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(also signal booster)

Repeater definition

Repeater is a type of network node that amplifies incoming signals and rebroadcasts them over a wider area or higher network layer than the original signal. In computer networks, a repeater is used to increase the network's reach, restore a damaged or weak signal, or provide access to inaccessible nodes. To make the received/input signal more usable, scalable, and accessible, repeaters magnify it to a higher frequency domain. Repeaters were established in wired data communication networks to extend signal propagation and are currently used in wireless networks to expand cell size. Every computer system and data communications network has a limited range of services that only includes approved hosts and nodes. It's within the network's purview, but it needs to go beyond that to serve a new/existing host or boost performance in a certain topological area. The network will employ the services of a repeater to boost the received signal to an acceptable level for the destination nodes to pick up. Repeaters support analog, digital, and light-based transmissions.

Functions of a repeater:

  • Accepts signals from one LAN terminal cable and regenerates and retransmits them over other cable segments in their original form.
  • It prevents boosted signals from weakening before reaching their destination.
  • It regenerates signal strength before broadcasting.
  • It operates at the physical layer of the OSI model and is transparent to all protocols above it.
  • LAN implementations limit the number of repeaters. A repeater between two or more LAN cable segments must utilize the same physical layer protocol to convey a signal.

Advantages of repeaters:

  • Cost. Compared to the other network, the cost of repeaters is significantly lower.
  • Network performance. Repeaters sometimes require less processing time.
  • Enhance signal. The distance between a PC and router weakens communications, but repeaters boost signals and improve performance.
  • Network extends. Repeaters boost signals and lengthen transmissions. They can extend the network's distance.
  • Physical barriers. Wireless repeaters prevent physical obstructions that can decrease wireless signals.
  • Media support. Networks are often connected to repeaters for reception and transmission using different physical media sources.

Disadvantages of repeaters:

  • Network traffic. Network traffic cannot be divided up by a repeater. As a result, they are unable to lessen the impact of congestion and network traffic.
  • Number of repeaters. Network repeaters are limited and will cause wire noise and packet collisions when deployed together.
  • Network architecture. Repeaters cannot join networks of various designs. This requires a gateway or router.
  • Network segmentation. Repeaters cannot segment networks.
  • Bandwidth usage. Wireless repeaters send signals between a router and a PC. Bandwidths are halved when computers connect to wireless repeaters.