WNDR3700 Router + EX2700 N300 Range Extender. Optimal Config Questions?


New Around Here
Firstly, thanks for your time.
Second, I am getting horrendous speeds wirelessly, even 5-10ft away in the same room.

My ISP has me at a 110mb connection, speedtest.net wired is generally around 97-100mbps. GREAT!
However, wirelessly in the same room registers around 20-40mbps, and 50-60mbps on a good day and a fresh channel change. Once after the extender is added (down a hallway, 15ft line-of-sight) and connected wirelessly to it; speed tests show about 3-6mbps. All the streaming devices NOT in the main room is suffering from lag, jitters and drops because of it. And no, this isn't in an apartment complex, although wifi analyzers pick up about 7 wi-fi networks, I'm on the best recommended channel based on these neighboring networks already.

I have some basic questions, and open to all suggestions to optimize my connection. Changing the wireless channel is the extent of my knowledge.

1.) My network is on a 2.4Ghz, though 5Ghz is available. Would it help to switch to the 5Ghz in hopes the speed would increase off the extender?

2.) My network is also by default, on 130mb mode, though 300mb is available. Again, would it help all connected devices to the router AND extender if I changed it to 300mb mode?

3.) Is there possibly a setting I'm missing in the router/extender (i.e. the "advanced" section)? My entire setup was done using the basic setup screen. I think I recall a 20mhz or 40mhz mode, not sure the difference...

4.) Because I have 4 video streaming devices, 2 of which would be connected to the extender, should I be looking into purchasing a different setup? I picked this router due to the 2.0A power input vs similar class ones around 1.0-1.5A input, hoping that extra power may help with range. Are there any recommendations of routers or extenders specifically for video?

Thanks again, especially if you happened to read my entire post. Any answers or suggestions would be appreciated. I know these questions may seem basic, but searching the forum didn't help answer the questions pertaining to my router AND extender.


Part of the Furniture
As a previous owner of the WNDR3700, I would suggest trying a newer AC1900 class or higher router instead. You may find you do not need an extender at all, especially with john9527's or hggomes fork of the RMerlin firmware on supported Asus routers (I recommend RT-AC56U, RT-AC68U and RT-AC3200 currently).

In your present situation, using a wireless extender cuts the performance of the whole network in half. I am assuming you cannot hard wire it and use it in (wired) AP mode? Have you tried different channels? Do not rely on utilities like inssider and the like; simply change channels, reboot the router and the extender and your devices too and see which channel (1, 6 or 11 on the 2.4GHz band) gives you the best experience.

The third recommendation I can offer is to connect your extender to the 5GHz band and make sure all the rest of your devices use the 2.4GHz band exclusively (or, vice versa). This will give you the most performance from a purely wireless setup between the router and the extender. Again, it will be worth experimenting with specific channels (don't use Auto) on each band to get the fastest throughput and lowest latency on your network.


Very Senior Member
First, answers.
1) On the interference/bandwidth drop: 90% sure the repeater radio is too close and for whatever reason causing too much cross-talk between all the send and receive transmissions of the router and endpoint radios to allow clean communication -- which is why you're noticing such a paltry 3-6 Mb/s. This happened to me a while back when I was trying to implement a wireless bridge with the bridging radio very close to the edge access point wired into that bridge... the result: identical behavior and similar speed drop.
2) "130mb mode" is layman's terms for 20Hz and "300mb mode" for 40Hz -- the two 2.4Ghz broadcast frequencies; with the later theoretically offering twice the throughput of the former. Under most scenarios, though, I leaving the setting at 20Hz (aka. "130mb"), as the lower frequency typically experiences higher fidelity (aka. lower interference) and less bandwidth drop-off over distance.
3) Regarding faulty setup: there's certainly the possibility of bad settings (at no fault of your own) and/or a simple baseline incompatibility between radios and/or firmwares on the router and repeater (yes, even though they're both Netgear).
4) In general, it's best to get devices that are the most ping-sensitive and bandwidth-intensive connected to the 'net over as few hops/devices as possible. So in your case, you ideally don't want those devices connected via repeater; instead, either wired directly in some way to the router, or if connected by wifi then only through a single radio which wired to or integrated inside the router.

Continuing, in general, it's best to avoid wireless repeaters altogether. I know that's not what you want to hear considering your purchase and the fact that the EX2700 can't be re-purposed in any other role. Assuming you have a small(ish) house or normal-sized apartment to cover, I'd be willing to be that as long as you can put the router in a central location, it may be best just to do a new router -- perhaps a Netgear R7000 or Asus RT-AC68U as first choices; or TP-Link Archer C9 for the budget choice. Otherwise, you could try a pair of AV2 powerline adapters and another cheap, simple N300 access point placed closer to the area of low/no signal. But I definitely wouldn't keep banging your head over the repeater setup... trust me, it's just not worth it.
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Regular Contributor
I have to echo the other comments on a router upgrade. The 3700 was a great router in its day but that was a long time ago. The product is near 10 years old now. I have lived with the 3700 for many years and its range at the time was good but nothing compared to the newer AC1900 products like the R7000. N based performance on the R7000 is superb. And range is excellent too.

Given your speeds from your isp your connection is faster then what a 3700 can produce so you are leaving bandwidth on the table. Plus the extender as pointed out will drag things down further.

Look for a R7000. There are often refurbs for sale in the $140. And your 3700 can be repurposed as an Access Point should you need that in the future but more likely with the R7000 you wont.

Bob Silver
Netgear Networking Advisor

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