It can be very frustrating when your Wi-Fi extender keeps disconnecting you from the internet, especially when you’re in the middle of work, downloading a file online, or gaming online. Finding out the various reasons why your Wi-Fi extender keeps losing connection is the first step to fixing the problem.
Wi-Fi extenders keep disconnecting mainly because of connecting to the wrong Wi-Fi network, being placed too far from the router, incompatible or outdated firmware, inadequate data, or signal interference from other surrounding wireless devices.
Common reasons why your Wi-Fi extender keeps disconnecting include the following:
- Your Wi-Fi extender is connected to the wrong Wi-Fi network
- Subscribing to an inadequate Data package
- Problems with your ISP’s internet connection
- When your Wi-Fi range extender is plugged too far from the router
- Outdated Wi-Fi or extender firmware
- Signal interference from other wireless devices
- Signal degradation by physical barriers
- Having too many devices connected to the same Wi-Fi extender
- Problems with your power connection
How to stop your Wi-Fi extender from disconnecting
Maintaining a stable connection between your router/access point and Wi-Fi extender when you’re online, is crucial in order to get things done fast and without interruptions. Take the following measures to prevent your Wi-Fi extender from disconnecting:
1. Ensure your Wi-Fi extender is connected to the right Wi-Fi network
Once you have configured your Wi-Fi extender, it creates a new extended network that should have a different name (SSID) from the previous network you were using. This means that if your Wi-Fi devices are still trying to connect to the old network instead of that of the new one you are likely to experience an unstable connection.
You also need to keep in mind that Wi-Fi devices, such as computers and smartphones, will by default always try to connect to the strongest network available. Therefore, if your previous network is stronger than the one from your extender, you will likely face intermittent connection issues.
To avoid this problem, always make sure you are connected to the right network and that each network uses a different SSID. Also, in case the connection to the old network happens automatically, make your Wi-Fi device forget the old network by setting the Wi-Fi extender network as the default.
2. Ensure your Wi-Fi range extender is not placed too far from the router or access point
A Wi-Fi extender does not produce its own signal, it only amplifies the signal it receives. Therefore, if it fails or struggles to receive the signal from your router or access point due to wrong placement you will definitely experience an unstable internet connection.
Your Wi-Fi extender should be placed midway between the router and connecting device and must be within the wireless range of the router or access point.
If it has adjustable antennas, you can play around with their position to see if the connection improves. Also, if the antennas are removable, you can replace them with higher gain antennas to increase their sensitivity.
The following video explains how to set up your Wi-Fi extender:
3. Check that the router and Wi-Fi extender’s Firmware is up to date
In order to communicate with each other, your Wi-Fi extender and router’s firmware should be compatible. Networking equipment manufacturers roll out firmware updates from time to time to make improvements, fix bugs, and solve any other issues.
If you fail to keep firmware updated it can cause connection issues, therefore, ensure you are not running outdated firmware. You can check whether there is a firmware upgrade for your device by logging into the device’s setup page and checking if there are any new firmware updates under the settings tab.
Another way to check for updates is by visiting the router and extender provider’s website. Next, you should search or select your device’s model number to check if there is a more current version of the firmware update for that device.
If you are running the latest firmware, then your problem is not software related. However, if you are running an older version, update it to the current version and see if this fixes connection issues. Oftentimes, different models run different versions of the firmware so be sure to choose the correct one.
4. Keep your Wi-Fi extender away from devices that transmit or receive wireless signals
Electronic devices such as microwaves, Bluetooth speakers, home security systems, and baby monitors are known to cause wireless interference. This often happens when the devices use the same or almost similar radio frequency range as the Wi-Fi extender which leads to congestion of the frequency and thus disconnection issues.
You can avoid wireless interference caused by electronic devices by placing them far away from your Wi-Fi extender. Also, consider switching to a less congested frequency range if your extender is dual band.
If both your extender and router have Ethernet capability, you can run a hard-wired connection and this should take care of any wireless interference issues.
5. Maintain a reasonable distance between your Wi-Fi extender and physical barriers
Physical barriers such as thick concrete walls, glass, fish tanks, and metal doors should be some distance away from your Wi-Fi extender. This is because they degrade or reflect the Wi-Fi signal before it reaches the receiving device, thus causing connection issues.
You should also avoid putting your Wi-Fi extender inside furniture such as cabinets and cupboards because this weakens the Wi-Fi signal. Issues will generally include delayed load times, buffering, latency, and occasionally having to reconnect devices.
6. Connect fewer devices to your Wi-Fi extender
Your Wi-Fi disconnection issue could also be a result of having too many devices using the same extender, especially if they use up a lot of bandwidth. Overloading your extender causes “digital congestion” which causes connectivity issues, delayed load times, and latency.
Therefore, if you find that you have too many devices connecting to the same Wi-Fi extender, you can try disconnecting the devices that you are currently not using and see if this resolves your connection issues.
7. Ensure that there are no issues with your power connection
If your Wi-Fi extender is not connected to a stable power source it will keep disconnecting you from the internet and reconnecting when the power comes back. This could be caused by worn-out cables, loose connections, or power outages.
You should therefore investigate whether power instability could be the reason why you keep losing connection from your Wi-Fi extender.
8. Subscribe to a data package that matches your usage
Sometimes the reason why your Wi-Fi extender keeps disconnecting has nothing to do with your hardware or firmware. Internet service providers such as Verizon, AT&T, T Mobile, and Xfinity offer both limited and unlimited data packages.
Therefore, it could be that you are on a limited data plan that gets used up sooner than you expect, especially if you are using the internet for data-intensive activities such as online gaming or streaming movies on Netflix or Hulu. If this is the case, you might want to consider switching to an unlimited data package that will ensure you have internet access throughout.
9. Check that there are no problems with your ISP
If you’ve fixed both hardware and firmware issues and your Wi-Fi extender still keeps disconnecting, the problem could be on the ISP’s side. For instance, if your modem does not communicate properly with your ISP, your internet will likely keep disconnecting.
If you use cable or DSL internet, loose, damaged (especially during construction), or old cables could be the reason you keep losing connection. Other issues that your ISP might need to resolve include network congestion (for example, during peak hours), weak infrastructure, and technical issues on their end.
How do I update my Wi-Fi Extender?
You can update your Wi-Fi extender by logging in to your extender’s setup page using a browser and then clicking on the settings or system tools tab, you should find the option to upgrade firmware.
Alternatively, you can update your Wi-Fi extender’s firmware manually by visiting the manufacturer’s page and downloading the latest firmware for your specific model, and then uploading the downloaded file to the extender’s setup page.
The third way you can use to upgrade your extender’s firmware is using a proprietary phone application such as Huawei’s AI Life app. Using the app, you can perform the upgrades manually or set them to happen automatically. This can be done from the extender’s management page usually under the settings or device updates tab.
The video below shows how a Netgear Wi-Fi extender can be updated:
Do Wi-Fi Extenders use more data than routers?
Wi-Fi extenders do not use more data compared to just having a router because they do not directly ‘talk’ to the internet. They simply use local data (inside your house) to communicate with your router or access point. Actual Wi-Fi devices that transmit and receive data from the internet are what consume your data.
Conclusion: Why does my Wi-Fi Extender keep losing connection?
Wi-Fi extenders keep losing connection due to various reasons such as incompatible firmware, poor placement, issues with the ISP, unstable power connections, wireless interference, etc.
Most of these issues are easy to troubleshoot and resolve without the intervention of a network technician. However, if you find that you can’t get to the root of your problem, it’s advisable to seek the help of a certified network technician.