Get online in those hard-to-reach places with handy Wi-Fi range extender [Review]

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Rock Space AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Repeater review
The Rock Space Wi-Fi Repeater brings internet to dead spaces in your wireless network.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Rock Space AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Repeater is just right for anyone working or taking classes at home and struggling with a weak Wi-Fi signal. Plug this accessory into any wall socket and it’ll expand your wireless network’s usable area. It offers both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, it supports one-button setup with WPS, and you can connect to it via Ethernet.

I tested this Wi-Fi range extender in my own home, and share how well it stands up to daily use.

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Rock Space AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Repeater review

Wi-Fi is the best thing to happen to mobile computing ever. But it has limitations. Get too far from your hotspot and you lose the connection. For me, this happens on my patio. I step outside and signal strength drops, and with it connection speed.

Put the Rock Space AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Repeater somewhere near a “dead” spot in your wireless network and it’ll fill in the gap.

It connects to your existing Wi-Fi network and then creates its own. But be aware, this is not a mesh router. This hotspot has its own SSID and passwords, and your Mac, iPad etc. won’t always jump between this and your regular hotspot seamlessly.

Hardware

Rock Space’s Wi-Fi range extender is a relatively small bit of kit, which is good as it’ll be installed more or less permanently on a wall socket. The casing is 1.9 inches thick, 3.1 inches tall and 3.0 inches wide. It comes in basic black, making it easy to hide behind a chair.

There are two power prongs built right into the back. There are no cables to fuss with. Just plug it in.

A pair of external antenna help expand the range of this hotspot. Rock Space says it’s good for about 1292 sq.ft. — about the size of a small house.

On the bottom is an Ethernet port, giving you the option of a wired connection between the Wi-Fi Repeater and your home hotspot. This isn’t necessary, but might be useful for some.

Setup

For most people, setting up this accessory will be as simple as pressing the WPS button on their regular hotspot, then pressing the WPS button on this network add-on. In my tests, this worked as expected.

The Rock Space AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Repeater connected to my hotspot, then created alternative network connections for my SSIDs with “_EXT” added.

Or you can go to re.rockspace.local to do a manual setup. Even if you use the WPS method, you still might want to go to this configuration screen to rename the SSIDs to anything you want.

Rock Space AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Repeater can be manually configured
This Wi-Fi range extender can be manually configured, if you want.
Screenshot: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Again, this isn’t a mesh router. It won‘t connect seamlessly to your network. It’ll be up to you — or your iPhone, iPad or Mac — to switch between your primary hotspot and this secondary one to find the best connection speed as you mover around your home.

Rock Space AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Repeater performance

Keep in mind, if you have poor Wi-Fi in your office, you don’t put this range extender in your office. It connects to your home wireless network too, and needs a solid signal. Put it somewhere between your home hotspot and the area you want to improve networking performance.

I have the WiFi Repeater 37 feet from my home hotspot, which is close to the maximum range. At this distance, for me the connection betwixt the two networking devices is between 55% and 65%. Drop much below 50% and the Rock Space device won‘t be able to provide reliable service.

Tests with an iPhone 11 and an iPad Pro found that I get the full connection speed of my home hotspot another 20 feet past that, through a brick wall. It’s exactly what I need to attend Zoom meetings from the patio. Especially as attempts to connect directly to my primary hotspot from that same location result only in suggestions from the iPhone that I move closer and try again.

Of course, multiple people can connect at once. And Rock Space promises up to 300Mbps over a 2.4GHz connection, and up to 867Mbps for a 5GHz one.

Rock Space AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Repeater is one piece of hardware.
Simply plug in the Rock Space Wi-Fi Repeater. No cables needed.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Rock Space AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Repeater final thoughts

Don’t put up with Wi-Fi dead spots. Reconfigure your network to get wireless networking where you need it. And a simple solution is the Rock Space AC1200 Dual Band Wi-Fi Repeater. It supports one-button setup, or a manual configuration for people who want more control. And performance is quite good.

Pricing

This Rock Space product is $47.99 on Amazon. There are cheaper options available. But any that cost a lot less won‘t offer the combined 1200 Mbps throughput. And range is often less, too.

Buy from: Amazon

Looking for something for use on the go? Consider the RAVpower FileHub Travel Router. It’s also a Wi-Fi repeater/range extender, with additional features too.

Rock Space provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.