BT's Dual-band Wi-Fi Extender 1200 is very fast and easy to set up, so is an ideal companion for any 802.11ac Wi-Fi router
802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds have jumped considerably over the past twelve months, to the point that some wireless networking kit is significantly faster than others. If your broadband router is theoretically capable of 800Mbps or more, you don’t want to hobble it with adaptors and range extenders that can’t match these kind of speeds. BT’s Dual-band Wi-Fi Extender 1200 is rated for up to 1,200Mbit/s, so should be able to extend the range of 802.11ac Wi-Fi networks without impacting their speeds. The extender will work with any router, not just BT’s models.
The all-in-one device plugs straight into a wall socket, although its elongated shape may mean you struggle to make it fit if your plugs are too close to your skirting boards. The wireless antennas are internal, meaning there’s also no way to angle the signal towards a particular area.
If your router supports WPS, setup is as easy as pressing a button on each device; the Extender will pair itself automatically with your router. This should be done with the two devices as close as possible to each other, but once pairing is complete you can unplug the Extender and move it closer to where your Wi-Fi reception begins to fade. A set of LEDs on the front of the unit will let you know if you’re too close or too far away from your router to get the best possible wireless performance, so you don’t have to reach for a Wi-Fi scanning app.
You can set up the Extender by connecting to it directly via Wi-Fi, or by using an Ethernet cable. The single Ethernet connection on the top of the device only supports 10/100 speeds, however, so there’s a slim chance it will be a slight bottleneck with 802.11ac Wi-Fi speeds. It will let you hook up any wired device to your Wi-Fi network, though, saving you from running network cables around the house, and 10/100 Ethernet is still easily quick enough to stream HD video and for most home broadband connections.
To test the Extender in a real-world situation we took it home, where there’s a bit of a Wi-Fi dead spot in the kitchen. At the kitchen table, we can normally only see 1.3Mbit/s from a Virgin-supplied Super Hub router, and don’t have any 5GHz coverage at all.
After installing the Extender in the hall, about halfway between the router and the testing laptop, throughput on the 2.4GHz band jumped to 16.7Mbit/s. We could also connect on the 5GHz band, and saw impressive 36Mbit/s speeds. Testing in the hallway next to the extender, 2.4GHz performance was actually better if we connected directly to the router; here we saw an average 26.6Mbit/s versus the Extender’s 18Mbit/s. 5GHz performance was still superior through the Extender, however, with 57.6Mbit/s versus the router’s 32.6Mbit/s.
We still think you’ll get a faster, more consistent wireless network with a Powerline network adaptor with built-in Wi-Fi like Devolo’s dLAN 1200+ WiFI ac, but if you aren’t prepared to spend £120 on extending your Wi-Fi around the home, BT’s Dual-band Wi-Fi Extender 1200 is easy to set up and has impressive performance. Buy Now from Amazon
|Security||WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK|
|LAN ports||1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s|