Sometimes I fantasize about throwing my laptop like a Frisbee and then laughing maniacally as it careens with a brick wall. I can hear the snapping of the crappy plastic bezel, the scrape of the no-longer-glossy lid, and the clang of interior components that were never meant to clang. It’s a very satisfying fantasy. One that I really only have however, when I can’t get THAT NO GOOD PIECE OF CRAP TO CONNECT TO THE FREAKING INTERNET!
. . . deep breath . . .
So my topic today is how to improve your home’s wireless network with a wireless repeater. For many of you, this is a great choice; it will drastically improve your wireless network’s range, enable better WiFi access, and may even save you the cost of buying a new computer after you send yours flying.
What is a Wireless-N Repeater?
Imagine your wireless router is a baseball player and his job is to get the ball to the catcher (your computer). This is great if your wireless router is standing on the mound, 60 feet from home plate. However if your router is standing in the nether regions of center field, some 400 feet from home, the job to get the ball back to the catcher can seem a little daunting.
In this analogy, a wireless repeater is a mid-fielder, like a second-baseman or a shortstop, who stands as a mid-point between the origin and the destination. The router can quickly throw to the repeater who can then quickly throw to the catcher, or your computer.
Incorporating a wireless repeater into your home network will allow your wireless router to broadcast much more powerfully to a much broader area, greatly improving your connection. I mention wireless-n repeaters specifically because they’re the most common search term and I want this article to rank well in Google; everything I’ve written here will also apply to older wireless-g networks as well. (Maybe that was a little too honest.)
How does a Wireless Repeater Work?
When your wireless signal leaves your router, it’s typically pretty strong. However, as it travels away from its origin, passing though walls, people, and various other signals from cell phones, home appliances, etc, it begins to breakdown in a process referred to as attenuation. An attenuated signal manifests itself as too few bars on your wireless signal icon and results in a slow or lost internet connection.
A wireless repeater possesses a much stronger antenna than does your laptop, gaming console or other wireless device. This stronger antenna allows it to better receive the weak signal from the router which it can store, reassemble, and rebroadcast over its area, allowing you to improve a wireless signal wherever you need it! Wireless repeaters function independently, requiring only a place to plug it in and a temporary physical connection for set up.
Are there any downsides to using a wireless repeater?
Wireless repeaters don’t come without a downside unfortunately. By passing your wireless signal through an extra set of hands, you boost signal distance but reduce the speed of the signal. This reduction in speed may or may not be noticeable, depending entirely on how you use your connection. If you’ve got a high-end connection that you use only for sending emails, checking the weather, and browsing Facebook, you probably won’t mind the reduction. However, if you’re running a low-speed wireless connection already and stressing it with HD video streaming or bit-torrenting, than you’ll probably suffer from the loss.
Where can I get a Wireless Repeater?
From OutletPC of course! We’ve got a wide selection of wireless networking gear that will greatly improve your setup. I should mention that, for home use, a wireless access point is almost exactly the same thing as a wireless repeater and that many standard routers have a repeat mode. So if you can’t find a product that actually says “Wireless Repeater” in the title, you’ll probably be safe picking up an access point or a well-researched wireless router instead.
To shop OutletPC’s line of access points and wireless-n repeaters click here. If you’d like to learn more ways to keep yourself from destroying your laptop check out, “10 Ways to Squeeze more Time from your Laptop Battery.” And, if you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends via one of these social media buttons I’ve provided below.