Wireless networks use radio waves to communicate with electronic devices, giving them access to other devices on the same network and the internet.

There are a range of factors that can affect the strength of these radio waves, limiting their range and creating dead spots within your home or office where devices are unable to connect to or detect your wireless network.

Using Wi-Fi boosters can help by bridging these dead sports, providing great signal strength, increasing the range and reliability of your network.

Range and Interference

If unobstructed, Wi-Fi signals can travel some distance before it starts to become too weak to detect. However, in reality, buildings contain more than enough obstructions to attenuate a Wi-Fi signal long before it can get near to its maximum range.

The main culprit that impacts on Wi-Fi signals are walls and the dense materials they’re constructed from, sharply reducing signal strength. Another problem is interference from other electronic devices that operate on or near similar frequency ranges, further reducing the strength of Wi-Fi signals.

Cordless phones, that are known to cause interference in the 2.4 GHz frequency band, and microwaves, that put out emissions over a wide area of the wireless spectrum, are both especially problematic, impacting significantly on the range of Wi-Fi signals.

Wi-Fi Boosters

There are two different types of WiFi booster; Repeaters and Access Points.

Repeaters make use of antennas to receive WiFi signals, rebroadcasting them without the need for a physical connection to your wireless network. They’re the easiest type of WiFi boosters to use and set up, needing just to be placed within range of your WiFi router.

Access points require a physical connection to your network, via an Ethernet cable, broadcasting a WiFi signal just like a router. If you only need to allow access to your existing network in limited areas, not requiring it to be accessed over a wider space, then access points may be a better option for you than repeaters, as these can be much cheaper than having multiple repeaters.

There are also wireless bridges, which can connect numerous wired computers, granting them access to an existing wireless network, however these don’t work to extend the wireless range of a network itself.

Find out more about the booster we recommend on our best WiFi boosters guide or our WiFi Booster reviews page.

Wi-Fi Signals

Depending on the type of wireless network you use, Wi-Fi signals are sent in two different frequency ranges; 2.4 GHz and 5 Ghz bands.

Networks that are 802.11b or g use the 2.4 GHz band, 802.11a networks use the 5 GHz band, and 802.11n networks send their signals on both frequencies, increasing their output. When considering making a purchase for a WiFi booster it’s important to know both type of wireless network you use and whether or not the booster you’re thinking of purchasing supports it, as a WiFi booset won’t provide any additional range or coverage for devices that operate outside of its own frequency range.