From the frequencies, to the type of band, passing through the level of security offered: here's what to consider before buying a Wi-Fi extender
The days in which to connect to the network it was necessary to connect a cable to the computer are gone. At home or in the office, most internet connections are made via Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, however, they do not always work as they should. It is often the case that the signal is very weak.
Not being able to connect because of the router is very frustrating, especially if the only way to surf the net is through the old LAN system. There are a number of reasons, some of which are easily solved, if the signal strength is not so good. It is likely that the modem is positioned incorrectly: perhaps behind a pillar or underneath in the basement. Or there are many electronic objects in the house that interfere with the router. Often it also happens that the connection is weak because someone has found a way to infiltrate the router. And not only that. Sometimes the fault is the very large room: the signal simply does not reach all the rooms.
In the latter case there is a solution: buy a Wi-Fi signal repeater. This is a tool that allows you to amplify the signal strength. Which one to buy? Not all Wi-Fi extenders, they are also called, are the same. Here's what to consider.
One mistake you should avoid is buying a Wi-Fi repeater that doesn't work with your home modem router, i.e. it's not compatible with the frequency bands. What does this mean? Simple. As you know, routers use frequencies to transmit data, identified with international standards. Generally routers support three of them. Leaving aside the very slow and old 802.11 standard - now gone bye-bye - the most used classes are: 802.11g, 802.11n and 802.11ac. The latter ensures a faster connection speed. Compared to the other standards, in fact, it can reach up to 1.3 Gbps. That said, before buying a repeater, check the wireless standard of your router and compare it with that of the Wi-Fi extender.
You've surely heard of single or dual band. Let's try to understand what it is. Most electronic devices transmit the signal using the 2.4 Ghz frequency. This frequency has only 14 channels. If the channels become clogged, the router struggles to forward the signal. A dual band router, instead, compared to the single band, can exploit the 5 Ghz frequency, useful if the 2.4 Ghz radio spectrum has no more available channels. Also in this case it is necessary to move with the purchase of a Wi-Fi repeater that reflects the characteristics of the router. In short, if your Wi-Fi modem is dual band, better choose a dual band extender.
Another element to consider is security. Just as with routers, you need to buy a Wi-Fi repeater that can protect your data transmission. The reason for this is quite simple. A device with weak security standards is easier to breach. This means that our data could be intercepted by an attacker. In such cases, it is advisable to go for an extender that supports the WPA2-PSK (AES) protocol. What is it for? Its function is to encrypt the data exchange between the router and the extender. In this way it is much more difficult for a hacker to intercept communications.
Avoiding to venture into very complex technicalities, a Mesh network is a network composed of several routers connected together. A system often used in large homes. Mesh networks are an alternative, perhaps even more effective than Wi-Fi extenders, to improve the signal in the home.
Other elements not to be underestimated
If you are looking for a tool to connect other devices, take a look also at the available ports. In fact, some Wi-Fi repeaters integrate several Ethernet or USB ports. Also, if you want an extender to connect speakers, check if there is an audio input.