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Wireless Reviews

Performance

The standard extender test procedure was used to test the RE6700, which was loaded with latest 1.0.01.010 firmware. The 2.4 GHz extended network was configured for 20 MHz Mode. For 5 GHz, the extender was configured for auto 20/24/80 MHz. The base router was set to Channel 6 and 20 MHz mode for 2.4 GHz and 80 MHz mode, Channel 153 for 5 GHz.

The extended results in the Benchmark Summary represent extended wireless throughput, i.e. from base router, through the RE6700 and to the test client laptop. The wired results are what we measured with the test laptop's wireless disabled and connected to the RE6700's Gigabit Ethernet port. In all cases, higher numbers are better.

Linksys RE6700 Benchmark Summary

Linksys RE6700 Benchmark Summary

Crossband operation was disabled for all these tests, so extended results are approximately half the wired throughput shown. The ixChariot plots provide a better look at throughput stability. The compositie plots show throughput measured at the RE6700 Ethernet port (_extender_eth) and extended throughput at the wireless test client. The extender trace shows how well the extender receives the signal from the base router. The extended plot shows how much throughput is delivered to the test client. Without the extender, the client was either not able to see the base router or maintain a stable connection to it in its test location.

The 2.4 GHz downlink plot shows almost 17 Mbps delivered to the test client out of 36 Mbps received by the extender.

Linksys RE6700 extender throughput - 2.4 GHz downlink

Linksys RE6700 extender throughput - 2.4 GHz downlink

2.4 GHz uplink delivered almost twice as much throughput to the client at 29 Mbps, better than half the 52 Mbps received by the extender.

Linksys RE6700 extender throughput - 2.4 GHz uplink

Linksys RE6700 extender throughput - 2.4 GHz uplink

5 GHz downlink provided the test client with 39 Mbps, just about half the extender received.

Linksys RE6700 extender throughput - 5 GHz downlink

Linksys RE6700 extender throughput - 5 GHz downlink

5 GHz uplink ran a little lower at 30 Mbps, about 40% of the 74 Mbps received by the extender.

Linksys RE6700 extender throughput - 5 GHz uplink

Linksys RE6700 extender throughput - 5 GHz uplink

Crossband

I then checked to see if using a different channel for backhaul and client connection could deliver higher throughput. I controlled this by leaving the RE6700's Crossband on its default Auto setting and shutting off the desired channel on the base router. Table 2 shows three cases:

  • No Crossband - Extension via same radio retransmission
  • Forced - Manually set backhaul band opposite of client extension band
  • Auto - Enable both bands in base router and let RE6700 Crossband decide
  2.4 GHz Down 2.4 GHz Up 5 GHz Down 5 GHz Up
No Crossband 17 29 39 31
Forced 55 44 35 40
Auto 49 49 38 40
Table 2: Delivered throughput (Mbps)

2.4 GHz extended performance was higher using Crossband than 5 GHz. This makes sense given the performance plots above; 5 GHz extender throughput was always higher than 2.4 GHz. Auto Crossband seemed to make the correct band use decision. If it hadn't, Auto throughput would have been closer to the No Crossband values

5 GHz was a different story. Although using Crossband still provided higher throughput than not using it, the difference was lower. This is because 2.4 GHz throughput available at the extender was lower than 5 GHz. Around 36 Mbps for downlink and 52 Mbps for uplink was available to extend on the 2.4 GHz side vs. 79 Mbps down and 74 Mbps up for 5 GHz. So for 5 GHz extension, Crossband vs. no Crossband was a toss-up.

Closing Thoughts

The Wireless Extender Ranker, shows NETGEAR's desktop-style EX6200 still continues to earn its SmallNetBuilder Ranked #1 award. But the RE6700 in the #2 slot outranked the Linksys RE6500. The Ranker Performance Summary shows the sub-rank breakdowns. Keep in mind that since we consider results within 5% of each other as equal, sub-rank ties are possible.

Linksys RE6700 extender throughput - 5 GHz uplink

Linksys RE6700 extender throughput - 5 GHz uplink

In all, I liked the RE6700. Its wall-plugged form factor makes for convenient placement and its pass-through power socket won't cost you an outlet. It was easy to set up and had decent performance, with its Crossband feature working as it should. Finally, as an AC1200 class extender, it will be a better match to most AC routers and be able to link up at higher 5 GHz rates than AC750 class extenders to provide higher extended throughput.

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