Question Is WIFI range extender really useful ?


Mar 11, 2010
I am using the Hitron CGN3 modem/router from ISP and have a 75M/10M package. I got 75M with wired ethernet connection. So no issue with ISP.
I use a WIFI analyzer app on my MI A2 lite Android phone and use speed test (Ookla) on the phone for speed testing. I did the following test within 10 minutes this morning.
  1. 0.6 m from router. I got 54M down, WIFI strength -36dbm, ( I have seen full 75M before , so the 54M number should be due to external factor on internet)
  2. When I go to a room at the other end of the house (8.7m from router) , I got 23M down, WIFI strength -60 dbm, . I have 2 users in the room complaining about weak signal from time to time. I know that -60 dbm should be good but I have seen -70 dbm signal strength at times, not sure why.
Trying to solve the problem, I put in a TP link TL-WA860RE (300 mps WIFI Extender) just outside the room.
Now the WIFI strength is -45 dbm, about 6 feet from extender. But the speed test only shows 12 M down. This is not enough for the user to watch stream video at the same time.
The result seems correct because I think wifi extender will at east cut the speed in half if not more.
Is my observation here correct ? and any suggestion on how to solve the problem?
I know one solution is to add a wired AP outside the room connecting to the router using ethernet cable. But I cannot run wire between the router and the room.


If you cannot run a wire, buy a pair of powerline wireless extenders -- regular extenders work poorly. Takes a look at THIS ONE or THIS ONE. Both will do about 200 Mbps, so faster than your Internet. Just don't look at anything less than AV2-1000.

This is the next best thing to an Ethernet cable to an AP. I've put in many dozens of these type of adapters and gotten great results every time. Some get as high as almost 300 Mbps and the slowest was over 180 Mbps. It also helps reduce latency since you don't rely on two wireless signals, which as you note also costs you at least half of your bandwidth. But you cut your bandwidth in half at the location of the second wireless device (the extender) that already has a big signal loss.
I don't think you have any issues.
Your Hitron CGN3 router (450Mbps combined) & MI A2 lite (300 Mbps) supports 802.11n 2.4+5GHz.
You will get the fastest speed on your 5GHz band.
If those devices had support for 802.11AC you could get a bit more speed.
Your device has a 1080p display. All you need for 1080p video at 60 fps is around 8 Mbps down and 15 - 25 Mbps down for 4K.
Every device that you add between the ISP modem/router will decrease your speed.

Just for comparison, I have 400/50 service , my router (1733 Mbps) and phone (1200 Mbps) both support 802.11ac and I could get just a bit more speed than you do when downloading or streaming from pretty much any website.
The speed is higher when transferring files withing local network

The speed of Wi-Fi networks never matches the theoretical maximums.
You won't get to the advertised speed over WiFi while downloading or streaming, since there are too many factors.
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