Netgear Extenders

Jun 13, 2019
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I purchased a NetGear Nighthawk X6S Tri-Band WiFi Mesh Exstender based on the good review it received here. After two months of testing I can find no redeeming features and in addition it is a really bad value at nearly $200. Here is the extended review.
User Environment
The device exists in adjacent apartments on the 16th floor of a high-rise coop building in New York City with residential and business users requiring 24x7x365 access supported by a GB router from Verizon supporting both wi-fi and ethernet support. None of the users require full GB access The Netgear device was purchased to see what level of improved support it could provide to wi-fi and ethernet users. It was tested with both ethernet and wi-fi connections over a two month interval in multiple ways for spatial coverage, performance, security and accessibility.
Testing Protocols
Testing was designed to compare both wi-fi and ethernet access directly from the router in its preferred location in apartment number one to all locations in both apartments, and from the Netgear extender from positions in both apartments using both WPS ethernet connections to the extender and from the extender directly when residing in various locations where service is required. After investigation, the use of the available WPS connection to the extender through the router was rejected for security reasons.
Results
If the extender was connected to the router via WPS, speeds (down/up in Mbps) reached less than a quarter of a GB vs much higher results when a device or a computer connected directly to the wi-fi provided by the router from distances of up to 50 feet including wall barriers. Devices capable of connecting to the router via ethernet, either directly or through a switch, routinely reached 90% of the routers rated GB speed.
One issue that came up repeatedly was dropped connections which are unacceptable in our 24x7 work environment. Shared printers, faxes and scanners for instance, would suddenly lose their wi-fi connection and cease to function requiring a network reset to reestablish normal functionality.
There is a further issue related to value. This extender purports to provide an enhanced wi-fi signal by pushing up the broadcast signal, while much cheaper USB plug-and-play devices enhance wi-fi performance by providing an enhanced antenna. The difference being one of trying to enhance performance with a better broadcast signal vs providing a higher quality receiver. A device from Satechi does a better job than the Netgear extender at less than 10% of the cost.
Conclusions
Clearly, if one is able to connect via ethernet, there is no point to even consider an extender. For mobile devices and those that cannot establish an ethernet connection there is still no discernable advantage and some very considerable disadvantages to using this extender. Chiefly those concerned with establishing a stable connection that is not dropped owing to software time-out or for other reasons that we were unable to track down. Secondarily, value conscious users will reject the Netgear product for reasons of economy.
 

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