Top positive review
Works well with R7000 Router
December 4, 2017
This review is for the EX8000.
Included with the extender is a power adaptor and the instructions.
I purchased this direct from Amazon and not a third-party seller after seeing it go on sale here for $159.00 which I thought was a decent deal for this extender. I held off on getting this because I thought the original price of 299 when it was first released was way too high as that cost as much or more as most good quality routers.
The included instructions are rather basic but once I figured out how to activate WPS on my R7000 router, which doesn’t have a physical button, the connection with the extender was quick and easy. When the extender is first powered on, it takes a minute for it to boot up and be ready to pair with the router. The WPS pairing process also takes a couple minutes where it connects to the 2.4 Ghz network. You have to activate WPS again for it to connect to the 5 Ghz range, which takes about another minute to complete. If you don’t have WPS, you can utilize the installation assistant program.
Once connected, you log into the extender to complete the setup. There was an update for the extender available (126.96.36.199) when I initially did the setup and I recommend updating immediately before completing the setup as it has some bug fixes. The firmware update completed pretty smoothly, although for some reason I could not access the extender webpage after the firmware update and instead had to use the extender’s IP to login and continue the setup. I assume that is some quirk in the new firmware that needs to be fixed.
Once in the extender setup page, the setup is pretty easy to walk through and understand. The extender connected to my router with no further issues. It shows in my routers attached device section as 5g Wireless EX8000, along with its IP address. The one thing that I really like about the extender over other similar devices is that it is capable of using the same signal and network name as the router without having multiple networks being created. This makes connection to the network simple. If you have the devices already connected to the network there is no interruption.
One small complaint I have is the white LED lights on the front of the extender are a bit hard to see and differentiate what it is indicating is active. Even though my router has the same white lights, the reflection caused by the angle of the LEDS make them blend together a bit.
The extender is pretty big, standing 9 inches tall by 6.75 inches long but has a narrow vertical footprint at 2 inches deep. So, it does take up a bit of space wherever you put it. There are 4 Ethernet ports for hardwiring devices along with a USB port, which is similar to what my R7000 router has for hard drives. I have found that the USB port works but like my R7000, not nearly as well as a dedicated NAS server. In addition to the ports, there is a WPS button, power button, power port and reset button on the back of the device.
I have a variety of devices that I use for streaming videos, music, and web surfing, including phones, tablets, smart TV, blu-ray players, computers, and PS3 and 4. Even my treadmill and elliptical is internet connected.
For the most part, I have no major issues with getting a network signal from my R7000 router but since my router is on the 2nd floor of my home in a room that is in the front of the house, it sometimes struggles with some areas in my basement and in the back yard where the signal is a bit temperamental. Specifically, I have issues with my networked Nordic Track exercise equipment that has a built-in tablet of sorts that allows you to connect to the internet and play videos and things like that. With just the router, I get a decent signal but tend to get a lot of disconnects or a lot of stutters when playing videos. In addition, when I am outside in the back yard, the signal sometimes has issues as well.
Once I got the extender connected and running, I put the device in the basement area. The instructions recommend putting it halfway between the router and the areas of poor signal. In my case, I would say that I have it placed a bit further than that, mainly because the signal being received from the router was still strong. I powered on my exercise machines and crossed my fingers. I got a full, excellent signal and connection on both machines. There have been no disconnects and no video stutter when watching videos on the machines. I also took my tablet out to the farthest reaches of my yard and whereas I would normally get a fair to good signal with just the router, I now have an excellent signal with no stuttering issues on the network. As far as I am concerned, it is a big improvement and so far, the device has worked as it is supposed to do. If you want to improve your routers signal strength, then this does the job. I also like that this device is setup to work with new routers that come out as well, so when the time comes that I will eventually replace my R7000, then I have an extender that will work as well for that one.
Netgear, as well as other companies, tend to release hardware before the bugs are worked out in the firmware (as I experienced with the R7000) and that is probably the case here, since there an immediate update for the extender. Based on my experience with the router, Netgear does work hard to update the firmware for their devices. So far, I have had no issues with the extender working as it should with the 188.8.131.52 firmware, other than the quirk with the webpage, I described above which hopefully be fixed and continue to improve with future firmware updates.
Good network speed (router dependent)
One network ability
Greatly extends range
No interruption in connected devices
No more dead spots
4 additional hardwire ports
A bit expensive for an extender (at regular price)
An occasional firmware update quirk
Instructions a bit basic and may not apply to your router
White LED indicator lights a bit hard to see and determine which is on
USB hard drive connection a bit flakey
Overall, this extender seems to work well with an excellent 5 bar signal through two floors, a basement and outside, but I do think it is a bit pricey, especially at regular price. I will update my review if I have any future issues or updates.