Amped Wireless R20000G, SR20000G, and UA2000: Routers, Repeaters, and Adapters (Oh My!)by Jarred Walton on June 23, 2012 12:00 AM EST
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- Amped Wireless
Amped Wireless R20000G Router
This isn’t the first wireless router from Amped, and they have a naming scheme that more or less makes sense. For repeaters, the SR150 covered 3000 square feet, the SR300 increased the coverage to 5000 square feet, and the SR10000/SR20000 cover 10000 square feet. On the router side, Amped skipped straight to 10000 square feet of coverage with the R10000, which is a 2.4GHz 2x2:2 router (or N300 if you prefer). The R10000G is the same on the wireless side but adds Gigabit Ethernet support for wired connections. R20000G likewise has Gigabit support, while the doubling of the number reflects the new addition of 5GHz wireless networking.
|Amped Wireless R20000G Wireless Router Specifications|
|Frequency Band||2.4GHz, 5.0GHz (Simultaneous)|
2.4GHz: 300Mbps (Rx), 300Mbps (Tx)
5.0GHz: 300Mbps (Rx), 300Mbps (Tx)
Dual 2.4GHz 600mW Amplifiers
Dual 5.0GHz Amplifiers
Dual Low Noise Amplifiers
|Wireless Output Power||29dBm (2.4GHz)|
|Wireless Security||WEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA Mixed, WPS|
|Wireless Access Scheduling||Specific day and time|
|Wireless Coverage Control||
15% - 100% Output Power
(Adjustable individually for 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz networks)
Guest Wireless Networks (Up to 4 Additional)
Supports Wireless Multimedia (WMM)
Smart Firewall (SPI, NAT)
Parental Controls (Website Blocking)
User Access Control (MAC, IP Filtering)
Quality of Service (QoS)
2 x High Gain 5dBi Dual Band Antennas
2 x Reverse SMA Connectors
1 x RJ45 10/100/1000M WAN Port (Modem Port)
4 x RJ45 10/100/1000M LAN Ports (Local Ports)
1 x USB 2.0 Port (for USB Storage)
|Power Adapter Rating||Switching Adapter, Input: 100-240v, Output: 12v, 1A|
|Mounting||Wall, Stand or Desktop|
Broadband (cable/DSL) modem with Ethernet port
Computer with wired (RJ-45) or wireless (802.11a/b/g/n) adapter
1 x High Power Wireless-N 600mW Gigabit Dual Band Router
2 x Detachable High Gain 5dBi Dual Band Antennas
1 x Power Adapter
1 x RJ-45 Ethernet Cable
1 x Setup Guide
1 x CD: User's Guide, Installation Video
1 x Stand for vertical mounting
|Price||Online starting at $160|
At a basic level, there’s not much to distinguish the R20000G router from competing products. It’s a 2x2:2 MIMO dual-band router, capable of transmitting at up to 300Mbps on each channel. The various wireless router makers have more or less come up with their own way of classifying routers; in this case they call the 2x2:2 dual-band configuration an N600 router. Amped uses a Realtek wireless chipset for the R20000G (no groaning, please), but with their own power amplifiers, low noise filters, and some work on the drivers and firmware.
The R20000G comes with four LAN ports as well as the uplink WAN/Internet port, all of which are Gigabit capable. Interestingly, Amped provides two Ethernet cables with the router, and both are relatively short CAT 5e cables. I’m not sure what the problem is, but I couldn’t actually get any of my PCs/laptops to connect at 1Gb speeds with the provided cables; luckily, I had a variety of my own cables available and all of those worked without problems (including some old and relatively long CAT 5 cables, which are apparently still better than the provided cables). Besides the indicator lights on the front of the router, the only other item worth mentioning is the USB 2.0 port, which can be used to provide basic network attached storage functionality as well as access via FTP over the Internet.
The bigger selling point of the R20000G is the improved antennas and output power compared to other routers. Amped uses 600mW high-gain antennas, with the power improving the range the wireless signal can travel from the router and the high-gain aspect increasing the ability of the router to pick up weaker signals. The result is that the R20000G should offer a wider area of coverage than other routers—Amped specs the R20000G for 10000 square feet or more on the 2.4GHz network.
That’s where things get a bit more difficult. I have three routers available, all with 2x2:2 2.4GHz support. They can all be picked up at a distance of around 60 feet from the router (through two interior walls and an exterior wall). That means all three cover over 10000 square feet, and in fact I could generally get connections at 100 feet and sometimes more (around 30000 square feet). Realistically, though, once I got beyond the ~60 foot mark the connection speeds really started to drop—we’ll discuss this more on our performance testing.
Besides the coverage area, the main thing Amped Wireless touts with their router is the ease of setup, quality of signal, and the support. Above you can see the setup images for the R20000G, along with some of the other configuration pages. While the initial setup is relatively painless and I was able to get the R20000G up and running with a minimum of fuss, the rest of the configuration options feel somewhat limited. For example, every time you visit the home page of the R20000G (either the IP address—e.g. 192.168.1.1 for my network—or setup.ampedwireless.com), you get dropped into the “first time configuration” steps. You can skip those by going to the “More Settings” section, but it’s a bit weird that Amped doesn’t detect that the router has been previously configured and drop you into the settings pages on subsequent visits.
If you’re the type of user that likes more configuration options, Amped’s initial setup pages might feel a bit limited, but for less savvy users the “less is more” approach is generally preferred. Once you hit the “More Settings” section, though, you can find pretty much everything you’d need—from DMZ to filtering and even FTP settings for the router’s USB storage port. I do have a few minor complaints with the current firmware—e.g. you can’t see the PC names on the list of DHCP clients, which is something that I’ve gotten used to seeing on several other routers that I’ve used—but nothing that would really be a problem.
There is one final item worth mentioning, however: DD-WRT support. This is actually pretty simple, though, in that there is no (current) support for DD-WRT. For some power users, that’s enough to curb any interest in a router. If you’re among the group that just googled “DD-WRT” to find out what I’m talking about, though, it’s likely nothing to worry about.
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blindbox - Monday, June 25, 2012 - linkJust to add. For people like me, I won't even be looking at these. All I look at is the hardware specs, whether the device is Atheros or not, and whether it's flashable to OpenWrt or otherwise. Any of these conditions that are not met and it's just another device to me.
That said, <shamelessplug>TP-Link WR1043ND FTW</shamelessplug>
dgingeri - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - linkThese are out of date as soon as they are released. the new WD routers exceed these on features all the way across the board.
JarredWalton - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - linkYou do realize that comparing features that are on papers to determine which router is "better" is asking for problems, right? On paper, the R20000G and Belkin N600 are "identical", but in practice they're anything but. I wouldn't even venture to declare something as being "better" without some practical testing from a reputable source. You'll also note that if you're just after maximum performance within close proximity, even as a 2x2:2 router there are cases where Amped's previous R10000G tops the performance charts (http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/lanwan/router-chart...
Blark - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - linkEngadget put them through their test labs also and it worked great for them.... http://www.engadget.com/2012/04/06/amped-wireless-...
I bought a R200000G after reading the review and compared it to my Linksys EA4500. The amped product goes roughly 50-70 feet past the furthest spot I used to be able to go on the Linksys router. The Linksys router how ever provided faster throughput from 0-30 feet. I would take the range over soup close speed any day as I had dead spots before.
Tried their SR10000 also and it works well for us.
996GT2 - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - linkHow does this wireless adapter compare to the gold standard Alfa AWUS036H in terms of range?
For those who don't know about the Alfa: http://www.amazon.com/Alfa-AWUS036H-Wireless-Long-...
DanNeely - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - link"One simple solution for the modem/router users would be to simply disable the wireless functionality and connect via Ethernet to the modem/router—assuming there’s at least one Ethernet port. That requires a certain amount of technical savvy of course—something I could do, but not something I would recommend to, say, my siblings or parents."
Having tried to do this sort of setup for my parents a year ago I completely agree. It worked well for about 6mo until the ISP pushed a firmware update to their box which trashed the customization settings I'd applied to make it work with the old neatgear router I was using for the wifi. I eventually ended up having to drive out to fix things in person. The only good thing to come out of the debacle was that their boxes new firmware replaced the hard coded wifi SSID value with a textbox; allowing me to retire the netgear without having to reconfigure the wifi settings on everyone's devices. Wifi speed is uniformly bad across the house; but 3MB DSL is slow enough it doesn't matter much.
WeaselITB - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - linkWow, Jarred, thanks for the awesome and lengthy review / comparison! I can't even fathom the amount of work this took!
That directional antenna actually sounds like a good solution for the family room HTPC/HDTV that I was considering, but kept rejecting since I didn't have a way to get wire there ...
gstrickler - Sunday, June 24, 2012 - link2.4GHz testing "in the real world" is challenging because of channel overlap and poor deployment of channel usage. 40MHz operation makes it even worse. First, you have to understand that 802.11B/G/N don't use a single 5MHz channel, they use a 22MHz wide band centered on one channel. That means they need 5 channel spacing between to be interference free, however, in reality, the signals are so week at the edges that 4 channel spacing works with essentially no impairment. In the USA it has been common to use channels 1, 6, and 11, because the USA only allows full power operation on channels 1-11. However, that allocation never allows for 40MHz operation without interference because the secondary channel must be +/- 4 channels, meaning the secondary must be at 5 (1 primary), 2 or 10 (6 primary), or 7 (11 primary). In each case, the secondary is 1 channel away from another commonly used channel, resulting is significant interference.
It's better to share the same channel as another router than to be only 1 channel away, that is the worst possible configuration. If the routers are within about 50ft (16m) of each other, even being 2 channels away will almost certainly cause interference. With his 40MHz tests using 11+7, any nearby routers on channel 6 would be likely to cause interference.
Jarred didn't indicate what channels are in use by his neighbors, nor how strong those signals were (at the router and at the laptop), so there may have been interference affecting his tests. Throwing out the outliers as he did helps minimize those, but without such information, I can't make much use of the test results.
A short guide to channel allocation in 2.4GHz Wi-Fi:
It's been common practice to use those same channels in most countries despite the fact that most countries allow full power operation on 13 channels. In most countries, the ideal allocation is to use channels 1, 5, 9, and 13 only, never use other channels. This allows 4 20MHz channels, and allows 40MHz channels while minimizing interference. If you're operating a router in a country that allows 13 full power channels (most of the world outside North America), use this 1, 5, 9, 13 channel allocation. Even if your router doesn't allow setting channel 13 (some firmware restricts you to 11 channels even in other countries), stick with channels 1, 5, 9 so you don't cause problems for those using 1, 5, 9, 13.
Back to the USA and Canada, rather than 1, 6, 11, a better channel allocation (with the possible exception of some high density office environments, and even those might benefit from this configuration) is to use channels 1, 4, 8, and 11, exclusively, with 40MHz operation supported only on 4+8 (and 8+4). That's only 3 channels minimum separation, but when there is 30+ft and/or walls between the routers, 3 channel separation is shows sufficient attenuation at 3 channels that interference is minor, typically resulting in no more than 10% performance degradation even when both routers are simultaneously transmitting, and often shows no degradation.
The problem is that many routers default to (or auto-select) channel 6 or channels other than 1, 4, 8, & 11. Using channels 4 or 8 with a nearby router on channel 6 may cause interference for both. Which leaves 3 options for the USA, Canada, and any other country with fewer than 13 full power channels:
1. Coordinate with your neighbors and get everyone to exclusively use channels 1, 4, 8, and 11, with any 40MHz operation exclusively on 4&8. This is the best option for 99% of installations. Even if you can see some other routers on channel 6, but with weak signals, this may be the best option.
2. If that's not possible, and channel 6 is in use, use channels 1, 6, 11 exclusively and do not use 40MHz channels at all. This may be best in large, open offices/halls where there are 3 or more routers within ~100ft and no walls between them, but you should still try #1 first.
3. Finally, if you must use 40MHz in an area where Channel 6 is in use and can't be changed, use 5GHz if possible. If that's not possible use channels 4 & 8 for 40MHz, and locate your router as far as possible from any routers using channel 6. There are some other compromise channel options, but they're dependent upon which channels are in use and the relative signal strength, and they add to the problem for other users, so I can't recommend them, and they should only be configured by someone who thoroughly understands Wi-Fi channel allocation, interference, and the local Wi-Fi environment.
JarredWalton - Sunday, June 24, 2012 - linkThanks for the post -- there's a lot of good information for people not familiar with WiFi. I'm actually aware of most of this stuff, but obviously there's only so much you can cover/rehash each time we do a wireless article. While I didn't provide it directly, you can get some idea of the channels in use in my neighborhood from this image:
I used channels 11+7 for testing, as channel 1 is in use by my next door neighbor (and 3 is used by another neighbor two houses away -- bad choice, I know). Thankfully, there are no networks in the 6-11 range that are near my house. In terms of RSSI, I believe the signal strength from the other channel 11 networks in the area was something like -85dBm (or worse), and the same goes for the channel 6 network, so my choice is mostly free of interference.
I used channel 161 for 5GHz, but that's not nearly as important as there's very little traffic on that spectrum.
gstrickler - Monday, June 25, 2012 - linkThanks Jarred, that gives some credence to your tests.
Now, go change your neighbor's router off channel 3, get him drunk first if necessary. :)
Yes, 5GHz is comparatively open, more channels, less usage, and always at 4 channel spacing. The main issue to deal with in 5GHz is that there are 2 or 3 different power levels allowed depending upon the frequency, so some have better range than others. Unfortunately, I can't locate the details right now, although some routers will list them as hi/low power.