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Amped Wireless REA20 Dual Band 802.11ac Range Extender Review

Amped Wireless REA20 Dual Band 802.11ac Range Extender Review

Need to extend your high-speed wireless network? Read on as we check out the latest from Amped Wireless: the REA20.

@TylerBernath
Tyler Bernath
Published Fri, Feb 14 2014 9:00 AM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:32 PM CDT
Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Amped Wireless

Introduction & Pricing and Availability

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Range extenders have been a part of wireless networking since the beginning. While most of us can get by with a router, for those that have large areas to cover, or want increased speeds at long ranges, these devices fit the bill. Amped Wireless has a great history with their line of wireless range extenders, and not just in the traditional networking arena, but also with the hobby market and RC helicopters.

The Amped Wireless REA20 is a dual band 802.11AC range extender, built upon the same platform as the RTA15 we looked at a few months back. In fact, to differentiate between the two, Amped has placed the REA20 inside a white enclosure, rather than the black of the RTA15.

Internally, the REA20 features a 2.4GHz radio capable of 802.11n speeds up to 300Mbps, and a 5GHz radio capable of 867Mbps via 802.11ac, both of which are backed by high power amplifiers.

With these capabilities, the REA20 can extend your wireless network an additional 10,000 sq. ft., and provide added wired gigabit ports to nearby devices.

Pricing and Availability

The Amped Wireless REA20 carries a MSRP of $199.99 with a one-year warranty; availability of the range extender is quite high.

PRICING: You can find the Amped Wireless REA20 Dual Band AC Range Extender for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Amped Wireless REA20 Dual Band AC Range Extender retails for $191.82 at Amazon.

Canada: The Amped Wireless REA20 Dual Band AC Range Extender retails for $209.99 at Amazon Canada.

Amped Wireless REA20 Extender

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The packaging for the REA20 carries the traditional design from Amped Wireless. Here, we have a photo of the range extender to the right, with tons of information placed around the edges.

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Internally the extender was packaged in egg crate material, which is pretty standard as far as routers go. We found setup instructions included, along with a disk to get us going.

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The scope of delivery for the Amped REA20 includes the power adapter, the stand, and three high gain antennas. The three antennas are numbered, and require you to match them to the appropriate port on the back of the extender.

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The Amped Wireless REA20 features a high gloss exterior in white. On the top, we have a full array of indicator LEDs, with each wired port having one, along with USB, and both wireless bands.

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The back of the extender houses all of the connections. You can see each antenna connection is numbered to accept the appropriate antenna. To the left, you have the WPS and reset buttons.

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The internals of the REA20 mirror that of the RTA15 we previously reviewed. Here, we have a Realtek processor at the center, operating at 660MHz. To the left, we have the RTL8367 Switch that offers a 5 + 2 port configuration. At the top, we have the 5GHz Radio, and four 26dbm amplifiers. Below, we have the 2.4GHz radio, along with two 28dbm amplifiers.

Extender Setup and Management Interface

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When first connecting to the extender, you will be greeted with the screen above. Here, you can choose to use the scan button to search out networks to connect to and extend.

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If you want to do things manually, or need to change settings later on, the wireless settings are broken down into two sections. The first section is the Home Network, which is the network you want to extend, and second is the Extended Network. Above, we have the 5GHz settings, but you will find the same layout in the 2.4GHz band as well.

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Here, you can change the SSID of the extended network, along with the band on which it broadcasts.

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Within the advanced settings, you will find a few ways to tweak the connection on the 5GHz band. One thing I would recommend here is to enable Tx Beamforming, if you have AC devices.

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The IP configuration page allows you to setup the extended networks IP range.

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The wired ports on the REA20 can be configured to use the 2.4 or 5GHz networks as the incoming connection. Here, I would only go for 5GHz if your extender has a good signal to the home network.

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The management settings allow you to view the traffic coming through the extender, along with upgrading firmware, or resetting the extender to defaults.

Benchmarks - Test System Setup

Test System Setup

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As wireless networking has proliferated in homes and offices around the world, and network vendors keep releasing new devices on a regular basis, you now have so many options that it's hard to make a choice. The truth of the matter is: Regardless of how many features a wireless router or access point has, the two most important things about it are its speed, and its range.

We test throughput and range in a dual-node network environment consisting of a custom PC with a GIGABYTE Z77UP5 TH, Intel Core i5 3570K Processor operating at 3.3GHz, with 16GB of DDR3 featuring the Startech.com ST1000SPEX42 quad port gigabit network adapter, and a single HP ProLiant DL380 G5 Server with Windows Server 2012 R2, and a second Startech.com ST1000SPEX42.

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Wireless throughput is tested using the ASUS PCE-AC68 PCI Express Network Adapter, while range is tested with a HP ProBook installed with an ASUS USB-AC56 adapter through USB 3.0.

We perform all tests in a real-world environment. You may get better range and throughput results in a spacious facility with few internal walls, or outdoors. Our tests provide a benchmark for estimating the range and throughput of wireless networking devices in an indoor setting, with some obstacles.

Benchmarks - Wireless Throughput

Wireless Throughput

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The 20MHz 2.4GHz band of the REA20 topped out at 93 Mbps.

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Moving to the 40MHz band, we see the rate pick up slightly, topping at 96 Mbps.

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The 5GHz 20MHz band results were quite similar to the 2.4GHz results, again topping out at 96 Mbps.

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On the 40MHz channel, width throughput started to pick up. Here, we have 235 Mbps at its peak.

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The 80MHz AC band gave us a touch over 300 Mbps in throughput.

Benchmarks - Wireless Range

Wireless Range

For wireless range, we need to refer back to the Network Infrastructure chart on page four of this article. Each chart herein is based on the locations on the table. To make it simple, Location One is the closest and within Line of Sight while Location Four is the furthest away with many walls in between. Location Five tests the routers ability to generate enough signal strength to penetrate to the second floor of a home.

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Starting off with the 20MHz 2.4GHz band, we find the REA20 with a consistent reading of -45dbm; locations four and five see the range drop slightly ending at -58dbm.

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The 40MHz band shared similar range properties to that of the 20MHz band. Here, we have a steady -45dbm through the first three locations, with the extender dropping off to -58dbm at location five.

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The first range test for the 5GHz 20MHz band shows the characteristics of the technology. Here, we have the range with a steady -45dbm through the first two locations, then dropping off for three and four, but returning back to -45dbm for location five.

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The 40MHz band showed much of the same, offering -45dbm through the first two, dropping off to -68dbm, and coming back at location five.

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The 80MHz band offered up the same performance typical of 5GHz networks. We have excellent performance through the first two locations, a slight drop, and return at the end of testing.

Link Speed by Location

Link Speed by Location offers valuable insight into the working throughput of the router at specific locations.

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At the 2.4GHz 20MHz band, the REA20 had an excellent connection rate through the first four locations, dropping off to 130Mbps at location five.

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Moving to 40MHz, we find the REA20 keeping a steady 300Mbps connection rate through the first three locations, and dropping to 270Mbps for locations four and five.

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The 5GHz 20MHz band has our connections rate just shy of 180Mbps for the first two locations, and dropping to 144Mbps at location three and 37Mbps at four; however, the REA20 bounces back at location five, offering an 180Mbps rate.

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Using the 40MHz channel width, the REA20 connected at 400Mbps for the first two locations, and 144Mbps for the third. The fourth location managed 37Mbps, but bounced back at location five with a 400Mbps rate.

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Firing up the 5GHz 80MHz band, we connect to the REA20 at an impressive 867 Mbps within locations one and two. Moving out, we connect at 300 Mbps at location three, and 90 Mbps at location 4.

Final Thoughts

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The Amped Wireless REA20 offers a great deal of quality within a range extender. Using the same platform as the RTA15 allows Amped Wireless to offer two solutions for end users, within one stable platform. The top of the external casing is built from a heavy acrylic, with the underlying chassis consisting of a durable extruded plastic.

As far as the management interface goes, the REA20 offers a great deal of extras in addition to the standard setup wizard. Within, you can manage a USB share, and also manage the wireless network that drives the wired ports.

In the marketing documentation, Amped claims up to 10,000 sq. ft. of additional network coverage via the REA20. Now, this might seem like a huge feat, but it's quite easy to explain. The Amped REA20 is able to extend your network by 50 ft. in all directions (something that I actually exceeded by 10ft in testing).

By doing some simple math, we can extract that if we have 60ft in all directions, that it would equal roughly 14,000 sq. ft.; that's quite a remarkable feat in my book.

PRICING: You can find the Amped Wireless REA20 Dual Band AC Range Extender for sale below. The prices listed are valid at the time of writing, but can change at any time. Click the link to see the very latest pricing for the best deal.

United States: The Amped Wireless REA20 Dual Band AC Range Extender retails for $191.82 at Amazon.

Canada: The Amped Wireless REA20 Dual Band AC Range Extender retails for $209.99 at Amazon Canada.

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Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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