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Ethernet Repeater Guide: Do You Really Need One?

There’s a lot of things that changed in tech in the past few decades. People can now do almost anything on the internet:  watch shows, buy stuff, order food, etc. With these things in mind, having a strong internet connection is always a good thing. One signal drop can ruin things at work or school. 

Extending the internet connection is quite a challenge during the early days. Physical considerations in the location of a machine are considered before installing the final location for the ethernet. But thanks to the invention of ethernet repeater extender options, connecting devices has never been more accessible. 

What Is An Ethernet Repeater? 

Back when internet technology is young, the scene is dominated by ethernet cables. Although the WiFi technology has been released as early as 1997, it took a few years to lift off and reach its potential, which can be seen today. An ethernet cable can only support up to 100 meters without other things installed. 

A repeater works by creating a new network (or segments) of Ethernet systems and relaying the signal into it. Repeaters would recreate the signal from the source and rebroadcast it as is to the next segment. It also keeps the signal in its original form (with all frames received correctly.) Signals rebroadcasted this way use the same frequency, resulting in higher latency. 

Think of it as a game of relay. The original player will run toward the next in line, passing the baton and making sure that it’s completely intact. Since each relay player uses the same speed when running toward the next player, no boosting really happened. Once all relay players finished their runs, the baton (aka internet signal) has successfully made it into the intended device. 

The ethernet repeater tech is quite old; most people treat this technology as first-generation Ethernet extenders. However, there is one key component that differentiates extenders from repeaters: the use of different channels for signal transmission. 

Is Ethernet Repeater And Extender The Same Thing? 

Both ethernet repeaters and ethernet extenders do the same thing: help extend the internet connection coverage.  However, they do the same thing in a different manner. An Ethernet extender uses a wired port to move the signal that has a longer distance to cover. It will then distribute the signal via router for wireless means, so more devices can connect to it efficiently. 

With the use of wires, the data can be transmitted to as far as 2 kilometers. Ethernet extenders use the copper infrastructure already available in most houses. There are two extenders that work in pair: the one converts the data transmission to DSL so it can travel through the copper cables. The second extender converts it back to an Ethernet connection. 

Currently, it is possible to use ethernet repeater WiFi options (or WiFi repeaters like RangeXTD) that don’t require any physical wired network port. However, the ethernet repeater extender (or WiFi extenders) need a cable setup to work efficiently. Although WiFi extenders might seem more complicated than using repeaters, extenders tend to be faster and more efficient in transferring data. 

Can You Connect An Ethernet Cable To A WiFi Extender? 

The available tech consumer products in the market had since started using wireless protocols for connecting to the internet. However, the wired internet transmission is still the fastest and most reliable way for ISPs to deliver their services. Fortunately, this problem is usually solved via connecting an ethernet cable to a WiFi Extender

Usually, WiFi extenders pick up a signal from an existing wireless source and amplify it to get better coverage. Nowadays, WiFi extenders usually include ethernet docks where they can draw internet connection and supply to another wireless device. This setup usually works by setting the configuration as ethernet input, WiFi output. 

In this case, your WiFi extender also serves as a wireless bridge. All you have to do is to connect the ethernet cable to the WiFi extender’s ethernet dock, and you’re good to go. 

Take note: some WiFi extenders have ethernet ports but don’t support ethernet input. If unsupported, these ports are there just for setting up network configurations. Before buying a WiFi extender, make sure that that the model supports an ethernet-in, WiFi-out setup.

What If There’s A Lot Of Physical Obstruction? 

Using a WiFi extender as an ethernet signal booster is quite feasible and practical if there is no obstruction. According to LinkSys, physical obstructions like thick walls and fixtures usually results in poor signal or none at all. If you have to supply an internet connection on multiple rooms with the same consistency, you might want to get an Ethernet Powerline kit instead. 

For a more affordable and hassle-free experience, an ethernet repeater or ethernet extender will still do the job. However, the speed might be lacking or slow

Other Methods Of Extending Ethernet Connection

Powerline ethernet kit, ethernet repeater, ethernet extender: these are usually the most popular options to extend ethernet connection. Their popularity is due to their convenience and relative ease of installation. But for those who are still seeking other options, the list below might answer their problems. 

1. Fiber Optic

Fiber Optic is crazily fast and reliable when it comes to extending your ethernet connection, especially when compared to ethernet repeater. The utmost speed and reliability make it a popular option for people with heavy internet user needs. However, this type of connection is also quite expensive and might need tons of work for installation. 

2. Cellular Data Networking

For a quick and painless temporary extension, a simple cellular wireless router extension might be a good alternative. This method uses the cell towers to transmit the signal from one phone to another. In this method, your phone works as a wireless bridge. You might want to consider this option if there is not enough power to run multiple ethernet repeater. 

3. UTP Cables

If you’re a daring soul, you can instead extend the UTP cord. This cord is the copper cabling used on LANs and telephones. It is not recommended because you need to drill holes into the walls, to install these cables. However, this method gives the most reliable method of extending your ethernet connection.

April 11, 2021


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