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repeater

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Definition: Network repeaters regenerate incoming electrical, wireless or optical signals. With physical media like Ethernet or Wi-Fi, data transmissions can only span a limited distance before the quality of the signal degrades. Repeaters attempt to preserve signal integrity and extend the distance over which data can safely travel.

Actual network devices that serve as repeaters usually have some other name. Active hubs, for example, are repeaters. Active hubs are sometimes also called "multiport repeaters," but more commonly they are just "hubs." Other types of "passive hubs" are not repeaters. In Wi-Fi, access points function as repeaters only when operating in so-called "repeater mode."

Higher-level devices in the OSI model like switches and routers generally do not incorporate the functions of a repeater. All repeaters are technically OSI physical layer devices.

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