Why Wifi Repeaters can be a bad idea and what are the alternates?


The most suggested solution for Wifi coverage issues is not as good as it sounds. Repeaters, extenders, boosters: Call them what you like, but it's a common solution that doesn't solve the problem. There is an alternative recommendation. In this article, you'll learn why repeaters should be avoided - and what you can do in their place.

It would be very appealing to anyone stuck at home with a slow, spotty internet connection to invest in a WiFi range extender. It costs as little as $30 or so, plugs into an outlet, and solves your problem. Or so the marketing claims. There is, however, more nuance to the truth.

Recently, the demand for Wifi in the home has risen dramatically as more people work at home and children learn at home. Often, we are asked how to increase the Wifi range at home in a low-radiation manner. Are Wifi boosters, also referred to as Wifi range extenders, a good idea for improving wireless reception? That's a no-go for us.

This device sends Wi-Fi signals into areas where coverage is poor or non-existent. Wi-Fi repeaters can provide quick and inexpensive solutions to coverage issues with your wireless network. In most cases, however, repeaters do not solve the problem and are therefore useless. Our five reasons will convince you to stay away from repeaters, plus advice on what you can do instead.

  1. Repeaters can make matter worse: The repeater typically uses the wireless router's capacity in the same way that anything else connected to the network does. This is not an access point that can be used independently. As the name suggests, repeaters do not amplify or boost signals, they repeat them. The repeater must achieve the best possible coverage from the router where it is located. Insufficient coverage of your repeater can negatively affect your entire Wi-Fi network.

  2. It's complicated to set up wireless amplifiers: There will usually be a repeater in the home that will have a different network name and password from the router and any other amplifiers, and that will not automatically synchronize with the other devices' SSID.

  3. Repeaters are often difficult to use: Since each repeater usually has its SSID, everyone using the network must know multiple network names and passwords, and must manually switch from one network to another. If you have multiple repeaters in your home, it can quickly become difficult to keep track of everything. It is possible, for example, to remain connected to the repeater even when connecting directly to your router would have rendered you more productive. The mesh network with client steering, band steering, and a common SSID is much better, as the network automatically connects each device to the access point and frequency band that provides the best performance. It should not be necessary for the user to think about which access point each connection goes to.

  4. Capacity is halved with one-radio repeaters: The 2.4 GHz frequency band is typically used by repeaters with only one wireless radio. As a result, half of the repeater's time will be spent communicating with wireless clients and the other half will be spent relaying traffic to the router. You can only send half the amount of data if you communicate directly with the access point at the same speed since the capacity will be halved.

    A repeater of this type will also require all clients to be connected to the 2.4 GHz band, which has a lot of interference. The newer technology cannot be used by clients that support 802.11ac or 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) standards and the 5 GHz band.

  5. The capacity of two-radio repeaters is still half in many scenarios: Almost all new Wi-Fi repeaters only forward signals at the frequencies they receive. In other words, if the amplifier is communicating with a PC or other wireless device using the 2.4 GHz frequency band, it will also communicate with that router, even if both are supporting 5 GHz. In the 5 GHz band, the repeater could have gained more capacity and used less airtime, which is the "talk time" available on the network, if it had been able to communicate with the router.

The Other problems with Wifi boosters


You can easily connect a WiFi extender so that you have more internet range at the second point. What are the implications of this for radiation and is there any other option available? It's like having a second very strong router in your home with a wifi booster. There is a problem with this device: it not only provides a good wifi connection, but it also gives off a lot of high-frequency radiation: 10 pulses per second throughout the day.

Keep the distance between your workspace and the wifi booster as large as possible if you want to continue using wifi boosters despite the radiation exposure. You should better unplug it at night and turn off the wifi on your devices at night.

It is possible to find better solutions. These methods can be used to improve the range for the reasons stated above.
  1. Run a speed test on a wired connection: Make sure the speed you are paying for is delivered by your broadband provider. If you want to take this test, you should use a computer connected to the Internet by wire. This test should confirm that the speed delivered to your home corresponds to the one listed for your subscription. Moreover, you now know what performance your wireless network can provide. Contact your internet service provider if your test results indicate lower speeds than you should receive with your broadband subscription.

  2. Find the dead zones: An overview of your wireless network's coverage can be obtained by creating a heat map. You can do this by using a heat mapper application. Heat maps work best when you have a digital copy of your home's floor plan, but it is unnecessary. You may find this a somewhat complex task, but it will give you a good overview and provide the right starting point whether you are looking to improve your network without investing in new equipment or getting ready.

  3. Get rid of the small signal barriers for Wi-Fi: Make sure there are no loose objects in front of the router that might block the wireless signals. It is common for routers and repeaters to get placed behind TVs or other electronics, or under furniture.

  4. Use ethernet cables wherever possible: Each device connected by cable is one less that has to compete for wireless bandwidth, so wired connections remain the most stable and reliable. Is there a gaming console or computer in your home that is always in the same place and could be connected via a wired connection? You should use an Ethernet cable. As a result, gamers will experience less lag or latency.

  5. Set the built-in Wifi in your Internet modem/router to a free channel: In the first place, try setting the built-in Wifi in your Internet modem/router – it's the box you got from Verizon or Comcast. Air traffic is getting busier and busier, which results in a cacophony of wifi-routers talking to each other. The best way to avoid this interference is to put your router on a free channel so that your wifi signal is more audible to your wireless devices.

  6. Change the Wifi channel: Check the situation first by using a Wi-Fi scanner that locates all nearby wireless networks and identifies their channels. You can proceed with a few practical steps once you have your scanner results. The Wi-Fi scan will indicate if it is a good idea to change the channel for the 2.4 GHz band to the channel with the least traffic and/or interference among non-overlapping channels 1, 6, and 11.

  7. Use a password for your wireless network: It's almost unnecessary to mention, but just to be clear: if you haven't set a password for your network, do so now. The reason for this is not only for security, but also to prevent anyone from logging in accidentally. Your neighbors may use your Wi-Fi without your knowledge if their device automatically connects to the strongest signal.

  8. Default Signal Bandwidth: It is not recommended to set routers or other access points to 40 MHz bandwidth on the 2.4 GHz band. The more you do this, the more unstable your network will be. The risk of tripping over your own feet is high.

  9. Use mesh network:You can consider mesh Wi-Fi if you still encounter coverage issues. A mesh network of access points will provide coverage and stability for the home network that is impossible with a router alone or a repeater. The mesh system functions as a complete replacement for your home Wi-Fi network, unlike an extender, which can be added to an existing network. You can use them along with your current router, but you have little reason to do so (unless it is required by your ISP). The units are designed to replace your complicated router-and-extender setup with multiple identical units similar enough to be used in conjunction with one another.


Related Articles

How to set up WiFi Repeater, Booster, or Range Extender?

WiFi Extender is used to extend the range of existing network coverage area and create a bigger network. Also known as a Wifi Range Extender, a wired connection port is used to connect with the existing network for extending the range of your WiFi.

More articles: Wifi range extender Wifi Repeater

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