When a company makes seemingly outrageous claims about its new product, it’s a dare just begging to be tested.
So we took on a Wi-Fi extender touting a 10,000-square-foot signal range, an ultra-fast and light wireless scanner, and a portable hard drive boasting “the ultimate in data security.” For a bit of fun, we also looked at the new Amazon Fire TV Stick.
Amped Wireless TAP-EX goes the distance
When Amped Wireless stated that its new TAP-EX Wi-Fi range extender (U.S. $120; more info) can boost wireless signals up to 10,000 square feet, the immediate response was a highly skeptical “Really?” Most wireless extenders have significantly smaller coverage.
When I asked Amped Wireless how it achieved that feat, I received this reply:
“To be clear, the product is spec’d at 10,000 square feet. This is not 10,000 linear feet. And the true coverage is much more than that without any interference. However, we test and spec for real-life conditions, as no home is interference-free. Our testing is done here at our headquarters. There are multiple Wi-Fi devices, radios, walls, and other obstructions causing what we consider to be average-to-high interference. We test with both laptops and mobile devices as our clients. We use our own Amped routers; however, the spec of the TAP-EX is independent of the router’s range, of course.”
With that in mind, I ran my own test on the TAP-EX, using a Dell Win7 laptop, iPad Air, iPhone 5, HTC One Windows Phone, and Samsung Galaxy Tab 4. (Each device was tested separately from the others.)
Setting up the TAP-EX was extremely simple, thanks to the 3.4-inch, color touchscreen. The device includes a load of easily configured optional features — such as guest networks and connections for external storage drives — via the extender’s USB port. A pair of 10/100 Ethernet ports provided additional wired connections.
I started my range test by placing the extender in a second-story window of my apartment, facing the street. This scenario had few physical obstructions. The TAP-EX’s status screen indicated a strong, 100 percent connection with my home Wi-Fi router.