I jumped at the chance because our household WiFi router is located
where it is most convenient for my wife in our kitchen in a monstrosity of a cabinet so my wife – who doesn’t have to service it – does not have to look at it. The problem is, our kitchen is on the first floor, and our bedroom (where the second television – and its poor-antenna endowed “smart” blu-ray cousin) is on the second floor. Unfortunately, this means our blu-ray cannot establish a decent connection to the router, and since it has no RJ-45, running a hardline was not an option.
(This is the part where my wife says, “Honey, you just went into “geek mode”. And you forgot to tell them you’re an engineer.” So yeah, I’m an engineer. This means even if something shouldn’t work, I will probably find a way to make it work… like, say, getting a range extender for a lousy blu-ray. Oh… RJ-45? That’s the bigger-than-a-phone-jack-but-still-looks-like-a-phone-jack connection that used to be used to connect computers to the internet before WiFi became popular.)
What this also meant was that there was a near constant fight between our kids: who gets the “good” tv for Netflix and who gets “stuck” with
the thousands of on-demand offerings on cable. So… yeah. To say I was ready to try this was an understatement.
I do not know if the setup of the EX6100 could have been any easier. I plugged it in, waited a minute for it to boot up, pressed the WPS button on it, then pressed the WPS button on my router.
WPS stands for WiFi-Protected Setup, which is a way to connect some devices together automatically without entering network names/SSIDs or passwords. Basically, what happens is you enable WPS on a device, then, within two minutes, press the WPS button on your router, which tells your router “if anyone is trying to connect, let them do it without a password, and while you’re at it, tell them the password for next time”. When it works, it is awesome.
The only anomaly is that the first time I did this, the LEDs indicated no connection was made, but when I repeated it a second time, they showed a connected state. The interesting thing was, when I checked for networks, both my 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks were connected – something that required two cycles (like I did). So either: my first attempt failed and my second attempt did both networks, or if your router is dual band, you must connect both bands to the device to use it.
Some routers (like ours) support multiple frequency bands. This allows you to segment your network, which means you can have a streaming network for televisions and what not, and a separate network for computers and smart phones. This does not, however, make internet connectivity any faster since both networks connect to the same internet point.
If the setup had not worked, there’s Netgear genie Smart Setup which allows you to use a web browser to configure the unit wirelessly. That’s right… you do not need to connect via RJ-45 (and now you all know what that means) to configure this thing, regardless. (It does, however, have an RJ-45 port, so you can connect a wired device to it if you like.)
Ignoring the setup anomaly, everything worked like a charm. The blu-ray and the PC we keep upstairs connected to the new SSID with the same password (as the manual promised) without a hitch, and showed full bars and strong signal.
I would definitely recommend the EX6100 for anyone who has a WiFi dead zone in their house, or has one or more devices that have lackluster connectivity.
- easy setup via WPS
- alternative setup via WiFi
- RJ-45 port for wired operation
- optional use as an access point
- clear, easy to read LEDs
- WPS setup seems to prevent single band operation in dual-band environment
- multiple ports would allow it to act as a wireless bridge as well as extender
This post was written by my hubby! He says he is “A husband, a father, and an engineer. In that order.”
We received a free sample in order to write this review.