Linksys RE6500 Wi-Fi Extender

Linksys RE6500 Dual-band Wire­lessAC Range Extender

HWM (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - by Ken­nyYeo

The new Linksys RE6500 dual-band wire­lessAC range extender is the company's lat­est flag­ship extender that sup­ports the Wire­less-AC stan­dard and of­fers a max­i­mum com­bined data rate of 1,200Mbps over both its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. How­ever, to be ab­so­lutely sure, the max­i­mum data rate over Wire­less-AC on the RE6500 range extender is in fact 867Mbps. Hence, if you want to max­i­mize the value of your Wire­less-AC router, it is ad­vis­able to try to ad­just your­self or your router so that you are within the pri­mary wire­less range.

As for out­puts, the Linksys RE6500 range extender pro­vides four Eth­er­net ports and a sin­gle audio jack, which can be used with Smart TVs, HTPCs, me­dia stream­ers or even speak­ers. How­ever, USB out­put is con­spic­u­ously miss­ing.

Set­ting up the RE6500 range extender is easy. It sup­ports Wi-Fi Pro­tected Setup (WPS) so if you have a WPS-en­abled router, push­ing a cou­ple of but­tons is all it takes. Oth­er­wise, sim­ply con­nect to it via Wi-Fi and it will prompt you to en­ter the net­work that you want to ex­tend and its pass­word, and that is it.

How­ever, find­ing the per­fect spot to place the range extender can be tricky. The idea is to place it right at the point where the sig­nal from your router be­gins to di­min­ish so that it is still strong enough for the range extender to boost it. It can­not mag­i­cally boost your sig­nal if there is none to be­gin with in the first place.

Wi-Fi range ex­ten­ders typ­i­cally boosts sig­nal strength at the ex­pense of per­for­mance, so while this flag­ship range extender sup­ports Wire­lessAC, we found that data through­put dropped by around 30% to 70% when con­nected to the RE6500 as op­posed to the router di­rectly. This is in­evitable as data pack­ets now have to go through mul­ti­ple net­works. How­ever, in an area where the sig­nal from the router was weak, we found that con­nect­ing to the range extender's boosted sig­nal in­creased our data through­put by around 200% to 300%.

Over­all, we liked the Linksys RE6500 range extender for its ease of use and de­cent per­for­mance char­ac­ter­is­tics. How­ever, it must be noted that like Wire­less-AC routers, Wire­less-AC range ex­ten­ders also cost a pretty penny. Though the RE6500 is slightly more af­ford­able than its ri­vals; at RM439, some might be tempted to just draw a long Eth­er­net cable di­rectly from their router to their de­vice in­stead.

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