Linksys MAX Wi-Fi Extender
Last updated date: December 21, 2018
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We looked at the top 1 Wi-Fi Extenders and dug through the reviews from 3 of the most popular review sites including PC Magazine, Trusted Reviews and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Wi-Fi Extender you should buy.
In our analysis of 34 expert reviews, the Linksys Linksys MAX Wi-Fi Extender placed 6th when we looked at the top 11 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
Editor's Note October 14, 2019:
Checkout The Best Wi-Fi Extender for a detailed review of all the top wi-fi extenders.
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From The Manufacturer
Linksys AC1200 Wi-Fi Wireless Dual-Band+ Router, Smart Wi-Fi App Enabled to Control Your Network from Anywhere (EA6100)
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An Overview On Wi-Fi Extenders
Chances are your household relies heavily on a Wi-Fi network. Whether it’s doing homework or streaming the latest Netflix show everyone’s watching, a high-speed network is key. If your network is too slow, you could find that your shows constantly lock up or downloads take far too long.
Upping your network speed isn’t always the solution. You’ll likely still have the same problem, especially if you have areas of your house that are far away from your router. The easiest fix is a Wi-Fi extender, available online or at your local electronics store. For a fairly low price, you can buy one of these devices, plug it in and, in a matter of minutes, extend your router’s reach to those “dead zones” in your home.
“As the name suggests, Wi-Fi extenders expand the range of Wi-Fi in your house or office by rebroadcasting your existing signal from your wireless router,” our technology expert Patrick Ward, editor-in-chief of the IT industry education blog High Speed Experts, explains.
But buying a Wi-Fi router can feel intimidating at first. You may fear that setup will be complicated, but with most of today’s extenders, installation is actually fairly easy. You just plug it in and follow the directions to connect it to your home’s router. The first step is finding the best area of your home for the extender. The goal is to extend the reach of the Wi-Fi signal being sent by your router, so you’ll be moving it to an area of your house where connectivity is poorest due to being too far away.
“Be warned, with a cheaper price comes the challenge of placement,” Ward says. “If you incorrectly place your Wi-Fi extender, it may fail to obtain adequate signal that will allow you to conduct more intensive activities such as online gaming or streaming movies.”
When shopping for a router, pay close attention to frequency. Many extenders use two frequencies: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. You’ll see speed ratings that represent the theoretical maximum speed of the router you’re purchasing. The TP-Link AC750 advertises dual-band speeds of up to 750 Mbps. The Netgear N300, on the other hand, advertises speeds of only up to 300 Mbps. Other factors, such as the size of the ethernet and compatibility with other devices, should also factor into your buying decision.
Another consideration, beyond price, is whether the signal rebroadcast by your extender is different than the one your wireless router emits.
“This means that you have to manually switch over to your range extender network as your devices will automatically connect to your router,” Ward says. “This connecting and reconnecting can get tedious, particularly as you move back and forth between rooms.”
But one advantage of putting in a Wi-Fi extender is that it will allow you to get online in spaces you don’t traditionally think of as having an Internet connection.
“Backyards, garages, or rec rooms can now have a strong Wi-Fi signal, allowing you to remain connected wherever you are in your house,” Ward points out. Want to Internet surf while lounging by the pool? That’s a possibility — if you get the right Wi-Fi extender.
DYWM Fun Fact
In addition to purchasing Wi-Fi extenders, there are things you can do to optimize your Wi-Fi range in your home. Mostly, this entails finding the perfect place to locate your router. You may think a central room is the best area, but there are other factors that can interfere with your signal. Although most walls, doors and furniture won’t get in the way of your signal, it will have a tough time getting through metal or concrete. Chimneys can also cause interference. You should try to avoid locating your router near devices that emit wireless signals. Motors, microwaves and wireless telephones can also cause issues, mimicking the signals a Wi-Fi router sends and creating interference.
The Wi-Fi Extender Buying Guide
- Wi-Fi extenders can seem intimidating if you don’t see yourself as tech-savvy. The good news is, most extenders on the market today are easy to set up. You simply plug it into an outlet in the desired area and follow the instructions to connect.
- Once you get your extender set up, you’ll need an easy way to manage it. The TP-Link AC750 lets you control your device using an app. Here, you can create passwords, check your connections and more.
- Determining exactly where to put your Wi-Fi extender can be challenging. The Netgear N300 includes smart LED indicators that identify the best location in an area for optimizing your Wi-Fi reach.
- Locating can be tricky, especially with the Netgear N300, which requires that you plug it in at the halfway point between your router and the area of your home where reception is low.
- Another issue with some routers, including the Netgear N300, is that you may need to restart it frequently when you find it’s gone offline.
- Wi-Fi extenders operate by using specific frequencies. The TP-Link AC750 and TP-Link HomePlug Powerline and D-Link DAP-1520 extenders all operate on two bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, offering fast performance on both. The Netgear N300 extender only utilizes one 2.4 GHz band.
- Some Wi-Fi extenders let you hook up items like Smart TVs and Xbox game consoles to your Wi-Fi network through an ethernet port. If you’re interested in using this feature, go with a model that has it. The TP-Link AC750, TP-Link HomePlug Powerline and Netgear N300 all have ethernet ports.
- Over time, you may decide just one Wi-Fi extender isn’t enough. The TP-Link AC750 is compatible with a wide range of adapters, which means you’ll be able to expand your network even further by adding more routers.
- If you plan to add routers in the future, though, the TP-Link HomePlug Powerline makes it easy to do so. It comes with a Wi-Fi Clone button that copies your router’s network name and password. One press of the button automatically syncs one extender with all the other extenders on your network.
- A Wi-Fi extender is designed to be planted in a wall outlet, where it stays. The D-Link is by far the smallest of all the extenders, measuring 2.25 x 1.4 x 3.6 inches. The antennas are internal on this model, which provides for a more compact look.
- Speeding up your network is great, but you’ll also want to make sure you keep your data safe. The TP-Link HomePlug Powerline features 128-bit AES encryption, while the D-Link DAP has WPA2/WPA wireless encryption.
- You’ll get exceptional speed with a Powerline adapter like the TP-Link HomePlug, but it’s important to do some research before you make that commitment. Powerline networks are set up to operate with hidden wires, and many of today’s homes simply aren’t set up to work with Powerline devices. If your home’s wiring is compatible, though, a Powerline access point can extend your home’s Wi-Fi network farther than other devices. You also will find a Powerline doesn’t compete with the other devices in your home as much as other Wi-Fi extenders.
- Compatibility isn’t the only concern with the TP-Link HomePlug Powerline. At a price point far more expensive than the others, it may be out of range for many consumers. This is especially relevant when considering that other models are much more affordable.
- If you have older hardware, you may find compatibility is an issue with the Netgear N300.