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Wi-Fi repeater/booster alternatives and beware of the ads
#1
Just about every day while browsing the news, I usually see one ad claiming to boost by Wi-Fi signal and speed with a plug-in repeater.  Based on my past experience with Wi-Fi repeaters from popular consumer brands such as D-Link and TP-Link, I have yet to find one that delivers a stable connection.  I've even helped fix a few other people's Wi-Fi problems just by unplugging their Wi-Fi repeater!

So what about this heavily advertised Wi-Fi repeater?  I recommend watching the following video before clicking the ad:



These are my personal recommendations for improving Wi-Fi coverage:

Mesh Wi-Fi
Mesh Wi-Fi kits typically consist of two or three units.  These are simple to set up - Just plug the main unit into a LAN port of the router and place the second box about midway between where the current Wi-Fi drops out.  They usually come with an App to help configure them, which basically just asks to give it a Wi-Fi name and password.  The main downside however is the initial purchase cost.  

Based on my experience with the Tenda Nova MW6-2, the Wi-Fi appears very stable on the second unit and my PC which is wired to the second unit by Ethernet cable has yet to drop out.  In fact, I find this connection far more stable and several times faster (~400Mbps vs ~100Mbps over 5GHz ac band) than the USB TP-Link Archer T9UH that was dropping out intermittently at least once a week.  Unlike a Wi-Fi repeater, the second unit broadcasts on a different channel on the 2.4GHz band.  

Homeplug Powerline Wi-Fi
A cheaper alternative to a mesh kit.  Like a Wi-Fi kit, this also consists of two or three units.  There is a master unit that plugs into the LAN port of the router.  The second unit can be placed in the area with poor Wi-Fi coverage.  As the Wi-Fi extender uses the home's electrical wiring to carry the network data, it can operate on a separate Wi-Fi channel and does not need to be within range of the master unit.  

Based on my experience with Belkin and Netgear Powerline kits, the extended Wi-Fi is certainly a lot more stable than any Wi-Fi repeater I tried.  However, I had intermittent drop-outs usually lasting a few seconds, sometimes 2 to 3 an evening.  It's quite possible our house has noisy electrical wiring, but after having no luck getting a very stable connection trying them across various electrical outlets, I ended up taking it out after a month of use.  I have heard of others having success with Homeplug Wi-Fi, so if you plan trying a kit, I suggest ordering it online so that you can return it within the 14 day cooling off period if turns out to be unstable.

Long Ethernet cable and a Wi-Fi access point or old router
The cheapest option, which can deliver the fastest extended Wi-Fi is to run an Ethernet cable to the area with poor Wi-Fi coverage and connect it to a Wi-Fi access point or the LAN port of a reconfigured old router.   As the network data is carried over a dedicated Ethernet cable to the router, the extended Wi-Fi is not affected by the speed available over the home wiring or taking up bandwidth on the main Wi-Fi access point.

To repurpose an old router, first connect a PC or laptop to it and go into its web interface.  Change the Wi-Fi name, password and Wi-Fi channel as desired.  You can give it the same Wi-Fi name and password as the main router to allow devices to roam to it.  Then disable its DHCP, DHCP6 and/or IPv6 (RA) settings.  Connect an Ethernet cable from any of its LAN ports (don't use the WAN port) to any LAN port on the main router.  To reconfigure an old Eircom F2000, see this guide.
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