[SOLVED] Please advise how to choose a wifi booster/extender

MrYossu

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I have a TP-Link AC1200 router, but have areas of poor wifi in my house, and was looking at getting a booster/extender (think these are two names for the same thing, but please correct me if I got that wrong).

Someone told me he uses a TP-Link N300 (Amazon link), and is very happy with it. On that page it shows other models in the range, including the AC750, which is dual band. I'm no expert, but from what I can see (for example in the section "What Are Dual-Band Wi-Fi Extenders?" in this article), this would probably be better. Also, the N300 is N-rated, whereas the router I have is AC-rated (judging by the model number), and according to this article (linked from the previous), "you'll get a big performance hit if you use an N-rated extender with an AC-rated router."

Did I get this right? As I said, I'm really a novice when it comes to networking, so any advice would be greatly appreciated. If you have some other suggestion altogether, please feel free to make it, as I have no preconceived ideas about what I get, I just want to boost my wifi without spending too much.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give.
 
A so called range extender should be you last choice to get better coverage.

If there is any way possible you should use ethernet to extend the network and then put in a AP or a router running as a AP to get wifi in the remote location. If ethernet is not possible then you consider powerline networks or if you have tv coax MoCA. Then when none of that is possible and having a crappy signal is better than no signal you look at wifi extender/repeaters.

To work effectively the device must be able to receive strong signal from the main router but still provide a good signal to the remote room. 1/2 between but it greatly depends on the house. In many there is no location that works well.

Even when you have a perfect location a repeater because of how it works will cut your bandwidth by 1/2. In general it does not matter if you use a N repeater on a AC router. It will be slower but the biggest issue is using the repeater in the first place.
 
A so called range extender should be you last choice to get better coverage.

If there is any way possible you should use ethernet to extend the network and then put in a AP or a router running as a AP to get wifi in the remote location. If ethernet is not possible then you consider powerline networks or if you have tv coax MoCA. Then when none of that is possible and having a crappy signal is better than no signal you look at wifi extender/repeaters.

To work effectively the device must be able to receive strong signal from the main router but still provide a good signal to the remote room. 1/2 between but it greatly depends on the house. In many there is no location that works well.

Even when you have a perfect location a repeater because of how it works will cut your bandwidth by 1/2. In general it does not matter if you use a N repeater on a AC router. It will be slower but the biggest issue is using the repeater in the first place.
 

MrYossu

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@bill001g Thanks very much for the reply. Didn't realise the extender would cut the bandwidth, that makes a difference.

Extending the ethernet isn't really possible, as this is in my house, and I can't really run cables around that far (lots of bends around stairs and things).

I did look at powerlines, but didn't know enough about them to know if they would be any better. Do you have any recommendations, or at least advice as to what I should look for? As I said (if it makes any difference), my router is a TP-Link AC1200.

Thanks again
 
The newest powerline units have names like av2-1000 and av2-2000. They work for most people but they still depend on the electrical wires. You might get 300mbps on them. MoCa is a better choice if you have tv coax. The latest units can actually get gigabit speeds for most people.
 

MrYossu

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We don't have a TV at all, so no coax. Guess that leaves us back with powerline.

I did searched Amazon for av2-2000, and filtered by 4 stars and above. That only showed one that had wifi in the product name, which was this one. Any comments on that one? Apologies if I'm asking too much, but I really don't know much about networking, and don't want to buy the wrong thing.

Thanks again
 
That is strange that it came up on av2-2000.

This is one that uses newer technology and is based on av2-1000. Not sure if they sell units with wifi and av2-2000. You could use a small router as a AP plugged into a powerline pair without wifi. You will notice on this amazon entry if you pick the av-1300 which mostly just has faster wifi the price almost doubles.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/TP-Link-TL-WPA7510KIT-Gigabit-Powerline-Adapter/dp/B0723C86CX/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=TL-WPA7510+KIT&qid=1605716623&s=computers&sr=1-1
 

MrYossu

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Sorry, you lost me a bit. Remember I don't have a clue what av and ap and so on mean, which is why I'm asking so many questions!

Please can you give me a bit more specific guidance. I don't need super speeds, we don't watch videos and so on, it's just to give a decent connection for email and general web browsing around the house. Which product would you recommend for that?

Thanks again, and sorry if I'm being a bit thick here, but I'm out of my depth.
 
A AP is just a wireless radio that is attached via ethernet. If you have a real ethernet cable you would run the cable from your router to the remote room and then connect a AP to provide wifi in the remote location.

The powerline unit just replace the ethernet cable. The particular powerline units also have the AP function built into the remote powerline unit.

The "AV" stuff is just the name they give to a standard the powerplug org uses. AV500 or AV600 is older technology. The newer technology is called av2-. It purely names so you know what you are buying.


To a point i guess it depends on how fast your internet is. The units you first linked might get 50mbps. The newer technology should get around 150mbps . Your actual results will depends on the electrical wires in your house.
 

MrYossu

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Thanks for the explanation, clearer now.

As my main PC, which has a cable to the router only gets about 65Mbs, I don't think I'm going to gain anything with the newer technology.

When you said "the units you first linked", which did you mean? Was it this one? If so, it looks like that might be my best bet.

Thanks again.
 

gggplaya

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MrYossu

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You never had coax tv ever installed in the house, by a previous owner? Or Satelite tv? You just need the cable lines running through the house, don't actually need the service.
Nope, no coax tv wires, no satellite wires! Aren't we old fashioned 😀

For powerline, this is the kit I had my brother buy. It was significantly superior to a pure wifi repeater he was using: https://www.amazon.com/NETGEAR-PowerLINE-1000-802-11ac-Gigabit/dp/B01929V7ZG
Hmm, that one doesn't seem to be available in the UK. Amazon show it as out of stock, and even Netgear's own web site has the "Buy now" button disabled.

Do you know what would be the closest model that I can get in the UK?

Thanks very much
 

MrYossu

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@gggplaya Ah, that was the one I mentioned in my very first post. Quite a bit more than I had originally intended spending, but might be worth the investment if it will give such a better result.

Thanks
 

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