NETGEAR N300 Wi-Fi Range Extender, Essentials Edition (EX2700)
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Say goodbye to Wi-Fi dead zones. Convenient, discreet and easy to install, extended Wi-Fi coverage is just an outlet away with this essentials edition extender. Boost your Wi-Fi for mobile devices and connect a wired device such as Smart TVs or game consoles. Boost your existing network range & speed, delivering Wi-Fi up to 300Mbps. External antennas provide better Wi-Fi coverage and higher speed, while the convenient wall-plug design saves space. It works with any standard Wi-Fi router & is ideal for keeping your mobile devices connected as you move throughout your home.
Most helpful customer reviews
2453 of 2596 people found the following review helpful.
It's good, but realize it's limitations.. Read on for the good stuff.
By Sergey Evdokimov
As a Senior Network Engineer I work around a lot of networking hardware. I am very adept with AP's, Extenders, WLC's, and all of that so I knew what to expect with this. I am not sure why people are complaining about setup, it's ridiculously simple! Note, this is NOT a Mesh-Mode AP/Router, it's an EXTENDER or AP, which means it will provide a 'new' SSID that you can connect to that will bridge to your primary SSID. You should not use this with the same SSID as your router or there could be serious issues. (That's MESH MODE and this is not that!)
For extender mode, what this device does is grab the SSID from your main router and act as a 'bridge' to that router and re-broadcasts the signal with it's own hardware over another SSID. Think of it as a relay race for wireless.. You can use almost anything to bridge networks, even other laptops, routers and access points. So your traffic goes like this: Device over extender SSID to Extender. Extender Hardware processes it as a bridge mode router then sends it through wireless to the existing SSID from your primary router. You are hopping multiple SSID's. To set this up you just put in the SSID and Passkey for your existing wireless, assign a new SSID to the Extender - and note this SHOULD be a different SSID than the primary SSID from your router. Once this is done you connect your wireless devices to the extender and it will 'hop' your data from the extender to the router.
QUICK SETUP: Plug in the extender, wait for it to boot up (2 min), connect your laptop to the SSID of the extender which by default will be something like "NETGEAR_EXT".. Once your device connects to this open up a browser and go to 192.168.1.250, that's the gateway, which is the extender. Once you hit the IP of the extender you will enter setup mode. Here it will ask a series of questions, poll the existing WiFi in the area, and have you setup a new SSID after you input the existing SSID information from your normal router. Setup is done! Now any device you want to go through the extender should utilize the SSID on the extender NOT the SSID on the primary router. Presto! A couple reviewers hammered this for difficult setup which I find hard to believe. Follow my instructions and it's up and running in 3 minutes, and 2 of those minutes are the device booting up! (seriously)
Second mode this can do is AP Mode. Essentially it will act as an AP off your existing network. Connect an ethernet cable to it and set it up per the instructions and you will have a second AP In your home utilizing the same network but different SSIDs! Remember, this is not an enterprise grade WLC AP so you are not going to have multiple AP's using the same AP profile and SSID, each AP will have different SSID's. (but they can use the same password for continuity)
IMPORTANT: A HUGE benefit to this device is it's ability to run in AP mode. Think about this - you are in a motel room with bad wireless but strong ethernet. Simply plug this in and have your own SSID's with speedy wireless. Another important way this can be used is with insecure wireless networks. You can 'hop' this into insecure networks and provide your devices with their own secured SSID's with AES Passkeys. Anyone attempting to hack you through the insecure WiFi would need to hack your secured device and SSID! So there are some pretty cool things you can do with this. Although keep in mind it's not a VPN so they still could sniff the stream going from the extender to the router if the router uses an unsecured SSID, but at least they aren't getting directly into your device so there is some slight, additional security.
Features/Advanced Options: After you run through the silly quickstart stuff you can go to 192.168.1.250 which is likely the preferred DCHP this will grab from your router. From here you have advanced options where you can see transfer rates, connected clients,setup MAC access permissions and other goodies. Not bad! But again this is really a tiny router so these settings are to be expected. There is a 'Fastlane' system in this which is really a gimmick that is absolutely pointless and more generally considered a marketing feature. What this does is you give the extender a designated frequency from your router (2.4 or 5.0) then the router pushes 5.0 with the 2.4 or 2.4 with the 5.0 channel. This is just frequency isolation that will allow you to use a designated band for the extender. It's utterly pointless in my testing and offers no speed boost at all. In a crowded home with a lot of devices this would probably be something you may use. Forcing everyone on 2.4 then piping 5.0 directly to the extender then 2.4 off of the extender. But I would say for 90%+ of uses this is utterly pointless. It's also likely why the feature is buried on the device in sub menus. I'd leave it off.
PERFORMANCE: I will say while the performance of this device is good, it's not perfect. You WILL NOT get the same performance as your primary router. The reason for this is that you are stepping through what amounts to an additional (low powered) router. This device has session and throughput limitations that are likely well below your router in some cases. Performance is lost in that transition, but also the SSID hopping also degrades the speed. This is to be expected, this is not an access point, it's an extender and performance on an extender will never be as good as a pure router or AP.
In my case, my connection averages 110Mbps-180Mbps over my primary router and AP's. (2400AC) Through the extender I averaged 50-60Mbps per device. That's a 50% loss on average of speed in comparison to the primary router/AP configuration. So remember, the point of this is to get WiFi to areas of your home with bad WiFi coverage but don't expect this to be a speed demon. Also there is a slight ping-drop between this and the router, expect 20-50% increase in ping latency. So if your existing router averages 10-20ms to a close hop, this will bump that to 20-40ms average. Not a big deal unless you are a gamer, that could present some issues.
Do I like this device? Absolutely! It's the best extender I have ever seen to date. Is the technology of extenders perfect? No. But this is as good as you are going to get unless you want to run a router in MESH or install a WLC and controlled AP's. I am using this for my vacation where signal power is probably going to suffer, but in my home my AP's do the heavy lifting and this isn't needed. Also on vacation I will provide myself with my own secure SSID's to use and leave the other SSID's for anyone else at the vacation home.. ISOLATION!
IMPROVEMENTS: Companies that make these extenders should focus on reducing latency and increasing throughput. This would be done by putting better processors in these units. My APs in the home have quad core processors and can handle a lot of speed, sessions and clients. I would guess this unit has a sub-1Ghz single core processor which is going to limit your performance. I suspect the higher model number has a better processor and/or other brands have better processors which would likely result in more robust performance.
3258 of 3476 people found the following review helpful.
Poor Instructions But Not Too Bad If You Use a Mobile Device
By Minnie I.
The way to connect this extender is by using a Kindle Fire, Android Tablet, iPad or other mobile device. The instructions are not very clear on what you need to install the device. So if you assume you can install this device using your desktop computer and that you'll be able to find the "wireless manager," you probably will have difficulty. In fact, some of the online questions for Netgear and Microsoft are where do you find the manager and how do you make it work. Unfortunately, the answers are typical techno-speak and basically difficult or impossible to follow. So for those who cannot read between the lines of the instructions, the way you install this is:
1) Plug in the device. It will probably take several seconds, sometimes minutes, before the power light registers green. Do not despair. The instructions won't tell you that this will take some time, but it does.
2) Get out your iPad, Kindle Fire, or other WIRELESS tablet or device. DON'T EXPECT TO USE YOUR DESKTOP computer to make the connection. Go to the "Settings" of your wireless device and wait for it to recognize your router name plus a suffix ___EXT. When that appears, choose that wifi connection. You will be asked for the same password you use on your real router. Enter that password.
3) You will be taken to a website for setting up the extender. If you try to access this website from your DESKTOP computer, you'll get an error message. Once you get to this website, the instructions in the package will start to make sense.
4) When you've finished the set up, unplug the extender and take it to the location where you want to boost the wireless connectivity. Again, using your mobile device (or other computer), use the "Settings" menu to find the widi connection. Choose the network connection with your wireless name PLUS the ___EXT suffix. The password will be the same as your regular wifi network.
The devices in proximity to the extender will receive a better wifi signal. I think the device is fine, but the instructions were not very well done. I think it would be helpful if the writers had made it clear that you need to use a MOBILE device (not just a computer, tablet, etc.) to set this up. In other words, you cannot set this up (at least not that I was able to discover) with your regular desktop computer. With an iPad or Kindle Fire, the process is very easy and provides decent boosted wifi. I gave this a the three-star because this installation process could have been so much clearer with more precise instructions or even a quick little video.
UPDATE: Well, we just had to upgrade our router/gateway. I am sorry to say that this extender was just as bothersome to set up using the reset as before. My instructions still worked BUT you cannot do this on an iPhone. For some reason even after you enter the correct router password, the latest iPhone OS will not let you access the continue button. I was able to set this up using my Kindle Fire HDX. I have since purchased this router: MSRM US750 750M Dual Band Wi-Fi Range Extender Wireless WiFi Repeater With Dual External Antennas and 360 Degree WiFi Covering, which was much simpler to set up and seems to be providing the same level of access. (I did use an iPhone to set it up.) I tested both extenders using a dead spot/download speed app, and they appear to work about the same. (There also are less expensive versions of this MSRM router that others say work well.) So, I've turned off my Netgear router...for now, but am keeping it as a back-up.
178 of 195 people found the following review helpful.
Last Netgear Product I'll Ever Buy
Long time Amazon Prime member that's literally ordered hundreds of times. First time I've been compelled to leave a review. That said, I ordered this device about 8 months ago. Setup was fairly straight forward, but I also benefit from a heavy tech background. I could see a non-tech person maybe struggling a little, but it's not too bad. Worked okay until today. Not as fast as connecting directly to the router, but not significantly slower either. Did struggle with the device maintaining a connection, so most morning when going to my computer, I'd need to reconnect and wait for all the emails and other data transfers to completely. Wasn't ideal, but I dealt with it. Only drawback was I'd often set Google Drive to pause during the day and and then resume at night so it wouldn't bog down my internet speed for other tasks. Today the device simply stopped working. Lights were all on and green, but would not broadcast as seen across 3 separate devices. Tried to restart it, to no effect. Finally did a factory reset and though it did broadcast, I could never connect. It just times out. Reset it several more times, same deal... So I called Netgear support and after 15 minutes of reading serial numbers and handing over personal info, they attempted to sell me a 'support package' for $89 for 6 months, $129 for 1 year and $199 for two years. Netgear supports their hardware for 60 days. After that, you're left high and dry unless you pay for a ridiculously over priced support contract to be able to talk to a support rep that is clearly overseas. Mind you the device sells on Amazon new for $29. So, BUYER BEWARE!!! Sucks to add this hunk a plastic to a landfill, but obviously Netgear is expecting it or hoping you'll pay their ransom to maybe get your device up and running. Never again... After having owned many Netgear devices and purchased many in professional environments, I WILL NEVER EVER PURCHASE NETGEAR AGAIN. Further, anytime it comes up, I'll insure everyone in listening distance is made aware just how bad Netgear's support is. BUY AT YOUR OWN RISK.