Amped Wireless’ High Power 700mW Dual Band AC Wi-Fi Router (RTA15) features the latest-generation of Wi-Fi: 802.11ac. The router also has the clean (if somewhat dated) interface, ease of setup, and myriad features we’ve found in other Amped Wireless routers we’ve tested. It’s an excellent performer with one unfortunate exception: 802.11ac mode. If you are just looking for a speedy dual-band 802.11n router, it’s a good choice, but if you are looking specifically for good 802.11ac performance, there are better choices.
The RTA15 is dual-band, supporting up to a theoretical 300 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and 867 Mbps at 5 GHz. It’s not as robust in specs as some premium dual-band 802.11ac routers that support 1750 Mbps.
Ten signal amplifiers help boost performance and range. The router also has three detachable high-gain antennas. There are nine LEDs on the front representing each wireless radio, each LAN port, power, Internet connection, and USB connection.
The rear panel is where the antennas connect. Also on the back are a WPS button, reset button, and the Gigabit Ethernet LAN and WAN ports. There’s a USB port also, but it only is for connecting storage, not printers.
Overall the RTA15 is a sturdy, well-constructed router, despite the three long antennas sticking out from it. The router can operate flat on a desktop, on a stand that ships in the packaging, or can be wall-mounted.
Another plus with the RTA15 is how easy it is to set up. It ships with a setup guide that shows how to connect wirelessly using Windows 7/Vista/8, Mac OS X, iPhone, iPad, and Android tablet, or through WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup). Amped Wireless offers some of the most clear and detailed setup and user guides in the business with its routers.
I set up the RTA15 with a Windows 7 laptop. It was very easy, since the router is already pre-configured with an SSID for each band. Of course, you will want to change the default password of the preconfigured SSID and admin accounts. The easy wireless setup is an improvement over the company’s High Power Wireless-N 600mW Gigabit Dual Band Router (R20000G) which required a wired connection to set up from a client.
Once I connected to the router, I was able to access the management interface to tweak configurations. The IP address and router login information are printed on the bottom of the router. The interface opens to a dashboard which shows if the router is connected to the internet plus general settings such as WAN and LAN IP address information, connected clients and wireless LAN information such as SSID and security. There is a basic settings tab where any of these settings can be adjusted; however the meatier more advanced settings are found by clicking the Advanced tab.
There hasn’t been any significant change in the feature set since I last reviewed the R2000G which is good since the features are plentiful and the interface of Amped Wireless routers is well-constructed.
You can get more of drill-down on the features in the R2000G review, but to recap some highlights, you can control wireless coverage and also set up a schedule for turning the radio signal on and off. I do like Buffalo’s interface for scheduling the radios in its latest AirStation Extreme AC 1750 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless a bit better, though—its neater and more user-friendly.
Like the R2000G, the RTA15 has Smart Feature such as QoS where you can enable automatic uplinkor downlink QoS or can specify bandwidth amounts yourself.
Of course, the router has typical router functionality such as Guest Wireless Networks (supports up to 8 Additional), Wireless Multimedia (WMM) SPI and NAT firewall, Parental Controls (Website Blocking), User Access Control (MAC, IP Filtering) and IPv6 Support
The RTA15′s performance left me puzzled. The router is excellent at 802.11n mode, yet it has among the worst performance I’ve tested in 802.11ac mode—and that’s testing with Amped Wireless’s own ACA1 802.11ac adapter.
For instance, in 802.11n 5 GHz mode, the RTA15 registered a very decent 129 Mbps at a distance of 15 feet, beaten only by top premium routers such as the Linksys EA6400 which managed 150 Mbps at the same distance. I saw triple digit throughput from the RTA15 at 2.4 GHz mode as well.
However, in 82.11ac mode it’s among the worst I’ve tested, managing only 78 Mbps at a distance of 15 feet. Here are performance comparisons with other 802.11ac routers:
Amped Wireless High Power 700mW Dual Band AC Wi-Fi Router (RTA15) Performance in 2.4 GHz Mixed Mode
Amped Wireless High Power 700mW Dual Band AC Wi-Fi Router (RTA15) Performance in 2.4 GHz N-only Mode
Amped Wireless High Power 700mW Dual Band AC Wi-Fi Router (RTA15) Performance in 5 GHz N and AC Mode
Good Router at Everything Except AC
If Amped Wireless re-branded this an 802.11n router and maybe dropped the price a bit, this would be an easy Editors’ Choice router. Since it’s touted as an 802.11ac router, we have to base a lot of the scoring on how it performs as an 802.11ac device. I think Amped Wireless’s less-than-stellar ACA1 adapter, helped hamper the router’s 802.11ac performance. When Amped Wireless releases a more robust, adapter that may improve performance in 802.11ac mode. As an 802.11n router however, it’s impressive and rates 3.5 out of 5 stars. For now, the Editors’ Choice for consumer wireless routers, and for 802.11ac routers, is Buffalo’s AirStation Extreme AC 1750 Gigabit Dual Band Wireless Router.
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc