• A wireless repeater (also called wireless range extender) takes an
existing signal from a wireless router or access point and
rebroadcasts it to create a second network. When two or more
hosts have to be connected with one another over the IEEE
802.11 protocol and the distance is too long for a direct connection
to be established, a wireless repeater is used to bridge the gap. It
can be a specialized stand alone computer networking device. Also,
some WNICs optionally support operating in such a mode. Those
outside of the primary network will be able to connect through the
new "repeated" network. However, as far as the original router or
access point is concerned only the repeater MAC is connected. So
safety features must be enabled on the wireless repeater as well.
Wireless repeaters are commonly used to improve signal range and
strength within homes and small offices.
• When in an area with no Hot Spots.
• In an area with much interference.
– Interference can be caused by many environmental factors
such as; microwaves (such as from a microwave oven),
metal appliances or metallic coating or an impeded line of
• When the distance between the computer and the
router (wireless signal) is too great for the
internal wireless network interface card to receive.
• When networking in an environment with interference
and multiple computers or Hubs.
SIMPLE BLOCK DIAGRAM OF A REPEATER
And Control Signals
Phone Line or Patch
And Control Signals
• Since only one wireless device can transmit at
once, wireless transmissions are doubled (router
to repeater and then repeater to client versus just
router to client), and so:
• Wireless throughput is reduced by at least 50%.
• Wireless interference (e.g., with other networks
on the same channel) is at least doubled.
• Some wireless range extending devices
connect via a USB port. These USB adapters
add Wi-Fi capability to desktop PCs and other
devices that have standard USB ports. USB
supports not only the data transfers required
for networking, but it also supplies a power
source so that these adapters do not require
• There are wireless range extending devices that conform to
all 802.11 protocols. Most 802.11 compliant devices are backwards
compatible, however, 802.11a runs at 5 GHZ and requires an access
point capable of 5 GHz operation. 802.11ac is the most recent and
third-generation Wi-Fi standard for wireless home networking.
802.11ac equipment is backward compatible with 802.11n, 802.11g
or 802.11b gear.
• An older range extender will not be able to repeat the signal of a
newer generation router. Security encryption compatibility also
matters and must be at the same level of compatibility for the
signal to be extended. For example an older range extender which
supports WEP and WPA will not be able to boost a WPA2 signal
from a router.
• Most wireless repeaters (or range extenders) are purpose built, but
certain wireless routers can be flashed with custom firmware such
as DD-WRT to give them a 'range extender' option.
• A better option for extending wireless coverage is to configure a
secondary box as a wireless access point, with a wired connection
between a LAN port on the secondary box and a LAN port on the
primary box (wireless router). If Ethernet wiring is not an option, a
good alternative is powerline networking -- AV500 technology is
inexpensive and good. Wireless extender kits consisting of a
powerline adapter module (connect to the wireless router) and a
wireless extender module (integrated powerline networking and
wireless access point) are available (e.g., D-Link DHP-W311AV
How Can the Range of a Wi-Fi Network
Reposition your router
Add an access point
Add a bi-directional wi-fi amplifier
Upgrade the antenna
Add a wi-fi repeater
• Many people are using wireless router to wireless
router repeating to enhance their wireless home
network range, and eliminate Wi-Fi dead spots
created by gaps in their wireless network.
• Whichever method you choose in creating your
perfect wireless home network coverage,
wireless router extending is a convenient way to
expand your home network without having to
mess around with crimpers and cables.