Does a WiFi Signal Amplifier Work?
By Elizabeth Smith
A Wi-Fi signal amplifier, a device that extends the range of your wireless network, is easy to install and has an immediate impact. The effectiveness of a booster depends on the individual device, but most products on the market will have at least a marginal impact on the range of your Internet signal. If you set it up correctly and adjusting the position to suit your environment, a signal amplifier can extend the range of your network up to twice its original size.
About Signal Amplifiers
A Wi-Fi signal amplifier takes the original signal coming off of your wireless router and reflects or amplifies it to make it go farther. When you install a booster, you can get wireless Internet farther away from the router; a booster is useful in a large building or one that has multiple thick walls that affect the quality of the signal.
Types of Boosters
One of the easiest ways to boost your network is to replace the antenna on your current router with a high-gain model that will boost the signal strength. If you have a second router, it can be used as a wireless access point to extend the range of the network; most stores that carry wireless modems also sell dedicated wireless access points. On the pricier end of the spectrum are dedicated wireless repeaters, which have a more involved setup process, but work well especially for people with advanced networking skills.
In order for a wireless repeater to extend your range as far as possible, it should be placed halfway between the router and the farthest computer. For a building with thick walls, the signal booster should be placed within range of the router and the target computer: on a high shelf near a doorway, for example. Depending on the brand and type of router, you may need to experiment with positioning to find the ideal placement for your environment.
You'll find many types and brands of signal boosters for sale; they are also called Wi-Fi repeaters. A booster in the same brand as your wireless router and external network adaptor will often be able to communicate with it better than another, resulting in fewer bugs and an easier setup process. Most companies who manufacture routers also make signal boosters.
Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.