Wi-Fi connections these days are often taken for granted, mainly due to their wide application range and extended use nearly everywhere you turn. But whether it’s in an office building, a bar, a restaurant or in your home, Wi-Fi routers can only do so much in terms of area covered. Remember, a Wi-Fi router is nothing but a device which turns an electrical signal into a radio signal. And we all know that radio signals can be interfered with and even outright blocked completely by walls, objects or other signals which may scramble them. Also keep in mind that a Wi-Fi router sends radio signals, but also needs to receive them back in order to allow your device to communicate with the World Wide Web – that means that a steady flow of radio signals going back and forth with no interruptions needs to be ensured so that you have a stable, reliable connection at all times.
Table of Contents
- What are Wi-Fi Range Extenders?
- Buyer’s Guide for Wi-Fi Range Extenders
- Top 10 Best Wi-Fi Range Extenders in 2017 Reviews:
What are Wi-Fi Range Extenders?
Wi-Fi range extenders primarily act as normal Wi-Fi routers, but instead of receiving an electrical signal from your ISP (Internet Service Provider), they receive their signal from your main Wi-Fi router in radio wave form. They take that signal and distribute it again, thus covering a whole new area your main router might have not been able to cover initially. They are important especially in cases where you get a router from your ISP and it cannot deal with the whole surface of your home. Buying a second router or a better router is quite often a lot more expensive than buying a Wi-Fi range extender that can solve your coverage area problems.
Buyer’s Guide for Wi-Fi Range Extenders
When you’re looking to buy a Wi-Fi range extender, the first thing you should keep in mind is the price. They are supposed to be a more accessible way, from a financial standpoint, of increasing your main router’s coverage area. If it weren’t so, you could as easily get a second router to get your Wi-Fi signal across your home, so that’s why price is the main focus here. The second most important aspect is the setup process itself – some extenders come with a simple button which links it to the router, others are harder to set up which may come as a significant disadvantage for users who prefer it being set-up right out of the box.
The third thing to look for depends a lot on why you need an extender in the first place. Some extenders merely repeat a Wi-Fi signal, while others give it a kick in terms of stability and overall performance. Other options are better for those you simply need a wired access point closer to a certain location and don’t want to invest in a new router or splitter, meaning the Wi-Fi capability of that extender is less important. You may also need dual band capability for your wireless network, so that more devices can access the internet simultaneously at better speeds, and your main router does not have this feature built into it. An extender can offer you that feature, or allow you to focus on specific tasks instead without having to worry about latency, ping times or buffering speeds; all perfect things to look for if you need the extender to provide you with streaming capabilities or want to ensure your gaming sessions are not interrupted by a bad connection.
One last thing to look for is whether or not the extender has different operation modes. Most devices that fall into this category come with an Access Point mode which allows a wire to be connected from the router to the access point which in turn offers a new wireless signal. The repeater mode is exactly what it sounds like – it merely repeats the Wi-Fi signal it receives for better coverage, while some extenders can even act as fully-fledged routers. Depending on your specific needs and if your needs may change with time, you should also consider whether or not you need a device which supports these different operation modes.
Top 10 Best Wi-Fi Range Extenders in 2017 Reviews:
Taking all of the above into account, here’s a list of the best Wi-Fi range extenders in 2017. Going through the following, you’ll be presented with a general description of the devices, along with a pros and cons list which can help you make an informed decision and, consequently, a sound investment in your Wi-Fi network.
1. NETGEAR EX6200 (AC1200)
The NETGEAR AC1200 Desktop WiFi Range Extender (EX6200) is a Wi-Fi range extender ideal mainly for portable devices and smart TVs. It offers speeds of up to 1200Mbps on a dual band connection. The dual-core processors built-in also give it the possibility of relaying data much faster than you’d usually find in extenders, so it may be a good fit for low-end gamers and streamers as well, although packet loss may be experienced if your home’s configuration (wall density and width, for example) gets in the way.
The price is more than reasonable for what it can do though, and it comes with 700 mW high-power amplifiers and 5dBi antennas which can boost up coverage by quite a bit, depending on your main router’s capabilities. It also features 5 total Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connections, which is really what offers this extender an edge over similar models at its price tag. If you’re in need of a basic extender that can also provide you with multiple LAN ports, then this is definitely a sound choice you should consider.
2. Linksys RE6500 (AC1200)
The Linksys RE6500 (AC1200) holds a lot of promise in terms of what it can do. Coming in at about the same price as the first device on this list, the Linksys Wi-Fi extender boasts that it can cover an additional 10,000 square feet on a dual band network of 2.4GHz and 5GHz respectively. This means that multiple devices can connect through to it without losing that much in terms of speeds when simultaneously browsing the web or streaming videos.
This device works directly with a Gateway or a Wi-Fi router and it supports wireless AC, which means it is compatible with a/b/g/n devices and will be recognized by them instantly with no issues. It also features 4 Ethernet ports and an audio port for direct connection for your headphones to stream music. What’s more, this extender comes with a simple setup prepared for you which does not require any sorts of installation or complicated intervention on your part. As far as detecting the optimal area for its placement, the router comes with an LED notification which becomes green when placed in a good spot. Look for these green spots in order to maximize the output of the extender and avoid the amber light which tells you that the placement is not optimal for its functioning correctly at full capacity. The setup involves just pressing a button which will get the extender linked to your router.
3. Asus RP-N53 Dual-Band Wireless-N600
Situated on the more expensive extender or repeater devices spectrum, the Asus RP-N53 Dual-Band Wireless-N600 is definitely something to consider for those who don’t have time to try out questionable devices. With this powerful device, you can almost guarantee a better signal all around the house, offering you a great choice to cover dead Wi-Fi spots or areas.
Featuring internal MIMO antennas which ensure that coverage is up to anyone’s standards, the extender can provide dual band connections at both 2.4GHz and at 5GHz. It has a stylish design, and a great way to facilitate optimal placement for the best extension experience. Lights will guide you towards the best position for both Wi-Fi bands, and there’s a simple button you need to press in order to get the extender to connect to your router and repeat its signal. Another great feature of this device is that it features wireless audio playing through the ASUS AiPlayer app which is also compatible with the Apple Airplay. This model also comes with 2 USB ports, one 2.0 and the second is 3.0 which makes data storage directly from the router a breeze.
4. D-Link DAP-1650 (AC1200)
Going back towards the decently-priced spectrum of repeaters or extenders, the D-Link DAP-1650 (AC1200) is another great option for those looking to boost their Wi-Fi signal a bit without having to invest too much in a new, more powerful router. Featuring 802.11n/g/b/a backward compatibility for wireless connections, and wireless technology AC1200 which provides higher speeds for wireless connections to devices around your home, this extender is certainly capable, especially if you consider the relatively low price.
The speeds this repeater offers get up to 867Mbps and 300Mbps. It also has a QRS mobile app for easy setup. It also includes 4 Ethernet ports for high-speed stable connections, and offers both WPA and WPA2 security options. They also guarantee a compatibility with most wireless routers for easy setup and configuration. Unlike other models in this list, this repeater has several modes you can choose from, like Access Point mode and Range Extender mode; you can switch between these depending on what you’re after specifically at that point.
5. TP-Link N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender, AP mode Supported(TL-WA855RE)
One of the least expensive options on this list, the TP-Link N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender is a straightforward access point and Wi-Fi range extender devices. Featuring 2 external antennas and a single Ethernet port, it basically does all you would need a range extender to do, while also providing you with a wired connection option. It connects directly in a wall plug, so you need to take that into consideration when ordering this device, but if that configuration works for you, you’ll love the design and small space the TP-Link N300 takes up.
As far as configurability goes, it features the common one-button setup for wireless range extenders. It also has a LED which lets you know through a green/orange light if your placement is optimal for Wi-Fi signal repeating or extending. It is 802.11bgn compatible, so should work fine with most modern devices. You can download and install the TP-LINK Tether App for free for Apple and Android devices in order to manage the connections.
6. D-Link DAP-1320
Another accessible device in terms of price, the D-Link DAP-1320 is a cool little gadget which ensures that dead Wi-Fi zones in your home are dealt with accordingly. It boasts 300Mbps speeds for wireless connections, and it offers full backwards compatibility with nearly all routers and devices which connect to it. As with the previous model of wireless extender, this one is also plugged directly into a wall socket, so it may need some planning beforehand just because you can’t simply place it just about anywhere.
As far as design goes, this also looks great and its reduced size make it a great fit for those looking to save up a lot of space and not have to worry about cables. What’s more, the D-Link DAP-1320 is perfect for low-end users who just want a little boost to their coverage. This is because its setup is basically non-existent; all you need to do is press a button on the extender, wait for the green light and that’s it – you’ve got your Wi-Fi range extended.
7. Netgear EX3800
Still on the wall plug-mounted devices, the Netgear EX3800 comes at a higher price than its predecessors in this list because it offers way more than those devices do. If we’re to start with its practical features, the most interesting one is that it features an outlet as well, so you’re not really losing a wall plug when you connect it. Sure, it still needs some planning in order to maximize a certain Wi-Fi connection range, but it’s still a neat gimmick it comes with.
This device is used to boost AC750 wireless networks and improve connections to devices like iPhone 6, Samsung Galaxy S5, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 3. It supports extension of dual band (5GHz and 2.4GHz) connections and reduces overall interference. Taking this into account, this device may be more suitable for streamers and hardcore gamers, as the dual band connectivity option allows for better overall speeds and lower risk of packet loss along the way. It also has an Ethernet Gigabyte port for wired connections and boasts up to 750Mbps. It also has a USB 3.0 porn for fast data transfers directly to a mass storage device connected to the extender.
8. Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 EX7000
Situated on the high-end of the extender spectrum, both in terms of price and in terms of capability, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 EX7000 is a desktop Wi-Fi range extender which offers amazing speeds of up to 1.9Gbps. This is due to its support of dual-band connectivity of 5GHz and 2.4GHz. The high-gain 5dBi antennas and the 700 mW high-power amplifiers offers a huge signal boost from your main router so that all parts of your home or office building get covered with fast, reliable Wi-Fi speeds. The device acts as an extender by default, but it can also be set up as an access point.
It also offers a 1GHz dual core processor for fast performance on both data transfer and Wi-Fi connectivity, and the 5 Ethernet ports allow for multiple devices to connect through cables for exceptionally stable and fast connections. The built-in FastLane technology is perfect for streamers and gamers who need a stable, reliable connection at all times with low ping rates and nearly no packet loss whatsoever. Buyers also have the option of contacting the manufacturer directly for information through the Live Expert program, so support for the item is top notch.
9. TP-Link AC1750 RE450
The TP-Link AC1750 RE450 is the most expensive wall plug-mounted extender on this list, and for good reason. First, it features a universal plug, so it goes into virtually any plug with no problem whatsoever. Once plugged in, you just have to push one button and it will ‘catch’ and repeat or extend your wireless connection from the main router across a huge new area of up to 10,000 square feet. The Smart Signal Indicator will also show you the optimal location for it to best extend your wireless connection, making it easy to find the best spot for it.
The dual band AC1750 connectivity allows for 4K streaming and seamless gaming with no packet loss. It also offers a Gigabit Ethernet port in case there’s interference with the signal across the room for a stable connection for your PC or laptop. It also has built-in high-powered antennas and amplifiers which boost the signal significantly without losing any of its original power. In terms of support, there’s 24/7 assistance available for it, along with a full 2-year warranty.
10. LTERiver Repeater
This LTERiver Repeater-extender device comes at an accessible price for a plug-mounted extender, and it offers quite a punch for the price. Featuring a IEEE 802.11b/g/n standards compatibility and offering up to 300Mbps speeds for your wireless connections, the extender boosts WLAN networks’ range by quite a bit. The two rotational antennas boost the signal coming from your router significantly and repeat it so that parts of the house previously inaccessible can now be covered with stable Wi-Fi.
The device also has an Ethernet port for stable wired connections, and comes with WPA2, WPA and WEP(128/64) wireless security options. If you’re not familiar with what option is best for you, no worries: it’s all done through the push of a button so you don’t have to configure complicated settings to get it to work properly. It features 3 modes: access point, repeater or router so it can be used for various applications depending on your specific needs.
Now that you’ve got an overview of the best Wi-Fi range extenders in 2017, you can make an informed decision which will not only potentially help you save money, but get the best product out there for your specific needs. Make sure you are clear as to what you need for your home or office building, and then weigh in the pros and cons in the lists above to get a clear-cut recommendation. All these devices are great as you don’t have to go through the trouble of having to set up a second Wi-Fi router which can be considerably more expensive than any of the options above.