Wi-Fi extenders are hugely popular devices in the home, but can they be used specifically with PlayStation/Xbox/Nintendo games consoles? They’re just simple single plug devices that you install somewhere near the router, and which “capture” and amplify the signal from your existing router. Will a Wi-Fi extender work with these devices if you need a better wireless signal?
Games consoles can be connected to Wi-Fi extenders just like any other device, once you have connected the extender to your router and configured it’s own network. However, performance can be variable and is not guaranteed, especially for online gaming.
In other words, yes, there’s nothing stopping you using Wi-Fi extenders/boosters/repeaters with games consoles that have wireless capability, to deliver a better or more reliable signal if you’re struggling with your main router. But performance may or may not be satisfactory depending on what you’re doing on your games console.
Let’s run through detailed steps on how to use Wi-Fi extenders with games consoles, and then also look at the different factors to take into account that may influence how effective they actually are for gamers.
See our extenders page for links to some popular extender models in different price ranges.
Step #1 – Connect The Extender To Your Router
If you do want to try and use a Wi-Fi extender with your games console, you first need to set it up by connecting it to your router. There are actually a couple of different ways of doing this, but it’s not that hard and can be done quite quickly. There’s the quicker WPS method and a longer method on a browser; let’s cover both. You don’t even need your games console for this step.
WPS Method (Quick Setup):
- Plug the extender in near the router for initial setup and wait for it to initialize
- Press the WPS/Pair button on your router until it flashes/blinks
- Press the WPS/Pair/Connect/Wi-Fi button on your repeater. Sometimes you need to press and hold for a few seconds until it starts blinking.
- Give up to 2 minutes for the router and extender to “find” each other via the WPS feature.
- Once the LED on your extender turns solid green, you know the router and extender are connected.
- When set up via WPS, your extender will share the same network name (SSID) and password as your main router. Find and connect to it on your device’s Wi-Fi networks list.
- Then move the extender round for a better signal if needed. Try to place it about halfway between your games console and router; see here if struggling to get a consistent signal with a repeater.
See our full article on extender WPS setup for more detailed steps if you need them.
WPS Extender Setup – Quick Video
Browser Setup On A Device (longer method):
- Plug the extender in near the router for initial setup
- Note down login details on your extender on the label and plug it in.
- Find the extender’s SSID (network name) on your device and connect
- Open any web browser on your phone/tablet and type in the access URL (on the label) into the address bar
- Enter the default admin username/password on the label (see screenshot below)
- Set up a new SSID/username/password if desired.
- Find and connect to your router’s Wi-Fi network on the list.
- Either copy or modify your router’s credentials for the repeater.
- Save settings and connect the device to the new extender network, which will have the same password as your main router.
- A green light indicates the repeater is connected and working.
- Then move the extender round to where you need it, still making sure it is within range of the router’s signal. Try to place it about halfway between your games console and router; see here if struggling to get a consistent signal with a repeater.
See our full article on extender browser setup for more detailed steps.
You can do this step on your game console’s web browser if it has one, but you don’t need to. You can use any browser on any device you’ve got to hand (PC/laptop/phone/tablet), which is usually easier than using your console browser.
Step #2 – Connect Your Games Console To The Extender’s Network
Once you’ve configured a Wi-Fi extender as detailed in the above step, it will create it’s own network that you can find on your console’s Wi-Fi list. It’s SSID/name will be almost the same as your router unless you set it differently, usually with just an “EXT” or “EXTENDER” suffix on the end.
Therefore you just need to connect your games console to this new network and test the signals/speeds to see if they are better than using your main router. For dual band extenders that emit both a 2.4 GHz and a 5 GHz network, you’re actually often better connecting to the 2.4 GHz network, since this band tends to work better over distance and through objects. Don’t worry so much about 5 GHz for gaming.
Here are the steps to do this for current major consoles:
- PS3/PS4/PS5 consoles – Go to Settings…..Network……Set Up Internet Connection. Select Easy, then pick your extender’s network from the list that appears and enter it’s password to connect, as you would would with your router. Save settings and test the connection. Video here.
- Xbox One/Xbox X consoles – Press the Xbox button on your controller to open up the menu, then go to Profile & System.…Settings. On the General tab, go to Network….Set up Wireless Network. Select your extender’s network from the list that appears, and enter the password (same as your router’s). Once connected, confirm the settings and test. Video here
- Nintendo Switch – From the home screen, tap the Settings cog, then go to Internet, and move over to Internet Settings on the right and let it search for nearby networks. Tap on your extender’s network when found and punch in the wireless password and tap OK. Test the connection from the Internet tab is desired Video here.
- Some older Xbox 360 consoles don’t have wireless capability as standard, so you’ll have to either buy a Wi-Fi adapter or use ethernet instead.
Alternative method – ethernet connection – A lot of Wi-Fi extenders also have an ethernet port on the underside of them. If you are close enough, you can plug into the games console with a cable and set up a LAN/ethernet connection instead, which may make the connection better at long range.
Do Wi-Fi Extenders Work Well With Games Consoles?
Setting up a Wi-Fi extender and connecting a games console to it is not too hard, but does it actually work well doing it this way? Honestly, there isn’t a one size fits all answer to this, since the performance of extenders/boosters/repeaters is so variable anyway. And it depends on what you’re doing on your games console.
Let’s cover some of the moving parts the will impact the results you’ll get:
Mode of connection – Using an extender on a wireless connection, you will suffer a drop in speed versus being plugged direct into the router. Using the ethernet port may deliver a slightly better connection, but speeds will already be reduced because the extender is adding an extra “hop” or step to the network. Adding more distance and steps between your console and router will always inevitably reduce signal quality and speeds, but the connection may still be perfectly usable (will vary in every case).
Current router signal – If your current signal between the console and main router is very poor or non-existent, the extender can massively help and deliver at least a workable connection when you really couldn’t get a proper one before with the host router. This is how I’m using my extender with my PS4 right now and it helps massively. This is where extenders really do come into their own and serve a useful function; when your current signal to the main router is basically unusable and the extender bridges this gap and creates a working signal.
Reliability of Extender signal – Extenders can be fickle and unreliable, and suddenly stop working when the signal drops out. You might have to experiment trying them in different wall sockets until you find somewhere that delivers a reliable signal to your console. Also, it can help to periodically unplug them and move them back close to the router for a while to refresh the signal, and then put them back where they were (they save settings when moved so it’s fine to do this).
Streaming – Most games consoles have a decent library of video/streaming apps, and this is again where extenders can come into their own and deliver a better connection to allow streaming. This is mostly how I use my PS4 with my extender now and it’s been very helpful. Before, I could not stream with any kind of consistency connecting to the main router because the signal kept dropping, but now I can using the extender.
Online gaming – This is where again results and can be more varied and depend on what you’re playing plus how serious a player you are. For slower paced/casual gaming, extenders can deliver a usable connection. But for more serious/competitive or faster paced stuff where you don’t want a lot of lag, you are likely to experience higher ping adding more steps to the network, especially when the network is busy with lots of users. See our article on whether extenders work for gaming for more on this.
Bottom line – It’s worth trying, since extenders are available cheap. But performance isn’t guaranteed and results will vary. But they can help you get at least an acceptable connection on your games console, if your connection using the main router is poor or non-existent.
See our extenders page for links to some popular extender models in different price ranges
Powerline Adapters As An Alternative For Gamers
Honestly, using Wi-Fi in any form, whether from your main router or boosted with an extender, isn’t usually the best form of connection to use for gaming. It’s generally far better to be on a wired connection for better stability/speeds, and lower ping.
But people are only generally using Wi-Fi or an extender in the first place because they’re too far from the router to run a cable directly, and this is where powerline adapters can come in as a useful alternative to extender, that are in a sense custom built for gamers and games consoles.
Powerline adapters consist of a pair of adapter plugs, one of which you connect to your router, and the other you connect to your games console. The two plugs then communicate through the existing house wiring to deliver a wired internet connection, even at distance from router.
See the video below for a demo of how they work. They are a great way to bypass the need for Wi-Fi and extenders in general, and stay on wired connections even a long way from the router.
They’re worth considering for gamers looking to get a better connection to their games console without needing to run massive cables to their router, and are in about the same price range as extenders.
The wiring in your house does need to be in good condition to allow the adapters to communicate, but when they do work, they are usually preferable to extenders for gaming (see our comparison article between the two).