Wifi Extender/Booster needed: But which one?
September 24, 2014 10:22 AM   Subscribe

I need a wifi extender/booster. I lease a modem from Comcast. Which booster/extender do I buy from Amazon?

I'm not getting a consistent signal in my bedroom from where the box is located in the living room (next to the TV and fireplace and balcony doors). But I'm not sure what information I need to choose a wifi extender/booster from Amazon or what I need to get. Help?
posted by discopolo to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
For the best signal, I would recommend getting a WiFi repeater/booster with built-in PowerLine.

You plug one box into the wall socket by the router and plug a cable from your router into that box. You then put the other box somewhere in the house and it'll connect to the first box, broadcast a WiFi signal and then route any data through your electricity mains to the router.

The advantage of this over standard boosters is that they just amplify a weak signal and so you can't move the booster too far away from the router. Plus devices sitting in the middle of both can sometimes get a bit confused. With the PowerLine version, you can stick the second box anywhere in the house (provided both boxes are on the same ring main).

The downside is that you actually end up with two wireless networks and they don't support seamless handover. So if you're on a Skype call and you move from one AP (eg. "bedroom") to another AP (eg. "house") then the connection will drop.

I've not used this product, but it has all the sorts of things you should be looking for: TP-Link TL-WPA281 300Mbps AV200 Wireless N Powerline Extender
posted by mr_silver at 11:00 AM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Is getting a better router an option? "If there are dead zones in your house where Wi-Fi signals can't reach, there are better ways to improve your coverage than Wi-Fi extenders." (From an article titled "The Best Wi-Fi Extender," which also has specific recommendations if you want an extender.)
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:06 AM on September 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

The modem with built-in wireless that your ISP provides (if that's what you've got) is usually a piece of crap compared to a decent WiFi router. You may well be better off just getting rid of (or disabling) the ISP-provided WiFi and buying a well-built dedicated unit.
posted by Nerd of the North at 11:29 AM on September 24, 2014

Best answer: I purchased a powerline adapter after years of messing around with a wireless extender and it works really well. The downside is that you have to have a second router if you aren't connecting directly to your computer. I found this Wirecutter article very helpful when deciding what to buy.
posted by JuliaKM at 12:52 PM on September 24, 2014 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: I really don't want to deal with Comcast again (same hellish experiences that everyone else has, plus they created a bunch of weird account problems) until I move, so I'd really just like recommendations on a Wifi extenders, if possible. I'm too busy until January, and would really just like to know what extender/booster I need in the meantime or best option that works with what I have.
posted by discopolo at 1:15 PM on September 24, 2014

There's lag time on the boosters and I found them unusable. I was going to try the powerline trick (see JuliaKM above) but ended up just running ethernet cable and using a cheap wireless access point at the other end of my living space.
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:53 PM on September 24, 2014

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