Best WiFi Extenders For Gaming – 2021 Guide

Austin
| Last Updated: June 8, 2021

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Is your home's Wi-Fi speed impacting your gaming performance? Do you have dead spots just where you'd like to play?

With gaming in mind, we've scoured the market looking for the best Wi-Fi extenders that will give you extra performance and greater flexibility on where you play.

Comparison of the Best WiFi Extenders For Gaming

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Fast performance of up to 750mbps
  • Beginner friendly highlighted by a 15 minute setup
  • Highlighted by a sleek profile and wall mount
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  • You can connect with up to 20 devices
  • Highlighted by a 2 year limited warranty
  • Suitable for Windows, MacOS and Linux systems
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  • Best for the Money
  • Featuring five ports for versatile connectivity
  • Offers a data transfer rate of 1733mbps
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  • Great speed of up to 2500mbps
  • Features a wireless type of 5.8GHz Bluetooth
  • MU-MIMO technology for enhanced connection stability
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  • Superb coverage of up to 7500 square feet
  • A WiFi range extender for improved signal
  • Beginner friendly with a detailed user's guide
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Characteristics of Our Favorite Wi-Fi Extenders for Gaming

While everyone wants the best possible Wi-Fi coverage around their home, some factors are especially relevant to a great gaming experience. Let's look at what you should consider.

Wi-Fi Standards

As with all technology, wireless networking standards have evolved, so it's essential to ensure that the equipment you buy will work with your existing setup. 

The first Wi-Fi standard, 802.11a, has been superseded by newer technology, so you should check which Wi-Fi standard your current router is and then cross-check against the extender you're planning to buy.

It's all about getting the best possible performance out of your network. 

Frequency

There are currently two frequencies: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Generally, older or cheaper routers may only work on the former.

Photo credit: Cnet.com

Check that the extender you're buying works on the same band or bands as your router. 

You'll only get the maximum benefit from a dual-band extender if your router also supports both bandwidths. This will help ensure that you don't spend more than you need to on your new extender.

Ethernet Ports

Look for an extender with at least one ethernet port so that it can act as a wireless access point. As we'll see, extenders usually have a single ethernet port, but some have several. In the latter case, as well as connecting your console via cable, you still have the option to plug in other devices, such as printers.

There are two critical advantages of ethernet ports on an extender:

  1. A wired connection is more stable than a wireless one.

  2. If your console or other device doesn't have Wi-Fi built into it, you can connect it to the extender.

Maximum Speed

Different extenders have differing capacities for what speeds they can deliver via your wireless network.

Various factors can affect your wireless network's performance, such as your router and extender's location, the layout of your home, and items like furniture that could impede the signal.

Therefore, it's worth checking out the maximum possible speed offered by your new extender.

Photo credit: Techpowerup.com

Maximum Coverage

Take a good look at your home's size and layout and think about the area you need an extender to cover to give you the best possible performance.

Manufacturers will always indicate the maximum expected coverage, but what you get will depend upon the factors we mentioned in the Maximum Speed section above.

Some extenders support mesh networking, as opposed to just extending the Wi-Fi signal. We'll be looking at one example in this review.

Review of the Best Wi-Fi Extenders for Gaming

Having established the most important characteristics to consider when buying a Wi-Fi extender for your gaming needs, let's look more closely at how each of our picks performs on those points and more.

Best Overall:
NETGEAR EX3700

NETGEAR Wi-Fi Range Extender EX3700 - Coverage Up to 1000 Sq Ft and 15 Devices with AC750 Dual Band Wireless Signal Booster & Repeater (Up to 750Mbps Speed), and Compact Wall Plug Design

PROS

  • Easy to set up with WPS or via website
  • Inexpensive
  • Two external antennae provide better performance
  • Compact form factor is discreet once plugged into an outlet
  • LED indicators are easy to see and understand

CONS

  • Instruction manual could be clearer for non-WPS setup

Specs

Wi-Fi Standard: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

Frequency: Dual band

Ethernet Ports: 1

Maximum Speed: 750Mbps

Maximum Coverage: 1,000 Sq. Ft.

Review 

The EX3700 is our top pick because it's easy to set up and provides a consistently stable connection, despite being one of the least expensive options on the market.

The two external antennae assist the performance. Although this means it's not as compact as some extenders with built-in antennae, it's still small, and once it's plugged into an outlet, you won't notice it.

For a quick status check, the LEDs on the unit are nice and clear.

It's also backward compatible with 802.11a, but if your router doesn't have the WPS facility, the setup isn't quite as simple.

Bottom Line

For the perfect balance of price, performance, and ease of use, it's extremely easy to recommend the NETGEAR EX3700.

It’ll give you what you need for wireless entertainment and gaming performance in most domestic usage scenarios.

Runner-up:
TP-Link AC750 RE220

TP-Link AC750 WiFi Extender (RE220), Covers Up to 1200 Sq.ft and 20 Devices, Up to 750Mbps Dual Band WiFi Range Extender, WiFi Booster to Extend Range of WiFi Internet Connection

PROS

  • Extremely easy to set up using the TP-Link Tether app
  • LED indicators are clear
  • Option to turn off LEDs to avoid distraction at night
  • Lightweight, compact size

CONS

  • Doesn't seamlessly switch when you move from the main network to the extended one
  • May not be powerful enough for streaming 4K Ultra video wirelessly

Specs

Wi-Fi Standard: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

Frequency: Dual-band

Ethernet Ports: 1

Maximum Speed: 750Mbps

Maximum Coverage: 1,200 Sq. Ft.

Review 

The Tether app is a delight to use for setting up the TP-Link RE220, taking you through the process step-by-step.

We like how clear the LED indicators are and the fact that you can turn them off, either manually or on a timer. No more distractions from blinking lights.

The main drawback of RE220 is that moving between your primary Wi-Fi signal and the extended one isn’t seamless. Sometimes you have to sign into the extended one when your device tries to connect.

If you're mainly using the extended range to connect devices that don't usually move, such as Blu-ray players, or PCs, then this isn't going to be an issue.

Bottom Line

As usual, at a lower price range, there's a compromise to be made.

Apart from not being the best option for 4K Ultra streaming and the cross-network connection issue, the RE220 is another extender that is recommended.

It's not going to be perfect for everyone, but it’ll be adequate for the majority.

Best for the Money:
NETGEAR EX8000

NETGEAR WiFi Mesh Range Extender EX8000 - Coverage up to 2500 sq.ft. and 50 Devices with AC3000 Tri-Band Wireless Signal Booster & Repeater (Up to 3000 Mbps Speed), Plus Mesh Smart Roaming

PROS

  • Tri-band
  • 4 Ethernet ports
  • No switching between networks
  • Great for gaming and 4K streaming

CONS

  • Table-top form factor, due to size

Specs

Wi-Fi Standard: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

Frequency: Tri-band

Ethernet Ports: 4

Maximum Speed: 3,000Mbps

Maximum Coverage: 2,500 Sq. Ft.

Review

There's no question, the NETGEAR EX8000 is a powerhouse where extenders are concerned.

The tri-band technology is a considerable advantage for gaming or streaming speeds. The extender communicates with your router through a separate channel, maximizing your main two bands' speed.

We particularly like the seamless movement between the primary and extended network, which uses mesh technology.

With 4 Ethernet ports, you have plenty of options for connecting non-Wi-Fi equipment or just to take advantage of a wired connection.

All this extra technology requires a larger device, so you don't get the plug-in extender’s compactness. This one needs an unobstructed surface to stand on.

Bottom Line

If your primary usage is gaming or streaming 4K video, this is the extender that we recommend. It’ll handle that with ease, and you have the convenience of moving seamlessly around your home without logging into separate networks.

Editor's Pick:
TP-Link AC1750 RE450

TP-Link AC2600 WiFi Extender(RE650), Up to 2600Mbps, Dual Band WiFi Range Extender, Gigabit port, Internet Booster, Repeater, Access Point,4x4 MU-MIMO

PROS

  • Easy to set up
  • LEDs can be turned off
  • LEDs indicate prime positioning

CONS

  • Set up via website isn't user friendly

Specs

Wi-Fi Standard: 802.11b/g/n/ac

Frequency: Dual-band

Ethernet Ports: 1

Maximum Speed: 1,750Mbps

Maximum Coverage: 2,000 Sq. Ft.

Review 

The first thing to be aware of with the TP-Link RE450 is that it's not compatible with the 802.11a Wi-Fi standard. If you have an older router, you need to check what standards it works with.

However, with the performance and range offered by this extender, it's worth upgrading your router if necessary.

As with most modern extenders, setup is easy – the LEDs on the device indicate the prime location to maximize performance.

We also like the option of manually or automatically turning off the LED lights to avoid distraction.

Bottom Line

With ample capacity for speed and coverage, the TP-Link RE450 is a solid option for improving your Wi-Fi. As always, actual performance is influenced by building construction and obstructions, but this should give you the smooth wireless gaming and streaming experience you're seeking.

Honorable Mention:
Linksys RE6350 AC1200

Linksys RE6350 AC1200 Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender / Wi-Fi Booster

PROS

  • Easy to set up
  • Clear indication of the best positioning
  • Compact form factor

CONS

  • Sometimes drops the signal

Specs

Wi-Fi Standard: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

Frequency: Dual-band

Ethernet Ports: None

Maximum Speed: 1,200Mbps

Maximum Coverage: 6,500 Sq. Ft.

Review

The Linksys RE6350 offers excellent speed and coverage, and it's easy to set up. The LEDs indicate the best position for the best performance.

It's a simple, clean design with internal antennae, and you can plug it in without obstructing other outlets.

It's important to remember that the R6350 doesn't have an Ethernet port, so it's purely an extender, with no access point option.

It's a good value option, but unfortunately, it can sometimes suffer from signal stability issues. For casual, less-demanding use such as browsing, it shouldn't be too much of a problem. However, if you're going to be making regular video calls or playing multiplayer online games, you should consider one of the other options.

Bottom Line

The RE6350 is a value for money proposition that can deliver good range and speeds, but you should consider your needs for consistency, as it's not the best performer in that respect.

How Does a Wi-Fi Extender Work?

As the name suggests, a Wi-Fi extender increases the range of the wireless signal being broadcast by your router. Therefore, it needs to be in the line of sight of your router so that the signal can reach the extender without obstructions.

What Do Wi-Fi Range Extenders Do When Gaming?

Wi-Fi range extenders create or improve the wireless connection between your router and your gaming device. This allows you to play in additional areas of your home that previously had no or low Wi-Fi connectivity.

Photo credit: Gamestyle.net

Do Wi-Fi Extenders Work for Gaming?

Wi-Fi extenders can work exceptionally well for gaming, depending on the following factors.

Network Traffic

How many devices are going to use the extended connectivity?

Extenders increase the range of the signal from your router, but they reduce the available bandwidth. Every device trying to connect to the extended signal is competing for the reduced bandwidth, so if you have lots of devices trying to connect, it’ll slow the signal.

Type of Games

For slower-paced games, such as turn-based or strategic, rather than high-speed, multiplayer games, an extender will probably work fine.

If you usually play higher speed, multiplayer games that rely on reaction speed, an extender may not be the best solution for you.

Distance From the Router

The greater the total distance from the router, the weaker the extended signal becomes. If you're close to the router and not playing performance-critical games, then an extender could give you the boost that you need.

How Does a Wi-Fi Extender Compare for Gaming? 

There are two main types of devices that can improve your Wi-Fi signal: Wi-Fi extenders and Wi-Fi repeaters. It's essential to know the difference between them, to ensure you buy the one that best meets your requirements.

Read on and learn the differences and similarities between the different kinds of equipment.

Wi-Fi Repeater vs Extender

Similarities

Both devices improve the strength of your Wi-Fi signal in areas of your home that struggle with Wi-Fi connections and increase its range.

Therefore, they can both expand your Wi-Fi connection to areas that didn't previously have one or had a poor one.

Photo credit: Signalbooster.com

Differences

The difference between them is how they do it.

A Wi-Fi repeater connects to your network – just like a phone or any other Wi-Fi device does and rebroadcasts the same signal so that it reaches further.

A Wi-Fi extender connects wirelessly to your router and creates a new network. Essentially, it's like adding another modem to your network.

Wi-Fi Booster vs Extender

A” Wi-Fi booster” isn’t a specific type of device. It's a generic name for any device that improves or increases the range of your Wi-Fi signal.  

Wi-Fi Extender vs Access Point for Gaming

Similarities

These days, most Wi-Fi extenders have at least one ethernet port. This allows you to use them in access point mode by connecting devices directly to them with an ethernet cable.

An extender with an ethernet port is doing two jobs: it's expanding the range of your Wi-Fi network and allowing you to connect devices to it like an access point, either wirelessly or with a cable.

Differences

The main difference between an extender with an ethernet port and an access point is that the latter needs a wired connection to your network. The former usually connects to the router wirelessly.

Top Brands in the Wi-Fi Extender Space

Now that we understand what a Wi-Fi extender is, let's look at three of this technology's biggest names.

Photo credit: Decider.com

NETGEAR

History

Founded in 1996 by a former manager at Hewlett-Packard, NETGEAR's primary focus is networking products. 

Markets

The company operates in both the business and domestic markets. 

Their products are currently sold in approximately 30,000 retail locations around the world. Their products are configured according to the needs of end-users in the respective markets.

NETGEAR's range of wireless and wired networking products includes equipment aimed specifically at pro-gamers.

Products

Currently, the company only produces networking equipment, which spans four categories:

  • ProSAFE switches: Aimed at the business sector

  • Network devices: Also aimed at the business sector, the range includes a mesh Wi-Fi system that uses Tri-band technology

  • Network-attached storage (NAS): Range of premium devices for the business and consumer sectors

  • Network security cameras: NETGEAR created the Arlo brand for their home security camera

Linksys

History

  • 1988: Founded in the U.S.A.

  • 1999: Announced the first PCMCIA card for notebook PCs

  • 2003: Acquired by Cisco, transitioning from being a company to a brand

  • 2013: Sold to Belkin

Markets

Linksys' markets are consumers and small businesses.

Their products are sold via electronics stores, supermarkets, and internet retailers.

Products

Linksys' key product ranges are:

Photo credit: Cnet.com

  • Modems

  • Routers

  • USB wireless adapters

  • Powerline network adapters

  • Network-attached storage (NAS)

  • Network media hubby 

  • VOIP

TP-Link

Photo credit: Techradar.com

History

  • 1996: Founded by two brothers to produce and market a network card they had developed

  • 2005: First international expansion

  • 2008: Established TP-Link U.S.A.

Markets

TP-Link focuses on the consumer sector, and in 2016, announced that it was expanding into the smart home market.

Products

TP-Link offers a diverse range of network-associated products, including modems, routers, cellphones, and SMART home devices.

Notably, they’re one of the few major wireless networking firms that still manufactures its products in-house.

Price Points of Wi-Fi Extenders

To get the best value from an extender, you need to find the ideal point where the economy meets utility. Here's a quick breakdown of what you should expect for your money.

$25 - $50

You can find extenders that provide speeds of around 750Mbps and coverage of approximately 1,000 square feet in this range.

You'll have options of internal or external antennae, and you'll generally be able to connect to 15 or 20 devices.

Extenders are mostly going to be the plug-in type – this is entry-level equipment, so they're able to be compact.

TP-Link AC1750 RE450

The consumer-focused TP-Link naturally has a presence here, but so does NETGEAR, which specializes in networking equipment that you would expect to cost more.

$50 - $100

At this level, you get a significant increase in speeds and coverage. Typically, 1,000Mbps and 2,000+ square feet, respectively.

The two most popular consumer brands, TP-Link and Linksys, have many options in this price bracket. The available equipment tends to be more varied in terms of other features such as ethernet ports and access point mode.

Again, they'll typically be plug-in extenders, and you'll be able to choose between internal and external antennae.

$100+

Here's where you find the most powerful extenders, including options for mesh networking and tri-band technology.

With tri-band capabilities, you're looking at speeds of around 3,000Mbps and coverage of up to 2,500 square feet. This is the ideal price range for resource-hungry gamers with a healthy budget.

It's no surprise to see networking specialists NETGEAR here with their premium consumer offerings.

Who Wouldn’t Benefit From a Wi-Fi Extender?

An extender isn't guaranteed to resolve your Wi-Fi problems, so it's worth considering the following factors when deciding if an extender is a right way to go.

ISP Performance

An extender can only work with what it's getting from the router, so you should use a free speed check app to see if you're getting the speeds you signed up for. If you're not, upgrading your plan may resolve your Wi-Fi issues.

Router Placement

Ensure that your router's not in a corner or between bulky furniture that could be blocking the signal.

Photo credit: Chicagotribune.com

If possible, place your router closer to where the majority of your wireless devices are. Try to put it in a central location in your home.

A free Wi-Fi analyzer app can help you identify the best location for router placement.

Router Specification

The current wireless standard for optimal speeds is 802.11ac, but if your router doesn't support it, then a simple solution could be to upgrade it.

Once you've boosted your Wi-Fi by getting an up-to-date router, buying a compatible extender will help you resolve the dead spots around your home.

Tips, Tricks, and Hacks for Improving Your Wi-Fi Connection While Gaming

Now that you've taken all possible steps and bought a great extender, how can you squeeze even more performance out of your setup? Look at these tips and see the difference in your gaming experience.

Antenna Position (External Antennae Only)

Even after getting your router positioning right, it's a little-known fact that the position of the antennae themselves makes a difference.

The best arrangement for the antennae on your router or extender is to have them perpendicular. To get the best possible signal from the router, one should be horizontal and the other vertical.

Photo credit: Tomsguide.com

Use the Right Channel

Most modern routers and extenders operate on two channels: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. 

2.4GHz works on 11 channels, the majority of which overlap. This means that with lots of devices in and around your home using this bandwidth, you can get interference causing slower Wi-Fi. The range of 2.4GHz is better than that of 5GHz, at the expense of signal quality.

By contrast, 5GHz works on 11 channels that don't overlap. As a result, the signal is stronger, but the range is inferior.

Analyze your network using a free app like Wi-Fi Analyzer, and in your router settings, select the channel that’s used least. If your router has auto-switching, turn it on, and it should always switch to the best channel.

Conclusion

There's a lot of information here, so we'll summarize the key points.

  • Key factors to consider before buying an extender are router specifications and positioning, your main usage scenario, and your budget.

  • Wi-Fi extenders can improve signal reach and quality in previously tricky areas, but they can't increase what's coming from the router.

  • A wired connection is always preferable over a wireless one.

People Also Ask

If this is your first experience in networking, you're bound to have some questions. We've rounded up some of the most common ones and provided the answers.

Where Should I Place My Wi-Fi Extender?

The best position is halfway between your router and your device. You also need to ensure a clear line of sight between the router and the extender, and between the extender and your device.

Use an app such as Wi-Fi Analyzer to identify the best position for your extender.

How Far Does a Wi-Fi Extender Reach?

Every home or office is different, so it's impossible to give a definitive range. The manufacturers of Wi-Fi simply state the maximum range possible.

However, there are many variables, such as the layout of the extended area (for example, furniture could be blocking the extended signal) and the number of devices trying to connect to it.

How Well Do Wi-Fi Range Extenders Work for Gaming?

They work best if you're playing slower-paced games, such as strategy or turn-based ones, in which speed isn't a major requirement. 

For faster, multiplayer online games, they may not provide the super-quick reaction times that you need.

In either case, performance is affected by multiple factors, including how many other devices are connected to the wireless network.

NETGEAR EX8000

How Do You Get the Best Out of Wi-Fi Extender for Gaming?

The best way is to connect your gaming console or PC to the extender via an ethernet cable. You'll be guaranteed a faster, more robust connection than on any wireless connection.

To connect wirelessly, a mesh network setup is the best, as it reduces the latency in the wireless connection. It's a more effective but more expensive option.

How Many Wi-Fi Extenders Can I Use?

In general, you can use as many as you need to cover the required areas. 

Wherever possible, the extenders should each connect to the router for the best performance and not to each other. In the latter case, the performance of the second extender will be impacted.



Austin

When the tech company I worked for restructured and I ended up jobless, I decided to put the wealth of knowledge and management skills to use somewhere new. I’d checked out a few buyer’s guides on the site in the past and reached out to the previous owner. A few months later, here we are. Now, I get to be behind the scenes, helping people find the best tech.