Skip to content
Storm Recovery

Storm Recovery: We are continuing to monitor restoration to commercial power in our service areas. As commercial power is restored, we will be assessing all areas where Astound service has been interrupted and working to restore your service as quickly as possible.

Thank you for your continued patience as we recover from Hurricane Beryl.

Building your order...

Mesh WiFi vs WiFi extenders: What’s the difference?

couple in spacious house with wifi devices

If you’ve looked into improving your WiFi network or increasing your WiFi speed, you might have looked into mesh WiFi or WiFi extenders. While these two technologies have some similarities, they are very different in how they manage and optimize WiFi speed.

In this article, we’ll explain the differences between mesh WiFi and WiFi extenders

WiFi that just works!

WiFi plans for any home

Tiny, large, or somewhere in between; find WiFi coverage to fit any space. Blanket your entire home with a fast and ultra‑reliable connection.

CTA round con purple-Wifi that works across any home

What is a WiFi extender?

How do WiFi extenders work? A WiFi extender, also known as a WiFi repeater or booster, is a device that extends the coverage area of a WiFi network. WiFi extenders work by receiving an existing WiFi signal, amplifying it and transmitting the boosted signal.

For someone in need of boosting weak signals or increasing network coverage in all areas of the home or office, a WiFi extender may provide benefits. Let’s take a look at what WiFi extenders are good for.

    • Extending coverage: WiFi extenders bring coverage where the main router’s signal cannot reach, such as basements, attics or outdoor areas.
    • Improving connectivity: WiFi extenders improve connectivity in areas with poor WiFi reception.
    • Supporting more devices: Extenders can enable more devices to connect to the internet.

WiFi extenders may need to create a new network that devices must switch to manually. Typically, these extenders need to use half of the bandwidth available in order to communicate back to the router. This may slow down the connection.

If you are looking for a more seamless connection, a mesh network system may work better for your needs.

Woman in casual attire uses tablet at home

Mesh WiFi with eero Secure

Enhanced Whole Home WiFi enables multiple WiFi routers (or eeros®) to work as a team, resulting in improved range, speed and stability of your WiFi network. Plus, with eero Secure now included at no additional cost, it keeps your family safe with parental controls, ad blocking and internet backup so you’re always connected.

What is mesh WiFi?

How does mesh WiFi work? Mesh WiFi is a wireless networking technology that uses multiple router-like devices (or, nodes) to create a single, wide-ranging and seamless mesh WiFi network similar to eero mesh WiFi. Unlike traditional WiFi routers that broadcast WiFi from a single point, mesh WiFi systems leverage several access points.

Mesh WiFi vs. WiFi extenders

When choosing between mesh WiFi systems or WiFi extenders, remember that each has their own strengths and is optimized for different forms of networking.

Check out our comparison of WiFi extenders and mesh WiFi plans:

Coverage and performance

Mesh WiFi systems offer extensive, seamless coverage with consistent performance, while WiFi extenders can extend reach but often at the cost of reduced speed and increased network complexity.

    • Mesh WiFi systems coverage and performance: Mesh WiFi systems provide seamless coverage throughout the home by eliminating dead zones and preventing signal loss. Mesh WiFi systems and their nodes provide consistent performance across the entire network, rerouting traffic to ensure the best speeds.
    • WiFi extenders coverage and performance: WiFi extenders extend the reach of the existing router, but may create network overlap. Similarly, if your extender is very far from your main router, you may experience signal degradation. WiFi extenders need to access bandwidth for retransmitting, which may result in reductions of your available bandwidth.

Speed and stability

When comparing the stability and speed of mesh WiFi systems and WiFi extenders, consider how each technology impacts your overall network performance. Here’s a breakdown of what you can typically expect from each in terms of stability and speed:

Mesh WiFi systems

    • Stability: Mesh systems are very stable. Mesh WiFi tech enables nodes to communicate with each other, ensuring that the network self-heals and re-routes data if a node goes offline or encounters interference. Dynamic adjustments, such as these, help maintain a stable connection throughout the home.
    • Speed: Mesh WiFi systems maintain better network speeds because they can intelligently route traffic and are less likely to suffer from congestion. Most modern mesh systems support newer WiFi standards, such as WiFi 6 technology, which provide higher speeds and better handling of simultaneous connections.

WiFi extenders

    • Stability: WiFi extenders may be less stable compared to mesh systems. They rely on the strength of the original signal from the router, and their performance can degrade with distance from the router. If the extender itself is poorly placed where the router’s signal is already weak, its extended network will also be weak and unstable.
    • Speed: WiFi extenders can reduce speeds, especially as distance increases from the primary router. The farther a signal is extended, the slower it gets.

Set up and management

Setting up and managing a WiFi network can significantly affect user experience. Here’s how mesh WiFi systems and WiFi extenders compare in terms of setup and ongoing management:

Mesh WiFi systems

    • Set-up: Mesh systems are known for their user-friendly setup processes. Most come with a dedicated mobile app that guides users through installation.
    • Management: Once set up, mesh systems can be low-maintenance. The mobile app used for setup provides network management tools, allowing users to see which devices are connected, prioritize devices or applications, and update firmware automatically. Parental controls and guest network features are also commonly included and easy to activate. Mesh systems continuously monitor network health and can automatically switch devices between nodes to maintain the strongest connection, as well as provide security tools to help you protect your network.

WiFi extenders

    • Set-up: Setting up WiFi extenders may be a bit more complex than mesh systems. Extenders need to be placed within a good range of the router to receive a strong signal but also far enough away to extend the network’s reach.
    • Management: Managing extenders can be more hands-on compared to mesh systems. Extenders often create a separate network SSID, which can require manual switching between networks as you move around your home. They may also require periodic reconfiguration if the primary router’s settings change or if there are issues with signal overlap or interference.

Whether you decide to use a WiFi extender or a WiFi mesh network, make sure to take steps to secure your WiFi.

top angle view of a dad and kids around a table each working on their own devices

eero Plus

eero Plus protects your family online with a password manager to safely create, store and share passwords, virus and malware protection and a VPN that lets you browse the web safely and securely.

Why you should choose the eero mesh WiFi over traditional extenders

Choosing an eero mesh WiFi system over traditional WiFi extenders for your home network provides several significant advantages, particularly in terms of performance, security, ease of use and scalability.

If you want better WiFi performance, use a mesh network to distribute strong, stable WiFi throughout your home. Unlike traditional extenders, which can degrade signal strength and speed during re-broadcasting, eero’s mesh technology ensures that each node communicates with the router, optimizing data paths and reducing congestion.

By using the eero app when installing, you’ll be able to set up an entire system to position your nodes for optimal coverage. After placement, you’ll be able to continually manage your network, prioritize devices, create guest access and monitor parental controls from your smartphone.

Astound’s Whole Home WiFi eero subscription includes eero Secure, which has parental controls, ad blocking and internet backup included, at no additional cost.

If you want to invest more in your home network, adding more nodes is simple. Plug them in and let the app integrate them with your existing network. You’ll be able to extend coverage to new areas of your home or enhance capacity as you add more devices, something that traditional extenders struggle with.


So, is mesh WiFi really better? When deciding between mesh WiFi systems or WiFi extenders for enhancing your home network, each option serves different needs.

WiFi extenders can be a cost-effective solution for extending your existing router to hard-to-reach areas, with potential reductions in speed and signal strength. However, if you want an easy-to-manage WiFi experience, mesh WiFi systems, like eero, offer more advantages.

Mesh systems provide extensive and seamless coverage, superior performance and the convenience of a single network that supports smooth device transitions without the need to switch networks manually.

Furthermore, with their self-managing capabilities and scalability, mesh WiFi systems can accommodate a growing number of devices and increasing connectivity demands.

While WiFi extenders have their place, the continuous evolution and benefits of mesh WiFi systems make them the smarter and more reliable choice for comprehensive whole home WiFi solutions.

Switch & save

Astound Broadband is the #1 cable ISP

Surf the web, game, stream live content and connect to multiple devices with speeds up to 1500* Mbps through our ultra‑reliable fiber‑powered network.*

CTA round con purple-Astound rated number 1

Frequently asked questions

As WiFi extenders retransmit data between routers and devices, they can reduce internet speeds and increase latency.

Yes. Upgrading to a mesh WiFi system can be worthwhile if you need consistent, reliable coverage across a large or multi-story space, as it provides more coverage, fewer dead zones and better connectivity compared to a traditional router or WiFi extender.

No. A repeater simply extends coverage; mesh systems use interconnected nodes to create a seamless and stable WiFi network in your space. With mesh, devices automatically connect to the strongest signal, offering better performance and simpler network management.

Depending on the size of your home, mesh WiFi can increase the number of mesh WiFi devices or nodes, needed to create a comprehensive network. In terms of device capacity, mesh WiFi systems can handle more devices more effectively than traditional routers due to their ability to distribute the network load across multiple nodes.

Yes, a WiFi extender may reduce speed, particularly when the extender communicates with the router on the same frequency band.

Create your perfect internet plan

Get the internet speed, WiFi, TV and mobile that’s just right for you.


*Internet speeds may vary & are not guaranteed. Certain equipment may be required to reach advertised speeds. DOCSIS 3.1 modem with 2.5GE physical LAN port is required for 1 Gigabit speeds and higher. See for why speeds may vary. To view Astound’s FCC Network Management Disclosure see Modem required for Internet service. No contract required. Subject to availability. We substantiate that the cable modem equipment provided, and the configuration of such cable modem, meets the broadband speeds advertised when attached to a wired connection based on SamKnows testing procedures.

Not all services, speeds, packages, equipment, channels, tiers, pricing, streaming services, product offerings and product features are available in all areas. Offers valid only for new residential customers or previous customers with account in good standing who have not had our service within the last 60 days. All names, logos, images and service marks are property of their respective owners. Other restrictions may apply.

While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in this site has been obtained from reliable sources, Astound Broadband is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information in this site is provided “as is”, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness and without warranty of any kind, express or implied, including, but not limited to warranties of performance, merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. Certain links in this site connect to other websites maintained by third parties over whom Astound Broadband has no control. Astound Broadband makes no representations as to the accuracy or any other aspect of information contained in other websites.

eero Plus is available for an additional $9.99/month and requires subscription to whole home WiFi powered by eero.