repeater on its own away from walls, towards the center of your Room and House. The WIFI Stumbler and Mapper software are great tools in helping you resolve this issue.
- If you are a heavy user, invest in both an AP/Router and Repeater, one that is commercially more reliable. Cheap does not always necessarily translates to the best. There are many more, depending on your budget.
Buyers Guide to Buy WIFI Repeater
Frequency – Single 2.4GHz or Dual Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz support. Majority of WiFi range extenders works on the single 2.4GHz frequency spectrum. More expensive WiFi extenders support both 2.4GHz and 5GHz. You may choose to save some money by going for the single band. If you router supports Dual Band and you wish to take advantage of this then the more expensive dual band extender may be for you.
Standards Compatibility – IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n orIEEE 802.11 b/g/n orIEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac compliant. Standards compatibility is somewhat linked to the frequency and age of your router. The easiest thing is to look at the specifications of your router and check the standards that it supports. If in doubt, choose a universal extender that works with any 802.11 a/b/n/ac routers. Compatibility is key to ensuring better integration between your router and the range extender.
Profile – Desktop or Plug based, no external antenna, dual antenna or more, these are some of the considerations in terms of physical outlook of the device. Wall plug based WiFi range extender take the least amount of space as all you need is a free socket on the wall. More advanced WiFi extenders are designed for the desktop. In many ways, it looks like another router with either external antennas or built-in antennas. Place it on a flat surface taking up a bit more room.
Security – we can safely say that current range extenders support WPA2-PSK security protocol, one of the highest level of security available to home users. However, it is always worth checking just to be sure to keep your network safe and secure.
Manufacturer – you would expect the range extender from the same manufacturer as that of the router would work well together, this all depends on the frequency and standards above. If the router works on 2.4GHz and 5GHz, an extender that works on those frequencies from the same manufacturer would be ideal. Similarly if a router is IEEE 802.11 abgn complaint, a likewise range extender would work a treat. There is always the technical literature and specifications to fall back on to confirm that both router and range extender play well together.
Cost – this is often subjective and all we can say is go with the best WiFi Extender you can afford, that will perform best with your router and offers the best performance for the money you will spend.
Ports – availability of ethernet port for wired connection. Most plug based extenders have one or two ethernet ports. Desktop based extenders can have up to five ethernet ports perfect for devices that do not have WiFi connectivity such as an old desktop, printer or IP camera.
Performance – Apart from the range, the performance of WiFi extenders can be easily be identified by the bandwidth. While this is limited by what your router can support, it offers an easy way to understand the maximum throughput and bandwidth it is capable of supporting. These are labelled as follows:
- N300 – 802.11 bgn compliant with single band offering up to 300MBps
- AC750 – 802.11ac compliant with concurrent dual-band offering 300Mbps (2.4GHz) and 433Mbps (5GHz)
- AC1200 – 802.11 compliant with concurrent dual-band offering up to 1167Mbps
- AC1750 – 802.11 complaint with concurrent dual-band offering up to 1750Mbps (450Mbps on 2.4GHz and 1300Mbps on 5GHz)
- AC1900 – 802.11 compliant with concurrent dual band offering up to 1900Mbps
- AC2200 – 802.11 complaint with concurrent dual band offering up to 2200Mbps
If you have arrived at this article, We can safely assumed that you are likely to have a WiFi coverage issue at home. Let us break it down for you to help you choose the right WiFi range extender. This peice will help you out to choose the best Wifi Repeater that too according to your requirement and budget.