I have a Linksys EA6400 802.11ac router that I got a few years ago. It’s worked well but its signal range isn’t the greatest. My only complaint with it is live streaming sports apps on my Roku and Chromecast in my living room don’t like to cooperate with it. So I tried to come up with a solution.
Live sports apps work fine on my old Roku 2 upstairs in the guest room, a.k.a. the same room as my router. But in my living room, neither my Roku 4 nor my Chromecast do a good job with them, in spite of otherwise being fine for HD video streaming. Other devices in the same room have no problem with the router. I think the issue comes from the streamers being inside a tv stand, combined with the less-than-great range from the router, and the live sports apps apparently needing more bandwidth than stuff like Netflix or Hulu.
Yes, I’m being cheap and using my dad’s Comcast password to get ESPN, etc. for free because I don’t pay for cable, even though I’m a gainfully employed 35 year-old man. But hey, my dad offered me his password unprompted. I have no shame.
My first go at a solution was adding a Linksys RE6700 range extender to my existing network. I tried that over the weekend. What I learned was with a range extender, you have to give the extender its own network name. But to control a Chromecast from your phone, computer, etc., that device needs to be on the same network. The same applies to the Roku, which is less of a problem because usually I control it with a remote, but sometimes I’ll search for something on my phone rather than “type” with the remote which is awful.
But with the router and extender being relatively close together, everything that wasn’t the Roku or Chromecast would randomly connect to the router or extender. Before controlling one of the streamers with a device, I’d have to first manually make sure the phone was connected to the extender and not the router. Not ideal. So I’m returning the range extender.
(You can in theory set your range extender to the same name as your router but in practice this only works out if your extender is farther away from your router so their signals don’t overlap as much. To have the same network name broadcast from multiple overlapping points, you need a mesh network.)
So today I decided to see if there were any wifi deals. The best mesh router deals were still $200+, but I found this Amazon deal on a Netgear Nighthawk R6700 that’s supposed to be pretty good, for $60 after you check a little box to “clip a coupon,” digitally. It’s not the absolute top-level router but I’m hoping it gets a decent enough signal down to my living room to
steal stream live sports.
Comparing reviews of wifi routers from different sites is a terrible, awful experience. But I think I might’ve picked a good one. I can’t personally vouch for whether this router is actually good, but hey, if you’re looking for a higher-end-ish router and don’t want to spend much on it, this may be a Cyber Monday deal worth grabbing.
Worst case scenario, if it sucks, we all end up returning them.