What are the differences between WiFi Repeater and WiFi Extender?

A wireless network connection originating from a router has a limited coverage range beyond which weak signals become unreliable. As you go further away from the router, the signals will get less strong, and your internet connection will become less reliable. When this occurs, we have a need to boost the strength of the WiFi signal and expand the area that it covers. WiFi repeaters and extenders are what we need to accomplish these tasks.

There is a common misconception that a WiFi extender and a repeater are the same thing. It is not so; there are significant differences between the two. Read through this article to find out more about WiFi Repeater and WiFi Extender and how these two devices are different from each other.

What is a WiFi Extender?

A WiFi extender is a device that boosts the signal of a WiFi connection and extends the range of coverage that it provides. It is not at all like a WiFi repeater because it connects to the router using either an Ethernet wire or a coaxial cable.

Using a WiFi Extender is comparable to installing an additional router in an area of the home where the WiFi signal is nearly non-existent. It extends the WiFi signal so that it covers a larger region, starting from the dead zone.

How Does a WiFi Extender Work?

An Ethernet or coaxial cable connection to a router is required for a WiFi extension to function properly.

  • A WiFi Extender does not boost or improve the strength of the WiFi signal in any way.

  • The sole benefit it offers is an expansion of the area that can be reached by the WiFi signal because it obtains connectivity directly from the router. It does so by transmitting its own signal using the external antennas that are there.

  • It is not a form of rebroadcasting, and as a result, it is more analogous to the presence of an additional router at your location. Because it sends out its very own signal, it is designated as its very own WiFi network (SSID).

  • The decrease in bandwidth by fifty percent that results from using a WiFi repeater is a drawback of this technology. However, because a WiFi extender connects to the router via cable, there is no such drop in bandwidth while using one of these devices.

In fact, there is no attenuation in the signal that is transmitted from the router to the extender due to the presence of thick walls or wave interference. However, while it's true that the most recent extenders might not require a wired connection, there are a number of distinct benefits that come along with using a wired connection.

What is a WiFi Repeater?

A WiFi repeater is a device that boosts the signal of a WiFi connection and increases the coverage area of the WiFi signal. It receives WiFi signals from your router and rebroadcasts them over a broader coverage range thanks to the antennas that come along with it. It is necessary to install the WiFi repeater in a location that possesses a WiFi signal that is sufficiently robust. It will not be able to rebroadcast if you install it in an area where the WiFi signal is not strong enough to support it.

In addition to this, the router and the repeater must be compatible with one another. The vast majority of routers adhere to either the 802.11 or 802.11aa standards. For the repeater to have full compatibility, it is necessary for it to follow the same protocol. In addition to this, the security encryption needs to be suitable for the system to operate without any interruptions. As an illustration, an older repeater that sends encrypted signals using WEP or WPA will not be compatible with a more up-to-date router that sends encrypted signals using WPA2.

How Does a WiFi Repeater Work?

It is necessary to plug a WiFi repeater into an outlet at the same location where your router is receiving WiFi signal in order for it to function properly. The minimum acceptable level of signal strength is fifty percent. The greater the signal strength, the better the rebroadcasting of the signal will be, and the larger the coverage area will be.

A WiFi repeater is able to perform its function by establishing a second network in addition to the one that is already established by the router. However, in order to construct a new network, it halves the capacity of the network that is already being used.

Because it receives and then retransmits the data frames while it is rebroadcasting, there is a need for twice as many data frames as there are initially used. This reduces the amount of data that can be transferred over the network by almost half. Because of this, the connection may become extremely sluggish when you use the network to transfer huge files because the bandwidth that is already available has already been cut in half.

Difference between WiFi Extender and Repeater

The following table highlights the major differences between a WiFi Extender and a WiFi Repeater −

Basis of comparison WiFi Extender WiFi Repeater
Definition WiFi Range Extender is another name for this device. In some circles, it is also referred to as a WiFi Signal Repeater.
Purpose The WiFi Extender both increases the size of the existing network coverage area and increases the range of the coverage that is already there. Weak existing signal strength indicates that a WiFi Repeater should be used because it rebroadcasts the signal in locations with a weaker signal.
Configuration The installation and setting of a WiFi Extender is simple as well, though not quite as simple as that of a WiFi Repeater. The process of setting up and configuring a WiFi Repeater is far less complicated than that of a WiFi Extender.
Price WiFi extenders typically cost more than WiFi repeaters. WiFi repeaters do not cost more than WiFi extenders.
Connection As the device is connected through wired connection, the bandwidth is maintained at its maximum by using a WiFi extender. Because the devices are connected wirelessly, the bandwidth may not be used to its full capacity when using a WiFi repeater.
Bandwidth Nothing changes Reduced by about half
Working in Dead Zone Possible and quite effective It is not possible.
Signal Enhancement No Yes


Repeaters and Extenders are network boosting devices. If you already have a WiFi repeater, there is no reason to spend more money on a WiFi extender and take further time to set it up. A WiFi repeater will do the work for you.

WiFi Extenders and WiFi Repeaters are effectively the same thing and serve exactly the same goal, which is to improve the quality of the network signal as a whole by amplifying the quality of the WiFi signal that is already present.

A WiFi range extender is essentially a repeater device that takes the initial WiFi signal that is broadcast from the primary router and rebroadcasts it further down the line. It is marketed under a variety of names including wireless range extenders, signal boosters, and network extenders, among others. Its primary function is that of a network repeater, which means that it receives WiFi signals from the base router or access point of a network and then re-broadcasts those signals to wireless devices.

Updated on: 04-Aug-2022

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