As homes continue to grow larger and larger so does the need for more powerful wireless routers. Our house isn’t what I’d call small, at over 3,000 feet, and we use a lot of WiFi enabled devices. Our one router, an Actiontec provided free by Verizon as part of their FIOS service, does an admirable job keeping up with all most of the time but there are just some areas in our home it simply can’t reach sufficiently. No more so than the basement. My wife, who works from home, keeps her office down there and often complains of weak WiFi strength. I’d toyed with the idea of investing in a second router and setting it up for her in the basement but that could get costly since it would require a new line of service from Verizon.
Thankfully Diamond Multimedia makes a product that can help. The Wireless Range Extender is meant to solve the problem of WiFi dead spots in your home by taking your existing signal and extending its range to previously hard to reach spots.
Does it work? Read on for the full review.
Inside the packaging of the Wireless Range Extender you’ll find the unit itself, an ethernet cable, CD ROM and quick start set up instructions.
The unit itself can actually be used in one of three ways. First, it eliminates dead spots by extending the range of your wireless router. Second, it can create a wireless access point by connection to your wired router or modem at home or while traveling. Finally, it can become a wireless bridge, connecting to internet ready TVs, BlueRay players, Gaming Consoles and Media Players to extend their wireless streaming capabilities.
On the front of the unit you’ll find four blue LEDs and on the top the ethernet port. The unit itself while not too large is big enough that if you plan to use it in a traditional power strip it may take up the space of more than one receptacle.
The first step towards using the Extender is to set it up. This is done by first plugging it into a wall outlet and then connecting the supplied ethernet cable, one end to the extender and one to an ethernet port on your computer. Once everything is connected you use your web browser to set up the device. I had some issues connecting to the Extender at first but after a few tries the process went quite smoothly. Once you’ve connected to the device it’s very reminiscent of setting up a router.
I choose the auto set up which brings up a list of all the available WiFi networks in your immediate area. You’ll be able to see a lot of detail about each of the networks listed, including signal strength, whether or not the network is using some sort of security or not, the channel it’s on, and the name. Next to each WiFi network is a connect button. Once you’ve found your own home network you simply press the connect button. If you have security enabled on your network you’ll be asked for the password and then the Extender will join your network.
Once it’s all configured you’ll then move the Extender to an area which is somewhere between where your wireless router is located and where your dead spot is – remember it has to be plugged into an outlet so finding the perfect spot isn’t always ideal. Since I wanted to boost the signal in and around my basement I choose the outlet right at the bottom of the basement stairs. Once I plugged the Extender in the blue LED WiFi indicator lit up letting me know it had connected to my WiFi network and was ready for use.
I tested the Wireless Range Extender with laptop as well as my iPhone and iPad. In all instances I found that it worked exactly as advertised. In my basement my iPhone and iPad normally get ahold of one or two bars of WiFi. When I plugged in the Wireless Range Extender I consistently had a full three bars. With my laptop I found that I was able to achieve 100% signal strength in my wife’s office as well.
The Wireless Range Extender can probably help with a variety of applications, not just a home office. With the amount of internet based music services available now I could see it coming in handy in the summer for streaming music out on the patio. My father spends the winter in Florida. His condo only has router ethernet access which won’t help him when it comes time to use his WiFi iPad. However, he could use the Wireless Range Extender to create his own wireless network and be able to use his iPad freely.
In my testing I found that the WR30oN Wireless Range Extender did just what it said it would do. It extended the range of my home WiFi network allowing me to achieve better signal strength in areas which were previously lacking it. The set up was easy and the unit takes up little space. If you struggle with WiFi dead spots in around your home or office I suggest you check it out.
You can learn more about the Diamond Multimedia WR300N Wireless Range Extender by visiting this page on the company’s web site.
PROS: Easy set up, works as advertised.
CONS: Maybe take up more than the space of one outlet in a power strip.