Solve your Wi-Fi issues with our list of the best Wi-Fi extenders you can buy right now, from ₤ 20 to ₤ 100.
You can have the best internet connection in the world, however it be let down by a poor Wi-Fi setup in your home. Not only will you be suffering a poor experience, however you’ll also be getting rid of money on an expensive broadband contact and line-rental charges. The most cost-efficient means by which to handle such concerns is to purchase a Wi-Fi extender, and you can select one up for just ₤ 20.
The main cause of bad Wi-Fi efficiency and sluggish protection is normally the number of walls in between you and your router. If you reside in an old house with thick walls, a Wi-Fi extender is an essential. In such situations, even the best router you can picture won’t have the ability to offer superior performance up a floor and through a couple of walls. Shelling out ₤ 50 on an extender will enhance your scenario drastically. Not will you have a dead-spot from where it isn’t really possible to stream Netflix.
If you do not wish to pay out additional cash on a Wi-Fi extender, you could buy a long Ethernet cable television and run it from your phone electrical outlet to a more central point in your house. This would result in slightly much better Wi-Fi connection in more areas within your home. This isn’t hugely efficient, however, and still needs you to trail cables throughout your house. We ‘d always suggest using at least one Wi-Fi extender.
BEST WI-FI EXTENDERS: WHAT IS A WIRELESS BOOSTER?
As their name suggests, Wi-Fi extenders merely piggyback on your existing Wi-Fi connection and rebroadcast it so further away locations can get a more powerful signal.
They won’t reach as far as wired connections and they will not improve your total network speed, however if you simply want to make sure the top floor of your house lastly has some signal they’re a really simple option. Typically they’re less expensive and less hassle than any option.
Most provide simple automated setup treatments, with them either linking automatically using WPS or having their own open network to which you link to then configure them through a browser. Normally you just have to understand the SSID (the name) of your existing Wi-Fi and its password to obtain setup.
BEST WI-FI EXTENDERS: WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
The main factor to consider with Wi-Fi extenders is what sort of Wi-Fi requirement you require. Wi-Fi used to be a relatively simple requirement where it went from WiFi A to B then G and N, with each new standard increasing in speed. Now things have ended up being more complicated with two radio frequency bands available– the older 2.4 GHz and more recent 5GHz– along with a new basic called Air Conditioning. On top of that there are different ranked speeds for Wi-Fi N and Air Conditioning, varying from the fundamental 300Mbps of N right the method as much as routers that declare 1900Mbps.
The long and brief of it, however, is that if you’re using anything older than a Wi-Fi N suitable router then your first port of call must be to change that. Beyond that you need to inspect what sort of connection you’ve already got and buy an extender to match– there’s no point spending huge money on an expensive 1200Mbps A/C extender if you’ve only got a 300MBps N router.
Aside from speed the next possible additional you may consider is an extender with an inbuilt Ethernet switch. These models will enable you to connect wired devices to the extender, such as an older network-equipped TV, and possibly help enhance total speed due to the fact that there will be less Wi-Fi signals disrupting each other.
A few designs also have USB sockets so you can attach printers or external hard disks to share them on the network. Some even have audio outputs so you can plug them into a remote audio system and stream audio from your phone or tablet.
The majority of range extenders are fairly easy devices that, like Powerline adapters, are incorporated into a single mains plug/transceiver, though those with more features and external aerials (for higher variety and performance) look like routers, with a separate power supply and external aerials.
BEST WI-FI EXTENDERS: FREQUENCIES EXPLAINED
At the heart of the latest push for speed in Wi-Fi is the intro of a 5GHz frequency. Its primary advantage is that nearly all existing Wi-Fi devices use the 2.4 GHz band, which makes it highly crowded. By using 5GHz you’re far less likely to get problems with disturbance from neighbouring Wi-Fi signals.
The 5GHz band in fact has a lower theoretical variety than 2.4 GHz so drop off at range (and through walls) is a lot more dramatic. Nevertheless, the most recent Air Conditioner standard only uses 5GHz, integrating it with methods such as MIMO and beamforming to enhance peak performance and range. As such, as shown in our tests, a first-class 5GHz AC router supplies extremely quick efficiency. So much so that if you’re considering updating your router anyhow, spending the additional on a superior one might well remove the have to purchase an extender.
In case you were wondering, aside from the frequency band all Wi-Fi standards are backwards suitable, though you will require suitable hardware at both ends to get the efficiency benefit of the current requirements (most hardware still can’t use Air Conditioning without an extra dongle).
BEST WI-FI EXTENDERS: HOW WE TESTED
We’ve selected a range Wi-Fi adapters and put them to the test. They differ from a very standard ₤ 20 unit to a high-speed unit costing ₤ 100, with plenty between. We tested them by recording transfer speeds at two points remote from our main router, the class-leading Netgear R7000 Nighthawk. With the router in a downstairs front room we evaluated at a rear, 2nd floor bedroom (roughly 7m through two walls and a floor) and at the bottom of the garden (around 20m and through another wall).
Standard speeds for 5GHz were 189Mbps when right next to the router, 146Mbps in the upstairs bed room and 20Mbps at the bottom of the garden (see what we imply about the rapid drop off in peak performance of 5GHz). For 2.4 GHz it was 43Mbps, 19.2 Mbps and 8Mbps respectively.
For our tests we placed the extender in a downstairs room below the upstairs bed room, putting it 5m and two walls closer to the garden as well as a couple of metres and one wall closer to the bedroom.
We actually found that because the router we were using for 5GHz was so effective, with its triple external antennae and beamforming, it far exceeded any of the extenders for the 7m test, with the extenders just enhancing things for the longer variety garden test. However, for less hardcore routers you would likely see advantages at this much shorter range.
At 2.4 GHz the router struggled far more, with all but one of the extenders out pacing it for the 7m test and all far exceeding it for the 20m test.
Also, note we evaluated with a Netgear A6100 USB dongle with a max speed of AC600, so its peak efficiency isn’t as high as some adapters (you can reach over 500Mbps real-world efficiency with the fastest hardware). However, we’re not thinking about peak efficiency but rather range.
1. BT 11AC DUAL-BAND WI-FI EXTENDER 1200
- Dual-band AC1200 efficiency
- Compact design with single Ethernet socket
- Range sign for optimal setup
The BT 11ac Dual-Band Wi-FI Extender 1200 is an outstanding option for those looking for as a compact Wi-Fi extender that doesn’t comprise on efficiency.
Packaging in dual-band compatibility it’s ranked as much as AC1200 speeds (300Mbps over 2.4 GHz, 900MBps over 5GHz) and consists of one Ethernet port for linking wired devices to your prolonged network.
We discovered the device to be well made and look the part in its matt white plastic finish, plus it’s really simple to setup and has a power switch for shutting off the extender – a simple way to conserve a bit of power consumption when not required.
We likewise truly like the addition of a signal indication that reveals if the device is too close or too far away from your main network, making it easy to optimise your setup.
In our efficiency evaluates it did very well too. At 2.4 GHz in our 2m test it’s 3rd just to the far more costly and bigger Netgear EX7000 and Linksys RE6500, with a speed of 28Mbps, compared with the 36Mbps+ of the other two.
At 20m this drops to 16.6 MB/s, where again it just trails those to large systems which deliver 23.2 Mbps and 30.4 Mbps.
At 5GHz the BT system continued to impress, with its 85.6 Mbps only routing the Netgear EX7000 by 16Mbps for the 7m test. At 20m it still provided 78.4 Mbps, less than 8Mbps behind the Netgear.
Overall the BT 11ac Dual-Band Wi-Fi Extender 1200 is an excellent Wi-Fi extender for those looking for excellent efficiency without breaking the bank. It’s easy to setup and supplies terrific reliable Wi-Fi performance in a neat bundle.
2. D-LINK DAP-1320
- Outstanding 2.4 Ghz efficiency
- N300 rated
- Really compact design
Along with the Zyxel WRE2205, the D-Link DAP-1320 is the tiniest adapter on test (the Zyxel is taller, the D-Link much deeper). The majority of crucially this implies it won’t disrupt other plugs in a multi-socket extension. At 48 x 42 x 56 mm it’s not even as wide as a standard UK plug.
It’s likewise a stylish enough little thing, with a carefully curved front with a single LED.
Feature smart it’s simpleness itself. Rated at 300Mbps it uses just the 2.4 GHz band so does not offer the contention reducing abilities of 5GHz, nor the speed of A/C. Nevertheless what it lacks in extras it makes up for in simpleness and fundamental performance.
A side mounted WPS button can be used to immediately link to your router or a manual alternative is offered where you link to its default WI-Fi signal and it will automatically take you to a setup page when you open your internet browser.
It provides a clear option of using either a different SSID for your extended network or the same as your initial network (we suggest using various ones to save confusion) and you can pick whether to copy the same password or add a new one.
Performance is fantastic, rather potentially due to the lack of completing wireless bands to handle. The D-Link came in 2nd at 7m (22.4 Mbps) and fourth at 20m (13.6 Mbps).
For an extender that can be had for as little as ₤ 20 it’s a terrific option if you only require 2.4 GHz extension.
3. ASUS RP-N53
- Dual-band support with N600 peak speed
- Trendy style with consisted of night light
- Streaming audio output
Easily the most stylish extender on test, the Asus RP-N53 has a basic angular design with a good shiny, wavy pattern on its front and subtle gold Asus logo design in the corner. Its blue indication lights are likewise incorporated into a single thin strip that runs along the bottom, for a tidy appearance.
It’s not the smallest adapter on test however is still very small, determining just 85 x 54 x 31mm. That’s narrow enough for it to not obstruct of any neighbouring plugs, just.
A dual-band extender, the N53 is ranked to N600 speed so it doesn’t make the most of the current Air Conditioner requirement however does have the 5GHz band for minimized interference.
Along with looking great the N53 has a number of extra features too. On its underside is an LED that shines against the wall and acts as a little night light, which might be helpful if the adapter remains in a corridor for instance.
On its right edge is an Ethernet port and a 3.5 mm audio jack. The former can be used to link other wired devices and can be beneficial for setup. On the other hand the audio jack can be connected to a Hi-Fi or such like and you can then stream audio straight to it, using Asus’ AiPlayer app, available for Android and iOS.
The latter works fine, but it’s not a completely slick experience and provided playback isn’t available through PCs or other more standard implies it feels very much like a token additional. The Airplay compatible audio output of the Netgear Powerline Sound Extender made a lot more sense.
Setup of the Asus is really easy with both automated WPS setup and a basic handbook procedure offered.
Performance was very good, being available in 3rd in our 7m 2.4 GHz test (2.6 Mbps) and equal top at 7m at 5GHz (5.6 Mbps). It only came 4th in our 20m test at 2.4 GHz (2.8 Mbps) but still with reputable performance, while at 20m 5GHz it was available in second (2.8 Mbps).
In general, this is a terrific all rounder, with its dual-band ability, good performance and those extra features too.
4. LINKSYS RE6500
- Dual-band AC1200 rated
- Four-port hub and audio output
- Double external antenna for leading efficiency
The Linksys RE6500 is the second of the two bigger format extenders we have on test, which like a router has a different power adapter.
Like the Netgear A6100, it includes an Ethernet network switch, with four Ethernet sockets for connecting repaired devices, such as games consoles, computer systems or TVs. In addition to permitting non-wireless devices to connect, using a center like this reduces the amount of completing wireless signals, potentially enhancing performance.
This is another extender to provide audio streaming capabilities, together with the Asus RP-N53. It’s as limited as on that device, with just mobile apps able to connect, but it’s a great little extra.
This is a dual-band extender that also packs in a pair of external antennae. It’s likewise the joint greatest ranked speed extender on test, at AC1200.
Setup is extremely easy, with it establishing both bands automatically– most extenders link to each band in turn. However, it also immediately makes the SSIDs precisely the same as your existing ones, which while it may seem convenient does make fixing harder.
Performance, though, is as great as you ‘d anticipate for such a highly-specced, and fairly bulky (153 x 108 x 26mm) device. It topped each and every single one of our tests, delivering 39.2 Mbps and 30.4 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and 44.8 Mbps and 28Mbps at 5GHz.
Priced at around ₤ 90, the Linksys RE6500 is one of the most pricey extender on test so it’s not a surprise it performs well, however the margins by which it does truly show its class. If you’ve a dual-band setup at home and want the best performance, this is the one to get.
5. NETGEAR EX3800
- 802.11 a/c speeds
- Ethernet port
- Mains passthrough
While this isn’t the most elegant variety extender we’ve seen in current months, the Netgear EX3800 provides excellent worth; it’s simply ₤ 10 more pricey than the BT 11ac Dual-Band Wi-Fi Extender 1200 while offering likewise outstanding speeds.
It has a mains passthrough, too, which implies that this extender won’t leave you short on plugs if they’re at a premium in your house. Also included is an Ethernet port, convenient for linking to devices that do not have Wi-Fi.
The EX3800 is a cinch to establish, with its WPS button permitting one-push connections to your router. You’ll still need to venture into its web interface to obtain it set up precisely how you desire it, but it’s a mostly fuss-free affair.
In our brand-new screening setup we had the ability to achieve a substantial 61.9 Mbps over the 5GHz band, while a good 27.1 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band was a good result, too.
The Netgear EX3800 fits well into the marketplace in regards to price and efficiency, and is the no-brainer option for those trying to find a quick extender with a mains passthrough.
6. NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK AC1900 EX7000 WIFI EXTENDER
- Ultra fast AC1900 Wi-Fi speeds
- Five Ethernet ports for wired network devices
- USB 3.0 port for sharing storage or printers
The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 EX7000 is, on paper, the fastest Wi-Fi extender we’ve yet tested and requires a high price because of it. The good news is it backs this up with remarkable efficiency.
It’s headline feature is AC1900 Wi-Fi, which implies it can achieve as much as 600MBps on 2.4 GHz and 1200MBps on 5GHz, though only with compatible routers – so ensure your router is quick enough in the first place.
To attain this speed the EX7000 uses 3 large external aerials, which combined with the presence of five Ethernet ports produces quire a large system. Luckily it’s wisely dressed and can be installed on a stand that holds it vertically.
You likewise get a USB 3.0 that can be used for sharing information from USB hard disk drives or for sharing a printer.
Establishing with WPS is basic enough however we were irritated by Netgear insisting on making us register for the company’s, admittedly rather helpful, online services before having the ability to access its menu to set it up manually.
Otherwise the EX7000 definitely provides, blitzing the competitors, at least when it pertains to the Wi-Fi Extenders we’ve tested.
At 2.4 GHz it delivered 36Mbps at 7m and 23Mbps at 20m. At 5Ghz these figures leap to 100Mbps and 85.6 Mbps. The next fastest extender we’ve evaluated achieves only 44.8 Mbps and 28Mbps in the same test.
There’s no doubting that if you’ve got the right hardware the EX7000 is an exceptionally quick Wi-Fi extender, and we discovered it to be reliable too.
For a lot of home users the EX7000 is completely overkill, and you can get close to the same features and speed for quite a lot less money, however if you have a remote workplace or wing of your house that has several computer systems then it is perfect for providing as near wired-network speeds as you can wish to get.