Skip to content

10 Reasons I‘m Upgrading to a TP-Link Wi-Fi Extender (And How to Optimize Your Home Network)

Are you tired of Wi-Fi dead zones and buffering? You‘re not alone. According to a recent study by Parks Associates, nearly 50% of US broadband households experience problems with their Wi-Fi network weekly (source: Parks Associates). As our homes fill up with more connected devices, strong and reliable whole-home Wi-Fi is becoming a necessity. That‘s why I‘m upgrading to a TP-Link Wi-Fi range extender.

TP-Link is one of the most trusted names in home networking, shipping over 150 million devices worldwide in 2021 alone (source: TP-Link). Their Wi-Fi extenders are among the best on the market, offering a compelling mix of performance, features, and value. Here are the top reasons I‘m choosing TP-Link for my home:

1. Industry-leading speeds

TP-Link offers Wi-Fi extenders for every speed tier, from basic 300 Mbps models up to cutting-edge Wi-Fi 6 units supporting speeds over 3 Gbps. Their popular RE650 AC2600 extender delivers speeds up to 1733 Mbps on 5 GHz and 800 Mbps on 2.4 GHz, dramatically outperforming competitors like the Netgear EX7300 at a similar price point (source: SmallNetBuilder).

2. Expansive coverage

Many TP-Link extenders boast coverage for homes up to 1500 sq. ft. and support for 25+ devices. Their high-power amplifiers and external antennas deliver stronger, more reliable connections compared to generic extenders. I was impressed to find that even TP-Link‘s entry-level TL-WA855RE covers up to 1200 sq. ft. and 15 devices for under $20.

3. OneMesh supports seamless roaming

Several of TP-Link‘s extenders, including the RE300 and RE650, support OneMesh. This lets you create a mesh network for seamless roaming when paired with a compatible TP-Link router like the Archer A7. As you move about your home, your device will automatically connect to the strongest signal without dropping the connection.

4. Wired speeds for your most demanding devices

The RE650 and several other TP-Link extenders feature a gigabit Ethernet port. This allows you to connect a wired device such as a gaming console or smart TV to enjoy the fastest, most stable speeds possible. It‘s a feature many other extenders lack, giving TP-Link a unique edge.

5. Deco mesh systems for larger homes

For even larger homes or those with especially challenging layouts, TP-Link‘s Deco mesh systems are worth considering. A multi-unit kit like the Deco S4 can blanket homes up to 5500 sq. ft. with strong, seamless coverage. PCMag found the Deco S4 delivered fantastic performance and named it their Editor‘s Choice for budget mesh systems (source: PCMag).

6. Easy app-based management

All TP-Link extenders can be set up and managed using the intuitive Tether app, available for iOS and Android. The app allows you to check the status of your extender, view connected devices, set parental controls, and more. It‘s a far friendlier experience compared to the clunky web interfaces other brands rely on.

7. Unbeatable value

Perhaps most appealing is the sheer value TP-Link delivers. Their extenders often cost 20-30% less than comparable offerings from brands like Netgear and Linksys while delivering equal or better performance. You can snag the well-reviewed TL-WA855RE for under $20, whereas a similar unit from Netgear, the EX2800, will run you closer to $30.

8. Discreet design

Measuring just 2.6 x 2.1 x 1.5 inches (for the RE505X), TP-Link‘s extenders have a compact, unobtrusive design. The matte white finish will blend in seamlessly with most home decor. And with the wall-plug form factor, you won‘t have another bulky device cluttering your shelf or desk.

9. Extreme versatility

TP-Link‘s extenders work with any brand of router and are widely compatible with different Wi-Fi standards. Most units support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, allowing you to choose between maximizing range and speed. And with features like High Speed Mode, Beamforming, and MU-MIMO, you can fine tune your extender‘s settings to best suit your needs.

10. Peace of mind

TP-Link offers a 2-year warranty and unlimited 24/7 technical support on their extenders, longer than the 1-year warranty typical of the category. They also provide frequent firmware updates to enhance security and performance. It‘s reassuring to know support is readily available should any issues arise.

Selecting the Right TP-Link Extender for Your Home

With over a dozen Wi-Fi extender models, TP-Link offers a solution for every scenario. Here‘s a quick breakdown of their most popular options:

Model Speed Coverage Ethernet Port OneMesh Price
RE505X AC1900 1500 sq. ft. Yes Yes $79.99
RE605X AX1800 1500 sq. ft. Yes Yes $99.99
RE300 AC1200 1500 sq. ft. No Yes $49.99
TL-WA855RE N300 1200 sq. ft. No No $19.99

If you have a newer Wi-Fi 6 router, I recommend opting for the RE605X to maximize performance. For those with more modest speeds, the RE300 offers phenomenal range for the price. And if you just need a basic boost in a small area, the ultra-affordable TL-WA855RE is hard to beat.

Positioning Your Extender for Peak Performance

Even the most powerful extender will underperform if not placed optimally. The general rule of thumb is to place the extender halfway between your router and the problem area. However, you should also consider the following:

  • Place the extender in an open area away from obstructions like walls and large appliances.
  • Avoid placing the extender near devices that can cause interference, such as cordless phones and microwaves.
  • Position the antennas vertically for the most consistent coverage.
  • Experiment with different outlets and positions to find the sweet spot.

TP-Link recommends placing your extender this way for best results:

[Router] <-- up to 50 ft. --> [Extender] <-- up to 50 ft. --> [Dead Zone]  

Maximizing Your Mesh Network

If you opt for a OneMesh extender or Deco mesh system, proper node placement is key to getting the most seamless, reliable coverage. Some tips from my experience:

  • Place nodes in central locations, not tucked away in a corner.
  • Maintain a line of sight between nodes when possible.
  • Avoid placing nodes directly on the floor or behind large obstructions.
  • Use Ethernet backhaul when feasible for the fastest inter-node communication.

I‘ve found the Deco app‘s built-in signal strength tester incredibly helpful in fine-tuning node placement. By methodically testing each location, I was able to eliminate all dead zones and achieve blanketed coverage across my 3500 sq. ft. home.

Concealing Your Hardware Without Compromising Coverage

While TP-Link‘s extenders have an attractive design, those who prefer to keep their tech out of sight have plenty of options. Here are some of my favorite ways to discreetly integrate extenders and other networking gear into your home decor:

  • Tuck your extender behind a picture frame, plant, or other decorative object.
  • Use cable management solutions like raceways, cord covers, and sleeves to cleanly route Ethernet and power cables.
  • Convert a vintage breadbox or other container into a stylish electronics hideaway.
  • Create a gallery wall around your extender with strategically placed artwork and photos.

When concealing extenders, ensure there is adequate ventilation to prevent overheating. You‘ll also want to avoid fully enclosing the extender in metal, as this can severely degrade the signal. Experiment to strike the right balance of aesthetics and performance.

The Future of Wi-Fi and How TP-Link is Leading the Way

As our homes get smarter and more connected, the demands on our Wi-Fi networks will only continue to grow. TP-Link is committed to staying at the forefront of Wi-Fi innovation to meet those needs. The new Wi-Fi 7 standard, slated for release in 2023, promises speeds up to 30 Gbps, 3x higher than Wi-Fi 6 (source: The Verge). TP-Link plans to be among the first to market with Wi-Fi 7 products.

"We‘re excited about the potential of Wi-Fi 7 to transform the home networking experience," said Andy Chen, Director of TP-Link North America. "Our team is hard at work developing next-gen solutions to help customers make the most of this powerful new standard."

A Worthy Upgrade

Installing a TP-Link RE650 extender was one of the best home networking decisions I‘ve made. I immediately saw a 3x increase in speeds in my previous dead zones and have enjoyed stable, buffer-free streaming ever since. The difference in my weekly video conferences was also remarkable – no more frozen screens or choppy audio.

Whether you‘re looking to bolster speeds in a back bedroom or blanket a large property with seamless coverage, a TP-Link extender is a wise investment. With industry-leading performance, exceptional value, and versatile management options, TP-Link makes it easy to get the robust whole-home Wi-Fi your family needs. By optimizing placement and taking steps to neatly integrate your gear, you‘ll enjoy the benefits of strong, reliable connectivity without sacrificing your home‘s aesthetic.

So if you‘re ready to say goodbye to dead zones and experience the gold standard in home Wi-Fi, choose a TP-Link extender. You‘ll wonder how you ever lived without one.