WiFi extenders are small gadgets used to broaden the WiFi range of a router. They are especially useful in large homes and offices that suffer from annoying WiFi dead zones. An extender picks up the signal from a router and rebroadcasts it to those hard to reach places. To increase throughput and for a strong and fast signal, the latest extenders operate on two frequencies: one connects with the router and the other with the device.
If your Wi-Fi doesn’t reach every corner in your home, a simple solution is Netgear’s EX6100 Range Extender. It works by connecting to your current Wi-Fi network and then repeating that signal to hard to reach places. The EX6100 looks like a power adapter, with two antennas for better coverage and speed. It plugs directly into a power socket and works with any standard Wi-Fi router to create dual band networks, 2.4Ghz (at 300Mbps) and 5Ghz (at 433Mps), for speeds of close to 750Mbps combined.
The extender features Fast Lane Technology, which uses one radio band to connect with the router and one to connect with devices. The result is a single higher speed connection that’s great for streaming HD movies or for online gaming. Or turn it into a Wi-Fi bridge by connecting wired devices, like a games console, directly to the single Gigabit Ethernet port. Setting it up takes seconds: press the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) on your home router and then the WPS on the extender, and Bob’s your uncle. Arrow indicator lights direct you to the sweet spot to plug the extender in, making sure that it’s not too far from the original router or that your connected devices are not too far from the extender itself.
Netgear ramps things up with EX6200. Like the EX6100, it’s also a dual-band extender using 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz frequencies, but unlike its smaller counterpart it offers extra features, such as a dual core processor and 700MW high-power amplifiers. This gives the extender a lot more power to push the signal further around larger homes. It also comes equipped with five Gigabit Ethernet ports.
Another likable feature of the EX6200 is a 3.0USB port with ReadyShare, to which you can connect an external hard drive (or printer) and access it wirelessly, which is great for streaming content onto different devices at once. It supports link rates of 300Mbps in the 2.4Ghz band and up to 867Mbps in the 5GGhz band for combined speeds of almost 1200Mbps. And it also uses Fast Lane to increase wireless throughput and boost speeds around the house. Netgear’s Beamforming+ is available on the EX6200. Beamforming+ helps the extender (or Netgear router) lock in on a target device, and therefore reduces interference between the two. Coloured LED lights indicate the best place to position the extender – ideally half way between the router and the device, and within line of site of each. This way, it finds the best spot to provide a second access point from which to rebroadcast the signal.