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Pros: Easy to setup, even using a smart phone.
Range extended 20 ~ 50 feet.
WPS button for easy network connection (for devices)
RJ45 Port for even more versatility.
3.5mm Jack for streaming music across the network.
Runs Hot (I checked the power consumption, and it was within normal thresholds)
No AC power pass through outlet.
Lacking instructions out of the box, just a quick connect card was included.
Other Thoughts: ~
This extender has been very handy to enrich the signal broadcast area of my router. I was able to get an average of 25 feet extended range, which was a nice way to fill the gaps in my broadcast signal. Your results will depend on physical limitations (walls), signal interference and signal noise. The ability to stream music across the network is a nice feature also, and can prove to be a fun way to surprise people with unexpected sounds or music.
As far as the speed of the connection goes, you should be informed that Extenders act as Bridges, therefore the maximum speed throughput is halved. This is not a result of the device, but rather how wireless technology works by design. (my 150+Mbps was halved to 75+Mbps across the extender).
I did experience some problems initially with the extender I received. The extender out of the box would stop broadcasting after 5 to 10 minutes, and would reboot. If I tried to stream music to the extender it would reboot. I found out that every time it was rebooting it was changing the IP address, so it became difficult to access the management panel, I had to look at my router to see the address it was changing to. Even more infuriating was when I made a change in the management panel it would reboot with a new IP address again. Resetting the extender with the paperclip switch didn't resolve the issue, I checked the firmware and it was up to date / latest version. I decided to reload the firmware anyway as a last ditch effort, and found another issue: the firmware would fail to load using Firefox. Using Chrome I was able to re-install the latest firmware, and the extender Finally started functioning as intended. This is something that happens on occasion with wireless broadcasting devices, but its odd that it happened out of the box.
The device lacks information on how to stream music across the network, I found the Linksys help page online helpful, but not fully informative. I used foobar2000 from my PC combined with UpnP MediaRenderer plug-in, which the help page doesn’t mention. The are smart phone apps for iOS and Android that will also allow you to stream across the network, but I didn't try them out.
The RJ45 port really is a nice feature when you need to connect a non-wireless printer or PC to the network.
After resolving the initially frustrating issues I had with maligned firmware, this extender performed as intended, and I have been pleased with its performance overall.
Aside from the lack of an AC pass-through outlet, I would recommend this extender to people looking to brighten and extend their current wireless network, the RJ45 port and 3.5mm audio jack are welcomed bonuses.
ac/a/n 5.0 GHz bands and n/g/b 2.4 GHz bands supported.
Maximum throughput of of up to 600Mbps (2.4GHz) and 1300 Mbps (5GHz)
Very easy to install and set up.
Solid reliable performance.
Three directional antennae.
Ability to run as an access point.
Includes low profile PCI-e bracket.
Included software utility control center is overly simplified, lacking advanced control interface.
Optimal AC range is less than a 25 foot distance (however; this is more to do with the 5.0GHz being a shorter wavelength than the 2.4GHz band. Antennae, location and operating environment also play a role)
Other Thoughts: ~
This has been an exceptionally well performing adapter, and has not failed once in the 30 days I spent testing it. I paired this adapter with various routers, all of which performed within acceptable margins of throughput for their advertised data rates. For frame intensive gaming like you would find in titles like CS:GO, this adapter will perform best if paired with a high link speed router (the highest data rate router I used was a TP-Link C9 AC1750, which provided fantastic results when paired with this adapter). This adapter performed well with lower data rate routers as well, and had no issues with average connectivity demands from streaming HD video to looking up weather, news sites and checking email, and social media outlets.
Installation was easy, and software setup was incredibly easy, something that TP-Link has been doing right for some time now.
I installed the adapter into the third PCI-e lane (PCI-e x8) on my motherboard to keep the airflow around my graphics card in lane one from getting obstructed. Even though the adapter is PCI-e x1 and a different length, PCI-e lanes are backwards compatible allowing you to install into any lane.
This adapter is basically set and forget, after connecting to your router, there really isn't much left to do.
The TP-Link Wireless Configuration Utility is a fool-proof, easy to use control panel, but it lacks in-depth control and monitoring. The “advanced” tab in the options allows you to make 2 changes, one being “Power Saving” mode and the other “SoftAP” or access point.
The Access Point is a nice feature and may be of use to people that do not want to use a router or are having connectivity or router issues. To set up the Access Point using the SoftAP mode simply connect your PC by CAT5 to your modem or router, turn on SoftAp in the utility, set the Internet Connecting Share to Local Area Connection, and finally set your SSID and password. The broadcast range in Access Point mode isn't substantial, but should provide coverage 20 to 25 feet away, your results will vary depending on the environment which you operate in.
Overall I would recommend this adapter to anyone looking for a high data rate wireless connection.
The stable unwavering performance, and the set and forget ease of use has been absolutely impressive.
Novice friendly easy setup with built in wizard.
Advanced features for more experienced users.
ac/a/n/g/b Wi-Fi modes.
Dual Wi-Fi broadcast frequencies of 5.0GHz and 2.4GHz.
Good link speed.
USB Expansion slot provides ability to utilize an external drive as a NAS, or act as a wireless printer hub.
Built in power switch.
Configurable Guest Network
Dual bi-directional antennae.
TP-Link Tether App available, provides basic configuration and control options for iOS and Android devices. (compatible once router Firmware has been updated to latest version)
4 Glitches in 30 days, requiring power cycle reset.
One of these glitches happened as I was trying to access the router, causing it to refuse the log-in credentials 10x in a row, to which I discovered another Con:
If you fail to enter the correct credentials 10x in a row the router will refuse all log-in attempts for 7500 seconds, or a little over 2 hours. This should not be such a long duration by default (I ended up having to hard reset the router to regain access, and yes I was entering the correct user and password. In my instance the router kept responding the device was being accessed by another user, even though it wasn't.)
NAS access using an attached USB storage device is clunky and not very user friendly. No portal or web page based access. In Windows environment you must access the drive by entering \\192.168.0.1 in the Windows Run interface; web browser is not supported.
Firmware updating requires manual download, decompression and install. No automatic updating or direct to router download. This feature seems out of place with the ease of setup and access features, and likely would prove difficult for novice users, and is required if you want to use the TP-Link Tether App.
Other Thoughts: ~
Overall this router has provided decent service during my testing, and has easily handled a fair amount of connected devices simultaneously. The test environment supported a PC, 2 laptops, roku, android tablet and an iPhone. The QOS has been seamless and connections did not seem bottle-necked by other devices demanding internet access, even while streaming HD content on the roku.
This router was very easy to setup and get running with the built in wizard and has a plethora of features available in the advanced menus.
Some of the more advanced features includes:
Assigning a separate guest network, with separate password, you can even configure an automated schedule for the guest network to operate at defined times during the day, even days of the week.
Ability to connect a USB Thumb or External Hard Drive as a Network Attached Storage (must be enabled in the advanced options). Although TP-Link needs some polish with accessing a USB drive with this router, I am a fan of having the option to have a NAS function available.
The menus have some of the standard features you would expect: Firewall, Bandwidth control, Access control, Parental controls, NAT, Port Forwarding. And some features that you may not expect: Advanced Security featuring: DOS protection, locking down Router control by MAC address, and remote management.
Additionally you can manage the router with the TP-Link Tether App, which allows basic control of the router including parental control, blocking specific devices on the network, and rebooting the router.
This is a nice layer of convenience should you desire to control your router from your smart phone.
This router did glitch 4 times in the course of 30 days, and required a power cycle reset (pulling the power cord out for 30 seconds). This was disappointing, as I have not had this experience with other TP-Link routers in the past, and may or may not have been a result of the Firmware that was shipped with this router.
I might recommend this router to people looking for an entry level AC band router, if my experience with the glitches proves to be a unique, or at least narrowed down to the Firmware that was shipped with this unit. I would likely recommend a higher link speed AC router for those looking for frame intensive FPS online gaming.
For general use, streaming and moderate gaming, this router should suit most needs.
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