TRENDNET 300Mbps Easy-N Range Extender
Priced £39.99, www.trendnet.com
YEARS ago, computer users were quite content with their giant desktop computer and their painfully slow dial-up internet connections.
The advent of broadband and now fibreoptic broadband along with devices as small as your hand, mean that we now demand more.
We demand the need to be able to browse and work wherever we choose and we demand broadband speeds which can cope with multiple users downloading movies, streaming music and emailing photographs — all at the same time.
But the reality is that we are putting 21st Century technology into houses from the 19th Century.
Brick walls, lathe and plaster ceilings and large living spaces mean that we face a technology black hole.
Your internet router has to be plugged into your main telephone socket yet its coverage struggles to penetrate upstairs, the signal is hazy in some rooms downstairs and connecting in the garden is a definite no, no.
The answer to your network signal dead spot is a range extender.
These clever boxes simply pick up the signal from your router and relay it.
While maintaining your internet speed, these extenders greatly increase your WiFi coverage, eliminating dead spots and weak signal areas.
The unit I tried from Trendnet was very easy to use and setup was completed within minutes.
You simply screw on the two aerials, find a room with a medium strength signal, plug in ,and link to your router.
And linking to you router is easy depending on your choice of provider.
Most routers come equipped with a WPS button (WiFi Protected Setup) and so linking the Trendnet to your router is simply a case of pressing the WPS button on your router and then on your range extender and waiting for the confirmation light.
Once connected, the Trendnet extender maintains your router’s encryption and security settings and your laptop, iPad or smartphone picks up the boosted WiFi signal in exactly the same way as it would pick up the signal from the router.
If you have a router without a WPS button — or if your service provider has disabled the WPS setting as has been the case with some providers —you can still make use of the Tendnet by using a hard wire.
The unit comes complete with a CAT5 network cable and so you can hard wire a link between your router and this extender.
I placed the Trendnet in an upstairs room with a steady but fairly weak signal and the device worked wonders. Suddenly I had full signal strength in areas where I would normally lose the connection from my router and linking to my WiFi was exactly the same without any extra hassle or passwords.
The beauty of this Trendnet unit is its two antennas — each uses a different frequency and channel to guarantee minimal interference and extended coverage.
The ‘n’ speed rating of this model means that it can deliver a data rate of up to 300Mbps which is more than adequate for the average home user.
This unit is simplicity in the making. There’s no software to install, just two antennas to screw onto the device and a mains plug to connect.
If your world of broadband internet is not quite as good as you first hoped after watching the television commercial, then this product at least helps you boost your network coverage cheaply, effectively and without the need for extensive computer knowledge or know how.