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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tonyt87 - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - linkCisco/Linksys switched to Marvell chipsets with the 4200v2 and 4500, the original 4200 uses Broadcom.
arthur449 - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - linkI 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.
ShinyLeaf - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - linkI 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.
irev210 - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - linkThere is a bigger comparison over at smallnetbuilder - not really that impressive:
Pretty sad, really.
mevans336 - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - linkI 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.
JarredWalton - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - linkNote 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.
Olaf van der Spek - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - linkIsn't DD-WRT (development) dead anyway?
JarredWalton - Saturday, June 23, 2012 - linkI 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.
Olaf van der Spek - Sunday, June 24, 2012 - linkLatest 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?
blindbox - Monday, June 25, 2012 - linkYou 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.
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.