WiFi Extender vs Router | Difference between Extender and Router

This page compares WiFi Extender vs WiFi Router and mentions difference between Extender and Router compliant to WiFi standards.

WiFi devices follow WLAN standards as defined in IEEE 802.11 series of specifications which include 802.11a, 11b, 11g, 11n, 11ac (WiFi-5) , 11ax (WiFi-6) and 11be (WiFi-7). WiFi alliance group of companies certify wifi products as per certain set of tests. The typical wifi products include wifi routers, wifi dongles, wifi extenders, wifi switches, WiFi sensors, WiFi cameras, WiFi laptops, WiFi monitors, WiFi smartphones etc.

Difference between Extender and Router

Following table mentions difference between wifi extender and router with respect to various parameters.

Features WiFi Router WiFi Extender
Coverage Improved coverage Better than router as it broadcasts wifi signal to broad area
Internet connection Can be directly connected to wired fiber-optic or broadband line or cellular (if it is wireless router) Can be connected to router for internet connectivity
Standalone operation It works independently. It does not work independently and requires router for its operation.
Ethernet ports Most of the routers support up to 5 ports. Wired IP devices can be directly interfaced with router. Most of the wifi extenders support only one ethernet port. This port is mainly connected with wifi router if wired option has to be installed.
Cost Expensive Cheaper compare to router
Examples • TP-Link Archer C64 router supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
• D-Link DIR-841 supports 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
• TP-Link model TL-RE200 and D-Link model DAP 1610 both support 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
References for vendors WiFi router Vendors >> WiFi extender Manufacturers >>

As explained above, both router and extender can work together to cover larger area of the home or office premises. WiFi Extender picks up the router signal, amplifies it and broadcasts it to cover the regions where router signal is not available due to path loss.

WiFi6 and WiFi7 Resources as per IEEE 802.11ax

Useful Links to Legacy WLAN Standards

5G cellular resources

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