It’s frustrating when you’re in the middle of work and your Wifi loses signal. The reason for that is because Wifi signals can be obstructed by walls, and other interference, in your home. When a Wifi signal is weak, the internet speed will be slow too.
One way to solve that problem, you would want to get either a Wifi repeater or Wifi extender to extend the Wifi signal. These two devices look identical, and for the most part, they work the same, except for a few key differences.
Wifi repeaters are repeaters typically have two antennas, one for receiving a Wifi signal, and the other for rebroadcasting it. They’re used to improve Wifi signals in homes or commercial use, such as malls, airports, and whatnot.
But can you get internet from the ethernet port on the repeater? Maybe you want to connect a console or another device (that doesn’t have Wifi) into the repeater via the ethernet port.
Can I Use an Ethernet Cable with a Wifi Repeater?
Yes. You can use an ethernet cable with a Wifi repeater to get internet but the repeater will switch to bridge mode. In bridge mode, the repeater will act as a Wifi adapter for your device, but other devices won’t be able to connect to the repeater’s Wifi network.
What you need to know about Wifi repeaters is they can strengthen a weak Wifi signal but the internet speed won’t increase, in fact, it will almost always decrease. For best results, a repeater should be located in an area that has a strong Wifi signal (so the internet will be fast too) and then it can rebroadcast that signal further.
What about Internet Speed?
As for internet speed, you need to realize that the more jumps a signal needs to make, the weaker the connection will be. So the internet speed from your original router will always be faster than the speed you get from a Wifi repeater (and the speed direct from the modem via an ethernet cable will be the fastest).
The reason for that is the Wifi repeater adds two extra steps in the network, the signal needs to be accepted, sent to the broadcast antenna, and then sent to your device. Depending on the quality of repeater you buy, these extra steps can lower your internet speed.
For the most part, the final Wifi signal from the repeater will provide enough internet speed for browsing the internet, streaming videos, and other simple tasks. The speed from the ethernet port on the repeater will likely be the same as the Wifi network.
One way to think about this is every time the signal has to pass a device, the internet speed is halved. For example, on an original 100 mbps download connection, the speed on the original Wifi will be around 50 mbps, and on the repeater, it will drop to around 20 mbps or so.
Types of Wifi Repeaters:
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular types of Wifi repeaters.
1 – Universal Dual Band Extender with Ethernet
These are the most common types of Wifi repeaters. You simply plug them into a power outlet and then configure the Wifi with a separate device or through the ethernet port. When configured correctly, the repeater will extend the range of the Wifi further.
Best Choice: TP-Link AC1750
The Wifi repeater I recommend is the TP-Link AC1750 Wi-fi booster. It has 2.4 – 5 Ghz Wifi capabilities, so the signal will always be stable.
One notable feature of this Wifi repeater is the smart LED light which indicates signal strength, helping you find the most suitable location for the repeater.
It also comes with a 1 GB ethernet port, so you can plug in other devices that don’t have Wifi and it will allow you to receive internet. Overall, a really nice and reliable Wifi repeater.
2 – Powerline Wifi Extenders
These work similar to repeaters, but they usually come in pairs, and one needs to be connected to the router via an ethernet port. What’s cool about this type of Wifi extenders is the signals are sent through your power lines, rather than the air, so it can be more stable.
In other words, you just plug them into an electrical outlet. However, the effectiveness of this type of device will depend on the powerline structure, it only works on homes with one circuit. It might not work for every household.
The advantage is you can place the second device as far or near as you want from the other, as long as it’s in the same household, and the signal won’t lose quality. Speeds can be faster too.
3 – Mesh Wifi Network
These systems are more for commercial use, to provide connectivity over large buildings, such as offices, malls, and whatnot. They usually come in pairs of three, and one is meant to replace your router, while the other three extend the signal.
Essentially, each acts as a little router, and they help separate the bandwidth and workload, among other things. Generally, most people say these systems work better than standard routers because they can communicate with one another faster and smarter.
Which Wifi Repeater is Best for You?
That depends on the layout of your home, number of floors, your budget, and the area to cover. If you want to extend the Wifi range to another floor in your home, a simple Wifi extender could do the trick, such as our favorite one, the TP-AC1750.
If your home is on a single circuit, a powerline extender could be worth a look too, and they’re also really budget-friendly. Lastly, mesh Wifi networks are great for large homes, most can cover around 5,000 square feet or more. While they provide reliable Wifi with great coverage, they can be a little expensive.
Ultimately, it boils down to what you personally need. In some cases, you might even be able to use an old router to extend the Wifi signal by changing some settings. Most routers can be set to either bridge or access point mode. The bottom line is it’s easy to extend your Wifi, and you can usually use the ethernet port on Wifi repeaters too.