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Sunday, 12 March 2017

Netgear WiFi Range Extender EX7300 Nighthawk X4

As a top-of-the-line model, the Netgear EX7300 Wi-Fi repeater is obviously capable of repeating both 11n and 11ac signals, up to the maximum theoretical speeds of 450 Mbps and 1733 Mbps respectively. 2.2 Gb / s cumulatively. This model brings with it the usual baggage of the American manufacturer: a simple and intuitive implementation as well as a Fast Lane mode that has always convinced us.
Netgear WiFi Range Extender

A little more voluminous than average, this repeater does not have any external antenna. Netgear has thus preferred to integrate not less than 4 antennas inside the case; A business of design according to the firm. If the integration of antennas is always a positive point that avoids breakage in the event of a shock, it has forced the manufacturer not to integrate a female electrical socket, the company arguing that it would have resulted in an even more imposing case. On the left side, there are the traditional buttons on the Wi-Fi repeaters. The first one allows you to choose the operating mode - repeater or access point - another is dedicated to WPS pairing, The other can turn the housing off or on, One is provided to reset the configuration to its factory settings. A Gigabit network jack allows you to configure the device manually via a computer or wire any network device. Using a C-type electrical outlet (two plugs), the appliance can be turned up or down.

On this high-end model, Netgear announces a theoretical flow of 2.2 Gb / s in cumulative. The Nighthawk X4 is thus able to aggregate up to 450 Mb / s in Wi-Fi 11n and 1733 Mb / s in Wi-Fi 11ac. For households that only have type 11n devices, Netgear proposes to set the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands in its Fast Lane mode. Instead of repeating two networks - one at 2.4 and the other at 5 GHz - it only repeats a single Wi-Fi stream, in 802.11n. It is then chosen to connect the router to the repeater on one frequency, whilst the other frequency is used to connect the devices. This method allows to increase the flow rates, which we will check a little later in this article.

The configuration system is in line with what Netgear has been offering since last year. The simplest - and most practical - method is to go through WPS pairing. It starts by pressing the eponymous button on the router then the one of the repeater and the turn is played. The box repeats the existing Wi-Fi signal through a new network with the _EXT suffix and has the same password as the initial network. If the router transmits on two bands, both networks will be repeated.

Netgear also thought of people who do not have a WPS-compliant router - Free subscribers, randomly - or who are anxious to go further in configuration. Those must go through the web interface named Netgear Genie. Well-designed and simple to handle, this interface offers a lot of features: scheduled access, access control, fine-tuning Wi-Fi settings (SSID, password), activating Fast Lane mode or updating Of the firmware . Note that the switch to daylight saving time is done automatically. The firmware update also passes through this interface, as no automatic update system has been implemented. It is necessary to go periodically in the interface to check if an update is available.

The Wi-Fi 11ac rate on the 5 GHz band is rather high, reaching a maximum between 260 and 280 Mb / s. The result is higher than the  Netgear EX6150, which peaks at 200 Mbps best conditions. The average of our different survey points is between 155 and 203 Mb / s. The results obtained in 11n on 2.4 GHz are also very good, with maximums rotating around 100 Mb / s, that is as much as the EX6150 In Fast Lane mode. The average is between 45 and 85 Mb / s

The power consumption during data exchange is correct (5.2 watts). It is a little less good at rest where the device does not go below 4 watts. Pity.


STRONG POINTS


  • Flow rates.
  • WPS compatible.
  • Easy configuration.
  • Fast Lane mode.
  • Visual positioning aid.


WEAK POINTS


  • Creating a secondary network.
  • Theoretical flow announced rather deceptive.
  • Guarantee of 2 years only, for a high-end product.


CONCLUSION

As is often the case, Netgear delivers a complete Wi-Fi repeater here, offering an easy configuration and a convincing performance with high data rates in all cases. Its Fast Lane acceleration mode is also still interesting. Only regret, the warranty a little chiche (2 years) for a product of this caliber.





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