Amped Wireless R20000G Router and UA2000 Adapter Review
Wireless Performance – Lab Test – Amped UA2000
Amped Wireless UA2000 High Power Wireless-N Dual Band Directional USB Adapter
The Amped Wireless UA2000 adapter is a “High Power Wireless-N Dual Band Directional USB Adapter…with high speed dual band 300 Mbps Wi-Fi access and superior wireless range” according to the press documentation. This 2x2:2 802.11 a/b/g/n adapter has speed claims of up to 300 Mbps and up to 3 times the range of other wireless adapters through the “use of a high gain directional antenna, dual band power amplifiers and wireless reception amplifiers.”
The adapter itself is compact and stylish and could easily be stowed in a laptop bag for easy transport. The black plastic case appears to be sturdy enough to be knocked around a bit and the adapter simply has a WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) button on one side, a USB port on the other and a location on the back to snap in a “laptop clip” to attach the adapter the back of a LCD monitor.
One feature that piqued my interest was the USB cable.
The dual USB cable allows for regular use with a single USB plug. But if you plug in the second plug you go into ‘Amped’ mode which supposedly boosts your performance. The cable is labeled accordingly, but I can’t imagine those stickers are going to last very long. Would have been better to see the letters simply stamped in the USB cover, or not even worry about the stickers for that matter.
Whether or not the dual plugs actually help remains to be seen, but to see if it does, I’ll do tests with the one ‘Primary’ USB plugged in by itself, and then do tests with both the ‘Primary’ and ‘Amped’ USB plugs plugged in to see if going the ‘Amped’ route makes a difference.
As for software, Amped Wireless supplies the aptly named "Amped Wireless Utility".
The basic application is nice and clean and lets you get one with the business of what you need to do with a wireless adapter, see what networks are there and easily connect to them.
Once connected the application gives you a simple status status page with options to look at Link Information, Set up and manage profiles and a few basic Advanced features like forcing the adapter to specific networks (2.4/5 or b/g/n) or channels.
Overall the application works great and is simple to use. I did find one strange thing though, when I went to uninstall the application, it actually required the adapter to be plugged in.
Seems pretty strange considering if you are uninstalling the utility, there's a chance you may not even have the adapter anymore. Regardless, it doesn't really have any impact on the actual use of the adapter, and was really just something that I thought was curious.
So, let’s jump right into the tests.
With both USB plugs in, we see the UA2000/R20000G pairing performing worse than the UA2000/Apple Airport pairing in all tests except for one. The 2.4 GHz Maximum pingtime test to the Airport Extreme showed a large jump from the 2.4 GHz test with the R20000G.
Here with download speeds we see the Apple Airport and R20000G trading blows back and forth once again. This time the Apple Airport pulls ahead of the Amped R20000G by a wide margin at 5 GHz with the dual plug UA2000 adapter. Yet at 2.4 GHz we see the Amped R20000G pull ahead of the Apple Airport.
Upload speed tests just about mirror the download speed tests with the Apple Airport doing better at 5 GHz, but the Amped pulling ahead in 2 out of 3 of the 2.4 GHz tests.
So to drop out of ‘Amped’ mode, we pull the ‘Amped’ USB plug, leaving only the single ‘Primary’ USB plug in on the Amped Wireless UA2000 adapter. We see very similar results to the earlier tests. The UA2000/R20000G performed worse than the UA2000/Airport once again in all tests except for the 2.4 GHz maximum ping test.
With our single USB plug in, download speeds showed the Amped R20000G beating out the Airport Extreme by a nice margin in just about every 5 and 2.4 GHz network test. Maximum download speeds at 5 GHz clocked in at 112.2 Mbps on the R20000G compared to 87.1 Mbps on the Apple airport for an improvement of 22.4%. At 2.4 GHz we see an even bigger jump with the R20000G connection bursting up to 103.9 Mbps compared to 65.6 Mbps on the Apple Airport for a 36.9% difference in speed.
In upload speeds we again see the Amped R20000G beat out the Airport Extreme by a decent margin in both 5 and 2.4 GHz network tests. Average upload speeds are 10.9 Mbps (9.7%) faster when connected to the R20000G at 5 GHz, and 9.3 Mbps (12.7%) faster at 2.4 GHz.
So, did the ‘Amped’ mode help or hurt? Let’s put the adapters side by side against each router and see.