This Cheap WiFi Extender Will End Your Internet Struggles for $25
All products featured on GQ are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
The wireless internet in my apartment is horrendous. As much as I’d like to blame Spectrum the problem is mostly because of science and old architecture. My router can only exist in the farthest corner of my apartment, the walls are really thick, and there's a ton of interference from other signals in my building. Oh, and also, Spectrum sucks. (Let me have this!)
This is particularly annoying because, as a person who frequently tests large speakers and large plants and large vacuum cleaners and large lamps, I often have to work within the confines of my apartment. You have not experienced stress until you’ve attempted to respond to a Slack asking about that piece you’re late on that is time sensitive while alone in your home office only to see that the app is “attempting to reconnect to your internet connection.”
I tried a few things to fix the problem: I attempted to update the firmware on my old router, I replaced it, I tried to move it to a better spot. But nothing worked. That is, until I discovered a somewhat dinky, relatively cheap gadget: a WiFi extender.
A WiFi extender is a chocolate-chip-cookie-sized device that plugs directly into a wall socket. To start using it, you plug it in near your router, connect to it through your computer or phone, pair it with your router, and then move it a part of your apartment that needs a bit of internet help. This process sounds a little onerous, but it took me less than 10 mins to complete. And once I had, almost all of the internet issues I was dealing with in my home office throughout the day disappeared. You just have to make sure that spot is unobscured by any big furniture or anything that would block the signal, but this isn't a big deal. The extender looks more like a nightlight than a helpful tech hack.
A real wireless internet expert—the kind who will talk your ear off about download speeds, upload speeds, and network protocols (I know that 802.11ac is important but I honest to God have no idea what it is)—might tell you that you’d be better off replacing your router with a mesh networking kit, like Eero. They're probably right, but unfortunately a mesh networking kit that's any good is expensive. You can the new version of the very good WiFi extender I bought this summer, the TP-Link RE220, for $25. I know what I’d do if I were you.