If you need more WiFi range and a standard router is not giving a good signal or dead spots than a WiFi amplifier is always an option.
A WiFi signal amplifier works by taking an existing wireless signal and then boosting the signal to cover more range and dead spots in a home or apartment.
Before buying a range extender there are something’s, depending on your router, that can be done to try and boost a signal.
For example many routers have a power transmit and receive level that can be adjusted by logging into the router Admin page. Most routers are set to max output by default but double checking is always a good idea.
Another thing is the routers age and antenna setup. Some come with larger dBi antennas than others that increase range also if your router is more than 5-7 years old than it is likely time to upgrade.
Router and Range extender compatibility
The wireless protocol standard 802.11 sets the rules for Wifi. This started in the late 90’s with 802.11a known as wireless A.
After 802.11a came 802.11g than 802.11n called wireless N.
Any WiFi device built in the last 5 years will have wireless N built into it.
In 2014 a new protocol was introduced called 802.11ac which triples the speed of WiFi from 300 Mbps with wireless N to 750 Mbps.
Also in 2014 dual band was widely introduced. Dual band is simply a router that can transmit at both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz ranges.
Old routers can only transmit in the 2.4 GHz range.
Since the introduction of Wifi the 2.4 GHz frequency has became over crowded causing invisible collisions of packets a router sends to a device. This slows down and decreases the range since a router must resend any packet that doesn’t make it.
It also can decrease the range since a packet is less likely to make the long trip in a heavily used WiFi area as many cities have become.
For this reason the 5 GHz range has been introduced which has a lot less traffic.
When buying a range extender simply match the 802.11 protocols to the router you are using. More than likely it will be wireless N but if it is newer and you want to take advantage of the new 5 GHz range than be sure the range extender is also (Dual Band) 5 GHz compatible.
Here Is Our Picks for the Top WiFi Range Extenders
NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender, Essentials Edition (EX2700)
TP-Link N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender (TL-WA850RE)
TP Link AV500 Wi Fi Range Extender, Powerline Edition Starter Kit w/ 2 LAN Ports, Up to 300Mbps Wireless
NETGEAR N600 Desktop WiFi Range Extender (WN2500RP)
NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 Desktop WiFi Range Extender (EX7000-100NAS)