The Linksys RE 7000 Range Extender has been a real treat to use. Our Wi-Fi has been an issue for a while with horrible range coverage and speed inconsistencies so I was excited to finally test this. Setup is fairly straightforward and I am confident that most can set this up without any difficulty. The RE 7000 Linksys Range extender can be used in one of two ways: wired or wirelessly. The wired method involves connecting an Ethernet from your modem/router to the bottom of the RE7000, which then plugs in to the wall. The wired method is recommended as opposed to the wireless since it creates an access point directly from your source, thus providing maximum speed. The wireless method uses your Wi-Fi signal to talk to the range extender, and increases the range; however the speed will be less as you have to rely on an increased latency between your device to the extender then back to your original Wi-Fi signal. I tested both methods and while coverage did improve with the wireless method, our results were still inconsistent because our Wi-Fi built into our modem is inconsistent. I want to add if your connection is fast enough, either method will suit your needs, but my recommendation, as well as Linksys's recommendation, is to go in expecting to use the wired method. All my results shown here will be using the wired method as they represent what the RE7000 was designed to do: Increased range and fast, consistent speed. In addition, the WPS button on the RE7000 also worked as designed when connecting my phone and our Sony TV upstairs to the extender. I would try both methods if any problems should arise.
Setup is done primarily through the web browser interface, but you can also connect via the IP address they give you for a manual based install. I did the web-based method as most will choose that way and surprisingly the interface is straightforward. After you create an admin password, it takes you to the settings. For each of the two Wi-Fi frequencies, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, they are split into separate access points, which can be enabled or disabled depending on your preference. On the wireless installation, your access point may use the same name as your old router but will add "_EXT" at the end of it. Likewise, you can always customize your SSID. As for any issues, the only one I ran into was after I had restored the RE7000 to factory settings, my Acer Iconia One tablet kept asking for the admin password that had been erased every time I tried to load the extender web address. I bypassed this by using the IP number used for manual setup; it redirected me back to the welcome screen. If that doesn't work, try clearing the browser cookies and cache. I would also recommend copy the welcome screen's URL during your first initial setup just in case you will need to start over. Above all, be patient, as networking sometimes requires you to redo things, often times working after the tenth time.
In our house, we have had many Wi-Fi issues over the last year or so; mainly inconsistent speeds and coverage was nearly nonexistent if you were anywhere other than directly above the study, upstairs directly above the router or actually in the study. However, using the wired method with the RE7000, our range increased dramatically and the consistency was a HUGE improvement. Essentially, the second half of our house that previously had no Wi-Fi coverage before now had full bars and a strong consistent 18-22 MBPS download and 2.5 upload. In my room, with the door shut, the range extender provided full bars of coverage when before it was average even with the door left open. The range improved so much that places that would see very poor signal strength now had almost nearly full coverage! My room saw the biggest jump over the inconsistent numbers found on the old Wi-Fi in comparison to the strong consistent signal using the range extender. Using the same test server, I noted:
Old Router (Pass 1) 8.28 MB Download/ 2.11 MB Upload/ 34 ms
Old Router (Pass 2) 3.27 MB Download/0.66 MB Upload/34 ms
RE7000 (Pass 1) 22.07 MB Download/2.37 MB Upload/33 ms
RE7000 (Pass 2) 22.24 MB Download/2.30 MB Upload/33 ms
In the dining room, I noted the results using an AE3000 Linksys USB Adapter connected to my newly built desktop. I noted the results below:
Old Router: 6.00 MB Download/1.71 MB Upload/23 ms
RE7000: 22.85 MB Download/1.93 MB Upload/22 ms
As you can see, the RE 7000 performance is absolutely stunning and the consistency has drastically improved. Even places that still have only average bars are so much faster and smooth because our old modem simply could not handle the square footage of our home. In essence, if you need to improve your range and do not mind using the wired connection (perhaps you have a way to hide the cable) then this is absolutely recommended. Wirelessly, I caution to make sure your source is fast and consistent; once done, the RE7000 will tremendously improve your range of the signal. In fact, picking up the device in the backyard was mind bottling!
I would like to mention that when you pair this range extender with compatible Max Stream Linksys Routers (EA7500/9500), the range extender will automatically detect this feature during setup. Next, a message will pop up noting that it will streamline the setup and that it recommends using the same settings used on the main network for a seamless experience. I tested this using the wireless method with my EA9500, since this would be the method you would use to activate such a feature. Thus, because of this, I cannot comment if this would work by using a wired connection from the router to the RE7000 but I imagine it would and thus provide a better experience. Anyways, once connected, on Wi-Fi devices you will not see what physical device you are connected to: both the RE7000 and whichever router used will appear under the same SSID. On extremely fast connections, where delay would be nonexistent, I assume this would be a nice experience, but on slower ones, like ours, I was noticing some spikes in latency and inconsistent numbers once again. Granted, they were not as wild as they were before. Conclusively, your connection will alter your experience here. Personally, I would prefer to see the two access points created by the RE7000, as well as those from the router so I know what I am connected to. Overall, it is a nice feature depending on your preference and connection.
The RE7000 Range extender is an amazing product that I have no doubt will improve your wireless experience no matter which method used to setup. With my precautions, it has the chance to drastically improve your networking needs; much like it did when I used it with an Ethernet cable. The range and performance is definitely there. At its cost, it could prove quite drastically the most effective way to improve your range and access to Wi-Fi, especially in large or multistory houses. I would recommend that if you are purchasing this, check to see if you have the ability to use this with a wired connection. If you do, then I have no doubt you will be pleased like I have been. If you need to use the wireless feature, I still recommend this, but like before I caution that your results will drastically vary depending on your source connection, location of the extender, and your household construction. Fast connections should have no problem, but slower ones may experience some interruption or increased latency, as we are more prone to "feel" it when we do not have access to our full consistent speed. Overall the RE7000 is highly recommended and certainly performs like a five star product!