Without a doubt, the fastest and most stable connection is achieved using an Ethernet network cable. The problem is, we can’t always get that network cable where we need it. In many homes we find thick walls or other obstacles that make it difficult to install. In addition to this, we have to add that, for example, many homes lack the adequate pipes to install them easily. Then we would have the PLC, but in some circumstances, such as an old electrical installation, it still does not give us the expected results. So, we realize that the best alternative is Wi-Fi. However, we have a question about that network extender that we need, do I buy it with cable or only Wi-Fi?
Sometimes, our router has a place in our house where the WiFi signal does not reach well. We could call that place where we do not have good Wi-Fi coverage a blind spot. Once the network cable and the PLC have been discarded, the most appropriate option would be to buy a network extender or also known as a WiFi repeater. It can also be called an access point, and we would generally place it somewhere in between so that it can amplify the Wi-Fi signal. Now we are going to explain what we have to look at when buying a device of this type, and then we will see if it is better to have an Ethernet port or not.
What to look at when buying a network extender
The first thing we must do before we start is to know the specifications of our router. I mean that we know the bands of the Wi-Fi that it supports, and if possible, the maximum theoretical speed that it supports. In that sense, if our router operates only in the 2.4 GHz band, buying an access point that supports the 5 GHz band, in addition to being more expensive, will not provide us with more speed. We recommend you visit our ranking with the best WiFi repeaters on the market.
There are two things to keep in mind here:
- The 5 GHz band will provide us with higher speed, but a shorter distance.
- The 2.4 GHz band will provide us with lower speed, but a greater distance.
Thus, for example, if we want to save and do not need a large bandwidth, we can buy a network extender that works only in the 2.4 GHz band. The downside is that, in the best of cases, we could obtain a speed of between 50 and 80 Mbit / s. For basic tasks it is sufficient, but it may fall short in the future.
When it comes to buying a network extender, we have to look at these sections:
- Plug or router type : we usually use the former more unless we want to improve a very old router.
- Speed : we have to choose one that suits our needs. Thus, we must choose one that suits our needs and that is close to the maximum of the Wi-Fi connection offered by our router if necessary.
- Design and LEDs – The way it is designed matters. There are more or less small ones with and without antennas. The space you have to place them is a factor to take into account. As for the LEDs, they are important because they can provide us with information about the operation of the network extender.
- Wi-Fi : here we have to decide if we want one that operates only in the 2.4 GHz band, or also in the 5 GHz band to obtain higher speed.
- Security : it must have at least WPA2 encryption, although some more advanced ones can use WPA3.
- Ethernet connection : that allows you to connect a computer by Ethernet network cable if necessary.
Do we buy the network extender only with Wi-Fi or with Ethernet connection?
An important issue to keep in mind is that the network extender, as was the case with the 5 GHz band, is going to make the product a bit more expensive.
The normal thing when they have an Ethernet port is that it is only one, although there are some models with two. Also, it should be noted that there are some PLCs that integrate an access point.
As for the network extender with an Ethernet port, it can provide us with a series of advantages:
- We could use it on a desktop PC without having to buy a Wi-Fi network adapter.
- In a somewhat old laptop, even if it has a Wi-Fi card, if the network extender is dual band it could reach a higher speed.
- We would have a more direct connection, and we would be less affected by interference from neighboring Wi-Fi networks. Although it must be recognized that being in the same room the improvement would be small.
One thing to keep in mind is that access points with Ethernet ports are also usually a bit larger but due to the small price difference it is usually worth buying them. Finally, in an intermediate room with a plug with little space and that you think that you will never need it, you could buy a network extender without an Ethernet connection.