We are going to explain what a WiFi repeater is and how it works. It is one of the main alternatives, along with the PLCs considering improving the WiFi signal in your home and hoping it to cover every corner. Hence, if you want to choose a repeater to buy, it is crucial to know how they work.
It is an effortless and straightforward device, so you will immediately know how it works. But so that no one is left with any doubts, we will try to talk about everything in a simple way, first what it is and how it works and more.
What is a WiFi repeater
A WiFi repeater, namely a WiFi amplifier or adapter, is one of the devices you can find to extend your home network coverage. Yes, wired connections are the best from a speed point of view, but it is not always possible due to the distance and number of devices to connect. And even the range of your router also has its limits.
And it is precisely at these times that WiFi repeaters come into use as the cheapest alternative to expand your network coverage. They do capture the WiFi network’s signal that you already have in your house and extend it so that it reaches further. The signal is the same, with the same name for the WiFi and the same password.
Therefore, we have a device that bridges the gap between the area where you have good WiFi coverage and the area where you want to extend it because it has a weaker signal. It does this by capturing the WiFi signal that reaches it and then extending it with its antennas.
This kind of “bridge” works in both directions. This means that it takes the data from your router to an area where its original coverage does not reach, but it collects the data from the devices in that same area and sends it back to the router. There can be a fluid connection. The experience is the same as if the router were there.
In some cases, some extenders also create their own completely independent WiFi network with a different name and another password in addition to expanding existing networks. This has the disadvantage that you will have to reconfigure your devices to connect, although if you are always going to have those devices connected to the extender, it is a lesser evil in exchange for better performance.
How a WiFi repeater works
As for its operation, this is quite simple. WiFi repeaters contain two wireless routers. With one, your home’s existing WiFi signal is collected, which is transferred to the second to transmit it again enhanced so that it has more range and reaches the corners where the router coverage does not reach.
An example of an operation would be the following. Imagine that you have your router installed in a room and that in your living room, there is not enough signal to connect a device to the WiFi. What you would do with this amplifier is to connect it to an intermediate area where the WiFi signal arrives well and where the amplifier can emit a signal that reaches the living room.
The fact of mentioning an intermediate zone is not random, and it is that the place where we place the repeater is key for its correct operation. You have to put it in a kind of intermediate point between the site where the router is and the area where you want the coverage to reach.
You also have to make sure that it receives a good signal from the router at that intermediate point to be able to extend it correctly. It has to be in that place until the coverage of your WiFi gets bad, but from which it begins to deteriorate. What you will do when you put this repeater there is precisely that it emits a signal as if the router were there and that it goes further without problems.
Unlike PLCs, another alternative that extends coverage by carrying the WiFi signal through electrical wiring, with WiFi amplifiers, you do not need to buy any type of pack since you only need a single device to expand the WiFi network. That makes them a cheaper alternative.
In addition, you do not depend on how the electrical wiring in your house is. Of course, the repeater will need to be connected to a socket to have enough power to operate and do its tasks. The PLC can be especially useful in large houses where a repeater is not enough to cover all areas, but in most, it is more than enough to improve your connection.
What you must take into account in a WiFi repeater
Here is a summary of the points to consider when choosing a WiFi adapter.
Ease of connection: Setting up a WiFi repeater is very simple. You should need to connect it to the power and know both the network’s name and the password. But it can still be easier utilizing protected configuration – called WPS for short – that will connect this repeater with your WiFi simply by pressing a button on both devices.
Design: The most common design of current repeaters is a small plastic block that will connect directly to a socket. They generally have a couple of LED lights so that we know at a glance that they are on and the strength of the signal, as well as antennas. Other WiFi repeaters, generally more complex, have more ports, options and more expensive. They have an aesthetic similar to those of routers.
Security standards: The WiFi repeater model you buy should integrate WPA2-PSK (AES), the latest and most secure standard that exists to date. These standards are related to the encryption method used, which will prevent a person outside your network from accessing it. If you want to avoid intruders, choosing the best encryption system is one way to avoid it.
The available security standards are ordered from best to worst:
- WPA2 + AES
- WPA + AES
- WPA + TKIP / AES
- WPA + TKIP
- Open network