Whether you’re in your home or at the office, it is not uncommon to experience wifi dead zones. The more solid objects your wifi signal has to move through and the longer the distance it has to travel to connect with your device, the more likely you will have to suffer through this problem.
Luckily, there is one easy solution to fixing Wi-Fi dead zones, but it isn’t the ceiling-mounted Wi-Fi booster. Below, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about wifi boosters and extenders, including their differences, where to place them, and why these products don’t come in a ceiling-mounted version.
What’s the Difference Between a Wifi Extender and a Wifi Booster?
In very technical terms, a wifi booster is any device that takes your wifi signal and boosts it to make it stronger. This effectively extends your usable network to more areas of your home or office.
On the other hand, a wifi extender takes your wifi signal and extends it, thereby expanding your wifi network a greater distance from your router.
So, if both wifi boosters and wifi extenders expand your wifi coverage, what’s the real difference between them? There really isn’t one. In fact, most products you’ll find will use both terms interchangeably or use “wifi range extender.”
What Is an Access Point
Another term that gets thrown around a lot with wifi booster and extender is “access point.”
These devices are different from the two we looked at above. Instead of simply boosting a wifi signal, access points connect via an ethernet cable to your router and create a wireless local area network (WLAN).
These WLAN networks can connect to a large number of devices (usually around 60) at once without weighing down your connection. On the other hand, boosters and extenders can only connect to about 20 devices simultaneously before overrunning your connection’s bandwidth.
Access points are most often used in office buildings and by businesses. Given the complexities of installation, price, and their specific use, they aren’t the most economical option for residential properties.
Where Should Wifi Boosters Be Placed?
You should place a wifi booster or extender halfway between your router and your device. By doing so, the booster can capture a strong wifi signal and project it to your device.
If you place the booster in the same room as the router, it won’t extend your wifi range by much. If you keep it in the same room as the device experiencing connection issues, your booster will struggle to find a signal to boost.
Can Wifi Go Through Ceilings?
Yes, wifi can go through ceilings, walls, and other household objects. However, walls made with metal studs or decorated with stone or brick and ceilings with iron I-beams may interfere with wifi signals.
Most often, though, the distance causes your wifi signal to fail, not interference. Placing your wifi router in the center of your home will provide the strongest signal to most rooms in your home.
The Problem with Ceiling Mounted Wifi Boosters
If placing your router in the center of your home doesn’t provide enough coverage, or you cannot put it in an optimal location, then a wifi booster will help.
Most wifi boosters are simple plug-in devices that connect directly to an outlet on your wall. Some of our favorite devices in this category are the Ailiyz Dual Band Wifi Extender and the Clementine Designs Wifi Extender Booster.
Using a plug-in unit is easy and effective. Still, many homeowners are interested in ceiling-mounted boosters, often because they have seen these sleek products used in office buildings.
Unfortunately, what many people think are ceiling-mounted wifi boosters are actually access points. These are typically installed on ceilings because they require hardwiring and an ethernet cable connection. The simplest way to do this is to run the cables through a drop ceiling, a common feature in many office buildings.
On the other hand, boosters work wirelessly with your wifi but do require power. Almost all home booster products are made to plug directly into a wall outlet, not to be mounted on the ceiling.
Bottom Line: Wifi Boosters and Extenders
Wifi boosters and extenders are a great way to erase wifi dead zones in your home. These devices are different from access points and are better suited for home use because they are installed directly into a plug outlet.
Have more questions about wifi boosters and how to install them? Post your questions in the comment box below!