Do WiFi Boosters Work and Are They Worth the Money?

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WiFi Booster Illustration

I am a WFH professional – my clock keeps ticking, and my distractions keep increasing as I go by the day. Some work distractions are my fault (Hey there, Instagram), but others aren’t in my control, like a poor Internet connection or my cat jumping up and down my work desk.

Since I live with my family, working from home is a tough job – no joke. My brother randomly starts live streaming, and my sister watches TikTok videos all day, even when it’s time for me to work.

All these unessential activities consume our WiFi speed, leaving me with buffering pages and disconnecting work calls. After countless attempts to work like this, I gave up and started finding ways to improve the Internet speed, because let’s be honest, slow Internet sucks.

Soon after, I got a WiFi booster to amplify my router’s signals and somehow compensate for the MBs being stolen from me. However, it’s not easy. Several factors impact the usability of a WiFi booster, and something that’s working fine for me might not suit you.

So now, I’m writing this guide to answer some questions about WiFi boosters. Namely, do WiFi boosters really work? Are they all the same? Which factors impact a WiFi booster’s performance?

If you’re confused about whether to get a booster or not, stick with me till the end, and I’ll answer your questions (no sugarcoating, straight facts).

What Is a Wifi Booster and Do WiFi Boosters Really Work?

Parts of your home far away from the WiFi router are unlikely to receive the same network connectivity as the places nearby it. If you receive zero to no Internet connection while sitting on the patio, it’s because your router isn’t powerful enough to transmit signals across the entire house.

That’s where WiFi boosters come in. These boosters receive signals from your central WiFi router, amplify them, and retransmit them more powerfully to increase the coverage area. Think of your WiFi booster as a sponge. It absorbs network signals and squeezes them (i.e., transmits them) where needed.

The type of WiFi booster you select depends upon several factors: your home’s size, the router, the target coverage region, and much more. However, one thing is common in all WiFi boosters: they aim to provide your device with a strong Internet connection, which otherwise might not be possible.

So, is a WiFi booster the ultimate solution to your connectivity concerns? Not really. A wifi booster doesn’t blanket your entire home in solid and undisturbed signals. Instead, it remedies dead Internet zones.

Since WiFi boosters are generally affordable, they’re a great remedy for connectivity issues, and you won’t have to get a whole new Internet connection. However, to receive better, more consistent Internet signals across your entire place, you might have to replace the existing Internet service provider (ISP).

What’s the Difference Between a WiFi Extender, WiFi Repeater, and WiFi Booster?

Nothing really. There are minute differences between all three. A WiFi signal will amplify signals to reach certain areas. WiFi repeaters are wireless versions of WiFi extenders. If you’re thinking about how wireless WiFi boosters work, they amplify signals but only in a limited region.

With the question, “Do WiFi signal boosters work aside?” it’s time to understand this subject a bit better. When researching this topic, you might have heard terms like signal extenders, repeaters, and boosters, which all seem confusing.

We’ve already touched upon how they’re different, but let’s dive into a bit more detail.

Not exactly what you’re looking for? We’ve got you covered. Check out our other articles for more on Wifi Extenders and Boosters:

Wifi Extender

If you need targeted signal amplification, a WiFi extender will do. Let’s say your work desk is on the third floor, while the WiFi router sits on the ground floor. If that’s the case, you’re likely to experience terrible connectivity. However, with a WiFi extender, you can enjoy an uninterrupted network connection, despite being away from the central router.

WiFi extenders generally work with coaxial cables, hence no signal loss/interruption. A WiFi extender kit will have two adapters – one to be plugged in near the wifi router and the other near your target device. These two adapters will transmit signals via your home’s existing wiring, so no drilling is required.

The design of a WiFi extender can vary depending upon the company you opt for. I have used a TP-Link AC750 for a while. It is a single-unit adapter, which doesn’t require any setup hassle. Just plug and work – it’s that simple!

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WiFi Repeater

A WiFi repeater kit generally includes two adapters: one to collect signals and the other to retransmit them (some kits are single-unit like this Hawking Technology outdoor wifi Repeater for convenience). If your WiFi works fine everywhere except a particular dead zone, a WiFi repeater will remedy this problem.

Since WiFi repeaters are wireless, setting them is easier compared to WiFi extenders. Bring home a handy WiFi repeater kit, and plug one adapter near the central modem and one near your workstation for amplified, focused signals.

However, be mindful that signal loss and slow Internet speed are recurring with mediocre WiFi repeaters. You need a reliable device to be carefree.

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WiFi Booster

A WiFi booster serves the same purpose as WiFi extenders or repeaters. It collects signals from your main Internet modem and retransmits these signals to your device for a seamless connectivity experience.

If you want to play online games on your console, a WiFi booster for the PS4 will ensure your connection doesn’t abruptly drop. However, a WiFi booster doesn’t offer broad coverage. Instead, it limits you to a particular region.

The Tenda AC1200 dual-band WiFi booster is my favorite because it minimizes signal loss and can be connected with an app for seamless operation.

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How Does a Wifi Booster Work?

Now that we know how a WiFi booster can improve your Internet connectivity, it’s time to understand how WiFi boosters work.

Single-Band Boosters

If you have a single-band WiFi booster, it will receive and retransmit Internet signals on the same band to provide you with uninterrupted connectivity.

However, the biggest disadvantage of single-unit WiFi boosters is speed loss. Yes, you get Internet signals beyond the normal coverage area, but the speed might be a buzzkill. These boosters cover the dead zones in your home, but the latent speed is a constant struggle.

Dual-Band Boosters

On the flip side, dual-band boosters overcome the usual speed loss with their advanced processors. A dual-band wifi booster like Prescitech AC1200 compensates for the signal loss by receiving and retransmitting Internet signals on different channels.

Here’s a breakdown of how WiFi signal boosters work:

  • An adapter sits near your central WiFi router to catch signals.
  • The same adapter (or a different one in dual-unit kits) amplifies the signals.
  • It then retransmits the amplified signals toward the target device.

The build of different WiFi boosters may vary, but their function remains the same – to improve your browsing experience.

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Reasons You Should Buy a WiFi Booster

Still not sure if you want to get a WiFi booster? These reasons might convince you to make a purchase!

Improved Network Range

Most people prefer keeping the WiFi router near the home’s main entrance for easy access and whole-home coverage. In some cases, this decision does just the opposite. Someone working from a room upstairs will always struggle with slow Internet, so there goes the better coverage advantage you thought you’d get by placing a WiFi router in the living room.

However, the ease-of-access point still stands solid. You cannot place a router toward the backyard or further inside the home because if you do, repairs become a hassle.

That’s where WiFi boosters help. They allow you to place the central WiFi modem wherever you deem suitable and still enjoy seamless Internet speed. If you have a multi-story home or just a large house, with a big backyard, pool, or patio, chances are one WiFi modem won’t suffice.

Things like furniture, walls, and doors also impact Internet signals, leaving you with loading screens and buffering pages. So, if you’re facing dead zones and compromised Internet signals somewhere in the home, a WiFi booster will do.

Minimum Speed Loss

When several devices are connected to a router, fast Internet speed is an impossibility. You’ll often face terrible Internet connectivity because there are multiple receiving units, while the sending unit still stands alone.

We all know that having more than one Internet connection for a home is not practical (extra expense plus extra effort). So, does that mean you have to rely on a slow Internet connection? Not really. With a smart WiFi range extender installed, you can amplify the performance of your existing Internet unit and enjoy improved speed.

As I mentioned in the beginning, my siblings had made working from home tough for me. Since I couldn’t get a separate Internet connection, I got an affordable long-range WiFi extender that transmits steady signals to my laptop all the way to the second floor – just in time for me to keep my job.

Targeted Signal Transmission

Gaming consoles and smart TVs need targeted signal transmission with fast speed to work properly. If you’re a pro gamer, get a WiFi booster with an Ethernet cable, and limit network interruptions with zero effort.

If you prefer wireless adapters, don’t settle for run-of-the-mill options, and get a broadband booster. However, if you’re on a budget, a wired WiFi range extender will work just fine.

You need an adapter and coaxial cable to retransmit signals from your central Internet modem. Once you do, you’re all set to enjoy a peaceful interruption-free bingeing/streaming experience.

Things You Should Know Before Getting a Wifi Booster/Extender

Like any other gadget, WiFi boosters aren’t flawless either. There are some downsides to using a WiFi range extender/booster, and knowing them beforehand will help you make an informed decision.

Varied Performance

Not all WiFi boosters are the same (obviously). Some are excellent at receiving signals from your central modem but can slow down your Internet speed.

Picture this: your WiFi modem provides a speed of 200MBPs and covers up to a 500 square ft. region. When you install a single-band WiFi booster between the modem and your device, the speed reduces to 100MBPs, but the coverage area increases to 1000 square ft.

Now, it’s your decision. You need to decide if you’re happier with a slower connection, but broader coverage, or you prefer speed over coverage. Consequently, you can get the best of both worlds with a broadband WiFi booster, but that’ll cost some extra bucks. So, estimate your requirements, and go for a booster/extender accordingly.

WiFi Boosters Don’t Fix Internet Speed: They Retransmit It

Whole-home Internet coverage is essential when there are multiple people who need a continuous connection. However, the thought that WiFi boosters can compete with a complete-coverage blanket is not practical.

If your Internet speed is low from the get-go, a booster cannot fix it. On the contrary, if your Internet is reliable but there are dead zones in the home, a booster will help.

Final Thoughts

With work from home and ever-increasing virtual connections becoming the norm, reliable Internet connectivity is a must-have. Whether you live stream games or streamline your company’s work operations, slow, unreliable Internet could be your worst enemy.

Luckily, today, we have smart gadgets like WiFi boosters that minimize disruptions and transmit Internet signals toward your devices. So, if you’re struggling with WiFi coverage, a WiFi booster will solve this problem. It’ll improve your broadband Internet coverage area, and provide signals to all your devices via wired/wireless connections.

However, remember that these boosters cannot replace powerful mesh routers. Before you invest in one, know that you need an excellent Internet connection. You can also extend the range of your WiFi router by removing objects from its path and placing it in the center of your home.

So, the piece of advice I leave you with is to weigh the pros and cons of getting a WiFi booster. If you decide to get one, do your research, and get a device that ticks all the boxes, i.e., is affordable, reliable, and convenient.

Best Selling WiFi Boosters

Last update on 2021-07-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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