Amped Wireless SR20000G Review: Dual Band Wi-Fi Repeater

by Andy Patrizio Reads (2,748)
  • Pros

    • Easy setup
    • Very good range coverage over distances
    • Dual band, 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz
  • Cons

    • Doesn't handle switching between 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz well
    • Throw enough walls at it and it's still blocked

Quick Take

Definitely extends the range of your Wi-Fi, especially at the upper frequency.


Wi-Fi is one of those great inventions that frustrates us because it’s so easily confounded. In my case, the Wi-Fi in my house is in a far corner of the building and there are many dense walls, making it hard to get a halfway decent signal just a few feet from the router.

Along came Amped Wireless with the claim that its SR20000G wireless repeater ($139.99) could extend coverage up to 10,000 square feet. Well, maybe in an open field, but in the dense maze of my home, with solid wood walls and plaster and brick, that’s not the case. Still, it made a great showing of itself and proved helpful.

Wi-Fi can only travel so far in a walled environment. Notice that in public places like coffee shops they put the transmitter on the ceiling or close to it. Wi-Fi repeaters simply amp up the signal to blast the signal through the walls. Of course, given all the conspiracy theories about radiation from Wi-Fi causing headaches and other problems, adding a device with a significantly stronger signal probably won’t sit well with some people. I’ve read that the radiation from Wi-Fi and repeaters are non-ionized and therefore, not dangerous. Then other people will say sitting near a Wi-Fi base station gives them a headache. All I can say is let your experience be your guide on this one.

Setup

Setup is simple. After attaching the antennae, connect the repeater to a laptop via the short CAT-5 cable provided in the box. You are required to connect to a setup Web page that first selects your source Wi-Fi network and then lets you name the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz networks as well as give them individual passwords. This is a very nice feature I’ve not seen on other repeaters. If they were dual band, they didn’t separate the signal into two separate bands, much less offer two different passwords to protect both networks.

The SR20000G has five 1Gbit Ethernet ports plus a USB port in case you need to connect a USB device.

Place your device wherever you wish. In my case, I put it by the door to the room where the Wi-Fi was located, since there was a nearby electrical outlet. From there I ran the tests.

The Tests

Using an iPad 3, which is 802.11n enabled, I switched between the Wi-Fi in my Time Warner Roadrunner cable modem, which uses the 2.4Ghz spectrum, as well as the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands on Amped. Three speed testers were used but one proved unreliable so I disposed of its results.

Test #1 was conducted in the same room as the Wi-Fi, so I was sitting within arm’s reach of both the cable modem and the repeater. Test #2 was in my kitchen, 25 feet and two thick walls away. Test #3 took place in my back yard, about 40 feet away, with a third wall, the outer wall, in the way.

Apps used in the test were SpeedTest X HD from Vee Apps and Network Analyzer from Techet.

The results

The change in Wi-Fi signal strength really speaks for itself in the results below.

Regular Wi-Fi    Amped 2.4GHz    Amped 5.0GHz
Same room
Speed Test X  18.26 d/1.84 u 18.26 d/1.90 u 18.25 d/1.90 u
Net Analyzer 20.9 d/2.27 u 20.7 d/2.27 u 20.7 d/2.25u
Kitchen
Speed Test X 2.51 d/0.63 u 13.21 d/1.90 u 17.63 d/1.90 u
Net Analyzer 1.86 d/0.435 u 17.3 d/2.31 u 20.1 d/2.2 u
Outside
Speed Test X 0.63 d/0.06 u 5.01 d/0.51 u 13.84 d/1.46 u
Net Analyzer 0.30 d/0.45 u 8.17 d/1.18 u 17.3 d/1.61 u

As you can see, in my back yard I got transmission speeds at the 5.0GHz channel comparable to sitting in the room with standard Wi-Fi.  Even going to the kitchen saw a precipitous plunge in download speed on standard Wi-Fi while 2.4GHz was more than acceptable and 5.0GHz was virtually unchanged.

It’s not perfect. I stood outside my house at the extreme opposite end, with eight walls in between me and the repeater, and there was barely a blip. But at least I got a blip. The standard Wi-Fi was non-existent. But that’s ok. I don’t want to provide Wi-Fi to my neighborhood.

The biggest problem I had was the difficulty in changing frequencies. More than once I would have to do a hard reset of the device when I switched between 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz. But once you set it and forget it, the device works fine.

Conclusion

The bottom line to me is that while a little overhyped on distance, there is no question the Amped Repeater does a great job of transmitting a very strong 5.0GHz signal and a decent 2.4GHz signal, significantly better than anything a standard Wi-Fi access point offers. The fact it’s dual band alone should be appealing to many, since most of these repeaters are single band. That it lets you set up two profiles for 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz alone is enough to separate it from the pack.

Pros:

  • Easy setup
  • Very good range coverage over distances
  • Dual band, 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz

Cons:

  • Doesn’t handle switching between 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz well
  • Throw enough walls at it and it’s still blocked


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