Wi-Fi signal strength can be an absolute pain to navigate through, especially if you have a house with many rooms. The only real way to fix dead zones where you don’t get a strong signal is by purchasing extenders or opting for another network solution. With that said, how many extenders can you have on one router?
You can theoretically have as many extenders as you want on a single router. However, you’ll start noticing anomalies and performance degradation after adding just a couple due to signal interference, range, and channels.
In this article, we’ll go over exactly how many extenders you can have on a router alongside the best solution to improving your Wi-Fi signal across an area.
How Many Extenders Can You Have On A Router?
You can theoretically have as many extenders as you want based on a single router. However, as you’ll soon find out – you will run into a few caveats due to the nature of extenders and their number.
Firstly, we’ll discuss each of these issues and then adding in a few tips that’ll help ensure you get the most optimal setup possible.
Issues With Multiple Extenders
Wi-Fi extenders act as subsidiaries of your router. In essence, they are as fast as your main Internet connection is. For one extender, that’s fairly simple to understand. But, as you increase their number, you might run into some oddities.
- Can’t Broadcast With Same SSID: If you have the same SSID on multiple extenders, they have a chance to connect. So, unless you have an Ethernet extender, you’ll need to use a different SSID.
- Interference: Having multiple extenders in the same area can cause signal interference and noise which can overwhelm your entire connection. The greater the number of extenders, the more the interference.
- Channel Selection: If you have a 2.4 GHz network, you can only select three different channels that don’t overlap and 24 on 5 GHz. For most countries, not every channel is available so the number is even lesser. This can cause channel saturation. When that happens, packets need to be resent. This leads to your entire internet slowing down to a halt.
- Correct Range: You can’t place extenders down everywhere. They need to be within the source’s range to work appropriately. Not every extender may be in the adequate range for it to connect properly with multiple extenders.
With these issues in mind, it is clear that opting for Wi-Fi extenders for one source network isn’t the smartest idea. Instead, you should opt for hard wiring routers to the dead zones in your house (if there are multiple of them.)
If you only want to use the Ethernet connection from an extender and not use it as an access point, then you can use as many extenders as you want with no disadvantages.
Connecting Multiple Extenders
Yes, you can connect multiple extenders, but it is not recommended. This is because whenever you connect an extender to your router, your overall throughput/data rate is halved. For instance, if you had a 500 Mbps connection, it’d be halved to 250 Mbps.
Now, 250 Mbps is still a lot for most families. But, attach another extender, and you get to 125 Mbps, and that gets halved further down until you reach speeds 1/16th of the original. With this daisy-chaining, you’ll get a lot of interference and horrendous speeds.
Since wireless networks operate at half-duplex (they can’t send and receive data simultaneously), you’ll end up with a severe bottleneck by your third extender that’ll only grow exponentially further if you opt to daisy chain your network.
Best Alternative For Multiple Extenders: Mesh Systems
We recommend replacing your network with a mesh network if you want to use multiple Wi-Fi extenders. These far more intelligent network devices replace your home Wi-Fi network and router.
With them, you’ll just have one access point rather than 3-4, depending on how many extenders you have. Moreover, they’ll be able to seamlessly relay one device to the other depending on its relative signal strength.
Contrary to popular belief, mesh system networks aren’t that expensive anymore. This is especially true if you are purchasing a few wireless extenders in the first place.
Since they are all offered by the same company and have the same software, you won’t have any trouble with lost data or packets being resent due to signal interference. I’ve been using extenders for a while now, and they simply aren’t able to keep up with the demand of streaming video and playing games nowadays.
Thankfully, I’ve nailed two birds with one stone with a mesh network. Besides getting superior signal strength in every corner of my house, I can also enjoy faster internet everywhere – something that was only possible when I was connected to the source router.
Theoretically, you can connect as many extenders as you want to your router. However, they quickly turn into pain rather than convenience. So, opting for a mesh network or just not using so many Wi-Fi access points turns into a necessity quickly.