Can You Connect An Ethernet Cable To A WiFi Extender?

Ethernet Port On WiFi Extender

Yes, you can connect an ethernet cable to a WiFi extender.

Nearly all WiFi extenders in the market come with at least one Ethernet port, and many of them feature multiple ports.

When you connect a WiFi extender to a router, the signal flows through the cable, extending the coverage area in your home.

This enables you to connect your devices from any part of your home as it eliminates any dead zones that you might have experienced with your router.

A WiFi extender that is connected using an ethernet cable creates more bandwidth, a more reliable connection, and improved performance compared to a wireless connection.

An ethernet port in a WiFi extender can be used in two ways. First, you can connect your router to the extender using the port to create a single network so that you do not need to switch between the networks.

Secondly, you can use an ethernet cable to connect the extender to your local devices such as a gaming console and laptop.

If your WiFi extender has only one port, you can use it to do either of the tasks. If it has multiple ports, you can do both tasks.

What Is A WiFi Extender?

A WiFi extender is a device that extends the coverage area of a wireless network when it is connected to a router.

A WiFi extender increases the range of your router by rebroadcasting the wireless signal without modifying it.

To easily extend the coverage of the WiFi extender, you should place it in a location where the signal is weak.

The device should be put in between standalone devices such as smartphones and routers.

Things To Consider When Connecting An Ethernet Cable to Your WiFi Extender

WiFi Extender Ethernet Port

The following are some of the things that you need to consider when extending your network using a WiFi extender:

1. Access to Ethernet Connections

Some floorplans have ethernet ports wired on them which makes it easy for you to connect your extender with an ethernet cable while others have one port in the router’s location.

If you do not have wired ethernet in your home, you can add it by hiring an electrician to do the work but this may be costly and time-consuming.

2. Physical Obstacles

You need to consider the layout of your home as it may be difficult to connect your router to the WiFi extender with an ethernet cable if there are obstacles in the way such as walls or furniture.

3. Cost

The cost of the equipment is another factor to take into consideration. Although most extenders are reasonably priced, you should avoid spending excessive money on a WiFi extender, especially if you do not know the root cause of the internet connectivity issue.  

Benefits Of Using An Ethernet Cable To Connect A WiFi Extender

1. More Bandwidth

You get more bandwidth when you are using a wired connection than when using a wireless connection.

Connecting your extender with ethernet offers almost double the speed compared to WiFi, meaning you can get more out of your internet plan.

This is beneficial especially when you are using applications that are bandwidth-intensive such as gaming or streaming video.

2. Reliable Connection

Compared to wireless connections, a wired connection is more reliable. So, if you are experiencing issues with your WiFi connection, consider using Ethernet to connect your extender, as it can stabilize your connection.

3. Better Performance

Generally, using an ethernet cable to connect your WiFi extender will lead to improved performance.

However, if you are not able to use ethernet to connect your extender, put it close to the router and ensure it is not behind obstacles such as furniture or walls.

With ethernet, you will experience less lag and latency, which will lead to better performance in multiplayer video games and online meetings.

Additionally, using ethernet to connect your extender to the router leads to a single network.

On the contrary, a WiFi connection mostly creates a secondary network, meaning when you move around the house you will need to change networks on wireless devices.  

4. Ethernet on Local Devices

If you use ethernet to connect local devices that are hard-wired like gaming consoles, PC, or laptops, you will experience less latency and faster download speeds compared to using WiFi.

If there is only one ethernet port on the extender, you cannot connect it to a device and the router, it has to be one or the other.

However, if there is more than one ethernet port, you can connect the extender to your devices and the router using ethernet cables. This way you get better latency and even faster speeds.

How To Get Ethernet To Your WiFi Extender

If you have concluded that using ethernet for your WiFi extender is the most suitable choice, there are several methods available for establishing this type of connection as explained below:

1. Ethernet Cables

An ethernet cable is the most straightforward tool for linking your WiFi extender to your router.

This is the best option if you are capable of physically reaching your WiFi extender with an ethernet cable.

2. Ethernet over Powerline

If reaching your WiFi extender with an ethernet cable is difficult, ethernet over powerline offers an alternative solution. This technology utilizes your household’s electrical wiring to transmit internet signals.

You will require a powerline adapter along with ethernet cables for this method to work. Begin by connecting the powerline adapter to a wall socket and linking it to your router with an ethernet cable.

Subsequently, attach the second powerline adapter to a different electrical outlet and plug it into your WiFi extender.

Please note that powerline adapters are limited to a maximum speed of 200 Mbps. Therefore, if your Internet plan offers faster speeds, you won’t be able to fully leverage them using this method.

3 Ethernet over Coax

In situations where connecting your WiFi extender via an ethernet cable isn’t possible and you own a cable TV connection, an alternative is MoCA. Short for “Multimedia over Coax Alliance,” MoCA uses the coaxial cable TV wiring that is available in your residence to send ethernet signals.

You will need ethernet cables and a MoCA adapter for the MoCA method.

Start by linking your router to the MoCA adapter using the ethernet cable. Then attach the second MoCA adapter to your coaxial outlet and insert it into your WiFi extender.

4. Create Ethernet Connections Through the Walls

In cases where you cannot use an ethernet cable and there is no cable TV connection in your home, an alternative approach involves using ethernet connections within your walls.

Although more intricate and costly than the options mentioned above, this method is valuable if a dependable, high-speed connection is essential.

For this option, get the help of an electrician so that they can wire the ethernet cables from your router to the WiFi extender.

Typically, this choice is best for homes undergoing construction or renovation, as it requires access to the wall structures of your home. This method comes with a significant cost.

5. Connect with WiFi

If using an ethernet cable isn’t possible, you have the alternative of establishing a wireless connection for your WiFi extender. While this choice is not as optimal as a wired connection, it is preferable to having no connection.

In many instances, you can still achieve faster download speeds, although they might not match the speed of ethernet.

To connect your WiFi extender to WiFi, position it within the coverage area of your router and follow the setup instructions provided by the WiFi extender.

Remember that barriers such as walls and furniture can disrupt the signal, so aim to position your extender in an optimal location.

Mesh Networks vs WiFi Extenders

Instead of using a router and a WiFi extender connected through ethernet, you can use a mesh network. It is a type of WiFi system that extends the WiFi signal to your entire home using WiFi access points or multiple nodes. 

When using mesh networks, you will still maintain great bandwidth without the need for an ethernet connection.

Mesh networks are easier to set up and more flexible; however, they tend to be more expensive compared to WiFi extenders.

Final Words

Hopefully, this article has given you all the information that you need to know about connecting your WiFi extender using an ethernet cable to extend your WiFi range.

In most cases, it is possible to connect an ethernet cable to a WiFi extender, and it is a reasonably affordable approach to boost your household’s internet coverage.

However, you can also use MoCA or ethernet over the powerline if needed. Another option to extend the range of your router is to use a mesh network, but they can be expensive.

Daniele Besana

Daniele Besana

Daniele is a freelancer consultant with 15 years of experience in network security, customer support, Linux and Salsa. He worked for Juniper Networks in Netherlands, providing support and consultancy on security projects across Europe and Middle-East.

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