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Best Wi-Fi Extenders 2019: 11 ways to get better Internet

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There’s nothing more annoying than a black spot in your Wi-Fi network. Fortunately there are a variety of ways to stamp them out. These are the best we’ve tested.

If you have basic needs and are on a budget then the TP-Link RE350 AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender is the best value Wi-Fi extender currently available. If you’re after something a little more advanced, have a large home or particularly poor Wi-Fi signal the the Netgear Orbi RBK50 mesh system is the best overall option, though it’s fairly pricey.

1. Netgear Orbi RBK50

  Pros:

  • High upfront cost
  • Modest feature set for power users
  • Not the fastest router when in close range

Yes, the Orbi is expensive, but the Orbi isn’t a pure Wi-Fi extender. Instead, the Orbi is both a router and a Wi-Fi extender that work on the same Wi-Fi network (or SSID). It means that no matter where you are in your home, you’ll be either seamlessly connected to the base router or to the extender, with no messing around and fiddling to connect to the router or extender you’re closest to.

What do you get for your money? One of the most advanced pieces of consumer networking on the market. The base package gets you a main router unit and one satellite. Setup is simple, and once you’re up and running performance is exceptional.

2. TP-Link RE350 AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender

Pros:

  • Impressive long-range performance
  • Fetching design
  • Simple setup
  • Well priced

Cons:

  • Better for range than outright speed
  • 5GHz performance could be better

The TP-Link RE350 isn’t the fastest Wi-Fi extender at close range but competes with the best at long range – and does so for half the price.

This is also a great-looking extender. Its glossy white and grey exterior, rounded shape and aerials give it an appealingly cute vibe. It’s still a fairly large device, so is likely to block adjacent plug sockets, but it isn’t as tall as the Netgear EX7300.

Of particular appeal about the RE350 is its setup. Similar to the other extenders on test, you connect it to your existing network simply by plugging it in and tapping the WPS button. However, here you get lights on the front of the device to indicate that it’s properly connected to each Wi-Fi band. If only one is lit then you hit the WPS button again and it should connect the other network.

3. BT Complete Wi-Fi

Pros:

  • Fast
  • Easy to set up
  • Good value for BT Plus customers

Cons:

  • No guest network
  • No per-device parental controls

BT Complete Wi-Fi is an odd entry in our Best Wi-Fi Extenders round up, because it’s more than just a range extender – it’s a comprehensive whole home solution comprising a new BT Smart Hub 2 router and signal boosting discs similar to the ones you get with the BT Whole Home Wi-Fi solution.

4. Netgear Orbi RBK20

Pros:

  • Router and mesh system
  • Flexible configuration
  • Reliable

Cons:

  • Speeds drop at range
  • Comparatively expensive

The Netgear Orbi RBK20 is a cheaper version of the original Netgear Orbi (RBK50) router-cum-range extender hybrid. You get the same easy on the eye design, same neat interface and the same super-stable tri-band Wi-Fi that made us love the original so much. It’s aimed more at people who don’t live in big houses or aren’t bothered about setting up extensive home networks than power users.

If this is you, that’s perhaps just as well, because testing revealed that Wi-Fi speeds dropped off relatively sharply between five and ten metres. The fact that there’s only one Gigabit Ethernet port available to you means that if you want to wire in games consoles, a PC and a smart TV or set-top box, then you’d have to invest in a network switch. Most routers will come with at least three or four Gigabit ports these days.

5. D-link DAP-1320

Pros:

  • Excellent 2.4Ghz performance
  • Very compact design
  • Simple and low cost

Cons:

  • Only supports 2.4GHz, not the faster 5GHz

The D-Link DAP-1320 is the smallest adapter on test and by far the cheapest. We wouldn’t recommend it for people who have anything beyond the very most basic network demands, but at £20 it could well be the cheapest solution to your Wi-Fi woes.

At 48 x 42 x 56 mm it’s not even as wide as a standard UK plug, so it won’t interfere with your other devices.

It’s also an elegant enough little thing, with a gently curved front with a single LED.

Feature-wise it’s simplicity itself. Rated at 300Mbps, it uses only the 2.4GHz band so doesn’t offer the contention reducing abilities of 5GHz, nor the speed of AC. However, what it lacks in extras it makes up for in simplicity and basic performance.

6. D-Link DAP-1520 AC750 Wi-Fi Range Extender

Pros:

  • Compact
  • Low cost

Cons:

  • Limited range
  • Average speeds

This is a markedly smaller device than the other extenders here. It will comfortably sit alongside other plugs and only extends 42mm below the dimensions of the plug itself.

However, with its compact form comes a modest feature set. There’s no Ethernet port for connecting wired devices to the extended network; no off switch for the extender; and, most importantly, there’s less room inside for more powerful aerials, therefore resulting in reduced speed and range.

Thankfully, setup is as easy as any other extender, with a quick tap of the WPS button all that’s needed to get everything going. What’s more, unlike some other devices on test, it extended both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks straight away, without having to press the WPS button again to connect to the second band.

7. Netgear EX3800 Wi-Fi Range Extender with passthrough

Pros:

  • Good overall range and speed
  • Convenient mains passthrough
  • Good value

Cons:

  • Slightly dull design
  • Annoying setup

The Netgear EX3800 is a great mid-range, dual-band Wi-Fi extender with a decent set of features.

It’s not the prettiest Wi-Fi extender in our round-up, featuring a noticeably boxy design and sprawling ventilation holes, but it ticks all the right boxes when it comes to functionality.

For starters it’s fairly small considering its specs, measuring in at a compact 55 x 114 x 34mm. Its controls are also intelligently placed, with it featuring four front-facing lights that clearly indicate the status of the extender. The mains passthrough will also be a welcome addition for people with a limited number of plug sockets.

8. Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ Wi-Fi Range Extender

Pros:

  • Looks good
  • Great short-range 5GHz performance

Cons:

  • Long range speeds disappointing

It’s a very tidy-looking option. Although large, like many other super-fast extenders, the RE7000 is particularly neat and elegant; its sheer, gloss-white front is interrupted by only a single light and Linksys logo.

For features, you get an on/off switch alongside a WPS button and reset button on one side, while on the underside is the single Ethernet port. The plug socket is removable, so plug standards from other countries can be used, but you don’t get any others included. And that’s your lot.

Setup is simple: a couple of presses of the WPS button to connect the two Wi-Fi bands to get going.

9. Asus RP-AC66 AC1750 Dual-band Repeater

Pros:

  • Looks smart
  • Excellent all-rounder

Cons:

  • Bulky

The Asus RP-AC66 is rated to deliver AC1750 Wi-Fi speeds and costs around £80, making it one of the more premium options in this group. It can’t quite match the speeds of the fastest units here, but then it comfortably undercuts them on price.

Despite being slightly slower than the Netgear EX7300, for example, the RP-AC66 is actually quite a large unit, at 167mm tall and 83mm wide – and this doesn’t account for the extra space taken up by the adjustable aerials, either. It looks smart enough, though, and has a slim profile, so doesn’t protrude too far from the wall.

10. Devolo GigaGate

Pros:

  • Ultra-fast and stable connection
  • Effortless setup
  • The easiest way to extend a fast network connection

Cons:

  • Almost as expensive as a Mesh network

The Devolo GigaGate is a niche proposition given its relatively high price, but sits in an interesting middle ground between full-fledged Mesh Wi-Fi systems and slower, cheaper Wi-Fi extenders. The GigaGate is effectively a very fast two-part Wi-Fi extender using a dedicated Wi-Fi channel to shuttle data back and forth between a base unit connected to your router, and a satellite that’s in a room that has poor coverage. The satellite then creates its own Wi-Fi network for your distant devices to connect to.

It performed exceptionally well in our tests, managing long-distance speeds better than many high-end routers and all Wi-Fi extenders, so its performance isn’t in doubt. Your only question should ask, is if a PowerLine network will perform better if your home is wired up correctly, or if spending a bit extra on a mesh network is better value. For what it sets out to do, though, the GigaGate is excellent.

11. BT Whole Home Wi-Fi

Pros:

  • Good overall speed
  • Great Wi-Fi coverage
  • Quick and easy setup
  • Cheaper than many mesh router systems

Cons:

  • Needs base router
  • One Ethernet and no USB on each disc

BT has abandoned selling conventional Wi-Fi extenders, although you can still buy some of its older models from other shops. Instead, it offers either Powerline adapters or the BT Whole Home Wi-Fi.

The latter is a full mesh Wi-Fi kit that uses nodes that you place throughout your home, replacing your existing Wi-Fi system. The good news is that these will work with any router and broadband provider – you could be a Sky, Virgin Media, A&A, or Zen Internet customer and Whole Home Wi-Fi would play nicely.

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