Can I Use Multiple Wi-Fi Extenders?

Find the perfect number of Wi-Fi extenders for your space

You can use multiple Wi-Fi extenders, but there are a few caveats and pitfalls to consider. While connecting two or more Wi-Fi extenders to a single router is fine, you shouldn’t connect one extender to another wirelessly. Multiple Wi-Fi extenders can also interfere with each other if you don’t use different channels for each. If you’re unable to achieve a satisfactory level of coverage with one or two extenders, you may want to consider a mesh Wi-Fi network instead.

Can You Use Multiple Range Extenders?

You can use multiple range extenders, and there are a lot of situations where doing so can be helpful. If you have a big house or a complicated layout, you may need two, three, or even more range extenders. For example, if there are Wi-Fi dead zones on both the east and west sides of your house, you’ll need an extender on both the east and west sides to create Wi-Fi networks in both areas.

Wi-Fi extenders on a modem with Ethernet cables laying next to them.

RichLegg / E+ / Getty

Consider a Mesh System

If you need more than one range extender, then you may want to consider a mesh network instead. Mesh routers like Eero and Orbi let you add satellite units seamlessly. You can also set up a mesh network with your existing router if it supports technology like AiMesh. If your router doesn’t support mesh, you would need to buy a new router along with satellite units.

While buying a new mesh system is more expensive than adding a range extender to an existing router, the overall experience is better. Devices pass seamlessly between satellites and the main router in mesh systems, there’s only one wireless network service set identifier (SSID) or name, and you don’t need to worry about conflicts between your extenders and your router.

Is It Bad to Have Two Wi-Fi Extenders?

It isn’t harmful to have two Wi-Fi extenders, and it can be beneficial if you have a large house with a complicated layout that tends to block Wi-Fi signals. When you set up two extenders, you need to remember is that they should be on different Wi-Fi channels.

If you use the same Wi-Fi channel for both extenders, the two Wi-Fi networks are likely to interfere with each other. Even if there doesn’t seem to be a lot of overlap, or the signal from one extender is weak where you would most likely connect to the second extender, two nearby networks on the same channel will cause both to perform worse than they would otherwise.

The other main issue to consider when setting up two Wi-Fi extenders is that you can’t use the same SSID for the extenders and the primary router. While you can sometimes use a single SSID and password for both a router and an extender to make it easier for devices to jump between the two, doing so with two extenders will cause problems. The extenders may try to connect to each other instead of the router, which would result in no internet connection.

If you connect your Wi-Fi extenders to your router via wired Ethernet cables, then you don’t have to worry about the SSID problem. You can safely use the same network name and password for each extender in that case, unless there are other issues with your hardware that prevent doing that.

Can You Daisy Chain Wi-Fi Extenders?

It's usually a bad idea to daisy chain Wi-Fi extenders. When you daisy chain two or more extenders, the first one is connected to your main router, and then the next extender is connected to the first. That may seem like a good idea, as it would theoretically allow you to expand your Wi-Fi network further away from the original router, but we don't recommend it.

The problem with daisy-chaining multiple Wi-Fi extenders is that it results in a reduction of speed, an increase in latency, and overall poor network performance. Devices that connect to the second extender have their connections pass through that extender, wirelessly to the first extender, and wirelessly to the router, all of which introduce lag and a speed reduction. 

How Many Wi-Fi Extenders Should I Have?

Use however many extenders you need to cover the necessary area with Wi-Fi, but there are some practical considerations. Ensure the extenders don't interfere with each other or the router and that they're not blocked by walls, furniture, and appliances just like your router.

When determining how many Wi-Fi extenders you need, you need to consider the size and layout of your house. A typical router can cover about 2,000 to 2,500 square feet, and extenders typically cover 1,000 to 2,500 square feet. Still, you'll never see that kind of coverage in the real world unless you set up a router in the middle of a building that consists of one massive room.

In the average home, a router on the 2.4GHz band will have a range of about 150 feet. Walls block Wi-Fi signals, and brick and concrete walls block it even more, so the Wi-Fi range is significantly shorter in homes with interior brick or concrete walls. Pipes and wiring in walls can also block the signal, and things like shower and tub enclosures or tile also cut the signal down. Large furniture and appliances like beds, couches, and refrigerators can also block the signal.

Keep all those things in mind when thinking about how many extenders you need. It may be helpful to check your house for weak and dead spots and then place extenders to cover those areas instead of thinking in terms of raw square footage.

Is There a Limit to How Many Extenders I Can Have?

There is a hard limit to how many extenders you can have, which is the number of device connections your router can handle at once. Check with your router manufacturer to see how many devices it can manage, and don't go over that.

Realistically, the number of Wi-Fi extenders you can have is also limited by the number of available Wi-Fi channels. Your extenders shouldn't be on the same Wi-Fi channel as each other or your main router, and there are only so many Wi-Fi channels available. Channels also overlap so that adjacent channels can create interference for each other.

The only way to have three 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks that don't interfere with each other is to use channels 1, 6, and 11. If you use any other combination of channels or add any to those three, there will be some interference. So if you want to avoid interference, the safest setup would be to use two extenders with one router and place them on those channels.

If two extenders aren't enough to cover your whole house, then you can set the extenders that are furthest apart from each other to nearby channels. There may still be some interference in the parts of your house where the networks overlap, though, which is why mesh networks are better when you have a massive house or a house with a complicated layout.

  • Are Wi-Fi extenders different from Wi-Fi boosters?

    No, but some manufacturers may use one term over the other. However, there are essential differences between Wi-Fi extenders and Wi-Fi repeaters, so ensure you know which product you're getting. The main difference is that Wi-Fi repeaters repeat the signal from your router and rebroadcast it as a separate wireless network while extenders extend the existing network.

  • How far do Wi-Fi extenders reach?

    The precise range of a Wi-Fi extender depends on the model. Some manufacturers like Netgear offer extenders that cover 1,500 to 3,000 square feet. To ensure your Wi-Fi extender works best with your router, choose a model with similar technology.

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