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Increase WiFi range on Nighthawk M1 with a setting change - Printable Version

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Increase WiFi range on Nighthawk M1 with a setting change - Seán - 06/06/2020

The NetGear Nighthawk M1 (MR1100) router has a fairly short Wi-Fi range, much like that of a mobile phone operating as a portable Hotspot. 

To my surprise while browsing the various Wi-Fi settings, the Wi-Fi range is set to Medium by default.  While this is fine in a small space such as a motorhome, it's barely usable more than a room apart in a house, particularly on the 5GHz band.

Changing the setting is straight forward - Just go into the web interface or App and log in, then go into Setup (1) -> Wireless (2) and change the WiFi Range drop-down (3) to 'Large'.  Then click Apply.

[attachment=93]

Going by the Wi-Fi Analyzer App on my phone, this increases the signal strength by roughly 6dB, at least on the 5GHz band as shown in green below:

[attachment=95]

Despite the improved signal strength, it is still much weaker than most desktop routers.  For example, when placed side by side with the popular Huawei B525 router, the M1 signal was 9dB weaker than the B525 on the 5GHz band.  When placed side by side with my Fritz Box 7360, the M1 signal was 7dB weaker on the 2.4GHz band.

So while this tweak may improve connection stability and speed a second room apart, I still recommend getting a dedicated Wi-Fi router or mesh kit and using the M1 as a passive modem, i.e. put it into bridge mode (Setup -> Mobile Router Setup -> IP Passthrough).