A router is typically the mainstay of a home network. But sometimes, you do not require all its features.
Say, for instance, wireless coverage in a distant bedroom is less than ideal. To solve this, you can get a second router or use a power-line networking solution. But it may be more cost effective to get an inexpensive wireless access point to act as a repeater to extend the coverage of your wireless network. Such devices are also suitable for small offices.
They can also be used to extend the lifespan of an ageing router.
Connect an access point using the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, such as the D-Link DAP-1665, to an older 802.11n router with a LAN cable to take advantage of the D-Link's higher speed and better range. This access point is rated at an aggregate speed of 1,200Mbps.
Other uses include adding wireless connectivity for devices that lack built-in Wi-Fi, such as an Xbox 360 game console.
Physically, the D-Link is small and light. It comes with two external antennae and can be wall mounted. Unlike routers that have multiple ports, this access point has only a single LAN port.
As an access point is likely to be placed in a public area, it is equipped with a Kensington security slot and can be secured with a lock. To start configuring the D-Link, turn it on and connect it to a PC, using the given LAN cable.
You can also connect wirelessly using the log-in details provided by D-Link in the installation guide. When the connection is established, open a Web browser and enter "http://dlinkap" into the address bar to access the access point's interface.
Then configure the device to one of its five usage modes. For instance, to extend the coverage of your wireless network, set it to be a repeater. The wizard tool helps you understand the various modes using simple diagrams and automatically configures it.
Hints are displayed at the side bar of the Web-based interface. They are useful, but the lengthy explanations may turn some off.
When it was tested as a repeater, I managed to get download speeds of around 128Mbps on a laptop equipped with a 802.11ac USB dongle. It is not as fast as a high-end 802.11ac router, but is decent enough for its $109 price tag.
This wireless access point is an affordable way to upgrade your network to the latest Wi-Fi standard.
Ethernet Interface: 1x 10/100/1,000 Gigabit LAN
Standards: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac (draft)
Security: WPA/WPA2, WEP, WPS
Value: for money 3
This article was first published on July 09, 2014.
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