A lot of people like wireless internet connections (Wireless LAN) because they can access news, downloads or mails with their PDA or notebook. Everything you need is a PDA or notebook with a Wireless LAN module, a wireless router and a internet connection. Accessing the wireless internet in the sitting room or in the bedroom is in the most cases possible, but when you want it in your garden there may be the first problems. Many PDAs, notebooks and even routers have no good range.

A range extender receives wireless signals and sends them again. So if you have a wireless router in your house and range problems in your garden, you can put a range extender into a room near the garden, and then the signal should be strong enough to establish a connection.

I have a U. S. Robotics 8054 Wireless Router and I think its rage is O.K., but sometimes I get problems, and I noticed that the wireless adapter of my Tungsten C isn’t as powerful as other ones. I wasn’t able to connect in several rooms.

Now Belkin sent us their Wireless Access Point Range Extender – here are a few pictures of it:

 Belkin Range Extender / Access Point Review  Belkin Range Extender / Access Point Review
 Belkin Range Extender / Access Point Review  Belkin Range Extender / Access Point Review  Belkin Range Extender / Access Point Review  Belkin Range Extender / Access Point Review
 Belkin Range Extender / Access Point Review

First a short summary of its features:

  • Wireless Range Extender: it extends the range of your wireless networkWireless Access Point: add wireless connectivity to your cable network
  • Security features: WEP (64/128 bit), WPA (PSK), WPA 2 (AES), MAC address control
  • 1x RJ 45 LAN port
  • SSID broadcast on / off
  • configuration with a common web browser

To connect it with the router, you have to press the button on the back. It connects within seconds, but security (WEP, …) has to be disabled. On the CD is a configuration tool which sets the IP address of the extender. After that configuration the Range Extender is ready and works. Of course you can now set WEP and all other security features again, they have to be set and similar in both router and extender.

The Belkin Range Extender can also be used as an Wireless Access Point. If you have a cable network it acts as a wireless extension. To connect it to a cable router, it has a LAN port. The LAN port can also be used in the Extender mode, if there is a computer near the router you can connect it by cable, so data speed will be higher, etc. And it supports WakeOnLAN: my Palm can start my computer wireless ;)

I tested the internet connection speed at the German site wie-ist-meine-ip.de , and it’s between 1000 and 1800 kbits (ADSL 2000 kbps). That’s a good speed for the relative huge distance. The distance between the router and the extender is about 50 – 70 m (air + 2 windows). It receives the router signals and sends them again. The range of the extender is comparable to a T-Sinus 154 DSL Basic router. And this is good, imho.

You configure it using a web interface in your favourite browser (Firefox, Opera, NetFront, Picsel, WebPro, ..). When your configuration is done, you can download configuration files and save them. If your extender ever should loose its configuration, you can re-upload it.

If you have a Wireless LAN and wish for a higher range, this extender is the right thing for you. The Belkin Range Extender does its job well, the test devices (notebook with Intel Centrino 2200/BG, Palm Tungsten C, MDA Pro / HTC Universal) had no problems with it. We couldn’t compare it to other extenders as we don’t have them yet, but what do you want more than good range, compatibility and security? The price of roughly 40$ is very moderate – so this is an interesting device!

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