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WiFi extenders and boosters review & guide

The need for WiFi is getting stronger and stronger as the internet becomes more of a necessity in our lives. This is why, especially in large houses, extending the range of your WiFi modem can be especially crucial in getting the most out of your internet capabilities. But when it comes to actually looking at what’s available, where should you start looking, and what should you be looking for? Find out all you need to know about WiFi extenders with this Canstar Blue guide.

What does a WiFi extender do?

Wi-Fi Range Extender

Its name might be difficult to unpack, but WiFi extenders extend the range of your WiFi. They can be a valuable asset for people with large homes, or for people who don’t have a lot of say in where they can put their WiFi modem. While the speed of your internet is capped and therefore won’t be increased by having a WiFi extender in your house or office, the WiFi extender can bring the outskirts of your house to the maximum speed potential.

How do I know if I need a WiFi extender?

If you’re WiFi has felt slow, sluggish, or unresponsive, it may be time to purchase a WiFi extender. But before you do this, first think about why your internet is slow. There can be plenty of factors, including:

  • Your modem being surrounded by clutter
  • Peak time usage or multiple devices using the same WiFi channel at the same time
  • External factors such as provider outages

After a process of elimination, you can try implementing ways to increase your internet speed, which may negate the need for a WiFi extender. But if you’re still encountering issues at the far end of the house, read on to find out what to consider when it comes to purchasing a WiFi extender.

NBN Providers & Plans

Looking to bump up your WiFi speeds? It may be worth looking for a new NBN provider or plan. Check out some of the providers and plans available in the table below. The table contains affiliate links.

The following table shows a selection of sponsored unlimited data Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost (excluding discounts), from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The table below shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to referral partners.

What do the more expensive extenders offer that the cheaper ones don’t?

There are some high-quality, and commensurately-priced WiFi extenders out there, but what does forking out extra actually get you? The main feature that increases exponentially with price is the WiFi speed capabilities. The more affordable extenders tend to have a capped WiFi capability of a few hundred megabits per second, while the more expensive models have a maximum speed cap of upwards of 5GBps. This is worth considering when making your purchase, as different houses have different speed capabilities and needs.

WiFi extenders/boosters available in Australia

The WiFi extender market is an incredibly full one, which is a good thing for consumers. With so many factors to consider, below are a number of brands and models for you to investigate, with categories split into different price tiers.

Value-for-money Wi-Fi extenders

Kogan WiFi Extender

  • TP-LINK AC750 Wireless Range Extender – Priced at under $50, the TP-Link AC750 is an affordable option for people wanting to boost their overall WiFi connection, without hurting their pockets. The sleek white device has a maximum WiFi connection of 750Mbps, and features a wall mount to make positioning the booster easier.
  • Kogan N300 AC Wi-Fi Range Extender – Priced at around $30, the Kogan N300 has a maximum WiFi capability of 300mbps, which immediately puts it below competitors. However the main drawcard of this device is its manoeuvrability, as it comes with a small, wall-mounted design that can be easily inserted into any office space.

Middle-tier Wi-Fi extenders

TP Link WiFi Extender

  • TP-LINK AC2600 WiFi Range Extender RE650 – Priced at about $150, the TP-Link AC2600 comes with a powerful quad antenna to enhance its boosting capabilities. On top of this, the device has maximum capabilities of 800mbps on the 2.4GHz band, and 1,733mbps on the 5GHz channel. The range is the selling point of this extender, however, as it increases the WiFi area by 1,300 square metres.
  • D-Link EXO AC2000 Mesh WiFi Range Extender – Costing around $200, the D-Link EXO provides 2000mbps WiFi support to your home or office, and comes in a sleek, compact design to avoid any clutter. The extender has a handy configuration process, as it essentially sets itself up with one press of a button.

High-tech Wi-Fi extenders

Netgear Nighthawk WiFi Extender

  • Netgear Nighthawk AX6000 8-Stream 6 Mesh WiFi Extender – Priced at almost $500, the Nighthawk has long been seen as one of the premier WiFi extenders. This model can use WiFi with speeds up to 6GBps, with four ethernet ports to enhance your gaming, streaming, or working capabilities, as well as compatibility with any router.
  • Netgear Orbi AX4200 Mesh WiFi 6 System Add-on Satellite – Upwards of $400, the Orbi is also produced by Netgear, but has a slightly slower maximum WiFi speed compared to the Nighthawk of 4.2GBps. The Orbi also has four ethernet ports, but comes in a chic white finish to blend into rooms easily.

Determining what the best WiFi range extender is will ultimately depend on what your internet needs are, and if the extender or booster is up to the task. If you live in a heavy internet-use household, or simply live in a large house that covers plenty of floor space, going for the more expensive models may be a better option, as they generally come with additional firepower over the more-affordable options. However, if you only need a slight bump in WiFi range to make life easier, one of the more basic or affordable models may be able to get the job done without breaking the bank.

What to consider when purchasing a WiFi range extender

There’s plenty that goes into the decision-making process when it comes to picking up a WiFi extender, but what exactly should you be looking for? Some key areas to consider are:

  • Range: Not all extenders are built the same, with how much distance, range and surface area covered varying between brands and models. It’s best to calculate how much distance there is between your current modem and where you’ll often use the internet (such as your office), to determine how much of a boost you need.
  • Size: The physical size of the range extender impacts just where exactly you can put it in your house, meaning you’ll have to consider how much space you have to play with, and how big of a unit you can roll with before you run into issues.
  • Type: WiFi extenders come in either desktop or plug-in models, each with advantage and disadvantages. As a result, determining what you need out of an extender, where you can physically put it and how much firepower you need from it will help determine what type of extender you purchase.
  • Price: Price is an important factor to consider regardless of the purchase, as you don’t want to be paying for something that you’re not getting value from.

How to set up a WiFi extender

Wi-Fi Booster

The process for setting up a WiFi extender can differ from model to model, but generally there is a common procedure to follow. First, plug in the extender to a power source, and then connect it to your WiFi network. From here, follow the prompts within the manual, as the following steps will often vary from brand to brand and model to model.

Where can I purchase a WiFi extender?

WiFi extenders are available to purchase directly through the brands themselves, or via third-party electronics retailers such as The Good Guys, JB Hi-Fi, Officeworks and other general retailers such as Amazon.

Is a WiFi range extender worth it?

A WiFi range extender can be incredibly beneficial for your internet browsing, helping to keep you up to speed despite being on the other side of the house to your modem. As working from home is becoming a part of life worldwide, having appropriate internet speeds for you fast-paced needs is an absolute necessity. And with many WiFi extenders reasonably priced, having a faster internet connection in every corner of the house may be well worth any price tag that you come across. However, it’s always best to look into all of your options to ensure your dollar stretches as much as your WiFi range.

Photo Credits: Alliance Images/shutterstock.com, Proxima Studio/shutterstock.com, Maor_Winetrob/shutterstock.com

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