Jul 21, 2010 Product Review
We’ve got a big house. It’s not ginormous, it’s just tall – four floors and a basement. Our modem is in the basement, and several locations in the house are hard-wired to the modem. Also connected to the modem is a Cisco wireless router. That wireless router gives us a somewhat unreliable but usable signal on the bottom two floors. Once you get to the third floor, though, the signal pretty much disappears. So a couple years ago my husband piggybacked a second Cisco wireless router onto the first, which gave us wifi on the upper two floors.
But a few months ago the second router stopped connecting to the internet, and we can’t seem to get the connection working again. After doing all of ten minutes research the other night (I was in an impatient and frustrated mood), I ordered this Hawking HWREN1 Range Extender from Amazon. I hooked everything up this morning, and it works like a dream! I usually use a product for more than ten minutes before reviewing it, but this was just such a quick and easy solution, I’m excited to share it.
Configuring the range extender consisted of bringing a laptop down to the basement where the modem and router are, along with everything in the range extender box plus an extra ethernet cord. Set-up would have taken about three minutes, except it didn’t work the first time, or the second. It would get to the last step with no problem, then not be able to finish. I took a quick look at the HWREN1 support section on the Hawking site, and discovered that my range extender needed a firmware update. I’m not going to lie, this was a little bit of a pain in the ass. It involved changing an ip address and resetting the range extender and doing some other stuff that might look overwhelming to someone without a lot of computer experience, but if you take it one step at a time and follow the very clear directions on the Hawking site, it’s very doable and was done in about ten minutes. Once the firmware update was complete, the HWREN1 set itself up in about two minutes.
After that, I just had to figure out the best placement for it. Basically, you want to find a place that’s still getting a strong signal from the original source (the router) but that’s closer to the place you need the signal to reach (and remember, that location needs an outlet to plug the range extender into). In most houses this would probably be about halfway between the router and the dead spot, but in my house the signal has the most trouble getting out of the basement. I put the range extender on the first floor near both the basement door and the stairs that go up to the rest of the house, and that did the trick! I’ve got an excellent signal now throughout the entire house.
The signal is as secure as your router’s signal. In other words, if you have your wireless router set up with a password or WEP key, then you’ll need that to sign on to the range extender’s signal. Connecting to the range extender was very easy. My laptops detected it the same as they would any other wifi signal. For some reason, I had to restart a couple of laptops in order to get internet access from this signal initially, but once they got a signal the first time I then disconnected and reconnected, restarted, and did whatever else I could to try to mess the signal up. Reconnecting was flawless every time.
So, to sum up if you have wifi deadspots in your house from your wireless router, I highly recommend the Hawking HWREN1 Range Extender. Don’t be scared off by the little bit of trouble I had getting it set up, the instructions are clear and once you set it up once you’re done, and you should have a fantastic wifi signal.
This review in no way guarantees that the product reviewed will work for you in the same way (hey, it could work even better, but it could be worse). Please check with the manufacturer or other sources to ensure that this is the right product for you. The owner of this websites takes no responsibility for anything that happens to you as a result of buying or using this product.
Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information. Amy also blogs at Filming In Brooklyn, Behind the Screen, and Momtourage.
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Tags: basement, Hawking HWREN1 firmware update, Hawking HWREN1 Hi-Gain Wireless-300N Range Extender, how to install HWREN1, problem with Hawking HWREN1 range extender, signal, wifi dead spots, wifi signal booster