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Wireless Reviews

Features

The EX6150's web admin interface has been freshened and made more mobile friendly. The gallery below shows all the setup screens with commentary.

The setup process itself remains pretty much the same as the EX6100 and EX6200's. Setup can be done completely over a wireless connection with a tablet or even smartphone. You just connect to the single default SSID for both bands (NETGEAR_EXT) and launch your browser. If you're not automatically redirected to the setup wizard, entering http://mywifiext.net in your browser address bar should get you there.

A new "feature" is the requirement to create an account using your email address as your username. There is no way to get past this to run the wizard or access the normal admin screens. I asked NETGEAR about this and they said the reason for the new requirement is that "many ... security threats take advantage of the fact that people rarely change the default user name and password" for admin access. "By forcing people to create an account, it helps to minimize the exposure to security threats."

Create account

Create account

NETGEAR says the email stays local to the product until the user registers the product via the screen below, which appears after the wizard is complete. You have the option to skip registration, via the highlighted link.

Opt-in registration

Opt-in registration

The EX6150's feature set is essentially the same as the EX6100's. So if you don't find a description here of something you're looking for, check that review. I was happy to find both signal strength (although only in graphic form) and link rate for both bands' backhaul connections (aka Connection to Existing Network) in the new Status screen that greets you upon admin login.

Status page

Status page

When you switch to access point mode, you get more a few more wireless settings, including the ability to set channels.

Access point wireless settings

Access point wireless settings

The gallery has more admin screenshots with commentary and internal hardware photos as promised earlier.

Performance

Our standard extender test procedure was used to test the EX6150, which was running latest V1.0.0.14_1.0.54 firmware. Our standard extender client, a NETGEAR A6200 AC1200 class USB adapter was connected to the test client laptop and its internal Intel Centrino 6300 adapter disabled.

I made sure the extender was using 20 MHz bandwidth in 2.4 GHz and 80 MHz in 5 GHz for testing. Channels 6 and 153 were set in the base router for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz respectively and were also used for the extended connections.

The wired results in the Benchmark Summary are what we measured with the test laptop's wireless disabled and connected to the EX6150 Ethernet port. This shows the throughput available to be extended. The extended results represent throughput measured at the wireless client from base router and through the EX6150.

NETGEAR EX6150 Benchmark Summary

NETGEAR EX6150 Benchmark Summary

Following the 50% wireless extender/repeater throughput reduction rule of thumb, we would expect the "extended" results to be around half "wired". Table 2 summarizes the throughput decrease for both bands and directions. We'll come back to this when we look at the IxChariot plots.

Link Wired Extended % Decrease
2.4 GHz downlink 27.2 24.7 9
2.4 GHz uplink 36.7 21.1 43
5 GHz downlink 80.3 52.6 34
5 GHz uplink 135.3 71 47
Table 2: Extended throughput difference

During each test, I noted link rates, which are summarized in Table 3. The link rates indicate good 2.4 GHz connections, since both are the maximum rates for 2x2 2.4 GHz with 20 MHz bandwidth. Neither 5 GHz connection shows the 867 Mbps maximum. But you'd expect signal levels at the same location for 5 GHz to be lower than 2.4 GHz.

Link 2.4 GHz 5 GHz
Client to Extender 144 526
Extender to Base Router 130 526
Table 3: Test Link Rate Summary (Mbps)

For a look at how steady throughput is, we'll turn to the IxChariot plots. Each is a composite of the test plots for the wired test (extender_eth) and wireless (extended).

2.4 GHz downlink shows high variation for both measurements, but much higher for the extended plot. I confess I don't know what's going to cause extended throughput to have maximum values just about the same as at the extender.

NETGEAR EX6150 throughput - 2.4 GHz down

NETGEAR EX6150 throughput - 2.4 GHz down

The 2.4 GHz uplink plot is more like I'd expect; stable throughput in both cases, with extended throughput lower than throughput received by the the extender.

NETGEAR EX6150 throughput - 2.4 GHz up

NETGEAR EX6150 throughput - 2.4 GHz up

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