ASUS RP-AC56 Dual-Band Wireless AC1200 Range Extender Review

Introduction


When you invest in a wireless network repeater in order to increase your range and cover dead spots in your home, you can either go for a run-of-the-mill unit that provides you with the basic functionality or you can go all out and get a device like ASUS’ RP-AC56 wireless dual-band AC1200 range extender and access point. The ASUS RP-AC56 is anything but ordinary and today I’ll take a closer look at everything this little device has to offer.

The ASUS RP-AC56 can extend your existing 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi network with speeds up to 1167 Mbps and thanks to its two external antennas it will have a great ability to enhance Wi-Fi signal coverage and boost your Wi-Fi everywhere. But it does a lot more than that, it also comes with a Gigabit Ethernet LAN port for even more connectivity as well as a 3.5mm audio jack for music streaming.

The dual-band repeater supports both the legacy 2.4GHz band and the newer 5GHz band for AC1200 speeds. The two external antennas support MIMO for the best connection even when multiple devices use it at the same time. With speeds up to 867 Mbps on the 5GHz band you can get close to what a wire connection has to offer, at least with the proper signal strength and isn’t that just the reason that we want a device such as the RP-AC56.

ASUS made sure that the setup is as easy as it can be, all it takes is a push of a button thanks the easy WPS setup. Hit the button on your router and then on the repeater, wait for a little bit, and the connection will be established. And that really is all you need to do, but you can do more. The LEDs on the front don’t just show which network band is being used, they also show the signal strength in three steps (Red, Yellow, Green) which in return allows you to find the perfect position for maximum coverage.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uf-0m-BMyo0

As previously mentioned, the RP-AS56 comes with a convenient Gigabit Ethernet LAN port built-in and the function of it depends on the usage of the RP-AC56. The flexibly designed device can work as a normal repeater, but it can also work as a wireless access point or as a media bridge. In access point mode it can be connected to any wired network and create a personal Wi-Fi hotspot. In media bridge mode it can be connected to any Ethernet-compatible device to give it Wi-Fi capability where it didn’t before.

The LAN port can also be used for easy access to the web-based configuration menu without the need for any driver disc or application, but it isn’t something that is needed. You can naturally also set it up wirelessly from devices such as your tablet or smartphone.

You can also connect speakers directly to the RP-AC56 wireless repeater and stream your favorite music direct from any mobile device that has the ASUS AiPlayer app installed. It is compatible with a wide range of multimedia formats and delivers a smooth and effortless streaming experience. The AiPlayer app is available from the App Store and Google Play and it also works for streaming without extra software when used from a Mac and iOS device.

Additionally, the RP-AC56 also supports ASUS’ ExpressWay feature that uses the dual-band capabilities to create an efficient connection with improved reliability. In normal mode, the repeater uses the two bands simultaneously for connecting to devices for the widest compatibility. ExpressWay can dedicate one band for connecting to the router and the other band for connecting to the device as long as one of them supports the 5GHz band. It also features the hassle-free Roaming Assist technology. With this enabled, you never have to switch connections manually between RP-AC56 and your ASUS router as you move around the home. Your device will connect automatically to the strongest Wi-Fi signal whether it’s from the router or the repeater.

Features

  • Extend your existing 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi network with speeds up to 1167 Mbps.
  • Two external antennas enhance Wi-Fi signal coverage and boost your Wi-Fi everywhere.
  • Quick and secure setup with just a press of the WPS button.
  • Smart LED signal indicator helps you find the best location for optimum Wi-Fi performance.
  • Rotating mains plug for flexible positioning in any power socket. (Not in all regions)
  • ASUS AiPlayer app for streaming music, with multi-protocol support.
  • ASUS ExpressWay uses full-speed device connections to boost performance.
  • Roaming Assist helps you to get a stable connection everywhere in the home or office.

Packaging and Accessories

The ASUS RP-AC56 comes in a great looking retail box that shows how the device looks on the front where it also shows the main features and highlights the Android and iOS support.

The rear of the box explains what the device does and how you can utilize it. It also showcases the AiPlayer for wireless streaming and more details on the features. Overall it’s a great box where you shouldn’t be left with any questions as to what the device you’re holding in your hands can do.

Inside the box, we find a quick start guide and ASUS VIP Member Warranty Notice in multiple languages as well as a 3.5mm audio cable to connect the repeater to an amplifier or speaker set.

Linksys Introduces Four New MU-MIMO Solutions

Linksys was the first company to launch a fully functional MU-MIMO router last May and now they’re ready with four more devices in the new MAX-STREAM MU-MIMO series: Two routers, one range extender, and a USB adapter. The new Linksys MAX-STREAM lineup leverages the next generation of Wi-Fi with Multi-User, Multiple-Input, Multiple Output technology (MU-MIMO). This helps to ensure uninterrupted Wi-Fi connectivity to all the devices in the home and function as if multiple devices have their own dedicated router.

“Our new line-up of Linksys MU-MIMO solutions provide the networking backbone to allow consumers to enjoy high-performance and simultaneous Wi-Fi, including speed, range, and coverage”, said Justin Doucette, director of product management, Linksys. “With the rise of 4K streaming and the growth of MU-MIMO clients, having the latest MU-MIMO technology is the best way to ensure users get the best Wi-Fi experience possible.”

The first new router is the Linksys MAX-STREAM AC1900 Dual-Band MU-MIMO Gigabit router (EA7500) and we stay with the basics here. The EA7500 features a Qualcomm IPQ 1.4GHz dual-core processor and naturally comes with the latest 802.11ac Wave 2 with MU-MIMO Wi-Fi standard. It is an AC1900 router with up to 600Mbps on the legacy 2.4GHz band and up to 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band. It features four Gigabit ethernet LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port next to the USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports.

The Linksys MAX-STREAM AC1900 Dual-Band MU-MIMO Gigabit router (EA7500) has an expected availability in February 2016 and has an MSRP of £149.99.

The second router takes the whole thing to the next level as it is a tri-band AC5400 router. The Linksys MAX-STREAM AC5400 tri-band Wi-Fi router with MU-MIMO (EA9500) is also powered by a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor, but it has an extra 5GHz band and kicks the speed up another notch. The EA9500 can provide up to 1000 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 2166 Mbps on each of the two 5GHz bands.

The EA9500 doesn’t just take the Wi-Fi speeds to another level, it does the same with the connectivity. The EA9500 has eight Gigabit Ethernet ports and one Gigabit WAN port next to the USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 port. It also features a setup with eight external antennas for maximum coverage on all three bands.

The Linksys MAX-STREAM AC5400 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router with MU-MIMO (EA9500) has a planned launch date of April 2016 and an MSRP of £329.99.

Even with the best routers at hand, your coverage can be insufficient based on the simple real estate that it has to cover and that is where range extenders come into play. Linksys MAX-STREAM series also got one of these available and it is the AC1900+ MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE7000). The combination of a MAX STREAM router and range extender creates a single network in the home with a single network name (SSID) so users can roam throughout their home without having to manually connect to the range extender. It also features Linksys’ Spot Finder Technology to show users where to place the range extender using a mobile device, Crossband Technology to maximizes the simultaneous use of both bands, and Beamforming to focus the signal. It can work as both a repeater and access point and also features a Gigabit ethernet port.

The Linksys MAX-STREAM AC1900+ MU-MIMO Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE7000) ha a planned availability set for spring 2016 and an MSRP of £129.99.

The last of the four new MAX-STREAM devices fills the final gap in the network by being a USB adapter for your system. The Linksys AC600 is a simple USB Adapter, but it is the first MU-MIMO-enabled adapter on the market. It supports AC Wave 2  with MU-MIMO (AC433 + N150) and beamforming while connecting through a default USB 2.0 port.

The Linksys MAX-STREAM AC600 USB MU-MIMO Adapter (WUSB6100M) has the same spring 2016 availability planned and an MSRP of £39.99.

Linksys RE6700 AC1200 Amplify Wi-Fi Range Extender Review

Introduction


Wireless networks are great, that is as long as you are close enough to your router to get a signal strength you like. If you router shouldn’t be strong enough to reach the furthest parts of your home or you just need a stronger signal, then you might want to invest in a range extender. Today I’m taking a closer look at the Linksys RE6700 AC1200 Amplify Dual-Band Wi-Fi Range Extender, or just Linksys RE6700 for short.

I’ve tested a few range extenders lately, but most of them were 2.4GHz mode only. That isn’t ideal for today’s devices that usually come with dual-band features and high-speed 5GHz network. The Linksys RE6700 is a dual-band device that can provide up to 300 Mbit/s on the 2.4GHz band and up to 867Mbit/s on the 5GHz band, making up the AC1200 rating. The RE6700 features a range extension all the way up to 1000 square meters, an area that should be more than enough for most homes.

One of the great thing with wireless range extenders is that they are compatible with pretty much any hardware that you already have. They simply hook themselves up on your existing network, with minor configurations, and extend the coverage and signal strength of your existing network. It couldn’t be simpler to get a better wireless network.

Linksys included the amazing Spot Finder technology in the RE6700 that allows you to find the perfect location for the range extender with ease. The range extender has a spot finder meter built into its web interface where you can use it from your PC or mobile devices. Turn the RE67000 on and find the perfect location for your new range extender in just 3 simple steps.

A downside to many wireless network range extenders is that they take up a power outlet that you otherwise might need. Linksys made sure that this won’t be an issue on the RE6700. The added power outlet pass-through for prevents the worry about blocked power outlets in your home that you otherwise need for other devices.

The RE6700 also features beamforming technology that makes sure that you have the best signal to connected devices simply by strengthening the signal in the direction of connected devices. The crossband technology allows for the simultaneous use of both bands rather than relying on one radio band to do all the work. This allows information to be obtained on one band and transmitted on the other, resulting in reduced dropped data packets, faster media transfer speeds, and a stronger, more consistent signal throughout your home.

You might think that we are done with the features now, after all, this is just a range extender. But there is more to show on the RE6700. Linksys also included a 3.5mm audio jack that allows you to connect speakers directly to the range extender and stream music wirelessly from your iOS or Android smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Continuing, Linksys also added a Gigabit Ethernet port to the range extender that allows you to connect devices that don’t have their own wireless adapter.

Linksys added both a power button and a WPS button to the RE6700. The power button is a nice touch, allowing you to turn the extender function off without having to unplug it. The WPS button allows for easy connection setup between the range extender and your router. A click on the WPS button on each device and the two will be automatically paired. There is also a tiny hole for the reset button in case you need to reset the configuration.

Feature Highlights

  • Increase your current router’s Wi-Fi range to up to 10,000 square feet
  • Enjoy Wi-Fi speeds up to AC1200Mbps (N300 + AC867)
  • Spot Finder Technology makes optimal placement easy
  • An integrated power outlet allows you to maintain availability of the wall plug
  • Beamforming and Crossband technologies focus and strengthen signals to help reduce dead zones
  • Stream music wirelessly throughout your home with Wi-Fi audio
  • Works with virtually any router

Packaging and Accessories

Linksys packed the Amplify AC1200 Wi-Fi range extender in a colourful box that displays all the main featuers right on the front.

The rear explains the technology behind it a little more while also explaining a little about the built-in streaming feature.

The added features such as audio jack and Gigabit Ethernet port are also displayed on the box itself.

Inside we find the range extender itself, a quick start guide, and a regulatory information leaflet.

Linksys Announced Two New Wi-Fi Range Extenders

Linksys announced two new additions to its line-up of Linksys Wi-Fi Range Extenders, the Linksys AC1200 BOOST EX (RE6400) and Linksys AC750 BOOST (RE6300). Both new range extenders help boost the Wi-Fi signal bars in areas of your home where they are so weak that mobile devices have trouble connecting to the Internet and at the same time it improves the coverage everywhere else.

Wi-Fi signals are easily affected by a lot of things, both the physical objects they have to pass as well as interference from other electrical devices, so Wi-Fi range extenders can be a great thing in many homes and make your online experience a lot more pleasant. Both range extenders come equipped with Cross-Band technology and can provide a coverage of up to 7,500 square feet (RE6400) or up to 6,500 square feet (RE6300). You can also a wired device like a gaming console, Blu-Ray player, smart TV, or streaming player to your Wi-Fi network via the Gigabit Ethernet port.

Key Features:

  • Dual-Band Wireless-AC technology featuring wireless AC1200 and AC750 versions
  • Works with any router or gateway including routers supplied by service provider
  • Push Button Connect feature simply syncs range extender to a home router
  • Easy setup from mobile devices with exclusive Spot Finder Technology for optimal placement
  • Cross-Band Technology maximises the simultaneous use of both bands for a faster and stronger signal
  • Beamforming Technology concentrates the signal and focuses it directly to connected devices for optimal performance
  • Gigabit Ethernet Port to connect additional devices for a hard wired connection
  • Two external antennas for enhanced performance and throughput

The two new range extenders compliment Linksys already existing lineup very well and place themselves in the middle. They are also cost effective devices as they’ll only set you back £49.99 and £59.99 respectively and will be available for purchase in late November.

Tenda A301 Wireless N300 Universal Range Extender Review

Introduction


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.

Features

  • 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.

Netis E1 N300 WiFi Range Extender Review

Introduction


Wireless networks have one big flaw and that is their coverage. The longer the distance, the slower the transfer speeds will get. There are two ways you can combat this, you can either get completely new equipment with stronger signals or you can get a wireless range extender to boost your signal. For today’s review, I’m taking a look at Netis E1 N300 WiFi range extender.

The Netis E1 is a very basic unit, both feature and design wise. It has the same shape, size, and design as the Netis Power over Circuitry kit that I reviewed not long ago and it would go well with that. Then again, the design doesn’t really matter here and it is very likely that it will be more or less hidden once set up. However, it is nice that it is a small unit and that it won’t take up so much space around the plug it is inserted into.

I personally really like this design and hope that Netis will continue it in future products. It reminds me both of a futuristic style that we often see portrayed with everything round as well as a flashback to the 60s and 70s. It’s a universal design that will fit almost anywhere.

The Netis E1 doesn’t feature the newest dual-band technology, but it rather relies on the older and very reliable 2.4GHz band with theoretical transfer speeds of up to 300 Mbps. The 2.4GHz band already has the advantage of a great coverage area and with a range extender like this you can let it reach into the furthest corners of your home.

The installation is as easy as it could be, insert it into a plug and press the WPS button on your router and the device. The two will pair and remember the settings. If that should fail or your router doesn’t have a WPS button, then the Netis E1 features a little web server where you can connect it to your WiFi network manually.

Netis built two antennas into the range extender, although they aren’t visible. The E1 has a maximum transmit power of 20 dBm and supports all common WiFi encryption standards.

Should you still run hardware that utilizes older standards than the IEEE 802.11n, then you don’t need to worry; the unit is of course backward compatible with both b and g standards.

A lot of people reading this will sit for a bit, look at their AC1200 or AC1900 router and think, this is to slow. But it doesn’t have to be and it can still be quite useful. The bandwidth here is plenty for both HD video streaming, video calls, email, calendars, and browsing.

Specifications

Packaging and Accessories

Netis packed the tiny E1 N300 range extender into a little box and put all the basic information on the front along with an image of the range extender itself.

The rear of the packaging shows possible usage scenarios as well as the basic installation guide. It is so simple that it doesn’t require anything more than that.

Inside the package is a quick installation guide that will explain both the manual and automatic setup procedures and a declaration of conformity is also included.