In my last article I touched on one area of your working from home environment that could be the cause of poor performance. In this article I will look at another area I am frequently asked about – Wi-Fi boosters.
How They Work
Wi-Fi boosters are frequently touted on the internet and social media as being the solution to poor Wi-Fi coverage and performance in the home. In my experience in dealing with them this is rarely the case and quite often when I visit a home I’m asked to bring them to the technology graveyard when next I visit it. This is not to say these devices don’t have their uses but they are NOT the “one size fit all” solution to all Wi-Fi issues I encounter. These devices can function primarily in two different modes WAP and Repeater.
WAP Mode – Connected directly to your broadband router via a wired connection.
In this mode the wifi booster acts as a wireless access point (WAP) providing a separate Wi-Fi signal from your broadband routers Wi-Fi signal. (In a future article I will deal specifically with WAP’s. )
WAP mode may help with Wi-Fi coverage particularly if the broadband routers built-in wifi signal is poor. The caveat is that quite often the speed of the Wifi signal provided by the wifi booster can be significantly less than the routers wifi signal. I’ve seen speed decreases of up to 66% on some models versus the routers own Wi-Fi. Cheaper models also suffer from packet dropping which degrades your connection speed and some run disturbingly hot. Another problem has been if you lose power the booster loses its configuration and you have to set it up from scratch.
Repeater Mode – In this mode the booster is not connected via a wired connection but connects to the existing broadband routers wifi signal and is acting as a bridge between the routers Wi-Fi and you. Location is everything when you operate the booster in this mode and an incorrect location will result in you seeing a good Wi-Fi signal but having terrible internet connectivity. Compared to WAP mode I’ve seen in worse performance/connectivity issues with the cheaper models.
Conclusion, WAP Mode v Repeater Mode
Wifi boosters can help under certain circumstances and are better than nothing. Decent performing models are not cheap and I seldom find a situation where the fix the overall Wi-Fi issue but may form part of the solution. As mentioned in my previous article know the cause of your problem before you shell out your cash on a device that may or may not solve the issue.
Oliver Reidy is a computer technician and has been in the industry since 1981.You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, by the telephone numbers listed on this page, and whatsapp @08779707040. This article, and all previous articles, are available to view online at http://reidyonline.blogspot.ie/ or www.reidyonline.com/blogspot.htm §