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Summary:

For about a hundred dollars, the Amped Wireless REC15A promises to boost both your in-home Wi-Fi speeds and your range. Does it deliver? After testing one, I have near-wired wireless speeds in more places at my house.

rec15-a_front

About a year ago, I got fed up with my home Wi-Fi. No matter which router I bought, I simply couldn’t get reasonably good signal strength or consistently fast wireless speeds in certain rooms. Going back and wiring my home for data wasn’t an option, so I dropped $69 on the REC10 wireless range extender from Amped Wireless. It’s probably the best money I spent last year because it solved my wireless woes.

Now the company has a newer model called the REC15A and I’ve been using it for the past several weeks. The new range extender costs $99 and I’ve found it’s worth the premium if you have a newer router like I do. It provides even faster wireless speeds; often coming close to the full home broadband speeds I can get with a wired connection. In fact, in some locations, I actually can get more than a 75 Mbps connection over Wi-Fi, the same as if I was connected directly to my home router with an Ethernet cable.

REC15A

Aside from the price, what’s different between the REC10 and REC15A? Three main things.

1. The older model supports the 802.11n 300 speed standard according to Amped Wireless. That means it should work well if you have an 802.11n router purchased in the last several years. The REC15A, however works with faster 802.11ac routers and I bought one of those, an Asus model, in 2011. And more mobile devices are now supporting the faster Wi-Fi: 802.11ac is supported in my Moto X, for example, as well as the latest flagship phones.

2. My router is dual-band, meaning it can broadcast using both the 2.4 and the 5 GHz frequency bands. The REC10 extender only works with the former frequency while the newer REC15A uses both simultaneously. That lets me run multiple networks across different channels; helpful because I dedicate one band solely for video content. Doing so keeps all of the other “chatty” devices and apps from affecting video content on the network.

3. Both extenders boost the signal and range of my home network but in this case, the older model does a slightly better job. The REC10 provides a 600 mW boost while the new REC15A outputs 500 mW. As a result, the range of the newer model is a little less by comparison. The difference is subtle but I can see it from time to time when checking actual signal strength in my home. I found, however, that it really hasn’t affected the speeds; I still routinely get better speeds when using the REC15A because of the dual-bands and faster 802.11ac wireless technology.

Speedtest with REC15A

The HTC One M8 supports 802.11ac making for fast Wi-Fi speeds all across my home with the REC15A installed.

If you’re not getting the full speeds of your home broadband over Wi-Fi, I can definitely recommend both of the Amped Wireless range extenders. Which you should consider depends on your current router and how much range you’re looking for. With an older router, I’d suggest the REC10; or upgrade to an 802.11ac router and splurge on the REC15A.

Already have an 802.11ac router? The answer is a no-brainer: the REC15A will be the better unit overall. Both are simple to set up: Just plug them into an outlet and configure the unit over a web connection. In under five minutes you’ll be able to experience fast in-home Wi-Fi in nooks and crannies you never could before. Now that my review unit is heading back, I’ll be ordering one of my own.

 

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  1. Your router and phone are kinda slow though compared to the soon to arrive 4×4 MIMO routers and 2×2 phones (the S5 is already 2×2) and some connections are faster than yours too. Given all that , such a general recommendation is not very wise ,some could use better range extenders.

  2. I think very few people need 802.11ac Wi-Fi at this point. I have a Moto X as well, but aside from smartphones, we don’t have any other compatible devices. I’ve got 30/5 on TWC, and our router supplies 20-25/5 basically everywhere in the house on 2.4GHz N. Under what typical household scenario would that not be enough? Netflix tops out at 7 Mbps, and I’ve heard VUDU does 10. On a typical night we have two Super HD streams going with mild web surfing. I think the only justification for an AC router at this point is if you have personal media, such as Blu-ray rips, that you want to send around wirelessly. If the only video you watch is streamed, there simply are not any common services available to justify more throughput. The only reason I’m paying for 30/5 instead of 20/2 is the boosted upload speed.

    Until there are streaming services available that require more Wi-Fi throughput, I’m not sure there’s a good reason for the average consumer to upgrade to AC. I could get one now and buy a bunch of bridges, but to what end? The streaming bandwidth from major services that actually makes it to someone’s house is the limiting factor in most households. Even if you have a 75 Mbps connection, what is that speed actually doing for you?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for faster speed. But I don’t think buying some souped up networking gear for our house is going to convince Netflix to up the bitrate or TWC to allow that bitrate to make it to my house. I’ll keep your recommendation in mind for the future.

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