Amped Wireless R20000G Router and UA2000 Adapter Review
Conclusion and Wrap Up
Amped Wireless R20000G High Power Wireless-N 600 mW Gigabit Dual Band Router
The Amped Wireless R20000G router is a decent piece of hardware that’s priced in the same category as great pieces of hardware. Physically it is well put together, but the design just doesn’t do anything to wow you, looking like just about every other router we’ve seen come out in the past few years. On the other hand, easy setup and excellent “Elite Support” options certainly do make the router and Amped Wireless stand out in the crowd.
The firmware is much of the same as the design. Having to spend 30-90 seconds watching a ‘Rebooting’ screen every time you make a change can get a bit monotonous, and the fact that I ran into some issues with the rebooting put me off a bit. The firmware itself has just about anything would expect to be on a router, but that’s just it, it has what you would expect and little more. The lack of third party firmware support is also disappointing.
As for wired speed, the Amped Wireless R20000G is as fast as any router we’ve tested before and came close to the maximum upload and download speeds we can get on our test bed with direct crossover cables. Yet, it's not all sunshine and lollipops, and even with those great speeds, the maximum amount of only 4,042 sessions was a surprise. Surely that would be more than enough sessions to handle most home use, but a small office of 40-50 people could easily tax the router and bump up against its limit.
Unlinke Wired, wireless performance was a mixed bag. The R20000G performed relatively well in most Lab Tests against the Apple Airport, usually matching or beating the speeds we saw were getting with it. The R20000G also performed particularly well in the 2.4 GHz range, perhaps having to do with the improved amplifiers that Amped Wireless has thrown into the router for that spectrum. In Normal Use and Torture tests, the R20000G ran neck and neck with the Apple Airport as well. The claim of 10,000 square feet seems to be accurate at 2.4 GHz, but as usual, the wireless speed claims are little more than hype. With claims of up to 300 Mbps, the best speed we saw on any test was a 200.2 Mbps upload speed with the adapter 3 feet away from the router while the best speed we saw in the Normal Use test was 94.5 Mbps and during Torture Testing our best speed dropped down to 57.4 Mbps. Once again, we're seeing that vendor claims just aren't living up to the marketing hype.
At $79 I think the Amped Wireless R20000G would be a good buy, but with a MSRP of $169.99 and an online price of $159.99 I just don’t see how it’s worth it. That price puts the R20000G squarely up against newer and faster routers that come with a lot more features. In that price range you can find excellent routers from Netgear, ASUS or even Apple that will give you a lot more bang for your buck.
Amped Wireless UA2000 High Power Wireless-N Directional Dual Band USB Adapter
The Amped Wireless UA2000 USB adapter is a nicely styled wireless adapter that would look great sitting next to any computer or laptop. Like the R20000G router, ease of use is a big plus and withsimple plug and play capabilities, and the great Amped Wireless “Elite Support” the UA2000 shines. The included Amped Wireless Utility software seems well designed. A simple, yet easy to use interface makes scanning, connecting and getting status on available wireless networks a piece of cake.
The 'Directional' aspect of the adapter certainly seems to help the adapter get the best wireless signal when pointed at the router, but I could easily see either forgetting to point the adapter towards the router or the possibility of being in a public location and not knowing where the router is. Without being omnidirectional, the UA2000 could get a poor signal if not pointed in the right direction. Speedwise, the adapter performed well in most tests, many times beating out the Intel Centrino, but just couldn’t keep up with the ASUS USB-N66 in most tests, falling behind by a large margin. The 300 Mbps speed claims were never realized and the best speeds I could coax out of the adapter in any test were less than half that at 135.4 Mbps.
The dual USB cable that allows you to run in Regular/Primary mode or Boosted/Amped mode seems like a great idea, but it doesn’t really work out in practice. The “Amped” mode was a bust all around. In most cases, the adapter performed worse with both USB plugs plugged in for “Amped” mode than it did with a just single USB plug in the laptop. At first I thought I was doing something wrong, but the results continued to show the same thing test after test, the adapter just worked better in most cases using a single USB plug.
Like the R20000G, the Amped Wireless UA2000 is a decent piece of hardware, but it’s just overpriced. With and MSRP of $99 and an online price of $79 it’s too expensive for what you’re getting, especially when compared to newer and faster adapters. For $10 less you can pick up the ASUS USB-N66 that beat the UA2000 in almost every test, often by a large margin. At $49 or maybe $59 I think the UA2000 would be a worthy buy, but much or than that and I just can’t see the value.
I’m happy I was able to get my hands on the Amped Wireless gear and tinker with it for a while. It's nice to see someone other than the normal players producing hardware. Neither the R20000G router or the US2000 adapter are bad pieces of hardware, they’re just overpriced. While I love rooting for the underdog, Amped Wireless has to meet or beat the other vendors on price, performance and functionality. I certainly look forward to seeing the new products that Amped will bring to the table, but until they start pushing out products that are at least as good as what other are producing, they may have trouble finding room to grow in a field of entrenched rivals.