A lot of my friends complain about not being able to use their WiFi across their entire houses. These same people want to use their WiFi in their yards, and it’s definitely not easy to have massive coverage with a basic router.
I always chime in and ask them if they have a WiFi booster.
But everyone seems to have a thousand questions. Once I am done explaining the benefits of a WiFi booster (I recommend reading my Superboost WiFi booster reviews ), they seem to ask how these devices actually work.
Today, I am going to explain to all of our readers exactly how a WiFi booster works. The next time one of my friends asks about these devices, I can point them to this article for a thorough explanation on the topic.
What Exactly is a WiFi Booster?
Your WiFi signal is 100% dependent on your router. The latest and greatest routers have a range that is 150-feet indoors due to walls and obstructions in the home. This is a rather long distance for the signal to travel, but it will still be fairly strong outside of the room where the router is located.
But the further away the router is from the connecting device, the weaker the signal will be.
The highest speeds you’ll be able to achieve are close to the router – in the same room. WiFi, in my experience, will always be a bit slower than plugging your device directly into the router. I have a gaming rig in the same room as my router just a few feet away.
I had terrible latency and ping, and the key issue was WiFi.
When I plugged my computer directly into the router, all of the ping and latency disappeared.
Imagine the signal outside of the room where the router is located. I can still stream Netflix, but the signal is much weaker than in the room where the router is located. If you want to speed up your Internet , you’ll have to find a way to amplify your signal outside of the main room.
This is where a WiFi booster comes in.
You may want to consider this a signal amplifier. The goal is to make the signal go further and be stronger as a result. The signal may be replicated, and when this occurs, it will extend the signal at the expense of speed.
Speed will dip because the signal’s strength is halved when these devices are in use.
But that’s the speed that is created on an additional WiFi network that the booster creates. You’ll receive a signal outside of your normal coverage area, and the signal may be weaker, but it’s still able to offer enough speed for streaming and downloading.
How WiFi Boosters Work
WiFi boosters work off of your original Internet connection. Imagine that these devices use your original Internet connection to replicate and rebroadcast the signal afterward. The rebroadcast may be slower, but the signal is extended or boosted.
The booster may also do a few other things:
- Some boosters will take the signal and try to make it stronger
- Rebroadcast the stronger signal to create a better overall connection
But a lot of devices are using the word “booster” and “extender” for the same device. Extenders may also be a booster, and the way that these devices work is that they’ll take a signal and create a new network off of it.
The network may be home_extension, or some name that you choose or that is standard for the device.
When this occurs, the booster will transmit all of the data to the main router when you connect to it. You’ll have two nodes of communication, and when you add more nodes, you’ll be extending the radius of the signal at the loss of some of the speed.
Telephone lines and television lines work much in the same way.
Radio broadcast towers have the same issue, and these transmission lines will use their own signal amplifiers to stretch long distances. Each amplifier leads to a weaker signal, but it’s still a signal that’s strong enough that the end consumer doesn’t notice the difference.
Internet connections work much in the same manner, and these connections will start to lose some of the initial strength that comes from the router.
Boosters extend the signal length and may even amplify the signal slightly.
When you install a booster, you’ll find that they promote being “dual-band.” What this means is that one band of information comes into the booster, and the other band is communicating with the router.
Different models work differently.
You may find one booster that plugs directly into an electrical outlet and another that is designed to sit on a shelf or desk. The models that plug into the electrical outlet are optimal because they have a direct power feed.
The antennas will vary from one model to the next, too.
Stronger antennas will be able to extend the distance that the signal is able to travel.
I want to be clear that there’s a misconception that a lot of people have since a lot of boosters will split the connection in two. When the connection is split, some speed will be lost, but the signal strength may be better.
You may see a “split” in speed, but it truly depends on how far away the router is from the device. Let’s assume that you are able to receive 50 MBps download speeds when you’re close to the router, but only 10 MBps in your bedroom.
The booster may have 25 MBps and be able to supply your bedroom with 20 MBps because it’s closer and provides a stronger overall signal.
Yes, the signal is not as strong as if you were plugged directly into the router, but the signal is still far stronger than it would have been otherwise. A lot of companies offer WiFi boosters – some of the biggest brands in the world. When you choose the right device, it will improve your home’s Internet speed and connection drastically.
So, if your speed dips in some rooms or the connection is weak, a booster can definitely help.