Price Check Guarantee

Price Check Guarantee

Nationwide Installations

Nationwide Installations

Next Day Deliveries

Next Day Deliveries

Free Expert Advice

Free Expert Advice

Free Site Survey

What are the Key Differences between Wi-Fi Boosters and Wi-Fi Extenders?

Most of us have become very used to almost instant Wi-Fi access and network uptime but how is this achieved and what are the choices that must be made?

Very often Wi-Fi is added to an existing IT network that already provides hardwired Local Area Network (LAN) connections. However, it’s not uncommon for Wi-Fi connectivity to vary in signal strength as one moves around a building, with dead zones and weak signal areas quite common. Wi-Fi boosters and Wi-Fi extenders are popular solutions to this problem, and each differs in its approach, functionality, and effectiveness.

What does a Wi-Fi Booster do?

A Wi-Fi booster amplifies signal strength. A Wi-Fi booster is a signal amplifier and is sometimes referred to as a signal repeater. Its role is to boost existing Wi-Fi signal strength and provide wider network coverage. The booster captures the existing Wi-Fi signal and amplifies it, extending the coverage into areas that had previously experienced a weak signal.

The Key Functions of a Wi-Fi Booster

The core functions of a Wi-Fi booster include:

  1. Signal Amplification: Wi-Fi boosters increase the strength of an existing Wi-Fi signal, increasing signal strength and enabling transmission over longer distances.
  2. Easy Installation: most Wi-Fi boosters are user-friendly and can be easily set up without the need for extensive technical knowledge, making them ideal for home and general office use.
  3. Compatibility: Wi-Fi boosters are generally compatible with a wide range of routers and wireless access points (WAPs), again making their installation and commissioning relatively easy.
  4. Range Extension: Wi-Fi boosters can effectively extend the range of an IT wireless network, allowing coverage over larger areas in homes and offices to create a Mesh Wi-Fi network.
  5. Cost-Effective: Wi-Fi boosters are generally less expensive than other solutions, making them a budget-friendly alternative to other options.

An alternative to Wi-Fi boosting is to install a Wi-Fi extender.

What does a Wi-Fi Extender do?

A Wi-Fi extender, sometimes referred to as a range extender or repeater device, is a product that extends network coverage by creating a new network with its own SSID (Service Set IDentifier). Whilst like a Wi-Fi booster, in looking to improve network coverage, Wi-Fi extenders function differently.

The Four Key Functions of Wi-Fi Extenders

The core functions of a Wi-Fi Extender include:

  1. Network Extension: Wi-Fi extenders create a new network that is an extension of an existing Wi-Fi network, effectively expanding the area covered.
  2. Improved Connectivity: extenders allow users to seamlessly connect to the extended network, and the transition between the main network and the extended one is generally smoother and without transmission breaks.
  3. SSID and Password: extenders often have their SSID and password, which can be different from the main network, providing a degree of flexibility and security.
  4. Seamless Roaming: some Wi-Fi extenders are equipped with advanced features including seamless roaming, ensuring that a device automatically connects to the strongest signal available as it moves through a home or office environment.

Wi-Fi boosters and Wi-Fi extenders therefore appear to provide similar functions but do so in different ways.

The Key Differences between Wi-Fi Boosters and Wi-Fi Extenders

The primary distinction between the two technologies lies in how they create and manage the extended network. Wi-Fi boosters amplify the existing network. Wi-Fi extenders establish a new network.

Wi-Fi extenders typically have their own SSID and password. Wi-Fi boosters use the same network name and password as the primary router and can be less secure, especially when it comes to private and public network segregation.
Wi-Fi extenders offer a smoother transition between the main IT comms network and the extended one, minimising interruptions as a device (mobile, table, laptop) is moved around a building. Wi-Fi boosters may require you to manually switch networks when the signal is too weak to connect to.

Wi-Fi boosters focus on boosting the signal strength of the existing network, making them more effective in areas with weaker signal. Wi-Fi extenders may not improve signal strength but instead create a new network that overlaps with the existing one.

Wi-Fi boosters are compatible with a wider range of devices because they don’t alter the network name or password. Wi-Fi extenders may require you to manually connect to the extended network on some devices.

How to choose between Wi-Fi boosters and Wi-Fi extenders

The choice depends on your specific needs and the layout of your building space or installation area. Factors to consider include:

  • Coverage Area: If you have a single room or a specific area with weak signal coverage, a Wi-Fi booster may be sufficient. For larger homes or offices with multiple dead zones, a Wi-Fi extender may be more efficient and suitable.
  • Seamless Connectivity: Wi-Fi extenders provide seamless roaming and this can be important on larger work areas including offices, multi-floor buildings and warehouses.
  • Network Management and Cybersecurity: a single network is common in a home / home office environment but in a work environment , there is often the need for multiple networks including SSID and password controlled private and public networks.
  • Existing Network Strength: where the signal strength of an existing network is already strong and there is the need for only extra coverage, a Wi-Fi booster may be all that is required. Where the current IT network is consistently weak or patchy, a Wi-Fi extender will be more suited.
  • Budget: Wi-Fi boosters are more budget-friendly and appeal more to home office and small office operations


For server room and data centre operators, Wi-Fi networks can help to speed up installation times and reduce or remove additional cabling costs when new devices (such as Wi-Fi enabled environmental monitoring devices) are to be installed. Provided network security is not compromised, a Wi-Fi network even for critical IT systems is possible, provide the right approach is taken when it comes to areas of poor and patchy signal.

Whilst offering a similar end-goal, Wi-Fi boosters and Wi-Fi extenders offer distinct features and advantages. Understanding the differences between these devices is crucial to making the right decision that suits your installation and project needs. Both device types can significantly improve a network’s reach and reliability, ensuring continuous connection. Ultimately, the choice comes down to the unique requirements of th

Blog main image 2758859 1697399464

Related blog posts

Next Article
A Guide to Ethernet Cables and Their Role In Computer Networks
Blog box fixed 2751881 1696084897

Whether you are setting up a home network or adding devices to a local area network, Ethernet cables play a vital role, and it is important, for speed and bandwidth, to select the right routers, network switches and Ethernet cables.

Read more ...