Adding Power to Wi-Fi
Sometimes modern technology can encounter problems regarding its performance within a more traditional environment. Take for example the case of wireless technology attempting to provide the required connectivity in many homes especially when entertainment is available from various online streaming sources. Keeping up with the available traffic from such sources while, at the same time, coping with the built-in obstructions found in many homes will certainly put a strain on a basic home network system. A possible solution in such circumstances would be to introduce a wireless extender unit into your home wireless network. The Netgear Wi-Fi Extender EX6200 is one such product.
Arriving with claims that include “Next Generation Wi-Fi”, “Blazing fast CPU”, “Ultimate range” and “the ability to work with any Wi-Fi router”, this Netgear kit consists of various items. There is the AC1200 Wi-Fi Range Extender unit, platform stand, four small stick-on pads, two 5 dBi dual band detachable external antennas, and power adapter. Also included in the box are various items of documentation covering instructions and warranty details.
With dimensions of 247 x 174 x 31mm (H x W x D), the Wi-Fi Extender adopts a wedge shaped appearance with a lattice effect on the front and most sides. This lacquered black and red unit has five Gigabit Ethernet ports arranged along one side of the unit. Keeping the Ethernet ports company are the mains power connection, buttons for power on/off and activating WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) mode for linking wirelessly to a router plus two screw-in connections for attaching the antennas. On the opposite side of the Extender unit is a USB 3.0 port.
After attaching the two antennas to their connecting points and slotting the platform stand on to the base of the Extender, both tasks can be completed within a few seconds, you can position the Extender unit in close proximity to the router and an appropriate power source. A Netgear logo will slowly blink in the top right corner to indicate power is being received but a link is still to be established with a router.
Depending upon whether the router has a WPS feature or not, there is a choice of paths for creating a connection between the Netgear Extender and a router. Step-by-step instructions are provided for each method on one of the pieces of documentation. Without WPS you need to access a website where a Netgear genie will guide you through the necessary steps.
The far easier method is when using WPS. This just requires the WPS button on the Extender and the router to be pressed. While a connection is being established LEDs for Link Rate and Device to Extender will blink on the Extender. Once a connection is made the Netgear logo and the 2.4 GHz Link Rate LED will hold steady. If the router supports the 5 GHz band then the process can be rerun to include this band in the set up.
You can then position the Netgear Extender in a location where it can perform at the optimum level. The Link Rate LEDs will glow using different colours to indicate the strength of the connection signal. A solid green light is used for the best connection, solid amber for a good connection and solid red for a poor connection.
The Netgear Extender offers two operation modes. These are entitled Internet Surfing and Fastlane Technology. You will need to connect to the appropriate website when needing to make changes to the settings relating to these modes or change a password. However access to this website can only be achieved via a connection to the Netgear Extender Wi-Fi network rather than your usual network.
Using the various connection options on the Netgear Wi-Fi Extender, you can add different devices to your home network. The USB 3.0 port can be used by a storage device such as an external hard drive or you could link a USB printer. With five available Ethernet ports, you can attach wired devices such as a Smart TV, Blu-ray player or games’ console.
Due to the layout of my maisonette, I can only test the Extender’s ability to spread a signal lengthwise rather than upwards (my home is on a single level). Within this restriction, the Netgear Extender proved to be capable in performance. A signal that was previously weak was now much stronger. Plus you have dual band support and the ability to add various devices to the network via the five Ethernet connections and the USB 3.0 port. Currently Amazon.co.uk has this product listed at £86.95.
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