In order to improve the Wifi signal throughout my house, I acquired a WiFi range extender. Obviously, the extender is a little slower than the connection directly to my main network. Most of the devices that use the extender are attached to it wirelessly, but I do have a single computer that is attached to the Ethernet port that the extender has (a "wired-wireless connection"). The speeds through the Ethernet on the extender are better than the wireless. In fact, they match the speed of my main network. The only problem that I am having is that whenever I transfer files to and from my NAS drive, devices directly attached to the network transfer at 100Mbps, but whenever I do it through the device attached to the wireless extender via Ethernet, the transfer speed caps at my internet speed of 50Mbps?

Why is this happening? As far as I understand, I should be able to achieve 100 or at least close to it on the extender since the NAS that I am connecting to is on my network.

Here is a picture of my extender:

WiFi Range Extender

  • A Wi-Fi extender will cut you throughput into, at least, half. That is because a Wi-Fi device cannot send and receive at the same time; the medium is half-duplex. – Ron Maupin Sep 18 '16 at 23:06
  • @RonMaupin I understand that this is the case for devices wirelessly connected to the extender, but what about the device that has an ethernet connection to it? Why is it still a problem there? I thought that the throughput issue only occurred if the device had to both send a receive wirelessly. – DaveTheMinion Sep 18 '16 at 23:08
  • Well, if it is a wireless extender, it must both send and receive wirelessly. If it is only a wireless bridge, it will be the speed of a Wi-Fi connected device, e.g. a laptop, but file protocols like CIFS must both send and receive, so you will never get close to the wired speed. Is it a Wi-Fi extender, or is it a Wi-Fi bridge? The extender will use Wi-Fi to repeat everything, so it must cut throughput in half. A wireless bridge doesn't do that. – Ron Maupin Sep 18 '16 at 23:13
  • @RonMaupin It is a Netgear N300 WiFi Range Extender. The underside has an Ethernet port, so it does not have to send wirelessly for that device. – DaveTheMinion Sep 18 '16 at 23:18
  • Yes, it does. It will repeat everything wirelessly, too. You want it to be a bridge, but it is a range extender, and it will repeat everything it gets over Wi-Fi. – Ron Maupin Sep 18 '16 at 23:19

A Wi-Fi range extender is an appliance that will listen for 802.11 frames, and it will repeat everything it hears over Wi-Fi, and possibly ethernet. The 802.11 Wi-Fi protocol requires that devices must yield the airwaves to other devices on the same frequency, even if they are on other networks. Only one device can use a frequency at a time, and Wi-Fi devices cannot send and receive at the same time.

On the other hand, a bridge has no Wi-Fi repetition of anything received via Wi-Fi. A wireless bridge is a translating bridge which translates 802.11 frames to 802.3 (ethernet) frames, and vice versa.

The performance must be different since it has to wait before it can repeat everything over Wi-Fi. Yes, it gives it to your device on the ethernet port, but it doesn't do just that. That is what a bridge would do. A bridge has intelligence (an ethernet switch is just a multi-port, transparent bridge) to learn what devices are on what ports, but a repeater is simple, and it must repeat everything.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.