on October 21, 2014
Chose this brand because I have a Belkin router - figured there would be no compatibility issues. It linked easily with my network, and the laptop in the basement showed a stronger signal (router is on the 2nd floor). But after turning off the laptop for a while and then turning it on, couldn't get to the internet, no matter where I placed it. The laptop connected to my network, but at the same time was saying "unidentified network" when I hovered the mouse over the network icon. After several hours with Belkin tech support (no complaints there - she really tried), got it working by resetting the router, relinking the extender, etc. But after the turning the laptop off for a while, same thing. I gave up, unplugged the extender, and reset everything - now everything is back on line. The tech support lady suggested that the problem was that the router was an old model...maybe so, but I don't want to ditch perfectly good gear. So maybe this gadget will work for you, but it didn't work for me.
Consistent with other reviewers, I found the Belkin N300 easy to install, and you don't need an Ethernet cable. You only need your Wi-Fi password/key, and a few minutes to read the instructions and find the website.
What took a little longer was to find the right distance from my wireless router. My goal was to improve reception for my laptop and cell phone in my bedroom, which is located at the other side of the house (60 feet away), one floor up. I am unable to consistently get a blue light on the Range Extender in the bedroom. I had to move the Range Extender to the hallway outside the bedroom to get a consistent blue light (45 feet away). But there was definitely an more bars and an improvement in load time, particularly for my Verizon smart phone.
on December 27, 2013
(Note: See update below)
As far as I can tell, Belkin's changed this product, because what I got was not what other reviewers described.
I got a box with the WiFi range extender and a single card that had 4 steps of instructions on it and a setup CD (which was hidden under the cardboard in which the range extender was seated). There was no ethernet cable, nor any mention of such on the outside of the box.
The 4-step instructions were inaccurate. They said to plug the device in, connect to the "Belkin.setup" network, and go to "http://belkin.range" in a web browser (making a special point to say you could do this on your smart phone). Well, my iPhone said it couldn't find a server named belkin.range. After digging into settings, I connected to the router's IP address (192.168.206.1), and got the setup screens. Went through them, got set up (I was connecting to our main Belkin router). Ran a speed test from a previously-inaccessable part of the house, and got relatively high bandwidth. Yay! I thought.
Well, that lasted for a minute or so, and then the connection became flaky. I looked at the range extender and the light had changed from blue to amber. After finding a page on Belkin's site about the router (absolutely no manual was included in the box), I found out that amber meant a weak connection, and blinking amber meant no WiFi connection.
So, I took the range extender to the room the router's in and plugged it in. The light started blinking blue (which means it's booting, according to belkin.com), then solid blue (which means a good connection), then to blinking Amber (which means no connection).
On my phone I connected to the 5GHz channel network's ssid so I could connect to the router and get the setup page (I was otherwise unable to get the setup page). The range extender said it wasn't connected to a WiFi network, and that the signal strength was good. As it wasn't connected, doing a firmware update didn't work.
Since having the range extender was a "nice to have" option for us, I opted to return it rather than waste more than the hour I'd already wasted on it.
You may be able to fight with this enough to make it work (which seems to be what other reviewers managed), or get another model that actually has accurate setup instructions.
I've dealt with a few range extenders at various places, and have frequently found them to have issues (such as popping up a setup menu at odd times, Netgear). For reliability, I'd recommend running an ethernet cable and a second wireless router if you possibly can as that's still the most reliable way to extend your network. Second choice would be one of the extenders that uses cable or electrical outlets to do that. Third would be to find a range extender that really works - but this was the most likely candidate I could find on Amazon, so I'll be looking at cable/wire-based extenders.
UPDATE: After getting a second wind I tried more. The status indicator is poor: it indicates the condition of the worst signal. So, if the 5GHz connection fails but the 2.4GHz connection is ok, the light will blink (indicating loss of WiFi). I've plugged it back in, waited, and connected with a computer instead of an iPhone (the setup page is very difficult to navigate on the iPhone). The light is amber (meaning weak signal), but looking at the setup page it's the 5GHz band that's weak. 5GHz usually has less range, so that's to be expected. More importantly, speed tests show 30Mbps down, 3.7 up (which is about what I get at the router, so the cable connection's the limiting factor), and the connection seems to be holding. So, the Belkin gets to stay. I'm updating my rating from 1 to 4 stars, which may be generous, but bad indicator and instructions or not, it is successfully extending the wireless network. I'll update this review if that changes.
Belkin is a reliable company and we often turn to their products because of their consistent quality. The range extender is no different.
Set up was simple, but you WILL need your network password, so be prepared! If you don't have it written down, you'll have to get it. It comes with a cd with the set up instructions. Just follow them and it's a piece of cake!
As far as performance goes, I cannot compare it to other range extenders as this is our first experience using one. It appears that it about doubled the size of our effective range for the network. While this is a great thing, if you don't have any security on your network, you will want to fix that BEFORE you install a range extender. Now, our range includes two streets (we live on a corner) and probably several neighbors' houses too. Anybody can stroll through our yard and gain access to our network--if they have the password.
It's great. We can access the network anywhere in the house or yard, including the workshop. While that may seem minor, have you ever tried to use an online tutorial while working on a project outdoors? No more running back and forth--either a smart phone or a Kindle can easily and conveniently access the network and the desired information. No more dead spots indoors either!
Overall, it's a very inexpensive solution, especially when compared with adding additional wiring or even using an ethernet cord to bring access to a location. (I have bought & used ethernet cable stretching as much as 75', and yes, this is cheaper, even before inflation!)
As for speed, it's only able to extend your range, not create miracles. I still have Comcast service, despite fervent hopes that adding this range extender would magically transform them into a responsive company with reliable high speed service. That means that the slow downs & time outs that I had before will continue to exist. However, if Belkin could add a dash of magical transformation to this little device, they could charge three times as much and I know many people who would be online ordering one, if it could just accomplish that minor transformation...
But seriously. If you have dead spots, this is a small device that can really improve your range without a lot of complicated effort being invested into the project. It's really push a couple of buttons, type in a few characters, click your mouse and boom--it's extended.
This extender is a very useful item. The Belkin range extender was easy to set up. After setup was completed, I went about testing the range. My router is pretty powerful as it is. But, this gave me about an extra 20 feet of range. It works on both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands Wi-Fi networks. I am actually going to be using this for my house in PR, where houses are made out of concrete and said concrete interferes with the signal. I will update as soon as I get it install there to see if this is the answer to my problems.
on March 16, 2014
I did that, plugged it in, and it immediately put my Belkin router offline. Unplugged it immediately and called Belkin. Was on tech support call for 1.25 hours to get my regular internet back online. I had my windows 7, windows 8.1, macbook pro all in the room with me and none could get online. My bf's 8.0 *was* online to my router (somehow the range extender didn't screw it up) and if it wasn't for that machine Belkin wouldn't have been able to help me. Worst Sunday night I ever spent. Back in box, shipping tomorrow!!!!
on February 27, 2015
I don't know how anyone can give this product anything more than 1 star. The set up was absolutely a pain. Even for someone as technical as I am. I called their tech support. That conversation was absolutely a nightmare. After 2 hours, I hung up, packed it up and returned it immediately. I went with a different brand it worked exactly as described and expected. I am really shocked about this because I have always had good experiences with Belkin products. Just not this one!