If your network needs to cover a large space, such as a house or a large office, you’re probably familiar with the issues that arise when you wander too far from your router. If you experience these issues regularly, it might be a good idea to go out and buy one of the best Wi-Fi extenders. Sure, some range issues can be solved by buying a new router, but even the best wireless routers have a maximum range. The best option for fixing all of your wireless range problems is one of the best Wi-Fi extenders.
If you have a modem with a router built in, or even if you have a separate wireless router, you might start to run into some issues with your network’s range. There are several causes to these problems – your router may not be in a central location, or perhaps it’s obscured by walls or other objects. You can try to fix these problems by moving things around, but if you’re looking for a quick, efficient solution to all of your wireless range woes, the best Wi-Fi extenders are going to be a lifesaver.
The best Wi-Fi extenders will connect to your main network, then bounce that signal around to any device that may be out of reach. It’s really a simple idea, but these products will make all the difference in the world if you’re trying to get some work done on the other side of the office. Plus, they’ll let you play some Mario Kart online while you’re upstairs in your bedroom.
However, the second you go onto an online store, you’ll realize that there are dozens of Wi-Fi extenders to sort through. Don’t worry, as we here on the TechRadar editorial team have concocted a list of the best Wi-Fi extenders you can buy in 2018.
1. Netgear AC1200 WiFi Range Extender EX6150
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 1 x Gigabit Ethernet port | Features: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPS), Extender/Access Point mode switch, power button
Super simple setup
Only one Ethernet port
Over the last few years, Netgear has basically become a household name in the networking world. And, they’ve put their extensive expertise to fantastic use with their AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender EX6150. This fantastic extender is a simple device that you can inconspicuously plug right into any electrical outlet.
As an added bonus, the EX6150 features quick and simple installation, free of any hassling installation software. Just follow the easy-to-read instructions, and before you can even blink, you’ll have fast and reliable Wi-Fi covering the entire home or office. It’s just that easy.
2. D-Link Wi-Fi Dual Band Range Extender DAP-1520
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: N/A | Features: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPS), two internal antennas
Easy to use
D-Link's reticent Wi-Fi Dual Band Range Extender (DAP-1520) is tiny and inconspicuous, meaning that while it has extremely robust performance boosting your Wi-Fi network throughout your home or office – it’s virtually invisible to anyone who isn’t explicitly looking for it.
The unassuming and straightforward design does come with some inherent issues, however: it doesn’t feature an Ethernet port for extending a wired connection. Also, contrary to some Wi-Fi extenders, the antennae are internal, and while that does allow it to disappear into the background, it does mean range is somewhat reduced.
3. TP-Link RE350 AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 1 x Ethernet | Features: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPS), LED shows connection strength for easy placement
LED showing connection strength makes installation easy
TP-Link is a Chinese networking company, and that shouldn’t put you off, as they’ve slowly been gaining recognition in the West. And, with good reason. With devices like the TP-Link RE350 AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender, it’s easy to see their worth: it does the job well, it's inexpensive and the design is pleasing, as well.
While it’s far from being fastest Wi-Fi extender in the world, it features a phenomenal range, due to two external high-gain antennae and an LED on the front displaying how strong the signal quality is, making installing it in the right location a walk in the park.
4. Netgear AC1200 Desktop WiFi Range Extender EX6200
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 5 x Ethernet, 1 x USB 3.0 | Features: Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPS), Beamforming, quad-core processor
Five Ethernet ports
If you're seriously thinking about expanding your Wi-Fi network, then the Netgear AC1200 Desktop WiFi Range Extender (EX6200) is certainly worth consideration. Many other Wi-Fi extenders are small devices that sit in an outlet, the EX6200 looks more like a router or modem though.
While the size may rub some people the wrong way, it does allow it to offer a range of options – including five Ethernet ports for wired devices, which other Wi-Fi extenders are unable to include. High-powered amplifiers ensure your Wi-Fi can reach all parts of the building, and a quad-core CPU helps make the network faster and more reliable.
5. Linksys RE6500 AC1200 Dual-Band Wireless Range Extender
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 4 x Ethernet, Audio Jack | Features: Linksys Spot Finder Technology, music streaming, easy setup
Audio streaming capability
The Linksys RE6500 AC1200 is an yet another Wi-Fi extender that looks more like a router. The more sturdy design allows Linksys to include four gigabit Ethernet ports, which means that you are empowered to expand your network to internet-connected devices that need an ethernet connection.
It also has an audio output jack which allows you to connect it to speakers or an audio system, allowing you to stream digital music from your PC to your audio receiver.
6. D-Link DAP-1320 Wireless N300 Range Extender
Bands: 802.11n 2.4GHz | Connectivity: N/A | Features: WPS, internal antennae
Not the fastest Wi-Fi
If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to beef up your Wi-Fi network, and you’re ok with making a few concessions in performance and features, then the D-Link DAP-1320 Wireless N300 Range Extender is a great device for you. This tiny device doesn't include any Ethernet ports, and it doesn't feature dual bands or 802.11ac, presently the fastest form of Wi-Fi.
Still, it is designed well and built to last, and it's a quick, easy and cheap way of bolstering your Wi-Fi network as long as you’re not anticipating too much network traffic.
7. D-Link Wireless AC1200 Dual Band Gigabit Range Extender DAP-1650
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 4 x Ethernet, USB 2.0 | Features: WPS, reset button, guest access
Good selection of ports
Not great range
USB is only 2.0
That’s right, D-Link has scored another entry on the list of the best wi-fi extenders. The D-Link Wireless AC1200 Dual Band Gigabit Range Extender DAP-1650 is a fantastic mid-range Wi-Fi extender that packs in some of the features of more pricey extenders, such as multiple Ethernet ports and USB, while also boasting a design that’s not only small, but also blends into the background.
The DAP-1650 looks fantastic, and it's priced competitively. The only drawback is that due to its compact size and internal antennae, its range isn't as wide as some other extenders.
- This product is only available in the US and Australia at the time of this writing. UK readers: check out a fine alternative in the Linksys RE6500
Bands: 802.11ac 5GHz and 2.4GHz | Connectivity: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet per unit (1 WAN and 1 LAN each) | Features: App-based setup; dual-stream (2x2), 802.11ac networking; 716MHz quad-core ARM Cortex A7 processor, beamforming
Fully modular mesh network
Pricey in comparison
Performance too dependent on position
The Linksys Velop makes a sound argument for a wireless mesh network’s ease of setup. With the aim of replacing both your router and your now-antiquated range extender, the Velop arrives at a time when companies like Google and Netgear are doing the same thing. The main way Linksys hopes to differentiate its contender in the wireless mesh networking space is with a user-friendly setup that anyone with a smartphone can understand. With just a visit to the App Store or Google Play marketplace, you’ll have the Linksys Velop running in a matter of minutes.
Read the full review: Linksys Velop
9. Trendnet Wi-Fi Everywhere Powerline 1200 AV2
Bands: : 802.11n (up to 300Mbps) 802.11ac (up to 866Mbps) | Connectivity: : 3x Gigabit LAN ports | Features: : 300m range over electrical power lines, Auto-connects to other TRENDnet powerline adapters, QoS Management support
Easy to set up
Three LAN ports
Wide Wi-Fi band
If you’re looking to upgrade your network with a powerline adapter, but you want to keep the functionality that the best Wi-Fi extenders can afford, the TRENDnet Wi-Fi Everywhere Powerline 1200 AV2 Wireless Kit might just be a dream come true. While it falls short in design and is a bit more pricey than your average wifi extender, this unit more than makes up for it in sheer performance. Because a bulk of the work is done not through Wi-Fi, but sending data via ethernet through your house’s power lines, you can experience speeds that are just not possible with other extenders.
Plus, unlike other powerline adapters, the TRENDnet Wi-Fi Everywhere Powerline 1200 AV2 comes equipped with a ‘clone’ button that will copy the SSID and WPA key of your wireless network so that it can double as a Wi-Fi extender. This means you can experience the best of both worlds – unmitigated speed for wired devices and increased range for your wireless devices.
Read the full review: Trendnet Wi-Fi Everywhere powerline 1200 AV2
- This product is only available in the US and UK at the time of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Linksys Velop