Wi-Fi Extender Vs. Router – Which networking accessory is better?

Do you frequently wonder how a router allows the devices in your home or office space to connect to the internet or even how an extender allows you to work from the most remote corner of said space? If yes, here is our comparison review where we analyze and differentiate the Wi-Fi Extender and the Router. Read on for more.

Many modern homes today have some form of internet connection, allowing different users to utilize internet services easily from their space. Therefore, it is important for all of to understand how these services work, and how they are provided. As such, this article zooms in on two common connectivity items popular in many homes: the router and the Wi-Fi extender. How do these two work? Are they easy to install? What are their differences?

Take a look at this Wi-Fi Extender Vs. Router for more.

What are the differences between Wi-Fi Extender vs. Router?

Wi-Fi Extender
Router (Winner) 
Function
Improve WIFI coverage
Networking solution
Speed
Varies on signal received
Performance with multiple users/devices
Okay
Great
Cost of set up
Low-medium
Medium- High
Installation
Simple
Difficult, requires knowledge of networking and configuration

 

Wi-Fi Extender vs. Router – What are the main differences between the two?

Seed and performance

The connection offered via Wi-Fi Extender is far weaker compared to one delivered directly from the router. Therefore, routers offer faster connection speeds and better Performance overall.  Reason being: routers offer first hand connection to a modem from which you receive data packets from your ISP. Alternatively, Wi-Fi extenders broadcast a signal from your router. Said signal often undergoes degradation or interference. The result is a significantly weaker connection with slower transfer rates and thus weaker performance.

However: routers are limited to a certain range and often leave internet dead zones within spaces in which they are installed. You can fix this issue by improving the coverage using handy devices like: Wi-Fi extenders.

Additionally, routers serve as advanced level networking solutions which allow communication of devices within said network. This is unlike the humble extender which outside improving range and coverage doesn’t do much for your home or office.

Primary function

At the end of the day, both extenders and routers serve one goal: to ensure the user is connected to the internet. However, more specific functions reveal how different ether gadget is. What do we mean? Primarily, routers are networking devices which when incorporated into a network allow for proper devices communication and data/information sharing. This primary role is separate from that of an extender which is meant to expand your coverage. Either way, at the end of the day, both devices are designed to deliver internet access to users.

Requirements for set up

Notably, the prerequisites for installation of either a Wi-Fi extender or router are pretty different. For example, you MUST have an existing Wi-Fi network to install a Wi-Fi extender. Ideally, this device is meant to improve your coverage not provide it.  They therefore do not need as much work and expertise to set up and run as does routers.

Wi-Fi Extender vs. Router – A comparison review

Wi-Fi Extender – Overview and Key features

Wi-Fi Extender Overview

To put it quite simply, extenders are devices specifically designed to improve the coverage in your space. This is quite helpful considering that structural interference, other barriers and even router placement can mess with proper connection. By extending the routers base of operation and effectively expanding the area of connectivity, users in the same building can properly receive Wi-Fi signals. Here is a complete mini guide to Wi-Fi extenders and everything you need to know about them.

Features

Wi-Fi extenders function by rebroadcasting signals received from your router, these devices are a reasonable solution to any out of range connection problems you may have.

To clear up any confusion you may have about extenders, these connectivity improvement devices are quite different from other popular ones including boosters and repeaters. The mostly serve the same role and aren’t explicitly differentiated by manufactures. However, extenders are primarily connected to the router.

Like with said router, placement of the extender is everything. Since the device simply rebroadcasts what it has received, it must be place in a convenient enough position. Many brand makers advice users to place the device dead center of where your router is and where you intend to extend the connection to. Just ensure it receives a strong signal from the former.

Notably, there are two forms of extenders: Wireless range extenders and Wi-Fi Network extenders.

Speed loss on extenders is inevitable. Because they work by rebroadcasting the signals received, these devices can only retransmit the data packets they pick up. This incorporated latency in the network is the price users often have to pay with extenders. The solution is to use a dual band extender which greatly improves the potential reduction in bandwidth.

Another one of important issues with the installation of Wi-Fi extenders is the dramatic increase in the networks detectable range. For instance when you set up multiple extenders in a space which needs a strong and accessible signal from all points, then the range of the network might extend outside the space. This can be easily solved by setting up the right kind of security protocol. With the right kind of wireless security for your network, you can set up as many extenders, without worrying about outsiders hoping onto the network.

Advantages

  • Simple installation
  • Cheap way to improve connectivity in your home
  • Can provide speed boosts in your network if installed and placed correctly
  • Doesn’t lead to additional interference as it shares a channel with the main router

Disadvantages

  • Are considerably slower in speeds as they typically suffer a minimum 50% signal loss
  • If placed incorrectly, Wi-Fi extenders won’t do much for range improvement

Router – Overview and Key Features

Router Overview

The router is basically the heart of many home and office network connections. This is the device responsible for connecting devices within your network as needed by forwarding them data packets. Using IP addresses, routers can ID all the devices on the network easily, allowing data and information sharing. Here are some of the router features that make all this possible.

Features

A router is an essential piece of networking hardware which is useful in not only providing your devices secure connection to the internet, but also in accommodating multiple devices within the space. On small networks, they allow for communication between devices: an essential component of networking. These devices run on software specifically known as firmware. Users can easily update this firmware as needed.

Using IP addressing, routers route packets, routes allow devices within a network to communicate effectively. In fact, this addressing format ensures the data packets and information is sent to and received by the intended device.

Importantly, there is a difference between a router and modem when it comes to a networking set up. While some homes simply need a modem to connect their single device to the internet, many homes and offices are not limited to only one device within the space. Routers unlike modems offer more secure connections with the benefit of connecting to multiple devices. By connecting a router to the modem, you not only allow multiple simultaneous connections to the internet, wired or wireless, but also, said made connections are quite safe.

Moreover, routers allow for the connection of devices within a network not just to the internet. This Local area networking setting allows users to share information and data: convenient isn’t it? Connecting these devices is simple and requires a network cable to connect to the modem via its WAN port. Otherwise, you can connect via the network interface card or various wireless standard depending on the format with which the router is built.

Routers are available in wireless and wired options. The difference is pretty straight forward: where the wired router connects using LAN ports where as the more modern and popular Wi-Fi router is cables. It simply includes a wireless adapter and antennae. This is perhaps one of the main reasons users select router options. Wireless connections are very convenient and often the main reason many users utilize routers.

In summary

Routers are not mandatory in a networking set up, HOWEVER: they are a wonderful accessory which when incorporated into the network add a lot of value to a network. With a router, you are assured multiple secure connections with reduced network traffic and internetwork connection.

Advantages

  • Offers secure connections to different networks
  • Available in various variations
  • Allows connection of devices within a network

Disadvantages

  • Can get costly
  • They are protocol depended and must first understand the protocol before forwarding it

Verdict: So which one is better, Wi-Fi Extender or Router?

When thinking about incorporating valuable networking devices into your internet access arsenal, then a router is probably the best option. Often the decision is not mutually exclusive. Routers serve a more central function in networking and internet accesses compared to Wi-Fi extenders and are such the more superior gadget. This is with respect to build and performance.

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