Wireless signal amplifiers are designed to increase the coverage area of a Wi-Fi network in an office, apartment or house. In the material we will talk about what they are and what characteristics you should pay attention to in order to make an informed choice of a suitable device.
The purpose of the Wi-Fi signal amplifier
The normal operation of a wireless network depends on many factors:
power of the wireless signal source (router);
the size and configuration of the room;
materials from which natural barriers (walls, partitions, furniture, etc.) are made on the signal propagation path;
points of location of the router indoors;
the presence of interference and interference generated by other equipment (wireless networks of neighbors, microwave ovens, cordless phones, Bluetooth devices, etc.).
The presence of at least one of the above factors, as a rule, negatively affects the operation of a wireless home Wi-Fi network. Some negative factors can be eliminated independently without financial investments. For example, by switching your router to another broadcast channel and thereby eliminating the conflict with the equipment installed at the neighbors. Or correctly position the wireless access point inside the apartment, using the recommendations outlined in this article . But other factors, for the most part, are insurmountable. It is difficult to imagine a total redevelopment of the living space, the basis for which was a weak Wi-Fi signal in the back room, or a complete change of furniture, since the old one strongly “jamming” the signal. In this case, you can not do without additional equipmentthat amplifies the signal of an existing wireless network.
The class of such devices is called differently: repeaters, repeaters, repeaters, amplifiers, wireless bridges. The essence of this does not change – they all serve the same purpose, namely, amplifying the signal of the existing network, increasing the area of \u200b\u200bthe reliable reception of the Wi-Fi signal and transmitting information flows over longer distances than can be achieved through a single router.
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It works quite simply – in the area of \u200b\u200bthe room, where the signal from the main router is not strong enough and leaves much to be desired, the amplifier receives it, amplifies and broadcasts a high-quality signal.
Here it should be said that due to design features, when using a repeater, the data transfer rate in a wireless network is almost halved. However, given the high bandwidth of the incoming Internet connection and the relative cheapness of the solution, this is considered acceptable. You can learn more about the operation of Wi-Fi signal amplifiers and the feasibility of their use from the following material .
The main characteristics of Wi-Fi signal amplifiers
The starting point when choosing a repeater is the characteristics of the router that provides the Wi-Fi network. The most important characteristic is the frequency of the transmitter .
The operating frequency of the transmitter of the wireless signal amplifier must match the frequency of the transmitter of the router.
A signal booster operating at a frequency of 2.4 GHz will be completely useless in conjunction with a modern router operating exclusively at a frequency of 5 GHz. The same picture will be observed when trying to amplify the 2.4 GHz signal with a repeater designed to work in 5 GHz networks.
Another thing is devices that support simultaneous operation in both frequency ranges . In modern realities, it would be most reasonable to make a choice in their favor. Firstly, even when using an old router as the main access point, you can get an “island” of a wireless network in the 5 GHz band. Secondly, such an amplifier is purchased, as they say, “for growth.” That is, even if your main router currently operates only at a frequency of 2.4 GHz, then its future replacement with a modern model (5 GHz) will not lead to the need to replace the wireless signal amplifier.
The second most important parameter is the maximum speed of the wireless connection. Naturally, the higher it is, the more likely it is to get high speed within the wireless network. This is, of course, a theory that says that on a 2.4 GHz (802.11 n) Wi-Fi network, it is possible to get a maximum of 300 Mbps. At frequencies of 5 GHz (802.11 ac), the upper value of the speed will be 867 Mbps. The presence of interference and other negative factors will inevitably reduce the actual speed of the wireless connection. However, more modern Wi-Fi standards are guaranteed to provide a higher maximum speed when exchanging data within the network.
802.11ac 5 GHz 433-6670 over 200 depends on the number of antennas
As for the type of antennas used in signal amplifiers, they can be external and internal . As a rule, the transmitter power and antenna gains are comparable, but external antennas, due to the possibility of changing their position in space, allow you to change the direction of the wireless network signal, “delivering” it to the desired areas of the room. The presence of a removable antenna is a controversial advantage, since high-gain antennas cost quite a lot of money, but the increase in wireless network coverage is negligible, so replacing antennas with more powerful ones is not economically feasible in most cases.
The presence of additional LAN ports in the design of the Wi-Fi signal amplifier is a definite plus, especially in cases where you need to connect a stationary PC to it or, for example, a TV that is not equipped with a built-in Wi-Fi signal receiver, but has a standard network RJ-45 connector.
Or there is a need to organize the operation of the repeater in access point modeby connecting the amplifier to the router not “over the air”, but through a network cable.
Depending on the design of the device, it can be made for wall mounting or for installation in a socket. The lion’s share of the devices on the market belongs to the second category and is installed directly into an electrical outlet. When using this design, the undoubted advantage is the presence of a built-in socket , which allows you not to “sacrifice” a separate electrical outlet, but to connect another electrical device to the repeater case. As a rule, the maximum power of the connected load is indicated on the case of the signal amplifier.
Devices with support for Mesh technology deserve special mention , providing the ability to build a so-called seamless Wi-Fi network, i.e. an environment in which there is no need to switch client devices between wireless signal sources, and, as a result, there are no even the slightest delays in the movement of information flows. In fairness, it should be said that there are still quite a few such devices on the market, and they are quite expensive today. You can learn more about Mesh technology in this material .
If the simple task is to increase the coverage of a Wi-Fi network created by an old or inexpensive router operating in the 2.4 GHz band, then it is quite enough to purchase a signal amplifier whose transmitter operating frequency is 2.4 GHz (802.11 n) .
The same approach should be followed when amplifying the signal of a 5 GHz router. In this case, you will need a 5 GHz (802.11 ac) repeater .
If in the foreseeable future it is planned to update the router and replace it with a more modern model, then now you should think about buying a Wi-Fi signal amplifier operating in two frequency bands .
If the priority is to build a modern high-speed wireless network with no delays and “drawdowns” in speed, the choice should be made in favor of equipment that supports Mesh technology.