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Wireless Reviews

Setup

Installation, setup and ongoing management of the EX8000 is via its web interface that lives at 192.168.1.250 by default. But you're also supposed to be able to hit http://mywifiext with your favorite web browser if you're running Windows. This is a departure from the http://www.mywifiext.net NETGEAR usually employs to ensure easy access to router web administration. (If have to use http://mywifiext.local on MacOS and ioS and the extender's IP address if you're running Android.)

I didn't have much luck using mywifiext and had to resort to using the IP address on initial setup. The extender will automatically switch over to using DHCP, try to grab an IP address at the end of the setup process and auto-redirect your browser to the EX8000's new IP address. But that didn't always work reliably. I was also frustrated by the extender's tendency to lease a new IP address on subsequent runs of the setup wizard.

The bottom line was that the setup process got the job done, but was not as smooth as I've come to expect from NETGEAR extenders. The gallery below has screen captures from the process.

Features

The EX8000's Home screen presents a nice clear summary of signal strength, channel and link rates (thank you, NETGEAR!) for both backhaul and fronthaul (client facing) connections.

EX8000 Home screen - upper half

EX8000 Home screen - upper half

The lower half of the screen has a few more details.

EX8000 Home screen - lower half

EX8000 Home screen - lower half

As noted in the EX6150 review back in 2015, NETGEAR requires creating an account using your email address as your username. There is no way to get past this to run the wizard or access the normal admin screens. NETGEAR said the reason for the new requirement is that "many ... security threats take advantage of the fact that people rarely change the default user name and password" for admin access. "By forcing people to create an account, it helps to minimize the exposure to security threats."

NETGEAR says the email stays local to the product until the user registers the product via the screen below, which appears after the wizard is complete. You have the option to skip registration, via the highlighted link. However, if you don't register, you'll get this screen each time you run the setup wizard.

Opt-in registration

Opt-in registration

The EX8000's feature set is minimal, although there are a few niceties included like the ability to schedule wireless access and USB storage and printer sharing. The wireless schedule feature is odd, however, since it applies to the extender only. The scheduler would be more useful when the EX8000 is used in access point mode as the only AP.

  width=Access schedule" title="Access schedule" >

Access schedule

Wireless controls in extender mode shown below are pretty limited. You can't change the 2.4 GHz channel, since it must be the same as the router it is extending. The 5 GHz channel selection changes depending on which 5 GHz radio is being used for backhaul.

Access point wireless settings

Extender mode wireless settings

Changing to AP mode exposes the controls shown below. There is no advanced wireless settings screen. So there are no enables for MU-MIMO, beamforming, airtime fairness etc. 5 GHz channel selection on this screen doesn't include DFS channels. But the equivalent AP mode setup screen does. I think this is a bug, however, since I tried using DFS channels with a NETGEAR R7800 and could not get the EX8000 to connect.

AP mode wireless settings

AP mode wireless settings

The gallery has more admin screenshots with commentary.

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