Unless you live in a smaller house or apartment, chances are you have a dark corner of internetless space in your home. It’s OK, it happens to the best of us. There are a few options available to you to address this concern. One emerging solution is a mesh network — a series of devices that all work together to blanket your home in WiFi. Another solution is to use a WiFi extender.
Both of these systems work on the same principle — repeaters placed throughout your home all broadcast an internet signal. The key differences between mesh networks and WiFi extenders are cost and basic function. A mesh network broadcasts a WiFi signal to the entire home with the same SSID everywhere. A WiFi extender creates a new network based on your old network. This isn’t necessarily a problem — your device should move from network to network as it needs to. It only becomes tricky when you are in an area where the extender is strong, but the other WiFi is weak. You may need to manually reconnect to the extender’s network.
Cost is also a factor to consider when weighing your options. Mesh networks often start at $300 and up, which is almost ten times the cost of some extenders. Plus, mesh networks don’t use any existing WiFi hardware you may have already invested in. If you have already bought some equipment, you want to use it, so an extender might be a viable solution for you. With that in mind, here is our list of the best WiFi extenders you can buy.
Best Wi-Fi extenders
Editor’s Note: We will be updating this list as more Wi-Fi extenders are released.
1. Nighthawk WL range extender
The Nighthawk WL range extender is one of the biggest and most expensive extenders in this list, but it’s also one of the best WiFi extenders you can buy. This WiFi extender has superior range and throughput. It can function up to 165feet away, with data speeds greater than 200Mbps.
The extender also functions as a wireless access point, and includes five gigabit LAN ports, so you can hard wire to it as well. The extender carries three antennas which can be replaced with high-gain antennas for even more range. This extender might be more for the professional grade than consumers, because it really does pack a punch. It also comes with a WiFi analytics app to help you optimize your traffic. It’s a perfect selection for our best WiFi extenders list.
2. NETGEAR AC750 WiFi range extender
Netgear is one of the biggest names in networking, so it makes sense that its WiFi extender would pop up on our list. This compact little device plugs directly into a wall outlet — no cables — and gives you more coverage throughout your home. This is a dual band extender, meaning there is less loss between your home WiFi router and your devices. The Netgear AC750 uses external antennas for a better, stronger signal.
The Netgear Ac750 supports 802.11ac & b/g/n WiFi devices, up to 750Mbps. It even comes with a WiFi analytics app for your smartphone so you can monitor your signal strength and optimize your home network. The range extender also functions as a wireless access point with an ethernet connection. At just under $30, there is a lot of bang for your buck with this device.
3. D-Link DAP-1720 AC1750 wireless range extender
The D-Link DAP-1720 works with both 2.4GHZ and 5GHz frequencies, at 450Mbps and 1,300Mbps respectively. It also comes with a gigabit port and features three external antennas. Like most other range extenders on this list, the DAP-1720 plugs into a wall outlet and is designed to keep a second outlet free.
It’s also very easy to set up. Simply plug it in, and press the WPS push button on the side of the unit. A Smart Signal Indicator helps you find the best location for optimal Wi-Fi coverage. The extender sets itself up easily. You can also configure setup with an iOS or Android app, or a supported browser on your PC. There is also an AP mode available that is ideal for homes that are pre-wired for Ethernet or extended wireless coverage.
4. TP- Link AC2600 WiFi range extender
TP-Link is one of the leading names in corporate networking, so when it offers a consumer model, it’s time to stand up and notice. The AC2600 is fast and easy to set up. The unit comes with a built-in signal detector, making placement super easy in the house. The device plugs directly into a wall outlet, making it easy to install as well.
Four external antennas support both 2.4GHz and 5 GHz bands, at 800Mbps and 1,733Mbps respectively. This extender also comes with an iOS or Android app to manage your device. This high-performance range extender is one of the more expensive options around, but is great for larger homes with high-speed internet connections and great and ideal for running multiple phones, laptops, gaming consoles, and smart home products.
5. Linksys AC1900 Max Stream WiFi Gigabit Range Extender (RE7000)
The Linksys AC1900 Max Stream range extender works with all Wi-Fi routers and multi-user MIMO routers to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones in and around your house. Built-in antennas support both 2.4GHz and 5 GHz bands, at 300Mbps and 1,733Mbps respectively. The extender is extremely simple to set up, requiring just a push of a button.
You can also use Linksys’ SpotFinder app to find the perfect placement in your home. SpotFinder works on your mobile device or laptop and helps you determine if your extender is too far away from your router, too close, or just right. It’s a great solution for blanketing your home in WiFi coverage.
6. TP-Link N300 WiFi Range Extender
TP-Link has another offering which brings its business networking experience into the home. This WiFi Range extender fits into one outlet and leaves the other free, due to its compact design. The extender works with any WiFi router or wireless access point. Two external antennae give you maximum range and reliability. It comes with a 2-year warranty and free 24/7 technical support, making it one of the best WiFi extenders you buy — while also giving you a little peace of mind.
This WiFi range extender supports AP mode which allows you to create a new WiFi access point. It’s perfect for extending the range of your existing WiFi coverage to get into every corner of your home. An indicator light on the unit helps you place the extender perfectly for optimal coverage. You can also connect a device like a game console through the built-in ethernet port.
7. D-Link N300 Wireless WiFi Range Extender
D-Link is a great option that you plug into any outlet. The WiFi Range extender helps expand your current WiFi coverage into areas of your home not previously accessible. A built-in indicator light helps you find the best location of the extender to ensure optimal coverage. It’s compatible with any existing router or wireless device.
External antennae ensure that you get the most coverage throughout your home. The Extender is capable of N300 speeds, so you won’t have to worry about lag or delays in your data streaming. Once you find the best location, just press the button and you’ll extend your range for up to 50 yards. It’s a great way to eliminate any dead spots in your home.
That’s our look at the best WiFi extenders you can currently get your hands on. Did you pick any of these up for yourself? Do you have any dead spots that drive you nuts? Let us know down in the comments below!