The Limits of Daisy-Chaining Wi-Fi Extenders (and a Great Alternative)

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Nothing is more frustrating than trying to watch a show or movie and constantly waiting for it to buffer. If you live in a large house or an apartment building with shared Wi-Fi, you may have dead areas that your Wi-Fi router doesn’t reach. Even though a Wi-Fi extender like the NEXTBOX (on Amazon) works great, there are other useful alternatives too.

There are some complications when daisy-chaining Wi-Fi extenders weaker signal, lower bandwidth, and increased lag. While one Wi-Fi extender may be a great solution, daisy-chaining them can also force you to manually connect to multiple networks across your home.

In this article, we will explain how Wi-Fi extenders work, how they help, how they hurt, as well as situations where you might need one. Additionally, we’ll also discuss an alternative to using Wi-Fi extenders: the mesh network.  Toward the end, we’ll explain how a mesh network functions and why it’s a better option than Wi-Fi extenders.

How Daisy-Chaining Wi-Fi Extenders Work

When you purchase a Wi-Fi extender to expand the range of your wireless internet (our guide), you will get a small device that connects to your wireless router or plugs into a power outlet independently. To install, simply plug the extender into your router and follow prompts for setup. A single Wi-Fi extender will expand the range of your wireless internet if you have dead spots in your home or want your internet to reach further distances around your home.

If you have an unusually large property, however, one Wi-Fi extender may not be enough. If this is the case for you, you may have had someone suggest that you “daisy-chain” Wi-Fi extenders.  Basically, to daisy-chain Wi-Fi extenders, you need to purchase two or three of the same extender, but as we’ve explored already, it’s not always the best thing to do.  

Once you set up the first Wi-Fi extender, as previously detailed, then you set up a second extender to pick up the signal transmitted from the first. If you need a third or even a fourth, you would continue this process over and over again until you have the Wi-Fi range that you desire.  An example of a Wi-Fi extender that can easily be daisy-chained can be found for a good price on Amazon.

What Are the Limits of Daisy-Chaining Wi-Fi Extenders?

While the daisy-chain process does have the ability to extend your wireless internet range to impressive distances, it also has some drawbacks and limitations. The most noticeable and important limitation to this Wi-Fi extension solution is that it lowers the strength of your signal.  Adding one Wi-Fi extender can potentially cut the power and bandwidth of your internet network in half. 

Adding more than one can also have detrimental effects on the speed of your internet, in fact, it may not even be worth using. Another limitation is that your home or property will now have multiple wireless internet networks to connect to.  Put simply, you will have to manually switch between networks as you move throughout your home. 

You will have to open up your phone, go to the network settings, and select the appropriate wireless network for the section of the house or property you’re on. This will have to be done every time you go to a different network zone. It might seem like a good idea at first, but it would probably be best to use this as a temporary solution rather than as a permanent fix.

Obviously, it’s not hard to imagine how this could be annoying and time-consuming. And how frustrating it might be to put up a daisy-chained network and then learn it can’t even stream video without stuttering. As we mentioned above, though, there are other options.

Why a Mesh Network is Better Than A Wi-Fi Extender

Since there are some pretty major drawbacks and inconveniences associated with using multiple Wi-Fi extenders, we have an alternative suggestion.  Using a mesh network will give you the same advantages of multiple Wi-Fi extenders without the same limitations. This terminology may not be something you are familiar with, so what is it exactly?

A mesh network, like the TP-Link Deco Mesh Wi-Fi system (on Amazon), is a wireless internet network expander that has the same capabilities as a Wi-Fi extender, or multiple daisy-chained Wi-Fi extenders, but which offers more advantages.  When Wi-Fi extenders are connected, they create basically a single line of connection for your data to travel on.

With a mesh network, it creates multiple connections, like a network, for your data to travel.  This increases efficiency and speed to keep your internet functioning smoothly and rapidly. You can get better coverage and faster speeds than if you use Wi-Fi extenders to expand your network range (more on WiFi speeds in our guide).

Using a mesh network is also straightforward, and similar to using Wi-Fi extenders. Like a Wi-Fi expander, a mesh network works with your router to provide service.  Simply plug it in and follow the prompts for an extremely user-friendly setup. Once installed, you will experience a wider network range without diminished speeds or dead spots. Not only does a mesh network allow you to retain the speed of your internet, but it’s also more convenient. 

When you daisy-chain multiple Wi-Fi extenders together to provide coverage for a large area, you must manually switch between those individual networks as you travel through them.  With a mesh network, this is not necessary.  A mesh network takes care of this for you so that you won’t have the inconvenience of having to switch through networks manually when necessary.

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