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Linksys WRT1200AC Router & RE6700 Extender Review

AkG

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When it was first adopted, Wireless AC initially represented a new, better way for inter-device communications and it still offers the best bandwidth among mass-market wireless standards. It has been around for a while now though with a few key feature updates like the “Wave 2” offerings of XStream and MU-MIMO which are meant to boost theoretical bandwidth.

While the newer products that boast AC3200 and AC2400 specs garner the lion's share of attention these days, the fact of the matter is most consumers do not need, nor can even take full advantage of such powerful multi-stream devices. There are also concerns over the competing standards of XStream and MU-MIMO since no one knows which one will form the foundation of tomorrow’s routers. With all of that being said, many buyers are choosing to purchase more affordable yet extremely capable routers rather than taking a risk on something cutting edge.

This is what the Linksys WRT1200AC offers consumers: enough performance to satisfy existing networking needs and a reasonable price. Make no mistake about it though; the WRT1200AC is a hugely powerful router for its class since Linksys has basically designed it as a pared back version of their much pricier WRT1900AC. In other words this model offers consumers the same hackability as its bigger brother and the same robust design. All that has been changed is the controllers and number of antennas.

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Basically instead of offering a 3x3 spatial streams on its 802.11AC and 802.11N networks like the WRT1900AC, this device uses a slightly more basic 2x2 layout. This means it can 'only' offer speeds of up 866Mbits/sec on the 5GHz band and 450Mbits/sec on its 802.11N network. The latter is made possible due to the WRT1200AC’s support of 256-QAM on its 802.11N network since a 3x3 design isn’t required to gain the wide-ranging abilities of 256-QAM.

For most consumers these specifications are certainly more than enough for their existing network's infrastructure and will constitute a nice upgrade. However what Linksys is counting on to seal the deal is the fact that this router retails for a moderate $180. This may not exactly allow the WRT1200AC to fall into impulse buy category but it is quite a bit easier to justify compared to $220 (WRT1900) or $235 (ASUS 87U) let alone $285 (ASUS AC3400).

To further help clients get the most out of their existing devices (and remove those pesky WiFi dead zones) Linksys has also released the RE6700. This handy little device is a wireless network range extender and signal booster wrapped up into one convenient package. We’ve actually reviewed a similar product: the Netgear EX6200. However unlike that extender, this device is meant to be plugged directly into any free wall outlet, as it is not much bigger than the typical household duplex outlet.

As with the WRT1200AC, this is a 2x2 capable network extender and can extend the range of both your 2.4GHz 802.11N network and 5GHz 802.11AC network. With an asking price of only $95 that does make the RE6700 rather tempting to buyers wishing to breathe life into an older wireless network without actually replacing their router.

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<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/WRT1200/mfg.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>
 
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AkG

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Closer Look at the WRT1200AC

Closer Look at the WRT1200AC


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As you can see the WRT1200AC’s design is a spitting image of its bigger brother, the WRT1900AC. The black / blue color scheme has been carried on for a few product generations now and likely won’t go away anytime soon. Obviously this has been done on purpose to reinforce the idea that the WRT series retains its underlying modder-friendly philosophy.

The WRT1200AC is not your typically designed 'entry level' router and instead has been over-engineered to be one of the more robust consumer grade AC1200 wireless devices available today. In order to do this Linksys has basically kept the exact same form-factor that made the WRT1900AC popular with enthusiasts and simply downgraded the internal components.

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Since it does use a chassis that is nearly identical to the more expensive WRT1900AC this means that the '1200 is a rather short but squat looking model that may have a larger footprint compared to many AC1200 class routers, but this extra space has been put to good use. First and foremost, thanks to relatively large feet this WRT-series router has a significant gap underneath to promote excellent airflow. This in conjunction with an amazing amount of ventilation slits allows the internals to remain cool.

These ventilation slits are needed as this is a passively cooled model, and does not include the fan that helped make the WRT1900AC such a standout model. Considering the fact that the internals of this model are lower powered, the passive cooling should be more than adequate. Meanwhile, the lack of a 40mm fan eliminates a point of noise and potential component failure, making it more adaptable for a typical home environment.

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In keeping with most wireless routers, the I/O panel is located at the WRT1200AC’s rear and is nearly identical to the WRT1900AC's. From left to right the layout is as follows: the WPS setup button, the four wired 10/100/1000 Ethernet ports(blue), a single color coded (yellow) WAN port, the lone USB 3.0 port, the eSATA port, a small reset button, the power input port, and on the extreme right a power switch.

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Also located on the rear of the WRT1200AC are the two antennas. These are much smaller than the ones which accompany the 1900AC version and are understandably less capable. Simply put, upgraded antennas would have just added to the cost and wouldn’t have necessarily provided any range or bandwidth improvements.

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Because Linksys has dropped all pretenses of including anything that is not absolutely needed, both sides of the WRT1200AC are devoid of antennas or anything else for that matter. As a result, this model has a very clean and uncluttered look , something that the WRT1900AC certainly could never claim.

The front of the device boasts the same LED information cluster that its more expensive sibling has. With just a quick glance you can instantly troubleshot issues and know the status of your wired and wireless networks. This is something that not all routers can boast, as the recently reviewed ASUS routers can attest to.

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Internally the WRT1200AC shares a lot in common with the WRT1900AC, but it has obviously been cut-down in the capabilities department. This is to be expected as this is a more value-orientated model.

The heatsinks for the internals are large and robust and while they will not be actively cooled they should certainly get the job done.

board2_550.jpg

As to the specifics of the components, the WRT1200AC makes use of a 128GB NAND IC for onboard storage, and a single 256MB RAM module. For the rest this device is basically a Marvell based unit with nary a Broadcom or Quantenna controller to be seen. Instead the main controller is the Marvell 'Armada' 38X SoC processor. This SoC is a dual-core processor that runs at a very impressive 1.33 GHz, which is actually faster than what Broadcom’s solutions and the WRT1900's processor clocks in at.

For both the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz networks the WRT1200AC takes a page from the WRT1900 and uses Marvell’s 88W8864 controller backstopped by two (per network) Skyworks Power Amps.
 
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AkG

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Closer Look at RE6700 Extender

Closer Look at RE6700



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The RE6700 Range Extender simply takes an existing WiFi signal and enhances its output so bandwidth can be maintained in more isolated areas of your house or office. This cannot be used as a true router since it lacks the internal processing features that allow a router to convert an incoming wired connection to a wireless one.

With overall dimensions not that much bigger than the typical duplex wallet, the all-white RE6700 is both small and unobtrusive looking enough to be all but unnoticeable in most environments. Even if people do notice it, few will understand what it is and instead most will simply consider it a power adapter or equally innocuous a device and dismiss it out of hand.

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This is especially true if you use the integrated 3 prong pass-through port and plug in a lamp, or other similarly ubiquitous electrical components. Be aware though on what you do plug into this port as radios and even some CFL lamps can put out enough noise on the EM bands to reduce its effectiveness and range.

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With its two external antennas which can be moved in/out and forward/backwards most interference can be worked around, or at least mitigated to a certain extent.

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By included a 10/100/1000 Ethernet port Linksys has expanded this unit’s capabilities somewhat. It can use used to bring a wireless signal into close proximity to a non-wireless device like a TV or HTPC and then connect via a traditional wired connection

You will have to configure the RE6700 to act more as a bridge rather than an extender in order to do this, but in the grand scheme of things spending a few seconds in the user configuration web portal is a minor price to pay for not needing to use a USB-based 802.11AC controller.

As with many range extenders, the Linksys RE6700 abstains from the use of information and status LEDs. Instead there is only a lone status LED that can blink. It is regrettable that you cannot easily turn off or at the very least dim this LED as that would have further improved the Linksys RE6700’s chameleon-like abilities while only moderately impacting any information this single LED could conceivably provide.

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Since this is a passively cooled design device, the edges of the unit are vented but there is no venting on the back, top, or sides. In all likelihood this limited ventilation should prove more than sufficient as the internal electronics are not exactly high wattage components and even a minor amount of convection-based air flow should provide sufficient at cooling them.

On the Linksys RE6700’s side there is a small button which allows for -in theory- a single button setup and configuration. If your router is likewise capable of WPS (or WiFi Protected Setup) this one feature will make the RE6700 setup “push button” simple for protected networks. For non-protected networks the RE6700 will automatically connect and configure itself, making it even faster and easier to use. Next to this setup button is a small recessed reset switch for those times you feel the need to reset it to factory defaults.

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Opening the small case up, we can see that the single PCB is rather densely populated with a controller chip, 64MB RAM IC, 16MB NAND IC, and an 802.11AC controller. The main controller is the Mediatek MT7620A, which is aptly called a Router on a Chip in that it is not only a main processing unit, but also has built in 802.11N controller abilities. Abilities which Linksys has taken full advantage of.

Basically this single RoC/SoC gives this extender 2x2 802.11N wireless abilities without having to find room on the already crowded PCB for a secondary controller. Clocking in at a sedate 580Mhz it may not be overly fast by router standards but is still rather powerful for a typical extender. So much so that ASUS has used it in their own routers like the RT-AC51.

To grant this extender is 802.11AC 2x2 abilities Linksys has included a Mediatek MT7612 controller. This is a somewhat unusual choice since the MT7612 chipset is capable of both N and AC capabilities and is being underused in this extender. However, given its 256 QAM and 2x2 abilities it can offer speeds of up to 867Mbs which is darn impressive given the price, size, and overall TDP of this device.
 
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AkG

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Setup and Installation

Setup and Installation


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It came as no surprise that the WRT1200AC's installation procedure is a near duplicate of the WRT1900's. This is not a bad thing as Linksys has decade's worth of experience in designing consumer-orientated routers and making as painless and straightforward an installation procedure as possible.

To begin simply plug in the router, attach the various cables, and simply type "linksyssmartwifi.com" or "myrouter.local" or just "192.168.1.1" into a web browser. Doing any of these this will allow the router to walk you through the quick and painless setup procedure which has been automated as much possible and requires very little user input.

Just be aware that the time involved with setting the WRT1200AC will vary greatly based on how much of the defaults you decide to customize. If you want to use custom options for either or both networks it will take a bit longer, but even then the installation wizard will walk you through the process with as little hassle as possible.

When the wizard is finished you will be left with two fully functioning networks and all that will be left to do is either start using your basic 802.11N and 802.11AC functionality or customizing the more advanced features - neither of which can be done via the wizard.

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If you do use more advanced features, configuring them should only take a few moments via the actual user interface as Linksys has opted for their easy to use, easy to navigate and highly intuitive interface that comes standard with all WRT models. We will get into the various features this router has to offer and the list is rather long and detailed.


RE6700 Setup & Installation


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If anything, the RE6700’s setup procedure is even easier due to its mass-market target audience, but does it follow the same broad and general principles. Simply plug in the extended to any power outlet, wirelessly connect to the network listed as "Linksys Extender Setup" and type in extender.linksys.com in your web browser. This allows your system to talk directly to the extender and it grants the built-in setup wizard the ability to walk you through the entire process.

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The first thing you will be asked to do is chose which 2.4 and 5.0GHz networks you wish to extend. It will scan the network and list them, but if SSID broadcast has been turned off you can manually type it in. Once that is complete security credentials for those networks need to be input and the new extended version of the networks will need to be named. Giving them separate names gives users the option to utilize whichever gives the best signal at any time; either the original source router or the RE6700.

setup_ext1.jpg


After this, it’s simply a matter of disconnecting the computer from the existing wireless network and connecting to the newly formed extended network. Both your original and extended networks will show up in windows and you connect to either as you originally would.
 
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AkG

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WRT1200AC Router Interface

WRT1200AC Router Interface


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Since this is a WRT-based router it came as little surprise to see that its interface was almost the exact same as the WRT1900's. This isn’t a bad thing since the UI is laid out in an extremely logical and intuitive manner and almost no features have been hidden where you’ll have to search for them. At worst you will have to click on one menu level, and then change a tab, as the default tab for a given sub-menu may not deal with what you are looking for.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of some advanced features. Obviously, Linksys feels that advanced users will install a 3rd party firmware package and be done with it. This UI is meant for average Joes so why bother confusing things with features that could cause their network to stop functioning properly? We can see their point of view on this, but considering installing other firmware will void the warranty, some advanced features should have still been included.

On the positive side, the single main landing page covers nearly everything you could need to accomplish. This area has been broken into two sections and a long contextual menu running along the left hand side, with the lion's share of space given over to whatever section you are in. The default Main section consists of 'widgets' that not only offer a brief overview of the router and its current configuration but grant the ability to ignore the left side menu and simply click on whatever function you want to control.

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If for whatever reason these barebones widgets don’t give you enough customizability (or simply don’t offer a feature you need to configure) the left menu will then come into play.

Here, the topmost option is the Network Map section which allows users to quickly and easily add a new device to the network. More importantly there are four main wizard icons that will quickly guide anyone through configuring a given type of device. For example, if you want to activate WPS the WPS icon can be selected. Conversely, if a network based printer needs to be configured you would also come to this section and select USB Printer.

These four main wizards should cover off most devices and scenarios but by lumping a whole host of devices under 'Other', the ability of this UI to reduce configuration time is severely curtailed. There is no full-on manual option that would have been a better fit for more advanced users either.

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The next section is aptly named Guest Access and as the name suggests this is where you would configure short term, and/or limited access networks separate from your main 2.4 and 5.0GHz networks. While very limited in its abilities compared to ASUS' top of the line routers, the list of abilities should prove to be more than adequate for most consumers’ needs.

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The Parental Control tab is a fairly basic implementation of basic firewall designs. If you want to block internet access on a few sites, or complete Internet access during specific periods of time this tab is where you will want to come. Once again, this is barebones and not meant to appeal to advanced users who want to fine-tune configuration options.

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The Media Prioritization page is Linksys' way of implementing Quality of Service (QoS). As such if you absolutely need a certain application or game to not suffer lag on a congested network this is where you would come. While there are a few applications listed in the drop down menus, more can easily be added through manually input. Unfortunately, there is no way to get true fine-grain control over multiple apps/games running on a given computer. You’ll need to upgrade to a higher end router for that.

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The configuration used here means you will have to be very careful in how things are ordered in the Media Prioritization list. This is one area Linksys really needs to work on as it is fairly clunky in its existing configuration.

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As the name implies the Speed Test 'section' tests your ISP speed. However, it is not a section per se and rather simply opens up a webpage and uses a freely available speed test.

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The External Storage section is fairly self-explanatory in that this is where you can configure any storage devices connected to the router. In a nutshell it can turn the WRT1900AC into a basic NAS, FTP, or basic media server. However, once again the options are fairly basic and while you can get decent control over any USB device attached to the router it does fall short of what ASUS and even D-Link have to offer.

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The oddly named Connectivity section contains basic router options, administration options, LAN details, and even Internet connection settings. Linksys has all the basics more than adequately covered. Of course, if you are interested in a heavy-duty DHCP options then this firmware will leave you wanting even more, though thankfully it at least includes basic dynamic and static IP configurations. This section also features one of the easier to use firmware update tools, which takes the pain out of this otherwise tedious exercise.

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In keeping with its more beginner-user orientation, the WRT1200AC’s troubleshooting section is one of the more fully featured help sections you will find in this price bracket. Not only can you view the logs but you can even export them to another browser window. This in combination with a good set of troubleshooting tools really does make tracking down the occasional gremlin a lot easier.

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The Wireless section deals exclusively with configuration and viewing of any wireless network you have created. While not spectacular in its abilities, the included MAC address filtering and WPS options are more than decent and should be more than adequate for nearly

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The last section deals with Security and as the name suggests allows you to modify any of the various security related features this router has available. While some of these features do overlap with other sections, being able to quickly view and then modify them all in one location is actually impressive.
 
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AkG

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Test System & Testing Methodology

Testing Methodology


Testing wireless devices is not as easy as you would think. Yes you can simply connect to it and push a bunch of file across the network while timing it but this only tells half of the story and does not explain <i>why</i> speeds can vary. To obtain a more clear picture of how good – or bad – a networking device is, more is needed in the form of a multi-step testing approach.

The first step consists of accurately measuring signal strength. A good strong signal is a prerequisite of high performance. If a device can barely send or receive a signal, the speeds will be very low as both devices will opt for a slower connection speed to compensate.

To test signal strength we use inSSIDer, a program which can graph signal strength of all wireless signals being received by the computer’s wireless NIC.

The second step consists of synthetic bandwidth testing to show the potential performance of a given wireless configuration. For this test we have chosen Lan Speed Test. This free program can test both transmission and reception performance and do so in an easy to use and highly repeatable way. For clarity sake we have averaged both the transmission and reception performance into one aggregate number.

The last step is real world testing. This test consists of 10GB worth of small file and large file mixture which will be pushed from one wireless connected computer to a second computer connected via wired Ethernet. Testing will be done via MS RichCopy. For clarity sake we have averaged both the transmission and reception performance into one aggregate number.

If the device supports wired transmission, wired Ethernet to wired Ethernet real world performance will also be included using the same 10GB of data used for the wireless test.

If a given wireless device is labeled as “entertainment” or marketed as being entertainment centric, a secondary real world test will be included in the form of using the device for wireless HD media streaming. This test will be a pass/fail affair.

To test all sections, we have further created four unique and distinct scenarios in which all testing will be done. The first test is labeled “Zone 1” and it consists of a twelve foot ‘line of sight’ distance between the router and the wireless NIC with no walls or obstructions between the two. This replicates having the router in one end of a small room and the wireless device at the other. It is unlikely to be encountered all that often but it will test a best case scenario performance of the device being tested.

The second test consists of an eighteen foot separation with a single interior non-load bearing wall separating a wireless device and the router. We have labeled this “Zone 2” as it is much more common and is still a very optimal setup for a wireless home networking. This test replicates you having your wireless device in an adjoining room to the router.

The third test is labeled “Zone 3” and consists of having the router in the corner of the basement with the wireless device trying to connect in the second story room at the extreme diagonal end from the routers location. This is still a fairly common occurrence in home networks with numerous walls, floors, pipes, wires, etc. and even other electronic devices in the intervening distance. This is not an optimal configuration but a very common one none the less. This will test the abilities of both the router and wireless NIC to connect and communicate with each other.

The fourth test is labeled “Zone 4” and is an extreme test. While the router is still in the basement we have paced off 400 feet from it outside the testing facility. This replaces those times a person is outdoors and wishes to use his home network to connect to the Internet or other devices connected to the home network. With fewer walls but much greater distances this test is extremely demanding and many will not be able to successfully complete it. Thus it will separate the truly good from the merely adequate devices.

For all tests, four runs will be completed and only the averages of all four will be shown.

When possible both 5Ghz as well as 2.4GHz Bands will be used for all tests with each getting their own separate results.

All tests will carried out via a “clear” network in order to maximize repeatability and minimize factors outside of our control.

For information purposes here is the theoretical maximum each network connection is capable of:

10Mbits/s = 1,250 KBytes/s
100Mbit/s = 12,500 KBytes/s
150Mbit/s = 18,750 KBytes/s
300Mbit/s = 37,500 KBytes/s
450Mbit/s = 56,250 KBytes/s
1000Mbit/s = 125,000 KBytes/s
1300Mbit/s = 162,500 KBytes/s
1734Mbit/s = 216,750 KBytes/s
2334Mbit/s = 291,750 KBytes/s
2400Mbit/s = 300,000 KBytes/s
3200Mbit/s = 400,000 KBytes/s


Test System

Processor: Core i7 5930K
Motherboard: Asus Sabretooth TUF X99
Memory: 32GB DDR4-2666 Corsair Ballistic Elite
Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780
Hard Drive: Intel 1.2TB NVMe 750
Power Supply: XFX 850
 
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AkG

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USB & Signal Strength Results

Performance Testing USB 3.0


While USB has indeed be a mainstay of routers for as long as we can remember, high performance routers now also provide USB 3.0 and not just USB 2.0 ports. As most consumers know USB 3.0 brings numerous enhancements to the table including higher bandwidth potential and increase power over USB capabilities. As we have seen many times in the past reality sometimes can wildly differ than theory and there are numerous ‘USB 3.0’ devices which actually perform at the same levels as their previous USB 2 counterparts.

To see exactly how much capabilities USB 3.0 adds to the router we devised a very simple test. Using an empty Seagate GoFlex Slim 320GB device we connected it to the USB 3 a port of the router. We then configured it as a network drive and using MS RichCopy measured the performance via wired, 2.4HGz wireless and 5GHz wireless.


usb.jpg



The only reason the WRT1200AC does not score higher in the charts than it did was because it is a 2x2 capable device in a chart filled with 3x3 routers and it simply lacks some of the bandwidth of more expensive models. This does put this model at a distinct disadvantage but as you can see the differences aren’t massive and it provides more than adequate throughput numbers.

Signal Strength tests


A good strong signal is a prerequisite of high performance wireless networking. If a device can barely send or receive a signal, the speeds will be very low as both devices will opt for a slower connection speed to compensate. To test signal strength we use inSSIDer, a program which can graph signal strength of all wireless signals being received by the computer’s wireless NIC.

sig_24.jpg

sig_50.jpg


All things considered the WRT1200AC posts some very decent numbers, but its budget-friendly design does hold things back in some instances. The RE6700 meanwhile also posted some rather impressive throughput figures considering its small size and 2x2 handicap. If anything, it is the more impressive solution here since it can seriously boost performance in areas where a typical 1-point router setup will suffer.
 
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AkG

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Real World & Synthetic Results

Synthetic tests


<i>For synthetic performance testing to show the potential performance of a given wireless configuration. For this test we have chosen Lan Speed Test. This free program can test both transmission and reception performance and do so in an easy to use and highly repeatable way. For clarity sake we have averaged both the transmission and reception performance into one aggregate number.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/WRT1200/lan_24.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/WRT1200/lan_50.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>


Real World Tests


<i>For real world testing we have taken 10GB worth of small file and large file mixture and pushed from one wireless connected computer to a second computer connected via wired Ethernet. Testing will be done via MS RichCopy. For clarity sake we have averaged both the transmission and reception performance into one aggregate number.

If the device supports wired transmission, wired Ethernet to wired Ethernet real world performance will also be included using the same 10GB of data used for the wireless test.</i>

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/WRT1200/r_24.jpg" border="0" alt="" />
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/WRT1200/r_50.jpg" border="0" alt="" /></div>

As with the signal strength test results the WRT1200AC is rather decent all things considered. Obviously it will not win any speed or long distance awards but we certainly would consider these results more than good enough.

The RE6700 on the other hand may not be the fastest extender we have ever seen but it is certainly is the easiest to use!
 
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AkG

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Conclusion

WRT1200AC Conclusion


The WRT1200AC is tailor made for anyone who isn’t interested in the vague future promises that seem to plague so many of today’s higher priced routers. With it, the XStream versus MU-MIMO debate is effectively cast aside in favor of a dependable, user-friendly solution that still features a good amount of performance.

While the term “future proofing” doesn’t necessarily enter into this router’s equation for enthusiasts, it still offers loads of value for the vast majority of today’s market. There are still millions out there who have yet to upgrade their wireless setups to the AC standard and for those folks, the WRT1200AC can satisfy all their needs <I>right now</i>. Obviously even its bigger brother -the WRT1900AC- can run circles around it in the performance department but only under a very narrowly set of defined circumstances.

Let's face facts, 802.11AC is just now starting to get real market penetration and very few devices are capable of AC1300 performance as that requires three antennas and a trio of spatial streams. Instead 2x2 wireless devices are more common. If your network looks like that, "AC1900" and above routers simply offer no real world performance gains over what the WRT1200AC offers.

There are also the uncertainties surrounding XStream and MU-MIMO technologies and which will win their current battle. As such, there is a significant benefit in not trying to future proof a network and instead providing more than adequate performance right now. After all, with a price of only $180, which is admittedly high for a AC1200 router, consumers can take the savings this model offers over many higher priced alternatives and put it in the bank without sacrificing any real world performance. Then in a year or two when one technology or the other wins the battle for the high end, pick up a model that can take advantage of it and pat yourself on the back for playing it safe.

That is not to say this is a 'slow' or 'cheap' router, instead it is excellent router that is very simply inside the area of most consumers' budgets. We applaud Linksys for recognizing and satisfying the needs of the average consumer with such a well-rounded device.


RE6700 Conclusion


Obviously the RE6700 range extender is another fine example of Linksys’ philosophy of satisfying a mainstream user’s needs without taking their wallet to the cleaner’s. Actually getting these plug-and-play networking devices functioning in a user-friendly way has eluded many companies since there’s a broad set of requirements that need to be followed for success. First of all the extender has to work and it also has to be small enough to easily fit wherever it is truly needed. Lastly the device has to do both without costing as much as a new router would. The RE6700 neatly ticks all these boxes and while it will not be right for everyone, those interested in such devices will like what it has to offer.

On the performance side of the equation the RE6700 does a decent job at extending a typical network's reach. Of course you will only want to use it at extreme ranges but that is where a repeater is supposed to be used. With a footprint no bigger than a timer, and built with a 3 prong pass-through plug, this little device is not only good at extending the range of a network but it is darn easy to work with as well.

Obviously if you want more performance than what the RE6700 can offer you should be looking towards the larger and more expensive Netgear EX6200, but we struggle to think of anyone outside a very narrow target audience needing that much extendable bandwidth for the time being.

<div align="center">
<img src="http://images.hardwarecanucks.com/image/akg/Networking/WRT1200/DGV.gif" border="0" alt="" /></div>
 
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