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Top 5 Wi-Fi Extenders for Gaming

TP-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender RE650
Best Choice

TP-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender RE650

4.9

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Netgear Nighthawk X6S AC3000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender EX8000
Premium Pick

Netgear Nighthawk X6S AC3000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender EX8000

4.7

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TP Link AC1750
Best Value

TP Link AC1750

4.5

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Wireless routers are imperfect, and sometimes the range on them is absolute rubbish. Of course, you could always spend a bunch of money and get a high-quality long-range router, or you could not waste money and buy a much cheaper wifi extender instead.

Wifi extenders/repeaters have been around for a while now, but they’ve always been either too slow or too inefficient. Not any more. Over the past few years, the technology has really bloomed and all the upgrades you see to the best gaming routers have started trickling down to extenders as well. Multiple antennas, MIMO, and even ethernet ports have all started appearing on extenders.

If you’re a gamer who uses a gaming laptop, you know the importance of mobility and it’s important to get an extender that works really well for gaming. That means high speeds, low ping and, more importantly, congestion avoidance features like MIMO.

So, what are the best WiFi extenders for gaming? 📡 🤔

Best Choice: TP-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender RE650

Pros & Cons

  • Great performance
  • Some of the fastest throughput speeds you’ll see
  • Quite pricey for an extender

Specifications:

  • Frequency Band: 2.4 GHz/5.0 GHz
  • Wireless Data Rates:
    • 5 GHz: Up to 1733 Mbps
    • 2.4 GHz: Up to 800 Mbps
  • Connectivity: 1 x 10/100/1000M Ethernet Port (RJ45)

TP-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender RE650 Review

If you have really fast internet, consistently getting speeds of over 1 gigabit, you probably know the issues involved with finding good WiFi extenders. In most cases, the only option really is to get a mesh router package which has more than one units. Thankfully, you don’t really do that anymore if you get yourself the RE650.

With a potential speed of 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, and 1744Mbps on the 5GHz band, doing the math will tell you that combined, this Wi-Fi extender can easily hit 2Gbps...or so it claims.

Thankfully, their claims do seem to come pretty close to actual performance, with stats coming in at around 95%-96% of top theoretical speed, which is actually excellent if you’re not super familiar with tech.

That being said, for some reason it does tend to have better performance horizontally, rather than vertical, and this may be due to some internal beamforming tech it uses that we don’t know about.

Additionally, the RE650 comes with a MIMO or Multi-In, Multi-Out technology, which means that it can talk with a lot of different devices simultaneously, which reduces congestions on the network.

In terms of set-up, it’s pretty simple, as is most TP-link hardware. Just plug it in and the outer ring glows depending on the signal to your router, which gives you a better idea of where to place it. The RE650 also comes with an ethernet port, so if you want to connect a device to it locally, that’s certainly an option.

Finally, I will say that this device can be a bit top-heavy because of all the antennas, so make sure to not place it somewhere it can be bumped.

Final verdict? The RE650 can be a bit of an overkill if you don’t have 2Gbps internet speeds or the need for that kind of speed in your home. If you don’t need that much speed, you might consider the RE450 or RE305. Otherwise, this is one of the best value wifi extenders you can get.

Premium Pick: Netgear Nighthawk X6S AC3000

Pros & Cons

  • Super high achievable speeds
  • Lots of connectivity
  • Big form factor can be bulky
  • Range extension not the best

Specifications:

  • Frequency Band: 2.4 GHz/5.0 GHz
  • Wireless Data Rates:
    • Band 1: 400 Mbps @ 2.4 GHz
    • Band 2: 866 Mbps @ 5 GHz
    • Band 3: 1733 Mbps @ 5 GHz
  • Connectivity: 4 x 10/100/1000M Ethernet Port (RJ45)

Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender EX8000 Review

I’m a big movie buff, and I’ll tell right now that if you want to recreate the opening scene of 2001: Space Odyssey, this is the router for you . . . oh and it’s a pretty good wifi extender.

You’d be forgiven for mistaking the X6s EX8000 as a router, given its four LAN ports and the fact that it has three internal antennas, but it is a wifi extender. Netgear sells other devices called the X6s AC3000, which is a router but comes at a much higher price. So if you’re buying, make sure to get the right one (or follow the link below).

Of course, it is quite a powerful device, even if it can’t function as a router. As I previously mentioned, it has 3 bands, one working at 400 Mbps, one at 866 Mbps, and one at 1733 Mbps.

Again, doing the math, you’ll see that the EX8000 beats out the RE650 handily at 3 Gbps, coming at 50% higher theoretical speeds. You’ll be happy that it can certainly hit those speeds, although there tends to be a performance drop-off after around 10 meters.

That’s really the biggest downside to this router, that even though it can get such high speeds, has MIMO technology, and a bunch of other features, the actual signal extension part is not that great. It’s very much possible that this is an artifact leftover from making this into an extender only, although we’ll never know.

Nonetheless, the EX8000 can compete with the best extenders, even at the 25-meter range, and honestly, if you need something more than that, you’re better off going with a mesh system like the Netgear Orbi.

So, when push comes to shove, the X6S EX8000 is a great extender, with tons of connectivity, and incredibly high speeds. Yes, it isn’t the best in terms of extension, but if you’re looking for a connection point far away from your original router, the four ethernet ports will give you a lot of options for expansion.

Best Value: TP Link AC1750 RE450

Pros & Cons

  • Small form factor and minimalist design
  • Can be a bit hard to set-up

Specifications:

  • Frequency Band: 2.4 GHz/5.0 GHz
  • Connectivity: 1 x 10/100/1000M Ethernet Port (RJ45)

TP-Link AC1750 RE450 Review

Of course, not everybody needs a high-end extender or has 3-gigabit speeds. Sometimes it’s just about having a simply good product, and that’s where the TP-Link AC1750 RE450 will serve you well.

In theory, this tiny WiFi extender can handle 300Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band and 1,733 Mbps on the 5Ghz band, which adds up to 2Gbps. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really hit that and in actuality, it only really manages 60%-70% of that speed. I know what you’re thinking though, “Why would he suggest a terribly inefficient device?”

Well, I’ll tell you! You see, even 60% of 2Gbps is still 1.2Gbps which is really fast for a router this cheap.

Finally, most people probably don’t even really have 1.2Gbps speeds, let alone 2Gpbs, so you’re actually not losing out on much.

Unfortunately, there is another small bit of bad news, which is that the meshing on this extender only works for the 2.4Ghz band and not the 5Ghz one. This means that ultimately you’ll still have an extended, separate network that won’t work towards helping the congestion in the network.

That being said, if you don’t have a lot of people living in the house, it shouldn’t be a problem, plus the RE450 comes with an ethernet port, so you can connect a device with a cable and help clear a bit of the congestion.

Finally, I will say set-up can be a pain since it only really has one indicator light, it’s hard to diagnose and figure out the best place to plug in the extender. All in all, though, this is a cheap and simple solution to extending your WiFi. It might not win any prizes, but it’s certainly the little engine that could.

Best Outdoor: WAVLINK ARIEAL HD2 – AC600 Outdoor WiFi Access Point

Pros & Cons

  • Made for outdoors
  • Great range
  • Slow compared to competitors

Specifications:

  • Frequency Band: 2.4 GHz/5.0 GHz
  • Wireless Data Rates:
    • Band 1: 150 Mbps @ 2.4 GHz
    • Band 2: 433 Mbps @ 5 GHz
  • Connectivity: 1 x 10/100/1000M Ethernet Port (RJ45)

WAVLINK ARIEAL HD2 – AC600 Outdoor WiFi Access Point Review

Sometimes, it’s not necessarily enough to get an extra 20m-25m of range. Sometimes, you literally just want to throw that signal as far as it can possibly go. Well, short of getting an industrial signal extender, the AC600 is going to be able to achieve that for you with a whopping range of 90-100 meters.

Now, of course, everything comes with a caveat, and this one is that the range I quoted above, only really works in open spaces. That isn’t such a bad thing though, because this extender is actually made for the outside, something that standard routers and extenders can’t handle.

Whether it’s dust, water, or just the plain elements, the AC600 is made to withstand it, and if that sounds like a sales pitch, it certainly is!

As you may have noticed, the AC600 has two antennae; a 2.4Ghz version that can handle 150 Mbps and a 5Ghz version that can handle 433Mbps. Granted, the combined 600Mbps (which it can actually hit) isn’t much compared to the other extenders on the list, but it’s still quite a lot for most people and any use case you might have.

Interestingly enough, this extender has Power over Ethernet, which you don’t see often for these devices, and that actually means you can run your internet and power with only one cable, a big plus for connecting things outdoors.

Unfortunately, the AC600 doesn’t have MIMO as far as I can tell, which means it only acts as a repeater/extender, and network congestion will likely be an issue. Of course, you could just ignore that, buy 10 of them, and extend your wifi for 1km and never have to worry about internet packages again. Well, at least within that 1km range of course.

Jokes aside, this is an interesting repeater, if not for the simple fact alone that it’s made for outdoors. If you live on a farm, out in the countryside or just anywhere that you have a lot of space to move around with, the AC600 will help you a ton and not only with gaming, but also with streaming movies and music.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly like the idea of streaming a film to an outdoor projector or just chilling with my fabulous gaming laptop in a nice big garden.

Best Under $50: Coredy N300 Mini WiFi Range Extender

Pros & Cons

  • Small form factor
  • Cheap
  • A little bit slow

Specifications:

  • Frequency Band: 2.4 GHz
  • Wireless Data Rates:
    • Band 1: 300 Mbps @ 2.4 GHz
  • Connectivity: 2 x 10/100/1000M Ethernet Port (RJ45)

Coredy N300 Mini WiFi Range Extender Review

The last entry into the list is mostly meant to fill in dead gaps, then be full-time extender/repeater solution. While it does have to an antenna, it only really functions in one bad that offers speeds up to 300Mbps, the slowest speeds on the list.

The performance also takes an impact due to the cheaper price, with the range at 15m-20m only hitting 20Mbps, roughly 7.5% of its maximum performance. Of course, 20Mbps isn’t that bad and should be enough to get you some 4k streaming.

Of course, cheap also means simple, and the set-up is relatively effortless. The 6 LEDs on the side are generous and help a lot with diagnosing where best to place the N300 Mini. Unfortunately, you can’t turn the LEDs off, so don’t put in a room that will require complete darkness.

On the front it has a WPS button which helps you connect relatively quickly, so that’s a big positive. Luckily, this device has two ethernet ports, so it’s a simple matter of running a short cable across. It can also function as its own router, rather than just an extender, so if you have a small living space (like a studio), you could rely on the N300 Mini to connect to the internet.

Truth is, this is a device that’s as simple as it can get and for good reason. It’s meant to be a cheap solution to fill small gaps in your network and giving you that little extra range you need to game anywhere in your house, without buying an expensive device. The N300 Mini is not the best, but it will do.


Wi-Fi Extenders: Buying Guide

Choosing a Wi-Fi extender is not too difficult if you’ve already picked a router. Since an extender  . . . well extends the router, it’s usually a good idea to pick something that can work within conjunction with it. While it is pretty simple, here are a few things you should look out for when you’re buying a Wifi extender.

Frequency Band

A frequency band is essentially a set of radio ‘channels’ that a device transmits and receives on. And just like channels, different services/institutions use different frequency bands. For example, the military has its own frequency band (and even within the military they have different sub-bands) and there’s even an emergency frequency band.

NETGEAR Nighthawk Mesh X4S

WiFi internet has two bands that it works on: 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, with the latter, only being recently developed due to the increasing amount of interference of the 2.4Ghz from all the 2.4GHz devices. Another upside of 5Ghz is that it allows for faster transfer speeds.

What does this all mean for you? Well, basically you’ll need to get an extender that works with your router (which can also use 2.4Ghz, 5Ghz or both).

Wireless Data Rates

This basically dictates how fast the wireless transfer of information can be. Be very aware though that the numbers on the box don’t always match up to real life. Because of how signals work, they tend to get weaker the farther away you get from the source, which in turn gives you less of the maximum theoretical speed.

Some devices get around that by increasing the power to the antenna, which boosts the strength of the signal, and that’s often how they can get pretty high speeds even at 10m-20m.

Netgear Wifi ExtenderNetgear Wifi Extender

So, let’s say you have a 100Mbps connection, it might be a good idea to get a 300Mbps, or even a 1Gbps extender just to push out that extra bit of range. It all depends on how much data you're using for online gaming.

Of course, a lot of that will also rely on what kind of space you’re working with. The bigger space is, the more powerful the source has to be.

Connectivity

While not as important as the previous two items, having an extra ethernet port or two can be really handy if you want to avoid too much congestion on the network. It actually works really well as an access point far away from where your router is. Rather than running a long cable, you can get an extender, plug it in where you need it, and then run a much shorter cable.

Belkin N600 Dual Band Wi-Fi

Even better, you can move it about all you want, whereas a long cable requires a bit of work to set up and not have as a tripping hazard.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do range extenders work?

Simple! They connect to your router wirelessly and then repeat that signal. Think of it as a water pumping station. You can only pump water so far before the pressure reaches zero, which is why there are water pumping stations placed strategically along the path of a water pipe to keep the pressure high all the way to your home.

Extenders work the same way in that they ‘boost’ the original signal from your router.

Do wifi extenders really work?

Absolutely. Obviously, they vary in quality based on price, but even the cheapest extenders can offer increased range.

Which wifi extender has the longest range?

This question is incredibly hard to answer, mostly because the range relies a lot on the type of obstructions and the power of the device. Even trees absorb 2.4Ghz frequencies like a sponge. There’s also the issue of variable speeds depending on range, and what one would consider ‘acceptable’.

Outdoor MIMO WiFi Extender

Alternatively, you can get an outstanding long-range router and have all the coverage you need. Still, if the space you're looking to reach with your signal is huge, you might still need a wireless extender.

Where is the best place to put a wifi extender?

Most manufacturers recommend that you place the wifi extender somewhere in the middle between the dead space and your router. Also, extenders usually have some kind of signal strength indicator on the outside that will give you a good idea of where the ideal placement is to get the best range while maintaining the best speeds.

Will a wifi extender increase my internet speed?

No, it absolutely will not. The only thing an extender does is increase the range of the original source, it can’t make it faster. If you have a 100Mbps package, it will never go above that.


Conclusion

WiFi extenders aren't something that gamers consider a must-have part of their gaming rig. However, if you are sharing your living space with other people, or if you need an extremely stable internet connection for your multiplayer ventures, then, getting the best WiFi extender for gaming is a necessity!

Tip: If you're having trouble setting up your WiFi network, you might want to take a look at some great wireless adapters for gaming.


Sources:

  1. How to Extend WiFi Range, NetGear

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Albert Bassili
Written by Albert Bassili

Albert’s been a gamer for about as long as he can remember. Ever since then, Albert has been hooked on games, even going as far as doing his bloody best to work on the game industry, whether it’s writing articles, or writing game stories. In between gaming, he also really loves to check up on the latest tech news and see what awesome stuff humanity has come up with. Favorite Games: Dune II, MGS 1, FF X, Mass Effect 2

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