TAP-EX is useful for extending wireless networks in homes, small businesses

If you have not-so-hot spots in your home or small business in which your wireless network is weak, Amped Wireless' TAP-EX extender is a decent investment at $89.99 (originally it was $119.99). Not so much for multi-level apartment complexes and big businesses.

The TAP-EX wireless network extender can boost a WiFi signal to cover up to 10,000 square feet. Setting it up is a breeze. You just plug it in, and a touch screen will illuminate. Select the Wi-Fi network you want to extend and the Amped product takes care of the rest. The touch screen can also be used to set parental controls. 

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For the "power user," it can be used with features such as Wi-Fi Access Schedule, the strength of the Wi-Fi signal in Signal Coverage Controls, and more. The extender is built with two additional wired ports for connecting TVs, Blu-ray players, gaming consoles and any other network device. It's also equipped with a USB port for local file sharing. Heck, it even has a digital clock display.

According to the folks at Amped Wireless, the TAP-EX — which is only five inches tall by about five inches wide — boosts the signal of a Wi-Fi router by repeating and amplifying the signal. With four total amplifiers and two high gain, dual band antennas, it can boost Wi-Fi coverage to areas like upstairs rooms and your yard. 

I found the wireless network access to be great up to about 125 feet from an AirPort Extreme, reaching areas in my back yard that, without the TAP-EX, had weak or no access. On the downside, it only supports the 2.4GHz band and 10/100 Ethernet instead of 5FGHz and Gigabit Ethernet.

The TAP-EX is only single-band. It supports up to 300Mbps of throughput, but can only extend the 2.4GHz band. Although the 2.4GHz travels farther than the 5GHz band, if there's too much interference at the 2.4GHz frequency, the extended signal is weakened.

That's why it's less effective in big businesses or apartment complexes in which there are likely many Wi-Fi routers and more RF interference. However, as mentioned, you need to beef up the wireless network in your home or small business that doesn't have such impediments, the TAP-EX works great.

Apple World Today Rating (out of 5 stars): ★★★