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This review is from: NETGEAR EX7000 AC1900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Range Extender
Pros: - 3 External antennas
- Physical setup is straight forward, see below for technical gripes for my home network
- Works great in the entertainment center (allows me to provide a more reliable Wi-Fi connection) where Ethernet is not feasible or devices have weak Wi-Fi
Cons: - If you use a wireless Access Control List (ACL), it is best to turn it off when performing the initial setup (see other for more detail)
- With the router MAC entered in the ACL, I had to find another virtual MAC for the Extender and add that to the ACL. It was confusing and frustrating
- Large if you aren’t able to hide it in your entertainment center or location of choice.
Other Thoughts: I connected this to a Netgear R6250 router, making that initial connection was simple using the guided setup once I disabled the wireless ACL on my router. After configuring everything and getting the Virtual MAC for hardwired devices entered in the ACL on the R6250, I was able to turn my ACL back on.
NetGear Genie doesn’t work with this as I can’t seem to change the username and the EX7000 requires an email as a username. There was an update available for Genie, but it wouldn’t download what I attempted to load it (Netgear.com issue).
I was looking at a MoCA 4 port Ethernet device, but this is a great alternative! Config in my situation was a challenge, but that is my setup in my home. Once I cleared those self-imposed hurdles, this thing is great! Stable connection for my Xbox One and content on my Smart TV was unwatchable before, now it plays without issue.
I recommend pairing this with an 802.11ac router for best results. Take care of your setup though to avoid headaches (disable ACL if used), make a note of devices hardwired for their virtual MAC (must be in your ACL), and make sure you set your EX7000 to the 5GHz channel so your hardwired devices have the fastest connection possible. 5 eggs from this reviewer!
This review is from: TRENDnet TPL-408E2K Powerline AV2 AV600 Adapter Kit, Up to 600Mbps
Pros: - Setup on of the adapters is incredibly straightforward if you're running a simple network at home (see cons). I plugged the adapters into electrical outlets in adjoining rooms on the same electrical circuit and sync'ed them up following the instructions in the box.
- After running for roughly half an hour, I checked to see if the plug would be getting warm or hot, but it was cool to the touch.
- Besides, the box includes two 5-foot network cables, just the right length for the purposes I intend to test, but might be frustrating if you want a longer cable.
Cons: - Success with the devices is sometimes out of your hands, you will be at the mercy of the wiring in your home.
- A complex home network makes using the Powerline 500 a bit more challenging. I found that with custom network names and DNS settings, the Powerline 500 took more time to set up than I'd like. I was getting frustrated until I realized that I'd spent years getting my network set up "just so" and that adding different gear might be a bit more complicated.
Other Thoughts: I tested the Powerline 500 AV2 kit at two houses: mine and at a relative's house where the house wiring is much more organized. This change in testing location also gave me opportunity to test the connection over a longer distance to see how it performed.
Standard ping-rate testing was set aside for a more real-world, human-relatable test: children. My kids have really gotten into watching video content posted by their coaches and teachers, and I hear about it every time the video is buffering. EVERY TIME. For those without kids, you may run into the same challenges with roommates who may or may not have contributed any funds toward the internet access or network gear at your place, but the behavior is likely the same: AWWWW MAN! The internet is SO SLOW! Why is it buffering, this is probably the best part of the show and its buffering! BUFFERING!
Here's where the real testing starts. I called the kids into the room, opened up YouTube, and let them search for whatever thing they had been watching a few days before. I was pleasantly surprised that the video did not initially buffer and the kids seemed fine until it started to slow down. Now, this could have been a network slowdown in the neighborhood or solar flares or gremlins, so we just jumped to another video and everything was running fine for the remaining 10 minutes of the test.
With test number two, I went to a relative's house and asked to test the PowerLine 500 adapter there. I wanted to see if the electrical connection from the house to the garage would prove to be problematic, but knowing that the line was dedicated to run just from the house to the garage with no other appliances or rooms on the circuit, I had high hopes.
With the same testing scenario, same laptop, and same videos, I set up the adapters on separate plugs in the garage, synchronized them in place, then took one into the house and hooked it up the DSL modem. Once back in the garage, I fired up one of the videos. Buffering. BUFFERING. Oh, there it goes. Perhaps the adapters needed more time to sync if they've been unplugged? Stopped the video, pushed the SYNC button again, ran into the house and pushed the other sync button and waited a few minutes.
Out to the garage again and restart the video. Hmm, not too bad. A bit of buffering, but let's stop the video and check email. No problems. Email sync is reasonably fast. A quick check on that auction site and back to a video. OK, this is not too bad. Certainly much easier than setting up an Ethernet connection out here or getting another Wi-Fi router nearby.
All things considered, the Powerline 500 does what it sets out to do and offers good features. Although there are some small issues, I believe most users will find it an easy product to set up and use. I can say that when operating on the same electrical circuit (20 or 40 amp alike) best performance was achieved when on the same circuit.
This review is from: Boxed Intel Compute Stick STCK1A32WFCR, Single Pack(Win 8.1)
Pros: - Small size
- Full Windows
- Able to be tucked away
- Provides media center functionality in a small package
Cons: - Big "App Update" required if your stick was made in April
- Onboard Wi-Fi is weak
- Powered USB hub is literally required
- USB port on TV is unlikely to provide enough power
- 1 USB port
Other Thoughts: If you have a unit manufactured in April 2015, head over to Intel's site to download the App Update to resolve broken Win8.1 Modern Apps. Check Intel forum for "Windows 8.1 apps won't open" thread for the full story.
The USB port on most TV's is not enough to power the stick. It may allow it to boot, but don't be fooled. During setup mine crashed while scanning for Wi-Fi, switched to the AC adapter and no problems anymore. Someone reported the stick worked fine until he launched Kodi. It crashed each time, he switched to the AC adapter and no more issues.
As for the USB hub? You will likely want one, but make sure it is a powered one. I picked one up so I could toss my D-Link 802.11ac adapter in and still use the Logitech K400 keyboard/mouse.
In the end. It works, it is usable and I can move it around or take it on travels. However, I can't help but wonder if I should have bought a NUC instead. Sure they cost more up front, but... would that have been better?
**If you can't see the entire screen on your TV, check your TV settings and toggle the Overscan setting. That will likely address the issue of your "desktop" being too big for the TV.
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