How do WiFi Extenders Work: A Full Guide for 2023

UPDATED: APR 14, 2023

How Does a Wifi Extender Work

Have you ever imagined how do WiFi extenders work in an invisible space? Do you really need a WiFi extender? Actually, a WiFi extender really works if your home WiFi network doesn't reach quite as far as you'd like. 

And do you really need a WiFi extender? 

Most people have a wireless router in their homes these days, but not everyone is happy with the strength or range of their signal. If you're one of those who have a weak or patchy WiFi signal, you may consider a WiFi extender to help improve your signal

But how do WiFi extenders work? In this article, we'll explain everything you need to know about WiFi extenders. Read along and have a deeper look at it.

How do WiFi Extenders Work with Routers?

A WiFi extender connects to your home's existing wireless router and creates a new network. It picks up the signal from your router and extends it to a new location in your home, thereby extending the range of your home's WiFi network. 

The Difference Between a WiFi Extender and a WiFi Booster

Is a WiFi extender different from a WiFi booster?

Absolutely, WiFi extenders differ from WiFi boosters. But only a little bit.

WiFi boosters are established on the WiFi router, working as an antenna and serving for the WiFi router only. We can say the signal is strengthened. They are used where WiFi signals reach but are weak, so if you'd like to eliminate the dead zones and dropout in the current area, a WiFi booster should be your priority.

WiFi extenders usually are established between the WiFi router and the user device, they are used at places where WiFi signals can't reach at all, thereby extending preceding WiFi coverage. They work for two sides-WiFi routers and user devices. We can say the signal is amplified but not strengthened by using WiFi extenders.

Extenders or boosters: which one to pick?

The answer to this question depends on your necessity and your living conditions. If you live in a small home or apartment with a weak signal, then a WiFi booster may be all you need in order to strengthen your home's WiFi network. If you live in a large home, you may need an extender to extend your home's WiFi network.

How to Set up a WiFi Extender?

1. Choose the right location
The first step is to choose the right location for your WiFi extender. You'll want to find a spot close to your router, and in the general direction of the devices you want to connect. Avoid placing the extender too close to large metal objects, as this can interfere with the signal.

2. Connect your extender to the power
Once you have a general idea of where to place your extender, the next step is to connect it to power. Most extenders will come with an AC adapter that you can plug into an outlet.

3. Connect your extender to your router
Once your extender is powered on, the next step is to connect it to your router. Most extenders will come with an Ethernet cable that you can use to make the connection, and if the extender is wirelessly connected, that's much easier.

4. Configure your extender
Once your extender is connected to your router, the next step is to configure it. In most cases, you'll need to connect to the extender's WiFi network and then open a web browser to access the extender's web-based interface.

5. Test your connection
The final step is to test your connection. The best way to do this is to connect to your WiFi network with a device and then use a speed test app to check your connection speeds.

WiFi Network Connection

Are WiFi Extenders Safe?

The answer is definitely yes!

Many people might be wondering whether WiFi extenders are safe. After all, they emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR). But the levels of EMR emitted by WiFi extenders are very low and pose no known health risks. In fact, you're exposed to more EMR from your microwave oven than you are from a WiFi extender. So there's no need to worry about safety when using a WiFi extender.

Aside from the likely risks from EMR, more people are still concerned about the risk of information leakage when using WiFi extenders. There are various WiFi extenders in the market, but not every type can ensure the safety and security of its network. Therefore, you must carefully check whether the WiFi extender offers reliable and updated security support. And purchasing WiFi extenders through a qualified channel can effectively ensure safety.


Now you must have a full understanding on how do WiFi extenders work, how to set up WiFi extenders, and learn a lot about security issues with WiFi extenders. It's time for you to try a WiFi extender to improve your home's network signal.

Written By: Lonny Norris

Lonny is head of Network & Communications technology at WebEx. His experience spans over 18 years and he has worked as an advisor for major telecommunications companies across the United States.