this thing's incredible

This Luddite-Friendly Wi-Fi Extender Lets Me Zoom From Every Nook and Cranny of My 300-Year-Old Barn

Photo-Illustration: Fox

Last November, I gave up my one-bed flat in London, packed up my things and moved to the country. Moving into a 300-year-old barn conversion was a fairly large lifestyle change. Suddenly I had a roaring fire, exposed beams, guest bedrooms, and thanks to those ancient stone walls, an internet connection that barely made it up the stairs. In London my internet had been stable and fast. I had never really had to think about the distance a router could send out waves of internet before — my flat was small enough that even the weakest 2G signal would blow into the furthest corner. So, after a few weeks of contorting myself around the house to find the best connection, I decided I had to find a solution. I sat down for a day (next to the router) and did some research into the best way of extending the Wi-Fi throughout my house.

I am not a naturally technical person and things like gigabytes per second or WEP/WPA2 confuse me. I just want to plug in and work. Prices for extenders go up to several hundred pounds but the job they do doesn’t seem to differ much, they just create bigger networks — and as cute as my village is, I didn’t feel the need to provide all of it with my Wi-Fi. I also didn’t want a Mesh system, which is basically several extenders that create their own ‘net’ of Wi-Fi from your original router. I decided to place my bets on the Netgear Ex2700 due to a combination of price and good reviews.

I was skeptical — I kept the box for two weeks in case I had to return it — but this simple ‘push and connect’ was a dream to use, even for a luddite like me. You don’t even need to put in the password. You literally plug it into the wall socket in the same room as your router, some lights flicker and it appears in your Wi-Fi options.

The real genius is that it smoothly connects to your electronic device when you move out of range of your original router, with no disconnection between the two. It mercifully works with any router or broadband provider, and as I have gratefully discovered, can push the Wi-Fi through even the thickest stone wall and up stairs. The biggest stress relief is that it can really handle anything that is asked of it — since lockdown it’s handled simultaneous Zoom birthday parties, Skype calls to distant parents, and multiple work-based downloads. Just not, thankfully, all in the same room.

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This Wi-Fi Extender Lets Me Zoom From My 300-Year-Old Barn