WLAN repeater test: who did it work?
Plugin the WiFi router and surf carefree anywhere in the house: this is what many users want. It’s just a shame that the WLAN often lacks the necessary range. Because if, for example, the Internet connection and router are in the basement or thick reinforced concrete walls interfere with the radio, the complete network of your own house is a long way off. Repeaters can often help: they simply expand the router’s WiFi at the push of a button. This improves performance so that data can race through the house in the home office, for example. The comparison test shows, however, that the fastest devices do not have to be the best. In the WLAN repeater leaderboard, you can see which models performed best overall.
Complete list: the best WiFi repeaters
How does a WiFi repeater work?
A WLAN repeater is connected to a socket about halfway between the router and the end device. There it connects to you via WLAN and then forwards the data between the router and the end device. Inexpensive repeaters transmit using the 2.4 gigahertz frequency band in the slow WLAN-n standard. Better devices also use the faster WLAN-ac standard in the 5 gigahertz frequency band and transmit in parallel on both frequencies.
Top repeaters also use smart functions that ensure more speed with clever WLAN management. Most repeaters are a bit shorter than a bar of chocolate and end up as an adapter directly in the socket. Some devices such as AVM’s FritzRepeater 3000 (from 115 euros; all prices as of July 14, 2020) and the Telekom Speed Home WiFi (from 67 euros) have a power supply unit with cable and therefore need their own space to set up. But not all repeaters are compact: The huge Netgear EX8000 (from 158 euros) already has router dimensions.
WLAN repeater: size comparison
Size comparison: AVM FritzRepeater 2400, AVM FritzRepeater 600 and Netgear EX8000 (from left to right).
WLAN repeaters – where are the differences?
Although all repeaters basically work in a similar way, functions for optimizing the WLAN make the difference. Modern repeaters use these tricks:
Multi-User-MIMO (MU-MIMO): Data is sent to several end devices in parallel.
Access point steering: The network automatically detects whether the router or the repeater is delivering the best signal – and connects the end device accordingly.
Band steering: The repeater automatically shifts end devices to the faster frequency band (2.4 or 5 gigahertz).
Crossband repeating: On the way from the router via the repeater to the end device (and vice versa) the data changes frequency band – this can increase the speed.
Three frequency ranges: A few repeaters use a third frequency range of 5 gigahertz, which leaves more power for end devices.
Radar detection: The higher WLAN channels in the 5 gigahertz frequency band enable greater bandwidth – and more speed. Because radar systems from ships, meteorological services and the military also transmit here, repeaters require radar detection – they are only allowed to transmit when there is no radar nearby.
This is how access point steering works.
WiFi repeater test: who is the fastest?
The test, measured the maximum speed that is possible in practice. So you know how fast the devices in your home can ideally be. The measurement was carried out directly between the repeater and the test station (PC with Asus PCE-AC88 network card, for repeaters without LAN connection with a detour via FritzBox).
Result: The TP-Link RE650 (from 75 euros) pressed hard on the tube – with rapid values of up to 790 megabits per second (Mbps) at 5 gigahertz and a high range at 2.4 gigahertz. AVM’s FritzRepeater 2400 (from 78 euros) also flexed its muscles at 5 gigahertz (up to 778 Mbps), but was somewhat weaker at 2.4 gigahertz.
The measurements with the Telekom Speed Home WiFi were similar but even more extreme: it achieved up to 896 Mbps at 5 gigahertz, but only up to 215 Mbps at 2.4 gigahertz. But what are the benefits of such top speeds if the Internet connection does not provide more than 50 Mbps? Quite simply: On the one hand, more reaches the end device at a great distance, on the other hand, several devices can be supplied at a higher speed at the same time.
The FritzRepeater 600 (from 36 euros) performed poorly: It only transmits via 2.4 gigahertz and not via the fast WLAN-ac standard. Among the devices that use both frequencies, Devolos WiFi Repeater ac (from 53 euros) disappointed with only average speed and short-range.
Which WiFi repeater is the smartest?
A lot of speed is all well and good, but a repeater should also be smart so that it can quickly supply end devices with data in practice. In order to evaluate the intelligence of repeaters. Therefore, carried out an additional, practical measurement.