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Somewhere on the net says repeater is to extend the wifi signal where the signal is weak.

It also says hotspot is to create your own private network.

My real question is: Can't hotspot also extend the wifi signal where the signal is weak? I heard using a wifi repeater makes the speed of internet slower than not using it. However, I didn't find anyone saying wifi hotspot will make the speed of the internet slower.

If that's the case, I want to use wifi hotspot to extend the wifi signal to my room without slowing the speed of the internet down.

Am I understanding the difference between Hotspot and the repeater correctly?

I am talking about the hotspot mode and the repeater mode of devices such as this

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migrated from Mar 30 '14 at 0:50

This question came from our site for network engineers.

up vote 2 down vote accepted

A hotspot (access point) needs to be wired to your network. A repeater extends a Wifi signal without being physically attached to the network via ethernet. It just receives Wifi frames and retransmits them, extending the range of an access point which is connected to the physical network.

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"In HotSpot Mode, there is no cord plugged into the Dir505. You use the setup wizzard to turn another wireless routers signal into a HotSpot that can be used by multiple devices." This is from Seems like this device does not need physical connection for making a hotspot. – whiteSkar Mar 29 '14 at 23:58
Marketing information isn't good information to go by on a technical QA site. gives a reasonable definition of "HotSpot" as being a wireless access network with a physical network link to the internet. defines a repeater as exactly that. It accepts frames from wireless network, and then rebroadcasts them. – George Spiceland Mar 30 '14 at 1:09
Oh so hotspot is the network area that uses access point? Does that mean the area around a repeater that is not reachable by the signal of the original access point is not called hotspot? – whiteSkar Mar 30 '14 at 2:34
And in this case, now I want to reword my question. Can't an access point device extend the weak signal without slowing down the speed? In this link, it says using a repeater will decrease the bandwidth when it doesn't say so for the access point. I don't understand how access point does not decrease the bandwidth when a repeater does. – whiteSkar Mar 30 '14 at 2:38

As said before, a repeater repeat what it receives. This mean that to transmit a frame from the station to the AP, it has to be sent twice, first from the station to the repeater, then from the repeater to the AP.

However, most repeaters repeat on the same radio channel. This mean that the repeater cannot send and receive at the same time. So when it transmit a frame to the AP, it cannot receive a frame from the station. This essentially halves the data rate, since you need twice the time to transmit a frame and nobody can transmit anything else on the same channel at the same time.

If you add another wired AP and set it to a different non-overlapping channel, then it will not slow down the previous AP at all. You will double the total capacity of the network while extending the coverage. If the added AP uses the same channel as the previous AP, then it will extend the coverage, but because both AP share the same channel, it will not increase the total capacity of the network, but rather reduce it, because of radio issues like the hidden station effect, among other things.

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So "If" a repeater can repeat on a different radio channel, the bandwidth will not be decreased? – whiteSkar Mar 31 '14 at 2:51
@whiteSkar: It will not dramatically decrease. It may stay the same or decrease a bit. Now good luck finding a cheap dual-radio repeater. – BatchyX Mar 31 '14 at 17:19

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