Like electricity and water, WiFi has become indispensable in many homes, yet getting a fast and reliable connection around the house can be a challenge. The signal may drop while you’re outside or there may be dead spots in one of the rooms in your house, where you can’t access the internet at all.

With all the interference in a typical house, from a microwave oven to solid walls, metal appliances and other items, your WiFi router may miss some spots, however powerful it is.

A WiFi booster is designed to handle temperamental WiFi performance by improving your wireless experience. We’re going to explain what a WiFi booster is, how it works, and the best ones you can buy.

What Is a WiFi Booster?

A WiFi booster is a device that helps extend or boost your wireless signal to areas where it is low. It pulls the existing signal from your router, amplifies it, and re-broadcasts it so your wireless devices have a stronger connection.

WiFi boosters can be wired or wireless. The wired type is best for fast speeds without disruption or lag, and connects via the existing cable in your home to extend the signal to dead zones or areas where it is low.

Conversely, a wireless WiFi booster connects wirelessly to your existing network, so there’s no need for a coaxial cable. It’s installed and used the same way as you would when connecting wireless devices to your wireless router, and have a setup button for snappy installation and automatic connection.

Unlike wired boosters that use a powerline to boost WiFi in low-signal areas, wireless boosters have to be placed where they can pick up the signal from the router clearly as they’re affected by interference like thick walls or electronic devices.

How a WiFi Booster Works

Before you go out and get a WiFi booster for your home or office, it’s important to know how it works. This will help you know which one is best suited for your needs among the many brand options available on the market.

A WiFi booster starts by establishing a connection between your wireless device with WiFi turned on, and your router. If the transmission sent by the router doesn’t reach the device immediately where it’s located, the booster captures the transmission and returns or pushes it into your device.

The router accepts the information from the wireless device sent via the booster, and relays it to web servers.

Once the process is completed, it starts all over again, but the speed with which it happens will depend on the kind of WiFi booster you pick, it’s standard, and the router.

Most WiFi boosters have the Wireless N standard (802.11n), which supports up to 300Mbps bandwidth. This provides excellent range and speed, plus it’s resistant to any interference in its coverage.

There are other wireless standards such as 802.11ac, which is among the latest and it allows the booster to support 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, with a bandwidth of 450Mbps and 1300Mbps respectively.

However, these standards aren’t without drawbacks. They can be interfered with thereby reducing bandwidth, or your ISP can limit speeds, which prevents them from achieving their highest potential.

Best WiFi Boosters To Buy

When choosing a WiFi booster, look out for the WiFi speeds it supports, plus the standards. Ideally, it should support the 802.11ac standard, which is the latest and delivers speeds that are up to 2.8 times faster than the 802.11n (Wireless N) standard. This way, you can play online games without lag or glitches, and stream videos in HD-quality.

Check if the booster offers dual band radio. The 2.4GHz dual band is better for surfing the web, while the 5GHz dual band is less crowded and cleaner, plus you can use it for videos. Dual band also has more options that let you configure your network so as to enjoy a smooth wireless experience.

Beyond dual band radio, speed and support for the latest WiFi standard, there are other factors to consider such as remote monitoring management, such that your internet provider can troubleshoot the connection remotely.

With these in mind, here are three of the best WiFi boosters you can buy so your internet won’t keep cutting out no matter where you are in the building:

Netgear Nighthawk EX8000

Whether you’re streaming videos or gaming, you want to ensure your experience is smooth and uninterrupted, even as others enjoy on their devices. The Netgear EX8000 WiFi booster provides up to 3000Mbps bandwidth so you won’t have to worry about lagging connections.

It has a Tri-band WiFi, which works with coverage of up to 2,500 square feet, which is an enormous range compared to competing brand WiFi boosters. Plus, you can enjoy faster data speeds and it’s easy and painless to setup so you can easily connect to your devices.

The booster is compatible with any gateway, wireless router, or cable modem with WiFi. It also comes with the latest 802.11ac WiFi standard, 4 gigabit Ethernet ports, and a USB 2.0 port.

If you have a larger home or office, you can use multiple extenders to create a mesh network thanks to its desktop design that allows you to add up to six more antennas.

The main drawbacks with this booster are its price, and some users say they’ve experienced unexpected signal drops.

TP-Link AC2600 RE650

This is one of the best plug-in range WiFi boosters especially if you have a large home. It delivers good performance with speeds of up to 75 feet and a handy design that makes it easy to set up and add four external antennas, plus a Tether mobile/tablet app with security tools and advanced settings.It also offers dual-band wireless-AC support.

However, it’s pricier and bulkier than other WiFi boosters you’ll find on the market, but it makes up for this with the powerful performance and competitive speeds it offers.

Netgear EX6200 AC1200

This is a budget-friendly WiFi booster for large homes, compared to our top two picks, and that means you won’t find some features like a backhaul channel for data. As much as it makes a few concessions to make up for its great price, it’s performance is excellent, the range is good, and it offers an assortment of ports too.

It provides the 802.11ac dual band WiFi standard, and it’s easy to set it up whether you want to position it vertically or horizontally. The design is sleek but bulky, and you have up to four antennas to use for more coverage, though these aren’t as many as with other Netgear WiFi boosters like the EX8000 that allows up to six antennas.

The EX6200 still gets the job done whether you want service in a remote room or in your backyard for one or two devices. If you need a wired connection, you can set one up using any of the five Ethernet ports. For example, you can connect your gaming console or printer and still get all the transfer speed you need to fulfill your tasks.

Get The Most Out of Your WiFi Connection

There are simple ways of boosting your WiFi connection if you’re experiencing a loss of signal strength. These include moving the wireless device away from the low-signal area, moving your router closer or to a central location free of interference, or changing the channel on your router to get the best signal.

While these could help, they’re not necessarily the best solution to getting a stronger signal in dead spots in your home or office. A WiFi booster is a better solution that’ll ensure you get the best WiFi connection possible.