How Much Does A Wi-Fi Booster Increase Speed?
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While Wi-Fi boosters, in theory, are designed to replicate the same speeds as your router when extending the range of your Wi-Fi signal, practically, that is not always achievable.
There are inevitable reductions in top end speed during the boosting process, and that means that there will be some speed loss if you connect to your Wi-Fi router via a booster. This is because a Wi-Fi booster has to both receive and then retransmit data packets on the same channel.
This means in reality; a single band Wi-Fi booster is only using 50% of its bandwidth at a time.
Dual-band Wi-Fi boosters get around this problem by connecting to the Wi-Fi router on one band and then outputting the Wi-Fi signal on another band. This ensures that you can use the available bandwidth of a Wi-Fi booster to its full potential.
With no obstacles (such as concrete or thick timber walls) playing a factor, adding a dual band Wi-Fi booster has the potential to increase bandwidth in weak spots of your existing network so that they achieve a connection speed almost identical to that output by your primary Wi-Fi source.
In the below clip, Triple M provides a good example of a booster in action when he speed tested the Rockspace 1200Mbs extender and found that connecting to the newly extended range generated speeds equal to 99.6% of the baseline speed at 2.4Ghz and 90.6% of baseline speed at 5Ghz.
Does a Wi-Fi booster increase the speed of your internet?
Think of a Wi-Fi booster like a wireless extension cord for your internet.
As you move further away from a Wi-Fi source, the weaker the connection and slower the internet access gets. A Wi-Fi booster can help by spreading your Wi-Fi signal further and thus helps increase the speed of internet where you normally would struggle to pick up a strong signal.
It is important to note however that a Wi-Fi booster cannot increase the maximum speed of your internet beyond that of the Wi-Fi source itself as this is limited by your ISP and your connection.
The booster’s role is to simply relay the Wi-Fi signal that already exists so that wireless devices even further away from the primary source can connect to the network.
Most Wi-Fi routers have an average range of 10m to 15m. After that, the Wi-Fi signal is very weak, and you will not have a good browsing experience.
How does a Wi-Fi booster work?
A Wi-Fi booster works by setting up a connection between your wireless device, i.e., your phone or laptop, and the Wi-Fi router or access point. When you are physically near a Wi-Fi router, there is a strong connection between your device and the Wi-Fi router.
But as you move away, this connection gets weaker and weaker.
As the connection gets weaker, it becomes harder and harder for your device to capture and send packets of data to the Wi-Fi router.
The Wi-Fi booster acts as a middleman in this case as it takes data packets from your wireless device and sends them back to the Wi-Fi router and vice versa. Essentially extended the range of your Wi-Fi router.
How fast your Wi-Fi booster is and how far it can extend your Wi-Fi signal will depend upon what model and kind of booster your get. But most commonly, Wi-Fi boosters use the Wireless N 802.11n protocol. This supports a maximum speed of up to 300 Mbps.
Do you need a Wi-Fi booster?
Some of you might be wondering if buying a Wi-Fi booster is absolutely necessary.
Here are some of the most common scenarios where a Wi-Fi booster will help you improve your internet speed across a larger area.
- The Wi-Fi is slow in some rooms inside your house: In this case, a Wi-Fi booster might help increase the speed of your Wi-Fi in those rooms. Usually, rooms that are far from the Wi-Fi router can suffer from slower speeds. In other cases, a large number of obstacles like a thick wall can also weaken your Wi-Fi connection and slow down your speed. In these cases, a Wi-Fi booster will help you get faster speeds in those rooms.
- You want a better Wi-Fi connection outside: A lot of people like to use the internet when outside their house, like in the backyard or in the garage. In that case, a Wi-Fi booster can help extend the range of your Wi-Fi, so these areas will have better Wi-Fi coverage.
- You want to increase the number of devices that can connect: A Wi-Fi booster can also help you increase the capacity for wireless devices. Usually, a Wi-Fi router can only allow a certain number of devices to be connected to it at once. But if you want more devices to connect to the internet at once, you can use a Wi-Fi booster too.
A Wi-Fi booster will however not help you increase your internet speed if you already have a slow internet connection from your Internet Service provider. The Wi-Fi booster can only work within the parameters of the bandwidth that you get from your ISP.
What is the difference between a booster, an extender, and a repeater?
A Wi-Fi booster, repeater, and extender are three product names used by manufacturers for the same device. Namely one that improves the Wi-Fi bandwidth available in a weak signal area by taking the existing Wi-Fi signal and broadcasting it across a wider area.
While you may see these three different names being used interchangeably, you should know that they all mean the same thing.
So don’t worry yourself when forced with a choice of buying a Wi-Fi booster or a Wi-Fi extender; these are basically different names for the same device. You can buy any one of these, and you should be good.
Tip! Keep in mind that some Wi-Fi boosters need a power source to operate, whilst others model can run on batteries. Being plugged in will inevitably place some restrictions on how far and in which direction you can extend your connection.