Give Your WiFi a Boost With These Wireless Range Extenders
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“Can you hear me now?” Dropped calls may be a thing of the past (well, most of the time) but there’s a new dead zone in town and it’s running (choppy) circles around your WiFi.
While routers will get you online, their signal strength will only go so far, especially if you live in a house or work in a large office. The larger the space, the harder it is to pick up a signal or stay connected. Getting a strong WiFi signal also depends on the layout of your space and the number of devices you’re connecting to the Internet. It’s a little like driving — too many road blocks and other drivers will only slow you down. To really boost your speed and connectivity, you’ll want to invest in a WiFi range extender.
In This Article
What Are the Best Wireless Range Extenders?
How Does a WiFi Extender Work?
WiFi Range Extender Buying Guide
What Are the Best WiFi Range Extenders?
We’ve rounded up the best WiFi range extenders that you can buy online right now, based on ease of use, ease of setup and overall performance.
BEST OVERALL: TP-Link AX1500 WiFi Extender Internet Booster
EDITOR’S CHOICE: Netgear EX2800 WiFi Range Extender
LONGEST RANGE: Linksys RE6700 Amplify Range Extender
1. TP-Link AX1500 WiFi Extender
TP-Link’s AX1500 WiFi Extender and Internet Booster offers the best speeds and longest range of any WiFi range extender we’ve seen.
Compatible with WiFi 6, TP-Link’s speeds top out at a whopping 1.5GB per second, which is up to twice as fast as some of its competition. TP-Link says this WiFi range extender can cover areas up to 1500 sq. ft., and can be paired with up to 25 devices, making it great for a small office.
The unit has four LEDs on its front side indicating whether it has power, a WiFi signal, and whether it’s using its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. It’s nice to have a visual indication of whether these features are working in case you have to troubleshoot an issue. While you’ll primarily use the AX1500 for WiFi, it does have a single Ethernet port for wired peripherals.
If you’re looking for a clean, easy way to ensure your house maintains an ultra-fast WiFi connection, TP-Link’s AX1500 is our top choice.
Buy TP-Link AX1500 WiFi Extender $69.99
2. Netgear EX2800
Netgear’s EX2800 is an excellent budget-friendly WiFi range extender that’s great to use if you have an apartment small home.
It supports speeds up to 750Mbps, and has a maximum range of 1200 sq. ft. The EX2800 has four indicator lights that show whether it has power, is connected to your WiFi router, is connected to a device, and if WPS (WiFi Protected Setup) is enabled.
This Wi-Fi range extender doesn’t have an Ethernet port, but that’s because of its extremely compact size. This is the smallest, most subtle pick in our guide, which is a big plus. If your needs are pretty basic, there’s no reason to consider any WiFi range extender besides Netgear’s EX2800.
3. Linksys RE6700
Linksys’ RE6700 can has a range of up to 10,000 sq.ft., which makes it the best Wi-Fi range extender for anyone who lives in a big home.
The RE6700 has a maximum speed of 1.2GBps, which is fast enough to handle most any task. This Wi-Fi range extender doesn’t have any status indicators (besides power), which is unfortunate. It does have an Ethernet port, though.
This Wi-Fi range extender’s best feature (besides its long range) is the fact that it’s got an AC plug built into it, so you don’t lose an outlet when you plug it in. This feature along makes Linksys’ RE6700 worth recommending. This is also the only Wi-Fi range extender in our guide that has a 3.5mm audio output, which allows you to stream music to a pair of speakers connected to this device.
If you need your Wi-Fi network to reach every nook and cranny of your home, Linksys’ RE6700 is an excellent choice.
4. Amazon eero 6 Dual-Band Mesh WiFi 6 Extender
Best for Eero Users
Eero basically invented the modern mesh WiFi network with its fast, powerful, easy-to-use routers. You can extend your network by getting any of Eero’s routers, but the eero 6 extender is best suited for this job.
It has a fast speed of 500Mbps and is designed to cover areas of up to 1,500 sq. ft. Set up is super quick and easy, and we noticed a different in our internet speeds right away.
Keep in mind, the eero 6 doesn’t have any indicator lights, and only a single Ethernet port, and can only be used as part of an existing eero system. The other WiFi range extenders in our guide can be used with any WiFi router.
Still, in our tests the eero 6 did a fine job at extending our network with very little speed loss. We’re also fans of its sleek look, and the fact that it can be used as a night light, which is particularly useful if you install it in a hallway.
If you already have an eero system installed, the eero 6 should be your go-to choice. Its build quality and performance are up to the company’s high standards, and you can set it up and manage it in Eero’s excellent mobile app.
Buy eero 6 Dual-Band Mesh WiFi 6 Extender $79.99
How Does a WiFi Range Extender Work?
Also known as a WiFi booster or repeater, think of a range extender as the “Waze” of home networking apps, helping you find a faster way to get online rather than relying on the same old pathways. A WiFi extender captures the wireless signal from your router and replicates it in rooms where the signal is weak or nonexistent. It essentially lengthens (or expands) the range of your signal. The strongest WiFi boosters will be able to get a signal even into corners of the room where you previously had a dead zone. And because a range extender operates on a different wireless channel than the one used by your router, it’s able to not only rebroadcast the signal, but elevate it as well.
Aside from expanding WiFi coverage of an existing signal, you can also use some range extenders to create a new or private WiFi network. Set limits on which devices can access the network, to ensure that it’s always fast and not bogged down by users. New WiFi extenders can also turn a wired network into a wireless one, freeing you up from confusing cables and connectivity issues.
When buying a WiFi range extender, it’s important to note that where you place the unit could affect your coverage. The ideal location to place the extender is half-way between your router and the room where you want to extend the signal to. Or, take your phone or laptop around the room and find out where your Internet connection tends to drop out. Once you find the drop zone (or dead zone), you’ll find a solid place to put your WiFi extender too.
Before you call your cable company the next time your Internet is slow, consider picking up a WiFi range extender. Sometimes it’s not your signal that’s bad, but rather your signal strength. We’ve rounded up some of the best range extenders online, to help you get online — and stay online — without any lags, drops or interruptions.
Wireless Range Extender Buying Guide
There are many factors to think about when choosing the best router range extender for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Speed: Naturally, the most important feature of a Wi-Fi range extender is its speed. Our picks support speeds between 750Mbps (megabits per second) and 1.4GBps (gigabits per second). The speed you actually get will depend on the composition of your walls, how many devices are connected, and its placement.
Range: The size of your home will have a big impact on the best Wi-Fi range extender for your needs. Our picks can cover an areas between 1,500 sq. ft. (square feet) and 10,000 sq. ft.
Bands: The best WiFi extenders run on two bands — 2.4GHz and 5GHz — constantly working between the dual bands to provide optimal connectivity.
Generally speaking, the 2.4GHz band is great for basic Internet surfing (think: checking emails, reading the news, etc.) and the 5GHz band is best for streaming content and online gaming. The 2.4GHz is a longer-range band but transmits data at slightly slower speeds; the 5GHz band will have less coverage but provides faster speeds.
Ethernet: Most popular WiFi extenders will also have an available Gigabit Ethernet port that lets you plug in any wired device, like a gaming console or computer to get the same boosted speed and performance.