Despite having rather expensive routers from ASUS (RT-AX88U, RT-AX86U) my network has a couple of less favourable spots. My 2.4GHz Bermuda triangle where the signal isn’t just usable still persists, so I decided to leave this issue for another day, and extend the coverage into the backyard. After all, the sun is coming out even in the UK, and with pandemic rules, the garden is your new holiday destination. Rockspace AC1200 (TikTech Store: US, UK: claim discounts for Amazon) had been sent to me so I decided to give it a go.
Rockspace AC1200 as extender or AP
My past experiences with extenders were much to be wished for. My expectations were low, given all the problems I been having with my network lately. Throwing money at the issue is never a solution. Rockspace AC1200 is inexpensive and can be configured as an access point and extender – to suit your needs.
The unit comes with WPS setup button and Ethernet socket. Connecting it was as easy even without WPS, join the AP point created, set the admin password, pick the network to extend and you are all set. What’s left was to find a perfect spot which is in range (important) of my original router.
3 min later I was enjoying Garden SSID in 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. You can also use the Ethernet port in that mode for a wired device. You can rename the SSIDs independently.
It latency is your consideration, you can access the device IP and login to the web interface. It’s barebone, but you can pick the operational mode and set it as an access point. You will need to run the Ethernet cable to the unit and Rockspace AC1200 will provide you with wireless access for both bands. The whole process is relatively easy and pain-free.
Range and speed
Both bands provided by Rockspace AC1200 cover the garden beautifully. I have full range wherever I move my garden chairs. That was the goal, my partner is happy – which means I’m happy.
While connected to Rockspace AC1200 I will have greater latency, having a strong signal from the unit assures that it comes with better connection speeds. As I don’t play video games in my garden, the bandwidth is more important to me than extra latency. If your use case scenario requires the best latency, you could hardwire Rockspace AC1200 and run it in the AP mode instead.
In my quick tests:
|Range before (or lack there of)||Speed/Ping/Signal/Link Speed|
|Rockspace AC1200 (wireless)|
|Rockspace AC1200 (AP mode – wired)|
Considering that I have 500Mpps/40Mbps ISP deal, the speeds may not be amazing, but the extender is outside the structural wall in the place less than ideal for extending action. Rockspace AC1200 improves the situation in the garden. For best performance figures, you want to run it in AP mode. I’m pleased to report that the latency wasn’t as much of an issue as I was expecting it to be.
Room for improvements
To complete the review I should mention a couple of niggles. The biggest of them is the lack of more advanced WiFi control from the admin interface. Without manual channel selection, you have to rely on the auto function to escape congested channels.
Rockspace AC1200 (TikTech Store: US, UK: claim discounts for Amazon) is listed for about £15 at the time of the writing with a nice discount. An inexpensive and easy way to extend your network. The speeds are decent for most of the use cases, as long as the latency isn’t your primary concern. I’m going to enjoy videos without buffering this summer, as until the entire pandemic thing blows over, we are not sticking our noses outside. Got questions or comments?