As more companies are forced to work remotely while schools switch to online classes, Wi-Fi signals are sometimes lagging due to increase in users. While getting a network upgrade may cost much, a cheaper option is to get Wi-Fi signal boosters.
Wi-Fi extenders are small devices that are plugged into an outlet to give a stronger wireless signal, particularly on areas with weak coverage. Toms Guide listed five great Wi-Fi boosters that will provide stronger signals to eliminate dead spots without the need for an upgrade. However, since not all products are the same, we also included the factors to consider when buying the best Wi-Fi extenders in 2020.
What to look for when buying Wi-Fi extenders
- Wi-Fi Standardscompatibility - Get a Wi-Fi extenders that uses the same wireless standard as the router. For instance, get a 802.11ac standard Wi-Fi extender if the router uses the same. If you are using older routers, which are slower, it will slow down all browsing and streaming activities.
- Plug-In or Desktop - Most Wi-Fi extenders are plug-ins, which are affordable and can be directly connected to a wall outlet. However, there are also larger Wi-Fi extenders that look like a router and include better internal hardware as well as allow better antenna placement.
- Location - Look for a spot close enough to the router to ensure a strong signal to rebroadcast, but still be able to reach the area where the signal is needed.
- Cost- There are Wi-Fi repeaters that sell for $50 or less. While newer signal boosters support the latest wireless standards and advanced connectivity technologies, they cost more. Nevertheless, there are great extenders for less than $200.
- Get an upgrade:Consider getting a new router if the existing one is not providing the needed coverage or speed. Newer models offer wider range and better performance.
The best Wi-Fi extenders in 2020
To get a clear picture of how well these Wi-Fi extenders perform, each device is evaluated using hands-on usage at home and in-depth lab tests as well as measured at various distances to check the range of signals while keeping a relatively good speed. Here are five of the best Wi-Fi extenders in 2020 as compiled by Tom's Guide:
While this is quite pricey at $149.99, the Netgear AX1800 4-Stream Mesh Extender (EAX20) is worth every penny spent. It supports Wi-Fi 6 speeds and has built in mesh capability. More importantly, it can perform at top speed of up to 1.8 Gbps even with a 95-foot range.
The Netgear EAX20 can extend Wi-Fi signal with its four internal antennas. Not only do signals reach wider range and at faster speed than other devices available in the market, this Netgear device also offers a few customization options as well as a layer of online security to help protect the home network.
While the Netgear AX1800 4-Stream Mesh Extender is regarded as the best extender offering Wi-Fi 6 support, it has no USB ports. While its large design that measures 9.5 x 6.7 x 2.5 inches may offer built-in security and customization, it falls behind on portability because of its huge size.
The Rock Space AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender is an affordable, basic Wi-Fi extender. It has two adjustable antennas built in to this small dual band device, which is super simple to setup. It only measures 1.8 inches and can easily be plugged into the wall.
This Rock Space extender also offers solid basic Wi-Fi performance, which could easily provide coverage to avoid dead spots for the Wi-Fi coverage. It also pushes for stronger wireless signals for up to 75 feet, so users can get coverage even in the garage or outside to the patio. This plug in extender is alrady a snatch for only $45.
This Rock Space Wi-Fi extender is better used for townhomes and other multi-floor houses since it has shorter range. Also, it does not support Wi-Fi 6 and even provide mediocre performance. It also does not offer advanced customization while it is strictly support basic Wi-Fi only.
The TP-Link RE650 is the overall best Wi-Fi extender with its four external antennas to provide excellent performance and interface. It has an easy-to-use plug-in design, which ensures long range signals to big homes. The TP-Link RE650 extender also bears a lot of power and offers great speeds of up to 75 feet.
Meanwhile, it also includes Intelligent Signal Light to help users find the best location for installing the RE650. Using the dual-band wireless-AC support and four external antennas, the TP-Link extender can perfectly work for large homes. Users may even monitor and set up the extended network using TP-Link's handy Tether app.
After getting great feedback, we did not have much of a problem for this device, except for having the size of the plugin, which is quite big and could block adjacent outlets. It also requires an app to operate. Overall, the TP-Link RE650 device Wi-Fi extender is a great buy.
D-Link DAP-1720 Wi-Fi AC1750 Range Extender
The D-Link DAP-1720 is just fun and easy to set up. There is a mobile app for conveniently managing the device settings. It offers built-in Ethernet port, which can handle Gigabit speeds as well as a physical switch to make it capable for extending the router's reach. It is best for vertical structures.
Despite not being too happy with its performance, the D-Link DAP-1720 can work well across floors, even on floors below or above, making it the perfect choice for those looking for Wi-Fi signal, which are usually declining whenever users would go up or down stairs or elevator. It is also packs a lot of power and provides wireless speeds of up to 1,750 Mbps.
Meanwhile, aside from the large size and it serves good with patchy performance and is so large that it sometimes may block adjacent AC outlets. The D-Link DAP-1720 is also kind of pricy for $119.84 despite its price with its mediocre performance. Well, it would still be something worth to try.
In this review, the Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 Tri-band Extender has emerged as the best Wi-Fi extender for2020. It provides faster data speeds and a massive range. Aside from these, it can also be used with any router standard to recreate a mesh network.
This premium Wi-Fi extender from Netgear pulls off top performance as well as some other tricks that other extenders may not be able to provide. It ensures a more seamless coverage across the house and even outside. Moreover, the software is just easy to set up and includes great variety of ports as well as six internal antennas.
Meanwhile, the Nighthawk X6S i-Fi extender uses a desktop design, which is much bigger than the other average in signal boosters, although the size permitted six more antennas. Unfortunately, this hardware is quite expensive, but it offers tri-band coverage for up to 168 feet of range. Regardless, it is worth every penny.
We hope you could find the best Wi-Fi extender that suits your need and works at great speeds. Make sure to have proper considerations of the factors mentioned earlier, particularly the compatibility of Wi-Fi standards between the router and the extender. More importantly, get a device that works well, but will not break the bank.
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Written by CJ Robles