A router for wireless internet only has a range that goes so far. The further from this router means for a weaker signal or even loss of internet access entirely. Instead of setting up multiple routers, setting up an extender is a viable option to add coverage to an entire area.
Wi-Fi extenders are secure as long as the security settings have been implemented. Otherwise, it is simply an open connection and therefore not secure.
Chances are that when setting up the extender it will have options to implement security measures. Otherwise, it might need to be accessed through other means in order to set up appropriate security measures. Keep reading to learn more about Wi-Fi Extenders and their security.
What is a Wi-Fi Range Extender?
A Wi-Fi Range Extender, also known as simply a Wi-Fi Extender, is a device that connects to an existing Wi-Fi connection and makes a proxy or repeats the signal. It is used to add a further reach to the Wi-Fi put out from the router which can help with slow or spotty internet connection in the furthest reaches of its service range.
However, this does add another opening for security breaches and thus must be protected just like the rest of the equipment. Thankfully, setting up security is rather simple and typically can be done during setup of the device.
How Does a Wi-Fi Extender Work?
To get the best results for a Wi-Fi extender, it should be placed roughly halfway between the router and the dead-zone area where there needs to be more internet connection. It then takes the connection from the router and pushes it further into the space.
A Wi-Fi extender pulls the reception from a router and then relays it to a device. In doing so, it makes itself a new network that can be connected to just like the initial one. The only difference is that it usually adds a 2 to the end of the name to differentiate it from the original. Some merely repeat the signal, which will in turn cause some speed loss in the extended area so be sure to check if it is a proper extender or a repeater based on individual needs.
Keep in mind that internet signal can be weakened or blocked entirely by thick walls, heavy furniture, or large appliances. A Wi-Fi extender can also take this weakened signal and amplify it to keep consistent speed and connection throughout the entire range.
How to Set Up Security for a Wi-Fi Extender
Just because a Wi-Fi extender can have security on it does not mean that it comes already set up fresh from the box. Setting up the security for the extender typically happens at the same time as setting it up overall, but there are different ways to go about doing so.
Use the App
Most Wi-Fi extenders have mobile apps that are meant to guide purchasers through setting up their equipment, though not all of them do have it. However, most reports are lackluster at best when it comes to overall satisfaction of the app. Typically, they are not very user friendly and do not provide access to many of the most important security features.
Use the Built-In WPS Support
Nearly every model of extender has Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) support. If the router also has WPS support, this is an easy method to setting up security means with just a push of a button. This often is an easy method to then go on to do WEP, WPA, or WPA2 security encryptions based on user preferences.
Use an Ethernet Cable
Sometimes the simplest and most secure way to get a Wi-Fi extender to connect to the router at all is with an ethernet cable. Most of the time they are even included in one of the boxes. This cable is also excellent to make a steady connection with the router and any device connected to it so that it can be adjusted and connected to. From that point on, each model has its own way of setting up these features so be sure to check out the manual.
Is a Wi-Fi Extender Worth It?
It depends on the overall needs of the internet and space to determine if a Wi-Fi extender is worth it or if other measures need to be taken, such as investing in a Mesh Router system. For the most part, the transmission will be stronger and honestly does help extend the range of the transmission.
Here are some ways to tell if a Wi-Fi extender is worth a shot:
- The space needing more coverage is residential
- Heavily used spaces are receiving a weak signal from the router
- There are dead spaces within the area that have no internet access
- Internet speed tanks when multiple people are using it
- There are thick walls, furniture, or heavy appliances between the router and needed access points
Typically, a Wi-Fi extender is perfectly worth it in a standard, residential home. If it’s needed for a commercial space or the internet is going to be seeing a lot of use from a number of people, it might not be the best option out there for steady, secure internet.
A Wi-Fi range extender can be perfectly secure as long as proper measures have been taken during the setup and instillation process. Most machines have some way to get in and set up the device either with an app, a built-in WPS button, or can be connected to via an ethernet cable and security measures can be put into place.
These devices are perfect for residential spaces with spotty or slow internet as they help extend and amplify the wireless internet that has been slowed by thick walls, furniture, appliances, and even distance from the router itself. It creates a proxy or can repeat the signal depending on the specific device that can be connected to just like the base internet and used in the same manner.