A Wi-Fi booster, also known as a Wi-Fi range extender, is a device that helps amplify your existing Wi-Fi signal to reach the dead zones in your home or office. The best Wi-Fi boosters have dual-band technology, external antennas, ethernet ports, can handle multiple devices, and are easy to set up.
Why You Need a Wi-Fi Booster
Having a Wi-Fi dead zone in your home where the signal is poor or nonexistent is frustrating. A Wi-Fi booster provides the following benefits:
- Extends the range of your Wi-Fi – Eliminates dead zones in rooms that are far from your router. This helps ensure you have a strong signal no matter where you are.
- Boosts speeds – If too many devices connect to one router, it can slow down your internet speeds substantially. A booster amplifies the signal for faster connections.
- Stable connectivity – Spotty wireless connections that arbitrarily drop out can be incredibly annoying. Wi-Fi boosters provide a steady, reliable signal in areas that typically have weak coverage.
Top 6 Wi-Fi Boosters
Based on range extension capability, connectivity, speeds, number of devices handled, ease of use and customer satisfaction, here are the top 6 Wi-Fi boosters:
- Netgear Nighthawk X6S
- Tri-band mesh technology covers up to 3,500 sq. ft.
- Powers up to 45 devices without lagging
- DL speeds up to 2.2 Gbps/UL speeds up to 533 Mbps
- Six high-powered amplifiers & 4 external antennas
- TP-Link RE650 AC2600
- Covers up to 14,000 sq. ft.
- 1,733 Mbps on 5GHz band & 800 Mbps on 2.4GHz band
- Four external antennas with RangeBoost technology
- Gigabit ethernet port to connect wired devices
- Linksys RE9000 AC3000
- Whole home mesh WiFi covers up to 6,000 sq. ft.
- Tri-band eliminates congestion providing top speeds
- Intelligent App optimizes WiFi performance
- Works with Alexa for smart home control
- Google WiFi Mesh System
- A single unit covers up to 1,500 sq. ft.
- Adds units to extend range throughout large homes
- Simple app for setup, management, parental controls
- Works well with Nest devices
- Securifi Almond Touchscreen
- Stylish touchscreen design is easy to use
- Range of up to 10,000 sq. ft.
- Useful network management and monitoring
- Works as router extender or access point
- Amped Wireless High Power AC1750
- 5,000+ sq. ft. range with latest chipset & high gain antennas
- Support 4K streaming & VR gaming without lag
- Advanced security encryption protocols
- Complete network control from anywhere
Key Features to Look for in Wi-Fi Boosters
- Dual-band or Tri-band – They provide both 2.4GHz & 5GHz signals (dual) or add a 3rd band (tri) avoiding congestion. Tri-band are best for 4K/8K streaming, online gaming, video calls.
- Range extension – Bigger homes need hardware covering 10,000+ sq.ft. Check range specs before buying.
- High gain antennas – Multiple internal & external high gain antennas focus signals in specific directions for best coverage.
- Gigabit ports – Having ethernet ports allows connecting wired devices like Smart TVs, game consoles to boost WiFi performance.
- MU-MIMO – Multi-user multiple input, multiple output directs bandwidth efficiently when multiple devices connect. Essential to prevent speed drops.
- WMM Support – Wi-Fi multimedia extensions prioritize bandwidth for apps like YouTube & Netflix for smooth video streaming/calls.
- Beamforming – Focuses Wi-Fi signals to Wi-Fi devices instead of broadcasting uniformly for faster, reliable connections.
- CPU – A fast processor is necessary for the booster to handle the network workload without latency or drops especially with 4K content.
- App control – Monitoring signal strength per device, changing WiFi settings & priorities from anywhere is convenient.
How to Position Your Wi-Fi Booster
Ideal Wi-Fi booster placement depends on your home size and layout. Follow these tips:
- Place it in a central location in your home for optimal range to reduce dead zones.
- Position it on a flat surface or mount it halfway between your router and the Wi-Fi dead zone.
- Away from obstructions – Keep the extender out in the open for line of sight rather than hidden behind furniture.
- Try different spots like shelves & ceiling mounts to determine what works best based on your interior design.
- For multi-storey homes, install on floor below/above to push signal vertically avoiding concrete attenuation.
- Test coverage after setup – Walk to dead zone areas with phone/laptop connected to extender network to confirm new stable speeds.
Wi-Fi Booster vs Wi-Fi Mesh Network
People often confuse Wi-Fi boosters and Wi-Fi mesh systems:
|Wi-Fi Mesh Systems
|Extends existing router’s signal
|Creates new robust network
|Cheaper, starting $25
|Usually over $100+, multi-packs
|Quick & simple set up
|Single frequency band usually
|Usage flexibility with tri-band support
Mesh systems involve placing multiple router units around your home. While more expensive, Wi-Fi mesh systems are better for larger homes exceeding boosters’ capacity and for advanced usage like simultaneous 8K streaming, VR gaming and 500+ smart home devices.
- Investing in a reliable Wi-Fi booster eliminates frustrating dead zones with poor or no signal in parts of your home/office.
- They conveniently strengthen and expand your existing router’s wireless coverage area for stable connections anywhere on premises.
- Look for key features like dual-band/tri-band, high gain antennas, Gigabit ports, WMM, MU-MIMO, beamforming for lag-free online gaming and 4K video streaming.
- Strategic placement of your Wi-Fi booster is vital – test different central ceiling/wall spots half-way from router for optimal performance based on interior layout.
Choosing the best Wi-Fi booster ultimately depends on your household’s size, tech devices used, streaming needs and budget. The top all-round options striking a balance across essential criteria are the Linksys RE9000 AC3000 and TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi boosters. Place the booster halfway between your existing router and dead zone for marked improvements in speed, range and connectivity in troublesome areas of your home plagued by poor Wi-Fi coverage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do Wi-Fi boosters really work?
A: Yes, Wi-Fi boosters effectively amplify weak wireless signals providing faster internet speeds and wider coverage areas in hard to reach dead zones. Position them correctly for best performance gains.
Q: Will two Wi-Fi boosters work?
A: You can add a second Wi-Fi booster to further strengthen signal in very large homes. But first try moving one booster closer to router and dead zone before buying another.
Q: Can you have too many Wi-Fi boosters?
A: Adding more than 2 Wi-Fi boosters can degrade performance instead of helping if not properly configured. It’s best not to use too many boosters as you’ll reach a point of diminishing returns.
Q: Where should I put my Wi-Fi booster?
A: Ideal placement is roughly halfway between your router and the dead zone room in a central, high & obstruction-free area inside your home for reliable line of sight signal transmission.
Q: Is Netgear or TP-Link Wi-Fi booster better?
A: Netgear & TP-Link both offer high performance boosters. Netgear has more premium features great for media streaming while TP-Link specializes in range extension ideal for large homes.
Q: How far can Wi-Fi boosters reach?
A: Long range boosters using latest Wi-Fi standards extend coverage up to 10,000 – 15,000 square feet indoors. Several boast reliable transmission reaching backyards, garages outside too.
Q: Will a range extender slow down Internet speed?
A: Adding a booster can lower Internet speeds slightly but should still provide faster, more stable connectivity in dead zone areas that originally had weak/no signal before extending.
Q: Can I use Wi-Fi booster as router?
A: Most Wi-Fi boosters allow changing mode to function as a router instead of wireless repeater. This builds new signal instead of strengthening existing router coverage area.
Q: How to install Wi-Fi booster?
A: Installation is quick & easy – locate halfway between router & dead zone, plug into wall socket nearby and pair booster with host wireless network through web interface or mobile app using password.
Q: Do I need Wi-Fi extender if I have mesh network?
A: If your mesh WiFi system covers entire home without dead zones, an additional extender is not necessary. But you can add one far from nodes for extra range like backyard if needed.
Q: What does a Wi-Fi booster do?
A: A Wi-Fi booster receives existing weak router signal, amplifies it & rebroadcasts the boosted wireless network expanding coverage area deeper into dead zones that have little to no Wi-Fi access.
Q: Where to buy Wi-Fi boosters?
A: Reliable places to buy Wi-Fi boosters include Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Newegg & the hardware makers’ own online stores like TP-Link, Netgear, Linksys, Securifi.
Q: When to use Wi-Fi booster or repeater?
A: If your router still covers some nearby areas, use an affordable Wi-Fi booster to expand range further by boosting & repeating the signal. Or install a mesh system for heavier usage.
Q: Can a Wi-Fi booster steal bandwidth?
A: No. Boosters use wireless protocols to legally share some bandwidth from your existing router or ISP assigned bandwidth itself. Any reduction in final speeds is marginal based on usage not theft.
Q: Is Wi-Fi booster same as Wi-Fi extender?
A: Yes, Wi-Fi booster and Wi-Fi extender are different names used to describe the same type of product designed to expand the range of your regular wireless router’s coverage zone.
Q: How do Wi-Fi boosters increase speed?
A: Boosters repeat & strengthen the existing signal leading to faster data rates. But if router is too weak or booster overloaded by simultaneous 4K streams, congestion results in speed drops instead.