Review: Linksys Max-Stream AC1900+ WiFi Range Extender

If you want to extend your WiFi network to eliminate dead spots in your home, you need a range extender. The range extender that I am looking at today is the The Linksys Max-Stream AC1900+. It has a lot going for it:

  • It works with ANY router. But if you have a Linksys router that supports Seamless Roaming, you get this bonus. Your device will automatically switch to the strongest Wi-Fi signal as you move around your house without any intervention from you.
  • It support MU-MIMO which allows simultaneous streaming and gaming on multiple devices.
  • It has an gigabit Ethernet jack which allows you to add a wired device, or you can run a cable from a router that would allow you to turn the AC1900+ into an access point.

To test this, I set it up with the Max-Stream AC5400 router that I reviewed yesterday. Setup was almost trivial:

  1. Plug the range extender in.
  2. Use a laptop or a smartphone to connect the range extender’s WiFi network which is typically “Linksys Range Extender – DB5”.
  3. Open a web browser and go to extender.linksys.com
  4. Enter an admin password of your choosing.
  5. Pick the WiFi network that you want to extend and enter the password for that network. In my case it also detected that the WiFi network supported Seamless Roaming.
  6. A graph called the “Spot Finder” will then appear showing if you have the range extender in the right place. As long as it’s in the green zone, you’re good to go.
  7. It will then check for firmware updates. In my case, it found an update and installed it.
  8. The device will then reboot. If everything is good to go, you will see a steady green light. I didn’t see that initially as I got a solid orange light which meant that the signal from the router was weak and I had to find a better location for it. Digging into why, I logged into the range extender and I discovered that the 5 Ghz band was weak. I also found that the “Spot Finder” graph that was within the green zone in step 6 was now outside the green zone. This was weird. I ended up moving the range extender to several locations before I got a green light. I logged into it and found the graph to be in the green zone.

Here’s the problem. I had to move to a location where I didn’t need the range extender. It really seemed that it struggled to get a decent 5 Ghz signal in my use case. Likely because of the amount of concrete in my condo. So, in the interest of science, I made some notes about the speed in both the location were I could not get a green light, and in the location where I could. In the location were I could not get a green light, I got this speed rating:

505 Mbps

It was better than what what I usually get in this location by a factor of two. Now when I moved it into an area where I got a green light, here’s what I got:

695 Mbps

It did much better in this location. But my testing seems to indicate that Linksys may have a problem with their firmware as the “Spot Finder” graph had the range extender inside the green zone during the setup process, but was outside when the setup process was complete. Linksys should really look at fixing this in a future software update as the average user would be really frustrated with the setup process if they were in my situation and this will likely generate tech support calls for Linksys.

My assessment is that the Max-Stream AC1900+ can help you get a better WiFi signal in areas that that have weak WiFi signals as in either case, I got an improvement over what the router could do alone. Though you may struggle with the setup in some use cases. It goes for $180 Canadian and is worth a try if you have WiFi dead spots in your home that you want to eliminate.

 

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One Response to “Review: Linksys Max-Stream AC1900+ WiFi Range Extender”

  1. […] Seamless Roaming when paired with a range extender like the Linksys RE7000 […]

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