Over the last few years, I've watched my parents move from a Windows PC to a Mac mini to iPads for their Internet access.
Accessing the Internet from their iPads is quite easy for them but introduced some interesting situations for me as their support person.
There are some tasks that once required a computer, such as setting up a new wireless router, that no longer do.
I've been testing the new TAP-R2 High Power Touch Screen AC750 Wi-Fi Router from Amped Wireless.
All configuration can be done via the router's 3.5-inch color touch screen display.
If you read through the entire mouthful of a product name, the TAP-R2 is a high-powered router, which Amped Wireless says provides three times the range for larger homes or offices.
The power comes from six internal broadcast amplifiers and reception amplifiers and a detachable dual-band high gain antenna.
The TAP-R2 supports all 802.11 variations, including 802.11ac, which is the fastest Wi-Fi available today.
There is one USB port on the router to share a flash drive or hard drive. The files on the USB drive are available to connected users.
There are also two Ethernet ports to connect gaming consoles, a smart TV or any other device that can use a hard-wired Internet connection.
Out of the box, you simply plug the TAP-R2 into an open Ethernet port on your Internet modem and power it on.
The touch screen comes alive, and you're shown the two networks that begin broadcasting by default.
My first order of business was to change the wireless network names and passwords for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks. Touch the name and use the onscreen keyboard to make the changes.
The TAP-R2 can broadcast up to eight wireless networks at once, including restricted access networks and guest networks.
Security choices include the usual suspects - WPS one-touch setup, WPA and WPA 2.
I had no problem setting up any of the network choices.
The router offers Wi-Fi coverage control, which lets the administrator adjust the power to limit the distance if you'd like the network not to extend beyond your home or yard.
A Wi-Fi router is a strange gadget.
You bring it home, spend 10 minutes setting it up and then, if everything acts as it should, you won't interact with it for a very long time.
The fact that I could configure the TAP-R2 without touching my computer is a big deal. There have been routers configurable via smartphones for a while, but this is my first experience with a touch-screen router, and it worked perfectly.
I found the range to be better than my 3-year-old Apple Airport Extreme, but I can't confirm its range is three times longer.
The TAP-R2 is a great router. It's easy to configure, has great range and doesn't need a computer for setup.
I had to do some major research and use my laptop to help my parents change their Wi-Fi password the last time I visited.
With the TAP-R2, they could certainly do their own configuration changes.
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