Linksys RE6500 Wi-Fi Range Extender Review

Discussion in 'Networking & NAS' started by Greg Hook, Sep 30, 2014.


    1. Greg Hook

      Greg Hook
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    2. mickevh

      mickevh
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      Usual caveats apply regarding wi-fi repeaters: Wi-fi is fundamentally an "only one thing at a time can transmit" technology. Wi-fi repeater work by listening out for a wi-fi transmission, copying it, waiting for the airwaves to go quiet, then broadcasting an almost verbatim copy of the original transmission. The original transmission and repeat cannot occur at the same time, so repeaters will half (or worse) throughput.

      Because of this throughput clobbering, IMHO, wi-fi repeaters are to be avoided unless there's no alternative or one doesn't much care about "speeds." A better approach is to do what we do in big deployments and create a "cellular" infrastructure using multiple hotspots with a cabled backhaul between the outposts and the rest of the network - ideally using proper cabled ethernet links, or if domestic harmony does not permit, tunneled over the mains electrical supply using HomePlugs. Whilst they undoubtedly have their use case, wi-fi repeaters are the "least good" solution for coverage black spots, especially if "speed" is your thing.

      Also, beware of big wi-fi myth number 2: Wi-fi clients are not constantly "hunting for the best signal." There's good reasons why they hang on to something that's working even when there's better alternatives available. Which Access Point a wi-fi client talks to and if/when it "roams" to a better alternative is decided by the client device, not "the system" and often one is on the gift of the device designer as to how aggressively they seek a better alternative. The "sticky client" problem is well know in industry. It looks like the reviewer experienced some of that during testing. It drives us all bonkers "in the business" - we wish the boffins in the standards comittee would do something about it. Hrrumph.
       
      Last edited: Sep 30, 2014

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