by Ant Pruitt
A recent study found that for 40 percent of adults, Wi-Fi is more important that chocolate, alcohol and other vices. So a weak signal will make those cravings even more intense. To satisfy our need for Wi-Fi in our homes most people opt for a wireless router that is provisioned by their services provider. While the signal is excellent near the box, it quickly fades around corners and through walls and upstairs. To cover those dead zones, where the signal is weak, people can rent an extender from their provider or they can buy one of their own.
The team at Amped Wireless asked me if I’d like to test a device aimed at securely extending the range of home wireless networks up to 12,000 square feet. The Artemis-EX is specifically designed to remove all those dead Wi-Fi zones that are littering my home. Weightlifting is my vice and I need my Wi-Fi to be as strong me. So I jumped at a chance to test it. Would the Artemis-EX would live up to its promise?
Installing the Artemis-EX was as easy as it gets. I plugged it in and launched the extender’s online dashboard. The device has its own internal network that you log into which doesn’t require Internet connectivity. If you’re unable to connect wirelessly to the Artemis-EX, you can plug in the ethernet cable, which is included.
Setup and configuration are also straightforward. Enter the network name you’d like to use as well as the security settings. You can just copy your existing wireless network configuration to the extender, but as an IT guy, I strongly recommend differentiating the network with its own set of security credentials.
After the Artemis-EX is set up, you connect to your existing network. This allows the device to act as an access point and extend your existing wireless coverage. This is where I hit a snag.
In my initial installation, the setup failed several times. My home network offers both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz connectivity, but the Artemis-EX could only access one frequency at a time. And even then, I failed to connect to either band.
Eventually, I was able to get on my home network after disabling MAC address filtering on my Wi-Fi router. Again, I’m an IT guy, so this was a natural thing for me, but nothing in the Amped Wireless documentation stated that this would be an issue. Having said that, I’m willing to bet that most people don’t have their router configured the way I do. For extra security, I do port forwarding, MAC address filtering and utilize the dual-band features.
How Well Does it Work?
The Artemis-EX works as advertised. If you want to expand the reach of your network, you do what network providers do. You add repeaters and additional access points. That’s what’s going on with the Artemis-EX. I moved the device to a few different areas of stately Pruitt Manner to see what gave me the best signal. Upstairs, downstairs, garage, front side, backside, you name it. I tried it.
Testing was simple for me because I knew my current wireless router had limited reach. As a full-time telecommuter, I enjoy working anywhere I have a signal. I don’t always want to sit at my desk. Sometimes I like to step outside and work from the porch and this isn’t always possible due to signal degradation.
The Artemis-EX definitely allowed me to expand my working quarters with my laptop. I even walked away from my home to see how strong the signal would be. Of course, the signal degraded on my smartphone. But take a look at the photo below. Look how far away I was from the Pruitt Stately Manner.
The Artemis-EX also allows you to manage the strength of your extended wireless coverage through a simple interface. Just log into the device directly and select the level you want. This tool works really well.
In my testing, I marked areas along the grounds of my home noting the strength of signal on my mobile device and laptop. The strength adjusted accordingly. When my setting was adjusted to as low as 15 percent signal strength, the range of connectivity degraded.
Not all wireless network interfaces are created equal and the signal varies from device to device. For example, I had a few variances in signal strength on my Windows laptop versus my mobile device and versus my Chromebook.
Overall, the Artemis-EX worked as advertised. The signal strength of my existing network was boosted, security could be applied to protect my extended network. It did have problems connecting to my existing network, but again that was just me. I can’t say that you would get the same problem. Once I overcame that, the rest was a snap.
You can find the Artemis-EX online for $99. In my opinion, it’s a good option for solving the issue of Wi-Fi dead spots.
Ant is a tech pro and writes about support, modern tech and photography. When Ant is not snapping photos on his smartphone, he’s actively engaging the photography community. Ant writes for Tech Republic.