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Boosting Wi-Fi Signals
Better known for its work in and support for Powerline technology whereby your current (no pun intended) electrical cabling system is used as the conduit to deliver a home network, Devolo has other strings to its bow including home security and wireless networking. In the case of the latter area, Devolo has just released a device to boost the range of an established home Wi-Fi network. This product is the 1200 Mbps WiFi ac Repeater which offers an improvement in the signal range while bringing dual-band Wi-Fi ac and n connectivity.
Adopting a slightly bulky 3-pin plug appearance, the Devolo device protrudes 45mm from whatever mains power socket it is inserted. With its height and width dimensions of 90 x 60 mm, there should be no problem with blocking any adjacent sockets although you might struggle when two such bulky plugs attempt to sit side by side. Devolo has gone for a fairly neutral white colour for this device. Arranged in the top right corner of the unit is a series of LED lights while a WPS button is located near the base. A company logo completes the decoration of the front face.
A Gigabit Ethernet port is located on the base of the unit. You may want to avoid using a socket positioned on a skirting board otherwise you could block access to this particular feature. Base mounted Ethernet ports, such as this, are a regular bugbear in my opinion.
In its main role of boosting a home network Wi-Fi signal, this repeater needs to be positioned in a room that is possibly mid-way between the base router unit and any areas that may suffer from a reduced or degraded signal strength. The front mounted LED lights can act as the repeater’s inbuilt signal strength indicators to help identify an appropriate location within your home. However before undertaking any positioning issues, you should configure the repeater to work with your router either via the WPS or browser route.
Instructions as to how to carry out both operations are provided in the supplied multi-language installation guide. I opted to use the WPS method of carrying out the configuration of the Devolo Repeater. As carrying out this method requires that the WPS buttons on the Repeater and router are pressed soon after each other, I would recommend having the two components reasonable close together until the process is complete. The LED lights on the front of the Repeater provide feedback as to the progress of the configuration process. The installation guide is a useful reference tool as to the meanings behind the different speeds at which the bottom LED flickers.
For some unknown reason, a number of attempts were required before the configuration process could be completed. Following one of the unsuccessful WPS attempt, I switched track and tried the browser approach to carry out the configuration. Unfortunately this was a complete failure. Entering the supplied URL brought up a message that the page was unavailable and this quickly put an end to that approach. Returning to the WPS method eventually proved successful but I was unable to detect any difference in the actions I took.
The Devolo Repeater was able to open up areas of my home that had previously struggled to receive a decent signal. The product also has the Gigabit Ethernet port enabling you to hang a non-wireless supporting device off the WLAN as long as access to this port is not blocked by the positioning of the Devolo device. However this does not really excuse the numerous attempts I needed to complete in order to carry out the configuration process. The Devolo 1200 Mbps WiFi ac Repeater is priced at £49.99 and comes with a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
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