Top 5 Wifi Signal Booster: Your Ultimate Guide

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In the digital age in which we live, we all need our WiFi to work consistently and for the signal to be strong. It doesn’t matter if we’re sitting next to the router or in the farthest corner of our home or business—we want a strong signal all the time. Routers can push out a fairly strong signal, especially the newer models, and they can generally cover an average-sized home. However, there are places where the signal is just not strong enough. In that situation, it’s time to look at WiFi signal boosters.

What Are WiFi Signal Boosters?

A WiFi signal booster is a device that extends the WiFi network coverage by amplifying the signal that is already coming into the building. It is intended to be used when the signal coming in from the WiFi transmitter is weak. Often, when this happens, all the devices won’t be able to connect to the WiFi or the signal will frequently cut in and out. WiFi signal boosters can eliminate these problems. A good signal booster will extend the coverage to all the square footage of whatever building houses the WiFi, and in many cases, the signal will extend outside to the yard or parking lot.

WiFi signal boosters are different than switches or hubs. Both switches and hubs repeat any signal that comes through the device. Hubs and switches are not intended to boost your WiFi signal, but sometimes they are confused with boosters. What you are looking for is a WiFi signal booster.

Do I Need a Wi-Fi Booster?

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If you are experiencing consistently low signals or frequent drops in coverage, you should consider WiFi signal boosters. There are several free cell phone apps available that can help you test the signal strength of your WiFi. It’s a good idea to do a signal check before purchasing any new equipment to make sure you have a weak signal and not some other technical problem. The following are reasons to get a WiFi signal booster.

1. Parts of Your Home Have No WiFi Signal

If your home has a “dead zone” or a spot that has no signal at all, you should look into getting a booster. The layout of your home may be preventing the signal from reaching the whole house.

2. Parts of The House Have a Slow Signal

Very often, there are places in a house where the signal doesn’t drop out, but gets very slow. You may not be able to stream video in certain places or play a video game in a certain room. This is all due to a slow WiFi signal. This is a good reason to invest in a signal booster.

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3. You Want the Fastest WiFi

If you’re tired of slow WiFi and you’d like to strengthen your signal, a Wifi signal booster can do that as well. WiFi signal boosters don’t just send the signal farther, they can actually strengthen it. A booster can help an older router put out a faster signal, which would speed up the signal all over your house. Some boosters have new technology for speed and performance like dual-band WiFi and Multi-User MIMO.

4. Your Have a Large House

Even the best routers have a hard time pushing a signal through the entirety of the average American home. New construction elements like concrete can also add to the problem. If your house is larger than roughly 1,200 square feet, you’re probably going to need a signal booster.

5. You Want Outdoor WiFi

If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you will probably want your WiFi signal to reach the front and backyard of your house. Installing a WiFi signal booster can push the signal to your outdoor living spaces so you can enjoy wireless services wherever you are.

Benefits of a WiFi Booster

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There are several benefits to using a WiFi signal boosters. Here are the top reasons to use one in your home:

  • They increase signal up to 3-fold
  • Bi-directional signal boosters increase the signal by up to 600%
  • Easy installation
  • Low cost

Installation and How It Works

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What Do I Need to Install a WiFi Signal Booster

The most important that you will need is a working broadband WiFi internet connection. WiFi signal boosters will only amplify a signal that is already present. They are not a substitute for a modem. Most WiFi signal boosters are simple enough for you to install yourself. You should not need a computer professional.

Installation

Installing a WiFi signal booster is relatively simple. The following steps should apply to most brands of WiFi signal boosters:

  • Unscrew the antenna on your wireless router.
  • Screw the connector cable for the signal booster onto the router’s antenna connector.
  • Plug in the signal booster.
  • Connect a wireless device to the network. You should see increased signal strength. 

Top 5 WiFi Boosters

We’ve taken the time to look at the available WiFi signal boosters and have created a listing of the top 5 WiFi signal boosters. The products we have reviewed are:

  • TP-Link RE450
  • TP-Link RE305
  • Netgear EX6200
  • Linksys RE7000
  • Motorola MX1200

TP-Link RE450 – Best Overall

The TP-Link RE450 is currently rated as the best WiFi signal extender on the market. It consistently rebroadcasts 100% of the original signal. The device boasts speeds of 450 Mbps on a 2.4 GHz frequency and 1,300 Mbps on a 5 GHz frequency. This is more than most homes need, but it very fast regardless. The device is very easy to set up. The instructions are simple, it has an app that goes along with the device, and the status LEDs are front-facing, which makes it easy to upgrade. The one downside is that it’s not pretty and can be a little heavy for a wall unit.

PROS

  • Best extending performance
  • Signal strength indicator
  • Easy setup

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Easily knocked over
  • Top heavy

Price

This product can be found for about $70 on Amazon.

TP-Link RE305 – Best Value

The winner for Best Value when it comes to WiFi signal boosters is the TP-Link RE305. It’s less expensive than the number one pick and does not have a Gigabit Ethernet port. This is a wall plug unit that has two adjustable antennas. The status lights are on the front and the WPS button is on top. The display is a bit hard to see, especially with something else sharing the outlet with this device. The device has two frequency bands, so it’s able to achieve AC1200 speeds and it will work with any router or access point. There is also a smartphone app.

PROS

  • Great extending performance
  • Inexpensive
  • Compact

CONS

  • No Gigabit Port
  • Status lights on top
  • Hard to see

Price

This product can be found for about $45 on Amazon.

Netgear EX6200 – Best Desktop Extender

The Netgear EX6200 has adjustable antennas and an optional vertical mount. This is a nice looking device, with triangular vent holes and a black and red color scheme. The device doesn’t have to sit right on an outlet, so you have more options when it comes to placement. However, it is larger than most Wifi signal boosters. It has 5 ports for wired devices. Also, you can connect this booster directly to your router and use it as a wireless access point. This booster is fast, reaching speeds of AC1200 on both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. The unit has high-gain antennas and a 700 mW amplifier.

PROS

  • 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Directional antennas
  • Sits vertically or horizontally

CONS

  • Larger than wall plug extenders
  • Pricey
  • WPS did not work in testing

Price

This product can be found for about $99 on Newegg.

Netgear EX6200 – Best Low-Profile Wall Plug

This unit uses internal antennas and MU-MIMO technology to boost your signal. It should travel up to 10,000 square feet. This device is smaller than most tested. There is a status/WPS light on the front and buttons on the side for Reset and WPS. It offers Gigabit Ethernet and can be used as an access point. Setup is a little more complicated than some.

PROS

  • Simple design
  • 10,000 square feet of coverage
  • Internal antennas

CONS

  • Doesn’t have separate band lights
  • Complicated setup
  • Unlabeled buttons

Price

This product can be found for about $89 on Amazon.

Motorola MX1200 – Best Individual Band Control

This is the only WiFi signal booster with a GHz band switch built into the hardware. It uses internal antennas, which makes it look good. It has a five-signal indicator. On the bottom, there is a WPS button, a reset button, a host band switch, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a power switch. The setup is easy, with comprehensive directions. This unit broadcasts about 40% of the original signal most of the time.

PROS

  • Nondescript design
  • Internal antennas
  • Gigabit port

CONS

  • Failed one multi-floor test
  • Only boosts 40% of the signal
  • Crowded buttons

Price

This product can be found for about $39 on Amazon.

Conclusion

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If your’re having trouble getting a solid, fast signal all over your home or place of business, it’s time to consider a WiFi signal booster. They are relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and make a huge difference. After reviewing several boosters, the best overall is the TP-Link RE450. This unit combines speed with useful features. With this model, your WiFi signal will be 100% boosted all the time. The other options are not far behind in terms of quality, but you can’t beat the signal reliability of the RE450. With the addition of a WiFi signal booster, every inch of your home of business will be online, all the time.