Netgear offers in its Nighthawk version a range of Wifi repeaters. Today we tested the EX7500 (also called X4S), a model located between the EX7300 and the EX7700. Certified Wifi AC2200 tri-band, and associated with Fastlane3 house technology for an optimization of Wifi speeds, will it be able to do as well as it promises?
Netgear offers its product in a black cardboard packaging where the product is visible on the front. As usual, the rear panel informs of the main functionalities in several languages, the specifics are found on one side and the product details on the other. Once unpacked we discover the repeater as well as paper documentation in several languages (quick guide). The main thing is there, all that remains is to admire it from every angle.
At Netgear, each repeater has its own design. And this X4S is no exception to the rule with its own personality and its white color. With a little imagination, you could recognize the mouth of Darth Vader’s mask (but in white). Apart from that, it remains rather sober with flat faces and wide bevels.
It is on top that are located the five information LEDs, namely the connection to the router, its power status, the presence of a 2,4Ghz connection, the repetition broadcast and the presence of a 5Ghz connection. These LEDs light up in blue, but some may turn red depending on the connection state. If the lighting of these LEDs is powerful, Netgear happily offers in its interface to turn them off during operation. The upper and lower sections, like the rear side, are provided with ventilation grilles, which will create natural ventilation during operation of the repeater to prevent overheating. The single button is located on the left edge and is used to turn the device on and off, but also to activate the WPS function. Right next to it is the little reset switch.
It should be noted that this X4S is a repeater that does not offer a female power outlet for connecting an electrical device. Rather bulky (it is quite large), it is possible that the adjacent socket (s) (on a block with several sockets) is difficult to use depending on the mains connector to be connected.
- Brand: Netgear
- Model: Nighthawk X4S tri-Band Wifi Range Extender / EX7500
- Type: Wifi Repeater
- 2.4 + 5 + 5 Ghz Tri Band Wi-Fi connection reaching 2200 Mbit / s (N400 + AC866 + AC866)
- Coverage up to 220 m²
- 802.11 b / g / n / ac / k Wi-Fi support
- Wi-Fi Protected Access® (WPA / WPA2-PSK) and WEP
- Push ‘N’ Connect with WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup)®
- Power button
- FastLane3 technology using two Wi-Fi bands to establish a very high speed connection
- Possibility to turn off the LEDs
- Dimensions: 161.04 x 83.82 x 76.2 mm
- Weight: 304 g
The installation of this X4S is very easy and is done quite quickly, of course we find a family resemblance very pronounced in its interface with that of its brother the Netgear X4, however, this so-called superior model is a little faster (application of configurations and restarts).
Like the EX7300, it is simply necessary to plug it into an electrical outlet, wait for it to start up and connect to its interface to follow its assistant step by step.
To configure it, the procedure is the same as that of its little brother: you must select the Wifi network to extend (or 2 Wifi networks if your main transmitter broadcasts on 2 bands: 2,4Ghz and 5Ghz), enter the password then wait a few tens of seconds for the new configuration to be applied. It’s as simple as that.
Subsequently, unplugging it will not cause its configuration to be lost, and it can therefore simply be plugged into any electrical outlet located in a reception area for the signal to be extended.
For the establishment ” Wifi Mesh “, You just have to leave the” Activate unique Wi-Fi name “function activated during the configuration. You can just as easily assign a different name to the new repeated signal (s), for that you will just have to deactivate this function (“Activate the unique Wi-Fi name”). Thereafter, you will have to be careful to connect to a good WiFi network.
This EX7500 is Wifi Mesh compatible (unique Wifi name). This means that the repeated signal is identical to the source signal (the SSID is exactly the same). When you move from one place to another, your device (connected to Wifi) can change the transmitting terminal (source signal from the Wifi router / Internet Box or repeated signal from the repeater) to have the best possible signal, all of this transparently to the user. Besides, we don’t even know which device it connects to, its device choosing the terminal with the best signal for the best possible connection (or else you have to go to the interfaces of its routers / Internet box / repeater to see which devices are connected to it). On the other hand, it is not the repeater that chooses whether a device must connect to it or stay on the original terminal, it is your device (smartphone, PC…) which chooses on whom to connect to receive the best signal possible. During our tests, we noted the change of terminal on our mobile phones during a trip, but it was more laborious on our Windows 10 computer which did not necessarily switch even if its connection would have been better on the repeater (attention: the fault is not due to the repeater since it is the connected device which evaluates the Wifi signals and connects to the most appropriate according to it). In a 1080p YouTube video streaming test on a smartphone, we didn’t notice any issues, the smooth video stayed smooth despite our fast moves.
This X4S is Tri-Band Wifi: 1x 2.4Ghz band and 2x 5Ghz bands. Netgear, with its Fastlane3 technology, reserves a band for the link between the repeater and the source device (WiFi router or Internet box) which will be dedicated to this function. This is done automatically and the user will not have control over its operation, unlike the EX7300 which offered 3 modes, but which was only Dual-Band (hence a choice to make regarding the operation of its Fastlane mode and bands to use). Suddenly this offers a full speed connection with its box on a dedicated band (usually in 5 Ghz if the box offers this band) avoiding sharing the bandwidth and allows to fully adapt to the capacity of the box (which makes sense with modern boxes offering a relatively good Wi-Fi connection).
Like its brother the X4, it is accessed by a browser (Firefox, chrome, explorer…). To start, you must first go to the web page http: // mywifiext (or by entering its IP directly, which can be found in the main router where the X4S connects).
The status informs about the state of the links of the 2 Wifi bands 2,4Ghz, 5Ghz (what is the “source” Wifi network which is repeated, transmission quality in Mbps, how the channels are used, the new (s) (x ) name (s) of the repeated network (s)…). An explanatory diagram (and very explicit) makes it possible to visualize how the Wifi bands are used.
The parameters tab, itself subdivided into several sub-sections, allows you to configure the new repeated Wi-Fi network (name of the network (s) (for each band), display of the SSID, channels, speeds max, password (s), IP addressing). We can also see the global list of devices connected to the repeater (however, it is a shame that it is not possible to do this for each band). It is finally possible to change the access password to the repeater, to save a configuration and restore it, to reset the repeater or to restart it.
The next tab offers manual or automatic update of the Netgear Nighthawk EX7500.
The “To go further” tab offers usage planning, such as cutting the Internet according to a day, an hour … This is where we find the possibility of turning off the LEDs, practical if it is placed in a room for example. A feature that is found on more and more devices, like the XR300 routers or the superior model 500.
We noticed during our test that this Netgear model (Nighthawk X4s Ex7500) sent back to the router (upstream) the information of the devices connected to it (downstream). This means that in the main router, it is possible to identify them (for the most part) with their name and their IP address, which was not necessarily the case with the EX7300 which did not wind everything, which could sometimes give multiple devices with the IP address of the repeater.
The tests we carried out focused on file transfers, according to different contexts and in two distinct environments, the first rather professional (offices) and the second particular oriented (duplex apartment). A PC computer was wired (Gigabit LAN) on the source router and a (second) laptop PC equipped with a USB3.0 AC1200 WiFi key (Netgear A6210) was connected to the Wifi network at different measurement points on which the values have been measured.
In the tests, the source router was a Netgear XR300, but also an Internet box for the particular environment (in addition to the Netgear XR300 router).
For each of the tests, the readings were carried out with and without additional connected devices (2x Wi-Fi smartphones that played videos on YouTube), in order to measure their impact on the overall Wifi reception performance. In addition, the measurements were carried out in both directions of transfer and this for small files (500 photos for a total of 2.66 GB) as well as a larger file (1 video of 5.37 GB).
If there is any doubt about a value, a flow rate or a speed, the measurement has been restarted to be sure that there is no error.
On the measurement boards, the EX7300 (X4) repeater is present, as we had several Netgear hardware (XR300 router and the X4 / EX7300 and X4S EX7500 repeaters), we found that it would be interesting to carry out tests with the 2 repeaters connected in cascade one on the other, and to check if this installation worked (and what it could give in terms of Wifi performance: debits and scope).
Below are the results in the professional environment (offices).
In general, we note that the presence of additional devices connected to the same Wi-Fi hotspot (router or repeater) has a slight impact on the speeds for our transfer, it even happens that it does not change anything at all, but it may happen that be halved.
As for the EX7300 / X4, we note that the presence of the repeater too close to the transmitting source can be harmful for the Wifi speeds of the devices which would be connected to it (on the repeater).
The differences (increase or reduction in speed with the installation of the repeater) can also depend on the size of the file (s) transferred: large or small.
For a “cascade” installation of repeaters, only the direction (Router (upstream) – EX7500 (connected on the router) – EX7300 (connected on the EX7500)) worked and we finds an acceptable flow at measurement point C, where the signal did not even pass through the router only.
The ping are worse with the EX7500 than without (whether it is connected to the XR300, the EX7300 as an access point or to the Internet box). This can perhaps be explained by the processing time of the information to be repeated, however this difference is tiny and even arduous FPS gamers shouldn’t see the difference.
As soon as we connect a device far from the source signal, the speeds are better when the EX7500 repeater is installed (up to 2x better) and makes the gateway.
The presence of the repeater made it easier to pick up at measurement point C, and to take advantage of a little signal which will allow light Internet browsing.
Below are the results in the particular environment (duplex apartment).
The most visible element of these measures is that the Wi-Fi connection of our domestic box is poor, and the installation of an additional router (here the Netgear XR300) or a Wifi access point (here the repeater EX 7300 in access point mode) will allow good Wi-Fi speeds for its wireless devices.
In the same way as during our tests in the professional environment, we observe that the presence of the two additional connected devices each viewing a YouTube video (720p on the 2.4Ghz band and 1080p on the 5Ghz band) almost comes not impact the speed of our test transfer.
We can also notice here that in all cases, the ping is slightly higher when the repeater is used, but this is not felt given the already low values. Here, too, this must be due to processing when the signal is repeated by the device.
The presence of a repeater makes it possible to extend the signal, this is clearly seen in the values reported by the devices which are connected (signal strength in Mbps).
As we noticed with its congener the EX7300, the installation of a repeater too close to the source is not necessarily beneficial, thus, the flows can be lower in the zone close to the source transmitter. However, this “near” area is very small when it comes to the Internet box that transmits the basic signal.
During our tests, we were able to observe an electrical consumption (at the outlet) between 5.5W and 7.1W, which is roughly half the consumption of a router (like the XR300).
In short, we recommend this product to extend your Wifi and that in parallel, you do not need to connect a device via Ethernet (RJ45 cable).
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Last Amazon price update was: May 19, 2020 12:28