Pros: Compact, Dual bald, 802.11ac, Minimalist design, Easy setup, Wired port, Range is close to bigger models
Cons: Wired port is only 100M, Throughput could be higher, Expensive
Here is the box. It lists the features as well as a comparison to other Amped Wireless products on the side. This unit is the least powerful in terms of output wattage, but it still delivers very respectable coverage.
The back gives a product overview and a comparison to other range extenders.
The side highlights some key features including dual band with AC, Wi-Fi setup and control, and a wired port. Many other extenders have some of these features, but the REC15A has all of them.
The bottom lists the package contents and tech specs. The unit features 4 amplifiers, a high gain 2dBi antenna, and 500mW of output power.
Here are the contents. In the box you will get the unit itself, an external antenna, a quick start guide, and a support card. This is the same set of accessories that most Amped Wireless products feature.
Here is the unit assembled. The unit is just under 1.5" thick and 3" tall by 5" wide. The prongs are reversible allowing for numerous configurations.
The top of the unit feature the antenna port, a link LED, a WPS button, and a reset button. As the name suggests the link LED illuminates when the device is connected. The bottom features the 100M Ethernet port.
Now on to the review.
The unit doesn’t need an external power source and is small enough that an adjacent plug can be used. This is a big plus considering most other range extenders are the size of standard routers and need their own power brick. The REC15A is the smallest extender in its class that I have ever seen. To use the unit simply connect to it and navigate to setup.ampedwireless.com. Follow the instructions and you should be connected in about 5 minutes. The device receives 2.4 and 5GHz signals, amplifies them, and outputs a boosted signal on a new SSID.
Once connected, that same website will allow you to view status and change the router's settings. The front page gives all the key information at a glance. You can see the status of all 4 of the networks.
You will notice that the 2.4GHz input is not active. That is because I have Boostband enabled. Boostband connects to the home router with the 5.0GHz frequency and allows both 2.4 and 5.0GHz devices to connect. It streamlines connectivity and ensures maximum throughput.
Moving on to network settings. You can change both the home and extended network SSIDs as well as channel number, channel width, and which bands to use.
More settings are available for power users. Leave these alone unless you have a reason to change them.
Setting up and maintaining the router is very simple. I did however, ironically, have trouble connecting to the device page to make changes when I was having internet connectivity issues. This was not permanent and was easily resolved. Making changes to the router can also take time as most changes require a 3 minute reboot, but this is a problem of all routers. In short, the REC15A is very easy to set up and manage.
The unit performs reasonably well, especially for its size. Wireless coverage is impressive for a single antenna. It won't cover your whole house, but it is great for a dead room. I was disappointed to see a 100M wired port. The unit is theoretically capable of over 700Mbps, but the wired port is capped at 100. Range extenders aren't perfect, and this one is no exception. You can expect a real world connection speed to the extended network of about half of your home network. The unit features 500mW of output power which is surprising considering its predecessor featured 600mW. Unless you have fiber and want gigabit connectivity everywhere you go, the unit will still work great.
Compared to its older brother, the REC15A performs well with coverage, but not so well with speed. I saw about half the speed of the REA20. It was still adequate for typical use, but you may run into issues with file transfers or HD streams at longer distances. I would prefer a farther signal compared to a faster signal with bad range. That is what the REC15A seems to offer. At just under $100, the REC15A is on the more expensive side. There are many other high speed range extenders that are cheaper, but those don't feature the range that the REC15A has. If you want a cheap solution then check out the REC10. If you need a slightly faster solution, get the 15A. If you need even more range and speed, look at the REA20.
All in all, the REC15A is a very high quality product. It features extreme range with acceptable speed. Setting it up is a breeze. If you need to eliminate a dead spot or two, this will work great. It can be very overwhelming as there are many options in the range extender market; but if you are looking at about $100 and want great range and usability, this is the router for you.