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Are Wifi Extenders Good for Gaming? If so, Why?

Boy playing online games at home.

While wifi extenders do work for gaming, they are not necessarily ‘good’ for gaming as they can cause your game(specifically, fast-paced games) to lag. Ask my sons and you’ll hear, “heck no! A wired connection gives you the ultimate uninterrupted experience.”

However, if you live in a home where the internet spreads thin, a Wi-Fi extender is your ideal solution. It all boils down to getting a high-quality Wi-Fi extender if the need arises.

Don’t stress if you have a low Internet signal. 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. 

How Do Wi-Fi Extenders Work- Quick Overview?

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Since there are so many different home networking solutions on the market today, it might be difficult to understand how range extenders function to improve home connections.

Single plug adapters, also called range/Wi-Fi extenders or Wi-Fi Boosters, gather and enhance the Wi-Fi transmission from the primary router. That allows it to get distributed across a broader area of your home.

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At long distances from a router, the objective is to achieve greater wireless reception, leading to improved connectivity for gamers.

Setting up a Wi-Fi Extender: Considerations

Place it directly in the path of the main router, which is the ideal location. Plug the extender in, then pair it with your router in several easy steps, and you’re done. You now have a new way to connect your devices to the internet.

They are ideally suited to open-plan areas, such as condominiums, where there are fewer walls to impede movement. As you get further from your router as well as the extension, and as more walls come between you and the router and extender, you run the risk of your connection becoming increasingly unstable and unpredictable.

Wi-Fi extenders can be useful, but they still rely on Wi-Fi, which has inherent flaws due to signal fading over distance and will always exist in comparison to wired connections.

Can Wi-Fi Extenders Work for Gaming?

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Yes, they do, but they’re not perfect. In general, using Wi-Fi to play games isn’t as efficient as connecting your gaming console directly to a router for the best experience. Hard-wired connections have significantly lower latency.

A Wi-Fi extender adds a layer of delay to a Wi-Fi network, which might influence a game’s speed while playing something online that moves quickly. With a range extender, lag is more prevalent if you are utilizing a low-quality, less expensive Wi-Fi device.

Are Wi-Fi Extenders a Bad Idea for Gamers?

Woman playing online video game.

The answer is no. In some cases, a Wi-Fi extension is the only avenue to play online games. When playing slower-paced games, where lag is less of an issue, they can be really useful.

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However, a Wi-Fi extension isn’t a suitable choice for fast-paced games as we said earlier. More devices on your network increase the risk of lag, which can affect your gaming experience.

Can Issues Develop with a Wi-Fi Extender?

Dad and son playing video games.

Some Wi-Fi adapters can have an impact on your gaming experience. When playing a fast-paced game, Wi-Fi extenders that aren’t powerful enough can hurt your pacing and reflexes.

Wi-Fi boosters should be placed as close to the router as feasible, even though the purpose of the gadget is to stretch your Wi-Fi network’s range. The Wi-Fi extender should also have a direct view of the router to get the greatest performance out of it. There may not be enough signal strength if the extension has to be placed in a different room or floor from the router.

To reduce lag, it’s important to keep the network from becoming overloaded with other users or downloads. It’s inevitable that as more users join your network, the slower your connection will get. Because a router’s shortcomings are more obvious, a Wi-Fi extender will be more apparent.

Are Wi-Fi Extenders Better or Worse for Certain Games?

It can be either way. In general, Wi-Fi extenders function well with games that don’t necessitate quick reactions, including RPGs as well as turn-based strategy games.

Using a Wi-Fi extender to play fast-paced games like League of Legends, Fortnite, and other multiplayer first-person shooter games might be problematic. Playing such games is doable, but you may have latency and slowdown challenges.

Is There a Difference in Gaming Performance with Wi-Fi Extenders?

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Your gaming experience may suffer if you use a Wi-Fi extension. In fast-paced games, you might notice that your internet speeds are lower than average, which may influence your effectiveness.

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Wi-Fi extenders come in many shapes and sizes, and each one offers a different level of performance. In general, cheaper Wi-Fi extenders provide no performance enhancement, lower speeds, as well as fewer features than more expensive models. 

There are a variety of Wi-Fi extenders to choose from, and ardent gamers may want to indulge in a more expensive model if you can’t hardwire your console. Extending the range without using separate Wi-Fi extenders is also possible with gaming routers that are specifically designed for this purpose.

When to Consider a Wi-Fi Extender

Wifi extender plugged into the home's outlet.

Playing online games like golf, chess, strategy-based RPGs or other slow-paced games doesn’t have a big impact on your experience if you have intermittent latency spikes and drops in connection. A Wi-Fi extender may be all that is needed in these situations, as long as you don’t mind a somewhat weaker signal.

Even if you’re playing right next to the router, an extender may be able to provide you with a decent enough connection if you’re just looking for the greatest possible signal.

As long as your gaming console isn’t battling for bandwidth with a slew of other devices on your home network, range extenders can be an effective solution to increase your signal in cases of network congestion.

When a Wi-Fi Extender Isn’t Necessary

Group of friends playing video games.

However, range extenders aren’t always the ideal choice for gamers. However, while range extenders do improve the router’s current Wi-Fi signal, they also keep you connected to that network, which has inherent disadvantages when compared to a hardwired connection for gaming.

Instead of using wired connections, you can still experience signal quality as well as network congestion issues even when using Wi-Fi extenders. Because of this, gaming extenders aren’t always the best option for:

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Hi-speed Games

This is especially true for fast-paced multiplayer games, such as first-person shooters and high-speed sports games, in which even a small bit of lag can hurt your gameplay experience. It’s even more problematic on crowded home networks.

Far From the Router

Depending on how far you are from the connection, an extension may not be enough to provide you with the signal strength you require to play without interruptions on other floors or rooms. Perhaps a powerline adapter is a better fit.

Network Overloaded

Group of kids using gadgets.

Overload on your home router may not even be alleviated even if you install an extender to improve the Wi-Fi signal, as many devices are fighting for connection at the same time (e.g., if your siblings are streaming videos while you are gaming).

Wired connections, such as those made with a long cable or an adapter that uses a powerline rather than Wi-Fi, have the advantage of providing better throughput on congested home networks.