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.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!
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.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.
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|
|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|
|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|
|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|
|Up||N/A||4.41 Mb||.21 Mb|
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.