A Wifi repeater , also called the Range Extender or Wi-Fi signal amplifier , is that device that extends the coverage space of the WiFi network by increasing or amplifying existing signals.
It allows all wireless devices within that space to have extended signal coverage to connect to the Internet.
Basically, it is the ideal solution to have a stable and functioning internet in wifi throughout the home or office, in hotels, shops or outdoor spaces, which takes the wifi signal at an intermediate point and retransmits it amplifying it.
Who needs an amplifier or Wifi repeater?
To determine if you need to buy a Wi-Fi amplifier you must check the current wifi coverage in your home or office.
If turning with the smartphone in hand you realize that the wifi signal disappears in some corners of the house or in entire rooms or if you do not reach the garden or the outside balcony, then surely a wifi repeater could be useful.
Also, even if the signal was taking place all over the house, but the wifi was weak, it might be a good idea to buy a repeater.
In fact, we must consider that if the wifi signal is weak, even if the phone or the computer connects to the internet, the connection may suffer from slow intermittence.
To make the internet connection stable and fast, the wifi signal from the router needs to be fine and a repeater could definitely solve the problem.
The Wifi repeater is a solution that has become very popular in recent years thanks not only to the drop in prices of these devices, but especially to the ease of configuration, which it is almost entirely automatic.
In the past we had seen how it was possible to extend the wifi by connecting two wireless routers , which is rather laborious, not to say complicated.
A wifi repeater, however, is ready to use after purchase and only needs to know the password to access the main wifi network to be able to then extend.
But now we need to understand an important difference, which few people say, between various models of wifi repeaters or “range extender” , single band and dual band repeaters .
The operation of a wifi repeater is essentially that of a device with two routers integrated together, one that picks up the original signal and one that sends it back.
A single-band repeater has a bandwidth loss of 50% because the device uses the same channel to receive the signal and retransmit it.
The dual band repeater is therefore the one recommended to buy, which has much less loss of bandwidth (and speed), because the second channel is used for communication between devices, and the first is reserved for the user.
Some band repeaters use technical measures to limit this problem and not divide the band, but it is difficult to understand it from the labels and technical data sheets.
Generally you notice this difference if the repeater extends the existing network without creating a new one.
Another important feature for wifi repeaters is the presence of the WPS button .
If this key is present, the repeater can be connected to the router without configuration, only by pressing this button.
Otherwise it will be necessary to configure the repeater from the computer, by connecting to its network address and writing the wifi password in the control interface (at the end of the article we do a mini guide).
Finally, it is important to check the repeater speed, which is never the actual speed , but the higher and the better it is.
Some models have the Access Point mode, which means to be connected via cable to the modem without wifi, so you can have wifi at home.
The best wifi repeaters or range extenders that you can buy are on Amazon at very favorable prices and almost always lower than shopping centers.
In particular we can find the following models:
TP-Link RE200 , the best currently for capacity and price, which works as Universal Range Extender and Wi-Fi Dual Band Repeater with speeds up to 750 Mbps and Snapshot with WPS Button.
TP-Link RE305 is a Wi-Fi AC1200 repeater (combined speed up to 1.2 Gbps), Dual Band and an app for automatic configuration.
Dodocool Range Extender N300 is the cheaper wifi repeater, for those who want to spend as little as possible (just 14 euros), for those who have few pretensions and needs an extension in limited spaces.
Netgear EX2700 is a basic wifi repeater similar to dodocool, with 300 Mbps speed, with WPS button, at 20 Euro.
TP-Link TL-WA850RE Range Extender at 22 Euro is another 300 Mbps WiFi repeater, with WPS button and signal indicator to find the best positioning.
TP-Link Range Extender Wi-Fi AC1750 is one of the best, at a price of 65 Euro, dual band and with WPS button, with total maximum speed up to 1750 Mbps: 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz network and 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz.
Finally, regarding the initial configuration of the range extender, we said that if there is the WPS button and our home router supports it, just press it and the network is activated by itself.
If there was no WPS button or it was not supported by our router, then you have to use the manual configuration of the wifi repeater which is still very simple and identical for all models.
Once the repeater is connected to the electrical outlet, in fact, from the computer you will find a new network to which you must connect.
You can then access the repeater configuration panel using Chrome or Firefox and open the page at 192.168.1.1 (or other address to be checked in the instructions).
In this page it will be possible to select the network to be extended and to write the access password.
Immediately the repeater will be ready to perform its function of “Range Extender” and will only need to position it at an optimal point.
Note that it is also possible to extend a wifi network using a Powerline device that uses the power grid .