Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: NETGEAR WN3000RP Universal WiFi Range Extender

Wireless networking is a must have these days. Not only do devices like our laptops and desktops need a good solid network connection but now days tablets like the iPad, or gaming units like the PS3 even require them.

No matter how good our wireless routers have gotten over the years the one Achilles heel that almost every device has is still weak reception at a long distance or slower performance at the edges of wireless coverage. Enter Wireless access points and range extenders. The small devices can be placed to connect just about anywhere within range of a router and provide a boost of performance where the connection drops off. One such unit is the Netgear WN3000RP Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender.


The Netgear WN3000RP is a plug and play device that is no bigger than the wall socket it needs for power. It has quick and easy setup and allows you to extended your network well beyond its current reach.

NETGEAR WN3000RP Specifications and Features

  • Wireless Security: WiFi Protected Access (WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK) and WEP
  • Wireless Standards: 802.11 B/G/N 2.4ghz only (does not support 5ghz 802.11A)
  • Plug-and-play: Sets up in minutes, no need to insert a CD or plug in Ethernet cables
  • Push ‘N’ Connect: Push ‘N’ Connect using Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) connects computers and/or routers to the Extender quickly and securely
  • System Requirements:
    • 802.11 B/G/N wireless router, gateway or access point
    • Microsoft Windows 7, Vista, XP, 2000, Mac OS, UNIX, or Linux.
    • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0, Firefox 2.0 or Safari 1.4 or higher.
  • Advanced Features:
    • Extend internet access for wireless devices through out your home.
    • Repeats 2.4ghz WiFi signal from your wireless router and access point.
    • 2 x External Antenna 1 x 10/100M Ethernet Port


The setup on almost any network device now days is as simple and straight forward as you can get and the NETGEAR WN3000RP is no different. You have two options:

Option A Using WPS: If you have a Netgear router with WPS advanced wireless setup things can't be easier. Simply plug the Universal Extender into an outlet that is the outer edge of your network coverage, power the Extender on by using the on/off button on the right side of the Extender. Push the WPS button on your router, and then push the WPS button on the Extender. The automated WPS will simply setup your Extender to connect to your router with a WPA2 pre-shared key and start sharing the routers wireless connection.  

The Extender needs to be within acceptable range of your existing wireless router. If the Extender is not within range of your wireless router, the Extender will not be able to connect to your router and extend the connection further. 

Option B Manual Setup: If like me you use customer router settings, or use a none Netgear branded router (I still use my Linksys E4200v2) or for that fact there is some reason your router doesn't support the WPS automated wireless setup then you will need to connect directly to the NETGEAR WN3000RP Extender either via wired or wireless.

I prefer to connect via wire, it just makes things a bit simpler. All you need to do is plug the device in out on the "fringe" of your network where you want to leave it, plug a cable into the network port on your Extender and then to a laptop or computer.  Once you are connected, open up your web browser and try to connect to any website, you will then be automatically re-directed to the web page. This is the setup page for the Netgear Universal WiFi Range Extender. If you are prompted to enter a password by default the user name is admin and the password is password.

If you want to connect wirelessly simply open up your wireless connection manager on your laptop or other wireless capable device and connect to the network connected titled NETGEAR_EXT. Once you are connected, open up your web browser and try to connect to any website, you will then be automatically re-directed to the web page. This is the setup page for the Netgear Universal WiFi Range Extender. If you are prompted to enter a password by default the user name is admin and the password is password.

Follow through the steps on the setup web page on, click save and the device will reboot. Once your NETGEAR WN3000RP is rebooted go back to your wireless connection manager on your laptop and now search for your SSID (or network connection) that you normally use, but this time you will see a new one with the SSID of yours with "_EXT" added onto it. That is the SSID for your wireless Extender. Setup this new SSID and have your wireless device automatically connect to it. Once this is done you should be able to seamlessly roam between your default SSID and your new extended SSID hopefully giving you fuller coverage and better speeds.

NETGEAR WN3000RP Performance

We have a love hate relationship with testing networking devices in or around our office. Unfortunately the area that we have available to test our network performance is really limited. So much so that it's hard to quantify testing. We have no areas that we are out of range of our Linksys E4200v2, and really have no way to push the NETGEAR WN3000RP to the outer limits of our network. That said, we did notice with the NETGEAR WN3000RP connected to some of the furthest areas of the office we saw better overall performance. We noticed an increase in both signal strength and download speeds. So even if it wasn't adding distance to our network it still added performance.

In a portion of our testing we actually used our extender as a wi-fi adapter. We connected it directly to a desktop that needed a wireless network connection. This is one scenario that many people forget about, having the single RJ-45 port on the device lets you use it as a wireless adapter for just about anything that doesn't already have a wireless connection. With this setup we were pleasantly surprised with the range the WN3000RP achieved and the speeds. We were able to stream videos seamlessly, with few if any noticeable interruptions. We also noticed a fairly reasonable boost in signal strength over the current Wireless G pci device the computer had been using. This was most likely due to fully utilizing the Wireless N capabilities of our router.


There are lots of factors that effect your wireless network and its range. What channels your router uses, the placement of the wireless router, and even interference issues from everyday items like cordless phones, microwave ovens, ect. all come into play as to how the wireless signal propagates through your home. A good range extender can definitely come in handy for those trying to extend coverage beyond the four walls or for those trying to cover multiple floors.

For me the NETGEAR WN3000RP Universal WiFi Range Extender held up to everything Netgear said it would. While we didn't get to thoroughly test the performance everything else worked as expected. Setup was quick and easy, we were able to use the extender in less than a few minutes right out of the box. So if all you want is to extend the wireless footprint in your home the Netgear Universal WiFi Range Extender just maybe what you need to accomplish that. It has a good price tag, has a small foot print so you hardly know its there, and just about any home user can set it up.

NETGEAR WN3000RP Pricing and Availability

The WN3000RP WiFi Range Extender is available at most major online retailers. MSRP is $69.99 however pricing online ranges from $66.28 on Amazon to $66.58 on Newegg. For those looking to purchase in store you can get the extender at most major retailers including Best-But and Staples for $69.99

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