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Review: Netgear Universal Dual Band WiFi Extender (WN3500RP)

by Parm Mann on 22 February 2013, 09:30 4.0

Tags: NetGear (NASDAQ:NTGR)

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Performance

The WN3500RP is a product we've been interested in testing for an admittedly-selfish reason; we have dead spots of our own that we're itching to kill. Our router (also a dual-band Netgear solution) is positioned on the ground floor of our three-storey property, and the top floor is notoriously bad for Wi-Fi reception. If we're lucky enough to get a connection at all, it tends to be at a basic 6Mbps and offers limited bandwidth.

Positioning the WN3500RP on the middle floor, where it confirms an optimal connection between the extender and our router, delivered the following results:

WN3500RP Extender Operating Mode Extender Link Rate Laptop Link Rate Download Speedtest
Standard - 2.4GHz to Router, 2.4GHz to Laptop
78 Mbps
117 Mbps
10 Mbps
Standard - 5GHz to Router, 5GHz to Laptop
162 Mbps
216 Mbps
12 Mbps
FastLane - 2.4GHz to Router, 5GHz to Laptop
78 Mbps
240 Mbps
11 Mbps
FastLane - 5GHz to Router, 2.4GHz to Laptop
216 Mbps
144 Mbps
14 Mbps

On thing's for certain, the third-floor dead spot is long gone. A solid connection to an extended network is readily available in areas where the router would struggle to reach, and while every operating mode shows good performance, we see optimum results with FastLane Technology enabled and configured to connect to the router over 5GHz band. In this mode, we achieved a link rate of 216Mbps between extender and router, and a link rate of 144Mbps between extender and laptop, resulting in a healthy wireless download speed of 14Mbps.

Wireless performance, of course, can be susceptible to various other factors so your mileage may vary, and if you need maximum performance, an extender may not be the ideal choice. Netgear itself recommends that an extender should only be used 'where the network connection to your existing router is very poor or nonexistent.'

This is because the added latency of an extender - remember, your data's being subjected to an extra stop - will result in transmissions that are slower than that a direct-to-router connection. We've found the extended network to be plenty sufficient for streaming high-quality video from the web, but enthusiast gamers who live or die by their ping may not be satisfied.

Summary

The Netgear Universal Dual Band WiFi Range Extender, Wall-plug Edition is one of those products that does exactly what it says on the tin.

For anyone struggling with wireless range, the WN3500RP represents a solution that's both easy to use and quickly configurable.

There are cheaper and smaller extenders on the market, but with Netgear's added extras - including dual-band support, AirPlay audio streaming and FastLane Technology - the WN3500RP is a well-rounded package that's more than up to the task.

The Good

Easy to setup and configure
Supports and extends dual-band networks
Will help eliminate dead spots
AirPlay audio streaming
Enables wireless printer sharing via USB
Desktop and wall-mount positioning

The Bad

Pricey for a wireless extender
Size not ideal for wall mounting

HEXUS Rating

4/5
Netgear Universal Dual Band WiFi Range Extender,
Wall-plug Edition (WN3500RP)

HEXUS Awards


Netgear Universal Dual Band WiFi Range Extender,
Wall-plug Edition (WN3500RP)

HEXUS Where2Buy

The Netgear Universal Dual Band WiFi Range Extender, Wall-plug Edition is available to purchase from PC World.

HEXUS Right2Reply

At HEXUS, we invite the companies whose products we test to comment on our articles. If any company representatives for the products reviewed choose to respond, we'll publish their commentary here verbatim.



HEXUS Forums :: 1 Comment

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looks good, good idea, shame its just a blatent airport express rip off...but if it works for routers other than apples own, it could be a good thing....
but the plug thing, its a copy ... its even white!