Netgear’s Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender (WN2000RPT) is a piece of networking equipment that serves just one purpose: to boost and extend the range of a wireless signal in a network. The easy to set up Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender lists at $90.00, but it can be found much cheaper on e-tail sites like Amazon. That’s a good deal, if you’ve got a dead zone in your home or business. The extender is not, however, without quirky behavior. Note also that, in my testing, I found that it works best if the endpoint you’re trying to reach is somewhere between 50 to 150 feet away. If you’re looking for a signal boost at shorter or longer distances, the WN2000RPT will make little difference—and it may even degrade network performance.
Setup and features
Netgear has made setup easy for those not used to adding equipment on a network. There’s no CD or any software to install. The most important part of setup is, in fact, putting the extender in the right place; it’s best situated if it is at an equal distance from your router and the area from where your wireless endpoint is receiving a weak signal (or no signal). You wouldn’t want to put it anywhere, where you already have a decent signal (four or five bars in your Windows available networks list, for example), because in that case the extender will actually slow down your traffic, according to both Netgear and my testing. In my testing, the optimal range was 50 to 150 feet—the sweet spot might be different in your network depending your equipment, your layout, interference, and so on.