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Difference between wifi booster and wifi repeater?

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  • Connectivity
  • Wireless Network
  • WiFi
  • Wireless Networking
Last response: in Wireless Networking
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September 24, 2011 3:39:55 AM

What is the difference between wifi booster and wifi repeater? Specs? Range? Cost? Recommendations? I have a wireless network that I would like to extend. But i would like spend about $40.

More about : difference wifi booster wifi repeater

September 29, 2011 4:22:42 PM

Usually boosters refer to an upgrade around the modem itself, like a better antenna. I know the Hawking HSB2 claims it will increase the signal up to 600%.

Usually the extender is more of a stand alone unit that you place between the router and the place that you want to get a better signal.

I do not personally use them so i could not tell you which method is better or which one to buy. This may help a little:
http://www.broadbandchoices.co.uk/boosting-a-wifi-signa...

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/27616-43-what-wireles...
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October 23, 2011 8:08:47 AM

I have ever tried Hawking HSB2 wifi booster , This product dramatically increases transmit power, however it's duplexing capability is very poor and cannot hear portable units trying to log in. At full output into a 14dbi gain antenna, I could get a strong signal 500' away even through buildings.. but, I could not log on while I was 50' in front of it line-of-sight.. It was only at its lowest 100mw setting that I could get just a poor connection
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October 24, 2011 5:40:38 AM

Booster adds on to the speed on the other hand repeater splits and adds on to the speed.
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November 16, 2011 2:50:15 AM

You will find that there is a lot of variation between both products.

Generally amplifying the signal is what a booster does, while a repeater simply takes the signal and does what it says - repeats the signal again at the distance that its been placed. This actually extends the signal, it does not boost it. In some conceptual way I'm sure it can be argued that its boosted, but it isn't.

Specs differ between products so much so that its easy to blur the line between the both. Cost is about equal depending on if you are buying new or old.

In your case I would suggest looking at wireless repeater reviews or wireless range extender reviews as they both can help you find something decent for a good price. Its what I've used and helps me see what other people say.

Good luck :D 
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September 13, 2012 3:47:11 PM

You can flash a lot of old routers to extend an existing wireless connection if you really want to put the time into it and you're lucky enough to have a compatible device already.

But most of the repeaters out there call themselves repeaters, boosters, range extenders and pretty much whatever else. They all do the same thing really just some do it better than others. I've used them for a while myself at the office and personally I haven't had much success with DIY ones. Maybe for personal use if you don't need a big range but it didn't do our office requirements.

If you want range you can use something like the Amped wifi repeaters and swap their external antennas. If you don't need that there are some simple boxes you can plug into the wall like these. At the end of the day they all do largely the same thing you just need to find one which suits your needs.
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October 5, 2012 2:22:21 PM

I have a TP-Link TL-WA901ND personally, I use it as a repeater to get the signal from my office downstairs to the bedrooms on the first floor. Here's a review of it: TL-WA901ND.

Here are some other wireless repeater reviews for comparison.
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March 11, 2013 12:12:55 PM

rickrick said:
Booster adds on to the speed on the other hand repeater splits and adds on to the speed.


Wrong...a booster adds range to an existing device usually by an upgraded antennae. A repeater is a stand alone device that recieves the signal and then sends it out again (repeats). Speed may be adversely effected with a repeater for example a base wireless N router repeated by a wireless G. Latency will almost always be increased with a repeated signal however the increase in latency may not be discernible depending on the configuration.
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March 27, 2013 1:09:31 PM

Mike Hurst has the correct answer.

The names of the two technology's are descriptive as to what they do.
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A booster is just that. it BOOSTS the signal. A repeater, on the other hand, receives the signal, then repeats it on a different channel.

Most of the time, a booster is a better antenna or antennas. This "passive" approach is best for boosters as the better antenna will increase the gain of both the transmitter and receiver equally. Generally, one would replace the cheesy antenna on the router as putting it on a laptop will impact portability.

To get more distance, you might put a better antenna setup on both the router, and the desktop several hundred feet away. If you really want to get boost (pardon the pun,) look into directional antennas. they will focus the radiated power in a single direction. You may be able to get 5000' or more with 2 high gain directional antennas. But, of course, portability wouldn't exist.

Antenna design is EXTREMELY complex. There are many factors that go into making an antenna. When you start getting into antennas with multiple elements, they will interfere with each other and a poorly designed antenna may not work nearly as well as you might hope. Read reviews on any specific antenna setup you are thinking about getting.

Sometime a booster is an amplifier in the signal path (wire) between the antenna and the network radio (WiFi router or WiFi card.) This is called an "Active" booster. The amplifier will increase the transmit power a lot, but the sensitivity of the amplifier may not do a good job of receiving signals so you may not realize the best distance. Think of 2 people, Mr. Router with a bullhorn and Mrs. Desktop without. Mr. Router can "talk" (yell really) and Mrs. Desktop can hear, but Mr. Router cannot hear the low level from Mrs. Desktop.

If you can get 2 active boosters (one at the router, and the other at the desktop/laptop) then poor receiving is less of a factor as both are yelling louder.
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A repeater, on the other hand, is just that. It receives the radio signal from one point (lets say your router) then retransmits it on another channel to another point (say your laptop). This will increase the latency (delay) as it has to receive a packet, store it, then retransmit it. These packets are fairly small, and they go by pretty fast, so I would guess there would be little impact in observable speed degradation, but the extra radio will add several problems to the "system".

You could even combine repeaters and passive or active boosters, but when you start getting into this realm, you are on your own.

Good luck.

Mark.

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April 6, 2013 3:25:19 PM

Cool Javelin said:
Mike Hurst has the correct answer.

The names of the two technology's are descriptive as to what they do.
----
A booster is just that. it BOOSTS the signal. A repeater, on the other hand, receives the signal, then repeats it on a different channel.

Most of the time, a booster is a better antenna or antennas. This "passive" approach is best for boosters as the better antenna will increase the gain of both the transmitter and receiver equally. Generally, one would replace the cheesy antenna on the router as putting it on a laptop will impact portability.

To get more distance, you might put a better antenna setup on both the router, and the desktop several hundred feet away. If you really want to get boost (pardon the pun,) look into directional antennas. they will focus the radiated power in a single direction. You may be able to get 5000' or more with 2 high gain directional antennas. But, of course, portability wouldn't exist.

Antenna design is EXTREMELY complex. There are many factors that go into making an antenna. When you start getting into antennas with multiple elements, they will interfere with each other and a poorly designed antenna may not work nearly as well as you might hope. Read reviews on any specific antenna setup you are thinking about getting.

Sometime a booster is an amplifier in the signal path (wire) between the antenna and the network radio (WiFi router or WiFi card.) This is called an "Active" booster. The amplifier will increase the transmit power a lot, but the sensitivity of the amplifier may not do a good job of receiving signals so you may not realize the best distance. Think of 2 people, Mr. Router with a bullhorn and Mrs. Desktop without. Mr. Router can "talk" (yell really) and Mrs. Desktop can hear, but Mr. Router cannot hear the low level from Mrs. Desktop.

If you can get 2 active boosters (one at the router, and the other at the desktop/laptop) then poor receiving is less of a factor as both are yelling louder.
-----
A repeater, on the other hand, is just that. It receives the radio signal from one point (lets say your router) then retransmits it on another channel to another point (say your laptop). This will increase the latency (delay) as it has to receive a packet, store it, then retransmit it. These packets are fairly small, and they go by pretty fast, so I would guess there would be little impact in observable speed degradation, but the extra radio will add several problems to the "system".

You could even combine repeaters and passive or active boosters, but when you start getting into this realm, you are on your own.

Good luck.

Mark.




Ok...now I am more confused...so I a building a detached garage with upstairs bonus room..house and garage are cement fiberboard...hardiplank...garage approx. 75 feet from 6 month old, higher end, wireless router (forget the brand)... should I be looking then for a booster to get my signal t the garage? And, where would I place said device? Thanks!!

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April 6, 2013 11:07:54 PM

Don't buy before you try - 75 feet is nothing in wireless terms and a signal may well get through your walls at that distance. If you do find you need a boost, it could go on the outside of the garage wall.

Make sure you have good security on the router or someone 75 feet in the other direction might start sharing your connection.

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April 8, 2013 9:30:55 PM

bandersn

Despite what the literature says about the distance a WiFi router can reach, in reality, it will be less then 1/2 of that. Specifications are notoriously overrated and in many cases, just plain lies. When they say 300', they mean with one bar, at the slowest speed, in open air, on a sunny day with everyone a little drunk.

To get a good fast signal, in open air, I am going to suggest, less then 50 feet.

If you are going through walls, cut the spec by 2/3 for each wall. Walls usually have paint on them, Paint contains titanium, that is a metal, and will degrade the signal a lot.

75 feet in the open air may work. But with 2 walls in between, probably not.

Take your laptop outside, and walk around and press "View Wireless Networks in Range" to see what the signal strength is.

Get a router with a detachable antenna, then get a booster antenna with a wire (keep it short, less then 10 feet) and try to place the antenna outside. Try to keep it out of the rain.

This will improve the wireless to the outbuilding, but degrade the wireless in the rest of the house with the router.

You say you are building the outbuilding? Is there still time to put wires in the ground like telephone wires? Think ahead here. It will behoove you to run a good CAT5 cable alongside the telephone wire. I wouldn't put low level signals like phone and computer wires in the same trench as the power line, but I can't say why. (check your local building code on this topic.) I assume you are running a power line from your house to the outbuilding?

Wired is the way to go if you have a choice. Run a wire from the router in your house, then put a wireless access point in the new garage.

Good Luck.
Mark
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