Wi-Fi Extender vs Powerline Adapters – Which One to Choose?

Poor Wi-Fi network receptivity is something that impacts us all. At times, it might become hard for you to diagnose and resolve the issue. But, there are two networking devices that can help you resolve this issue – a Wi-Fi extender and Powerline Adapters. Before you go ahead and buy any of these, it is vital that you understand both.

Wi-Fi Extenders

A Wi-Fi extender is a small-sized wireless networking device that receives signals from a Wi-Fi router and rebroadcasts it. You get Wi-Fi network coverage by keeping the extender in proximity to the router. It is a cost-effective and convenient way to improve Wi-Fi coverage in every corner of the establishment.

A Wi-Fi extender is available in two different forms – wall plugs and small desktop units. The setup process is smooth and all you have to do is go to the relevant web address. Then you enter the Wi-Fi password to connect the extender to the network. 

Let us now see where you should keep the Wi-Fi extender.

Placement of Wi-Fi Extender

The majority of Wi-Fi extender manufacturers recommend that you keep it mid-way between the router and the area you want to cover. There should not be any physical obstructions like thick walls in either direction. These create a hindrance that reduces the strength of the Wi-Fi signal.

Although there will be some signal loss, as most Wi-Fi extenders have a single radio. They split the available bandwidth between receiving and broadcasting the signal. You can minimize signal loss by installing a dual-band network extender. These receive the Wi-Fi signal from the router on one band and re-broadcast it using the other band.

Let us now find out what are powerline adapters.

Powerline Adapters

Powerline adapters are networking devices that help you overcome poor Wi-Fi receptivity. These transmit data across the electrical cabling of the establishment. It works by using a series of powerline adapters with each one having an Ethernet port and Wi-Fi functionality.

For setting up a powerline adapter, you connect one adapter to the router and plug it into a nearby power socket. Then you plugin another adapter in the power supply of another room. Lastly, you connect a Wi-Fi enabled device like a computer to the powerline adapter.

In some instances, powerline adapters are better than a Wi-Fi extender. You do not have to worry about keeping them within range of the internet router or Wi-Fi dead zones. But, you do have to keep the distance between the adapters as short as possible. The reason? Signal and data transfer speed gets weaker the further these have to travel.

But, there is a factor that impacts the performance of a powerline adapter – Noise. Electrical noise can easily be aggravated when you plug the adapter into an extension lead. Something as small as Christmas tree lights can kill your internet speed.

Never use powerline adapters with surge protector, power strip, extension cord, or uninterrupted power supply.

Now, before you go ahead and purchase either of the two networking devices, keep in mind the tips mentioned below.

Tips to Improve Wi-Fi Network

Given below are 2 tips to improve Wi-Fi receptivity in your home network.

1. Change the Router

Do you own a router that is more than 2 years old? Chances are the networking device is running on an older firmware version. Switch to the latest router which comes with 802.11ac protocol. It ensures you have a seamless browsing experience.

2. Tweak the Settings

Access the admin control panel of the Wi-Fi router to make sure you are getting high speed. Take a look at the channel settings to minimize interference from other Wi-Fi networks.

Who’s the Winner?

Wi-Fi extenders and powerline adapters help you work through poor Wi-Fi signals. These are more convenient than laying down long lengths of internet cable around the establishment.

Many internet users prefer to use powerline adapters. The name might sound a bit technical but it is not so. All it takes is 5 minutes to set them up. Powerline adapters also provide you with more Wi-Fi network range.

There are also Wi-Fi-enabled adapters that contain the functionality of a powerline adapter and Wi-Fi extender. On the other hand, Wi-Fi extenders are easy and quick but your budget should be a bit high to purchase a decent dual-band Wi-Fi.