Using a wireless router is an excellent way of connecting to the internet. With an increase in the number of smart appliances and the number of portable devices, easy access to high-speed broadband has become very thin.
And because of this, people have to improve their network quality, speed and security. This improvement has led a lot of people into getting the latest of networking gears such as Wi-Fi Extenders and boosters to increase the quality of their internet and to always be connected no matter the situation.
A Wi-Fi extender is a device that increases the signal strength emitted from your wireless router. The purpose of this gear is to expand the range of the signal and make it stronger.
When your Wi-Fi connection is reliable, you become one of the happiest people because of the active signal. Using a wireless router serves as a better option these days to what the Data companies are charging. Though as impressive as the router is, it’s not without its fault. From issues with the wrong signal to failed logins, these are to mention but a few.
You may have seen someone waving their phone or tablet devices in the air for better network coverage, and why is this so? Because a lot of times a bad network connection can be linked to hardware neglect. As much as we feel the need to always have a good Wi-Fi connection, many of us do not take care of our routers, or other electronic devices. We do not even know the simple steps to use in improving its signal.
Since there is a public outcry on bad internet, people should consider updating their hardware. Just connecting your device to a router may not deliver a strong, stable network. Adding a Wi-Fi extender can help.
How does Wi-Fi extender work?
The routers transmit a wireless signal through the air space for a high frequency with the help of an antenna.There are lots of factors that destabilize that wireless signal and the distance the network covers, from the newness and the signal strength of the router to the size of the antenna.
We can solve these issues from our router settings sometimes, but there are times when the settings won’t be enough to address these issues. The best option at that moment will be to use a Wi-Fi extender.
The Wi-Fi extender is just small equipment that works precisely as the wireless router works. They connect to your router through the wireless signal and then boost the signal of the network past it designed frequency limit. It keeps transmitting this signal to a distance two or three times the length of the planned frequency distance.
The increase in signal coverage comes at a cost though. It does not just flow smoothly. Apart from purchasing extra hardware in the form of the extender, the connection between the extender and the router means there’s a decrease in the connection speed because the data transfer is not direct and has to go through a third party, i.e. the extender.
While there is a considerable increase in the delay time before the data transmits to your device, it’s incomparable to the interruptions faced by a weak signal. As for when you’re surfing the internet, the decrease in speed is relative to the problem of a low-quality signal.
Only two types of extenders are available for a prolonged network signal. They are the repeaters and wireless bridges. The repeater comes with their antennas which they use to receive signals and transmits them for further use though the repeater requires no physical connection to your router network. How does it send its signal?Place your repeater within range of your network, and through the help of its antenna, it re-broadcasts the signal using its capacity. Its access point to your system is through an Ethernet cable from which it broadcast the signal like a router. This access point connection serves as a better option when you have a physical network and need an extender to boost the system to a far distance.
The second type is the wireless bridges which can connect numerous devices and grant them access to your network signal, but they cannot enhance the performance of the signal themselves.
Range of the Wi-Fi Extender
Different factors affect the signal strength of our Wi-Fi connection. These factors vary from the building materials, the many doors and door frames to the pillars of our buildings or other electronic devices. You have to figure out which of these affect the range of your signal to know if you deserve to purchase a Wi-Fi extender.
Though apart from the above listed, using an old router can also affect the signal strength of our network. If you are a victim of this problem, getting a newly upgraded router will quickly solve this problem
Apart from these cases, the position at which you place our router’s antenna can affect the distance of the signal. You should try adjusting the antenna a bit to see if the network improves.
The position at which the router is kept is another factor that affects the range of the signal. Keeping the router on a low plane will limit the signal range and cause low connectivity. Remove it from that low place and mount it somewhere high, you will see that the signal improves and last as long as the router is on the high plane.
If you have tried all these methods and the range of your signal does not improve, then getting a Wi-Fi extender is for you. Using the right hardware will quickly increase the range of your Wi-Fi signal.
The speed of the connection depends on the hardware model, the distance of your connection, the frequency type and the upload and downloads speed of your data plan.
The Wi-Fi speed travels along two unique frequencies, and they’re the 802.11b and g network that use the 2.4GHz bandwidth, the 802.11a that use the 5 GHz bandwidth and the 802.11n network that transmits across both frequencies for increased transmission. So if you decide to use a Wi-Fi extender, it must cover any of these frequencies because an extender does not include devices outside its range.
If you check all these factors and your network signal and speed refuses to increase, then you need a Wi-Fi extender.
You have to consider what you’re doing with your wireless network. If you’re surfing the web and streaming videos online, then an extender is your likely option. If you stay in a place that suffers from signal interference or weak network signal due to the materials used in the building, you may need a secondary router and a very complex Wi-Fi network.
A Wi-Fi extender is not for you if you stream lots of heavy content or need a fast connection that performs consistently. The Wi-Fi extenders do not provide long term solutions to weak network signal as you move around wherever you are. A stronger, more complex Wi-Fi signal would do the trick.
So if you’re researching to see if there’s a way to increase your network connectivity then yes, there is a way. But if you need a more sophisticated solution to your wireless problems, then you may need to seek more qualified help. The Wi-Fi extenders pose no threats to us and are in no way dangerous to our network security.
How to make an extender
If you want to save up cash and not buy already made extenders, you can make an extender by using few materials that you can source around you. The design uses a rounded reflector to send the radio waves in one direction. Therefore you may have strong signal in one direction and a weaker signal in the other.
You can use of this extender if your situation is one where the network signal is weaker in one direction and stronger in another or if you want to redirect the flow of your signal from poachers in a nearby building.
The handmade extender is called a windsurfer. What you need to make it include;
- A printed design from freeantennas.com
- Cardboard or used carton
- Glue preferably Elmer
- Scissors or pocket knife, which may come in handy to hold the design together while the glue dries up or as you trace cutouts.
How do we make the extender?
Print the cutout on white paper. Cut out the design and glue it on the cardboard or used carton. Print two designs and glue them to the cardboard if your router has two antennas.
Cut out the designed shape glued to the cardboard or carton
On the printed cutout is a double +sign which you have to remember to cut carefully because the antenna of the Wi-Fi router would go through that space. Make sure the cut on the + sign is big enough to size your antenna.
Carve a rectangular cutout from the cardboard or carton
Carve several slits on the cardboard cutout for where the printed design would be joined to the cardboard cutout.
Rub some glue on the side of the cardboard cutout. Make sure the glue does not cover the slit. Cut a thin foil the shape of the cardboard cutout and place it on the fresh glue. Smoothen it carefully to keep out wrinkles or bubbles. Trace and cut open the already cut slits onto the foil
Bend the printed cutout into two, so the + slits are perpendicular to each other. Try and push the edges of the cutout into the slits of the reflector foil. While trying to do this, the foil should face backwards.
Work on each part of the slits one after the other and try not to bend the reflector foil. Work on them till both sides are attached to the reflector foil. Slide your antenna through the already open + sign of the cutout attached to the reflector
Place the ready-made extender an inch below the top of the antenna. Rotate the extender or router as necessary, so it points in whatever direction you want a stronger network.
You should notice an increase in network signal after following these instructions carefully. Note that the opposite direction of the extender would receive weaker network coverage.