Wifi Repeater vs Wifii Access Point?


Feb 21, 2015
Hello everyone, hope you're all having a good new year so far!

So firstly, I bought this Wi-Fi extender from Amazon about a year ago to got in the top of my house to boost the bad wifi signal for my phone. I know you're supposed to put it in the center floor of the house, but I can't really do that.

I was looking at Netgear's Amazon page and I noticed that there is a better version of this Wi-Fi repeater with dual-band antennas with a much higher output but what attached me the most was the fact you can plug it into an ethernet cable and then use it as an access point, and I do have a spare direct ethernet cable in my room.

I was just wondering if this would give me better speeds/is it worth it? With this, I wouldn't have the issue of the repeater reciving a weak signal because it uses a direct ethernet cable and then makes that wireless.

The speeds i'm currently getting are terrible. I'm often using mobile data in my room for streaming and even doing things like sending messages/snapchatting.

- Sam


Nov 28, 2017

Whether there'd be an improvement depends on whether your connected devices can match the MIMO stream count and protocols used by the 'better' range extender. This buying guide gets into some of the considerations. If your connected devices are 2-stream MIMO 802.11n and can't do 802.11ac or more than 2 streams, then there's no benefit. Both your current EX2700 and your potential purchase, the EX6120, do only 2 streams on 802.11n, so throughput on 2.4 GHz won't be any better.

Also, if you're just connecting the range extender to the router over an Ethernet cable in the same room as the router, any increase in signal strength would be negligible unless your router's transmit power is much lower than 617 mW at 2.4 GHz or much lower than 306 mW at 5 GHz.

As for the EX6120's Ethernet port, my understanding from the product page is that the port is not for wiring the connecting to the router as an access point, but for sharing the extender's backhauled Wi-Fi connection to the router with a LAN device. The more expensive range extenders like Orbi are the kind that support wired AP mode.

Lastly, there are much better ways to improve signal strength than a range extender. Any range extender operating on the same channel as the source router is going to have 50% or less of the router's max throughput in Mbps, so again, unless the router's transmit power is trash out of the box (which the model ID would let us verify), there's no practical benefit to having a range extender. Keeping your router unchanged and assuming it has detachable antennas, the other alternatives would be (in order of cost, lowest to highest): Adding higher gain antennas, sending wifi over home cabling, or adding an amplifier (booster). As for replacing the router to get better throughput and transmit power, that's another option as you're beginning to sink a lot of money in lousy range extenders that are creating additional interference and cutting your throughput with no benefit to you. Again, range extenders are sort of like a doctor getting better marks from patients because he gives out more placebo pills - the patients don't know any better and aren't given enough info to self-diagnose.

Can you post the router model you use? Also, can you use an app like Wifi Analyser to post the RSSI (in negative dBm) of your SSID at its weakest spot in your house?

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