It can be frustrating when you want to stream that latest video on Netflix, but you are unable to get strong signals from your home Wi-Fi. You want to lay on your bed and binge-watch the latest Tv shows, but the video keeps breaking at intervals, making you want to cuss out.
Or have your children been complaining of not getting the Wi-Fi signal in their rooms? Or your workers keep fuzzing about how weak the Wi-Fi signal is in their office. They heap the blame of their slow work pace on the weak Wi-Fi signal. And some even say they can’t get any signal at all.
Well, you don’t have to rush to get a new set of Wi-Fi routers and pay extra data bill. Not yet.
What your Wi-Fi needs are a Wi-Fi booster.
Yes, just like the name sounds, a Wi-Fi booster boosts your Wi-Fi connection, thereby making it reach places in the buildings that the Wi-Fi signal will typically not reach.
In this post, I’ll be unpacking all you need to know about Wi-Fi boosters.
- What is Wi-Fi booster
- History of Wi-Fi
- How Wi-Fi boosters work
- Why you need a Wi-Fi booster
- Difference between Wi-Fi boosters, Wi-Fi extenders and Wi-Fi repeaters
- What to look out for when buying a Wi-Fi booster
- Wi-Fi booster security
- How to set up/install Wi-Fi boosters
- Best Wi-Fi boosters for RV and homes
- What are Wi-Fi boosters: Wi-Fi boosters are devices designed to extend the coverage of a Wi-Fi signal. The device picks up the Wi-Fi signal at a specific frequency from a transmitter, a router, in this case. It amplifies it, allowing it to reach farther places the initial signal couldn’t reach. After the signal has been expanded, the device broadcasts it to other parts of the building.
One significant advantage of having a Wi-Fi booster is that it helps to extend the coverage of your Wi-Fi to places it was unable to reach. These places where your Wi-Fi signal couldn’t reach are called dead zones.
Also, there are several reasons why your Wi-Fi signal isn’t reaching certain areas.
Reasons why your Wi-Fi signal doesn’t get to the ‘dead zones.’
- Thick walls: Walls, thick walls, are hindrances to the flow of internet signals from a Wi-Fi router. The waves, unable to pass through the wall, limit the network access in some parts of the building. Some places can’t get the signal at all.
- The distance of the ‘dead zone’ from the Wi-Fi router is far: if the signal strength doesn’t have a wide coverage range, rooms and places far from the WIFI’s coverage range will not get the signal.
- The Wi-Fi router isn’t placed in a strategic position to allow it to spread evenly: Some people put their WIFI router in the wrong locations. The router should be placed in a prime spot in the room. More like in the middle of the room so that the signal can spread evenly across the house.
- The router you’re using is old and needs to be changed: As technologies evolve, so also does the router frequency and potency increases. If your router is four to five years old, it is very likely that the speed of the router is outdated and therefore needs to be changed.
NB: If you notice the Wi-Fi signal in some parts of your house is reducing, you should change the direction of the Wi-Fi router first. If there is no improvement, change the router (assuming the router is an old one). But if after changing the router you still experience these weak signals, then you can go for a Wi-Fi booster.
But before we delve fully into why you need a Wi-Fi booster and how to go about selecting the best ones for yourself, let us unload the core of this discussion: Wi-Fi.
Honestly, we can’t talk about Wi-Fi boosters without talking about the foundation of the booster.
How did Wi-Fi come about?
HISTORY OF WI-FI
Wi-Fi is short for Wireless fidelity. Wi-Fi is a wireless networking technology that allows computers, some mobile phones, iPods, game consoles, and other devices to communicate over a wireless signal.
When ALOHANET connected the Hawaiian Islands with a UHF wireless packet network, nobody knew that more than four decades later, the human race will be very dependent on the internet and Wi-Fi for survival.
In 1977, Vic Hayes changed the story of internet connections when he chaired the IEEE committee that created the 801.11 standards. This protocol, the 802.11 provided up to 2 Mbit/s link speeds.
As time progressed and technology improved, the bandwidth improved and the name changed subsequently from 802.11 to names like 802.11a, 802.11g, and the latest 802.11ac.
These names — 802.11a and the likes — are the bandwidths the internet connections and radio signal transmission world with. The progression from 1977 with the 802.11 to the current 802.11ac (5G Wi-Fi) means faster connection and broader bandwidth.
Also, these bandwidths operate with different frequency.
The latest bandwidth works better with a 5Ghz instead of the old 2.4Ghz.
Companies design Wi-Fi routers and transmitters to meet the speed requirements of users.
The Wi-Fi works by the router collecting signal from the internet after it has been connected with an ethernet cable. When the router receives the message, it then broadcasts it through a radio signal. Your device’s adapter reads the signal, picks it up and then sends data back to the router and the internet.
HOW WI-FI BOOSTERS WORK
Wi-Fi boosters work by collecting the radio signals from the Wi-Fi router in your house or office and then rebroadcasting the signal to other parts of your home. The signal is amplified by the booster, causing it to reach farther and sometimes increasing the speed.
With a Wi-Fi booster, the position it is placed and the strength of the antennas are paramount to either having a smooth ride or a rough patch with network hitches.
Many Wi-Fi booster/extenders have two antennas. One antenna picks up the radio signal and then transfers it to the second antenna. The second antenna then amplifies the signal and transmits it to other parts of the house or building, connecting to the available wife enabled devices in the home.
Due to the ever-changing nature of bandwidth and signal speed, we have dual-band Wi-Fi boosters. These boosters can work with the 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz broadbands. The dual bands select which broadband is more reliable between both frequency bands – 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz – and then transmits the radio signal through those bandwidths.
Now, you may be wondering why you should get yourself a Wi-Fi booster since you have a reasonably good enough Wi-Fi connection in your house. I understand. And to be honest, you may not need a Wi-Fi booster for your home or you RV after all. But before you come to that decision, here are four reasons why you need either and RV Wi-Fi booster or a home or office Wi-Fi booster.
REASONS WHY YOU NEED A WIFI BOOSTER
- YOU HAVE A LARGE HOME: If the size of your home is significant, then there is need to get a booster because depending only on Wi-Fi routers to connect all parts of your home will not work. The distance most Wi-Fi routers can cover in, even though they’re getting farther, is not far enough to adequately cover the farther distance. And with the new 5g technology, there is dire need to have a Wi-Fi booster if you want to enjoy fast internet connections.
- IF YOU WANT WI-FI OUTSIDE THE REGULAR LIVING SPACE: Maybe you have a pool where you love to sit and lounge away, but your Wi-Fi router doesn’t cover that place. Or maybe you like to spend some time in your garage or the garden; then you need Wi-Fi connection in these places outside the house. A Wi-Fi booster comes in handy.
- SOME PLACES IN YOUR HOME HAVE SLOW NETWORK: There might be a place, even though aren’t dead zones, that receive small strands of the signal. Or maybe your office space and home are in the same building. The router is located upstairs, in the office, while your home doesn’t get good enough coverage. Then you need a Wi-Fi booster.
- YOU WANT A FASTER WI-FI: Aside spreading the reach of the Wi-Fi radio waves to farther parts, Wi-Fi boosters also increases the speed of the Wi-Fi signals. With a Wi-Fi booster, you can tap into the latest Wi-Fi speeds without necessarily changing the router.
Have you decided whether or not you need a Wi-Fi booster?
Yes. You need one.
But which one should you get? You have seen and heard different types of Wi-Fi but aren’t sure which is which.
In the “Wi-Fi enhancer” world, you might hear words like Wi-Fi boosters, Wi-Fi extenders, Wi-Fi repeaters and even Wi-Fi mesh.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WIFI REPEATERS, WIFI BOOSTERS, AND WIFI EXTENDER
- WIFI REPEATERS: They first generation Wi-Fi signal extenders that amplify pre-existing existing signals. A Wi-Fi repeater picks up signal from the main router and then rebroadcasts it. With a Wi-Fi repeater, there is no new Service Set Identifier (SSID). Wi-Fi repeaters will technically operate as if you are using the same router. Site ID doesn’t change when you’re using a Wi-Fi repeater. With a Wi-Fi repeater, the signal it rebroadcast is only as powerful as the one it receives. While some people think Wi-Fi repeaters are Wi-Fi boosters on steroid, there are limitations to how well Wi-Fi repeaters will work for you. For one, if the positioning of your Wi-Fi router is not excellent, there is nothing the Wi-Fi repeater can do. Also, latency, or Wi-Fi network response time, is increased with a Wi-Fi repeater.
- WI-FI RANGE EXTENDERS: Unlike the repeaters that work with wireless connections, some Wi-Fi extenders work with wired and cables, while others are wireless. Wi-Fi network extenders are placed between your wireless router and the place where you want the extended network to cover. A network extender antenna collects the signal from the Wi-Fi router and rebroadcasts it. However, the difference between the network extender and the Wi-Fi repeater is that the Wi-Fi extender creates a new site ID different from that of the Wi-Fi router. One significant challenge people have a Wi-Fi extenders is the placement. If you don’t place them well, you might not get the desired speed and coverage area.
- WI-FI NETWORK EXTENDERS: These types of boosters use cable or wires to connect directly to your Wi-Fi router. One major drawback is that the further away your network booster is from your router, the slower it gets.
Furthermore, there are other types of boosters. These work slightly differently from the range extenders and Wi-Fi repeaters mentioned above. They include:
- POWERLINE ADAPTERS: They are a set of two or more units. You plug one in a wall socket, close to your router and then you connect the second one in any other part of your house where you want the signal to reach. Powerline adapters work by piggybacking on your house’ electrical connection to transmit signal between its adapters. If the electrical circuit in the house is a single one, then you can rest assured that your home is Wi-Fi covered. However, there are chances that you may encounter the same hindrances as your original Wi-Fi router: thick walls, big furniture and the likes. The speed will reduce, and you may not experience optimal Wi-Fi coverage.
- MESH NETWORK: The hindrances with powerline adapters is the reason why MESH NETWORK is becoming the new cool. This one works by having several ‘nodes’ scattered around your home. One of the nodes is connected to your router to create a network connection while the other two or three is placed at different parts in your house. These nodes operate as though they were individual routers. The speed isn’t affected like they will with a powerline adapter. If one of the nodes gets faulty, the other two nodes can cover up for it, i.e. they will cover the space the faulty nodes were covering. Mesh network is quite expensive, and honestly, exposes one to radioactive waves that the other boosters wouldn’t detect one too.
You now know the differences between the different Wi-Fi boosters; it is time for you to get your Wi-Fi booster. You aren’t sure what you should be looking out for when you want to buy a Wi-Fi booster.
Things to Look out For When You Want to Buy a WIFI Booster
- FREQUENCY BAND: Does the Wi-Fi router have more than one band frequency? 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz are the two frequency bands available. Some boosters have the ability to pick either of the frequency bands. These Wi-Fi boosters who can select any of the two frequency bands are called Dual-band extenders. If your Wi-Fi booster isn’t a dual-band booster, don’t get it! A dual-band Wi-Fi booster gives you options with the frequency it can pick. If the frequency isn’t stable, it uses the 2,4Ghz frequency, and if it’s strong, it switches to the 5Ghz. You are never offline with dual-band frequency boosters.
- ETHERNET PORTS: For those repeaters that come with ethernet ports, look out for those with Gigabit Ethernet ports. These ports’ speed is up to 1 Gigabits per second.
- ANTENNAS: Check to see if the antennas are one or two. Go for boosters with two antennas and have more comprehensive coverage. The antennas give you an idea of how much space the booster can cover. It is an essential factor to consider. Your buying a Wi-Fi booster or range extender is to spread the blanket of WIFI connection across a more extensive space. So, be vigilant when getting a Wi-Fi booster.
- WI-FI STANDARD: The standard of your WIFI router determines what type of Wi-Fi booster you’ll buy. If your Wi-Fi router is 802.11N, then you need a higher Wi-Fi booster, say the 802.11ac model. The higher the Wi-Fi router standards, the faster the signal. Therefore, getting a Wi-Fi booster with a lower standard than your WIFI router is detrimental to the signal speed.
Some other things you should consider:
- Audio jack
- USB ports
WIFI Booster Security
So, you may be wondering whether Wi-Fi boosters are safe to use. Their security levels are the same as traditional Wi-Fi routers. They sue WEP, WPA and WPA2 security protocols. There are some procedures, depending on the Wi-Fi extender you get, that you can do to secure your Wi-Fi extender.
If you have a Netgear Extender, these processes are imperative is securing your WIFI extender:
- Go to mywifiext.net on your favourite browser.
- Provide username and password for extender login.
- There is a SETUP tab at the left corner. Click on it and select wireless settings.
- Change your security paraphrase for WPA2.
HOW TO INSTALL YOUR WI-FI BOOSTER/RANGE EXTENDER
- Press the WPS button on the Wi-Fi router and the WPS button on the range extender.
- The WPS led will come upon the extender.
- Move the extender to halfway between the router and the place where you have a weak WIFI signal. The location must be within the range of your existing WIFI network.
- Plug the extender into an electrical outlet and wait for the power LED to come up.
- Use the router length LED to help you choose a location that has the highest extender to router connection.
- If the extender LED shows green, it means you have a good location.
- After this, connect your client device. The WIFI name changes.
Best WIFI Extenders
- TP-LINK DECO AC1300 WHOLE-HOME WI-FI SYSTEM
- NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK X4S TRI-BAND WIFE RANGE EXTENDER
- NEST WI-FI
- BT WHOLE HOME WI-FI
- TP-LINK AV2000 GIGABIT POWERLINE AC WI-FI KIT
Best WIFI Boosters for RVs
- ALFA WI-FI CAMP PRO 2 LONG RANGE WIFI REPEATER RV KIT
- ALFA AWUSO36HN LONG-RANGE WI-FI NETWORK ADAPTER\\
- PERSEVERE WI-FI RANGE EXTENDER
- NETGEAR N300 WI-FI RANGE EXTENDER
- HALO LONG RANGE WI-FI EXTENDER
You no longer have to worry about the weak WIFI signal in the garage or your room. WIFI booster is here to help you stay connected no matter which part of your house you’re like staying. Or which part of the office building you are.
Furthermore, the choice of which WIFI booster to get is dependent on what you want and how much are you want the network rebroadcasted to. Always go for extenders that use the latest internet standards, so you don’t have to wait for eons before pages load or video buffer.
Get your WIFI extender today to enjoy absolute internet bliss, anywhere you are at home. Or even when you go camping. Never be offline!