What is the Difference Between Wifi Extender and Repeater

Whenever talking about maximizing or increasing the coverage of the WIFI network, we often hear the devices called wifi extender and repeater, which are likely referred to interchangeably. We don’t blame people because these two devices have almost similar purposes. However, they differ in how they achieve the goal.

Router surrounded with gadgets

In this article, we will try to answer the question, “What is the difference between wifi extender and repeater?” After reading this article, we hope that we will be able to shed light and give you enough insights as to which of the two devices you need to buy. Knowing the difference between the two will also help you decipher which one you need.

What are WiFi Repeaters?

WIFI repeaters function to repeat or duplicate the WIFI network in a wireless manner. WIFI repeaters help hard to reach places or dead spots in the house receive the wifi signal from the main router. WIFI signals are prone to interference from external objects. These objects such as cabinets, thick walls, and others either deflect or absorb the WIFI signal, thereby dampening the WIFI signal once it reaches your devices.

WIFI repeaters should be placed strategically in places that have slow or no WIFI signal. You should be equipped with a WIFI repeater that efficiently picks up the WIFI signals from the main router. It is worth noting that distance is also a huge factor when evaluating the performance of a WIFI repeater. The farther the range is between the WIFI repeater and the router, the weaker is the signal.

The WIFI repeater links to the main router at the equal frequency as the other devices. With this, the bandwidth for the devices will be lessened leading to slow connection speeds in most cases.

What are WiFi Extenders?

WIFI extenders, on the other hand, work on a different scheme compared to WIFI repeaters. WIFI repeaters can amplify the WIFI signal by connecting to the internet network through Ethernet connections. Routers usually come with Ethernet ports, with the use of a coaxial cable, you can compare the router to the WIFI extender. There is also another type of WIFI extender which is called powerline extenders. These types of extenders make use of the electrical cords embedded in the house to extend the WIFI signal to other devices.

Because WIFI extenders use a wired connection, this means that they offer a more stable and consistent internet connection to the network. With this, the extender is also not as susceptible to external interference compared to WIFI repeaters.

With this, wifi extenders are better in establishing a WIFI connection in dead spots of the house.

Wifi Repeater vs. Wifi Extender

WIFI Repeaters and WIFI extenders are often used interchangeably. These two devices aim to boost the WIFI signal of the household which can be beneficial in homes that have several dead spots or interference.

Typically, a WIFI repeater is equipped with the same wireless technology that is found in mobile devices or laptops to pick up WIFI signals. However, WIFI repeaters outperform mobile devices and laptops because they have a dedicated antenna that can capture wireless signals more robustly. Once the WIFI repeater picks up the WIFI signal, they rebroadcast it in the area where it is installed or placed. However, the bandwidth that reaches the repeater is only 50% of what the router gives off.

On the other hand, WIFI extenders give users a more stable and consistent wireless connection compared to WIFI repeaters. They can do this by cloning or replicating the WIFI signals from the router without the need to create a new network. With this, the bandwidth that the extender receives remains at 100% and is not affected.

As mentioned above, WIFI extenders are installed via Ethernet cables. Therefore the WIFI signals they receive are not dampened by interference from other appliances or objects. With this, we highly recommend that you use it to amplify the WIFI in dead spots of the house or buildings.

However, when it comes to ease of installation, WIFI repeaters are more convenient and easy. They are usually easy to set up because they are plug and play devices. This means that they can be placed in virtually any area that has a nearby socket.

Another caveat with WIFI repeaters is that they have to retransmit the data received to the router to work correctly thereby limiting the available bandwidth. If you want to achieve better connection speeds without having to worry about the reduced bandwidth, you can buy WIFI repeaters that have dual-band technology. However, these units are costly. Typically, there are several downsides when using a WIFI repeater compared to when using a WIFI extender.

When choosing whether to buy a WIFI repeater or a WIFI extender, you need to think about some factors. You need to check whether several objects may interfere with the WIFI signal in your household. Moreover, you also need to consider the ample amount of bandwidth that is reduced from the router.

If several objects in your household may interfere with the WIFI signal once it reaches your mobile devices and if you want to get the most out of your router’s bandwidth allocation, then you are better of using a WIFI extender than a WIFI repeater.

Sure, there are some disadvantages when using a WIFI repeater. They are more challenging to install and setup. Moreover, they require some technical skills when setting up. Also, they are more expensive compared to WIFI repeaters.

But you have to think about the main reason why you are considering buying these devices. If you want to achieve better WIFI signals and get the most out of your router’s bandwidth allocation, then we highly suggest you buy a WIFI extender than a WIFI repeater.


So there you have it, those are the main differences between WIFI extenders and WIFI repeaters. We hope that this article shed light on your dilemma and somehow helped you decide which of the two devices you need to buy.

Nevertheless, both of these devices achieve the goal of amplifying the WIFI signal from the router. It all boils down to what you want to prioritize and if you have the time and effort in installing either of these devices.