Today we look at a compact device which is designed to improve our network signal in a home or small office. This is our Netgear AC750 WiFi Extender Review.
Netgear AC750 WiFi Extender Review – Packaging and Bundle
For their AC750 Extender Netgear go with some fairly familiar packaging design. We get a nice clear image of the product on the front as well as some key points about its features. Inside there is a pretty basic bundle which consists of a well written guide and certification leaflet.
Netgear AC750 WiFi Extender Review – The EX6100
The EX6100 is shown above and it is immediately clear that this is an extender with external antennas. These function up to 750Mbps on dual bands, 2.4GHz (300Mbps) and 5GHz (450Mbps), and can be rotated on the vertical axis or tilted outwards/downwards. Looking at the front surface we get some status LEDs, two of which are very useful as they let us know if we need to be closer or further away from the router to maximise signal strength/expansion. Wireless b/g/n and ac standards are supported and Netgear include FastLane technology which uses both bands to establish one faster connection as well.
The device measures 122x74x38mm and weighs 0.213KG.
Turning the AC750 extender over we see the mains plug, in our case a UK version, and round each side there are various perforated sections to allow airflow in and out of the device, minimising temperatures. There are no features of note on the left side (assuming we look from the front) but on the right there is plenty. First up is a gigabit ethernet port allowing us to connect a device by wired connection. Next to that there is a factory reset button which allows us to return all settings to their original state, for example if we forget a password and want to re-do setup. Next to that are two buttons, one for power and another for WPS setup and finally there is a switch. By default it is set to extender but we can also set it to Access Point, for those who want to have a simple wired connection to one device.
Netgear AC750 WiFi Extender Review – Setup/Software
Setup of the AC750 WiFi Extender, or EX6100 if you prefer, is a very simple process. Netgear recommend that it is completed at a socket next to the router we are extending, just to save walking about really, and we begin by turning on the power. After that there are two options. 1) We can hit WPS on the router and on the extender and the two will connect and begin working together. Its that simple. In that mode we just look for the network name as we normally would with our wireless devices and just connect to the one with _EXT at the end, automatically using the same password as we do when connecting direct to the router.
So, in summary. Power on, hit WPS, connect, done.
The 2nd mode of connecting is more manual, and allows us a little more control. For this we plug in the EX6100 and then power on. We then connect to the extender using WiFi and visit www.mywifiext.net where we select the network to extend and enter security for it.
The AC750 extender then connects, extends and confirms the details for us. For those who want a little extra control we can also connect to an admin interface after setup which allows us to change aspects such as the default admin login, or update firmware should a new version become available.
Netgear AC750 WiFi Extender Review – User Experience and Conclusion
Looking first to the design of the AC750/EX6100 WiFi extender we have a device which looks pretty cool. Yes there are alternative models which lack the external antenna so are more compact but this very much looks the part. The variable antenna of course mean we can angle them for our needs too. We like the glossy finish on the front and the status LEDs regarding location are very useful too. The controls on the right are also easy to access, though it would have been nice for power and WPS to be shaped differently so that we could feel which was which. It could also be beneficial for Netgear to move the factory reset button to the top of the extender so that it could be more easily accessed for those who hide the extender away. As a side note, it would have been good for Netgear to bundle a network cable as a little bonus item.
We found the performance of the EX6100 to be good. It offered a strong signal on multiple floors of our building and throughout our testing remained stable with no need to reboot/reconnect which is ideal. Set up and leave it to do its thing, just like network hardware should be. Of course a large portion of the user experience with a device like this is setup, and on that front the AC750/EX6100 scores well. For those who have a WPS capable router (that will be most people) we essentially need to turn on, press 2 buttons, wait a minute and then move the extender to the location we want it in. More advanced users can of course access more detailed features, so a nice mix on the software front.