Is your Wi-Fi connection fading out whenever you stray further away from the router? You need a Wi-Fi extender/booster. An extender is an accessory that extends the range of your Wi-Fi network by rebroadcasting the signal so that it covers the whole house at higher speed.
A good Wi-Fi extender at least doubles the router’s range, has indicator lights to enable you check connection levels as you move and supports multiple Ethernet inputs. In addition, it should be easy to set up.
It is also imperative to ensure that the booster is compatible with your home network before purchasing. The Top 5 and Most Popular Wi-Fi Extenders of 2016 are:
1. Hawking HW2R1
It is equipped with 5 Ethernet ports and 3 antennas – more ports and antennas than any other extender in the market. It enables you to set up an IP address, making it easy to manage it remotely.
Its physical ON/OFF switch also comes in handy if you need to save power while not actively using it. It supports types B, G and N of Wi-Fi devices and has a Data Rate of 1200 mbps. Its USB ports are 3.0.
The Hawking HW2R1 goes for only $129 and comes with a 1-year warranty and with good reviews at cnet.
2. Amped Wireless SR20000G
This is a high-power wireless-N 600mw dual-band gigabit extender that recently received rare top reviews in PC magazine as the editor’s choice for its excellent capabilities in boosting Wi-Fi signal strength.
It comes equipped with a 620-MHz internal processor that provides a lightning-fast Internet speed, in addition to 5 network ports.
It extends the router’s signal range up to twice as far as normal, in addition to giving you the signal power to effortlessly operate in previously-considered dead spots and through thick walls and floors, offering up to 10,000 square feet of extra Wi-Fi signal!
Being a dual-band repeater, it boosts the range of 5.0 GHz and 2.4 GHz networks to increase their range for your Wi-Fi electronics.
This device uses a gigabit network-bridge thus you do not have to sacrifice your Internet speeds. It also enables you to create separately set-up unlocked guest networks so your visitors or customers can use.
3. Netgear WN2500RP
This is a desktop version of a dual-band Wi-Fi range booster that has 4 network ports that extends the Wi-Fi signal range and strength for your tablets, phones and many other wireless devices.
It is FastLane-patented and offers excellent performance for high-speed data transfer and video streaming. Its manual power-button and minimal energy consumption ensures use of very little power compared to other extenders.
It is protected by the WEP/WPA/WPA2 – a popular network security that boasts maximum networks security.
The booster can seamlessly work in unison with any model of router or gateway and uses 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz networks. Purchasing it also offers you a 1-year replacement warranty.
4. Belkin F9K1106
This is also a dual-band extender with a Data Rate of 300 mbps and extends the signal range by up to 300 feet – an excellent feature given that it has no external antennas.
It has 4 Ethernet ports, USB 3.0 ports and a Reset/Set-up button on the rear. It supports B, G and N types of Wi-Fi devices. The Belkin F9K1106 goes for only $79 and comes with a 2-year warranty.
5. ZyXEL WAP3205 V2 cnet
This 300-mbps Data Rate signal extender offers a lot of versatility for on-a-budget users.
It extends the range of your Wi-Fi signal by up to 300 feet as well as having capabilities to be used as a stand-alone wireless network access point.
The device offers multiple operation modes: Access-point Mode enables router-less Internet access, Client Mode extends the router’s signal range while the Universal Repeater Mode will enable the other two modes at the same time.
The WAP3205 has remote management abilities via a provided IP address. It has 2 antennas and supports B, G and N types of Wi-Fi networks.
It costs only $49 and comes with a 2-year warranty.