Weak Wi-Fi signals are a huge problem in our modern world. The reason could be anything but the question is: can it be solved?  Yes, there are various devices available in the market that boost your router, thereby amplifying the strength of the signals. They may have the same goal, but they have different working principles. Where do they differ? Do they also perform differently? Read on to find the difference between a Wi-Fi extender, a Wi-Fi booster, and a Wi-Fi repeater.

What Is A Wifi Extender?

A Wi-Fi extender is a device that catches the existing signals from your Wi-Fi router like the Netgear AC 1600 and expands the overall coverage. It somewhat plays the role of a bridge between your router and your electronic device —catching the signals, amplifying, and rebroadcasting them to where they are feeble or non-existent.

Think of it as a ball game, where there are three people, and the middle one works as a passer. A Wi-Fi extender functions similarly as the middle passing device, which gets the waves from the router and passes them to other devices in your home.

One thing you need to remember is that your smartphone will be connected to your router unless you manually shift it to the extender. It doesn’t matter even if the device is in closer proximity; you still have to shift it.

Where Do You Place the Extender?

Before setting up an extender, place the router in the center of your home for broadcasting signals in every corner. If the router is placed somewhere in the corner, there might be a chance of generating signal blind spots.

The extender connects with the router via an ethernet cable. It means you can place the extender anywhere you want as long as the cable reaches it. No obstacles or distance will obscure the signal strength between the device and the router.

What Is a Wi-Fi Booster?

A Wi-Fi-booster is similar to an extender, having the sole purpose of enhancing the existing signals. Putting up a booster in your home would eliminate dead spots. It would enable every device to connect strongly with the network irrespective of where it is placed.

It works by catching the signals, increasing their strength, and reemitting the stronger waves.  The strength of the amplification depends on the efficiency of the device. Usually, they are cable of extending the range ten times than the original.

For instance, if your existing router isn’t sufficient to supply network to all the floors of your house or office building, a booster can get it done. This would spare you to pay double bills for an additional Wi-Fi connection.

Note that even a booster can have dead spots if the desired area is large. The reason is the blockage of signals due to obstructions. But how do you solve it? The placement of the booster matters a lot. If it is placed somewhere in the corner, the other side of the building may not get strong signals. Therefore, allot a centralized position for the booster to work at its best.

What Is a Wi-Fi Repeater?

Just like the other two, router and cable modems we have discussed above; a repeater extends the overall coverage of your Wi-Fi router. It receives the signals, boost their strength to provide a stronger internet connection. In this way, it gives out signals to places where there are weak Wi-Fi signals.

It connects with the router wirelessly, and any physical objects can weaken the connection. In other words, the repeater should be in a clear range with the router; otherwise, the signals will remain faint. The distance between both devices matters as well — the further you place it, the weaken will be the strength of the connection, and the repeater won’t be able to retransmit properly.

Another thing that you must know is that it connects your router with the same frequency as your electronics devices. Simply put, your bandwidth will be reduced.

Setting up a repeater is a piece of cake. As it works wirelessly, you wouldn’t have to worry about dealing with additional wires. Just place it where the router is in direct range with no obstructions between them. Plus, make sure that there are no other wave-emitting devices like microwaves and radios between them. The signals from these devices can mess up their normal functioning.

Where Do They Differ?

As established before, both Wi-Fi repeaters and Wi-Fi extenders have a similar purpose — extending the range of your existing router.  But they differ in how they work and behave. An extender, after amplifying the signals, transmit them with a different network name. In other words, it will act as another Wi-Fi hotspot instead of using the same network name as your existing network.

People often forget to change the extender’s name, which makes it impossible for them to recognize the stronger connection. You must have to rename the extender for convenience. For instance, if your original Wi-Fi network’s name was “Wireless1,” then your extender should be named differently say “Wireless2”.

On the other hand, a repeater behaves differently — it repeats the signals instead of generating a new connection. The signals are received, boosted, and relayed with a similar network name as your initial connection. This is why people prefer repeaters over extenders.

Another point where they differ is how they connect with the router. An extender usually connects with the router via an ethernet cable, whereas a repeater builds up a wireless connection. However, being wireless, the strength of the connection between the repeater and router changes with the presence of obstructions.

Lastly, a booster can be both — a repeater and an extender. There are hybrid booster devices available in the market as well, which have both wired and wireless features.


Nothing feels worse than a weak Wi-Fi connection. Get yourself a Wi-Fi extender, Wi-Fi repeater, or Wi-Fi booster to change your whole world. With the information illustrated above, the terms should not sound confusing anymore, enabling you to make a sounder decision for yourself.