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Wireless Repeater / Extender vs. Access Point ?

Access point is a device connected with cable (Cat5) to your main router/modem/internet, and serving clients wirelessly.

Repeater is a wireless network device that repeats wireless signals to extend range without being connected with cable to either your router/modem, or your clients. Many routers/access points can be configured in "repeater" mode.

Extender has the same functionality as a repeater. Extenders are usually devices that only do repeating, and can't be set in any other mode.

The advantage to using a repeater/range extender is there is no need for a cable between the main router/modem and the repeater.

There is a downside to using a repeater vs. using an access point (or setting a device in repeater vs. access point mode), however - it sessentially halves your wireless bandwidth, as it has to use it to communicate with both your main AP and the clients. Although range extenders/repeaters reach areas beyond the range of the central router, they also bounce back all the router's traffic, creating congestion and slowing the network.


Notes:
It may be beneficial to use two access points (set on different, non-overlaping channels, with the same SSID/security) instead of range extenders/repeaters to extend wireless network coverage if a cable between your main router and the secondary access point is not an issue.


  User Reviews/Comments:
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by rudi - 2013-08-12 14:56
Thanks for your bull-free description. 1. I have found that using the same SSID for the APs does not work for my numerous wireless Esky indoor and outdoor surveillance IP cameras. They hang up because they seem to get confused when connecting to any of the multiple AP router with the same name. 2. The requirement of APs to be connected by wire can be alleviated if one uses Powerline adapters.
by Philip - 2013-09-29 08:55
When setting up multiple APs with the same SSID (and security), they should also be configured on different, non-overlapping channels.
by anonymous - 2014-02-20 05:23
And don't forget to make sure you only have one active DHCP server across your whole network
by Dunhaf - 2014-06-09 23:40
For setting up of AP, it is not as simple as plug and play.
Few ways to do so :
1) Disable DHCP for AP. Only main router will assign IP Address
2) Enable DHCP, but IP range need to be set out of range with main router.
by anonymous - 2016-01-28 14:00
Question - Even though channel is different while SSID remains the same, my PC/client only sees SSID to connect to. Since both signals (from the main Wi-Fi router and the AP) carry same SSID, how can I leverage the SSID from AP for better signal quality and ofcourse strength?
by Philip - 2016-01-28 17:48
Clients typically only switch access points when the signal becomes unusable... If you'd like more control as to which one you connect to, the simplest solution is to assign them different SSIDs.
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