Tenda just announced the availability on their newest router called the F3 and while it might look a little weird to begin with, it certainly does have its benefits. The Tenda F3 is a slim and low-profile 2.4GHz 300Mbps router which might not sound like much when compared to flagship routers that come with all the bells and whistles attached, but it does have its benefits.
The 2.4 GHz band might not sport the high gigabit speeds you can get off the 5 GHz band, but it does have a much better coverage and allows you to reach the furthest corners of your home without dead zones. Tenda amplified this feature by equipping the router with three external 5dBi antennas that can achieve a full coverage of a 200 square meter home.
The router is advertised as a mainstream router thanks its basic wireless features and low price of just $24.99 USD, but I see it more as the perfect router for the home of tomorrow and powered with all sorts of IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Networking your home appliances and connecting them requires a great connectivity that is both just stable and also covers each and every corner of your home. You need to be able to prioritize traffic and assign bandwidth limitations to make sure your vital IoT devices have uninterrupted and lag-free connections, and Tenda’s router OS has all the features for this built right into the easy-to-use interface.
Naturally, the router will be just as great for sharing your internet connection among all your PCs, smartphones, TVs, and what other devices you might have. The only downside is really the 100 Mbps LAN and WAN ports, but that can easily be rectified by adding a simple Gbps switch between your systems and the router.
Antenna: 3x5dBi external undetachable antennas
Power Consumption: 1.9W(no load)~3.3W(full-load)
Power Supply: DC 9V 600mA
LED: SYS, WiFi, LAN(1-3), WAN, T, WPS
Interface: 10/100M auto-negotiation WAN port ; 3*10/100M auto-negotiation LAN ports
It is one thing to buy a wireless network card and set it up, but a lot of the time you can improve the performance of these cards with a few aftermarket items. Today I’m taking a little look at some of the upgrade offering that SilverStone offers, the WAB1B Magnetic WiFi antenna base, the WAD17 7 dBi high-gain antenna, and the 9 dBi WA219 high-gain antenna.
An antenna base can help you with two things: Move the antennas to a more open space where it’s less crowded than behind your PC with all the add-in cards and cables running there. The second bonus is that you can move the antennas to a place where they will get a better reception than they would behind your chassis that’s possibly located under your desk. SilverStone’s WAB1B antenna base is also magnetic which allows you to place it on the side of things, such as your PC chassis if it is made of metal. This increases the placement options even further. To finalize the whole thing, SilverStone added gold-plated connectors at both ends to ensure the best possible signal transfer.
The included antennas might not be total to your liking when you buy a network card, for one reason or another. The most common reason to get aftermarket antennas is the higher performance that they offer over the mainstream and included antennas. Antennas with higher gain also come with an increased size as you can see on the photo below. The smallest antenna is the default antenna included with SilverStone’s ECWA1 PCIe card and the other two are the WAD17 and WA219 respectively.
The WAD17 is a dual-band antenna for use with both the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz band while the WA219 only is a single-band antenna for use with the 2.4GHz band. Both have their usage scenarios, so which you pick comes down to what you need. The long WA219 has a performance of 9dBi while the WAD217 has a performance of 7dBi, both quite a bit better than default 5dBi antennas, or worse.
Our routers and wireless network cards come with replaceable antennas, at least a lot do, and SilverStone released two new antennas and one magnetic Wi-Fi antenna base for the scenario that you’ll want to upgrade your existing antennas for performance or placement reasons.
The SilverStone WAD17, pictured above, is a high-gain MIMI 2T2R Wi-Fi antenna for improved wireless connectivity. It has a 5 dBi gain on the 2.4 GHz band and 7 dBi on the 5GHz bands which makes it a dual-band antenna. The Dipole antenna features a default SMA plug RP connector and has an impedance of 50 ohms.
The SilverStone WA219 2T2R high-gain Wi-Fi antenna is only for the 2.4 GHz band but comes with an impressive 9 dBi gain for that extra range and signal strength into the furthest parts of your home.
The SilverStone WAB1B is a circular magnetic base for SMA plug RP antennas and it has a 1.5-meter long cable for optimal placement. It allows you to place the antennas on a more optimal position than let’s say on the rear of your PC chassis which is placed under the desk. Having the antennas on top of the chassis or even the desk itself will greatly improve the Wi-Fi performance. Both the plug on the stand and on the cable are gold plated for optimal connection and the cable used is a low loss CLF 100.
All three new SilverStone Wi-Fi accessories are available now for a recommended end user price (excl. VAT) of $10.08 USD, $8.51 USD, and $8.51 USD respectively for the WA219, WAD17, and WAB1B.