Previously, we looked at the EA9500 and how well it performed on its own, however that didn’t paint the full story of the current set of hardware releases by Linksys in their latest trifecta. In addition to the EA9500, Linksys also released the WUSB6100M wifi Dongle and RE7000 Wifi repeater, both with full Mu-MIMO support. In this review we shall be taking a look in more depth at the RE7000 and how it functions alongside the EA9500 to maximise throughput and provide coverage in harder to reach areas, as well as providing a short section on the WUSB6100M.
While the EA9500 was able to provide full access on both its 5Ghz and the 2.4Ghz wireless bands to my entire home from my previous testing, there were some locations that suffered due to lower signal strength, resulting in lower overall throughput. This is where the RE7000 steps in.
An Unassuming, Yet Capable Device
Compared to the EA9500, the RE7000 is a relatively basic looking device simply being a small, fairly unassuming white unit that connects directly to the mains. It features a green light to confirm power and connectivity on its front a single GigE Ethernet port on the bottom and a WPS and reset button on the unit’s right hand side.
Don’t be deceived by the fairly basic looks though, this is a pretty serious bit of kit, featuring two major headline features: MU-MIMO and Seamless roaming support, meaning that a device can traverse from base station to base station seamlessly without a loss of connectivity, something normally only really seen in corporate level hardware prior to this device hitting the market. Like the EA9500, the RE7000 also includes a 5Ghz radio and a 2.4Ghz radio. Allowing for speeds of up to 1733Mbps and 300Mbps respectively.
Linksys have advised that the RE7000 is compatible with any modern router on the market, but of course the best results will be seen when keeping within Linksys’ own eco system.
Set up can be done using either a web based GUI, or alternatively via WPS if your router supports this. I opted to try the WPS config, it being the theoretically simpler of the two set up options – this configuration method also drops it straight into wireless extender mode, rather than allowing you to pick to run as either a wired extender or wireless extender, which are options presented when configuring via the GUI. WPS setup involves setting your router and the RE7000 to both look for WPS base stations by hitting the WPS button on each device, then ensuring the light on the front of the RE7000 goes solid green. This needs to be done twice to ensure both the 5Ghz and the 2.4ghz channels are configured. While doing this twice with only a single visual queue to see what was going on was a bit unclear it did seem to work well enough and I was up and running on both channels with minimal fuss.