Most home internet service providers are now offering modem boxes with built-in WiFi, some even including multiple bands. With the signal emanating in a sphere from the device, if positioned right your entire house can be easily covered. However, most often these they’re not.Most typically, the computer room is an auxiliary bedroom or study in a far corner of the house; while the WiFi in that room and those adjacent may be great, this can leave large areas of your house uncovered. That’s where WiFi extenders come in. These supplemental boxes pick up the main WiFi signal and retransmit it out in another sphere from its location, allowing your to piggyback and extend your internet service range in specific directions. While this sounds like a cut-and-dry process, it’s not. Here are some obstacles you may run into:
When the extender is located between you and the main box, connecting to and using the extender is a piece of cake (this is it’s primary function, after all.) However, when YOU are between the extender and the box, connecting to the extender is problematic to the point of non-functional. Since the physical signals are both equally strong, your mobile device will most likely stay at whatever connection it was at previously as well. This can cause you to have to manually switch connections frequently.
Bandwidth Real Estate
All dual-band WiFi boxes come in 2.4 and 5GHz bandwidths (some may have more!). When my daughter was young, one sure-fire way to kick my wife off the 2.4 GHz internet on her phone late at night was to turn on the baby monitor. When too many devices are on the same wavelength, the signals start interfering.
It is recommended you place your WiFi box and extender up high to maximize signal strength and range. Also, setting either on metal shelf or desk can have predictable impacts on signal direction, strength and quality.
Think about line-of-sight when placing extenders; if there is a large refrigerator on the other side of the wall from your extender and between it and the main box, there is potential for signal quality to drop. Passing from interior to exterior can cause loss of signal; same with passing through building materials like concrete, brick, or metal.
With proper placement and setup, an extender can provide a tremendous benefit to your household!