Linksys WRT1200AC Router & RE6700 Extender Review


Closer Look at RE6700

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 2×2 802.11N 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 2×2 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 2×2 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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