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Does WiFi Extender Slow Down Internet

WiFi is becoming the standard for home internet use throughout the world. If you need to always stay connected at home or work, the best option is to set out wireless internet. There are devices like WiFi extenders, WiFi booster, and more plug-and-play tools that improve connectivity. 

Setting up wireless internet makes it more flexible for users to get online. But to achieve this convenience, a sacrifice in another area is needed. And when it comes to WiFi extenders, this sacrifice is likely at the speed of the internet itself. The ultimate question is this: does a WiFi extender slow down internet speed? 

What Is A WiFi Extender? 

A WiFi extender is a device connected to your primary internet source and extends its range to a further part of the house or an area. These extenders can make your WiFi range longer by catching a signal from the source and rebroadcasting it in the nearby area. It is a pretty neat device to reach wireless dead spaces within your home. 

How Does It Work? 

For a WiFi extender like RangeXTD to work, the device should still be in the original WIFi source range. Of course, the closer it is to your router, the stronger signal is received and rebroadcasted. If you want a consistent connection performance, you would need to remove as many physical obstructions as possible. 

WiFi extenders can also use a wired connection instead of a router. With this method, the user will have a more consistent connection speed because it is usually attached to a wired connection. Extenders use either an existing coaxial cable or ethernet connection (for newer models.) 

Does WiFi Extender Slow Internet Speed?

So is it true? Does wifi extender slow down internet? Will a wifi extender slow down my internet? 

The short answer is: yes, using a WiFi extender will always have some kind of loss in the performance. Losses happen when the data is transmitted from one device to another before the end-user receives it. You will never get the same speed from your router when connecting to signal extender devices. 

However, In the case of the WiFi extender, these losses should be minimal and not that noticeable. The reason is that most extenders use wired connections: a very strong input signal will get a strong output. If you find your connection a lot slower when connecting with the WiFi extender, you might need to hunt the causes of this speed loss. 

WiFi Extender Bottleneck

This problem is usually seen on older WiFi extender models. It is an extender bottleneck when you only see the speed drop while connected to the extender. The problem occurs when you’re using an extender that cannot keep up with your current plan’s upload and download speed. 

Delay For Feedback Loop

WiFi extenders tend to slow down transmission to avoid a feedback loop from happening. However, this mechanism sacrifices speed over stability. The delay can be substantial, especially if you’re streaming media or playing an online game. 

Since both the signal source and amplified signal uses the same channel (WiFi,) things can get pretty jammed up in the airwaves. 

Physical Obstructions And Ineffective Positioning

WiFi extenders will also have the same problem that a wireless router faces. Since it’s just rebroadcasting signals via WiFi, any physical obstruction will give delays or inefficiencies. This also applies if your router and extender positioning isn’t optimal. Both devices should be able to detect each other to be able to communicate. 

Bands Available

And last but not least, a slow WiFi connection might be due to using a single band. In a single band extender, both the data and communication (from device to device) all happens through WiFi. This often makes 50% reduced performance due to additional WiFi usage. Good WiFi extenders usually have a 2.4GHz band (for light usage) and a 5GHz band (reserve for heavy internet use.)

Does A Repeater Slow Down Internet? 

Now that we cleared up things for extenders, here’s the next big question: does wifi repeater slow down internet?

WiFi repeaters function differently compared to extenders, even if they’re both WiFi booster. So does WiFi repeater slow down the internet? The answer is, yes: it can, and it can even have the worst performance. Again, since your data is coming through another device, it is usually slowed down. But this effect is worse compared to the WiFi repeaters. 

A WiFi repeater works by connecting to the router and the device recipient using the same frequency. The connection among these devices is purely wireless. Hence, they can get affected by interferences such as physical obstructions and other waves (microwaves, stereos, etc.)

Additionally, WiFi repeaters will always have a slower connection than WiFi extenders due to their functionality. Since all the communication from all the devices is happening in the same band, it eats additional bandwidth and halves the speed of data transmission. 

How To Reduce Speed Lag When Using WiFi Extenders? 

An easy fix to reduce the lag is by moving your WiFi extender nearer to your router. Moving your extender nearer the router means that it will amplify stronger signals. Take note: this might leave you with lesser coverage from your extender due to its closeness from the source. 

The next thing you can do is to check your extender before buying. If your current plan can use up to 100mbps, get a WiFi extender that can use at least 100mbps. This is to avoid possible bottlenecks that can happen when the extender fails to keep up with the current internet plan. 

Consider getting a dual-band repeater to reduce bandwidth loss. Configure one of your bands to output one channel via WiFi (make sure it’s the larger band) and use the slower one for device communication. Don’t forget to update the firmware of both your router and extender, as this overlooked step might be the cause. 

And lastly, take note that the more extender you use, the slower the data transmission would be. Each extender connects through the router, and as the number of clients increases, the slower the router speed would be. In this case, if you really need wide WiFi signal coverage, getting a second router might be a more viable option.

April 12, 2021


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