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.
Netgear AC750-WiFi EX3700 (£33.96)
The Netgear AC750 EX3700 is an entry-level, dual-band Wi-Fi booster – offering good performance across, and support for, both 2.4GHz and 5Ghz bands – with speeds of 300 Mbps and 433 Mbps respectively. This booster also supports the latest Wi-Fi 802.11ac protocol – offering speed up to 3 times faster than the current standard – and is our pick for the best Wi-Fi extender retailing at around the £30 mark.
This range extender features a pair of external antennas – which can be positioned independent of each other, something that can help to increase range in different directions – and a single ethernet port, allowing for wired devices to be connected to your network via an ethernet cable.
Setting up the EX3700 is very easy – it can be connected to your network either by WPS, requiring no more than the click of a button, or through the devices browser software, offering a range of configurable options. In addition, this device includes Netgear’s Wi-Fi Analytics App – an app that makes finding the right location for the booster simpler, helping to identify weak spots in your Wi-Fi coverage to help you find the perfect place to get maximum range out of the device – as well as this, the app also works to identify crowded channels and to monitor the EX3700’s status through your mobile phone.
For a low-cost Wi-Fi range extender, they don’t get much better than the EX3700 – ease of setup, performance and price-point combine to make this booster one of the best options for those looking for a budget solution to increase the range and reliability of their home network.
Netgear AC1200-WiFi EX6130 (£49.99)
The Netgear AC1200 EX6130 is a mid-ranged dual-band wireless network range extender – and is in fact our pick for the best extender equipped with AC pass-through – a feature that enables you to use the wall socket the booster is in with other devices, rather than losing the socket to the extenders.
Being rated for AC1200, this devices offers speeds of up to 1200 Mbps – 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHz, and up to 867 Mbps on 5 GHz – making it an ideal device for home use, being more than capable at providing adequate performance for broadband-intensive tasks such as media streaming and online gaming.
When it comes to performance – we find the EX6130 to be pretty good – offer both a range of up to 75 Ft, with before dropping off significantly at ranges beyond this, and support for the most recent Wi-Fi protocol 802.11AC, which can be up to three times faster than the current standard.
The device is incredibly easy to setup – supporting automatic setup through WPS – as well as further configuration options, either through the devices browser-based software of with Netgear’s Wi-Fi Analytics app. This app can also make finding the perfect spot for the booster easier, eliminating the trial and error process by working to identify dead spots throughout your home.
The device itself also features a number of indicative LED lights on its front – these allow you to easily determine the status of the booster – and also offers a single Ethernet port, which can be used to interface non-Wi-Fi enabled devices with your network with an Ethernet cable.
We like the EX6130, as it offers a range of features and configurable options that rival that of more premium Netgear Wi-Fi boosters at a mid-range price, offering consumers good value. Another key feature for us is this device being a pass-through booster – something that people in smaller homes and apartments that often suffer with a shortage of wall sockets are also going to like.All-in-all, there are better Wi-Fi boosters out there – and if you’re looking for a solution for a larger home or office, we’d advice that you look at these – however, for the money, you can’t go wrong with the Neatgear EX6130.
Netgear AC2200-Nighthawk X4 EX7300 (£104.99)
The Netgear AC2200 Nighthawk X4 EX7300 is one of the newest, dual-band Wi-Fi range extenders from Netgear and as such, offers a wide range of features and improvements over some of the earlier, cheap Wi-Fi boosters from the brand. This extender is particularly good for those who are heavy users of online gaming and high definition video streaming, offering lag-less performance for these and other bandwidth intensive tasks. It also supports the latest 802.11 ac Wi-Fi protocol – a protocol that offers speeds up to 3 times that of the current protocol – as well as providing full-support for devices that use other, legacy protocols.
As a Wi-Fi booster rated for AC2200 – it offers speeds of up to 2.2 Gpbs across both 2.4 Ghz and 5 GHz, with up to 450 Mbps and 1,733 Mbps respectively – although, like many modern boosters, the EX7300 can work simultaneously across each band, utilising FastLane technology, leading to the fastest possible performance. When it comes to range – the Nighthawk X4 also excels – performing well at ranges up to 300 Ft, a range that should be more than enough for most larger homes as well as medium-sized offices.
As you’d expect, setting up this device is incredibly easy – supporting automatic setup via WPS – as well as alternative methods, including via the devices browser-software and through Netgear’s Android mobile application. The whole process of configuring and getting this Netgear Wi-Fi booster up and running will take no more than a few minutes, even for the less tech savvy.
Although not exclusive to the EX6400 Nighthawk X4 – this extender is compatible with Netgear’s Wi-Fi Analytics app, an Android app that makes checking the status of your network, its strength and crowded channels, among other features – giving you a greater level of control over this Wi-Fi booster than with others on the market.
The features and performance offered by the Netgear EX7300 makes this device one of the very best W-Fi boosters out there around the £100 price point – providing levels of speed and range that surpass those offered by any of the other boosters on this list. All-in-all, if you’re looking for a device that provides the widest coverage for your large home or office – then this is it – other Wi-Fi boosters just won’t cut it, making it a must-buy wireless extender.
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