FAQ about Wi-Fi range extenders, boosters, and repeaters
Does my Wi-Fi extender need to be the same brand as my router?
No, generally your Wi-Fi extender does not need to be the same brand as your router. For example, if you have a D-Link router, you could get any of the extenders we recommend in the chart above. Occasionally, extenders used with the same brand of routers may offer a few extra features or be easier to set up. There are a few exceptions to this, so make sure an extender is compatible with your modem before you make a purchase.
How do Wi-Fi extenders work?
A Wi-Fi extender connects to your router the same way any other device (such as a laptop or tablet) connects. Like a router, it broadcasts an omnidirectional signal, which is a fancy way of saying it broadcasts the signal in all directions. An extender takes the Wi-Fi signal from your router and repeats it to a larger area.
Are there routers that have built-in capability to broadcast to a large area?
Yes, you can get a mesh router system for around $250. This replaces your router and also extends the range of a home Wi-Fi System. Amazon’s Eero Wi-Fi Mesh System functions as a router and extender system in one. Its expansive 5,000 sq. ft. coverage area should keep you streaming happily from any part of your home.
Do boosters, repeaters, and extenders slow down my internet speed?
Yes, boosters, repeaters, and extenders may slow down your internet speed. This is because your devices connect to the extender first, and then the extender connects to your modem/router, which then connects to the internet. Boosters, extenders, and repeaters extend the infrastructure of your Wi-Fi network, so they can cause slowing that will be particularly noticeable while gaming, using a VPN, transferring large files, or uploading photos or videos.
Will a Wi-Fi booster work with a Nintendo Switch, Xbox, or other gaming system?
Yes, a Wi-Fi booster will connect to an Xbox, Nintendo Switch, or most other types of gaming systems. Just remember that boosters, extenders, and repeaters can all slow down your internet connection, which can make gaming more difficult.
If you have download speeds of 100 Mbps or more, you might not notice the decrease in speed. But if you have a slow, rural internet connection speed around 12 Mbps or so, you’ll notice that extenders and repeaters in particular do slow down internet speeds, making online gaming almost impossible.
This can be a bummer if you’re hoping to connect your Nintendo Switch or Xbox in the basement. Devices connected to the extender or booster will have slower internet speeds than the rest of the house. In that case, it might be worth either moving your gaming system upstairs or your router and modem downstairs.
CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED ‘AS IS’ AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME.