As our homes and cities are more and more connected to the Internet and the Wi-Fi coverage increases, we enjoy the benefits of the web wherever we are. The problem today is that even the best routers can’t cover a big enough area so that we can stay connected to the Internet continuously. Also, the battery restrictions of our smartphones don’t let us stay for a longer period to a WiFi connection (as you know, the Wi-Fi antenna consumes a massive amount of battery power).
Although we can’t do anything for the battery of our smartphones for the time being (we did see some innovation with the wireless charger of the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone), we can enjoy a better signal from our Wi-Fi routers with a few cool gadgets that extend our signal to a wider area. Also, do check out our guide to improve and extend your Wi-Fi coverage.
What are WiFi Extenders?
What are WiFi extenders or WiFi enhancers? These electronic components are signal boosters for our routers, that multiply the signal sent from the routing device to a wider area, both unidirectional (in one direction) or multidirectional (in multiple directions). WiFi enhancers can be mounted on the router’s antenna and boost the signal directly from the source, or they can be entirely separate devices that boost the signal when it gets low, creating a new hot spot around them.
If a usual WiFi router has a coverage area of about approximately 50 meters, these WiFi extenders can double or even triple the WiFi coverage of your router.
How expensive are these WiFi extenders?
You might expect these devices to have staggering prices, much more over the range of normal WiFi routers. But the truth is that they come in almost the same price range, going from anything around $20 and up to $400 or more. This makes them widely available for anyone who wants a boost of their Wi-Fi signal, to enjoy the web from the backyard or for those who share an Internet connection at a greater distance.
9 Best Wi-Fi Extenders
9. Bounce WiFi Enhancer
This strangely shaped Wi-Fi Enhancer is absolutely great! It doesn’t occupy much space because it’s mounted directly on the antenna of your wireless router and it amplifies and directs the signal in one direction. This gadget is great if your router does not cover a room or a part of your house, just mount in on the antenna of your router, point it in which direction you want and there you are. It’s simple to install, you don’t need an engineering degree to set it up and you can have it up and running in a few minutes! A great piece of tech, and for around $25, one of the best deals you can get. The bad part is that it only points to one direction.
8. EnGenius ERB9250 WiFi Booster
In the budget side of the top comes the EnGenius ERB9250 Wi-Fi Booster, which is only $45. This Wi-Fi Enhancer features easily removable antennas, excellent for later upgrades to your network, when you need a bigger coverage and its small size and neutral looks make it great for a home wireless network. Also, the device can be easily set up, so you can have it up and running in a few minutes.
7. Luxul PW100-24-100 WiFi Booster
The biggest gun in the house, the Luxul PW100-24-100 Wi-Fi Booster has the best coverage (almost the size of a big cyber cafe or store) and it’s designed to be the workhorse for a crowded networks. This Wi-Fi Enhancer is ceiling mounted, so you won’t even see it and it does the job fantastic. The only bad part about it is that it’s harder to find and it costs considerably more than the rest (in the range of $400-$500). Apart from this, for a store or a public indoor place, this device is the way to go!
6. Linksys WRE54G WiFi Booster
Perfect for indoor use, this Wi-Fi Extender can amplify your signal and make it reach all the corners of your house or office, even through thick walls. Also, for multi-story houses, the device can greatly improve your Wi-Fi coverage and give you full strength signal where you previously had none. The size of the device is in the mid-range and it only has one antenna, but trust me when I say: it does the job great!
5. Belkin Dual-Band F9K1106
Belkin has brought us some pretty awesome devices over the years, and with this Wi-Fi enhancer they haven’t disappointed a bit. Giving users an additional 100 meters of Wi-Fi signal and with 4 ethernet ports, this device lets you manage your home or office network very well. Also, its awesome design lets you position it out in the open without the fear that it will ruin the look of your house.
4. Trendnet TEW-637AP
This little device has a pretty big punch. It can amplify your signal to almost 100 meters indoor and a staggering 300 meters outdoors, all this with less power consumption than any other Wi-Fi enhancer. It features a Ethernet port where you can connect wired devices to your network and two Wi-Fi antennas and its small size makes it easy to conceal. Although it does have only one Ethernet port, so it limits the number of wired connections, its huge coverage area makes it great for wireless devices, both indoor and outdoor.
3. Netgear WN3000RP
Although less powerful than the other Wi-Fi enhancers featured in this top, and with only one ethernet port, this device is much more smaller and it fits in one wall socket, so you don’t need a power cord to run it. This is the way to go if you don’t want any wires in your home and if you prefer small, less noticeable devices. It’s great for a home network, amplifying your Wi-Fi signal with another 30 meters, great for a home or office network and not wide enough for other people to piggyback your connection.
2. ZyXEL WAP3205
Offering a hefty 100 meters of extra WiFi signal, the ZyXEL WAP3205 is a great upgrade you can make to your existing home network. Also, it has another two Ethernet ports that you can use to connect your wired devices into the wireless network and with two antennas, one for receiving the Wi-Fi signal and one for bouncing it along. The only thing I could find wrong with this Wi-Fi enhancer is that it does not have a ON/OFF switch, so for turning it off or for resetting the unit, you need to unplug it.
1. Hawking HW2R1
A stunning looking device with lots of power under it, the Hawking HW2R1 is one of the best Wi-Fi enhancers out there. Users of this device have at their disposal three antennas to bounce their Wi-Fi signal at lengths they never thought they could. The first antenna of the Wi-Fi Enhancer picks up the Wi-Fi signal coming from your router and the other two bounce it back out, giving you a Wi-Fi signal that goes up to 150 meters. Also, the device comes with five Ethernet ports, so you can connect an additional five wired devices to your network with ease.
With these awesome gadgets at your disposal you can now amplify your Wi-Fi coverage and surf the web from any part of your home or property. This means that you can connect more devices to your home networks, eliminating wires and making a step towards the smart house, where devices communicate with each other and are integrated seamlessly into your life.