WiFi boosters, otherwise known as WiFi extenders, are a type of wireless signal repeater that are used to expand the reach of local wireless networks. These devices are placed within a network between a router or access point and a client that is outside of the existing range, working to bridge the gap between the two.
They connect wirelessly to your existing WiFi router, picking up and re-transmitting their signals. This can slow the speed of your network, with those connected via a WiFi booster typically seeing speeds that are a little less than if they were within range to connect to the router directly, however this difference is typically unnoticeable to users.
All in all, if you’re looking to increase the range of your existing wireless network there’s no easier, more cost-effective way to do so than with a WiFi booster.
Here are our picks of the best wifi boosters on the market. We’ve chosen these based on their performance, quality and value.
4 stars, based on 169 reviews
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The Linksys RE6500 is a dual-band WiFi booster that comes with two external 3dBi dipole antennae that can be aimed, which themselves are pretty good, however being external, it’s easy to replace them for higher quality ones should you feel the need. It comes with four LAN ports, a 3.5mm audio jack, but unfortunately no USB port.
Setting up the Linksys RE6500 is pretty easy, with its in-built software automatically setting up both bands, which is different to many other WiFi boosters on the market, which setup each band separately. This Linksys WiFi booster also automatically sets it’s SSID as exactly the same as your existing one, which can make troubleshooting a little more tricky.
Its performance is good, clocking in at 47.9 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, 168.1 Mbps on the 5 GHz band, and 254.8 Mbps when both bands are used together. It also has great range, allowing you to connect from as far as 145 feet away.
Read our full Linksys RE6500 review
4 stars, based on 1 reviews
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If you’re looking for a small, no-frills WiFi booster without ports for connecting printers, hard drives and other USB devices than the D-Link DAP 1520 wifi booster is for you.
When we say it’s small we mean it, the dimensions of this booster are 3.6 x 2.2 x 1.3 inches, making it one of the smallest on the market.
The D-Link DAP 1520 plugs straight into a wall socket, so doesn’t come with a power cord, adapter or stand, which can be problematic if there isn’t a socket nearby the dead spot you’re trying to bridge. However, it is one of the simplest boosters to set up, just needed to be plugged in and turned on. This does have its drawbacks, as many of the settings you can change with other WiFi boosters are inaccessible with the D-Link DAP 1520, making it better for home than office use.
The performance of this D-Link WiFi booster is pretty good, clocking in at 52.5 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band and 171.5 Mbps in the 5 Ghz band, giving it a combined bandwidth of 225 Mbps, and it has a range of around 120 feet.
Read our full D-Link DAP 1520 review
3.5 stars, based on 381 reviews
If a small, minimalist WiFi booster, for use primarily in a home environment, then the Belkin N600 wifi booster could be just what you’re looking for.
It has only one LAN port, which isn’t great as there are product around the same price point that come with multiple LAN ports, and lacks USD and audio jacks, which makes this Belkin WiFi booster a poor choice if you’re looking for a WiFi booster you can plug a number of additional devices into, such as a stereo or hard drive. Its antennas are external and can be moved, however they are permanently attached, with no way to remove them, making it impossible to upgrade to better, more sensitive ones.
The Belkin N600 can be unreliable in an environment where there is a lot of wireless network activity, such as in an office, and on the 2.4 GHz band, as it’s somewhat susceptible to interference from other wireless networks. However, it works a lot better on the 5 GHz band, and clocks in at 208.5 Mbps with a range of around 140 feet.
Read our full Belkin N600 review
Wireless networks communicate with electronic devices using radio waves, allowing these devices to access a local network as well as the internet. There are a number of factors that impact the range and reliability of these radio waves, which work to limit their range, creating dead spots within your home or office where devices are unable to detect or connect to a network. WiFi boosters make it possible to bridge these gaps, by increasing the range of your existing wireless network.
Learn more about how WiFi Boosters work