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Netgear WGXB102 review: Netgear WGXB102

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MSRP: $157.00

The Good Easy to install; can function either as a wireless extension to a router or as a standalone router; WEP and WPA support; content filtering; port triggering; DDNS support.

The Bad Slower than the advertised 54Mbps data rate; weak support.

The Bottom Line Netgear's wall-plugged wireless extender kit is one of the easiest means currently available for extending the reach of a wireless network.

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7.2 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Support 6

Netgear WGXB102

Netgear's WGXB102 wall-plugged wireless extender kit lets you extend the range of your wireless network using your existing power lines. The kit consists of two units, the XE102, a HomePlug/Ethernet adapter, and the WGX102, a HomePlug/Ethernet adapter with an integrated 802.11g access point. Together, the units let you use your existing power lines to port wireless connectivity to rooms in your home that are beyond the reach of your wireless router. We think this is the best solution of its kind currently on the market and a better deal than Corinex's Wireless to Powerline access point.

The basic setup of Netgear's WGXB102 wall-plugged wireless extender kit is easy. You connect the XE102 (HomePlug-only unit) to your router and plug it into the wall, then plug the WGX102 (HomePlug/802.11g unit) into an electrical outlet in the room where you want to have wireless coverage. The units request IP-address information from your router and automatically join your network.

The most interesting feature of Netgear's WGXB102 wall-plugged wireless extender kit is the integrated 802.11g access point included in one of the kit's two units. You can configure the access point to operate in either 802.11g-only or 802.11b/g modes. The 802.11g-only mode helps speed up wireless connections, but because the data rate is slowed over the HomePlug network, it does little to turbo charge your network.

You can configure the WGX102 unit (the HomePlug adapter with the integrated access point) to function either as an access point to extend your wireless network or as a full-fledged wireless router. When configured as a router, the WGX102 touts an array of advanced networking features, including DHCP services, content filtering that blocks access to specific Web sites based on keyword or domain name, dynamic DNS, and port triggering, which can help you play games over the Internet.

Security for the wall-plugged wireless extender kit consists of WEP and WPA for the wireless portion of the kit and 56-bit DES for the HomePlug network. You can also allow or deny access to the network based on a computer's hardware, or MAC, address.

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