A weak signal on your laptop is like the limbo of internet connections. It’s just good enough to keep you from doing something about it and bad enough for you to get frustrated from the constant lag. Luckily, there are a few easy methods to improve your Wi-Fi signal.
One of those methods is simply moving your laptop closer to the Wi-Fi router, and another is to get a long-range modem that can boost the Wi-Fi coverage to a larger area.
Your other option, which we believe is the most effective, is to get yourself a Wi-Fi booster.
As you might have guessed from the name, the purpose of these devices is to improve the range of your PC and laptop Wi-Fi connectivity and allow you to get a better overall internet connection. This is why these items are also called Wi-Fi range extenders since they expand on your already existing Wi-Fi capabilities.
A wireless connection works based on proximity. The closer you are to the wireless router, the better the signal strength is going to be. The booster is to be placed in a part of the house where the Wi-Fi signal is weak, so it would then pick up the signal, copy it, and amplify it, allowing you to have two wireless routers in different locations effectively.
Some devices are called access points, and others are called Wi-Fi repeaters, and they also extend the range of the signal, although they all function differently, and we won’t go into that here.
The wireless range extenders allow you to get more distance on your router range and enable you to tap into a stronger signal from farther away. However, there is a specific range that a Wi-Fi hotspot can have, and there are dead zones that are simply too far away from the router that even a booster can’t help you with.
If you’re using a PC, then you’re going to need something like a TP-link USB Wi-Fi adapter to be able to connect to the Wi-Fi network, but surprisingly, these sorts of adapters are actually pretty useful when it comes to laptops as well, and we’ll explain why a bit further on in our article.
We’ll go into a few options when it comes to these sorts of devices that you can use to improve your wireless internet, but first, we should clear up a few misconceptions that many people seem to have.
The Wi-Fi boosters for laptops aren’t going to be able to provide you with more bandwidth. Both the upload and download speeds will depend on the wireless network itself and the number of other wireless devices that are currently hooked up to it.
The next issue is capacity. The best Wi-Fi in the world can’t support too many people. The Mbps limit of the wireless internet can’t be improved if you use a signal booster, so if you’re still unsatisfied by the internet speeds you’re getting, the only option is to switch networks.
The final issue that we’re going to cover is compatibility. Some people claim that certain boosters don’t pair well with certain brands of laptops. A lot of the people we’ve talked to seem to think that certain boosters aren’t compatible with Android devices, and others don’t work on an Apple iPad.
While it is true that the software that certain adapters use isn’t compatible with Mac OS, Linux, Windows WPS, or certain types of devices, this doesn’t matter when it comes to boosters and you can use a DELL, an ASUS, or even a smart TV.
However, the compatibility issue is pretty problematic when it comes to the adapters on our list, so we’ll mention any compatibility issues that come up in the items that we list in our article.
Before going into our list, there’s one more thing we need to clarify: this is simply our list, and there are hundreds of other boosters that you can find at Netgear, Linksys, or any other major networking hardware company. This means that there are certainly going to be Wi-Fi connection extenders that are cheaper or have features that make them seem more appealing in one way or another.
However, we didn’t put our list together randomly, and all of the items that we picked have features that make them deserving of a place on our “best boosters” list. Their overall quality is top-notch, and they all provide a balance in price and capabilities.
If you’re too far from your router to be able to set up an ethernet cable or if your ethernet port is damaged, then the next best thing (outside of a built-in Wi-Fi card) is to get yourself a Wi-Fi adapter for your PC. Additionally, these devices are also a very good option for laptops with a limited Wi-Fi range that you’d like to extend, or if your Wi-Fi component is damaged and replacing it is a bit too expensive.
The TP-Link Nano AC600 is one of the smallest dual-band adapters you can find on Amazon, so you can simply leave it connected to your device. This is also one of the cheapest adapters, and it’ll set you back just over $20.
It’s compatible with all of the Windows operating systems, as well as all Mac OS from version 10.9 up to version 10.14, but it’s unfortunately not compatible with Linux. The AC600 also has a solid 2.4G/5 G connection and even comes with a 2-year warranty, which is pretty decent for a device of this price.
This is the other adapter that we’d like to mention that can provide your laptop with a range boost, and as you can probably tell by the image, it’s quite a bit bigger than our previous entry. This is because what it lacks in portability, it more than makes up for in range.
The Techkey AC - 1200 comes equipped with a dual-band 2.42 GHz/ 300Mbps/ 5.8 GHz/ 866Mbps 5dBi high gain antenna. In simpler terms, this means that the device can pick up a good signal from much farther away than your standard laptop, and it can support any sort of Wi-Fi speed up to 1200Mbps without any lag.
Unfortunately, just like the previous item, this device is compatible with most Windows and Mac operating systems but isn’t compatible with Linux.
The first actual range extender on our list can cover an effective range of around 800 square feet and can support Wi-Fi speeds of up to 300 Mbps. It has a simple plugin design that will fit into any standard wall socket, and it takes up very little space.
It comes with an ethernet port at the bottom and two external antennas at the top. The plug for the socket is also located at the top of the device, so if you’re connecting it to a double wall socket, then it’s recommended that you use the bottom one since placing it on top might block the other wall socket, as well as the ethernet port.
The Netgear EX2700 supports WEP and WPA/WPA2 wireless security protocols, has a Wi-Fi band of 2.4 GHz, and can easily be set up by pressing the WPS button and using the Netgear Wi-Fi analyzer app. The app will automatically hook up to your SSID and copy your signal.
Next up on our list of best Wi-Fi boosters for laptops is the TP-Link AC750 that can cover an area of 1200 square feet. It also allows up to 20 devices to be connected to the LAN that it extends, and it can support a dual-band Wi-Fi signal of up to 750Mbps.
This device has a sleek design with no external antennas and a power plug connection at the bottom. However, due to the location of the connection and the overall size of the booster, we’d recommend either reserving a plug for it or at least placing it on the top plug.
Unlike the adapters, this booster doesn’t have any sort of software limitation and can be used on any operating system, including Linux. Additionally, this device is also compatible with a 2.4GHz - 300Mbps band and a 5GHz - 433Mbps band.
With a range of 2000 square feet, the Netgear EX6250 is probably the most powerful Wi-Fi booster that you need for private use. You’re also able to connect up to 32 devices up to the LAN and stream at a speed of up to 1750Mbps.
It also uses your existing network SSID name, supports WEP and WPA/WPA2 wireless security protocols, and can use both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands.
The booster itself has a sleek yet large design, with internal antennas, an ON/OFF button on the side, and a switch that allows you to switch between the access point and extender modes.
If you’re looking to boost your laptop range slightly, then the two adapters are exactly what you’re looking to get—devices that are inexpensive and effective.
If you’re looking to get a bit more range and be able to get a reliable signal anywhere on your property, then the EX2700 or the AC750 are both great choices for under $40.
However, if you’re looking for something that can cover a range as big as a football field, then you can’t go wrong with the Netgear EX 6250.