What is a wireless extender? A wireless extender basically connects to any router you might have and extends the range of the wireless network. This can be useful for big spaces such as offices or spacious homes, or to cover up dead spots so that your entire home or office has Wi-Fi access. Sometimes one router doesn’t cover the whole house, and buying a second router either stretches the budget or isn’t totally necessary. This is where the wireless extender comes in, since it’s not exactly a router, but rather, an extension of one.
The Trend NET N300 wireless extender resembles a regular router, but it is a bit smaller. There are also two detachable antennas that you have to put on to the wireless extender. No tools are required for setup. After attaching your antennas, you then plug the extender into the power outlet, make sure the wireless extender is in range of your router’s wireless network. and then hit the wireless protected setup (WPS) button on the router, go over to the extender, and then press the WPS button on the extender to have it adopt your router’s settings and wireless encryption.lf your router doesn’t support WPS or you don’t want to use it, you might need to take quite a few extra steps to configure your extender, so I highly suggest having a router that supports WPS before buying the TrendNET N300 wireless extender or be willing to use WPS for a much easier setup. There is also an Ethernet port available on the extender, so there is also an option for those who are using traditional desktop PCs or need a stable connection to the Internet via an Ethernet cable. The old tech adage, read the manual (RTM), is difficult to apply here, namely because there isn’t much to see in the manual-the manual is mostly pictures and not that much in the way of text that explains how to set up your wireless extender. That means even techies might have to consult any tech internet forum or go directly to Trend NET support to get help with their wireless extender setup if they are having any issues.
Does it really extend the router’s wireless reach without sacrificing the speed? It’s hard to tell-llive in an apartment, and the router is intended for large spaces, something an apartment is not. My router alone gets full signal no matter where I am in the apartment, and I even get signal with the router outside my apartment, so testing it with wireless seemed redundant unless I went out into the hallways of my complex. I tested it with my smartphone without any significant drop in connectivity, and also tried out the Ethernet port with an older laptop and still got decent speeds. Decent speeds will obviously depend on what you do on the Internet (Facebook. You Tube, games, etc.), your router, and your connection plan with your ISP. You can get up to 300 Mbps on the wireless extender with the 802.11 n standard, but if you’re on a lesser standard (802.11 b/g) and/or have multiple Wi-Fi devices competing for bandwidth, that number will be less (54 Mbps for 802.11 g, 11 Mbps for 802.11 b).
I also have an additional dilemma since I live in an apartment-networksecurity. Even though we are all separated by walls, which decrease any wireless signals, those living in apartments also have to worry about wireless signals seeping into other apartments. Make sure your wireless network is protected with at least the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) security protocol (or WPA2-PSK if possible) to prevent unauthorized access to your network. If you live in a home or if you use this for your office, where large areas need to be covered, the wireless extender will live up to its full potential.
Not everyone needs a wireless extender, but if you have large areas to cover or want to clean up those dead spots that you might have in your home, a wireless extender is a good thing to have. Just make sure you have good network security backing it up so that others don’t connect to your network and take up any bandwidth you have.
Ports: 1 0/100 Mbps LAN Port
Data Rate: 300 Mbps (802.11 n), 54
Mbps (802.11 g), 11 Mbps (802.11 b)
Encryption: 64/128 bit WEP, WPN
Frequency: 2.4GHz band
·Good for large areas
·Works with any router
·Instructions in the manual not very
If you’re good at reading pictures (or
have the patience to find solutions on
the Internet) and/or have large areas
to cover, this wireless extender will be
a good solution for the home or office.
Words by Jose Alvarex
First published in Gadgets Magazine March 2013