Guide to WiFi Repeaters

  1. A Wi-Fi Repeater (also called WiFi Extender) can be used to extend your WiFi signal across a larger area (e.g. business, home) and increase the overall signal strength and speeds of your WiFi network. A WiFi repeater works by connecting to your primary WiFi router and rebroadcasting its signal across a larger area. Because a WiFi repeater has a stronger antenna than a laptop or a phone, it can connect at a larger distance than a normal laptop or phone can.
  2. wifi-repeater-graphic
  3. Types of WiFi Repeaters:
    There are essentially two types of WiFi repeaters – those with one radio and those with two radios. It is better to use a repeater with two radios because using a repeater with one radio will split the speed of the network in half. This splitting of speed is not always critically important as the speed of you Internet connection (e.g. usually less than 10Mbps) is often far lower than the speed of your local network (about 18Mbps max with 802.11g, 30Mbps with 802.11n) so splitting the speed of your local network in half will not necessarily split the speed of your Internet connection in half.

  4. How To Set It Up:
    You can setup your WiFi repeater by setting it up to connect to your WiFi Router's SSID. You will need to put in your Security that you use on your Router's SSID. Some repeaters will automatically rebroadcast this same SSID, while others will give you the option to put in a new SSID and Password. Generally, a WiFi repeater will work with any brand of WiFi Router and does not need to be the same brand as your router.

  5. How To optimize Performance:
    Once you've set the repeater correctly, you need to deploy it properly to maximize your network's range. Using a Wi-Fi-equipped laptop or phone, make sure you can easily connect to the router's wireless signal.

  6. While still connected, carry the laptop toward the area to which you'd like to extend WiFi coverage. Walk as far as you can while still keeping a reliably strong signal (usually anywhere from 20 to 50 percent signal strength, at least 2 out of 5 bars). This is where you want to install the repeater, provided there's easy access to AC power. Plug in the repeater's power. After a few minutes, the repeater should begin interoperating with the router and effectively double the reach of your home network. Once the repeater is operating, walk to the other side of the building, away from the original Router to make sure you are connected to a router and run a speed test or try to surf a bit. If you are unable to connect, try moving the repeater a bit closer to the original Router or to a higher location.

  7. Note that unless you purchase a WiFi repeater designed for outdoor use, you should make sure you use it indoors only.

  8. Which WiFi Repeaters are The Best / Where to Purchase:
    In this authors experience (and we have tested nearly all brands on the market), these models are the best WiFi Repeaters, shown in order with the best at the top.
    1. Best - Pepwave Surf OTG 2.4GHz/5GHz single radio, 200mW, $95. Purchase from Amazon
    2. Also very good - Netgear WN2500RP 2.4GHz/5GHz dual radio, $80. Purchase from NewEgg
    3. Pretty good - Airlive G-DUO, 2.4Ghz only, dual radio, $50.