Out of the three wireless extenders in this roundup, the Linksys RE7000 Max-Stream AC1900+ Wi-Fi Range Extender is the most petite. Think of it as an oversized multi-plug adapter, with a status LED at the front.
Linksys includes a number of interchangeable power plugs so you can use the RE7000 around the world with the right plug.
The RE7000 is white and dotted with plenty of ventilation holes because the extender runs slightly warm. It has a single Gigabit port.
There are two ways to set up the extender. You can press the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button at the side to link the extender to your router. However, you need to have the extender near the router for it to work. In addition, the WPS feature is not available on all routers.
The alternative, which I prefer, is to use the browser on a PC to connect to the RE7000's default Wi-Fi network. Then, I would navigate to extender.linksys.com to start the setup process.
ETHERNET PORTS: 1 x Gigabit
VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5
Both setup options are clearly documented in the quick-start guide, with helpful visuals to illustrate the process.
Once the extender is up and running, you can return to the same Web page to tweak its settings. For instance, you can get the extender to check for firmware updates. There are also diagnostics tools like the Ping test.
But the best feature is the Spot Finder, which tells you whether the extender is placed at a suitable location based on the distance between the router and the extender. In my case, the extender (in the hall) was deemed to be in the right spot.
The setup process is much simplified if you have a Linksys router with the Max-Stream branding. Thanks to a feature called Seamless Roaming, the extender will get your home network name and password from the Linksys router directly.
More importantly, client devices will switch automatically between router and extender, depending on the signal strength. This is similar to the Roaming Assist feature on the Asus RP-AC68U.
Besides saving you the hassle of manually switching from the router wireless network to the extender's, this feature should also improve wireless performance.
Like the Netgear X4 extender, the Linksys RE7000 is one of the few extenders to support Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO), an advanced feature found in high-end routers that improves performance by sending data to multiple compatible clients at the same time.
However, the performance of the RE7000 was the weakest of the three extenders. It produced a signal strength of 55 and an average data transfer speed of 9Mbps.
•Verdict:The Linksys RE7000 extender provides useful features at a competitive price. But it did not perform quite as well as its rivals.