I love having wifi in my house and to be honest it’s been so long since I’ve had a “wired” connection I can’t even remember. Being able to walk around the house with my laptop, iPad, or iPhone is great. Sometimes if it’s nice outside I’ll walk out there and surf under the sun. Of course those are all the benefits of having wifi in your home. I’m know I’m preaching to the choir as I’m sure your home is set up the same way.
Wifi isn’t perfect, however. My parents and I have completely different type and size houses yet we both share the same problem. The signal is just horrible in one part of the house or the other. For my parents who have a multi-level home their weak spot is on the first floor opposite where the router sits. This sort of makes sense of course being the furthest physical spot from the router. However, I live in a “cottage” that’s less than 900 square feet and yet the back of the house is just awful for for getting a good signal. Of course there are many factors that go into signal degradation including walls, infrastructure, and other devices. This is where a cool little device called a Repeater comes into play. To be honest I had never even thought of getting one until I was approached about doing a review.
The Diamond WR300N Wireless Range Extender looks not much different than a power adapter you’d plug into a wall outlet. What’s great is that it literally takes minutes to set up and is so easy. Sure, I’m a bit of a techie guy but when I went to set it up I didn’t have the manual on me, which by the way, is just one sheet of paper (that’s all that’s needed) and I was able to set it up. I plugged the device into an outlet in between where my current wireless router is and the area of my home that’s not so great. I’m running a Macbook Pro and using Safari so if you’re using a PC with Internet Explorer there may be some very minor differences but overall I think it should be identical. The device came with an RJ-45 cable (that’s a network cable for you non-techie peeps) that I used to plug into one end of the Repeater and my computer. Seconds after plugging in the Repeater (no need for a power button, it just works) my browser came up with the setup page. The browser automagically directs you to the software that resides on the device (there’s no software to install) utilizing the IP address (think of an IP Address akin to a persons phone number) of 10.0.10.245 which should be the address for all of them in case you need it. Once on the page I was asked which network was mine. After clicking on the name of my wireless network I typed in my network password and literally, that was it!! It did mention I might have to restart my computer before it took. I thought this was very weird especially since you never have to restart Apple PC’s but the documentation was right. After a quick reboot of my laptop the Repeater was up and working! As I said, it literally took a few minutes to set this thing up. I didn’t need any tools nor any software to install on my computer.
To test how well it worked I ran a before and after bandwidth test. I use a reputable site I’ve been using for years to test download and upload speeds called www.SpeedTest.net. I ran the test by pointing my browser to the SpeedTest.net site in an area of my house where I knew I got a good signal as it was very close to my wifi router. Please note I had the Diamond Wireless Range Extender unplugged when I performed this test.
As you can see I had some really great download speeds and a respectable upload speed. Should your download speeds fall much lower than this check to make sure your network is set up properly and that you’ve called your ISP (Internet Service Provider) to inquire about what bandwidth plan your on.
Next I wanted to get a gauge on where my connectivity was in the back of my house where I know the signal is poor.
As you can see I lost more than half of my download speed!! The upload speed is the same but I think because it was relatively low to begin with (1.46mbps) and the degradation of my signal didn’t hamper it anymore than it already was limited to. I knew I got a much weaker signal back there but I had no idea I went from 17mbps down to 7mbps!
Okay, so here was the true test. I plugged in the Diamond Wireless Range Extender and ran the test again from the back of the house. Just minutes earlier when I ran the test I was only getting about 7mbps on download speed. I ran the test again with the Diamond plugged in and these were the results I got.
Again the upload stayed the same (no surprise) but look at the download!! I went from 7mbps downloads to over 11mbps! While it’s still quite a bit lower than the speeds I’m getting at the front of my house close to my wifi router it’s more than 50% improvement over not having the Repeater.
I thought it would also be fun to run the exact same test using my iPhone. I’m often surfing the web in my house on my iPhone. Yes, my iPhone does use the cell network (3G) to access the internet but when I’m home it’s actually connected right to my wifi router and does not use the cell network. I mention this to let you know this was a valid test and that my phone was accessing the internet the exact same way my laptop was. So again, I ran the test without the Repeater installed and here was the results.
As you can see my speeds in the back of the house were considerably slower than those I was getting on my laptop. Not a terrible surprise but interesting to note. Also, note on the top left hand corner of this screen shot. See that fan to the right of “AT&T”? That shows you that my phone was connected to the internet using my wifi network and not the cell network. Had it been accessing the internet through the cell network you’d see the characters “3G” there or “E” at the very least.
Once again, I ran the test after I plugged in the Diamond Repeater and got the following results:
Wow!! Results here almost tripled! I was really surprised it made such a difference on my iPhone! Anyway, the Repeater obviously made a difference here as well. Please note the following: I did have to restart my iPhone just as I did my laptop before the iPhone would detect the Repeater. Also, instead of using Safari on my iPhone to perform the test I used the SpeedTest.net iPhone app. It’s the same technology and site as the one I used on my laptop to test, they just happen to have “an app for that”.
If you notice areas in your home where your internet signal drops off this is a terribly quick fix and for only $60 it’s almost a no brainer. I can’t say anything bad about the device and it clearly does it’s job, and well I might add!
One other point to mention is that since this device is so small you can pack it for trips. The next time you’re in a hotel room that has a “wired connection” you can plug this little guy in and turn it into a wifi network!
If you want to learn more about the Diamond Repeater you can visit their site directly.
Full And Fair Disclosure: I did receive a Diamond Wr300N Wireless Range Extender in consideration for this review. I was not compensated in any way and the opinions expressed in this post are mine. Duh!