Author: Janet Kathalu
Thursday, October 28, 2021

What is the difference between a wifi extender and a wifi router?

Category: Network

There is confusion on wifi extenders and wifi routers. Some people argue that they are the same, and others don't understand the difference or functions. The truth of the matter is a wifi extender needs a wifi router to function and vice versa, but they aren't the same. 

There are two main differences between a router and an extender; A router is the leading supplier of internet signals, while an extender extends the signal from the router to another location. Second, a router is helpful for a small space, but an extender is for a larger area.

Apart from the wifi router and wifi extenders, there is a need to know the basics, types, advantages, disadvantages, and everything there is to know about them. If you need to acquire one of them, there are a few things to consider as well.

What is the difference between a wifi extender and a wifi router?

If you have a headache about getting a strong wifi signal in some parts of your home, among the best things you can do is to install a wifi extender or a wifi router. These devices are made to boost your wifi signal. However, they both do it in different ways. Here is all you need to know about the differences between a wifi extender and a wifi router.

What is the difference between a wifi extender and a wifi router?

What is a Wifi Extender?

A wifi extender is a kind of wifi booster that extends your router's internet signal to another location. It connects to your home through a coaxial cable or an ethernet cable. In other words, it's like adding an extra router to a dead zone wifi in your home.

They are also called wifi range extenders. They are pocket-friendly and another simple way to boost the performance of your network. Below are some types of wifi extenders;

  1. TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wifi range extender-This is among the best wifi extenders overall. It has a convenient plug-in design and a good range for big homes. It delivers an incredible speed of about 75 feet and packs a lot of power- with four external antennas and dual-band AC support. It is easy to install and is a good choice for large homes.
  2. D-Link DAP-1720 Wifi AC1200 range extender-D-Links DAP -1720 is easy to set up and has a convenient mobile app for controlling device settings and filling a home with wifi. It has features like a built-in ethernet port that handles gigabit speeds and a physical switch, making it capable of extending your router's reach. It performs excellently on pushing signals to a floor above or below. That makes it one of the best choices for a multistory home where wifi signals drop out as you go up or down.
  3. Linksys RE7000 max STREAM MAC1900+ WIFI range extender: This is a compact, low-profile extender that doesn't block other outlets or stand out as a garnish tech product. It has a discreet design and not an antenna festooned brick that blocks adjacent outlets. It offers solid speeds and setup aid that assists you in finding the right spot for optimal performance. The overall performance is fantastic, and the assistance app is a plus.
  4. Netgear AX1800 4-Stream Mesh extender (EAX20)-It has six speeds of wifi and a built-in mesh capability. It's a large desktop design without any plug-in design. Its performance is fantastic, with category-leading speeds and a tremendous 95-foot range. It spreads networks that are pretty faster and have a long-range.
  5. Rock space AC1200 wifi range extender-It provides a solid essential wifi performance and a simple setup. It has adjustable antennas and a compact plug-in design.

Other wifi extenders include; NETGEAR EX2700, Tenda TE-A18 Dual-band, etc. 

Reasons you Might Need a Wifi Extender.

  • If there are specific areas in your home that don't get a wifi signal
  • If you have some rooms in your home that experience slow wifi
  • In case you want the fastest wifi possible
  • If you have a large home

How to Choose a Good Wifi Extender.

When buying an extender, you'll need to consider placement. Both wifi extenders and wireless routers use radio waves to spread data with your internet connection. You should find somewhere close to the router so that your extender grabs a solid signal to redistribute the network range far from it.

Match your extender's wifi standard with that of your router-This is essential for the better performance of your extender. Another thing to consider is whether you'll use a desktop or a plug-in. Most wifi extenders use plug-in designs that connect directly to a wall outlet, but others use larger structures that sit on a shelf or a desk like a traditional router.

These larger devices aren't the same size as the plug-ins, allowing better antenna and internal hardware placement. Plug-ins, on the other hand, is affordable and convenient to install.
Consider getting a new router if your router is still not providing the coverage and speed you need after getting an extender. A newer router will offer better performance, and some will expand your scope even in larger homes.

What is a Wifi Router?

What is the difference between a wifi extender and a wifi router?

A router is a device that provides wifi and is connected to a modem. It delivers information from the internet to devices like computers, tablets, and phones. Wifi routers control your network as well as transmit wifi signals. They also have built-in scope switches or wired ethernet connections.
Below are different types of routers;

  1. Wireless  and wired routers
    You can majorly find these routers in small offices and homes. Wired routers provide data over cables and create local area networks (LANs). On the other hand, wireless routers use antennas to create local area networks (WLANs) and share data.
  2. Edge routers
    It is a wireless or a wired router that distributes data packets between one or more networks and not within a network. They are placed at the boundary or edge of networks, just like the name suggests. Their role is to keep your network communicating ideally with other networks.
  3. Core routers
    These are wired and wireless routers that distribute data packets within networks and not between multiple networks. They are modeled to become the backbone of your network and perform heavy lifting of data transfer.  
  4. Virtual routers
    These are pieces of software that allow servers and computers to operate like routers. They share data packets just like other routers do. You can scale the design as the business grows hence offering more flexibility than physical routers. They can also aid in getting remote offices running on your network faster.

Benefits of a Router.

  • They are easy to connect to a wireless or wired network.
  • Network traffic is reduced by having very highly secured passwords how to change wifi passwords limiting people who can access them due to collision features and broadcasting domains.
  • They provide IP and a MAC address that chooses the best route across a network.
  • The wireless router is relatively easy to connect to the internet for a pc or a laptop—no headache about many wires.
  • They connect to different network architecture like wifi, ethernet cable, WLAN.
  • No loss of information.
  • Delivers wifi signals reliably.
  • Wireless routers are portable, promoting high mobility.

Which is better WiFi extender or WiFi router?

Both wifi extenders and wifi routers are essential and unique in their way. Although at some point, they need each other. In a small space, you need a wifi router, while in a more extensive area, you need both a wifi router and a wifi extender to extend the signal. 

What is the difference between a wifi extender and a wifi router?

Can I use a router as a wifi extender?

Most modern routers support wifi extensions. Older routers that support at least 802.11n wifi standards can also help the wings. A router with old wifi tech might work, but it won't deliver the stability or speed needed.

How to use a router as a wifi extender?

The swiftest way to use your spare router is by connecting it to your main router through an ethernet cable. This phrasing varies from one router model to another. the setups are as below:

Update the firmware on the old router. If you haven't used your old router for some time, it'll need to be updated to improve its security and internet connectivity.

After updating the firmware, connect an ethernet cable to an ethernet port in your main internet router. After this, insert the other end of the line into the WAN port in the secondary router you'll be using as a wifi extender.

After this, log into your secondary router's admin settings using its login information and  IP address.
After logging in, find the router's wireless settings and choose AP mode. Doing this will turn your router into an access point for all your internet connections. And therefore, you have extended your wifi beyond the range of the primary router.

Do WiFi extenders actually do anything?

A wifi extender's primary function is to extend the internet signal from the router through a wireless or wired setup. The original signal is from the router. The movement is strengthened by the extender when it's not spreading throughout your house.

Adding an extender to your digital setup means getting a copy of the signal, which extends further than your original. Hence, coverage throughout your whole house and at times reaching outside.

How to place a wireless extender?

To boost a wireless signal to cover all parts of your office or home, you must invest in a wireless extender. Wireless extenders wirelessly connect to a router and lengthen the range of the signal.

It is essential to note that as extenders extend your range, they can still halve your throughput. If you are experiencing issues with a wireless extender, you can try a dual-band router. Many extenders work well with a more extended range 2.4GHz band.

Once you have your wireless extender, the next is to determine its placement location. Naturally, it would be best to place it between your router and where the signal starts to drop.

Does a WiFi extender slow down Internet speed?

What is the difference between a wifi extender and a wifi router?

Wifi extenders neither speed up or slow down the internet. They are made to boost the signal coming from the modem and spread it throughout the house or where you are.

Once you have boosted the signal, its emission is strengthened, leading it to reach further throughout any given space. With the correct placement of your extender and the right type, you'll be sure to get strong internet in all of your entire homes.

With almost everyone on the internet, either for shopping, social media, or work, we all want faster internet to get things running. It would be best if you maximize the speed of your wifi. 

How to optimize usage of your wifi extender

For a wifi extender to fully function well needs to be close to the router. This helps in catching the wifi signal.
Extenders don't create their motion; they need to copy the movement of the router. After they've copied, a duplicate move is extended.

If your extender is too far, it won't be able to copy the wifi signal. And neither should it be too close to the router as that will create no room for it to extend the signal.

Qualities of a wifi extender.

The quality of the internet differs depending on the company providers, just like wifi extenders in their capability. Some qualities to look out for are;

  1. Wired or wireless- whether wireless or wired, some extenders may be easier to set up, or your preference for wired over wireless. 
    Just put in mind that where you place your extender matters alot. Not too far and not too close from the router either.
    Be sure to also read the setup instructions, as setting up extenders will be different.
  2. Size- extenders are mostly boxes with arms, but some are bigger than others. After settling on the kind of setup you want, decide how large your extender should be.
    Think of the space needed for your router and other devices. Extenders that need plug outlets will take up needed space for different devices.
  3. Price-extenders come in a different range of prices. If the strong connection of your extender comes first, then price shouldn't be an issue. And in case it is, then they come as cheap as $2o or expensive as $100.
    With each price, an indication of how well they function and how long they last are shown.

How far should WiFi extender be from router?

The distance between your wifi extender and a wifi router varies from your working station's location and the router's capacity. Mostly, having your extender halfway in between the router and the device should be good enough.

What is the maximum range of the wifi routers?

Modern routers are pretty competitive in their coverage and wifi signal. They can cover up to 46 meters or 150ft when using a 2.4 GHz frequency. And when outdoors, it covers much space of about 92 meters or 300 ft.

Unfortunately, if you have a bigger home, the results won't be the same. The biggest issue will be on dealing with workplace limitations and wifi dead spots. However, moving your workstation set up close to your router will help. But if you have a specialized component with specialized room conditions, you will need a wifi extender.

What is the difference between a wifi extender and a wifi router?

How do I know the range of my wifi extenders? 

A wifi extender is one of the ways to spread wifi signals. You can choose another alternative like wifi boosters or wifi repeaters.

The range of a wifi extender is dependant on the capacity of the product. You can find this information on the box of the product, on its manual, or its product labels. If you are buying online, the information is in the product description.

Mainly, extenders connect directly via a router with a wired connection through an ethernet dock. You can also use a wireless option by plugging the device into the power outlet. A significant problem in this kind of setup is finding a good outlet for extenders installation. In many cases, a wireless extender is likely to slow down the performance of a network.

Can you use another extender to extend another wifi extender?

You can use another wifi extender to extend the range of your current wifi extender. Although, the performance will be significantly reduced.

It might be possible to have two extenders in a single router but using two range wifi extenders is not advisable. Just ascertain that both extenders have different SSIDs and are connected through a wired link. This setup clears the limitation in the number of devices connecting to your extended wireless network.


Wifi routers and wifi extenders both play significant roles in the tech world. Your internet signals majorly depend on them. You need fast internet to perform alot of tasks like shopping, working, studying, etc. With the range of routers and extenders, you won't lack a suitable one for your needs.

Choose the one that best fits you. Make sure to check on its quality and performance level before acquiring it. If you have an old router lying around, you can also use it to extend your internet signal.

Creator Profile
Joined: 10/25/2021

ver: 20231031T141653