If you need to extend the range of the WiFi signal used by your network then there is a choice of products including the NETGEAR Nighthawk™ X4.
That old chestnut of a question that asks “How long is a piece of string?” could well be adapted to apply to the WiFi signal in your WLAN. “How wide is the range of your WiFi?” The answer will depend on the circumstances regarding the layout of your home and the surrounding environment. Distances and signal strengths could be affected by the number, thickness and constitution of walls and other blockages plus household applications.
The main purpose of Wi-Fi extenders is to allow you to access your Wi-Fi signal in places that it does not comfortably reach. This kit does that but it can also give you an extra Ethernet port ideal for those devices that do not have Wi-Fi.
For those who do not know this Wi-Fi anywhere technology requires two 13amp plugs one near your router and the other in whatever far flung part of your property that cannot normally effectively receive the Wi-Fi signal, the two requirements to make this work are that they are on the ring main circuit and that it is an electrical socket and not a gang socket or a surge strip on either end.
A trip to the BT Tower in Central London was the occasion to attend the launch of a new Wi-Fi product.
You may have seen the television advert, involving a helicopter, regarding the new BT Smart Hub which has been launched with the impressive claim of having the UK’s most powerful Wi-Fi signal when measured against its major competitors. As BT expects this particular product to be delivered to many customers via the postal route, this Smart Hub comes packaged in a box that BT feels should fit most letterboxes.
Adding to its portfolio of Wi-Fi extenders, NERGEAR has released a new model.
My home is on a single level. What it lacks in height is partially compensated by its spread from the front to the back as it encompasses several intervening solid walls. As a result my wireless local area network (WLAN) does tend to struggle when delivering a signal from my work system and router-modem situated at the front of my home to a second computer located at the rear of my home.
Adding to its range of Smart Managed Switches, NETGEAR has released this next product.
While mere mortals generally find the four Ethernet ports making up standard routers or router/modems to be adequate for their local area network needs, those involved in running small to medium business environments need more powerful devices with a greater range of available Ethernet connections. One such product offering to deliver the additional power and more Ethernet connection is the NETGEAR ProSAFE XS708T.
A recent visit to the iconic BT Tower in London saw BT launce their latest Smart Hub which is said to be faster than the competition such as Sky and Talk Talk and easier to setup and use, it also has a more stable form factor than most others.
The BT SmartBub measures 16x22x6.5cm the last figure is with the flip out feet engaged without them it is only 2.5cm thick. All the user connections are in a single line at the back, first the Broadband input, then a USB port, next four bright yellow Gigabit Ethernet ports then the DC power input and finally an on/off button.
The question that needs to be answered first is whether this next review concerns hardware or software. In fact, as will quickly become clear, the review starts off by covering the hardware before moving on to the software element of this NETGEAR offering.
Providing the hardware element in this package is the NETGEAR ReadyNAS 212 box. This is a 2-bay Network Attached Storage device that comes with a three year Diskless warranty. The box, combining a colour scheme of matte and lacquered black, has dimensions of 220 x 101 x 142 mm (D x W x H) and weighs, in its original diskless state, 2.03kg. Powered by a 1.
When all the router’s Ethernet ports are full, Netgear’s SOHO Gigabit Ethernet switches provide a means of connecting more devices to one’s LAN. In addition they can often make the house a tidier place by cutting down on the number of long cables needed around the network.
If there is such a thing as a universal modem router, the Archer VR900 from TP-Link is it. It has 2.4/5GHz wireless connectivity and is compatible with ADSL and VDSL standards as well fibre, cable and 3G/4G USB dongles.
The Linksys AC1200 Amplify Wi-Fi range extender model RE6700 is a convenient means of improving connectivity around the home. It can be used to expand Wi-Fi coverage as well as providing local Ethernet and audio connections.
The body of the extender is roughly 120 x 67 x 50mm deep and white in colour. There are two antennas, one on either side. They are hinged and are rotated downwards when in use lengthening the extender by a further 60mm. While this is perfectly satisfactory in modern homes, or recently rewired ones where the power points are well away from the floor, it may be a problem with older homes where power sockets are frequently mounted low down on the skirting boards.
Modern technology consumers, of which you and I are committed members, are always demanding and constantly on the look out for more power, increased functionality and a wider range of connectivity. NETGEAR believes it has a product that could help satisfy our needs.
Adding to its Nighthawk series of products, NETGEAR has developed the X4S model. This product is an AC2600 WiFi Modem Router that offers both ADSL and VDSL functionality across the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bandwidths. The unit’s built-in VDSL / ADSL modem facility comes with the claim of working with DSL ISPs such as BT, Talk Talk, BT Infinity and Talk Talk Fibre.
The TP-Link Touch P5 AC1900 Wi-Fi router is a stylish versatile gigabit unit that has a touchscreen and so will appeal to a number of users even though the usual browser-based access to its control panel is still important.
The body of the router is 280 x 155mm and has a slightly concave surface with a 95 x 55mm touch screen at its centre. The black top surface has a terrazzo effect which, when one looks at it carefully, can be seen to have a large number of ventilation holes. The undersides of the router are similarly well ventilated. With the exception of the USB 3.0 port accessible from the front all connections and switches are on the rear surface.
The Netgear Powerline PLP1200 is the latest and fastest kit to provide network connectivity via the household wiring.
Each plug, which is Homeplug AV compatible, is 120 x 55 x 50mm deep, white in colour, with the mains plug and its associated power feed-through socket at the lower end. (There is also the PL1200 without the power feed-through.) It is narrower than many of the previous generation products so that it is easy to reach the switch on the wall socket.
While a lot of computer items get smaller, Modem Routers seem to be an exception. Of course a lot of this is down to having the ability to work on more than one bandwidth and also to have far greater Wi-Fi range to mention just two features.
This however is the largest I have seen and will need more desk/table space unless you utilize the two holes in the back and hang it on a wall. It is 28cm wide, 22cm deep and 4.5cm tall all those are without any stand or cables connected. It weights 855grams; if you add the antennas this adds 31cm to the width and around 18cm to the height.
The Netgear Nighthawk X4S AC2600 WiFi VDSL/ADSL D7800 MU-MIMO modem router is aimed at ticking all the boxes for gamers and heavy users as well as for those who are keeping an eye on tomorrow's needs.
The X4S, which can sit on a shelf or be wall mounted, has four Gigabit Ethernet, an eSATA and two USB 3.0 ports together with four external WiFi antennas. The MU-MIMO (multi-input/multi-output) WiFi technology minimises wireless dead spots while the added power increases the range of the X4S which has a theoretical aggregate throughput of some 2.6Gbps made up of 800Mbps and 1.73Gbit/s respectively on the 2.4 and 5GHz bands.
Along with its various WiFi routers, NETGEAR also manufactures products that provide a cable route for creating a LAN.
While wireless technology, in the form of Wi-Fi, is generally a straightforward method of setting up a home network system, the layout of many residential buildings is not always the most conducive environment to cope with a W-Fi network. Obstructions, such as walls and the like, can block signals with the result that dead areas can appear, usually in the location that you want to use.
Offering to help reduce the bottleneck that can occur for those who are involved with streaming videos and on-line gaming activities is a modem router from NETGEAR.
Sometimes the arrival of a new product for review brings back memories of an earlier period of my involvement in the world of computing. Such was the case with the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi VDSL/ADSL Modem Router product.
A modem router is not something you change that often, unless of course you get a fault. For most people it either does the job or it does not, the one real exception is the Wi-Fi if you have a property where it only just covers then you may change.
This unit has a more powerful Wi-Fi than most units so this may be a solution struggling with Wi-Fi reception. It is a near round unit at 10.5x8.5cm and is 22cm tall there are no external aerials, so just add a few centimetres for any connections to the 10.5cm depth and that’s it. The connections on the rear from bottom to top are DC input, power on/off button, flush Wi-Fi on/off button, four Ethernet ports, a USB2 port, a USB3 port and finally DSL input port.
While Bluetooth allows you to stream music to speakers supporting the technology, this next product offers to bring non-Bluetooth speakers into the mix.
As part of the mydlink Home series of offerings, D-Link has released its DCH-M225 product. This particular device combines Wi-Fi extender capabilities with Music Everywhere technology whereby you can stream music from a smartphone, tablet or computer to various speakers via a connection to an AUX socket. There is support for Windows and Mac computers plus Android and iOS mobile devices.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? In fact it is neither of these two. This particular Nighthawk is a router from NETGEAR. Described as a Smart Wi-Fi Router, the Nighthawk X4 offers to bring quad-stream X4 architecture with advanced gaming and streaming benefits plus other advantages to the users home network.
Arriving impressively packaged and weighty enough to certainly pique my interest, the Nighthawk X4 kit comprises of a number of items. Central to the product is the Nighthawk X4 AC2350 Smart Wi-Fi router. This is a black plinth-shaped box that has dimensions of 285 x 185 x 54mm (W x D x H). If your current available work space might struggle to accommodate the unit’s footprint then there is an option to wall-mount the router with you supplying the necessary fittings.