Wi-Fi Extender: Linksys MAX-STREAM™ AC1900 Wireless-ac Dual Band Repeater with MU-MIMO

The specs for this new wi-fi range extender are impressive. I appreciate the beamforming technology. It also supports all current (and prior) wi-fi standards: 802.11ac, 802.11n, 802.11a/g, and 802.11b.

LinksysExtUnboxing:

The extender is a fairly basic white box that mounts directly via plug into a power outlet. It looks fairly generic, like a carbon monoxide detector or such.

Setup:

I have a fairly new Linksys router. The extender is a high-end AC1900 device made by the same company. I pressed the WPS button on the router to initiate pairing and then, per instructions, the WPS button on the extender. Failure. I went through the process several times but was unable to establish connection with my router from a distance of 5 feet. I then abandoned the WPS setup instructions and switched to web setup, which went smoothly for both 5Ghz and 2.4 Ghz bands.  I realized afterward that I am an idiot. You cannot use WPS if you have a hidden network, which I do.  When I turned on my SSID broadcast and reset it to try again. I was able to connect via WPS on the first try.  Of course, it held the signal when I then deactivated the SSID broadcast again.

Once it was up and running, it gave me a good analysis of the proper location via spot finder. That was helpful.

The instructions recommend giving the extended network a different name than your primary network, such as adding “ext” to the end of your network name. I actually forced it to use the same name as my primary network, since all my devices are new enough to switch seamlessly. If you have older devices, I would suggest you follow the naming directions provided with the extender.

Function:

So far, so good. As I mentioned earlier, the specs are very strong for this extender, and it lives up to my expectations. My devices connect and stay connected seamlessly. The extender offers a range of an additional 10000 square feet (roughly 100 x 100 feet, if that helps give a better idea). I’m a big fan of MI-MIMU, which seems to work well here, too. I use a ton of wireless devices – multiple streaming devices across the house, several gaming consoles, a selection of laptops, tablets, and mobile devices, and a few other connected household devices (thermostats and such). Everything works well.

I now have a very strong signal throughout both floors of the house (router is on top floor, extender on first floor) as well as my yard. In fact, I have decent signal just past the end of my cul-de-sac.

I should note it also includes a 1 GB ethernet port, which could be handy for certain devices.

Conclusion:

I am pleased with the function and appearance of the device. I have been disappointed in prior range extenders, but this one does exactly what you’d want it to do.

Final: Love

Note, this range extender was provided to me free of charge for review by Best Buy and Linksys.

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