Our reliance on the Internet is increasing day by day. Whether at home, on public premises, or in offices, we constantly use the Internet. Whenever there is a problem with the WiFi network, we try to find a solution quickly.
When facing a weak WiFi signal or one whose range is limited, you will come across two solutions. These are WiFi repeaters and WiFi extenders. You can get either of them at a good discount in Sri Lanka if you shop in the electronics section at bestbargains.lk.
While many Internet users think both are the same, that’s not true.
Today, we will compare various parameters to help you understand the difference and which one is better.
The comparison will start with the working principle and consider other aspects, like the cost in the pros and cons of each one, to help you choose the right one.
1. Working principle:
The working principle of a WiFi repeater is different from that of an extender.
A WiFi repeater will broadcast the signal in the areas currently weak.
The job of a WiFi extender is to extend the range beyond the boundaries of the current WiFi network. It aims to increase the area over which you can use the same WiFi network.
2. Mode of connection:
Now that you know the working principle, it is time to look at the mode of connection. Most consumers assume that since we are speaking about WiFi, both would work wirelessly.
That’s not true!
The WiFi repeater is used wirelessly. It will rebroadcast the signal by amplifying. Ideally, you have to place it at the location where the signal starts weakening. That is why, earlier, where there was a weaker signal, a signal of proper amplitude will be available.
On the other hand, a WiFi extender is connected through a coaxial cable or an ethernet port. It is to be located at the boundary of the current WiFi signal. Once you connect it with the cable, it will work as an independent router and double the range of the existing network.
Thus, a WiFi repeater works wirelessly, and a WiFi extender requires to be connected with wires.
The cost of both the WiFi repeater and the extender is entirely different. Due to the same, if you’re on a strict budget, you have to figure out which one is more affordable and after that choose that option.
A WiFi repeater is usually more affordable. It will cost you anywhere between $15 to $40. Even if you have to install multiple WiFi repeaters, the cost is pretty low.
On the other hand, the extender can set you back by $45 to $80, depending on the type of extender you’re buying. However, seldom will you need multiple extenders on the same premises.
Thus, when you’re on a strict budget, a WiFi repeater is the one you should go with.
4. Speed and bandwidth:
If any of these do not perform appropriately, there is no use in buying these gadgets. That is why it is essential to look at the speed they support and the bandwidth they offer.
The job of a WiFi repeater is to provide the bare minimum connectivity so that you can surf in areas where there was a weaker signal earlier. That is why; the bandwidth and speed need not be the maximum of the WiFi available.
For example, if you have a 50 Mbps WiFi network, the repeater might be able to provide you with 25Mbps.
An extender, on the other hand, is much more reliable. It will provide you with speed and bandwidth that matches the original WiFi signal.
That is why, if you do not want to downgrade the performance of the WiFi network, the extender is the perfect solution for you.
Now that we have compared them head-on, it is time to look at the pros and cons of these respective gadgets before we share our final verdict.
Pros and Cons of WiFi Repeaters
Pro – Affordable
The primary advantage of a WiFi repeater is that it is very affordable. When you have large premises, you can easily install multiple WiFi repeaters and still not spend significant money.
Pro – Easy to Install
Another advantage of the WiFi repeater is that it is easy to install. You will not have to connect it to the router using the wire.
Simple setup through your computer or smartphone by entering the password and ID of the WiFi network will set it up. That is why even without technical knowledge, you can set it up.
Con – Needs Line of Sight Propagation:
Only when there is no obstruction like walls in between the router and the repeater it will be able to boost the signal. If there is an obstruction, repeaters won’t work.
Pros and Cons of WiFi Extenders
Pros – Works Around Obstruction:
Just like a normal router will work for different rooms even if there is a wall in between, the WiFi extender will. That is why, if there are instructions in between, a WiFi extender can serve you well.
Pro – No Down Gradation Of Connection
A WiFi extender does not downgrade the speed of the network’s bandwidth. That is why; you get the same high-speed connection no matter where you are on the premises.
Con – Wire Installation Needed
Since wire installation is needed, the cost of installation and the amount of effort needed to install the WiFi extender is more.
This brings us to another important question which we will answer below.
Does the repeater or extender slow down internet speed?
The WiFi repeater does lead to some loss of speed. Therefore, it does slow down Internet speed.
The comparison between WiFi repeater vs extender does not have a clear winner. It all depends on the requirements. We will highlight the cases you need to go with each of these below.
When does it benefit to use a repeater:
- When you’re on a short budget, it makes sense to go with the repeater.
- If the space in which you want to provide the WiFi connectivity is a large hall or a large open area, going with the WiFi repeater makes perfect sense.
- In case you are worried about the speed but want to provide the bare minimum WiFi connectivity to everyone on the premises, a WiFi repeater makes sense.
When does it benefit to use an extender:
- You should go with an extender if there are obstructions like walls of furniture in between.
- It is better to go with the extender when you want to provide the same high-quality connection to everyone on the premises.
- You can go with the extender if you aren’t worried about the budget and merely want to ensure that every nook and cranny has WiFi connectivity.
Once you go through the comparison above and the criteria to choose between them, you will never be confused between WiFi repeaters and extenders.