What are Repeaters in Computer Networks?

What are Repeaters in Computer Networks?

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Anshuman
Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content
Updated on Apr 12, 2024 16:36 IST

Repeaters are devices in computer networks that operate at the physical layer of the OSI model, amplifying or regenerating an incoming signal before retransmitting it.

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In computer networking, repeaters play a fundamental role in extending the range of network signals. As signal amplifiers, repeaters receive weak or degraded signals and regenerate them, enhancing their strength and enabling data transmission over longer distances. This aids in overcoming attenuation and signal loss issues, ensuring consistent and reliable communication across networks. By operating at the Physical Layer of the OSI model, repeaters play a crucial role in maintaining signal integrity and facilitating efficient data transfer, ultimately contributing to the seamless functioning of interconnected devices and networks.

In this article, we will cover repeaters in great detail. But, before we begin doing that, let’s quickly go through the list of topics listed under the table of content (TOC) that we will cover in this article.

Table of Contents (TOC)

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What are Repeaters? 

Almost everyone knows that signal strength degrades as it travels through a network. This natural occurrence can occur with any transmission type, such as electrical power or network data. And there may be times when you want to extend a network’s routing domain further for various reasons, such as accommodating a new host or improving the service level in a specific topological domain. Then, to accomplish this, a repeater must be used.

So, a repeater in computer networks is powerful network device that regenerate signals when they travel over a longer distance, ensuring that the signal strength remains constant. These devices are commonly used in networks to help network lines reach further destinations, and because of this, a repeater is also known as a signal booster.

The most significant advantage of the repeater is that it allows data to be transferred over long distances while ensuring data security and quality. They can also retransmit data while securely preserving the signals.

Here’s the repeater diagram to help you understand it in a better way:

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Types of repeaters 

Repeaters can be mainly divided into three categories, such as:

  • Signals that a repeater can generate: Based on the types of signals repeaters can regenerate, they are further divided into two subcategories, such as:
  • Networks that a repeater can connect: Based on networks that repeaters can connect to, they are further divided into two subcategories, such as:
  • Domain of LANs repeaters can connect: Based on the domain of LANs repeaters can connect, they are further divided into two subcategories, such as:

To simply it, here’s the diagram that depicts the types of repeaters:

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How do Repeaters Work? 

When an electrical signal is broadcast over a network, its strength degrades as it travels through a network. This sets a limit based on the length of the network. This problem is solved by placing a repeater at specific intervals.

The repeater receives the attenuated signal and amplifies it before retransmitting it. This is how a repeater works. And due to their application, repeaters have become quite popular for connecting networks, such as two small LAN networks or a small LAN to a more extensive LAN network.

Advantages of Repeaters 

There are various advantages of using a repeater, and some of those advantages are:

  • Low cost: Repeaters are less expensive than other networks and are cost-effective.
  • Extends network: It can extend the length of the transmission, allowing it to cover a greater distance.
  • Negligible impact on the network: Repeaters have little impact on network performance because they do not always rely on a processing overhead.
  • Improves signal: It enhances signals in terms of strength, allowing them to be retransmitted much stronger and with better performance.
  • Connect networks using different physical media: Networks are frequently connected for reception and transmission in repeaters using various physical media, such as cables.
  • Neglects physical barrier: Physical barriers may weaken the overall signals of wireless connectivity. A wireless repeater frequently reduces these effects, ensuring that signals are delivered to computers.

Disadvantages of Repeaters

As almost everything has its pros and cons, there are also some disadvantages of using a repeater, and some of those disadvantages are:

  • Can’t separate the device in the collision domain: A repeater cannot tell if it is in the same collision domain as another.
  • Bandwidth is halved: The bandwidth is reduced by half as the repeater transfers signals in both directions between the router and the computer.
  • They can’t connect networks of different architectures: They can’t connect networks of different architectures, so you’ll need to use a gateway or a router to solve this.
  • Restriction: The number of repeaters that can be implemented is limited because implementing extra repeaters in a specific area will cause noise on the wire and increase the chances of packet collision.
  • Can’t reduce congestion: They cannot reduce congestion because they cannot segment network traffic. As a result, they cannot reduce network traffic as well as congestion.

You can also explore: What is Hub in Computer Networks?

Conclusion

Repeaters in computer networks increase network coverage, replicate a weak signal, and amplify the input signal to a higher frequency domain, allowing it to be reused, scalable, and available.

You can plan your network setup more efficiently now that you clearly understand what repeaters are, their working, advantages, and disadvantages.

FAQs

What are repeaters or what is repeater in computer network?

Repeaters in computer networks are powerful network devices that are used to regenerate signals when they travel over a longer distance, ensuring that the signal strength remains constant.

What are the advantages of repeaters?

There are various advantages of repeaters, such as low implementation cost, extended network, negligible impact on the network, improved signal, connecting networks using different physical media, etc.

What are the disadvantages of repeaters?

Some of the disadvantages of repeaters are that they can't separate the device in the collision domain, can't connect networks of different architectures, can't reduce congestion, etc.

What happens if the number of repeaters implemented in an area exceeds the limit?

If the number of repeaters implemented in an area exceeds the limit, it will cause noise on the wire and increase the chances of packet collision.

What's the coverage range of repeaters?

Repeaters can cover roughly 25 miles.

What frequency do repeaters operate on?

Repeaters are most commonly found in the VHF 6-meter (50-54 MHz), 2 meters (144-148 MHz), 1.25-meter band (220-225 MHz), and UHF 70-centimeter (420-450 MHz) bands, but they can be used on nearly any frequency pair above 28 MHz.

How do you communicate with a repeater?

To communicate with a repeater, you must have a transceiver that can both transmit and receive on the repeater's input and output frequencies.

What should the ideal location of repeaters be?

The repeaters should be placed halfway between your wireless router and your computer, but they must be within the router's wireless range.

About the Author
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Anshuman Singh
Senior Executive - Content

Anshuman Singh is an accomplished content writer with over three years of experience specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, networking, and software testing. Known for his clear, concise, and informative wr... Read Full Bio