GIG INTERNET

What is a Wi-Fi Repeater and What Does It Do? (Simple Explanation)

June 24, 2022
Smart Network
Wi-Fi Signal
Wi-Fi Repeater

A wireless repeater is a device that receives a wireless signal and transmits it to extend the signal over longer distances. This can be a very useful tool for homes that are quite large, office spaces, or outdoor areas that need to have extended wireless coverage. Repeaters connect to your router like tablets, phones, or other wireless devices.

Common situations where a wireless repeater is needed might be large office spaces, big homes, commercial spaces, and outdoor areas that experience gaps in their wireless connection. A repeater might talk to a wireless access point, or it can rebroadcast to a second network. Wireless repeaters are a really handy tool that can provide the right solution for spaces that tend to lose signal.

If you are ready to learn more about a repeater and what it does, you need to read on!

What’s the Difference Between a Wi-Fi Repeater and a Wi-Fi Extender?

A Wi-Fi repeater connects to the wireless network you already have in place, much like a mobile device like a phone, tablet or laptop would. The device simply rebroadcasts your wireless network's signal to a wider area. A range extender (or “access point”), on the other hand, connects to your existing network via a wired Ethernet connection and then broadcasts the signal to other areas of your home or your office.

A repeater is used when you don’t want to have to add a wired connection to your home or office or in cases where you do not need to extend the network so far that a wired connection is needed. Repeaters are more common in home use than range extenders. They tend to be the solution necessary for outdoor locations, businesses, and homes with plaster walls constructed with wire mesh (as this can interfere with wireless signals). The coverage that is possible with an extender is sometimes necessary for large buildings like warehouses.

laptop.jpg

Extenders are also known in the industry as access points. Extenders are always cabled, so you will know this is not a repeater if someone mentions that the device is attached to a wired connection. Repeaters will always connect to the main router, just like a tablet or another device, and this is usually enough information to keep the two items straight for people.

It’s important to remember that sometimes you will not be able to resolve your signal strength issues with access to your network through a repeater. Sometimes the construction of your home or office can make a repeater an impossible solution for your needs. You might need to be open to a wired solution if you have concrete walls in your home or office or if you have a very long distance to cover.

Do Wi-Fi Repeaters Actually Work?

Wi-Fi repeaters work best when there are walls that partially block the signal or an outdoor area where you are trying to extend coverage. They are not ideal for extending coverage across very long distances, and they might not offer widespread connectivity. Repeaters are helpful in most home uses, and hotels are another location where repeaters are traditionally employed.

A wireless repeater placed between a transmitter and receiver can increase the range of the signal by more than 100%. When the placement of your repeater is correct, you will get excellent results from this device. Just like a router, the placement of your repeater can magnify your Wi-Fi signal or not make a difference. You will want to get the most out of your repeater, and placing it correctly can be essential.

repeater.jpg

The impact of working from home and school has led to an increased need for reliable wireless repeaters. This has created improved technology that makes these devices more effective than ever. This is one of the best times to invest in this device to resolve your wireless connectivity needs at home or in your office or business location. Having rooms in the house that didn’t have connectivity wasn’t a big deal in the past when people were not working and attending school remotely. Things have changed, and the need for a reliable network covering all parts of a home has helped increase the chance that you can get a quality repeater for your needs.

Pros and Cons of a Wi-Fi Repeater

Wi-Fi repeaters come with many benefits. There are a few negatives, and we will discuss both things. This device can help give you wireless access to every part of your home or business. Repeaters are the most cost-effective way to resolve issues with access to your network in many locations, and you will often find that the cons are only going to apply in some situations.

Pros of a Wi-Fi Repeater

  • Can boost your signal to extend coverage through walls and outside of the house or business
  • Cost-effective and affordable
  • Easy to set up
  • Can work well with most routers
  • Eliminates dead zones and can boost your speeds

laptop_hands.jpg

Cons of a Wi-Fi Repeater

  • You will likely not experience the same throughput (speed) when connected to a wired access point or directly to your main router. Because your devices connect wirelessly to the repeater, which connects wirelessly to your router, that creates more wireless “hops” required. An increase in wireless “hops” typically reduces performance, which is the single biggest downside of this solution to extend your coverage.

How do I Set Up a Wi-Fi Repeater?

This is something that most people will feel comfortable doing themselves, and this is one of the benefits of this solution compared to an extender. You need to follow some key steps to set up this device, and you will find that none of them are that hard.

  1. Pick a place free of obstructions that is not too far from your router. You will need to avoid thick concrete walls as they will block the signal more than any other structural obstacle.
  2. Plug your repeater into an AC power outlet. Make sure that you have access to power in your chosen location that will be convenient. This will prevent damage to the device or issues with it getting unplugged.
  3. You will need to use a laptop or a desktop computer to connect the repeater, and you can do this by connecting an Ethernet cable to the repeater.
  4. Once things are connected, you will need to enter the IP address for your device and set up the connection between it and your router.
laptop_desk.jpg
  1. You will need to open up another browser and see if you are asked to input a DNS. You will need to leave it blank. You can enter “admin” (without quotes) in the username and password fields. You should then get to the Setup Wizard.
  2. Select wireless repeater mode and then select your wireless network.
  3. This should lead you to the option to put in the key that was sent with your device. You can then apply, and reboot, and you should be set up to use your repeater.

In some cases, a technician will come to your home and can do the installation for you. This is not as common as selecting to install and set up your device, but it is an option. You will find that this method might be best if you do not have any experience with setting up and configuring this kind of device. Sometimes your router placement can complicate the repeater placement, which might require some advice from an expert. However, these situations are often easy to resolve, and you should not run into impossible situations related to the placement of your repeater.

Ensuring that your repeater is placed correctly and connected correctly will make all the difference in its performance.

Contact Us Today for Help With Your Wireless Optimization

One of the best ways to ensure the best wireless coverage throughout your home is to use a managed Wi-Fi solution, like EPB Smart Net Plus. EPB Tech ProsSM will install a Wi-Fi 6 router powerful enough to handle multi-gig speeds, connect all your devices to stable, fast coverage and be available 24/7/365 for ongoing support. Accessing Wi-Fi without spotty coverage, poor performance, and other issues is easy when adding EPB Smart Net Plus to your EPB Fi-Speed Internet package.

Contact us today to find out how EPB Smart Network can change your internet experience for the better!

Wifi_devices.jpg
Did you enjoy this article?
2 article likes
Yes
LOADING