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Wireless Reviews

Gemini AC1200 Dual-Band Home Wi-Fi Roaming Kit
At a glance
ProductEdimax RE11 Gemini AC1200 Dual-Band Home Wi-Fi Roaming Kit   [Website]
SummaryAC1200 Wi-Fi extender kit with "mesh" capability.
Pros• Inexpensive way to try out mesh Wi-Fi
• Smooth roaming seems to work
Cons• Setup can be confusing
• Backhaul is not dynamically adjusted

Typical Price: $87  Shop Amazon

Introduction

2016 is indeed the year of Wi-Fi mesh. Based on consumer Wi-Fi mesh pioneer eero's success, Wi-Fi marketeers are wasting no time slapping "mesh" onto any product that uses Wi-Fi to connect multiple access points / routers back to your wired network to form a multi-node distributed Wi-Fi network.

Edimax is the latest company to try its hand at mesh Wi-Fi with its Gemini RE11 AC1200 Dual-Band Home Wi-Fi Roaming Kit. The RE11 is a kit of two RE11S AC1200 class range extenders that Edimax says "build an intelligent Wi-Fi roaming mesh network with a single SSID". The RE11 is different from eero, Luma, et al. because it does not function as a router. Instead, each RE11S can be configured as access point, repeater/extender or wireless bridge. So the kit is focused solely on extending your current Wi-Fi using more flexibility than other extenders. It also does not rely on any cloud services to power any of its features.

The RE11S comes in a compact wall-plugged format. The plug is offset so you'll still be able to use the other outlet in a standard U.S. duplex. The lights, connectors and switches are called out in the diagram below. Note, however, there is no "Cross Band" LED. Version 1.04 firmware has changed this to indicate whether the RE11S is operating as a master or slave. Note also the WPS button also functions as a factory reset button if you press it for 10 seconds or until the Power light blinks.

Edimax RE11S callouts

Edimax RE11S callouts

Although the intention is nice, I doubt many people will use the "Green Mode" provided by the transmit power adjustment switch.

Edimax RE11S mode switch

Edimax RE11S mode switch

WPS is enabled by default and is used to connect RE11Ses to each other and to your router without having to use the web-based GUI.

Inside

As you might expect from the rather low price, the RE11S is based on Mediatek silicon, specifically the MT7620A SoC serving as the main CPU and 2.4 GHz radio and MT7612EN for the 5 GHz radio. The photo below shows the exact view when you remove the top; no heatsinks or RF cans were removed.

Edimax RE11S inside

Edimax RE11S inside

Here's a closer view of the component side of the board.

Edimax RE11S board top

Edimax RE11S board top

And the circuit side.

Edimax RE11S board bottom

Edimax RE11S board bottom

The component summary below shows RE11S key components along with Luma's and eero's. Note the RE11S' absense of transmit amplifiers and relatively small RAM and flash. Again, remember the RE11S does not function as a router, so doesn't need as much memory.

  Edimax RE11S Luma eero
CPU Mediatek MT7620A 2x2 11bgn SoC Qualcomm IPQ4018 2x2 a/b/g/n/ac SoC Qualcomm dual-core IPQ8062 @ 1 GHz
Switch Realtek RTL8211E
(Gigabit PHY)
QCA8075 Qualcomm Atheros QCA8337
RAM 64 MB 256 MB 512 MB
Flash 8 MB 128 MB
2 MB
4 GB / 8 MB
2.4 GHz Radio In MT7620 - 2.4 GHz: in SoC
- Skyworks RFX8425 2.4 GHz RF front end (x2)
- QCA9982 2x2 MU-MIMO 802.11abgnac radio
- RFMD RFFM4204 2.4 GHz Front End (x2)
5 GHz radio Mediatek MT7612EN - 5 GHz: in SoC
- Skyworks SKY85716-11 5 GHz RF front end (x2)
- QCA9982 2x2 MU-MIMO 802.11abgnac radio
- RFMD RFPA5522 5 GHz power amp (x4)
Bluetooth N/A CSR8510 Bluetooth 4.0 SoC Atheros AR3012 Bluetooth 4.0 SoC
Table 1: Component summary and comparison

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