In the world we live in, seamless internet connection matters a lot. It’s utterly annoying to be in connection black spots, that’s why it’s always best to invest on getting a Wi-Fi router that’s able to “fire” virtually uninterrupted signal. Having a router that does the latter, however, can be really costly; and this is where having a wireless range extender comes very handy.

A couple of months ago, I got myself a Linksys E6500, a mid-range wireless range (pun intended) extender that’s compatible with the latest AC wireless technology and 2.4Ghz and 5.0 Ghz bands. It also has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, which may be used to connect internet-enabled devices such as IP cameras and network-attached storage like WD MyCloud Mirror.

Linksys RE6500 AC1200 Review 3

As a range extender, the Linksys RE6500, doesn’t look so intimidating. It’s mostly made out of plastic, and its grills somehow added depth to its design. It has a Power Light on the front of the range extender. This somehow gives you the idea if the extender is resetting to factory defaults, ready to use or if it’s having issues establishing connection. The version I got doesn’t have a power button, so the only way to reboot the device (not reset) is to unplug the power from the extender.

The additional audio jack found just beside the Gigabit ethernet ports are handy especially if you’re into streaming music using MediaHouse or Pixel Media on Android, ArkMC on IOS, Windows Media Player on Windows and SofaPlay on Mac. Provided that you’re within the range of the extender, you will be able to play music via WiFi. Here how I was able to enable this on Android connected to Linksys RE6500 Range Extender:

  • Connect a speaker or headphones to the audio jack of the router.
  • Download BubbleUPnP on PlayStore. The free version of the app has some limitations, but it definitely does the job in streaming music from your phone to your speakers connected to your extender
  • Fire up the application, and be sure to pick Linksys Range Extender.
  • Play the music you wish to play. Supported music files include MP3, FLAC, WAV, WMA and AAC
  • Profit

Linksys RE6500 AC1200 Review 8

The extender includes 2 external antenna, which is responsible for sniffing signal from your Wireless Access point.

Linksys RE6500 AC1200 Review 9

Installation

I’ve had troubles connecting other range extenders to my TP-Link Archer C7 in the past. The Linksys RE6500 AC1200 is, fortunately, a different case. I only had to wait for its power light to go on steady solid light, connected to the new network it created (Linksys Extender Setup) and easy proceeded to the setup screen. It took me less than 10 minutes to set up everything. (Accessing it through http://192.168.1.1 may also be done if supposedly easier setup screen fails to fire up.)

There are various ways to connect to the wireless access point. The easiest and fastest way is via Wi-Fi Protected Setup. This, however, may be done if your access point has a Wi-Fi Protected Setup button.

Linksys RE6500 AC1200 Review 7

The easiest process, which has less compatibility issues, is connecting the extender to your access point via Site Survey. In fact, this process was the one I used when I connected my extender to my Archer C7. I simply selected the network name of my access point that I wanted to repeat, keyed in the network password and it automatically setup everything for me. No frills. No hassle.

Performance

  • Router at 1 meter away:
    1 meter

    • 2.4Ghz signal strength is at its ideal state. At initial boot, it had 2 network overlaps, but the router didn’t have too many issues when it comes to stability. Link score was 53, based on inSSIDer report.
      • Signal Strength (lower is better): Excellent (-35dBm)
    • 5.0Ghz signal strength is very much acceptable. Link score was at 83, and it had no overlaps despite having 2 5.0Ghz-band routers I have at home.
      • Signal Strength (lower is better): Good (-47dBm), connection state is ideal for watching/streaming Netflix, Youtube and Twitch.
  • Router at 15 meters away (with 1 concrete wall blocking the signals)
    15 meters

    • 2.4Ghz signal strength is below its idea state. Link score was at 50 based on inSSIDer report
      • Signal Strength (lower is better): Fair (-62dBm)
    • Lost 5.0 Ghz signal.

Verdict

Linksys RE6500 is an excellent range extender to boot. It’s future proof since it’s compatible with the current wireless technologies like Wireless AC, which is significantly faster than Wireless N; and can connect to 2.4Ghz and 5.0Ghz (even concurrently via its Cross Band feature).

2.4Ghz connection is excellent; 5.0Ghz connection range and efficiency are low as expected so I can definitely live with it.

The added audio jack may be seen as pure gimmick for some, but may come in very handy if you wish to stream your music library via Wi-Fi. The inclusion of 4 Gigabit ports is a must have for gamers like me as latency is better when connected via ethernet.

 

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Author

Giancarlo Viterbo is a Filipino Technology Journalist, blogger and Editor of GadgetPilipinas.net, He is also a Geek, Dad and a Husband. He knows a lot about washing the dishes, doing some errands and following instructions from his boss on his day job. Follow him on twitter: @gianviterbo and @gadgetpilipinas.

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