This review was written back in January 2017 on the original Mi Community.
Two years ago, Xiaomi announced the affordable Mi Wi-Fi Extender (小米Wi-Fi放大器) together with the Mi Router. Two years later, the second generation of Mi Wi-Fi Extender (小米Wi-Fi放大器2) is now on sale in China and we will be taking a look at it today. I bought two of them recently to solve the poor Wi-Fi reception from my room. At ¥49 (approximately S$10) a piece, is it any good? Will it solve my problem? There is only one way to find out.
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The Mi Wi-Fi Extender 2 looks identical to its predecessor. The casing is made of matte plastic and feels a lot higher quality than the glossy plastic found on its competition. At the bottom is a USB connector that can be rotated 180°, which is how you power the device. An LED indicator can be found near the bottom and directly below it is a reset hole, which you plug a pin into to reset the device. The Mi Wi-Fi Extender 2 much more compact than all the Wi-Fi repeaters I have seen. Together with its elegant and simplistic design, the Mi WiFi Extender 2 is can easily blend in with your home. The only concern I have would be the USB cap, which can easily be lost
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The Gen 2 Mi Wi-Fi Extender looks identical to the first generation, but inside, it features two antenna lines instead of one, theoratically doubling maximum speed to 300Mbps. In my case, there are not a lot of USB ports around so my position for the Mi Wi-Fi Extender 2 is not really ideal (right outside my room). That said, I do see huge improvements in Wi-Fi speed in my room. The results below are recorded from my iPhone SE using the speedtest.net app by Ookla, all obtained on the same day, at around the same timing. Server host is specified in the tables below.
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From the results above, we can see that the Mi Wi-Fi Extender Gen 2 is working really well for my iPhone SE. From a barely usable average of 5Mbps (which drops to 2Mbps at night) to a perfectly usable average of around 20Mbps, I am really satisfied with the results. What if we test it on my laptop, which usually has better Wi-Fi reception? Will we also see an improvement?
Yet again, we see similar improvements. You might have observed that the results for Wi-Fi speed without the extend actually fluctuate quite a lot, while the results with the Mi Wi-Fi Extender Gen 2 is pretty consistent. Here are the results from Wi-Fi Analyzer Windows app. Again, we can see the improvements.
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Can we get faster speed with a second Mi Wi-Fi Extender 2? From testing using my setup, having an additional Mi Wi-Fi Extender 2 to boost the first extender does not help improve the speed (in fact it got worst), but your result may vary. I would like to point out that I used a powerbank to power the second Mi Wi-Fi Extender 2, which is a really convenient way to test the ideal position to place the extender. This would not have been possible without the USB connector.
Application & Settings
The Mi Wi-Fi Extender 2 uses the Mi Home app, which can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and Mi Market. This is the same app you will be using for Xiaomi's ecosystem of smart home products.
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App Store - https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mi-home-xiaomi-for-your-smarthome/id957323480?mt=8
Play Store - https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.xiaomi.smarthome&hl=en
Mi Market - http://app.mi.com/details?id=com.xiaomi.smarthome&ref=search
There are two ways to setup the Mi Wi-Fi Extender 2: plug into your Mi Router or setup manually. As I do not own a Mi Router, I had to go through the long and tedious manual setup. To do so, click on the + icon on the top right, select "Add device", select "Mi Wi-Fi Amplifier" and follow the steps. The whole process should take less than 5 minutes, unless something screws up. Once done, the blinking yellow light will turn solid blue, meaning that the connection process is successful.
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The app should display your device as 小米WiFi放大器2代. From here, you have a few options. "Wi-Fi roaming" allows your device to use the same name as your router so you do not have to connect to two Wi-Fi networks. "Wi-Fi settings" allows you to change the Wi-Fi name and password. "Connected devices info" shows you the list of IP addresses of devices connected to the extender. More options are hidden under the three dot icon.
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From all the results we have collected above, the Mi Wi-Fi Extender Gen 2 does exactly what you expect it to. For only about $10 excluding shipping, the Mi Wi-Fi Extender 2 is a steal. Most Wi-Fi repeaters in Singapore cost around $70. They may or may not perform better than Xiaomi's extender but at more than 5 times less pricy after you include shipping, I think it is safe to say that Xiaomi's Wi-Fi extender offers the greatest value-for-money. At the same time, Xiaomi's Wi-Fi extender is better built and sleeker than a lot of those costly repeaters, futher justifying why you should get one. To summarise it all, the Mi Wi-Fi Extender Gen 2 is an excellent product that does not break the bank.