Introducing Amped Wireless

The world is full of technology companies, with plenty of long time players as well as smaller newcomers. There are so many facets of the industry to cover that it’s basically impossible to know everyone, so when Amped Wireless sent us an email I must admit that other than having seen a couple of their products on Newegg, I knew essentially nothing about them. Let’s start with a bit of background information, for those of you who might be in a similar state. While I wasn’t particularly familiar with Amped Wireless, it’s worth noting that their products are now available at many retail outlets, as well as the big online sources like Amazon and Newegg. You can find Amped Wireless devices at Staples, Best Buy, Walmart, Fry’s, Office Depot, etc. and they are now working to extend into Canada.

Amped Wireless was created three years ago as a sub-company of Newo Corporation, which was created around five years back by Jason Owen and offered some interesting computer peripherals (e.g. a personal USB fridge to keep your soda cold). Today, the Newo Corp website redirects to Amped Wireless, so it looks like that’s now the primary focus. Mr. Owen serves as the CEO for Amped Wireless, with a background in the wireless networking industry that goes back over a decade; he teamed up with a colleague with a similar background in order to focus on long range WiFi products and “do it correctly”.

Besides setting out to create better long range wireless devices, Amped also wants to make sure that customer service is a high priority; there will be no outsourcing of support to another country, and all customer support is US based and trained in-house. Unlike the support side of the equation, engineering is a different story. Amped Wireless has teamed up with engineering resources in Taiwan (and only Taiwan—they mentioned that controlling quality in some other areas can be very difficult), and they have a small team of around 20 that’s split about 50-50 doing work on the software/firmware and hardware aspects of their products.

Their very first product to hit the market came out about eighteen months ago, the SR150 wireless repeater. There really aren’t many wireless repeaters on the market, and they wanted to target that niche and create something that would be easy to configure for people that don’t know much about wireless networking. The product proved to be a success, helping users to extend their wireless coverage to difficult to reach locations—especially for users of all-in-one cable/DSL modem/router boxes that have very poor wireless range. After the initial product launch, they received a lot of feedback from customers who wanted to simply skip the repeater aspect and go straight to Amped for a wireless router; that led to the launch of their first router back in September 2011.

That brings us to today’s reviews. We have Amped Wireless’ latest and greatest R20000G router, SR20000G repeater, and the UA2000 directional wireless adapter. Like most wireless companies, Amped states that their products work best when used with each other, but we had no difficulties using the router with other adapters, or the UA2000 with various routers. The SR20000G also worked fine in general, with a minor problem encountered with one of our test routers (more on that later). We’ll start with a look at the R20000G router, then check out the SR20000G repeater, and finally look at the UA2000 adapter. Once we’ve covered those areas, we’ll wrap up with some performance investigations using several different products and see how the various devices actual work in practice.

Amped Wireless R20000G Router
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  • tonyt87 - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - link

    Cisco/Linksys switched to Marvell chipsets with the 4200v2 and 4500, the original 4200 uses Broadcom. Reply
  • arthur449 - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - link

    I used the SR10000 repeater recently to provide a solution for weak / non-existent signal anywhere beyond the far end of their apartment where they kept all of their computer equipment. I positioned the repeater in a higher/more centralized location and they get great reception to it.

    This is after I made absolutely sure they could not stand to run an ethernet cable/use powerline networking or reposition their overpriced fruit-branded wireless router to a new (higher) location rather than keeping it beneath a desk. Apparently, they have a fear of wires, yet hate unreliable connections. *shrug*

    Anyhow, the repeater gives them reception in the places where it was simply impossible and didn't create any additional unsightly cords.

    I've only run into one problem: When the fruit-branded wireless router loses power, the SR10000 repeater freaks the *$(@ out and does not automatically reconnect to the fruit-branded network when it comes back online. While I'm certain a static IP for the wireless repeater would fix this, the client can't remember the fruit-branded router's admin password and a full reset is strictly forbidden.
    Reply
  • ShinyLeaf - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - link

    I have this same repeater (SR10000) and a non-fruit branded router with the same problem. I tried to switching to static IP and it doesn't fix the problem.

    Anytime the router / access point loses power, or the repeater loses the wireless connection for a sec (microwave interference, etc), the repeater just craps out and I need to unplug/plug-in to get it to reconnect.

    Probably a firmware issue, but there hasn't been any update in 6 months.
    Reply
  • irev210 - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - link

    There is a bigger comparison over at smallnetbuilder - not really that impressive:

    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wireless/wireless-r...

    Pretty sad, really.
    Reply
  • mevans336 - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - link

    I read the Smallnetbuilder review and came away with the same opinion.

    Their "coverage" claims reek of sleazy marketing hype to confuse the average consumer. "Oh look, we cover 10,000 bajillion feet!" when in actuality, their coverage is no better than any other wireless router on the market.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - link

    Note that the smallnetbuilder review is for the R10000G, so there's no 5GHz support. Looks like 2.4GHz support is roughly the same, given our different test locations, though I was able to connect at the worst-case location without trouble. Also note that smallnetbuilder only tests with one wireless adapter on the newer routers, the Intel Ultimate-N 6300. If you couldn't tell, in my experience the choice of wireless adapter can make a very large difference in some tests.

    That's the hard thing with wireless testing: change any variable (router, adapter, time of day, weather, drivers, test laptop, positioning, etc.) and you can't guarantee the results are directly comparable. Ideally, I'd want to do a large roundup of at least ten different wireless adapters and test those with a couple different routers -- and if you really want to be apples-to-apples, you'd need to test them all in the same laptop or use a PCI card. From that, you can determine which adapters work best in general. Then take the top three adapters and test every router with those adapters, and you should be able to determine which routers work the best.

    That, incidentally, is a TON of work, assuming you can even get all the hardware to test with. Given the amount of testing, you'd be looking at different adapters/routers on different days with different weather, so you'd probably need to test each adapter/router combination at least twice (e.g. several days apart) to verify there's no massive change in performance, and if there is then test a third time. I'm not sure if there's enough value in doing that much testing, so the result is more "rough estimate" type reviews, like what I've done.
    Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - link

    Isn't DD-WRT (development) dead anyway? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - link

    I don't believe so; you can get a build dated March 15, 2012 for the ASUS RT-N66U for example. There are also similar tools out there (OpenWRT, MyOpenRouter--Netgear only on that one). I think it would be best to state that the set of new hardware being supported is very limited, so if you want DD-WRT support you need to shop with that intention. Reply
  • Olaf van der Spek - Sunday, June 24, 2012 - link

    Latest stable release has been v24 SP1 (Build10020) and Latest development release has been v24 preSP2 (Build13064) for years.
    A build dated March 15, 2012 doesn't mean that much.

    Is there a comparison between DD-WRT and OpenWRT available somewhere?
    Reply
  • blindbox - Monday, June 25, 2012 - link

    You should take a look at their source revisions. For example, OpenWrt just hit their 32000th revision about a month ago.

    Anyway, here's where you can see progress.

    OpenWRT https://dev.openwrt.org/browser
    DD-WRT http://svn.dd-wrt.com/browser

    Last commit for OpenWRT was 20 hours ago. For DD-Wrt, it was 50 minutes ago.

    DD-WRT does provide snapshot builds but I don't know why they've stopped releasing stable builds altogether. OpenWrt at least has their somewhat yearly stable releases.
    Reply

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