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106 of 107 people found the following review helpful
on March 28, 2012
3/25/2012
My 802.11n / DSL router is a Actiontec GT784WN.
The WiFi range on that device is poor. (the radio is under powered)
I use WPA2 AES encyption. I bought the Hi-Gain Wireless-N Dual Radio Smart Repeater Model HW2R1.
I ran the quick setup and checked the bridging/passthrough mode checkbox. It connects to my Actiontec via 802.11n WPA2 AES, however it broadcasts 802.11n WPA TKIP by default. Some of my 802.11n adapters (Netgear WMCE2001) actually warn me that the data rate will not exceed 54 Mbps if using WPA TKIP. Other adapters (Cisco-Linksys WEC600N Dual Band Wireless-N Ultra RangePlus Expresscard) don't give me any warning and actually connect to the Hawking HW2R1 repeater (broadcasting 802.11n using WPA TKIP encryption) at 5 bars with 130 Mbps. It's really weird! On the box and on the Hawking website, it says that WPA2 AES is supported, yet by default the repeater is broadcasting WPA TKIP encryption. Also, with bridging/passthrough mode, there's no way to configure the repeater as it "blends" into your existing network so anything that you need to change up must be set up originally in the initial configuration.

3/28/2012 Update
This is an amazing product with no instructions!
Half the customers who buy this return it due to configuration difficulties.

Here's what you need to do:

1. Press the Reset WPS Button for 20 seconds

2. Connect to Wireless Network SSID Smart_Repeater

3. Point your web browser to 192.168.5.200

4. Login using username "admin" and password "1234"

5. Make sure you are on the tab labeled "Quick Setup" and Run the Automatic Setup (Recommended)

6. Check the Bridging/passthrough mode checkbox, auto-detect your wireless network SSID
and enter your connection credentials.

7. The wizard will guide you through and at the end it will reboot the repeater.

The above steps are just the start.

8. After the repeater reboots, you can connect via the cat5 / ethernet cable provided to
fine tune the settings and get more performance out of this wonderful repeater.
Connect one end of the ethernet cable to your PC ethernet adapter and the other end
to the ethernet/cat5 port labeled WIRED1 on the Hawking HW2R1 repeater.

9. Turn off your wireless connection on your PC or laptop.

10. Turn on your wired connection on your PC or laptop.

11. Download file software_HW2R1.exe from [...]

12. Then, run software_HW2R1.exe. It will detect your Hawking HW2R1 repeater.

13. While software_HW2R1.exe is running and connected to the Hawking HW2R1 repeater, start
your web browser and go to to 192.168.5.200

14. You will see the Hawking configuration web page that you originally saw when you connected
wirelessly to Wireless Network SSID Smart_Repeater, only this time, your connection is
over ethernet/cat5 wire. This is a totally undocumented feature.

15. Login using username "admin" and password "1234"

16. You can now go to the tab labeled "Manual Setup"
What you have here by default are the default settings that the
repeater was set to during the "Quick Setup" phase (steps 1-7 above)
before the reboot.

17. Here you will see left-hand side sub menus with more in-depth customization settings.
Navigate through to each screen to see the custom settings pages.
Press Apply and then press the Go Back button to avoid rebooting.
You'll see that the settings you just Applied are kept.
DO NOT reboot after applying each setting.
It's all or nothing.
Basically, the repeater keeps the settings you've applied in memory until you
are ready to apply permanently / reboot, in which case it will write the settings
to its permanent flash storage.
You accumulate all the settings, THEN you reboot when you're good and ready.
This is not documented and probably causes quite a lot of people to return
their perfectly working repeater. It also makes it seem as though you need
to reboot after changing 1 setting. Too many reboots could end up bricking
the repeater.

18. Here, you can change the wireless network security settings to WPA2 AES so you get true
802.11n speed (over 54 Mbps)

The most wonderful part of this is that you can go back over and over again to further fine
tune your repeater over the ethernet wire connection.

So what did I just explain here?
A way to setup the device to a default configuration via a wireless connection and then
fine tune the default configuration via a wired connection.

Another thing to do is to download the Hawking software for this device found at
bit.ly/JqjVTb

This will scan your network connect to the repeater and
tell you what version of the firmware your repeater is running.
My repeater is running firmware ver. 1.22
The firmware available on the Hawking support page at
[...] index.php products wireless repeaters_&_extenders hw2r1.html
is older versions 1.12 and 1.18.

Hawking! Get your act together!
You're shipping 1.22 firmware product and don't have the latest version firmware up on
your web site on the product page. What gives?

Hawking should pay me to write their manuals.
I'm certain if this was the case, they would have far fewer returns and a lot more
satisfied customers!
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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2010
I purchase the Hawking HW2R1 repeater in an attempt to extend wi-fi coverage to areas in my home that my Netgear WNDR3700 could not reach. Setup was easy with the Hawking CD and I initially placed the repeater between my computer and router. The computer at that point was close enough to the router that internet speed was 25mb/s from the router wi-fi but dropped to 3mb/s when connected to the repeater. Hawking tech support suggested resetting the router and repeater to channels 1, 6, 9, or 11 to see if the internet speed would improve. None of these channels improved the speed. Tech Support suggested waiting a couple of weeks to see if it improves. I did not think that would work so I looked for a better solution. It appeared that the repeater could not pick up the routers wi-fi signal as well as my laptop so I decided to hardwire the repeater to the router. This worked good. When hardwired to the router the repeaters wi-fi signal would provide internet speeds of about 20mb/s. The speed at the connection going into the repeater averaged 23mb/s so I am happy with this setup. The repeater and router are now located at opposite ends of the house and each provide adequate wi-fi for half of the house. I am disappointed that I had to hardwire the repeater to get it to pick up an adequate signal. I think Hawking should provide a better antenna without having to purchase an upgrade but am happy overall with the solution to my problem. Hawking tech support also could have been more knowledgeable.
Update: Another problem that I didn't notice when I first wrote the review is that computers in my house will not connect to the internet after reboot until I unplug and restart the repeater each time. The computers will connect to the repeater but not the internet. If I disconnect the repeater then the same computers will work fine when accessing the internet directly through the Netgear router so I know the problem is in the Hawking repeater. I have tried to resolve the problem for a couple of weeks and am having a very difficult time contacting the second level of tech support at Hawking. When transferred to 2nd level support I end up being left on hold for 15 minutes and then being forced to leave a message for a return call. I have not been able to get them to call me back so I am looking for another access point to replace the Hawking HW2R1.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2010
Bought two of these repeaters (and higain antennas) for a wireless setup to stretch from a 3rd floor apt to a 1st floor apt. Returned both two weeks later.

1) After setting up the first unit, took the second downstairs to set it up as a repeater. Used the "quick wizard". After that setup was able to see the router's signal in a wifi scanner, but couldn't connect to the router. Reboot didn't work. Reset to factory didn't work. Power cycle didn't work. Power cycle followed by reset to factory didn't work. It took me 45 seconds using the "quick wizard" to turn the thing into a brick. Returned it to Amazon.com for replacement. Then:

2) Got a repeating setup to work. Great signal strength (due to the two directional higain antennas, no doubt). Latency and throughput were horrible. Unusable. Asked a wireless expert at work and got the suggestion to reduce the "fragmentation packet size" and to turn on CTS. That worked - latency and throughput went to a reasonable (but not great) level. Don't know why that wasn't the default, but it wasn't. The out-of-the-box values gave terrible performance. (Naturally, there was nothing about these parameters in the user manual.)

But the killer, and the reason I returned the whole kit, was:

3) During a period of 4 days of operation both boxes locked up and needed to be rebooted twice a day, at a minimum. These units were completely unreliable. Yes, I was running the latest software release (they came with the latest release installed).

It's a shame. Repeaters are hard to find - in fact, I haven't found any others currently made that I can use. I just bought a Netgear Rangemax WNDR3700 Dual Band Wireless-N for a local setup and noticed that in its manual it has a repeater mode. But if you want to use that mode you can't use WPA or WPA2 - only the badly broken WEP. The Hawking specs are great: dual radios for the repeater for throughput, separate local and distance antenna sockets provided, designed for repeater use, able to use WPA2 when repeating, a weatherproof model designed for outdoor installation if you need that, etc. Too bad they don't work for longer than a few hours at a time.

I should have known better than to try this product as the reviews are decidedly mixed - a bad sign. But I really really wanted a repeater setup, rather than a second internet connection + VPN between my two locations. So I gave it a try because I relied on Amazon.com's great return policy. Thank you Amazon.com for making this experiment possible!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2010
After going through two of these in the last month, and spending untold hours troubleshooting on my own, as well as several excruciating hours with tech support, I've concluded this thing has been a colossal waste of time, and, if not for Amazon's generous return policy, would have been a significant waste of money.

Like many these days, I'm simply trying to find a workable solution to get a usable-strength wireless signal from one end of my two story house to the other for media streaming and sharing. Seems simple enough, but this has definitely not been the solution for me.

After much trial and error, the thing cannot establish an internet connection with my router (Netgear 3700) for its client devices. Just a sample of the various combinations I've tried: Pass through router settings on, pass through router settings off, DHCP enabled, DHCP disabled, static IP, auto IP, wireless channels matched to router, wireless channels at opposite ends of the spectrum, QoS, MME, NAT and UPnP matched to router, QoS, MME, NAT and UPnP not matched to router, auto set-up, manual set-up - OK, I'm sure you get the picture. I'm not an IT professional, but I do have enough layman's ability to set up and configure most electronic devices. And don't assume for a minute that the 100+ page user manual or the off-shore tech help will be of any assistance in determining the appropriate settings for your particular application - you're pretty much on your own to try to integrate this thing into your network if the "simple set-up" doesn't work on your first pass through.

All in all, a miserable experience - one of those that inspires you to write a review at 1:00 am!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2010
It worked for about a week. Would not stay on. Calling Customer Service was the most frustrating expierence I have ever had. I felt like I was talking to a person that had less knowledge than I do and was reading from a script. I called several times and never got to talk to anyone that could speak English well enough so I could understand. They never would address the fact it would not stay on, just kept telling me to re boot. I will not order a replacement, will not go thru that again. At some point someone else will come up with a better product. Also, evertime our portable phone rang or the mircrowave turned on it would loose signal.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 6, 2011
I purchased this to install in my motorhome. Most campgrounds these days advertise WiFi, but in my experience the coverage (signal strength) is really unpredictable. In addition, my family uses iPhones and iPads, which have somewhat smaller and less sensitive WiFi antennas than a typical laptop. So the idea here is to install this unit into the motorhome, and repeat the campground signal at a much higher strength for our use.

The installation was easy - the unit has a 12v power brick, so I just cut the "brick" off and tapped into the motorhome wiring (with a fuse and switch). I mounted the unit high in a cabinet near the rear of the motorhome (away from metal, yet still centrally located).

A critical question for me was whether I could configure this entirely through my iPad, using the web interface. I'm happy to say that it works great. I had no trouble connecting to my home (password protected) Wifi, and setting up a motorhome-only protected Wifi bubble. I could also easily connect to at least 10 other open WiFi networks in my neighborhood -- a few that were at least several hundred yards away. The setup wizard worked well for me -- it scans for available signals, and reports their signal strength and whether they are open or protected. You select your desired signal and click "connect" and off you go. There are plenty of more advanced settings to play with, but so far I've been pretty happy with the basic setup.

One word of caution, though it might be obvious: you will take a speed hit by using the repeater. This makes sense - the packets have to be transmitted through two separate wireless signal schemes, each with their own overhead, etc. I did some speed testing using my home network: connecting directly was a 15Mbps link; through the repeater it dropped to 6Mbs. It is certainly usable, but slower. So my plan is to only use the repeater when we cannot connect directly to the campground's local WiFi via our iPads and iPhones. I suspect that this will be quite often, however, and therefore I think this was a good addition to my motorhome gadgetry.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2011
I was concerned about trying this when reading reviews of these things and the problems people seem to have. But I took the plunge because we live fulltime in our RV and are fed up with bad wifi signals (especially when some other wanna be wifi "expert" decides to help out the RV park owner and "tweak" the system, messing it up for everyone!).

I ordered it, then went on line and downloaded the manual from the Hawking Tech site. My wife and I read the manual through several times while waiting for it to arrive (we read fast, it only took a couple of days to get it). The manual can be confusing until you realize it is telling you first the simple steps, the how to make the step more complicated, if you really want to; then on to the next step in simple form, then the complicated way to do that step, and on and on.

It arrived, we got the manual open on the Fires and followed the instructions (yes, ladies there are men that actually read and follow instructions, and yes, men, there is at least one woman in this world that reads and follows instructions). My wife and I decided to follow the KISS principle when setting it up (Keep It Simple, Stupid) and we were up and running in no time. We "tweeked" the security to our liking (if you are next door to us in an RV park, you will see the signal and it will appear to be open, but you still won't be able to access it! (BUY YOUR OWN!)

Signal strength for the parks Wifi to the smart repeater is 83% where for the old adapter we had it was only about 25% (even before the "expert" tweaked it, after he "fixed it" the signal strength was about 10%).

Without the manual, we might have had more problems (for example, the reset button has to be held different lengths of time depending on what you want to do: READ THE MANUAL if you need to know).

How far will it reach? I don't know, but the antenna is very directional so you will need to try moving it very little in each direction and try different spots in your home or RV to find where it works the best.

UPDATE: Several months now and in a different park. We added the HAO15SIP to this setup (it is an outdoor antenna) because we are in a VERY long RV park with a really poor wifi system. Works even better now. This has been a great addition to our toys!

UPDATE: October 2013- It is still working extremely well after several years of bouncing down the road in our RV. Some reviewers have complained of it "dropping out" and them not being able to get it restarted. The problem could very well be the signal coming to the repeater. It needs a good signal to produce a good signal. In other words, if the internet source you are trying to repeat is garbage, all you will do is repeat the garbage. We have been in parks where they were using "b" routers, which are ancient and do a lousy job of broadcasting a good wifi signal, so even though this repeater could see them and would repeat their signal, the "wifi signal" kept dropping out. Why? Because the original signal kept dropping out.

Two bits of advice I would give: 1, get the manual and read it! and 2, learn everything you can about wifi to best utilize this wonderful piece of equipment. We still rate it at 5 stars!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2010
This repeater works! I had to call Hawking to help me program it.Their technical support is great. We had it up and running within ten minutes. It's nice to buy a product that support is available 24/7. Hawking recommends placement no more then 30ft from the router. I kept moving the repeater further from the router to see if it dropped the signal. It is a good 90ft away with several walls in the way and it still works. This HW2R1 is working with a Buffalo router which is another plus. Don't hesitate on this one. Hawking stands behind what they manufacture.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2014
I was looking for a product to extend a signal to my guest house. Was a little hesitant when I saw the 1 star reviews. However, I tried different brands but they all either didn't give me the signal I wanted or just didn't work so I thought what the heck.

Setup:
Amazon shipped it to my house in one day - Go Prime! I quickly took it out of the box and took it to my guest house. There's a setup CD but the guide says to use the web browser. Going through the setup took about 2 minutes. Typed in the address of the smart repeater, logged in and after a few seconds, it automatically scanned and found my network. I'm about 300 feet away and my guest house usually gets 1 bar from my router. The antennas on the HW2R1 must be stronger because it showed the signal strength to be around 40%. Selecting the network, I clicked connect and went through the rest (it just asked for wireless passwords and gave me an option to name the wireless network of the smart repeater myself). At the end, it asked me to reboot and I crossed my fingers. Other WiFi repeaters had all failed at this point. The product said it was done and it asked me to click "Ok". I did, then i got a failed message! "Damn it" then i noticed that my WiFi was connected to a different network and I noticed the smart repeater was there, but with full bars! Selecting it, I connected to it, then refreshed the page. Hazah! I had internet! The damn thing worked and I had full bars!

Other: One thing I did have problem with was the speed. Doing a internet speed test showed that I was getting drastically lower signal (I have cable internet and I usually get 25Mbps/5Mbps). My first test after setup showed i was getting (4Mbps/1Mbps). Doing a quick check on their website FAQ, they advised that I change the smart repeater's channel and change the security of the device. It worked. I now get around 20Mbps/4Mbps! It's a slight drop but now I get good signal in my guest house.

Other2: For those who commented saying they get no signal/worse signal, I'm not sure what they were doing. I got 1 bar from my router in my guest house and when I placed the smart repeater, I got 5 bars from it. There's two signals! Your computer will see your router AND the new smart repeater. Make sure you connect to the smart repeater.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2010
Overall, I'm satisfied. Installation was simple and straightforward and the product does work as I now have wifi access throughout my 6,000 square foot home. However, the price is on the high side and I think they should have included better antennas versus trying to up sell you after purchase. (which is why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5).
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