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No one appreciates a dead slow internet connection. Living in a dead Wi-Fi zone in today’s time is nothing less than a nightmare. Wi-Fi technology is not too complicated for the tech-savvy layman. But, many of us fail to understand how Wi-Fi networks function. Rather than identifying the cause of a weak Wi-Fi signal and the slow internet speed, we look for quick solutions. However, more often than not the resolution to such issues is very much possible without seeking a “better internet connection” or for that matter a “better wireless router”.

So, before you rush to quit on your ISP or hurry to buy a new router, it’s important to understand two things: No matter how good your internet service is, it cannot guarantee a strong in-home Wi-Fi network. And, irrespective of how high end your wireless router is, it may not be able to push the Wi-Fi signal to the dead zones in your house. Meaning, neither of the short-cuts, which you are likely to consider taking in frustration, can solve the underlying problem.

It is understandable that once you’ve settled with a reliable internet service provider like AT&T, you’d want to make sure you can enjoy a seamless online experience in all corners of the house. But, while the internet connection and the high-end gateway device provided by AT&T may offer the desired speed and signal strength for all your devices to connect, it is possible Wi-Fi coverage is not evenly spread out around your house. And, there may be nooks and crannies where you are not able to load even a 1.2MB web page.

Why? Because the signal is dead-weak in these parts of your house—we call them “dead zones” for the same reason. And, more often than not it is the size and the layout of a living space that is the culprit behind this.

Using compatible Wi-Fi signal boosters with your AT&T wireless gateway device is the first thing you must therefore consider.

What is a Wi-Fi Range Extender?

From physical obstructions like concrete and brick walls to electronic gadgets, other wireless networks, and Wi-Fi-based devices as well as the distance you are at from the wireless gateway or router—all these factors impact the strength of your in-home Wi-Fi network. That is why it is so often that you run into dead zones in your own house.

A Wi-Fi range extender is a smart and powerful device that picks up the Wi-Fi signal from your AT&T (or any other) wireless gateway device/router, amplifies it, and rebroadcasts the boosted signal. While it's challenging to have consistent Wi-Fi signal strength in a big-ish house, Wi-Fi signal boosters simplify the process and get the job done for you.

Whether it is a Wi-Fi range extender, signal booster, or repeater—all these devices are designed to enhance the wireless signal strength, eliminate dead zones, and ensure you get to enjoy the quality online experience that you’re paying for.

So, if you’re someone who is constantly moving around the house, a Wi-Fi range extender is bound to become your best friend. Whether it’s streaming your favorite Netflix show or smacking down a win in an online game, with Wi-Fi extenders, you don’t have to worry about losing the signal.

How Do You Choose the Best Wi-Fi Range Extender?

For your Wi-Fi extender to work effectively, some important factors must be considered.

Wi-Fi Standard Compatibility

Wi-Fi Standard compatibility is the foremost thing to take into account. The 802.11 Wi-Fi standards coordinate the distribution of data and determine the speed of data transfer between the AT&T Gateway and your wirelessly connected devices. These Wi-Fi standards started getting rolled out in 1999 and the last one was introduced in 2019. During the in-between 2 decades, 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n, 802.11ac, and 802.11ax have been rolled out.

So, when you pick Wi-Fi range extenders, you must make sure they are compatible with the Wi-Fi standard your AT&T gateway runs on. Check the specifications of your AT&T gateway device before you set off to make a purchase, or else pick a universal extender that works with 802.11b/g/n/ac gateways. Buying an extender without knowing if it's compatible with your AT&T gateway can turn into a total waste of your money and time.

Radio Frequency Bands:

It is also necessary to decide whether you would want to use a single or dual-band extender. Most Wi-Fi range extenders work on a single band—2.4GHz. But, you can also get dual-band ones, at a slightly higher price. It is up to you whether you would like to take advantage of both the 2.4 and 5GHz bands that the AT&T gateway device has to offer.

Desktop or Plug-in:

Make sure you are clear about what you want from the physical outlook of your Wi-Fi range extender—do you want one to place on the desktop or you’d rather get the plug-in one. Wall-mounted plug-in Wi-Fi range extenders take the least amount of space because all they need is a free power socket on the wall. Here it is worth mentioning most advanced Wi-Fi extenders are designed for the desktop.

Moreover, see whether or not you want the gadget to come with external antennas or built-in, and if you would rather go with a dual-antenna Wi-Fi range extender.

When deciding on this aspect, remember the ideal location for a Wi-Fi range extender is between your wireless AT&T gateway and the dead zone you are trying to eliminate. It is also necessary the extender is placed within good range of the wireless gateway. So, do take a look at probable locations in your home, and pick the Wi-Fi extender that fits into the scheme of things as you have it.

Security

These days almost all Wi-Fi range extenders support WPA2-PSK security protocol which defines the highest security level available to home users. But it is better to be safe than sorry so do check to confirm if the extender you are picking will keep your in-home Wi-Fi network secure.

The AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender(s)

AT&T provides subscribers a gateway device depending on the kind of connection they have, and the speed plan they need to support. This way AT&T is able to ensure the internet equipment is fully compatible with its connection, and you are able to reap the full benefit of your AT&T internet service. There is quite a variety of modem-router combo devices—gateways—that AT&T furnishes. These devices use advanced mesh technology to give you wall-to-wall coverage via the best and the fastest connection available. But, for whole-home coverage it is recommended you pair the AT&T gateway with AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender(s)—do make note of the fact the Smart Extender(s) can be paired with these AT&T wireless gateways only: NVG599, 5268AC, BGW320, and BGW210.

AT&T offers two versions of the AirTies Smart Wi-Fi Extenders: AirTies 4920 Smart Wi-Fi Extender & AirTies 4921 Smart Wi-Fi Extender. And, the provider recommends if you wish to take full advantage of all the features of the AT&T Smart Home network and the Smart Home Manager app, you use AT&T-branded AirTies extenders only. Here it is worth mentioning these AT&T Smart Wi-Fi range extenders may not work with non-AT&T-branded Wi-Fi gateways or another ISP’s service.

Now, if you have used your Smart Home Manager to determine AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender(s) can help eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones in your house, we’d recommend you take a look at some key features of these amazing gadgets.

AT&T Air 4920 Smart Wi-Fi Extender

The AT&T AirTies Air 4920 Smart Wi-Fi Extender is designed to work with BGW210 and 5268AC. It is dual-band so you can set up both the 2.4 and 5GHz channels. The smart device runs on 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard and supports data transfer rates up to 1000 Mbps. The well-designed extender works brilliantly to eliminate dead zones. You find stable signal strength throughout its range, and it is less likely to be interfered with by signals from other routers in the vicinity. It works with Wi-Fi devices running on 802.11b/g/n standards, is Bluetooth friendly, and is easy to setup.

AT&T AirTies Air 4920 Smart Wi-Fi Extender kit includes an Ethernet cable that can be used to make a wired connection with the AT&T Gateway and a power cord. Albeit, AT&T indicates the AT&T-branded AirTies may not work with non-AT&T branded gateways or another service provider, Amazon does show the item as compatible with other wireless-ac routers, as well as with Verizon FiOS®.

AT&T Air 4921 Smart Wi-Fi Extender

The AT&T AirTies Air 4921 Smart Wi-Fi Extender is designed to work with 5268AC, BGW210, BGW320, or NVG599 Wi-Fi gateways. It is dual-band, runs on Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and supports data transfer rates up to 1600 Mbps. The coverage provided by the newer AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender is much improved—up to 1000 sq. ft. And, it allows you convenient addition of more nodes to expand coverage by only pressing a button. The advanced mesh technology of the Wi-Fi range extender automatically selects the best and fastest available connection for each device and ensures a seamless connection as you move around the house.

Moreover, you experience reduced network congestion with this sleek looking AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender. And once it is all set up you can make good use of the 2 optional Ethernet connections for your game console and/or connected TV.

Perhaps the only downside to this gadget is that it is not compatible with non-AT&T modems/routers. So, you can benefit from the advanced tech of this extender only as long as you are subscribed to AT&T Internet.

The AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender Set up: This Is How You Do it!

Whether you are using the AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender 4920 or 4921, this is what you get in the kit:

Manual Set-up:

Follow the simple steps below to set up and pair either of the two versions.

Next press the WPS button on the Wi-Fi range extender. And, wait for the two devices to pair up automatically. Once the green light turns solid, you’ll know the pairing is complete.

Smart Home Manager Set-up

If you’re setting up your AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender through the Smart Home Manager, this is what you need to do:

Alternatively, you can choose Network and then Home Network Hardware. Next, select Add Extender and choose the extender model. From hereon continue to follow the instructions.

Once you’ve got the AT&T Wi-Fi extender setup in place, you’re good to enjoy online activities with improved coverage and better signal strength.

Is my AT&T Wi-Fi Booster working?

Since by adding the new AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender your in-home network info does not change, the network does not appear with a new name on your device(s). But when the light on the Extender turns solid green, it tells you the pairing is done and the gadget is working. You can also use the Smart Home Manager app to check if it is working. The AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender shows up in the Devices section when connected.

For the Extender to work effectively make sure both radio bands—2.4GHz & 5GHz—are enabled.

Troubleshooting your AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender

If you see a solid red light on the Extender it means there is a pairing error. Try to pair with WPS again. Or else use the Ethernet cable to connect the Extender to the AT&T Gateway and pair the two devices manually. In case the issue persists, you may have to troubleshoot the AT&T Gateway device.

When you see a flashing red light, it means the Extender is out of the range of the Gateway. Move it closer to the gateway device or another connected Extender. That should resolve the problem.

Other High Performing AT&T Wi-Fi Extenders

Wi-Fi range extenders come in different shapes and sizes, and with varying specs. But, all are built with the same purpose which is to ensure the Wi-Fi signal goes farther out. AT&T is categorical in telling subscribers they cannot reap the full benefit of the AT&T internet service unless they use Wi-Fi range extenders provided by AT&T. As said earlier, you’d not be able to fully benefit from the features of the AT&T Smart Home Wi-Fi or the Smart Home Manager app. However, if you don’t mind some compromise on those aspects, and you’d rather BYOD, there are Wi-Fi range extenders in the market which are compatible with the AT&T wireless gateway device. Let’s take a look at some.

NETGEAR AC750 Wi-Fi Range Extender

The NETGEAR AC750 Wi-Fi range extender uses the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard over dual bands—2.4 GHz and 5GHz. And, delivers a combined max speed of 750 Mbps. Offering 3 times faster speed than previous Wi-Fi standards, NETGEAR AC750 Wi-Fi Range Extender has two modes—extender and access point. The access point mode lets you connect it to your home network by using the Ethernet port. Meaning you can create a new Wi-Fi access point for your home network via the NETGEAR device. The extender mode together with external antennas helps achieve a greater signal range.

The 1 Gigabit Ethernet port on the extender comes equipped with auto-sensing technology for 10/100/1000 speeds. You can use the Gigabit Ethernet port to connect one wired device such as a smart TV, Blu-ray, computer, or game console.

It is super easy to set up and comes with the Push N’ Connect feature which uses Wi-Fi Protected Setup® (WPS). The smart LED lights at the front help you determine the location where it gives you the best result. All in all, it is a compact plug-in device that comes complete with the NETGEAR Wi-Fi analytics app—which is a convenient way of finding out about network status, signal strength by location, channel interference, etc.

NETGEAR 4-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Extender EAX20

Encased in a sleek looking box, the NETGEAR Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Extender EAX20 runs on the latest Wi-Fi standard—but is backward compatible. It is known for supporting up to 1.8 Gbps via its 4 streams, and creating a powerful mesh Wi-Fi network over up to 1500 sq. ft. The Wi-Fi range extender comes with 80MHz channel support and provides gigabit Wi-Fi connectivity. Together with two high-performing external antennas, this makes for a better gaming and streaming performance anywhere at your home.

The NETGEAR device boasts 4 Gigabit wired ports and a 3.0 USB—you can connect gaming consoles and storage devices for greater gaming and download speeds. The best part is it supports the WEP and WPA/WPA2 wireless security protocols and ensures complete safety for your network.

The Smart Roaming feature automatically connects your devices to the best available Wi-Fi. While the Smart Connect feature selects the optimal Wi-Fi band for each device. With increased capacity, coverage, and speed, the Extender can handle up to 30 connected devices including smart TV, smartphones, gaming console, smart home devices, and even outdoor security cameras.

Although you may find it a bit larger in size than the rest, the power and performance of this extender are difficult to overlook.

TP-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Extender

TP-Link always comes through with the best! The dual-band RE650 TP-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi range extender delivers a maximum combined speed of approx. 2600 Mbps over 2.4 and 5 GHz. It is an antenna-shaped extender that boasts 4 antennas. And, ensures the complete elimination of dead zones, and high-speed internet for seamless gaming, and 4K streaming in any room. The beamforming technology works to transmit a targeted signal to individual devices for a stronger connection. The model comes with a Gigabit Ethernet port to connect your wired devices to the in-home network.

The TP-Link extender is easy to set up. The LED indicator on it tells you where to find the best spot to place it, and the extender is convenient to move around too. So, you can even shift it around the house for stronger Wi-Fi in any specific part. For still stronger Wi-Fi coverage, it is recommended you connect the extender to your gateway device via Ethernet, and switch it over to access mode.

D-Link Wi-Fi Dual-Band Extender DAP-1650

This concurrent dual-band 802.11ac device delivers next-gen wireless connectivity—you can email and browse on one radio band, and stream media on the other. With its multiple-antenna (MMO) technology, it is able to provide superior coverage inside and outside your home. It supports a combined speed of up to 1200 Mbps and is able to extend fast wireless connectivity for seamless streaming and gaming.

The four Gigabit Ethernet ports allow high speed wired connections to other devices. It is easy to set up and comes with the Push Button feature to connect to a wireless network with ease. The D-Link extender supports WPA and WPA2 wireless security protocols, so you get secure wireless encryption.

This extender offers you 3 modes. It not only works as an extender and an access point but as a wireless media bridge. Meaning, you don’t only get a Wi-Fi range extender, and a potential access point in the house, but a gadget that allows you to share memorable pictures and videos across all connected devices.

NETGEAR Nighthawk X6S EX8000

This extender is one of the best performers on the list. With its ability to cover up to 2500 square feet, the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6S EX8000 allows you to connect as many as 50 devices at a time. Its Smart Roaming feature promises no drop in connectivity as you move around the house.

Running on Tri-band Wi-Fi technology (two 5GHz and one 2.4GHz) and patented FastLane3, the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6S EX8000 supports up to 3 Gbps of speed—and is best for 4K UHD streaming, and multi-player gaming. The Multi-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) enables simultaneous streaming of data to multiple devices. The device not only works to extend the range of your AT&T internet service but reduces network congestion. It comes with one 2.0 USB port and 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports for high-speed connections to wired devices. And, complies with wireless security protocols WEP, WPA/WPA2-PSK.

While it's a pricier option, the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6S is one of the most promising extenders in the market, which users say “works exceptionally well”.

Final Takeaway

We know when you are frustrated with dead zones around your house that kill the benefit of wireless connectivity, you may be tempted to discard your equipment or switch your provider. But, it’s more helpful to identify those dead zones and tackle them with the help of a Wi-Fi range extender.

Sure AT&T provides you with the best Wi-Fi extender for AT&T Fiber as well as its high-speed internet service. But, if you prefer to go with a third-party Wi-Fi range extender, you can pick any from the ones we have discussed. Whichever way you choose to enhance the range of your in-home AT&T network, the bottom line is you must take the right step to be able to take full benefit of AT&T Internet.