Powerline Adapter Vs WiFi Extender Compared and Reviewed


Poor Internet signals are now a thing of the past. With many kinds of technologies available now, getting uniform internet reception across all the spots in your house is child’s play. After all, in this day and age, no one wants an uninterrupted or a weak Internet signal anywhere, do you?

Powerline Adapter Vs WiFi Extender

These days, there are two popular ways of ensuring your Internet signal stays strong no matter where you go. You can either use a WiFi extender to cover the weak spots of your house; or use a Powerline adapter, which uses the electrical wiring in your home to build a prompt network in your home. The main concept behind the working of WiFi extenders is that they catch a weak wireless signal and rebroadcast it, strengthening the signal from a nearby router. Use of WiFi extenders can also drag down your network's performance.

If you are planning to improve your home internet signal strength and are confused between Powerline adapters Vs WiFi extenders, we bring you a detailed comparison between these both to make this difficult choice easier. Below we will compare the design, features, usage, advantages, and disadvantages of these two methods and give you a comprehensive review so you can decide which one suits you best.

Powerline adapters Vs WiFi extenders - Design and Usage

Wi-Fi extenders can be found in two styles: as wall sockets and as small modules that can be attached to desktops. The setup process is usually straightforward, with a Wi-Fi password that connects the module to your existing network. Once it is setup, you simply have to find the best position that gives you the best balance between strength and speed. For the best results on your device, you can also take help of the USB WiFi adapters on your PC or other systems on which you want a high-quality internet connection.

A powerline network transmits data via the electrical cabling in your house. It works using powerline adapters (small wall-socket sized devices that contain Ethernet ports and can function with WiFi as well). Therefore we can say that powerline adapters can turn any regular electrical outlet into an Ethernet connection. To set it up, you connect an adapter to your router and connect the router to a nearby wall socket. Then you plug another adapter into a socket in a different room and finally plug in a device to the adapter. For a Powerline network, you require a minimum of 2 adapters. And keep the distance between the adapters as short as you can. The signal, and by extension the transfer speed, gets slower when a signal has to travel more.

Advantages and disadvantages of Powerline adapters vs WiFi extenders:

Advantages of Powerline adapters

  • When you’re using Powerline adapters, you don’t have to position them to stay in range from your router
  • You never get any wireless dead zones
  • You are immune from any WiFi interference
  • Your existing WiFi signal is not needed any longer
  • Use of Powerline adapters is much faster than using WiFi extenders

Advantages of WiFi extenders

  • A WiFi extender uses the same channel as your main router, so it does not give rise to additional interference.
  • Its installation is generally very simple
  • Using of a WiFi extender also falls easily on your pockets
  • The boost in speed provided by a WiFi extender is swift and requires no wiring

Disadvantages of Powerline adapters

  • You have to put your powerline adapters on the same mains circuit because the strength of the signal diminishes every time a signal crosses the circuit
  • An electrical noise is a big factor affecting the performance of a powerline network
  • Never use powerline adapters with extension cords or any other uninterruptible power supply. They tend to filter certain frequencies, leading to reduced data transfer speeds
  • Powerline adapters are usually more expensive than regular WiFi extenders

Disadvantages of WiFi extenders

  • WiFi extenders are very susceptible to external interference
  • If the WiFi extender picks up only a weak signal from the router, it will be able to retransmit only a weak signal. Therefore the extender must be placed so it can to pick up a strong existing WiFi signal
  • WiFi extenders give slower speeds than powerline adapters typically because any extender has a minimum of 50% throughput loss

As we can see from the above comparison, both options have their share of pros and cons. However, if data speed matters to you (and you’re loaded with cash) go for the Powerline adapters. If you’re strapped for cash and want an easy-to-install option, try placing your router in a more central location and use WiFi extenders wherever necessary.