How To

Which Wi-Fi extender is right for you?

If there’s one thing we’re not a fan of at Softonic, it’s poor Wi-Fi signal. Having grown up in the age of dial-up (yes, I am a dinosaur), it’s easy to forget how amazing it is to work untethered anywhere in your home or office.

Sometimes, though, dropouts or weak signal can really disrupt the flow of whatever you’re doing online. The solution is to buy a Wi-Fi extender, a device that’s designed to deliver a fast, stable connection throughout your home by boosting range and signal strength.

As there are lots to choose from, we’ve put together a list of our favorites to help you decide which one is right for you.  

Best overall value

TP-LINK AC1200 Wi-Fi range extender – $62.41

  • Affordable
  • Gigabit ethernet port
  • Better for range than speed

This extender performs very well for the price. With a trio of booster aerials and an ethernet port, this is a super flexible unit that will enhance your home or office Wi-Fi with ease. It performs brilliantly at long range, and the intelligent signal light on the front helps you find the optimal location for the devices in your home.

Most stable connection

Devolo GigaGate – $724.24

  • Ultra fast
  • Effortless setup
  • Expensive for what it is

Given its high price, the Devolo is a fairly niche extender for those with a lot more cash to spare. The design and performance is exceptional, and it’s one of the fastest extenders on this list. The device is a two-part system with one unit pairing with your router, and the other acting as a satellite. While it’s not cheap, the Devolo really delivers on speed and ease of use.

Best on a budget

D-Link DAP-1320 – $14.07

  • Excellent 2.4Ghz performance
  • Compact design
  • Doesn’t support 5Ghz

This is the smallest, cheapest extender on our list. It measures just 4.75 x 6.28 x 2.95 inches, so it should fit virtually anywhere in your house. Feature-wise, it’s pretty light. It’s rated at 300Mbps and only uses 2.4Ghz.

However, what it lacks in features, it makes up for in ease of use. Connecting is simplicity itself, simply press the WPS button on the side and it connects automatically. Alternatively, you can connect to the device’s default Wi-Fi signal, before linking it to your router. Performance, while not the fastest, is solid.

Best mesh network

Netgear Orbi – $399.99

  • Blisteringly fast
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Consistent coverage
  • Very expensive
  • Not the fastest at close range

The Orbi is both an extender and router in one. Instead of pairing with your home network, the Orbi expands it. So no fiddling with your router, just turn on the Orbi and you’re good to go.

The Orbi devices also use a 5Ghz backchannel to communicate with each other, so there’s none of the drop-off from router-to-router chatter you get with less advanced products. It might not be the fastest in terms of raw speed, but it’s definitely a worthy upgrade.

We hope you’ve found our suggestions useful, and we wish you a future filled with fast, stable, Wi-Fi.    

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