The nature of your network infrastructure will depend entirely on your needs, budget and the environment under which it is expected to perform; which makes it a bit of a challenge when the layman searches for effective means to strengthen their network.
When experiencing connectivity issues in your home, it can be tempting to replace the router with a better, newer one, which more often than not does very little to alleviate the issues you are facing, and often comes at a much higher cost and hassle than other means of strengthening your network. But there are ways to do this that are for more likely to solve your problems, and can do so with greater ease and affordability than a new router is.
Wireless connections are often lauded as the ideal solution for achieving home-wide connectivity, and while there are a number of solutions out there to take advantage of, setting up a wireless network is more often than not the most cost-effective and functional one for households, especially those with a small to medium range to cover.
So, if you are looking for a means to give everyone in your home a strong connection no matter where they are, here is why investing in a Wi-Fi range extender is often a better approach than opting for a new router.
Extenders versus routers
Often enough, purchasing a new router will do little to actually increase the connection strength of your network between devices; and since they come at a fairly heft cost, it is best to avoid this approach unless you are certain that your current router is a part of the problem. Remember that a new router will probably also be difficult to setup, which also makes it one of the more time consuming means of extending the strength of your network.
Wireless range extenders on the other hand provide a number of advantages that are perfectly suited to home networks under a certain size:
Improving a weak signal
The main function of a wireless range extender is to simply improve on weak signals to ensure that all of those connecting to your network can enjoy doing do with stability, speed and mobility. Weakened wireless signals generally result in slower connection speeds and unstable connections. And while a new router could solve this problem for you, it will come at an expense to your money and time to do so. In cases where strength needs to be improved, a wireless extender is generally your best option with these factors in mind.
Extending the coverage area
A new router will likely only improve the range of coverage from your wireless network by a bit, if at all. At the end of the day, they still have to work against the materials and structure of your home and electrical appliances, which means that there is often only so much that they can do to improve the connective range of your network.
A wireless range extender, on the other hand, will slingshot the signal from your current router to any other area in your house, and you can even make use of multiple extenders to achieve home-wide wireless coverage; and even doing it this way is often cheaper and easier than getting a new router entirely.
Ease of setup
If you aren’t already savvy when it comes to setting up a home network, complete with wireless connectivity, a connection to your ISP and a streamlined local network, then you will find the task of setting up a new router massively frustrating.
Wireless range extenders on the other hand are generally very simple to setup, often requiring no more than a push of the WPS button, or simply waiting for plug-and-play to do its thing (depending of course on the type and age of the extender you opt for). This ease at which an extender can be setup, makes it perfect for households with limited knowledge on how to setup a home network properly.
Cost effective approach
Purchasing a new router doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavour, but like most things in life, you get what you pay for. This means that if you are not willing to empty the bank on a new piece of hardware, that you will have to make due with an affordable, yet less reliable or functional product.
This will likely undermine the strength, range and speed of your entire network, since everything will depend on the capabilities of your router; which if you tried to save money, will likely be underwhelming.
A far better approach is to invest in wireless range extenders which are far more cost-effective, and are all-but-guaranteed to increase connectivity in your household.
The price of your extender will also depend on its range, quality and reliability, so if you are looking for the range extender, be prepared to pay a little more for it.
Other available solutions
Wireless range extenders are not the only solution for extending the range of connectivity in your home. There are a number of other solution, both temporary and permanent; although when factoring in cost, reliability, effectiveness and simplicity, these solutions are still not as effective as using a range extender:
Setting up a wired network
Making use of Ethernet connections through your current modem is a temporary option, but will obviously do nothing for extending range without meter after meter of expensive and obstructive cabling. This can make quite a mess and would do little to solve the problem of range.
Connecting through power-lines
Power-line adapters can connect through Ethernet ports on your current router and then relay the signal through your home, connecting to other adapters in the house. They do this through power-lines; although they don’t get speeds as high as an extender would; and as a solution, is generally far more expensive to setup than an extender would be.
Creating an ad-hoc network server
You could set up a temporary wireless network through a PC or laptop that has wireless capabilities. This ad-hoc network will allow other devices to connect to a PC wirelessly in order to share its default internet connection. It is incredibly difficult to setup however, and can even cause further network problems if done incorrectly.
Though wireless extenders are still your best approach
There is more than one approach to bettering the strength and range of your network at home, particularly for small-to-medium setups; but when everything is considered, wireless range extenders provide an easier, more functional and more cost-effective solution for home network than most others will.
Did you find this article helpful? What solution do you prefer for extending the range of your network at home? We would love to hear your opinion.