We went to YouTube and found a few high-definition videos in both 720p and 1080p resolutions and wanted to find out how far we could get away from our base station before the video stream was so degraded that we could not view them. This should be an ideal benchmark as we compare extenders and just how well they work. For our test we used a Nikon Callaway Diablo Octane Laser Rangefinder (MSRP $299) accurate to less than a half a meter and measured our signal in two directions. As we moved farther and farther from the wireless extender, we kept an eye out on our YouTube screen as the high-definition video was being played. As soon as the buffering interrupted the video we would stop and measure the distance. In the charts below, you will see the average of these two measurements.
Besides walking up and down our street with a 17-inch Alienware notebook, our Range Test was pretty straight-forward. The extender’s signal essentially had to travel through two walls (wood/stucco) in our office and out to the street where we took our measurements. Before we started, we used MetaGeek’s inSSIDer to do a survey of the area and we surprisingly found out that there were at least 5 routers or access points in the neighborhood operating in the 5Ghz band. It wasn’t the purest of Wi-Fi areas but we thought it represented a ‘typical’ environment where you don’t have control over how clean your area is.
Anyway, on to the test results:
Test Results: With a range of 72-meters (236-ft), the ASUS EA-N66 gives us the best range out of the three network devices we tested. The Amped Wireless SR20000G allowed us to play our HD videos at a distance of 28.5-m (93.5-ft) far shorter than that of the ASUS. We included the Netgear R6300 router for fun to see what kind of distances a late-generation router could give you. It was very interesting to see that it clocked in at 56-meters. We repeated our test to get the best possible results for our extenders and what you see above is the average of those runs.