"No matter what they are called or technology they use, repeaters start out with a minimum 50% throughput loss. The reason is that a repeater must receive, then retransmit each packet using the same radio on the same channel and with the same SSID. If the repeater is very efficient, then your loss will be close to 50%. But if it's not, throughput loss can be higher."
Thanks to that 50% loss in bandwidth right off the top, just about all wireless extenders suck.
Thanks to that 50% loss in bandwidth right off the top, just about all wireless extenders suck. But the technology has gotten a little better in the past year. If you have to get a Wi-Fi extender, it should be the $80 Netgear WN2500RP, which has a dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio. The extender can use one frequency to communicate with a router and another frequency to communicate with client devices, which bypasses that 50% hit to bandwidth.
Even so, a Wi-Fi extender is the last
thing you should buy to improve your wireless network. The simple truth is that there are two better alternatives to consider first:
- Getting a new, faster router with increased range
- Setting up a hardwired network using Ethernet, MoCA or powerline that will blow any Wi-Fi extender's speed out of the water