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.

We recommend a wired connection above all else when it comes to gaming. That's not always possible, but when it is, it's 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, which can affect a game's performance 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. Depending on your network setup, a Wi-Fi extender is sometimes the only way to play games online. They can be highly effective when playing slower-paced games that are not as severely 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 will 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.

Ideally, you should place the Wi-Fi extender as near 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 a 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 essential to ensure the network is not too congested by other users or downloads so that lag is lower. The more people on your network, the more likely speeds will degrade. A Wi-Fi extender isn't as competent as a router, which 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 don't need 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 separating Wi-Fi extenders alongside them. 

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