Wi-Fi in a home or office is great when you are close to the access point…but get too far away and oops, no Wi-Fi. Bummer. Relocating your access point isn’t necessarily the answer, as most likely some other place that worked before is going to stop working. What you need my friend is a Range Extender.
D-Link’s new Wireless AC1200 Dual Band Range Extender (DAP-1650) is what we are talking about. This surprisingly light-weight and uncomplicated device (just slightly larger than a soup can) is all it takes to be able to use your Wi-Fi devices where they only marginally worked before and even further than they’ve ever been able to go before.
Setup is super simple. Plug it into 110v power, turn it on, and with one button push, pair it with your wireless router by WPS. Then, go stick it somewhere at the extent of where your present Wi-Fi signal starts to fade out. It will grab the low grade signal, boost its power and rebroadcast it for extended range.
Real world test
I took the DAP-1650 about 40 feet from my Wi-Fi router, where the Wi-Fi signal would typically drop about -28 dBm. Plugging in the 1650, it found my signal and immediately boosted the signal right back up to its initial signal strength, gaining every single one of those 28 dBM back.
Walking outside, I found I could hold onto that signal for another 100 feet, making a huge difference in the area suitable for streaming music or movies.
But there’s more
The 1650 also has 4 Ethernet jacks on the back, enabling you to hard wire up to four devices that may not have wireless capabilities. Add a media server, network drive or gaming system. You now have maximum flexibility with your home or business network.
One trick discovered during the testing: there is such a thing as being TOO CLOSE to your wireless access point. Your best signal reception will come from being at least three feet away from your wireless router or the DAP-1650. Closer than three feet can actually work against you.
Doug Bardwell, based in Cleveland, OH, writes about interesting new travel technology topics, across the country and around the world at DougBardwell.com. Feel free to drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org with suggestions for future products to be reviewed. If you've ever used one of the products he's reviewed, please leave your thoughts in the comment box below. To get his stories delivered to your inbox, click the RSS feed or the "Subscribe" button above or follow him on Facebook , Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. To read Doug’s disclosure notice, click here.