A Wi-Fi range extender is a great option if there are areas of the house or apartment with weak or no Wi-Fi signal. It is important first to determine if the range extender is the best solution in the first place. It might be better, for example, to replace your Wi-Fi router if it is more than a decade old. There are a few factors worth keeping in mind when shopping for a Wi-Fi extender to guarantee that you make the right choice.
It is no use buying a range extender if your existing router cannot support it. Check your router specifications, particularly the Wi-Fi standards and compare these to the extender to ensure that they are compatible. It is also worth mentioning that the speed of the extender should also match that of the router. An extender with a higher speed means paying more for capacity that you simply cannot use.
Choose between single and dual-band
Range extenders typically come in single-band and dual-band varieties. The single-band extender typically only supports 2.4GHz bandwidth while the dual supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bandwidths. The choice largely depends on your existing router and budget.
A single-band extender is a cheaper option. It, however, means that you can only expect 2.4 GHz to the rest of the house. You can still get 5GHz in areas covered by your router as long as it has the capability.
A dual-band extender is recommended for dual-band routers. This allows you to get faster speeds all through the house.
Security is yet another important consideration when shopping for a Wi-Fi extender. Look out for WPA2-PSK or AES in short which is the latest in Wi-Fi Protected Access. This capability means that only people who have your password can connect to your wireless network. Confirm that your router supports WPA. It may be worth upgrading if you have the TKIP version and want to enhance your network security.
It is worth considering the aesthetic design of the extender if you are very particular about your interior design. There are smaller range extenders that connect directly to power outlets which are a good option if you want to keep your equipment out of sight.
Finally, larger extenders come with dedicated power supplies and aerials and may be more difficult to integrate into your interior design. These, however, typically come with more and better features than their compact counterparts.