Wireless networks are great and they allow us to enjoy the world with fewer cables and restraints, but they still pose a very real limitation and that is the range. There are several ways that you can combat this and increase range, coverage, and performance and one of them is through Wireless Range Extenders. Today I’m taking a closer look at Tenda’s A301 Wireless N300 Universal Range Extender that is a solution for just such a scenario.
The Tenda A301 wireless N300 Universal Range Extender is designed to optimize and extend your existing wireless network to the furthest corner of your home. It delivers transmission rates up to 300Mbps, it features a wall-mounted design, smart signal indicators, and two external antennas.
The plug design allows you to place the Tenda A301 directly in any power outlet and enhance your wireless signals from there on. Whether your home is too big for your current routers coverage or you’ll want to enjoy your WiFi in the garden or on the porch, a range extender is a good idea.
You are already half way done with the setup when you have plugged the A301 range extender into a wall socket or extension cord. The built-in WPS button is the only thing that’s left to press once it’s ready. You’ll have to press the WPS button on your router first tho, but the setup guide explains all that in case you don’t already know it.
Tenda also included a manual setup option for the rare instances where the WPS should fail or your router doesn’t feature a WPS button and function. The sticker on the rear of the unit will tell you how to connect to the setup interface where you manually can connect it to your WiFi network as well as define various settings.
Tenda also added an LAN port to the bottom of the A301 and that allows you to extend the functionality of the device even more. For example, you could have a PC system located at the far end of your home that doesn’t have any wireless network card. Running a cable that far could be troublesome for several reasons and with the A301, you don’t need to.
Connect the PC’s LAN port to the A301’s LAN port and the system is connected to your wireless network without any further setup. For the PC, it is seen as a normal wired connection and the Tenda A301 takes care or the rest.
The Tenda A301 will work fine with any standard WiFi router and is capable of HD video streaming and gaming alike. I would, however, say that it’s mostly for web surfing due to the older standards used. The wireless range extender is using the 2.4GHz band and it is compatible with 802.11 b, g, and n devices. With just 300 Mbps at our disposal with maximum coverage, the N300 standard surely isn’t the fastest.
The WPS button is located directly on the front and it is surrounded by an LED field with four sections. The LEDs have two colours to show more details and are easy to recognize. It will show whether it has power, is connecting, how good the wireless signal is and also show when the LAN port is being used.
The two external antennas help with a better coverage over those who only have internal antennas. You can angle them up to 90 degrees, but they can’t be turned nor replaced with aftermarket antennas. It would have been nice if that would have been possible too.
The wireless performance of the A301 is rated for a max EIRP to route of 58mW and max EIRP to device of 98mW. The range is rated for up to 100 meters indoor and up to 300 meters outdoors. It is compatible with 64 and 128-bit WEP, WPA, WPA2, Mix WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless encryptions of AES, TKIP, and TKIP&AES types. Wireless Access Control is also included and so is MAC filtering.
- Wireless transmission rate up to 300Mbps
- Compatible with 802.11b/g/n devices
- Supports WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryption mechanism to enhance security level
- Wall-mounted design makes it easy to deploy and move flexibly
- 2 External antennas & Range Extender Mode boost WiFi to backyard, porches, and garage
- Smart Signal Indicator helps to find the most accurate location to place the range extender
- Easily expand wireless coverage at a push of Range Extender button
Packaging and Accessories
The Tenda A301 comes in a small packaging that shows the basic information such as product name and image as well as transfer speeds on the front. We also see the Broadcom logo indicating that it uses one of their chips on the insides.
The rear of the package explains how easy it is to set up and you can also see which plug version it is at the bottom. Make sure you get the right one for your location or it might not fit into your outlets, at least not without adapters.
Inside the package is an install guide, wireless declaration an LAN cable and a small disk with a PDF version of the manual.