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Wireless Reviews

In Use

Compared to past bridges like Linksys' now-discontinued WES610N, both of these bridges were very easy to set up. There are screen-by-screen setup walkthroughs for each product in the galleries below. But the gist is you set up by pointing a web browser at a URL printed right on each product (Edimax: edimaxcv.setup; NETGEAR: mywifiext.net). Just make sure your device is set to receive its IP address via DHCP or the URLs won't work.

The Edimax' setup wizard start screen is shown below, which can be reached by either wired or wireless connection. I thought the latter option was odd, until I realized that many households now don't have computers with Ethernet ports, but still have other devices that might require a wireless bridge (Blu-ray players, game consoles, etc.).

Edimax Setup Wizard start

Edimax Setup Wizard start

If you are setting up via wireless, you first connect to the bridge's SSID (EdimaxCV.setup), then hit the URL. I actually saw two setup SSIDs—EdimaxCV.setup 98 and EdimaxCV.setup 99—one for each band.

After you get set up, you can access the bridge's admin page using the same URL used to set up, but only from a device directly connected to the bridge. From anywhere else, you'll need to use the bridge's assigned IP, which you can get from your router's DHCP client list.

Logging in brings you to the Home page shown below. Note that you get signal strength of the connection, but link rate isn't found in any of the screens.

Edimax Setup Wizard start

Edimax Setup Wizard start

I've put screenshots of the other setup and admin screens for the Edimax in the gallery below.

For the NETGEAR, you must plug a computer into the Ethernet port to get set up. When you connect, you'll see the screen below to start the wizard.

NETGEAR Setup Wizard start

NETGEAR Setup Wizard start

Like the Edimax, the NETGEAR provides access to its admin page via the setup URL only from a directly-connected device. When you log in, you land at a status page that's shown below. Like its N900 class sibling, the WNCE3001 shows only link rate in the Status screen. And like the 4004, the 3001 shows signal strength only during the setup process.

NETGEAR WNCE3001 Status screen

NETGEAR WNCE3001 Status screen

Note the different transmit (Tx) and receive (Rx) link rates. I recently learned that 802.11n and ac allow these rates to be completely independent. The gallery below has all the 3001's setup wizard screens and its key admin pages.

Both products also have the option to connect to your router via WPS pushbutton. I tried this on both products and it worked. But if you're going to use this method, read the setup sheets that come with each product. You'll need to understand the LED flashes and colors to properly determine what's going on.

By the way, I didn't try the Edimax' AirPlay support. I seldom use iTunes and when I went to fire it up, it required a new version. I've been down that rathole before, so I'll have to leave exploration of this feature to someone else.

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