Wireless routers provide you with an unplugged Internet experience but they come with their share of inherent limitations, in terms of coverage range. This limitation is inherited from the fact that radio waves are used as the communication medium. Radio waves, being electromagnetic radiation, drop in intensity according to the inverse square law of electromagnetism, with increasing distance. Physical obstructions also create blind spots, where the Wi-Fi signal cannot reach. An effective solution to this problem of poor range and Wi-Fi signal reception is the use of a wireless router range extender.
Even if you have the fastest wireless router installed, it has a limited range, beyond which, no matter what you do, it's going to provide a weak signal. With the use of a wireless range extender, you can go beyond the periphery of your current coverage range. How does this device work to achieve this objective? Let me provide a basic explanation.
A wireless signal booster is a transreceiver. It receives the weak Wi-Fi signal, transmitted by the wireless router, amplifies it, and retransmits it over a wider range. The original signal from the router is left untouched by the extender, besides increasing its signal strength. Thus, in a way, the device repeats the signal and broadcasts it further. That's why, these devices are also known as wireless repeaters. Many university campuses and industrial settings have such repeaters installed, to ensure that there are no blind spots left, due to weak Wi-Fi signal reception.
A glance through wireless router reviews will reveal a great variety of products, that are available in this consumer electronics segment. Similarly, there is a great variety of range extenders available in the market, for you to choose from.
One of the most important factors to be considered, while choosing one, is compatibility. Your existing router and other equipment needs to be compatible with the extender you purchase. Secondly, it is recommended that you go for a 802.11n networking standard based extender, as it provides the greatest transmission speeds overall. Look for security features that include WPA2 encryption and a firewall. Choose any one which suits your overall budget and requirements.
Here are some of the best signal boosters in the market today.
- Hawking HWREN1 Hi-Gain Wireless-300N Range Extender (USD 68.99)
- Netgear Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender WN2000RPT (USD 69.99)
- D-Link DAP-1360 Wireless N Range Extender (USD 69.36)
- Hawking Hi-Gain Wireless-N Dual Radio Smart Repeater (USD 156.72)
- ZyXEL WAP3205 Wireless N Universal Repeater (USD 49.64)
- Amped Wireless SR300 High Power Wireless N Smart Repeater (USD 89.99)
- EnGenius ERB9250 300Mbps Wireless-N Range Extender (USD 59.99)