Today, we have another Linksys review to present you! Since we began our PC Build feature, we have built a fantastic relationship with Linksys and we hope to continue that trend into the future with more and more Linksys reviews. Today, we have the RE2000 (also known as N300) wireless range extender. So, without further ado, lets get on with the review.

If you have read our other recent Linksys reviews, you will have gotten the impression we like the company. Their products are almost always up to the highest standard in networking. Well built, stylish-yet-simple, reliable and high performing products are what make the Linksys name so recognisable as a premium networking company. We previously reviewed a Linksys router, and a Linksys Wireless USB Adapter and today we have a range extender, with two Powerline products coming in the near future.

The RE2000 comes in the usual premium-style, simplistic packaging which Linksys use with almost all of their products. Within the box is the wireless range extender, which has the relevant power connector attached (UK three-pin plug for us). One of the small things I found very impressive was the bundled accessories. When I looked under the inner carton of the box, I saw the company also included a power cable, so, if you did not want to plug the extender directly into the wall socket, you could use the power cable, but this isn’t what impressed me. I removed the UK plug connector, which revealed a top connection point for the power cable. So, this meant there was a gap in the design where the original UK adapter was, but, since the device was going to be sitting down on a desk or shelf, this didn’t matter; then I found a molded piece of plastic which fits this gap and fits perfectly with the existing casing. Now, you may say this is just a piece of plastic, however, the fact Linksys went to the trouble of designing and creating an additional piece of plastic which was not really necessary, just to fit in with the design – that’s impressive of the company.

The device itself is very simple in appearance; a rather small black-coloured box with the Cisco or Linksys logo on the front (depending on whether or not the unit was produced before Cisco sold Linksys); an ethernet connector to the south; power, reset and WPS buttons to the north and the plug adapter on the rear. Even though this is a wireless range extender, and the ethernet port is an added bonus, Linksys still have the kindness to throw in an ethernet cable to use with the connection. Personally, I’m not a fan of plugging the device directly into the wall, so, I would suggest using the included power cable and sitting it on a shelf, desk or anywhere you see fit. The design of the RE2000 is very simplistic, something we like and something which is uniform across all Linksys products.

Taking into consideration this product comes from Linksys, has the included bonuses you would not expect to be included and the likelihood the extender will perform well and reliably, you would probably expect quite a premium price. The RE2000 is a very reasonably priced device, and can be purchased from Amazon UK for £53.00 and from Amazon US at $81.24 (as of time of writing). Now, I think it is time to look at the setup and performance.

The RE2000 is extremely simple to setup, requiring only five simple steps to be carrier out. After pairing the router and RE2000, the range extender can then be moved to any location you wish, however, you may need to try it in a number of locations before you get the most from the extender. The included software will also give you an idea as to whether the device is too far from the router, or if you would be to move it a little further away to get optimal range extension. The software is very simple, so, for advanced users, you may want other software for a more detailed analysis of how the range extender is performing in the network setup.

So, when we tested the device, we tested signal strength in different locations with and without the range extender plugged in. So, our router is on the ground floor, with the range extender on the first floor and our office on the second floor. Here are our results:

LOCATION ONE: Same room as range extender (1 story directly above router)
With Extender: 98% signal strength
Without Extender: 77% signal strength

LOCATION TWO: Office (2 stories directly above router, 1 story directly above RE2000)
With Extender: 81% signal strength
Without Extender: 47% signal strength

LOCATION THREE: Other room (1 story above router, room next to RE2000)
With Extender: 92% signal strength
Without Extender: 84% signal strength

As you can see from the results above, the RE2000 certainly does help in situations where the distance from the router is considerable. The device is a very inexpensive way of effectively extending the range of your home network. There are a couple of hindrances with the device, however. Firstly, the device can only be used with 2.4GHz or 5GHz wireless; not both simultaneously. Secondly, the extender seems to go into an idle mode while no devices are connected, which can extend the time is takes for devices to connect. These issues are not major issues, especially considering the price point at which it is available and the performance it delivers. Despite this, we generally only award the gold award where there are no flaws (other than very minor issues), so, this range extender will be awarded our silver award.