Desirable Features To Look For In A WiFi Repeater

wifi repeaterBefore getting down to the desired features in a WiFi repeater, it might be a good idea to gain a better understanding of the concept behind it. It is required because a wireless network has a finite range which sometimes has to be extended. It can be done in a number of ways. For example, it’s possible to get a more powerful router or add a booster to ramp up signal strength, or the reach can be enhanced by adding repeaters.

Network repeaters or range extenders are simple devices which send and receive network data to and from a router much like a wireless-enabled laptop or tablet. The difference is that the extender also rebroadcasts the network. This effectively brings coverage to an additional area previously unreachable by the router’s original network.

All that is required is for repeaters to be strategically placed. It has to be a location where it can receive the network signal and broadcast it out to the desired area. Practically speaking, it comes in handy for patching the network through to garages, parking lots, yards, gardens, lobbies, corridors and other such spots that are too far out from the router, but still a part of the property.

The main features to consider are the price and the range of the extender. The price obviously varies depending on the make and model. As a general rule, look for repeaters that can enhance the original network reach by at least 50 percent. You can find these types of repeaters by checking out some wifi extender reviews. These devices have range indicators that will show how far the network is being rebroadcasted.

Another factor to consider is the bandwidth available to the user through the extender. There will inevitably be some throughput loss when the extender accepts and retransmits network data packets. The bandwidth is further limited since both the router and repeater are transmitting and receiving on the same frequency. If possible, find a device which uses one frequency for communicating with its own users and another one for talking to the router. Even so, be prepared for at least some reduction in bandwidth over the original network.

Compatibility is rarely a problem nowadays, because most repeaters follow the IEEE 802.11n standard and are universally compatible. Just switch it on and let it find and acquire the router’s network. It doesn’t require any settings or complicated installation unless there are security issues, in which case access permissions or encryptions have to be implemented.

Repeaters can be used to create mobile Wi-Fi hotspots if they powered through a USB connector linked to a laptop or tablet. The arrangement can be hauled anywhere to provide temporary network access for multiple users. Apart from the wireless rebroadcast, many repeaters also offer wired access through a limited number of Ethernet ports.

Certain green features are now considered essential in a WiFi repeater. For instance, many range extenders come with automatic switches that turn off the device when not in use and bring it back on only when there is data to be transmitted. The packaging used is increasingly being made from recycled or biodegradable material. More info can be found at Bestevaer.com and be sure to check out my online store Lullaby Lane.

Will You Live in an Apple or Google Smart Home?

Googlevsapple

Apple announced this week that it's joining the smart-home revolution by creating a platform, called HomeKit, that will eventually allow people use their iPhone to control their house — everything from the locks and lights to the thermostat and refrigerator.

By getting developers to build on HomeKit, Apple wants to turn the iPhone and iPad into hubs for how smart products talk to each other in the home.

See also: Apple Reveals iOS 8: Interactive Notifications, Health App and More

Although Google hasn't announced plans for a similar network, we know it's eyeing home automation too. It recently acquired smart thermostat and fire alarm company Nest for $3.2 billion — not to mention it reportedly seeking a possible acquisition of startup Dropcam, which makes Wi-Fi-connected cameras that can record and share footage in the cloud. Read more…

More about Google, Mobile, Apple, Tech, and Apps Softwares: Will You Live in an Apple or Google Smart Home?

iOS 8 and Wireless Hotspots

Apple revealed today that the iPhone 6, and perhaps existing iPhone models upgraded to iOS 8 as well, will be able to automatically offer themselves up as wireless hotspots to Mac computers owned by the same user. The feature means that not only will Mac users be able to tap into wireless tethering any time their iPhone is within range of a 4G LTE and their Mac can’t find wifi, they’ll be able to do so wirelessly and without any configuration. For power users on the go who have wanted tethering for as long as the iPhone has existed, this is the holy grail of portable computing. But are major cellular carriers like Verizon and AT&T about to allow it to happen?…via iPhone 6 auto-hotspot on iOS 8: will Verizon, AT&T allow it? – Stabley Times

 

Netgear AC750 WiFi Range Extender EX6100

Visual Simile Symbol Icon Echoes - Apple Mac OS X 10.5.8 Airport WiFi Radio Signal Strength Meter

Image by Dominic's pics via Flickr

If it supported powerline networking and had better overall performance, the Netgear AC750 WiFi Range Extender EX6100 would be a great networking device. As a pure Wi-Fi extender, though, it's both awkwardly designed and underpowered.

That makes for a disappointing combination. While it does extend an existing Wi-Fi network, its Wi-Fi data speed is fast enough only for simple Web browsing and not suitable for online gaming or media streaming. I can't recommend it at its $90 price, especially considering that it ran hot in my testing, not to mention taking a long time to boot up.

…via Netgear AC750 WiFi Range Extender EX6100 – CNET (blog)