Pix-Link N300 Mbps WiFi Repeater Extender Review | How to Boost/Repeat/Increse your WiFi Range

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Comments

Quick Look n Teardown says:

11:00 you can release the plug then reattach it the other way so u can plug the device vertically

Silke Zimmermann says:

Thank you for this very thorough explanation! Really helped me. 🙂

automatic response says:

There’s some misinformation in this video and I am not trying to bash your video by writing this long response, but I will try to correct it in layman’s terms, which means that I will skip a lot of technical details and special cases in order to keep the text short(er). I hope this gives the reader some insight on the issues of wireless networking, under the circumstance that they are actually able to read through it without gouging their eyes out! IT is not as sexy as it may seem once you delve deep into it.

When you setup a router as a wireless extension of an existing network – and yes, this is a full router on its own – you are only introducing a “bounce” in the network in order to cover a greater area. What I mean with introducing a bounce is that you are not directly connected to the router that handles the network connection to the Internet with your device, but that you rather have a buffer in between. That “bounce” however does not necessarily remarkably impact data transfer speeds.

You are more limited by the technology you are using, in this case, 802.11n over the 2.4GHz band is the best protocol this router can utilize, which is capped at transfer speeds of up to 300Mbit/s (theoretical max, realistically never reached). If this router was capable of transferring data on the 802.11ac protocol, you would be looking at 1300Mbit/s (theoretical) speeds on the 5GHz band, and 450Mbit/s (theoretical) on the 2.4GHz band (b/g/n backwards compatibility).

But as everything else in this world, it’s not exactly that black on white. Although the 5GHz band supports remarkably higher transfer speeds (about 3-4 times the speed of legacy 2.4GHz transfer speeds, theoretically of course), it has a shorter range than the 2.4GHz band. So clearly, the 5GHz band is not ideal when it comes to extending networks, at least in comparison to the 2.4GHz band.

There is more to a network than the “speed” in which data is able to be transferred – there is also latency. The introduced bounce will impact the latency of the network far more than the speeds. Think of it as a buffer, you send data from lets say your phone to this buffer and this buffer is constantly checking the data that it is receiving by a sort of checksum handshake with your device. This handshake is like a checklist where the buffer can confirm that everything got delivered and is in the right order, so that the next pack of data can be sent (if everything isn’t in order, the buffer asks your phone to re-send the same data, over and over, until the checksum is correct). It does this many, many times, for each frame (or package, a set amount of data) received. Simultaneously, it is sending this data to it’s destination – the main router which is connected to the Internet. The same handshakes are used here.

With that said, it is clear why latency will be impacted more than actual transfer speeds, as these handshakes have to go over smoothly between every packet sent twice now. This means you have essentially introduced another fail point into the network. If the buffer misses, your phone has to resend, if your router misses, your buffer has to resend. Compared to a hard-line network, wireless networks lose a lot of packets all the time. It just goes so fast that you don’t even notice it.

Your biggest enemy when it comes to both latency and speed however is the range – and this is where repeaters come in handy. Sure, they are by far not the perfect solution (as the perfect solution is to run a wire), but they are the simplest solution, and they work well enough. You will not get your full network capacity out of a repeater by any stretch of the imagination, but what you get is a fairly stable, fairly fast wireless network in a place where there previously was none (alternatively a very weak one).

Worth mentioning: Do not put the repeater where you have a weak signal, as the weak signal basically translates into a weak repeater. Weak signals result in greater packet losses, which means that the network will become even slower due to having to re-send the same data multiple times until it is received intact. Put the repeater away from the router where the signal strength and quality still is fairly good, as this will improve the overall speeds that you are able to get. The network will cover a smaller area than if you put the repeater further away, but the overall speeds will actually be usable in the areas covered.

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