Wireless repeater or WiFi repeater is a device which enables you to extend the range and improve the coverage of your wireless network.
Parts of your home have weak WiFi signal or even they don’t have a wireless signal at all. There are seven ways to boost the range and improve the coverage.
- Increasing the power of the wireless router.
- Using the WiFi signal booster.
- Finding a better place for the WiFi router.
- Using of secondary access point.
- Using the newer generation of WiFi.
- Using of Wireless repeater.
- Using of WiFi antenna.
If you are interested in other ways for extending wireless range, read my article WLAN extend – seven ways to make your wireless network bigger.
Wireless router (access point) connected to the internet is called a root wireless router (root access point). Other wireless router or access point which has a wireless connection to the root is called repeatedly.
WiFi repeater acts as a relay between the root wireless router and the wireless client. It receives the signal from the root wireless router and forwards this signal to the client. When wireless traffic is going from the opposite direction, wireless client sends the signal to the WiFi repeater, which then forwards the signal to the wired wireless router.
In the article Wireless Signal Booster – Increase the Coverage of Wireless Network, you can read about different kinds of wireless signal boosters.
The article WiFi Signal Booster – Way to Make your Wireless Signal Stronger, describes how to make your own and how to buy the proper WiFi signal booster.
Two Kinds of the WiFi Repeaters
WiFi repeaters can be grouped by how they are connected to the root wireless router. They can use WDS – wireless distribution system or not.
Wireless repeater can work in two ways:
- WDS repeater
- non-WDS repeater.
Non-WDS Repeater – WiFi Range Extender
Non-WDS repeater connects to the root wireless router as a wireless client. The devices, wireless repeater and root wireless router, needs to have the same SSID. Non-WDS repeaters are usually called wireless range extenders.
Read more about the WiFi range extender in the post WiFi Range Extender isn’t the best way to Increase the Wireless Coverage.
Setting up the Wireless Range Extender
During the setup of the wireless repeater without WDS, take care of the following things.
- Use the same channel like a root wireless router
- Use the same SSID like the root wireless router
- Use the same security parameters (security type, passphrase)
- Don’t place the repeater to far away from the root wireless router.
WiFi repeater uses a wireless distribution system for connection to the root wireless router. The WDS wireless connection is dedicated only for wireless connection between the repeater and root.
Much more about the WDS, you can read in my article – Wireless distribution system.
In the video clip below, you can see how to configure the wireless repeater.
Buying a Wireless Repeater
Before you wireless repeater, you need to check its compatibility with the existing WiFi router. There could be a problem with establishment of the wireless distribution system between wireless routers from different manufacturers.
If your root wireless router, which connected to the internet, works on the fifth WiFi generation – 802.11ac, the best option is that wireless repeater also works on 802.11ac standard.
Always check in the manual does device support WDS or not. Some wireless router can be WiFi repeaters and can work with and without WDS. Other wireless routers can only be the root wireless router.