Which TP-Link Wi-Fi extender is best?
Buffering internet or slow download speeds is enough to make you pull out your hair in frustration. While it could be a cause, you shouldn’t immediately blame your internet service provider. Certain areas in your house might be outside the optimal range of your Wi-Fi router, which can lead to inconsistent connections, bad signals and reduced speeds.
To cover as wide an area as possible, a Wi-Fi extender connects to the initial wireless signal and transmits it a bit further. Think of it as an internet-connection relay, with the Wi-Fi bouncing from one router to the next. An excellent choice is the TP-Link AC2600 WiFi Extender, as it can reach a speed of 1,733 megabits per second.
What to know before you buy a TP-Link Wi-Fi extender
A Wi-Fi extender might not solve your problem
Larger houses often have several floors or a basement, and you might be thinking of getting a Wi-Fi extender to reach the dead spots. But that shouldn’t be your first, or only, solution. You’d greatly benefit from investigating the cause of slow internet, such as whether the primary router is in the best position or if you are getting interference from other signals.
Extender vs. mesh network
Before you start plotting your router’s dead zones and start planning your extender’s location, consider if a mesh network isn’t actually what you need. Mesh networks have grown in popularity and have become much cheaper, making them cost-effective and reliable.
Instead of multiple extenders, a mesh network is made up of several routers that work with one another. They broadcast the same Wi-Fi name and route bandwidth around the network as needed.
There will be speed loss
The most stable internet connection is always through an Ethernet cable. Anything other than that, such as Wi-Fi, has some speed loss. The effects become more obvious as the distance between the router and the device becomes further.
The same goes for Wi-Fi extenders, as they are usually some distance away from the main router and then distribute the signal even further. It might not be immediately noticeable, but it will have an impact on video games.
Also, the extended signal still needs to penetrate through interior walls or floors. For a basement, as an example, the best would be to run an Ethernet or powerline cable from the primary router to a secondary router, which then provides Wi-Fi to that area.
What to look for in a quality TP-Link Wi-Fi extender
Dual-band signal for better output
As more devices connect to the internet, the Wi-Fi spectrum becomes congested. The 2.4-gigahertz frequency is the most common, but just like cars on a freeway, it becomes clogged if too many use it. That is why a good-quality TP-Link Wi-Fi extender has a dual-band signal that uses 2.4GHz and a much less congested 5GHz — which is less susceptible to interference from other sources.
Easy to set up
If you are looking for an extender, chances are that you’ve already struggled with your connection. Setting up a solution shouldn’t add to your frustration. A good-quality TP-Link Wi-Fi extender is easy to set up, and this can usually be done through a few simple steps. Typically, you only need to connect it to the current signal and give it a new network name.
Compatible with your internet speed
You don’t want to connect to an extender that’s slower than your initial connection. In fact, since you will experience some speed loss, a good-quality extender can handle data transfer speeds much faster than your primary router. This will also help if you regularly share files over your home’s internal network, as it can handle a larger volume of traffic.
How much you can expect to spend on a TP-Link Wi-Fi extender
The price depends on the gadget’s technology. An affordable model that can handle average speeds costs $20-$30, but a complex Mesh system for larger houses sells for $150-$250.
TP-Link Wi-Fi extender FAQ
What’s the difference between a TP-Link extender and a repeater?
A. In principle, they are the same, but there is a slight difference. An extender connects to the main Wi-Fi signal and converts it into a new network with a separate name and password. A repeater merely expands the coverage of your primary signal without changing the details.
Can you connect two TP-Link routers together?
A. Yes, you can but it might not be cost-effective. Many Wi-Fi routers have a setup option to either be a traditional router or an access point. When you make it an access point, it connects to the primary router through an Ethernet cable and then distributes the signal.
What’s the best TP-Link Wi-Fi extender to buy?
Top TP-Link Wi-Fi extender
What you need to know: This dual-band extender is compatible with other brands of routers, and the four antennas maximize your coverage.
What you’ll love: It uses beamforming technology to target devices with a Wi-Fi connection instead of an overall spread. To help with optimal placement, it has indicator lights to find the right spot.
What you should consider: It only has one Ethernet port, so if you need to connect more than one device, you’ll need a hub.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top TP-Link Wi-Fi extender for the money
What you need to know: This small extender can increase your Wi-Fi coverage by 1,200 square feet and connects up to 20 devices simultaneously.
What you’ll love: The dual-band technology gets you up to 300 megabits per second on 2.4 gigahertz and 433-megabits per second on 5 GHz. It’s relatively easy to set up through two taps, and indicator lights help with finding the best location.
What you should consider: Some users experienced connectivity disruptions and slow speeds.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This mesh networking system replaces your Wi-Fi router by connecting three wireless nodes. It can cover a maximum area of 5,500 square feet.
What you’ll love: Unlike a router or Wi-Fi extender, the mesh network has one network name and password, ensuring a seamless connection. Up to 100 devices can connect at the same time, and it’s compatible with all internet service providers.
What you should consider: Some reviewers complained that the mobile app doesn’t include all the setup information.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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