How to Tell If Wifi Range Extender is Working
Wireless range extenders help boost the WIFI signal to areas in the household or building that receives poor internet speeds. Contrary to similar network boosting devices such as WIFI repeaters, WIFI range extenders churn out better results because of the way they are set up.
WIFI range extenders are installed by connecting through the cable wires embedded within the walls. With this, they are also more challenging to set up compared to wifi repeaters. When buying a new device, we always want to test out how they perform and if they are working correctly.
In this case, we want to know if the WIFI range extender does its job efficiently. In this article, we will teach you how to tell if the wifi range extender is working. We will give you a detailed instruction to determine the throughput and signal strength the wifi range extender can churn out.
LED Notification Lights
One of the most efficient yet straightforward ways of determining the status of the WIFI range extender is by looking at the LED notification lights.
To do this, you need first to configure the WIFI range extender using the WPS or RE button. We highly suggest users use the RE light to indicate the process of WPS. With this, you should see that the RE LED changes from blinking to a solid light. A solid RE light means that the connection with WPS is working correctly.
It is also worth noting that varying WIFI range extenders will have different behaviors when it comes to the RE light. Such example is what you may observe with WIFI range extenders like the TP-link WA850RE. The extender has a solid light when a successful connection is established. In contrast, another router such as the RE200 has a RE LED light which only turns on for two minutes and will most likely turn off by itself. Despite the RE light being turned off, it does not necessarily mean that the WPS connection is also turned off.
In addition to this, the LED notification lights also help users determine whether they have configured the WIFI range extender properly. If the WIFI range extender has successfully connected itself to the router, the WIFI range extender will show a solid light, regardless of the number of signal bars present on the unit.
Moreover, the number of bars on the unit will also indicate the strength of the signal. Speaking of signal strength, we will also delve in more in-depth on this on the later part of the article.
Testing TCP Throughput
Aside from looking at the LED notification lights to determine if the WIFI range extender is indeed working, it also pays to check the performance of the unit by evaluating some factors. When assessing a WIFI range extender’s network performance; one of the critical aspects you need to look into is the throughput.
Most WIFI range extenders are equipped with dual-band technology. This means that the unit allows support for two bands, most of which are 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Because of this, the device can work more flexible. However, we also need to test the throughput for both of these bands.
One way to test the throughput of a WIFI range extender is by using programs such as the IxChariot. The connection should be verified between the server and the recipient device. This is done by establishing a link to the router via a wired Ethernet cable.
IxChariot is a program coming from a network testing company called Ixia. There are several versions of the software, but we highly suggest that you use the latest firmware. The first thing you need to do is to configure the benchmark parameters and then test the throughput using the programs high-performance script.
Next, you need to initiate the process. After which, the program reveals a report that shows the amount of data that is traveling via the wireless interface of the recipient device. The degree of measurement is via megabits per second or Mb/s. The rates that are shown reveal the minimum, maximum and usual speed rates.
The throughput then is determined between the connection from the wireless router and the WIFI range extender which is divided by 50’. Ranges from 5’ to 75 then measure the throughput performance’. These outputs are measured from the WIFI range extender and the recipient. AS mentioned above, you need to test both frequencies, so you have to repeat the process several times.
Measuring Signal Strength
In addition to measuring the throughput of the WIFI range extender, you also need to determine the signal strength output of the device. The signal strength is one of the key features that will help you determine the excellent WIFI extenders to the bad ones. If a WIFI range extender fails to deliver good signal strengths, it won’t be able to provide an ample amount of WIFI signal to your wireless devices.
To test out the signal strength of a WIFI range extender, you only need to move farther away from the device and look at the signal bars present on the mobile or wireless device. You can have increments ranging from 5’ to 75’ to test out the signal strength. To do this, move further away from the WIFO extender every 30 seconds and see if there are any changes with the number of signal bars present on your mobile devices. Do this multiple times to have a more accurate or precise measurement of the signal strength.
In addition to this, you can also use some programs to test out the WIFI signal degradation. With this, you can make use of the PassMark WirelessMon 4.0 software. The results from this software are measured in dBm levels. The higher the dBm levels, the better is the signal strength.
Because of the presence of external objects that may interfere with the WIFI signal coverage, the results may vary from one test to another. This is why you need to do the process several times to take accurate results.
There are several means to check whether your newly bought WIFI range extender is working correctly. However, the steps mentioned above are all the important methods you need to do. With the constant updates in technology, there are bound to be some limitations as to how you can check whether a WIFI range extender is working correctly. However, the steps we mentioned will suffice for most of today’s WIFI range extenders.