Do wifi extenders work reliably

I remember years ago I had trouble with the router, so I bought a wifi extender. It was a piece of garbage, and reading online the consensus was that they pretty much sucked. I think I ended up using a powerline adapter kit instead to get to parts of the house w/o access to the router.

So as of 2020, do wifi boosters, extenders, etc actually work reliably? One room in my parents house far from the router has a TV next to a brick chimney, and getting wifi there isn’t easy. They changed internet providers and with the new router signals there aren’t good.

I have considered repositioning the router itself, maybe that’ll help.

In-home wifi extenders do not work reliably. However, mesh wifi systems work very well.

I’d not heard of a mesh wifi system before.

I looked online and the kits run about $250+, however walmart has a kit with 2 for $89. That might be feasible.

I was going to say they work fine, and I’ve been happy with the one my husband got. But I didn’t realize they come in different types. Mesh, etc. So I’m not sure what he got. I know it works, though, so there are products that work.

Just give it a goog before committing. I’ve read good things about Tenda and they’re quite cheap.

I’d been planning on getting one in the very near future, so I’m very interested in this thread. I’d never heard that the regular wifi range extenders aren’t worth it…

The only thing attractive about extenders is their price. With mesh you have a single network name operating on 2.4GHz and 5GHz simultaneously, seamless handover for your mobile devices between nodes and, more often than not, automatic software updates and content filtering. Mesh systems also function as routers/firewalls but usually can be placed into passthrough mode if you really like the router you’ve got.

I bought a wifi extender which turned out to be crap. Then I bought an extender that works through the mains electricity rather than over the air and it is excellent.

That’s a Powerline adapter. They’re bad mouthed by people in networking because certain circuit breakers, like arc fault interrupters, can stop them from working and they’re prone to interference/crosstalk. With that said, I used powerline to provide a wired backhaul to my parent’s mesh wifi and it works flawlessly. I don’t think Powerline is capable of pushing more than 150 Mbps.

If you want the best no-bullshit wired connection, you use Cat-5e, 6, etc. That’s standard. If you can’t or don’t want to do that but have spare coax outlets, you can use MoCA adapters and achieve ~1,000 Mbps. Failing that, Powerline.

I have a dehumidifier in my crawl space with a wifi controller and switch. When the switch was installed, I received from 0 to 1 bar reception but after installing a non-mesh extender, I regularly get 3 bars. So for me, they do work.

I have found them to be fine.

I screwed up here. You don’t need spare outlets; you can use a MoCA rated splitter.

Mesh I’ve heard is the better way to go, however a couple of less costly options may work just as well.

-1 - Try to find the best location for your router, you might find a place where one will cover your home and what you need outside. This can pay long term as when you need to replace it you know you will need only one, so it’s worth building a shelf in needed and running the cables. To find this location I just used a long Cat 5 cable and a extension cord trying different places till I could get full coverage.

-2- Use 2 routers, offload some home automation to the second one which will allow perhaps better placement of the main one. Home automation items such as smart switches can’t always be in the best place, and may prevent the placement which will cover human devices. The cheaper part of this setup is that many people have a old router kicking around a storage box that can be pressed into service, but for using it only for home automation you avoid having the human devices needing to switch. Also make sure they are operating on different channels as not to interfere with each other.

One thing I saw with the -2- option above was to set smart switches on the routers, so if they had to reset one router remotely the could use the other to connect to the smart switch powering the ‘down’ the ‘up’ troubled router.

Other thing that may help is chose a different (frequency) channel on the router. The default is often not the best.

Yeah as mentioned that sounds like a powerline adapter kit. I’ve used those successfully in the past when I had equipment that didn’t have wifi capabilities (I had an older xbox 360 and didn’t have the attachment to get wifi on it, and I didn’t want to run an ethernet cable through the house, so I used a powerline adapter kit).

I’m not sure if a powerline adapter can be combined with a wifi extender, but that may be an option. Like you set up the powerline adapter then hook it up to a wifi signal booster.

I think I’ve told this story before but, when I bought my place about 10 years ago, there was a gap of a week or so before the cable company could come out to install service. I found some open wifi access points (Thanks, unknown neighbors!) but none were strong enough to be reliable in the house. I figured out how to convert my existing router to act in a repeater mode. I left that router in the attic where it had a good signal to the source router and I had decent performance in the house.

None of my stuff is great quality, mostly $49 Best Buy-class consumer grade. OP might already have the gear to make it happen.

I have tried multiple range extenders in both my house and my parent’s house and none of them were satisfactory. Mesh is definitely the way to go. Mesh has one main router and any number of supporting units spread throughout the house. Collectively they blanket your house with wifi so you have no dead spots. My parent’s house was especially problematic in terms of size and location of the cable modem and mesh works like a charm.

I have been using eero mesh in both my house and my parent’s house for one year. You manage all aspects of eero from a well designed Android/iPhone app. The eero router software regularly updates itself and the app continues to be improved with new features. I couldn’t be happier with it. I can’t remember the last time my wife or parents complained about the wifi. Note eero has been acquired by Amazon in case that matters.

wifi mesh sounds like its the way to go.

On the eero website though, they have a standalone eero unit for $99. Don’t you need a minimum of 2 units to make a wifi mesh system work? I’d never heard of the system before this thread, but don’t you need one unit near the router then a second unit placed centrally in the house?

There are several wifi mesh systems that are under $100 for two units.

TP link Deco
tenda nova

I don’t think I’d need more than two units. The computer room with the router is about 50’ from the TV where my dad likes to watch tv and use his electronics, I really just need something closer to that so he can use the internet well.

Also I don’t know what the Ac1200, Ac2200, etc mean. I don’t need anything super fast, having reliable speeds of 5-20mbps would be fine.

Yes, you need a minimum of 2 units: 1 eero Pro + 1 eero Beacon: $299.00

Pro is the main unit and the Beacons create the mesh.

The next level up is: 1 eero Pro + 2 eero Beacons: $399.00

I actually have 3 Beacons because I was so tired of wifi problems I opted for overkill.

I can’t comment specifically on the cheaper brands but a lot of stuff is junk that doesn’t work properly. I read/looked at a lot of reviews before deciding on eero. YouTube is good source of reviews for this kind of product.

For your situation, I would start with two units and expand if needed. The good thing about mesh is it is designed to be easily extendable.

Oh, this is definitely what we have. We briefly had two networks fighting it out, and then the hardware got a major software software upgrade, and life got better. It’s great, if you can afford it, it’s definitely the better solution.

Also, the hardware works better than older WIFI units. We now have coverage in the basement, not because a unit is closer, but because the new units can broadcast through the basement ceiling. We also now have decent coverage out on the hammock, ditto. (Like the new one is SO much better we might not even have needed the mesh. But we actually have mylar in a lot of the walls, so it’s probably helpful.