Edimax EW-7438RPn N300 Universal Wi-Fi Extender Review

It’s not a review without some kind of benchmarking, no? I had planned to do a simple file transfer just to show that the device is working, but a random speed test on my phone launched a whole other kind of investigation. Keep in mind that the main wireless router in my house is on the second floor and I have 25/25 FiOS service that sees full throughout when testing while directly connected.

Using my Samsung Galaxy Nexus, I ran several speed tests using the SpeedTest.net app. The extender was in the basement and so was I. The router is directly above vertically.

Edimax EW-7438RPn N300 Universal Wi-Fi Extender Edimax EW-7438RPn N300 Universal Wi-Fi Extender

At first, I thought perhaps I’d left something downloading somewhere. But as I conducted more tests throughout the house, the result was approximately the same. The Edimax extender is severly harming throughput. While connected to it, I was seeing 2.5-7 Mbps download speeds on average and 5.5-15 Mbps upload speeds. If I stayed seated in the exact same place, but switched to my main wireless access point, the speeds were 9.5-20 Mbps. The WiFi Analyzer screenshot shows that the signal wasn’t really much better even though I was within five feet of the extender.

I repeated the phone tests after moving the Edimax extender to the first floor, still directly below the router.

Edimax EW-7438RPn N300 Universal Wi-Fi Extender Edimax EW-7438RPn N300 Universal Wi-Fi Extender

Download was still negatively affected. Very disappointing. I was sitting practically right next to the extender for this test, so it had better be near 100% signal strength!

I also performed some speed tests on my Windows 7 gaming rig in the basement while cadcx_basement was on 1st floor and cadcx on 2nd floor. While connected to cadcx_basement, down maxed around 5 Mbps, up maxed around 6 Mbps. On cadcx, down maxed around 10 Mbps, up maxed around 12 Mbps. I used SpeedTest.net for this.

I did one last signal strength check, keeping the extender on the first floor while I traveled to the basement. The signal strength wasn’t really that much better.

Edimax EW-7438RPn N300 Universal Wi-Fi Extender

I once again moved the extender, this time back into my office, where the primary router lives. Speed tests performed on 13″ mid-2009 MBP, in the same room on 2nd floor: 22/15 on cadcx. Average was 6/9.5 on cadcx_basement (the extender), but there were times it would hit 20/13. Most were in the single digits.

File transfer tests yielded similar results, showing the download speed to be negatively affected.

Remember, I have a 25/25 FiOS line. I did check for a newer version of the firmware, and saw none.

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