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This review is from: TP-LINK TL-WA860RE 300Mbps Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender/Repeater with Power Outlet Pass-through, Dual External Antennas, Wall Plug Design, One-button Setup, Smart Signal Indicator
Pros: *TP-Link’s TL-WA860RE Wi-Fi Range Extender left me scratching my head and pointlessly troubleshooting for hours. Even though it’s a relatively simple device, I had high expectations, for most of TP-Link’s networking devices are terrific. Hence why the Range Extender befuddled me. I have trouble accepting the fact that this device performed as disappointing as it did, so I wonder if there is something defective with it as a whole, or as a singular unit. I did not ask for a RMA, because the device does not show any evident indications of a hardware defect; its faults don’t concern its function, but rather its performance. Meaning it worked, but it didn’t work well.*
- The Range Extender’s physicality is good enough; slightly looking like a robot with a face and arms, or maybe R2-D2. There’s a physical on/off button on the side of the unit, with a WPS button, and receded hardware reset. Also on the unit are indicator LEDs and a three-prong outlet pass-through, which solves the issue of outlet blocking by devices such as this. The antennae sour its aesthetics slightly, but do lend to a noticeable increase of signal range. The antennae can be folded upward and manipulated for directional purposes. I was able to pick up its signal in areas where some networking reach is absent. Lending to that, these external antennae provide a wide breadth.
- At the bottom of the device is a LAN port. This will allow you to extend your network by feeding off the Wi-Fi and converting it to a hardline for wired devices or better performance. If necessary you can bridge it then for even more wired connections.
- The Range Extender features a simple WPS setup to connect your host router to it, cloning the Wi-Fi SSID and extending your Wi-Fi signal reach. The WPS setup should be quick and simple; however, personally the WPS did not work for me. Ultimately I set it up the manual way through a browser configuration page, which I prefer and is also a rather straightforward process. Within the browser settings, the more advanced features can be tweaked and changed to your liking.
Cons: - Partly because of Newegg and a search for the solution to my home’s Wi-Fi deadzone design, I’ve gone through many different range extenders, repeaters, bridges, access points, and powerline adapters. All to increase the reach of the Wi-Fi signal through the house. Most did the job, and I had some complaints such as limited coverage, remaining deadzone areas, or frequent drop-outs. A typical problem is that the Wi-Fi signal is too weak that simple Wi-Fi range extenders like this have no chance of remedying the issue without drastic performance dips. The best solution eventually given to me for review was TP-Link’s own AV500 Powerline kit. I strongly recommend that particular product or a similar one rather than purchasing this.
- When I started my testing process, I turned off my existing wireless solutions for Wi-Fi in the office and rest of the home. I setup the Range Extender and moved it to an area where I’ve had range extenders in the past—roughly about 50 feet away with one partial wall obstruction between it and the main router. The signal strength read out decently, fluctuating between 4 to 5 bars in multiple areas. When I attempted—with a laptop—to open my web browser, it performed as though I were on 56K. I proceeded to attempt a Speedtest. The first few times I ran the benchmark, it couldn’t even complete. You can see the data and precise results in the “Other Thoughts” section. I assumed there was something wrong with the Wi-Fi from my main router. After checking and testing the primary Wi-Fi, I concluded that wasn’t the cause for the terrible connection speed. I then tried the LAN port at the bottom of the Extender. The results were just as bad, with frequent connection drops entirely. “Okay, maybe it’s just receiving a weak signal,” I thought, counter to my previous experiences with extenders in the same location. I then relocated it practically right next to the main router, less than fifteen feet away, and tried the tests again. I did receive better results, especially when using the Extender’s LAN port. The LAN port provided the type of connection I expected. However, using its Wi-Fi, I wasn’t getting any speed higher than 2mbps download. Needless to say, this was beyond subpar. Again, the exact results of my tests are logged in “Other Thoughts.” The performance of this unit makes it obsolete in my eyes, especially when much better solutions are on the market, such as the aforementioned TP-Link AV500 Powerline adapter. In my opinion, the advent of Powerline adapters has made traditional Wi-Fi range extenders like this obsolete. They perform dramatically better, plug right into the wall (like this), and don’t rely on large antennae.
Other Thoughts: With a 29mbps AT&T service, these are the results of Speedtest tests I ran. Included are comparison results against my primary router. The distance is also listed in parentheses. You’ll be able to see the decent performance of the Extender’s LAN when nearby the main router, and it’s disappointing performance both close and far from the main router. As well as the main router’s performance which proves it’s not to blame.
=Wi-Fi from main router (Without Extender) (15ft)=
1. Ping: 31ms | Download: 23.21mbps | Upload: 4.73mbps
=Wi-Fi from Range Extender (15ft)=
1. Ping: 35ms | Download: 2.29mbps | Upload: 4.59mbps
2. Ping: 41ms | Download: 2.18mbps | Upload: 4.68mbps
=LAN from Range Extender (15ft)=
1. Ping: 38ms | Download: 24.54mbps | Upload: 4.76mbps
2. Ping: 29ms | Download: 24.51mbps | Upload: 4.78mbps
=Wi-Fi from Range Extender (50ft)=
1. Ping: 25ms | Download: 0.12mbps | Upload: .09mbps
=LAN from Range Extender (50ft)=
1. Ping: 33ms | Download: 0.57mbps | Upload: 0.39mbps
This review is from: Netgear A6210-100PAS AC1200 Wi-Fi USB Adapter High Gain Dual Band USB 3.0
Pros: *The Netgear A6210 AC1200 WiFi USB Adapter is an impressive device that offers itself to a wide range of wireless usage scenarios. It performs to the higher standard it’s held to, all through the ubiquitous USB.*
- The Netgear A6210 comes with a driver/Genie Software disc, a Desktop Dock (see next paragraph), a Quick Start Guide, and the WiFi adapter itself. The adapter’s slim antenna is just a block and can be retracted for a slim profile or extended for slightly better reception. The Desktop Dock that comes with the device essentially adds cable length to the dongle/antenna, solving the issue of signal obstruction while plugged in, tucked away under your desk (see Cons).
- This device can be used for either a laptop or desktop as there are a few usage scenarios I came up with for the A6210. You can use this to enable your older laptop access to the 5GHz band and thus AC Wireless technology. If your router is dual-band, especially AC, you can use this device to jump on the 5GHz band for much better wireless performance, allowing you to theoretically stream HD video seamlessly. Another scenario is a desktop. The majority of modern motherboards don’t provide wireless cards or WiFi support. The A6210 will open up WiFi for your desktop through good ole USB—without the need of installing something like a PCI WiFi network card. The third scenario could be a computer sporting a horrible integrated WiFi card—a common occurrence—then to use the adapter to strengthen your wireless connection.
- The drivers can be found on the included disc or, if you lack a CD Drive, on Netgear’s website. The disc and the website driver are the same currently; no updates have yet to come out as of 10/16/14.
- When connecting to a new SSID, there is a “Push-N-Connect” feature that is quite simply another name for a WPS connection. Press the WPS button on your router and then on the A6210; a secure connection ensues.
- The antenna in the A6210 blew me away. Its range really is impressive. Under the desk, without the Desktop Dock extender, from 100 feet away and two walls in between, it was still able to pick up my router’s 5GHz signal at three bars; all while my built-in WiFi didn’t even detect the signal. This range and obstruction only lessened the actual benchmarked speed by 40% compared to sitting right next to it. I included benchmarks in the “Other Thoughts” section.
Cons: - Even though its form factor is likely the reason for its great reception, the unit as a whole is bulky. When placed on the Desktop Dock, the configuration as a whole resembles some Egyptian monument. However, when seeking to effectively access AC and the 5GHz wireless band through USB, physical footprint is bound to be large.
- Though nifty, the Genie software bundled with the device’s drivers is rather bland. It can be considered bloatware if anything, for it serves no real-world purpose. It wouldn’t be as useless if it had more features within the software, but unless updated, I would recommend simply installing the standalone drivers instead.
- I admit this complaint is nitpicky, but I would have liked an indicator LED on the device itself. A soft white light to indicate signal connection would have been enough—or possibly even blinking indicators or differing colors based on the device’s connection strength.
- Although the Desktop Dock does aid in positioning the A6210 to an ideal location, for just my desk alone the cable isn’t long enough for optimal positioning. However, I can see the dock being used even on laptops and non-desk environments; this segues into the next issue.
- Because of the A6210’s bulky, large(ish) form factor, it is sure to block ports near the USB it is plugged into. Hence why the Desktop Dock may be necessary even for non-desktop scenarios. If the dongle is plugged into a laptop’s USB port, it may very well obstruct access to the nearby HDMI or USB. To clear up the space near the dongle’s port, it very well may be necessary to use the Dock. This leads into another issue: Indeed it may be too short for some desktop setups, but it will take away from the laptop’s portability. Maybe Netgear should have included a longer Desktop Dock and a shorter, separate “Laptop Dock” or “Port Extender” with just enough cable length to clear the USB port.
Other Thoughts: - The signal and speed changes nominally on the 2.4GHz band for either USB 2.0 or USB 3.0. However, when using USB 2.0 on the 5GHz band, speed noticeably suffers. So if you’re purchasing this for AC wireless or 5GHz wireless WiFi access but do not have a USB 3.0 port, just be wary of the speed drop. It isn’t a deal-breaker, since it still performs well (see Other Thoughts for benchmark comparisons). However, the A6210’s performance only shines with USB 3.0.
- Granted everyone has different networks and providers, I still included benchmarks just for reference on the Netgear A6210. All are done on SpeedTest, and I am supplied 26mbps internet from my ISP.
*On USB 3.0*
From a far distance, wall obstruction, and non-ideal positioning—Ping: 22ms, Down: 14.45mbps, Up: 2.88mbps
From a far distance, wall obstruction, and non-ideal positioning—Ping: 22ms, Down: 21.86mbps, Up: 4.77mbps
From nearby dual-band router— Ping: 18ms, Down: 25.89mbps, Up: 4.89mbps
From nearby WAP—Ping: 21ms, Down: 25.55mbps, Up: 4.75mbps
*On USB 2.0*
From a far distance, wall obstruction, and non-ideal positioning—Ping: 23ms, Down: 5.35mbps, Up: 2.48mbps
From a far distance, wall obstruction, and non-ideal positioning—Ping: 22ms, Down: 18.09mbps, Up:4.74mbps
From nearby dual-band router— Ping: 20ms, Down: 24.56mbps, Up: 4.77mbps
¬From nearby WAP—Ping: 21ms, Down: 21.35mbps, Up: 4.74
This review is from: OKGEAR PA-AD-UL 12V/5V AC/DC Power adapter w/ 4pin molex connector
Pros: - There is practically an endless amount of usage scenarios for this external molex power adapter. Personally I use it for my home theater audio cabinet which houses molex LED strings and a 140mm fan to cool the cabinet's HTPC. This power adapter does a great job powering both the LEDs and fan. Mine is a use scenario for outside of the computer; this gives you the ability to power any molex PC component without the need of a PC Power Supply.
- I use a similar power adapter for powering watercooling pumps when doing leak testing inside watercooling PCs. The OKGEAR gives you the flexibility of not having to power on the entire PC via a Power Supply just to access a molex connector, which makes it a great tool to have when doing watercooling builds, reducing the risk of possible leaks causing catastrophic damage.
- Another great use for this is to test PC componentry and accessories. You can power fans, controllers, LEDs, hard drives, anything with a molex connector.
Other Thoughts: - A great tool to have if you frequently work in computers or have a specific need to power PC components outside of a PC environment.READ FULL REVIEW