A wireless network requires an Internet connection, but that also means a router — in fact most ISP (internet service providers) combine their routers with WiFi transmission. This might seem good for eliminating multiple devices, but it does mean that the area which the WiFi network can occupy is going to be limited by the positioning of the router. And since that also means a limitation of placement due to where the cable outlet is (for a cable modem) or a telephone outlet is (for a DSL line), those looking to take advantage of their network throughout their home might easily discover “dead zones.” The solution then is to get a WiFi repeater — essentially a device that “catches” the WiFi signal that the wireless network is dispersing, amplify it to bring its level up to that as if it was coming from its originating point and then send it on to cover areas that otherwise would be bereft of the blessings of online access. In this case it’s a shout out for TRENDnet’s AC1200 WiFi Range Extender.
The AC1200 has a distinct shape, resembling a vertical soup can that’s had the rounded edges flattened out: so it is a rectangular shape with a series of antennas so as to be able to “catch” the higher WiFi signals. It also has a Gigabit wired port which could be useful in certain cases, but for most users it will be ignored. Still, as the old saying goes, better to have and not need than to need and not have.
The AC1200 eliminates the need for a separate power supply by utilizing a direct to wall outlet approach — it has a plug built onto the back and so just plugs directly into an AC outlet. This makes its use ultra convenient for almost all indoor applications — although less so for using outside (however since it’s not waterproof, it shouldn’t be taken out in the first place).
Now one of the biggest bugaboos is that when a “slower” WiFi client (think a smartphone or tablet) goes online by accessing the router — it forces the entire network to abide by its slower receptive power. This is why many routers possess dual networks so that the slower can access the 2.4 GHz band, while the fast go with the 5 GHz. A WiFi extender will fall prey to the same issue, since after all it “lives” on the existing network as an adjunct to it. Fortunately the TRENDnet engineers build their products in the real world, so the AC1200 has both the most-fast 802.11 AC WiFi but also a separate 802.11 N WiFi band. Both bands function in a similar way to extend the home network, but through the two wireless bands any throttling back on speed as a result of a slower device online won’t happen.
The AC1200 isn’t restricted to use as an extender only either — it can also be used as an Access Point.
To set up the AC1200, there’s two methods that can be employed, with both being fairly easy for the novice who might be concerned about using this in the first place. So let’s say straight off that the use of an extender for a WiFi network, like the AC1200, can not hurt the network in any fashion. It can only help. Getting back to the setup, once the AC1200 has been plugged in and the lights have gone on, entering its controls through a web browser will enable its functionality. The other method is to use the WPS button that does a quick and painless pairing with the router — providing that it too has such a button.The results of all this is to be able to extend your network past its limitations — for example the basement or the outdoor patio might now be able to have blazingly fast Internet access.
The TRENDnet AC1200 WiFi Range Extender retails for $89.99, but it’s a one time and small price to pay for being able to not just have Internet access in areas where it wasn’t available before, but also to have that network access be fast and stable.