Review: Amped Wireless SR300 Wi-Fi Range Extender

Amped Wireless SR300

Amped Wireless SR300

When the folks from Amped Wireless sent over the SR300 Smart Repeater I was actually eager to give it a try. We’ve got quite a large home and a single Wi-Fi access point is not enough to adequately cover all the range in the home. In fact, the farthest corners of the house are unreachable from the primary wireless router (as you’ll see from the data below).

The job of a wireless repeater is essentially to sit somewhere within range of the primary wireless router and kind of rebroadcast the signals farther than the original access point is able to reach. It’s kind of like if you had a pair of speakers in one part of the house, but you added a second pair in another room so you could listen to music from the one source amplifier everywhere.

SR300 Built-in Switch

SR300 Built-in Switch

The geek in me would love to make this review nice and technical. But it’s not going to happen, because the Amped Wireless SR300 is so easy to use that if you can set up a wireless router – you can set up the Smart Repeater. No wait. Scratch that… even if you can’t set up a wireless router, you can set up this Smart Repeater!

In fact, I was going to show you screen shots of all the steps it takes to get the SR300 going, but it was so fast and drop dead simple that it actually left me thinking, “Ok, what else do I need to do?” But the answer was nothing. Just use it!

Testing Methodology

I started out with a Linksys WRT320N wireless router as the primary wireless access point. It’s a decent little router, and a very common one at that. This router is known to lack the power necessary to reach the far corners of the house, so it was a perfect test subject for a repeater.

The SR300 is Compact and Discreet

The SR300 is Compact and Discreet

After the ridiculously simple setup process, I took the SR300 Smart Repeater into another room of the home, placing it essentially in the dead center of the house.

At the same time I also used an Ethernet cable to run an Apple AirPort Express Base Station into the same room to use as a comparison. In this case, I would be using the AirPort as a second wireless access point, and it would use Ethernet to carry the traffic back to the primary router.

My internet is via Time Warner and is a 50 Mbps down / 5 Mbps connection. For testing I would use SpeedTest.net while connecting a MacBook Pro to each wireless access point and recording the results.

Test Results

Although the MacBook was able to actually connect to all of the access points from each spot I tested, in the far corners of the bedroom it could not manage enough bandwidth from the primary access point to even load SpeedTest.net. So, the results for that particular spot are N/A.

Results below are presented in order of increasing distance from the Office.

Room Primary WAP Secondary WAP SR300 Repeater
Office
Down 41.04 Mb 22.25 Mb 3.11 Mb
Up 4.84 Mb 4.49 Mb .15 Mb
Ping 33 ms 34 ms 45 ms
Dining Room
Down 25.62 Mb 9.35Mb 3.10 Mb
Up 4.05 Mb 4.0 Mb .69 Mb up
Ping 35 ms 27 ms 52 ms
Living Room
Down 18.52 Mb 41.03 Mb 3.18 mb
Up 3.94 Mb 4.61 Mb .226 Mb
Ping 39 ms 32 ms 50 ms
Bedroom
Down N/A 7.11MB 3.07 Mb
Up N/A 4.41 Mb .21 Mb
Ping N/A 33ms 50 ms

So, we learned a few things from these results:

  • The Linksys router shows a steady decrease in throughput with increasing distance from the WAP.
  • The AirPort shows a faster decrease in range. Either power or antennas are not as good as the Linksys.
  • The Amped Wireless SR300 does indeed extend the range of the primary network.
  • The SR300 is remarkably consistant regardless of range, though its much slower than an access point.

Note: the SR300 is supposedly capable of up to 300Mbps transmissions, so I can’t explain why I was not able to achieve faster speeds through the repeater. Perhaps there was too much interference during the test from all of the access points at my house and my neighbors?

All in all, if you need a really simply way to extend a network there is no easier way that I know of than the Amped Wireless SR300. But if you are going to need to do large file transfers or if you need to do a lot of uploading, you’re going to need to bite the bullet and add another wireless access point to your network so that you can ensure you are getting the fastest throughput possible.

Test Screen Shots

Comments

  1. Ricardo says

    Nice write up John. I also bought this extender and noticed the same results on my tests. I was expecting more from it and it was especially frustrating to see that my primary WAP at a medium signal strength was way faster than the SR300 with “excellent” signal strength. So, it does extend the range but what you get in return is not really worth it IMO.

  2. Margie says

    I have read the reviews and have purchased a 300 amped wireless but after several tries using the smart setup wizard and not being able to connect, I am ready to return this product to the store.

  3. Brian Vianzon says

    To reduce interference caused by the local neighborhood Wi-Fi, using a free Wi-Fi Analyzer program via Android based phones or free Windows software would display the channel and frequency with the least amount of congestion. I found interference from a neighbor using Channel 11, which is supposed to be the best channel for the Nintendo Wii, but it caused degradation to the point that Netflix could not stream properly.

    Also, using a throughput program such as TTCP or iPerf to would produce more accurate results of the wireless performance on the LAN, however, it would require using Unix-Like OS (FreeBSD, OpenBSD) or Linux. TTCP has been helpful is isolating bad ports on a router or switch in addition to testing Wi-Fi performance.

    As for the repeater performing at 3 Mbps rather than being much higher could be a result of Wireless Distribution System (WDS) settings. This is the usual “frustration” people experience in setting up a repeater. Both devices must have the proper settings on the router and repeater for WDS to handshake.

    Furthermore, actual throughput via wireless is usually 60% of the rated throughput as it transmits at Half Duplex (similar to a CB Radios, only one transmission at a time) and not Full Duplex (simultaneous directions) like wired connections do.

  4. Will says

    Hey John,

    I’m curious about security regarding the open ports. How should I be making sure they are inaccessable? I’ve looked through a few guides and I’ve found that you can actually put in a range of port numbers which will actually prevent anything – however I’m curious if there is a way around that which people can use?

    Also, I found a decent Amped model off of wifirepeatereviews.com which is nice because I got a good deal – I’m just not sure if any of the current models are actually that “bullet proof” compared to others? Let me know if you can.

  5. says

    Great write up John. We also are looking into extending or adding a 2nd WAP. This is great food for thought and details that will help us in our decisioning.
    David