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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

13 Models Considered
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1 Experts Interviewed
107 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for best NETGEAR WiFi extenders

Last Updated July 2019

Having wireless internet at home is only a convenience if your network actually covers your entire home. Dead spots and slow zones can be infuriating. Losing a signal just because you walk into a different room can be exasperating. Fortunately, you can use a NETGEAR WiFi extender to create a seamless whole-house experience.

Choosing a product that will enhance your home wireless network may seem daunting, especially if you’re not a wireless aficionado. Fortunately, NETGEAR products are easy to install, and many consumers have found success with them.

If you'd like to learn more about how wireless service works and how a NETGEAR WiFi extender could help improve your network, keep reading for information and recommendations on our favorite NETGEAR WiFi extenders.

Most NETGEAR extenders are universal extenders, meaning they are compatible with every WiFi router currently available.

The purpose of a WiFi extender

If you’re in the basement and you’re trying to have a conversation with your spouse who happens to be in the office on the second floor, it's not going to be a very productive chat. It'll be even worse if someone left the TV on in the living room. Distance and extraneous noise can make it hard for people to communicate with their voices. The same goes for wireless internet signals: distance and other interference can weaken your signal and make it hard to access the internet in certain parts of your home.

A WiFi extender is like an intercom for people who want to talk to each other from separate rooms. It allows your router to have a “conversation” with a device that is otherwise too far away. The result: you can carry your laptop or tablet anywhere in your home and enjoy a high-quality internet connection.

A simple, powerful wireless extender

NETGEAR's AC1200 compact WiFi range extender quickly and discreetly plugs into any outlet in your home to help eliminate those frustrating dead zones. It offers both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands to allow you to place your devices on separate bands. There are two external antennas and an Ethernet port if you need to have a wired connection.

Understanding WiFi extender variables

AC number

The AC numbers (AC1200, AC2300, etc.) that you may see on the packaging of a WiFi extender is not direct a indication of speed. Rather, this number is a sum of potential speeds. Here’s an analogy: if you had a three-man relay team and the first man could run 10 mph but the second and third man could each run 12 mph, the fastest possible speed would only be 12 mph. When you add all three together, however, you could theoretically claim to have a 34 mph relay team. That is what that AC number is: the combined potential speed of all the bands on your extender. It is not the fastest speed, so don’t be misled.

It is important to look at the variables that would actually make a difference in your user experience. With that in mind, here are the key features you need to consider when shopping for a NETGEAR WiFi extender.

Speed

Do you have dial-up internet? If so, it’s important to know that you will not receive any benefits from a WiFi extender that features a speed of 1Gbps. Dial-up internet is measured in kilobits per second and is much slower. A WiFi extender simply cannot exceed the speed offered by your internet service provider (ISP).

Although you wouldn't need a 1Gbps extender for a dial-up connection, you would want one if you had fiber optic service. Speed is crucial for providing the best internet experience; you just can't expect to increase your internet speed beyond what your ISP is offering.

Bands

A band is the range of frequencies that your WiFi extender uses. All WiFi extenders work on a 2.4GHz band. Some also work on a 5GHz band, which makes them dual-band WiFi extenders. Others have two 5GHz bands and one 2.4GHz band, making them tri-band WiFi extenders. Having multiple bands can help increase performance.

FastLane technology

NETGEAR's FastLane Technology dedicates a band from your router to the extender. It then dedicates a different band from the extender to your device, offering maximum WiFi performance for your particular system. This can be useful for the high demands of gaming.

Ethernet ports

Even though your NETGEAR WiFi extender has an antenna, the best way to transmit data is through wired connections. It is not the most practical way, though — you couldn't go very far with your phone if it was connected to a line in the wall. However, some devices, such as a gaming system, are ideal for an Ethernet connection. NETGEAR has a variety of options when it comes to extenders with Ethernet ports.

Size

NETGEAR makes WiFi extenders that either sit on your desk or can be plugged into a wall outlet. Although there are physical limitations — for example, a smaller plug-in device can't have as many Ethernet ports as a larger device — the size of a WiFi extender mainly comes down to user preference.

Ease of setup

Most NETGEAR extenders are designed to have an effortless setup. If you run into trouble, it's more often a home network problem than a device problem. For that, NETGEAR offers extensive troubleshooting documentation online to facilitate setting up your WiFi extender in almost any situation you can imagine.

DID YOU KNOW?

You can use more than one NETGEAR extender, but daisy-chaining the devices is not supported, and performance will be greatly diminished for any devices connected to the second extender.

DID YOU KNOW?

Data size is measured in bytes and is abbreviated with a capital "B". Internet speed is measured in bits and is abbreviated with a lower-case "b."

DID YOU KNOW?

NETGEAR's tri-band extenders offer the user the option of having one band at 2.4 GHz and two bands at 5 GHz.

NETGEAR WiFi extender prices

If you’re on a budget and have a smaller home, you can look in the $25 to $49 range for a compact, easy-install NETGEAR extender that plugs into an outlet. A NETGEAR WiFi extender in this price range might have one Ethernet port.

As you move into the $50 to $99 price bracket, you'll find plug-in extenders with added features, such as an additional outlet. You will also start seeing desktop models that offer more Ethernet ports and dual-band networks.

For $100 or more, you can obtain a NETGEAR WiFi extender with desirable features that include faster speed potentials, tri-band networks, and mesh capabilities.

A compact yet powerful extender

NETGEAR's N300 Wall Plug Range Extender is a compact device that offers a 2.4GHz network. It features two external antennas as well as an Ethernet port for wired connectivity. Using the smart LED indicators, you can pinpoint the ideal location in your home to install the extender.

How to get the most out of your NETGEAR WiFi extender

  • Use the NETGEAR WiFi Analytics app to determine your network status, check your WiFi signal strength, measure WiFi channel interference, and more.

  • If available on your extender, use both the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz band.

  • Place your extender halfway between your router and your device.

  • Remember, your NETGEAR WiFi extender cannot work if it is out of the range of your wireless router.

  • An extender works best when there is a clear line of sight both to the wireless router and your device. Walls, doors, floors, ceilings, and other impediments can drastically weaken a signal.

  • Use your NETGEAR LEDs to determine signal strength. Solid green indicates the best connection; solid yellow indicates a good connection; solid red indicates a poor connection.

  • If you’re experiencing lost connections or slower-than-anticipated data transfers, try selecting a different wireless channel.

  • Keep some of your network wired, either using Ethernet cables or NETGEAR's Powerline products, which use your home’s wiring instead of cables.

  • To simplify your network, NETGEAR WiFi extenders have a "One WiFi Name" feature that allows you to use the same WiFi network settings as your router.

Other products we considered

If you're looking for something on the higher end of NETGEAR’s offerings, there are two more products worth considering. NETGEAR's Nighthawk X6 AC2200 Tri-Band WiFi Mesh Extender is a universal extender that offers a seamless wireless experience and has a "One WiFi Name" feature to simplify your network. If you'd prefer an all-encompassing home experience, NETGEAR's Orbi Wall-Plug Whole Home Mesh WiFi System could be the answer for you. The system provides 5,000 square feet of mesh coverage utilizing one router and two wall-plug extenders. And, if you prefer using voice commands, NETGEAR's Orbi system is compatible with Alexa.

A NETGEAR extender cannot make your internet faster than the speed provided by your ISP.

FAQ

Q. What is the relationship between my ISP speed and the speed of my extender?

A. The speed of the Internet is measured in bits per second. This is the amount of data that can be transferred under optimum conditions. If your ISP offers gigabit service, that's one gigabit of data transferred in one second. However, if you purchase a WiFi extender that can only transfer one megabit of data per second, you will be making your network 1,000 times slower. Therefore, it is important for your WiFi extender to meet or exceed the speed that is being offered by your ISP.

Q. I'm having trouble setting up my NETGEAR wall-plug WiFi extender. Do you have any tips?

A. Yes. Often people try to set up their WiFi extender in the location where they think it belongs. Sometimes, this location is outside of your reliable service range, which can cause setup problems. It is best to complete your basic setup in the same room as your router to ensure the signal is strong. After you are sure your range extender is functioning properly with the rest of your home WiFi network, you can move it to a more strategic location — about halfway between your router and your device.

Q. What is the difference between an omnidirectional antenna and a directional antenna?

A. The answer is focus. A signal only has so much power, so the antenna doesn't increase the signal power — it just tells that signal which way to go. Think of omnidirectional signal range as a round balloon that goes equally in all directions. If you take that balloon and squeeze two of its sides, the balloon will get longer at each end. You are not adding air to the balloon; you are just directing where that air goes. A directional antenna does the same thing: it increases the signal range in one direction by limiting the signal range in another direction.

The team that worked on this review
  • Allen
    Allen
    Writer
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Kailey
    Kailey
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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