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Devolo dLAN Wireless Extender

Spread wireless goodness with powerline

Next, we configured the WE will the same wireless SSID and security settings as the router in the hope that the Extender would allow us to create a single WLAN with greater reach than the router alone could provide. It did, and we were able to connect to the net using a laptop configured to connect to the main wireless network.

Devolo dLAN Wireless Extender

Range booster

In neither case did the connection feel slower than a direct-to-router link, and we were even able to access the WLAN from a car parked on the other side of the street, such was the extra range we got.

The WE's other mode of operation is to connect to an existing WLAN wirelessly. We couldn't try this at home because for some crazy reason Devolo has limited this mode to work only with the most basic level of Wi-Fi security, WEP, even though it will maintain stronger WPA- and WPA 2-secured links when it's operating in access-point mode. This is daft, and it's high time Devolo released a firmware update to allow the WE to connect to WPA-protected access points.

Our router's set to use WPA, and rather than compromise that, we tried the Extender out with another network that uses WEP instead. The Devolo box connected to the WLAN just like any computer would and was quickly allowing a laptop with its wireless adaptor removed to talk to the internet via an Ethernet cable.

Now we should point out that we did experience one major problem. With a Belkin N1 router running the latest firmware, we couldn't connect wireless devices to the internet via the WE. We tried a second WE but experienced the same behaviour. However, that second unit would let said devices connect to the internet when the WE was powerlined to a Netgear router.

That suggests a problem not with the Devolo product but the Belkin router. Further experimentation revealed the N1 was only partly to blame. We were trying to connect with a MacBook Pro and an iPhone. When we tried an Eee PC, we suddenly had no trouble. The Mac OS X machines' DHCP requests were timing out before the Belkin could respond to them.

Devolo dLAN Wireless Extender

Plug and play

So, is that the N1's fault? Mac OS X's? Somewhere in the middle, we'd say. But it's important to remember that network performance is the product of all its components.

What we can say is that among all of these, the Devolo unit worked and worked well.


Devolo's 85Mb/s Wireless Extender is a smart way of increasing the range of your wireless network. Of course, if you only need to extend the network to one or two specific places - or you've already made the jump to 200Mb/s mains networking - you may prefer to use a couple of (cheaper) powerline adaptors instead, but if you want to maintain the full flexibility that wireless connectivity offers, this is a good, inexpensive way to do it.


Devolo dLAN Wireless Extender

Your Wi-Fi network not reaching far enough? Look no further for the fix...
Price: £100 (Extender alone) / £140 (Extender plus powerline adaptor) RRP

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