WiFi range extenders are brilliant pieces of kit, and in this day and age everybody wants the fastest internet connection available. As video streaming services become more popular, especially HD films and TV shows, a speedy connection becomes absolutely necessary. Lets see how the standalone NETGEAR EX6200 WiFi Range Extender performs.
The main unit is rather large measuring in at 252 x 174 x 31 mm (Height x Width x Depth). It weighs 302g which isn’t particularly light either for a WiFi extender. The device is the usual black and red combination that we’ve become accustomed to with a few NETGEAR products. The wedge shaped extender has a glossy finish, which I’m not particularly keen on and would much prefer if it was matte to keep the fingerprints and dust at bay.
The device is standalone, so there is a separate plug that fits into the wall. You have two different options in terms of mounting the unit. One is you can attach the red mount included in the box and stand it vertically on a shelf or desk or you can attach four triangular feet, also included in the box and lie the unit horizontally.
On the front face you’ll find an array of LED lights which indicate different settings and options. These include whether the 2.4 and 5GHz bands are being used, connection and the numbers 1-5, which link to the Ethernet ports on the rear. On the back of the device you’ll find these 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports, a WPS button, power switch and two screw holes for the 5dBi aerials.
The hardware specs of the EX6200 are far superior than that of most other extenders. It includes an 800MHz dual-core processor, plus 700mW high-power amplifiers.
Setup is easily done and to help you along the way NETGEAR have included a one-page manual which is very easy to follow. There are two ways to setup the device, either using WPS (WiFi Protected Setup) or the NETGEAR Genie software wizard. If your router supports WPS then we would suggest using this method as it’s a little easier and less hassle.
To setup using WPS, first plug in the extender and ensure it is in-range of your router. You’ll then want to press the WPS button on the back of the extender and also the same button on your router. We managed to pair the two devices even when the extender was upstairs, quite a distance from the router. A green LED on the front of the extender will light up when pairing is successful. This will have extended the 2.4GHz band. To extend the 5GHz band, simply carry out the WPS process a second time. That’s it, your WiFi extender is now connected to your router and setup.
If your router doesn’t support WPS then you can connect to the extenders pre-configured wireless network from a desktop or laptop computer. Once you’re connected to this you can open up a browser which should redirect you to the extenders interface. From here a wizard will guide you through the different stages to get the device up and running.
Both setup processes worked very well and configured the extender correctly first time. If you’d like extra control over the extender I would suggest using the web-based interface as it gives you the option to configure more settings than you get using WPS.
When connected to my router at my house using a Windows machine located upstairs, it registers just two bars in signal strength. After installing the extender halfway between my computer and router however, this immediately jumped up to the full five bars. I was very impressed that when increasing the distance between the extender and my laptop to around 35 metres I was still able to get a fairly speedy internet connection. The EX6200 is definitely a powerful extender that can boost your WiFi signal by a considerable amount.
The NETGEAR EX6200 is a great piece of networking kit, whether you’ll be using it in a household or working environment. It has no end of capabilities and functions including the USB 3.0 port on the front so you can hook up an external HDD to use as a media server, or even as a print server. The five gigabit Ethernet ports on the rear also allow you to hard-wire devices or create a bridge. If you have any WiFi black-spots in your home, then the EX6200 is definitely worthy of a look.