How do wireless range extenders work?


Quick Answer

A wireless range extender receives and rebroadcasts a signal from a wireless router to computers and devices out of the router's range. The wireless range extender is usually set with the same network settings as the wireless router so devices connect to it automatically. Wireless range extenders are useful in large or multi-level buildings. If used close to a router, a wireless range extender may cause connection to drop if devices don't automatically connect to it.

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Full Answer

Wireless range extenders, or wireless repeaters, are used to extend a wireless signal past its usual boundary by placing the extender in a location where it reaches both the existing router and the devices it connects to. Wireless range extenders are placed in an area with low signal strength to maximize functionality.

Although wireless range extenders are useful in certain situations, they sometimes cause confusing network situations and decreased bandwidth. If the router is also communicating with devices within its range, the bandwidth is cut in half, which worsens Internet performance. Since a wireless repeater is essentially a wireless receiver and router, it creates an additional network that can be confusing to devices. Some devices automatically connect to the strongest network; however, in cases where that doesn't happen, devices lose experience connection loss.

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