Top positive review
55 of 57 people found this helpful
Works as advertised...but with a quirk or two
on February 20, 2013
I've been looking for a low cost, reliable repeater to get better connectivity to the back of my house for a while. I was really attracted to the small form factor and ability to plug it right into an AC outlet. I was extremely pleased with the "out of the box" experience. It's smaller than a credit card and feels really well made. Let me start by saying I'm not the typical end user...I work at a computer security company so I was looking at every option, not taking defaults in order to make things secure, etc. Also, my only goal was to use this as a repeater so I didn't explore the other options.
Pros - Works great as a repeater. I'm definitely seeing the performance boost in the back of my house. Well worth the $40 for a clear Netflix picture, Youtube downloads, etc. I'm recommending this....and hoping to save some others some time in setup/configuration.
Cons - This is where it's a little quirky.
1st Quirk- when using the wizard to set up my repeater, it doesn't allow you to manually enter an SSID. In my case, where my primary AP isn't broadcasting it's SSID, there was no way to use the wizard to set up my repeater. The solution is to skip the wizard and manually set up the repeater where you CAN hard code the SSID. This isn't very intuitive so the 5 minute setup that others are talking about only applies if you're taking defaults. It would have been awesome had the wizard allowed me to specify my own, unbroadcasted SSID. They should add that in the next firmware IMO.
2nd Quirk - There's some very confusing broken English in the Wizard explanation of the different modes (AP, Repeater, Bridge, etc.). They have a nice picture but the explanation is very confusing....and I know what all these modes really do. It would have been SO easy to have an English speaking person hammer out a sentence or two that could have been very tight. My confidence level always goes down when they don't take the time to get the basics right.
3rd Quirk - When you go into repeater mode, you lose your ability to access the management interface to the repeater. The broken english explanation (in 2nd Quirk above) made mention of not being able to access the device unless you changed an IP...but it's so broken as to not be able to easily understand the instruction. Tech support emailed me back and told me that "once you change the mode, you lose management access for good. So, make sure you get all the settings the way you want BEFORE you go into Repeater mode. The only way to get access back, is to reset to factory defaults." So, sort of strange but, that's the way it is. Tech support got back to me within about 4-5 hours so not too bad.
4th Quirk - Initially, it was hard for me to tell if I was really riding the new repeater's signal or not. Once you go into repeater mode, you lose all "connectivity" with the management interface. So I'm sitting in the bedroom wondering "am I just riding my original wireless AP signal or getting benefit from the new?" There doesn't seem to be any way to tell....especially since the signal in my bedroom was hit or miss originally. Sometimes I'd have 1 bar...sometimes 4. I found myself doing all kinds of strange tests where I'd go to a far corner with the new AP unplugged, see that my signal would drop to 1-2s bar and validate bad Netflix connectivity. Then I'd plug in the new repeater, go to the same place in the house, have 2-3 bars but see good Netflix connectivity. There should really be some type of management interface (again, see 3rd Quirk above) where you could go in and have the repeater tell you what clients are riding the connection. Maybe this exists and I didn't see it before I lost my connectivity.
5th Item (not a quirk...just an observation) - Compared to a more established AP interface (like Netgear), the Satechi interface seemed a little sparse. Can't say it's missing anything, per se, but it was clear there weren't as many clickable areas. This could be a plus though.
Again, overall I'm SUPER happy with my purchase. I'm hoping/betting that a firmware update in the near future will remove some or all of these concerns. I'm hoping this review makes some others have an easier time.