Many of us have a corner of their home where the wi-fi just doesn’t reach, and sometimes that’s in your kitchen, a child’s bedroom or your garden shed hideaway. A plug-in wi-fi extender is an easy way to banish a wireless blackspot.
How does a wi-fi extender work?
Wi-fi extenders amplify and repeat your home network, making it bigger and stronger around the extender. All of your laptops, phones and tablets stay connected and you can roam around the house without any interruptions.
These compact units only need a free power socket which is in range of your main wi-fi network. Most of them also have an Ethernet cable port for plugging in an older PC, smart TV or games console that doesn’t have wi-fi.
Will a wi-fi extender slow down my broadband connection?
Wi-fi extenders have a headline speed for perfect conditions, but that’s usually five to 10 times faster than the speed you will get in the real world.
A 300Mbit extender will give you speeds between 30Mbit and 60Mbit in your home, which is great for streaming and downloads on a single device, even with HD video.
If there are lots of people using your wireless network at the same time, you can get extenders rated for 610Mbit, 750Mbit or even 1200Mbit. This will support several people gaming, watching Ultra HD TV or making video calls at the same time. Just make sure your broadband connection is fast enough.
Can I get a wi-fi extender for my dual-band 11ac network?
Most of the faster wi-fi extenders also support dual-band 11ac networks provided by the BT Smart Hub. This means they’re better for homes with several users online at the same time.
Dual-band extenders have to be manually switched from 2.4GHz to the faster 5GHz mode, but this means swapping a small amount of the range for a boost in the top speed and number of users who can go online at the same time.
What if I have a big home that needs more than one wi-fi extender?
Some homes are too big to cover with a wi-fi extender, or you might have a garden office that is too far away. The good news is that you don’t have to install long Ethernet cables to stay connected.
The first option is a mini WiFi hotspot that uses the electrical power cables in your home, with a small device at each end of the connection which plugs into a power socket. This will extend your wi-fi and give you cable connections wherever you need them.
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