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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 essentially 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.

It may be beneficial to use two access points (set on different, non-overlapping 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. Repeaters typically reduce wireless speed in half and introduce some noise.

If running an Ethernet cable is not feasible, one can use newer "mesh network" devices that use multiple radios, one for "dedicated backhaul" and others for serving clients.

See Also: How to configure a Wireless Router as an Access Point?

  User Reviews/Comments:
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.
by Tom - 2017-01-03 01:14
For simple less , when you use AP with same SSID with router You should sign your device with static IP address. when you near to AP , sign difference IP with IP you sign for when you near with router such , for example, router ip normally, you sign your device when you pick router as the signal . But when you near AP device as pick AP as the signal for serve your device then your device sign IP as You will always get your signal strength.
by anonymous - 2017-03-07 22:38
I also find from experience that naming the SSID the same on different bands (2.4Ghz/5.0Ghz) causes a great deal of issues too. Primarily because conventionally 2.4Ghz has a greater area coverage however there is a possibility that a 5Ghz device could momentarily be in an area that has stronger signal than the 2.4Ghz and there is a delay of 5-30 seconds for the wireless device to reconnect to the now 2.4Ghz signal that has bound in that direction stronger than the 5Ghz. Rule of thumb I use for 2.4Ghz throughout my house or any business. Keep the SSID exactly the same and then put each AP on a different Channel. So, if your wifi router is in the middle put it on channel 6, then one on channel 11 and the other on 1. Place them around 25-60 feet apart depending on the walls (pre-1970's). If you have lots of neighbor SSID you can reduce the dB gain of the outside APs to shrink the footprint of your wifi within your home/business. For 5Ghz, on Dual Band AP, name the SSID with a suffix of "-5G" and leave them in auto mode since they're least congested. The 5Ghz is an ultra high frequency, although less congested, but I typically keep wifi routers and APs no more than 60 feet apart but typically the sweet spot for great overlap and coverage is 40-50 feet.
by killerelite - 2017-03-20 13:06
Hey everyone,. I have a building about 300 meters long and 100 meter wide.. and I want to have wifi through the whole building with one SSID.. So I have to install a few routers but only one will be my main router... Whats the best option for the other routers? Access Point or Repeater? I was thinking Access Point because I can connect each router with a cable from a switch to my main router... If I give them all the same SSID, can I walk from beginning to end without having to reconnect to my wifi? Will t automatically connect to each access point without me noticing?
by Philip - 2017-03-20 15:02
Access points (or routers set as access points) are almost always better than repeaters/extenders, as the radios can work full-time to serve clients and you get much better speeds.

If you setup a few access points(or routers set as access points) with the same SSIDs, security type, passphrase, but on different channels, this will work to cover a large area and clients will be able to connect somewhat seamlessly to either of those access points. However, what tends to happen is, you have to move away enough from an AP so the signal is not usable before the client switches to a different AP. Also, the split-second that you switch between APs may disconnect a VoIP call, for example.

If you want to go a step further, and have the client pick the stronger signal even when in range of two APs, you have to buy APs with "seamless handover", a.k.a seamless handoff, seamless roaming. This is usually available only on enterprise level APs, some of the better/cheaper options out there being Ubiquiti APs.

The third option is mesh networking, a few consumer devices are just hitting the market recently.

I hope this helps, if you need more info or have more specific questions, please use our forums.
by killerelite - 2017-03-21 00:33
Thanks A lot.. Did some research on seamless handoff... Was about to use Asus router but they dont support seamless handoff so I am going with the unify Pro...

Thanks for the info..
by forkzz - 2017-04-09 19:29
i have a firestick router is in outside office have 2 houses less than 50 ft have signal in both but weak how can boost it a little thank you
by anonymous - 2017-05-02 07:42

I have a question.

I have a router with IP the DHCP range starts from and ends at
and have connected it to a switch than 3 APs: Static IP and and
and 1 RE with IP

is it the correct way to do it or should I change the IP on the AP and what should be their values?

thanks a lot
by Philip - 2017-05-02 19:15
Please use our forums for questions...

Generally, if your router is at, DHCP range +, I would keep any other static devices (such as APs) still in the 192.168.1.* range, but below the DHCP range, i.e.,, etc.

If you want to use other IP ranges changing the third digit (e.g., etc.) you would put them outside the default subnet mask, so you would have to change that for every device so they can see each other. This is not necessary/advisable unless you need more than 255 internal IPs.
by anonymous - 2017-05-03 04:26
Thx Philip..
by WolfLead6 - 2017-06-07 09:37
Linksys Max Stream routers and extenders/AP feature seamless hand off. I use the Linksys EA9500 and two EA7000 extenders/AP in my house and it works well.
by Poule DK - 2017-07-29 03:38
A plain explanation of my search on the subject
by Lionel - 2020-08-02 14:51
How do change my RE 6300 into a second acess point
by Philip - 2020-08-02 16:17
You can only set a repeater as an access point if it has that functionality in its administration interface and an Ethernet port, so it can be connected via Ethernet cable to the main router. Please use our forums for specific questions.
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