Price (RRP): $549
OK, do you have Wi-Fi black spots in your home? The NETGEAR Nighthawk AX8 Wi-Fi mesh extender EAX80 may be the solution. If not NETGEAR has other extenders, access points and Ethernet-over-Power solutions that could help. We recommend this article if you want to solve a Wi-Fi black spot.
I wanted to make this a simple review solely about the NETGEAR Nighthawk AX8 Wi-Fi mesh extender EAX80. But judging from the number of requests I get about solving black spots and damned SuperBoost Wi-Fi repeater scams (that take your money and don’t work) I need to tell you more about Home Wi-Fi and why things may, or may not work.
We need to talk about the whole gamut of routers, placement, extender mode or access point and more.
Wi-Fi extenders 101 (read more details in our tutorial here)
All current home Wi-Fi routers are at least dual-band. The 2.4Ghz band broadcasts further (maximum 100m line-of-sight and 30m through a few walls), but it is far slower (10-100Mbps).
The 5Ghz band broadcasts to maximum 30m line-of-site and 10m through walls. But it is far faster (up to 866Mbps or more with VHT80/160 aggregation).
Rule 1 – No router can exceed these distance limits. To get the best you must place it dead centre of that 10/30m circle of Wi-Fi devices. You may suffer from Wi-Fi congestion from too many Wi-Fi devices, the neighbour’s router, microwave oven, garage door openers etc.!
Rule 1a – Wi-Fi is half-duplex meaning that you get less than half the claimed speeds up and down. Gigabit Ethernet cable is full-duplex (1000Mbps up and 1000Mbps down at the same time).
Rule 1b – The routers you get free/low-cost from your internet company are CRAP. They are usually Wi-Fi 5 AC1600 dual-band (300/1300Mbps) and have low power processors and antennas. They are fine as a gateway that supports a phone line but terrible as a Wi-Fi router.
Internet comes via NBN, ADSL, HFC Cable, Satellite, 4/5G to phone or ethernet point in your home. Download/upload speeds range from a few Mbps to 100/40Mbps on NBN 100. You can stream FHD video on 25Mbps, but it is safer to have 50+Mbps if you want less buffering.
Rule 2 – That connection point is likely in the worst place imaginable – the garage, your front wall, basement etc. Refer to Rule 1. Understand if you place your router there you will get CRAP signal strength and speeds as you move further away.
To get Rule 1 and 2 right – move the router to the right place!
The best way is to get a sparky to run a Cat5/6/7 Ethernet cable from the internet point to the best location for the router. As a guide, a simple installation costs around $100 per point (one each end).
The next best option is to use a pair of Ethernet over Power (Powerline) AV2 adapters at $199. Plug one into the powerpoint near your internet point and connect to it via an Ethernet cablet. You plug the other into a powerpoint near the ideal placement of the router and connect the router’s WAN port.
The worst option here is to simply add any mesh or a Wi-Fi extender to your system. Why? Because all these do is take an already weak signal and retransmit and even weaker one!!! Garbage signal in – garbage signal out! (GIGO).
OK, you have moved the crappy ISP router to the right place, and you are still having issues!
Now it is more about the quality of the router and its ability to support multiple Wi-Fi devices – processing power.
You should connect data-hungry devices to your router by Ethernet cable – where possible take them off Wi-Fi. PCs, TV (Streaming), Games Console (online gameplay), media centre, music streaming, etc. Most routers have four gigabit LAN ports. If you are run short connect a NETGEAR 5 or 8 port switch to give you more ports.