WiFi boosters often solve signal problems


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While WiFi is quickly becoming ubiquitous, some places still are dragged down by spotty WiFi. Thankfully, there are WiFi extenders that can give your internet a bit more range.

Local business owner Ed Andre is familiar with WiFi extenders and how they can provide a boost to WiFi signals.

“Basically, (a WiFi extender) picks up a signal from a nearby access point or router, regenerates that signal, and sends it out to a farther distance,” said Andre, the network engineer and owner of Brevard Technology Solutions. “Some of them use WPS, where you associate it to a router or access point that has WPS associated with it. You just push a button on your router and on your access point. (The WiFi) connects to that connection, and then re-broadcasts it.”

A number of users, however, have found that some WiFi extenders don’t seem to work very well.

“Some don’t work real well. Most of the time when they don’t work it’s because (someone) doesn’t know how to position them,” Andre said. “(Users) think that just because you’re (using an extender), they forget that you have to put it between (two network points).”

Andre also noted that WiFi cannot travel through metal, refrigerators, central air conditioners and similarly dense items.

“There’s always a limit (to WiFi), there’s standard (units) that will let you go 400 feet or more, but there are limitations based on the house, the environment, (etc.),” Andre explained. “Limitations are based on your site.”

Overall, for those looking to create a stronger WiFi signal in their home, a WiFi booster can help extend the range of current signals. It’s important to understand, however, that WiFi extenders do not strengthen the WiFi signal of a single router. Instead, an extender is used at a distance from the initial router to refresh the signal, allowing the signal to promulgate farther into an area.

WiFi extenders can range in price from $20 for a simple booster to a $99-plus extender, depending on the type of extender, the brand, and how powerful the extender might boost the original signal. When looking to buy a WiFi extender, the first step is to look at what your own router is, and then determine if you need a single extender, or multiple boosters to surround dense areas in your home such as refrigerators and stoves. Ask around in an electronics and technology store about prices and quality or shop around online by reading product reviews and comparing products.

Most homes will probably have dead zones — areas in which the WiFi doesn’t normally reach. Living with these less-than-efficient areas is normal. When the number of dead zones outweighs the places with strong WiFi, however, it might be time to reevaluate the router.

Is your router surrounded by any dense materials or appliances such as a microwave or an air conditioning unit? Does your router have a clear line of sight to most of the area? If not, you might only need to move your router to a better area to boost your Wi-Fi signal.

If your router seems to be in a good spot and it’s still not reaching all the places you’d like it to, it might be time to look into purchasing a booster.

Brevard Technology Solutions, located at 260 N. Tropical Trail, Suite 101, Merritt Island, is a technology service company that provides PC repair, WiFi network installation and data storage device services.