If your WiFi modem or router is in the meter cupboard, the reception below is usually good. But upstairs in the attic that often gets a lot less – or you don’t even have any reception at all. You can use various devices to improve your WiFi range in the home: access points, WiFi repeaters (also known as WiFi amplifiers or range extenders) and homeplugs or powerlines. But which one can you use best? There are three options.
- Access point or second router as a bridge
If you have multiple fixed connections (‘out of the wall’) for internet in the house (or have drawn long cables) then an access point is the best solution. You can then connect a wired access point via an ethernet cable and then have a wireless signal broadcast again. The advantage is that you do not have a speed loss, as is the case with WiFi repeaters.
If you use an access point, make sure that the access point uses the same SSID, security (preferably WPA2) and password as your router or WiFi modem. This allows you to ‘roam’ effortlessly (switch from one WiFi signal to another) if you walk from bottom to top with, for example, a tablet or smartphone (or laptop).
Instead of buying a new access point, you can also use an old router for this. Put this in bridge mode and switch off the dhcp server in the second router, so that only the main router or wifi modem distributes the sheets (in this case IP addresses) to all devices. It is best to give an Access Point or second router a fixed IP address in your home network, so they do not have to keep getting an IP address from your main router.
The disadvantage of an access point is that the configuration is a job for advanced users.
- Homeplug / Powerline (internet via the socket)
If you do not have an internet connection or cables above, it is best to buy a homeplug or powerline set. With these devices you can use the internet via the electricity network. You connect a homeplug to your wifi modem or router in the meter cupboard and then you can plug a second homeplug into the socket anywhere in the house, so that you have internet there.
You have homeplugs with only ethernet connection (for wired internet) but also variants with wifi or both. For example, if you only want to connect a TV to the internet above, a home plug with only Ethernet is sufficient. If you also want to be able to use the internet wirelessly with your laptop, smartphone or tablet, then wifi is of course a requirement.
- Wifi repeaters
Wifi repeaters or range extenders are actually the least solution if you want to improve the WiFi reception in your home. Wi-Fi repeaters pick up the wireless signal from your router or Wi-Fi modem and then broadcast it again. As a result, the speed is at least halved and you have much less fast WiFi upstairs than downstairs. The advantage of WiFi amplifiers is that they are often not expensive and easy to install. An easy but less good solution.
Rather an access point than WiFi repeater
If you have the option, you can use an access point for a stronger WiFi signal than a WiFi repeater. However, the configuration of an access point is a bit more complicated and you must therefore have an ethernet cable or an extra fixed internet connection.
Prefer homeplugs or powerlines than wifi repeater
Homeplugs or powerlines have the advantage that they work via the electricity grid and that you can use them wherever there is a power outlet. In addition, the internet speed with homeplugs is constantly increasing. Sometimes they slowed down a few years ago, there is less and less of it. Then choose variants with no less than 500 Mbps (or more) speed and not 200 Mbps. Homeplugs do not reach the speed of a normal Ethernet connection (also not as a switch with a cable), but they are faster than WiFi repeaters. However, wifi repeaters are cheaper again.
Many devices have both access point and wifi repeater functionality. In short, the difference in function is that access points receive the internet signal wired and (without speed loss) broadcast wirelessly again. Wifi repeaters pick up the wireless signal and then broadcast it again – with a minimum 50% speed loss.