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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
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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.

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