We have had the opportunity to test the Tenda AC1200 A18 WiFi signal extender. A gadget that allows us to expand the area of influence of our wireless connection, thus providing service to mobiles, tablets, computers or game consoles that do not have a signal. A small device that costs 35 euros and that only needs to be connected to a socket. In this way, it creates a new WiFi network from the one you already have to bring the connection to the dead zones of the home or office.
The operating companies do not always take the user's side when installing the router. On many occasions, the rush or the lack of professionalism of some workers cause connection dead spots in our home or office . Places where it is impossible to connect to the WiFi network because the signal is weak because it is far from the WiFi router. Or because they are tiled and very isolated rooms that weaken the wireless signal. One of the most feasible and inexpensive solutions without the need for installation is the one proposed by Tenda with its extender.
Tenda AC1200 A18 Datasheet
|Size||80mm x 58mm x 48mm|
|Standards||IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11n, and IEEE 802.11ac wave2 on 5 GHz|
IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, and IEEE 802.11n on 2.4 GHz
|Speeds||802.11b: 11 Mbps|
802.11g: 54 Mbps
802.11n: 300 Mbps
802.11ac: 867 Mbps
|Frequency bands||11n: 2.412-2.484 GHz|
11ac: 5.15-5.25 GHz
|Received signal strength indicator||2.4 GHz|
|Antennas||Double 2dBi omni-directional outdoor antenna|
|LED indicators||1 x signal quality LED|
1 x WPS LED
1 x connection LED
|Port||1 x 10/100 Mbps RJ45|
|Buttons||Reset and WPS|
|Security||Default encryption mode: Mix WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK|
WPA algorithm: TKIP
|Box contents||Signal extender|
Quick Start Guide
Guide to reading LED signs
One of the key features of our experience with the Tenda AC1200 A18 extender has been installation. And is that anyone can buy one of these devices and carry out the entire process in just 5 minutes . Of course, there is an added difficulty that consists of the language. The process of configuring the extended network is in English, although the steps are recognizable by any Internet user, since they consist of giving a password to the device, choosing the network to be extended and that's it. However, we find the first reproach in that there is no translation button or instructions in Spanish so that anyone can follow the steps without problems.
Apart from this the process is really simple. Simply connect the extender to the power, making sure that it is located at a point halfway between the WiFi router from which it will take the signal, and the area without coverage that you want to cover. In our case we have not had any problem as it is a long home in which the router is installed at one end. However, if there is a problem identifying the best place, the extender itself offers a simple solution: its LED light indicates in blue tone if the position is correct to receive enough signal to extend it. Or in yellow if it is necessary to plug the Tenda AC1200 A18 closer to the router.
Once we have placed the device in the socket and the light has indicated that everything is ready, it only remains to make a small configuration. That one in English. To do this, from the mobile itself, we can connect to the Tenda network created by the device and open a web page . A screen appears automatically to enter a password for the device. Afterwards, a list of available networks appears to select our own connection. By entering the password of the original WiFi router and clicking on the Extend button, the signal extender already begins to operate.
In our case, it has recreated the double band of the original connection. That is, an extended normal network and an extended 5G network . With this, it only remains to connect to these extended versions using the original WiFi password. And voila, the places without coverage are covered, and the weak signals stabilize.
Speeds and experience
Now, if what worries you about this method of reaching the coverage areas of your home is the speed reduction or the stability of the line created, the Tenda AC1200 A18 more than delivers. In our experience we have found that, obviously, thanks to its two antennas the coverage area reaches further and with more power. However, we did notice some reduction in speed . Something almost anecdotal.
From the bathroom of the property where we have tested the extender, where the tiling and the remoteness prevent a stable connection, we have verified that we enjoy practically 80 percent coverage . With the extender we have gone from a poor signal (-80 dBm) to an almost totally good (-60 dBm). But, as we say, the download speed is slightly affected. In this case, with a symmetric 50 MB contracted, we have verified that of about 43 MB offered by the original WiFi router, they are reduced to 37 MB. For its part, the upload speed remains unchanged at 25 MB. A fact that is hardly noticeable in the experience of using the mobile device, since it sufficiently covers the needs to receive and send messages, watch YouTube videos or any streaming service without interruptions.
The good news is that you just have to keep the extended network saved as if it were just another home network. In fact, the Tenda AC1200 A18 creates (recreates) two WiFi networks with the letters EXT . This way we will know if we are connected to one or the other (2.4 or 5 Ghz), always making use of the same connection, but with better performance depending on the case and the place.
Wireless and wired connection
Another point in favor of the Tenda AC1200 A18 is that it has both WiFi and LAN or cable connectivity . Its two steerable antennas allow to transport and extend dual band connectivity: 2.4 and 5 Ghz in a stable way. So it not only offers more coverage, but all the speed and a stable connection that does not fluctuate or constantly drop.
But it also has an RJ45 port. In this way, if we want to bring the Internet connection to a device without a WiFi antenna such as a desktop computer, for example, we can also do it by cable. Simply run a cable from the range extender to the computer's Ethernet port. And voila, the connection is practically the same as if the computer were connected to the original router.
Price and reviews
In short, the Tenda AC1200 A18 more than meets what it sets out as a product. It is really easy to install, either through the mentioned system or through the WPS button . Its design is not exactly discreet, but its size is small and it can stay behind a piece of furniture or look like a curious air freshener. All this to extend a few square meters the coverage of our original router. And do it, in addition, in a stable and fast way, with dual band and with 11ac connections without the need for any type of configuration for experts.
Now, in our experience we have found a couple of negative points. On the one hand is the configuration interface, which is not in Spanish . Although the boxes to fill in and the steps to follow are well marked for any average Internet user. On the other hand, there is the subtle speed reduction, something logical since it is a mere extender and not a whole router that enhances the signal. Something that in our tests has been practically anecdotal .
The Tenda AC1200 A18 is available for sale in stores such as Amazon for 35 euros .