Setup is actually simpler than the extensive instructions in the Quick Setup Guide and User Manual would have you believe. Starting with factory default, if an RE11S' Ethernet port is plugged into your router / network, it will automatically set itself to access point mode. You then link the second RE11S to it by using a WPS pushbutton session.
If you want to use both RE11Ses as extenders, you just start a WPS pushbutton session on your router, then press the WPS switch on the first RE11S. After that session completes, you link the second RE11S by starting a WPS session on the first RE11S, then pressing the WPS button on the second.
When I did this with a router that had separate SSIDs for each band, the RE11S adopted the 5 GHz SSID for both its radios, which can be confusing to users. So if you don't want to wrassle with the RE11S' admin GUI shown below, I recommend setting a single SSID for both radios on your router before you connect the RE11S.
Edimax RE11S status
If you use the web GUI for setup, you need to connect directly to the RE11S you are setting up using the edimaxEXT.setup 1c SSID and pointing your browser to http://edimaxext.setup. (The last two characters of your RE11S' SSID may be different.) The reason is that all mode changes require resetting the RE11S to factory default, which resets its IP address to 192.168.9.2.
So while the automatic AP configuration is nice, you can't make any mode changes from there. Entering http://edimaxext.setup from an Ethernet-connected machine sent me to my ISP's search page, not the RE11S web GUI. The other thing that threw me is that only the 5 GHz LED is lit when an RE11S is in extender mode. This led me to believe the WPS session I used to link a second RE11S to the one in AP mode failed. As I found out later, this light was trying to tell me the 5 GHz radio was used for backhaul.
If you log into the admin GUI, you'll find the basic settings shown below.
Edimax RE11S wireless settings
Advanced settings are where you can change channel width and adjust transmit power.
Edimax RE11S advanced wireless settings
Since WPS is so central to the RE11's setup, it's enabled by default. You can disable it if you like, but I wouldn't; you'll unnecessarily complicate setup.
Edimax RE11S WPS settings
Edimax said the product doesn't support band steering or load balancing among RE11Ses, nor does it support 802.11v, k and r. Instead the RE11 uses an "Intelligent Dynamic Roaming Learn System". According to Edimax, the key points of this system are:
- The system maintains an RSSI value of each client device in a roaming table, dynamically learning an RSSI value of each client device to define a "Critical value" for connection.
- When a client device falls below this critical value, the associated RE11S disassociates the connection. Then client device should then connect to another AP with stronger signal..
- All RE11Ses actively monitor all connected client devices and dynamically adjust related parameters in real time.
We normally test wireless extenders using this process. But since Edimax positions the RE11 as a Wi-Fi mesh product, I chose to test it like other mesh systems. I configured one RE11S as an access point and put it into the Octobox chamber for throughput vs. attenuation testing. I upgraded to version 1.04 for all testing.
An RE11S was positioned on the test chamber turntable as shown in the photo below. The 0° position had the antennas facing the chamber antennas. The white thing the RE11S is sitting on is an AC extension cord.
Edimax RE11 in test chamber
I tested using the V9 test process with the 2.4 GHz radio set to 20 MHz bandwidth mode and channel 6 and the 5 GHz radio in 80 MHz bandwidth mode and channel 40. Because the RE11 has no routing features, you'll find it in the Wireless Charts. Unfortunately, the other Wi-Fi mesh products are found in the Router Charts, so I had to create comparison charts in Excel. I compared the RE11S to eero and Luma.
The 2.4 GHz downlink profile shows the RE11S with a curve more like we're accustomed to seeing on wireless routers. Both eero and Luma pale in comparison.
2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation
The 2.4 GHz uplink plot shows the RE11S again soundly beating the other two products.
2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation
5 GHz downlink shows a somewhat tighter race, but with the RE11S again with superior performance.
5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation
Only on 5 GHz uplink does any other product outdo the RE11S. eero has surprisingly high throughput in this test, but not as good range as the RE11S.