updated 09:00 pm EST, Mon March 5, 2012
Dedicated bridge device augments routers
Netgear has released a new dedicated bridging device called the WN2500RP, a dual-band range extender for Wi-Fi networks that promises to eliminate "dead spots" and supports both wired and wireless devices, including Ethernet-capable HDTVs, gaming consoles and Blu-Ray players. The advantage of an extender over another router is the ability to keep using one established Wi-Fi network, making management simpler. The unit supports 802.11a, b, g and n standards.
Now that more users have more wireless devices in the typical networked home, Wi-Fi "dead zones" and other lapses in coverage become more inconvenient. The WN2500RP acts as a bridge device, extending the existing network while maintaining the ability of dual-band routers to separate "n" and "b/g" signals so that each type of device gets the highest speed possible. The unit was first unveiled at this year's CES show in Las Vegas.
The range extender includes FastLane technology that allows users to prioritize available bandwidth for certain operations such as online gaming or HD video streaming, particularly useful when users want to continue using Wi-Fi services even as other members of the household are watching streaming video from Netflix or a similar service.
The unit's LED lights can not only inform the user about connection status but can also help find the best location for placing the extender. The WN2500RP comes without an installation or setup CD and does not require an ethernet cable, meaning it can be set up entirely wirelessly using push-button connection on the back of the device. The extender also features four wired Ethernet connections, adding extra wired capability for devices that require it, such as network printers, NAS units and streaming players.
The WN2500RP is now available directly from Netgear or through major retailers in the US, and sells for $80.