A hassle-free wireless repeater that plugs into the wall.
The Aztech Wireless-N WL559E is one of many on the market which typify the current trend of wall-plugged power-line repeaters and their easy usability, compared to say, having to configure a router as a wireless repeater for instance.
Looks-wise, the WL559E offers a curvaceous and more pleasing design than the blockish and uninspired WL556E. Connectivity is kept simple; just a single 10/100 Base-T (Auto MDI/MDIx) Ethernet port, and a WPS button used for pairing purposes with the router. In addition, Aztech’s three-pin design also ensures a convenient fit with power outlets here.
The good news is the 802.11n repeater doesn’t require advanced networking knowledge to get it up and going. Simply hook up the WL559E to your computer via the Ethernet port, and select the appropriate SSID on the web browser. Enter your SSID’s password, hit Apply, and you’re ready to roll. If you’re using a notebook to configure the device, remember to disable your wireless adapter before configuring the repeater. Lest we forget, the WL559E can be configured as a power-line bridge or an access point apart from its Wi-Fi repeater duties.
Ideally, you’ll want to position the WL559E between the router and the spot lacking in wireless coverage. Also note that it is advisable to place the repeater in a location with a decent wireless signal, or risk propagating a weaker Wi-Fi transmission to your wireless devices. Speaking of which, this is where Aztech’s Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) comes in.
The RSSI comprises of three LED bars featured on the WL559E, and they correlate to throughput levels attained by the repeater. Aztech recommends positioning the repeater in a location with two RSSI bars for optimal throughput and coverage.
For our initial test, we placed a notebook (network client) approximately 30 meters away from the router. Signal strength deteriorated to a single bar with a measured downlink throughput of 10.088Mbps.
Next, we powered on the WL559E repeater, positioned midway between router and laptop. Signal strength was bumped up to four bars. However, the trouble with repeaters is the resulting degradation in throughput capacity, which dipped to 2.706Mbps. Wireless range was extended to just beyond 40 meters before we lost the Wi-Fi connection.
STANDARDS: IEEE 802.11b/g/n
SECURITY: 64/128-bit WPA, WPA2, and WEP
FEATURES: Extends 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi signals, Wireless Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI), Backward compatible with 802.11b/g routers
CHIPSET: Ralink RT3352 Network Processor and WLAN Controller
POWER CONSUMPTION: Less than 4 watts
DIMENSIONS: 105 x 58 x 42 mm
WEIGHT: 160 grams