Do Wi-Fi Extenders Work for Gaming?

What to know about gaming and Wi-Fi extenders

If your home network doesn't extend to the full range of your home, a Wi-Fi extender might seem like a good idea so you can play games wirelessly without a problem. Here's a look at everything you need to know about the effectiveness of Wi-Fi extenders when playing games.

When it comes to gaming, we recommend a wired connection above all else. Obviously that's not always possible, but when it is, it's really the way to go.

Do Wi-Fi Extenders Work for Gaming?

Yes, they do, but they aren't the ideal solution. 

Generally, playing games via a Wi-Fi connection isn't as effective as plugging your games console directly into a router. That's because a hard wired solution gives you much lower latency. Adding Wi-Fi extenders makes the latency even higher than simply using a Wi-Fi router and that can affect the performance of a game when playing something fast-paced online. Lag is more commonplace when using a Wi-Fi extender, especially if you use a cheaper, low quality device.

Are Wi-Fi Extenders Bad for Gaming?

Not necessarily. A Wi-Fi extender is sometimes the only way to be able to play games online depending on how your network is set up. They can be highly effective when playing slower paced games that are not as badly affected by lag issues.

For fast paced games such as online first-person shooters or similar, a Wi-Fi extender isn't a good option, however. The more devices you add to your network, the more likely you are to suffer from lag which can impact your performance when gaming.

Can Wi-Fi Extender Cause Problems? 

Some Wi-Fi extenders can be a problem when gaming. Typically, cheaper and less powerful Wi-Fi extenders are not up to the task of fast-paced gaming and so they can negatively affect your timing and reactions when playing a game.

Alongside that, if the Wi-Fi extender is not optimally installed, there can be issues. Ideally, the Wi-Fi extender should be placed as near to the router as possible although that can be counterintuitive given the point of the device is to extend your Wi-Fi range. It's also a good idea to make sure the Wi-Fi extender has line of sight to a router to gain the best performance from it. If the extender needs to be several rooms or floors away from the router, the signal strength may not be sufficient. 

It's also important to make sure the network is not too congested by other users or downloads, so that lag is lower. The more people using your network, the more likely that speeds will be degraded. A Wi-Fi extender isn't as competent as a full router so this will be more noticeable. 

Is a Wi-Fi extender Better For Some Games or Worse?

It can be both. Generally, Wi-Fi extenders work best with slower paced games such as RPGs or turn-based games that aren't in need of your fast reactions. 

Playing fast-paced games such as Fortnite or other online first-person shooter games is generally an issue with a Wi-Fi extender. While it's possible to play such games, you may notice some lag issues and slow down while you play. 

Is There a Difference in Performance?

Using a Wi-Fi extender can mean your gaming performance is (or could be) impacted. Particularly when it comes to fast-paced games, you may find your internet speeds lower than usual and therefore your performance may be affected. 

Alongside that, different Wi-Fi extenders offer different performance levels. Generally, you get what you pay for with cheaper Wi-Fi extenders offering lower performance, lower speeds, and fewer features. It's worth researching options with avid games players being wise to invest in a more high-end Wi-Fi extender if they can't hardwire their game console. Dedicated gaming routers can also help extend range without the need for separate Wi-Fi extenders alongside them. 

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