Electronics

Wi-Fi Extender vs Booster | When to use Wi-Fi Boosters?


Enjoy a Seamless Internet Experience without any Frustrating Dead Zones or Weak Internet Signals with a Wi-Fi Extender or Booster.

Tired of dealing with weak signals in certain areas of the home or office? Both Wi-Fi Extender and Booster are designed to extend and strengthen the Wi-Fi coverage throughout the space. Yet most people are confused about which one suits them better.

In this article, we will explore the difference between a Wi-Fi Extender and Booster to know which one suits your internet requirements best. Let’s get into the details of both options’ similarities, differences, and benefits to help you make an informed buying decision on which one suits your internet needs perfectly.

What is Wi-Fi Extender ?

A wireless range extender is a networking device used to improve, expand and extend the coverage range of your existing Wi-Fi network. It acts as a Wi-Fi signal boosting device that is designed to receive the wireless Wi-Fi signal from the router and then rebroadcast it to locations with weak or non-existent signals for further coverage. It is quite useful in situations where there is a drop in the network signal, as it effectively strengthens the router signal and provides more coverage with reduced latency.

How it Works ?

Wi-Fi signals from the router get obstructed or weaken while traveling through walls, furniture, and other physical barriers. Thus, it causes poor connectivity or dead zones in certain areas of the home/office. So, the Wi-Fi extender plays a key role in the signal extension.

Also, the location where you want to place them will play a key role in proper signal transmission all over the area. It should be within the range of your existing Wi-Fi signal, yet close enough to the area you want to extend the coverage. It sits between the router and the hard-to-reach/dead spot area. Here the extender will pick up the existing Wi-Fi signal and rebroadcasts it to expand the overall coverage area without any dead zones or weak signals.

How to Setup ?

Simply connect the extender to the existing Wi-Fi network with the same network name and password. The extender acts as a bridge between the router and devices, allowing the devices seamlessly connect within the extended coverage area. Connect the extender via an Ethernet or coaxial cable to the Wi-Fi network. Then it creates a secondary network operating on a similar frequency as the main Wi-Fi network. It won’t amplify, rebroadcast, or strengthen the signal, yet just extends the signal coverage area.

It is essential to note that the extended network by this Wi-Fi extender has a different network name (SSID) than the main network. This means you need to switch manually between different networks while roaming around the home/office for strong and reliable signal connectivity to your devices.

To conclude, a Wi-Fi extender is a convenient, and affordable way to extend Wi-Fi coverage all over the home or office, especially in places where using new cables is not allowed.

What is Wi-Fi Booster ?

A Wi-Fi booster acts as a wireless internet signal booster or amplifier that is used to amplify and enhance the signal strength of the existing Wi-Fi router. However, it won’t rebroadcast the signal like a Wi-Fi extender, this Wi-Fi booster enhances the signal quality and expand its reach to eliminate dead zones and offer constant signal coverage throughout the space. This small, standalone, invaluable device must be placed near the router, making it the best for those who want to rely on a wireless network for daily activities.

How it Works ?

The antenna and amplifier are the two main components of this Wi-Fi booster that determine the working of these boosters. Here the antenna captures the existing internet signal from the router and the amplifier boosts the power before transmitting it back into the surrounding area.

How to Setup ?

Just like Wi-Fi Extender, you need to directly connect the Wi-Fi booster to the router via an Ethernet cable. The booster receives and amplifies the Wi-Fi signal and sends the signal with enhanced strength. Here the amplification process extends the signal range, increases the speed, and offers better area coverage by overcoming obstacles. It is especially useful in areas with weak signals or trouble penetrating.

A strong and reliable internet signal all over the space is one of the main benefits of this booster. This is an ideal option for those having a large home/office with multiple floors or thick walls that weaken the Wi-Fi signal. It amplifies the signal to prevent dead zones and delivers a stable and consistent connection.

They are available in different forms, including plug-in boosters or standalone devices. Plug-in boosters are compact units that can be directly plugged into the electrical outlet. Standalone boosters need a dedicated installation and external antennas for improved signal reception. 

Although they won’t create a separate network, they simply amplify the existing network with the same network (SSID) name and password. So, the devices get connected automatically while you move around the space to enjoy a seamless strong signal without manual switching.

The placement of the booster device is an essential factor to consider. All you need is to place them almost exactly between the router and the area to enhance the overall coverage. So, the amplified signal will effectively reach the desired areas.

To conclude, a Wi-Fi Booster amplifies and strengthens the existing Wi-Fi signal to extend the signal’s range and improve its overall quality. So, it is an ideal option for larger spaces where obstacles hinder the Wi-Fi signal. This booster delivers a reliable and stable connection with enhanced signal strength and better coverage throughout the space.

Wi-Fi Extender Vs Booster – Comparison

Here are some comparisons that help you to get a clear idea of where to use the Wi-Fi extender or booster for maximum results.













Parameters Wi-Fi Extender Wi-Fi Booster
What it is A networking device extends the signal to reach dead zones A wireless range extender
Range Extender & Utilization Large Homes/Offices Small – Medium Space with Multiple Floors (or) Walls
Signal Strength Improves to Some Extent Effectively Enhance Signal Strength
Speed A bit less internet speed Faster speed & Simultaneously work with multiple devices
Network Complexity Create Separate Network Yet Require Manual Switching Amplify the Existing Network and Auto-Switching
Installation & Setup A Bit Tricky & Complex Easy Installation & Setup
Flexibility Quite More Flexible A Bit Less Flexible
Cost Expensive Affordable & Widely Available
Main Purpose Extend the Signal Range Improve the Wi-Fi Signal
For Streaming Best Option (Winner) Good (Runner-Up)
For Gaming Good (Runner-Up) Best Option (Winner)

Here is a detailed explanation of this Wi-Fi Extender Vs Wi-Fi Booster in different categories that provide a clear idea of which one to choose to resolve your network problem.

1. Range Extension

A Wi-Fi Extender is exclusively used in large homes/offices where the router isn’t able to cover the overall area or when it is placed a bit far away. The extender rebroadcasts the signal, expands the coverage range, and thus eliminates the dead zones that let you enjoy an uninterrupted internet experience throughout the area.

Alternatively, a Wi-Fi Booster also extends the range, particularly in areas with obstacles like multiple floors or thick walls. Here the booster amplifies the existing signal to deliver strong connectivity throughout the area.

2. Signal Strength Improvement

Here’s how both these will improve the signal strength

Though a Wi-Fi extender enhances the signal strength to a certain extent, yet it may cause some signal loss due to multiple hops. The farther the devices are from the extender, the weaker the signal becomes to connect.

While Wi-Fi boosters also do improve signal strength by amplifying the existing signal. Thus, it results in a strong, fast, and reliable internet connection, even in dead zones or weak signal areas.

3. Network Complexity

Wi-Fi Extenders create a separate network, allowing the user to switch manually between the different networks while moving around the space. Though it is slightly inconvenient, the extender allows the user to quickly and easily identify the extended coverage areas.

While Wi-Fi Boosters are designed to amplify the existing network, allowing the users not to switch between different networks manually (auto-connect). The same network name (SSID) and password are maintained to deliver a constant connection, even when roaming around.

4. Installation & Setup

A Wi-Fi Extender has a straightforward installation process that allows anyone to set up quite easily without any need for extra wiring. All you need is to connect the extender to the existing Wi-Fi router/modem using an Ethernet or coaxial cable. But remember it is a bit complex process for a novice. They connect and extend the coverage accordingly and let you experience uninterrupted and quick internet all over the area.

Compared to Wi-Fi Extenders, the setup of Wi-Fi Boosters is quite an easier task. You need to connect it to the router directly via an Ethernet cable (or Wireless Bluetooth or coaxial cable). Yet proper positioning of external antennas is essential for optimal signal reception. Voila! Upon its successful setup, the boosters will automatically work to boost the internet signal.

5. Cost & Flexibility

Wi-Fi Boosters are a bit more expensive than extenders due to their amplifier technology, robust features, and customization options. You need to connect the booster directly to the router and enjoy a powerful signal boost offered by them.

Whereas, a Wi-Fi Extender is a more affordable option that is widely available and flexible. Although they won’t require any direction connection to the router, they let you move around them easily to find better coverage for your internet activities.

To conclude, the choice between a Wi-Fi booster and a Wi-Fi extender depends on the individual’s specific internet requirements. For instance, a Wi-Fi Extender is an ideal option for those looking to extend coverage in large spaces without dead zones. While a Wi-Fi Booster is most preferred by those seeking a strong signal in their space, even by overcoming obstacles. However, the above-mentioned key factors will help a lot in making an informed decision to purchase the right option that suits their requirements.

When Does a Wi-Fi Booster is Required?

In this modern era, wi-fi became an essential part of human life to get entertained, learn, and stay connected to the world. It let you perform various internet-related tasks like gaming, streaming, browsing, downloading, or working, thanks to its clutter-free connectivity.

Besides these amazing benefits, there is a main drawback with this Wi-Fi network – weak/no signal or dead zones, which is caused due to certain reasons like the router’s distance or slow speeds in a room upstairs. To get rid of this frustrating issue, a Wi-Fi Booster (Wi-Fi Extender or Wi-Fi Repeater) is the best way to fix the issue and improve the wireless internet experience all over the coverage area.

The essential thing you have to remember is what device you are looking for and what purpose it serves. Here are some of the key causes why & where we need to use Wi-Fi Booster/Extender

1. Cover Dead Zones

There are some areas called Wi-Fi dead zones in the home/office where it doesn’t have any Wi-Fi signals. The main cause for these dead zones is the structural aspects of the space (or) physical limitation of the Wi-Fi router. To resolve this issue, place a Wi-Fi extender or repeater in the middle of the existing router and dead zone area.

2. Enhance Wi-Fi Speed

The longer the distance between the router and the connected devices (phones/tablets/laptops), the more will be a drop in the Wi-Fi speeds. It is quite a common problem seen in most homes/offices having a Wi-Fi router downstairs, and you need to access fast internet from upstairs (or vice versa).

The slow Wi-Fi signal frustrates you by not letting you make quality video calls. Then the use of a Wi-Fi extender/repeater will increase the range and speed of the Wi-Fi signals without any bandwidth limitations.

3. Large Coverage Area

A single Wi-Fi router won’t be able to cover the entire home/office, especially for large spaces. Based on the size of your coverage area, opt for a mesh network or invest in a Wi-Fi Booster. Also, the placement/location of this Extender or Repeater will play a key role in determining the best seamless connectivity, even if the home or office is large or has multiple floors.

4. Get Wi-Fi in Garage/Outside

Besides enjoying the internet in your home or office, it is essential to access the internet from our garages or outside, which is quite far from the main house (or router). So, investing in a decent Wi-Fi booster is the best way to resolve the problem. They effectively increase the Wi-Fi signal strength and enjoy watching videos, gaming, and browsing from the garage or outside the home, yet ensure that your smart garage door opener stays connected.

When Do We Need Wi-Fi Extender Over a Booster?

A Wi-Fi Extender (or Range Extender) is an excellent and preferred option over a Wi-Fi booster in some specific situations. Here are the instances where you prefer a Wi-Fi extender.

  • In a large office, multi-story house, or sprawling property, where you need to extend the Wi-Fi coverage over a large area.
  • Coverage areas (home/office) with significant physical barriers such as metal structures, thick walls, or concrete hinder the Wi-Fi signal. The Wi-Fi Extender offers a more extensive range to enjoy excellent internet service.
  • When you want to create a separate network with its own SSID and password for the extended coverage area.
  • Whenever extra Ethernet ports are required to connect wired devices in the extended coverage area.
  • The space with multiple dead zones or weak signal areas, where a single boost won’t cover all of them.

A Wi-Fi Extender is an ideal option to use in all these situations, as it provides broader coverage and overcomes the challenges of distance and obstacles. This extender creates a new network reaching areas out of the range. Thus, it delivers a dedicated Wi-Fi solution for specific areas.

Wi-Fi Extender Vs Booster – FAQs

1. What’s the difference between Wi-Fi Repeater and Wi-Fi Extender?

Ans: Generally, the Wi-Fi extender and Wi-Fi repeater devices amplify and rebroadcast Wi-Fi signals to extend the network coverage, making most people use them interchangeably. However, there is a slight distinction between these two based on their functionality.
Here’s the difference…
1. Wi-Fi Extender AKA Range Extender – As we already mentioned, it is designed to retransmit the existing Wi-Fi signal from the router to extend the coverage area. In this process, it creates a new network with its own SSID and password, and it also lets you connect to the new network created while moving around into the extended range.
2. Wi-Fi Repeater – It receives the Wi-Fi signal from the router and amplifies & retransmit it to extend the coverage area without creating a new network. Since it relays between the router and connected devices, the signal can be boosted and maintained with the same network name & password. Thus, you don’t have to switch networks while moving around within the extended coverage range.
Ultimately, the difference lies in the creation of a new network in its functionality. Extenders create a new network, whereas repeaters maintain the existing network. The performance and effectiveness of these devices vary on certain factors like placement, signal strength, and the specific model being used. However, most people use these terms interchangeably, and some devices may perform both functions. 

2. What’s the best place to install a Wi-Fi extender?

Ans: The best place to position the Wi-Fi extender is halfway between the router and the area where you need a stronger signal. It should be within the range of the existing Wi-Fi signal yet close enough to the areas with weak coverage. Thus, it extends the Wi-Fi signal to the desired location. For this, you need to experiment with different placements and also remove physical obstructions to achieve the utmost performance.

3. Is the use of a Wi-Fi Booster make the Wi-Fi signal stronger?

Ans: Yes, a Wi-Fi booster is designed to amplify and extend the existing Wi-Fi signal to make it stronger and more reliable to all connected devices. It enhances the signal strength, extends the coverage area, and thereby reduces the dead zones.

4. What are the cons of a Wi-Fi Booster?

Ans: Here are some cons of using a Wi-Fi Booster…
      *Since the booster shares the available bandwidth with all the connected devices, the overall bandwidth is reduced and might slow down the overall Wi-Fi signal and internet connectivity.
      *Compared to a direct connection to the router, there might be a chance of an increase in latency and slower internet speeds. This is due to the signal being relayed through the booster.

5. What are the cons of a Wi-Fi Extender?

Ans: Take a look at some potential cons of using a Wi-Fi extender, including…
      *The extender shares the available bandwidth with connected devices which might reduce the overall network bandwidth.
      *The slow speed and increased latency in the network, especially when multiple devices are simultaneously connected.

6. Can a Wi-Fi extender or booster support multiple devices?

Ans: Yes, they can. Both booster and extender support multiple devices simultaneously. Ensure that the devices are connected to the same Wi-Fi network to amplify the signal and extended the recommended coverage area to connect multiple devices under this network and work/stream/game/browse uninterruptedly.

Conclusion

Wi-Extenders or Wi-Fi Boosters are essential to enhance Wi-Fi coverage and signal strength. Here the Wi-Fi extender extends the coverage area over large areas to eliminate multiple dead zones. Alternatively, Wi-Fi boosters enhance the overall signal strength within a specific area with the same network name. Although the choice between these two depends mostly on several factors like the size of the space (coverage area), certain coverage requirements, and the presence of obstacles.

As a user, you need to understand the difference and select the most preferred option as per your requirements to enhance the Wi-Fi network and enjoy a seamless, quick, and reliable connection throughout the office or home.

We hope this article provides all the essential information required to clear the confusion among people about Wi-Fi Extenders and Wi-Fi Boosters and also provides an idea of when/where these are used to avail the benefit of flawless internet connectivity.

Feel free to share your queries regarding the Wi-Fi Booster devices in the comments section below. We will respond promptly to resolve them as soon as possible.