The Perfect Gadget for the Person With a Big House

belkinrangeextender.jpg
From your gadget-obsessed sister (who lives for her iPad) to your garden-obsessed uncle (who thinks apple is a fruit) A special report

In the competition between sliced bread and every other invention in the world, I usually come down on the side of sliced bread. After all, it makes sandwich artistry easier and I do love a good sandwich. However, when you match up Wi-Fi against sliced bread, Wi-Fi is clearly superior. It has untethered all of our gadgets, not just from ethernet cables, but from cell phone networks that would like to overcharge us for data. Wi-Fi makes every single modern device better, not to mention allowing the creation of a new and (to my mind) superior communal work culture.

But nothing is perfect and Wi-Fi has one key defect. It does not reach into every single nook and cranny of a large house. Now, I've never actually lived in a large house, but I can imagine how frustrating this would be. It's not a big problem, but you would encounter it each and every day. Luckily, there is a solution, one promoted by our own Jim Fallows. The Wi-Fi range extender. He recommends a Belkin Dual-Band Range Extender. I'll let him tell you about his experience:

The extender works by taking your existing Wi-Fi signal and re-propagating it to cover more of the house. Our existing dual-band router now sends out two signals, which I'll call Network1 and Network2. Nerds will know that one is 2.4GHz and one is 5GHz. The extender creates two new Wi-Fi signals, let's say Network1_xt and Network2_xt, which are broadcast from its new location. You just need to place it close enough to the original router to receive its signal -- and close enough to the now-uncovered areas to extend coverage to them.

Less than five minutes after I opened the box, no joke, the new gizmo was running*, and the two new networks extended coverage to all parts of our house. Now I have even fewer excuses for being so behind on email! Our original Wi-Fi router is also by Belkin, but the specs say that the extender should work with Linksys or other routers that produce a normal signal. Specifically, it requires an 802.11a/b/g/n router with 2.4GHz and/or 5GHz bands. That means: any mainstream Wi-Fi.

There may be other extenders that are cheaper or have some other feature; I didn't take the time for systematic research. I saw this on sale and decided to give it a try. Many people already use similar systems. But in case you'd been wondering whether they actually worked, I wanted to report that this one did, for me.
Presented by

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus