How to Extend WiFi Range Outside: Better Solutions Than Range Extenders

If you’re struggling with a weak WiFi signal, you might be tempted to buy a WiFi Range Extender. After all, it seems like the perfect solution for strengthening your signal and extending the range outside. However, these devices aren’t as effective as you might think. In fact, there are much better solutions available.

When you buy a WiFi Extender, all it does is catch the signal from your existing router and re-transmit it to far away devices. However, since it is picking up a signal that’s already a little bit weak, it likely won’t increase your speeds too much. Even if you have a relatively high-quality extender and place it in an area where it’ll catch a reasonably strong signal from your router, there are some other serious downsides.

Some extenders will broadcast on a separate SSID or network name. If this is the case, you have to manually switch your phone or laptop back and forth between the two networks. As you move around your house, your device won’t latch onto the stronger signal automatically unless you more or less completely lose the other signal. Other extenders allow you to change the SSID to be the exact same as your main network. However, there is a pretty major shortcoming in the WiFi standard in general. Once a device connects to a specific access point, it often stubbornly tries to stay connected to that AP even if there’s a stronger one available. Therefore, the chances are that your device will just stay connected to the weaker router signal, defeating the whole purpose of the extender in the first place.

Pairing a WiFi Range Extender with a router that uses a different generation of WiFi or has a different number of antennas just makes the problem worse. So, what should you do about your terrible signal?

One straightforward way to fix your signal is to simply get a more powerful router. More antennas and spatial streams is typically a good sign, but you’ll also want to read reviews and see how far other folks have had their signals reach while still being usable with the devices. Another good idea is to stop using the built-in wireless on your off-the-shelf router and instead get a separate wireless access point. This is basically little more than an antenna with a small amount of internal logic that connects to your main router via an Ethernet cable. Although they take a little bit more technical know-how to set up, there are many prosumer models that have much better range than the typical consumer-grade wireless router, and you can even set up several of them around your house. However, be aware that your devices may still not quite roam as intended.

If you don’t want to mess around with access points, a more consumer-friendly option is to get a mesh router. These are expandable kits that you use by placing nodes around your house wherever you might need the most signal. Unlike repeaters, these nodes are specifically designed to work together by providing better roaming for your devices, so they’ll switch more intelligently. Nice mesh kits will even place the backhaul or the traffic that flows between the nodes on an entirely different frequency, freeing up bandwidth for your phones and computers.

In conclusion, while WiFi Range Extenders might seem like an easy fix for your weak signal, they are generally not the best solution. Instead, consider getting a more powerful router, a separate wireless access point, or a mesh router to extend your WiFi signal outside. It might cost you a little more, but it’ll be worth it to get the quality you want.


What is the best way to extend my Wi-Fi outdoors?
An outdoor Wi-Fi extender -- sometimes called a wireless access point or wireless repeater -- is perhaps the most straightforward option since it's the only solution that involves installing hardware outside. Many of these devices are enterprise-grade, but some manufacturers have consumer-grade outdoor extenders too.
How do I extend my Wi-Fi signal to another building 400 feet away?
How do I extend my Wi-Fi signal to another building 400 feet away? One of the simplest ways to extend your wireless network is to use a Wi-Fi extender. Before purchasing one, be sure to do your research and buy one that can reach your desired range.
How do I extend my Wi-Fi from house to outbuilding?
The easiest and cheapest solution, if your outbuilding is within 300 feet, is to stretch an outdoor Ethernet wire (perhaps buried) from your home router to the outbuilding, and then connect a dedicated home Wi-Fi access point to it at the outbuilding. This is pretty simple and not too expensive.
How far can Wi-Fi reach outdoors?
What is the Maximum Distance a Wi-Fi Signal Can Reach? Routers set to a 2.4Ghz frequency that are correctly placed should offer you coverage for 150 feet indoors and about 300 feet outdoors. This is the coverage for a one-level home without lots of obstructions.