Wi-Fi Router Vs Extender – In-Depth Analysis of Two Core Networking Devices

Wi-Fi Router Vs Extender – In-Depth Analysis of Two Core Networking Devices

May 27, 2022 | Adam Hector

There are thousands of computing devices with each having a specific function. A network becomes active by connecting different networking devices in a grid where information is passed from one device to the next. The numerous devices comprise of internet routers, network switches, and Wi-Fi extenders.

But, there is a lot of confusion between a Wi-Fi router and extender. It is prevalant among the less technically inclined individuals. First, let us understand what these are and how they function.

Wi-Fi Extender

The Wi-Fi extender is a networking device commonly used in medium to large scale wireless network settings. Extender is mostly found in large homes/offices to help users work seamlessly using a large scale computer network. The main purpose of a Wi-Fi extender is to expand the range of wireless network to let multiple devices connect to it.

How Wi-Fi Extender Works?

A Wi-Fi extender functions similarly to a signal amplifer. The circuits consist of a receiver which helps the connected device receive Wi-Fi signals. It amplifies the signals through the circuit and increases its strength.

Amplification increases the range of wireless signals. These signals then travel more distance. The amplification takes place through repetition or duplication of the signals. It is a reason why Wi-Fi extender is also known as a Wi-Fi repeater.

The Wi-Fi extender helps expand the reach of your wireless network. It helps connect more devices to the same network without any hassle. In other words, Wi-Fi enabled devices in other parts or floors of a building can easily connect to the primary wireless network.

For this to happen you have to install the Wi-Fi extender by following all the installation steps. For example, if you purchased a Netgear Wi-Fi extender then you need to complete the Netgear extender setup to extend the reach of the wireless network.

Let us now take a sneak peak at what an internet router is.

Wi-Fi Router

Wi-Fi router is another networking device. It is an Ethernet router with a wireless module attachment. This lets the router to broadacast the Ethernet data wirelessly. The wireless router helps connect many devices to a network wirelessly.

How it Works?

The Wi-Fi router lets you connect to the internet using an Ethernet or fiber optic cable. Fiber optic provides the device with greater speeds. It is a major reason why the majority of internet routers use optic fiber cables.

After getting data through the data cable, the router broadcasts data packets through its antennas and creates a wireless network. Devices capable of receiving the wireless signals then connect to the wireless network using the wireless ports.

Keep in mind, the strength and speed of the wireless network depends on the strength of the primary wireless signals coming from the data cables. It also depends on the wireless signals broadcasting capability of the internet router.

The majority of Wi-Fi routers like the Netgear LM1200 come with physical ports to connect devices using an Ethernet cable. A major benefit of having a wireless internet router is it offers a higher degree of security to the wireless network. The security features of a Wi-Fi router are better in comparison to the network switches and Wi-Fi extenders.

It is time we find out what makes a Wi-Fi router different from a Wi-Fi Extender.

Wi-Fi Router vs Extender

Given below is an in-depth analysis of what differs an internet router from an extender.

1. Definition

The Wi-Fi extender is a network device that extends the range of the wireless network in your home and office.

A Wi-Fi router is a network device which transmits wireless network signals to other devices to help them connect.

2. Operation

The main function of a Wi-Fi extender is to amplify the Wi-Fi signal and increase its strength.

Main function of a Wi-Fi router is to convert Ethernet data into Wi-Fi signals and transmit it to other WiFi-enabled devices.

3. Connectivity

For an extender to function it must be connected to an internet router for the internet connection.

The Wi-Fi router gets the internet connection through an Ethernet or fiber optic cable.

4. Network Security

Wi-Fi extenders offer a bit less network security in comparison to a Wi-Fi router.

5. Number of Ports

Wi-Fi extenders come with a limited number of ports so you cannot use an extender to connect multiple devices to the same network.

The Wi-Fi routers come with more ports. This means you can easily connect more devices to the network using an Ethernet cable.

Both Wi-Fi extenders and routers are important networking devices. You need a router to connect to the internet but an extender helps you access Wi-Fi where it is not easy to connect to.


Connecting to the internet has become easier with so many networking devices available in the market. But nothing can beat the power and functionality of a Wi-Fi router or extender, two vital networking devices which help you connect to the wireless network without any hassle

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