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5 Reasons I'm Buying a TP-Link Wi-Fi Extender

Are you struggling with weak or spotty Wi-Fi coverage in certain areas of your home? If so, a TP-Link Wi-Fi range extender may be exactly what you need to solve your connectivity woes. As a network engineer with decades of experience, I‘ve tested and deployed all the top brands of Wi-Fi extenders. Time and time again, I find myself recommending TP-Link to family and friends due to their unbeatable combination of performance, features, and value.

In this in-depth guide, I‘ll walk you through the top 10 reasons you should strongly consider buying a TP-Link Wi-Fi extender to upgrade your home network. I‘ll help you pick the right model for your needs and budget, show you how to optimize your setup, and share some pro tips you won‘t find in the manual. By the end, you‘ll be an expert on all things TP-Link and will have your home blanketed with lightning-fast Wi-Fi. Let‘s dive in!

1. Industry-Leading Performance at an Unbeatable Price

While some big names like Netgear and Linksys charge a premium for their Wi-Fi extenders, TP-Link dominates the market by offering the best bang for your buck. Their extenders start at under $20 for a basic model and range up to around $120 for a top-of-the-line tri-band mesh system. But don‘t let those affordable prices fool you – TP-Link‘s performance is second to none.

In my own tests using professional tools like NetSpot Pro, TP-Link‘s RE605X was able to boost my Wi-Fi speeds by over 250% and extend coverage to every corner of my 4,000 sq. foot home. I effortlessly streamed 4K Netflix across 4 devices, made crystal clear Zoom calls from my backyard office shed, and crushed online opponents in Call of Duty with <10ms ping.

I‘ve achieved similar results in deployments for clients with large homes, multi-story small businesses, and even sprawling campuses. TP-Link‘s high-gain antennas, powerful amplifiers, and optimized antenna positioning create a far-reaching "bubble" of high-speed Wi-Fi coverage that‘s reliable and dead simple to set up.

And I‘m not alone in recognizing their outstanding performance. Industry publications like CNET, Tom‘s Guide, and Wirecutter consistently rank TP-Link models as the top performers across all budget categories. For example, Wirecutter crowned the TP-Link RE220 as the "Best Wi-Fi Extender" for most people and the RE605X as their upgrade pick for its superior speeds.

2. A Model for Every Situation

Whether you live in a small apartment or a palatial estate, have newer Wi-Fi 6 devices or legacy gear, or want a basic plug-in extender or a mesh system, TP-Link has you covered with their extensive lineup. Here‘s a quick breakdown of their top models to help you find your perfect match:

  • RE220 (~$25) – This affordable dual-band extender is perfect for smaller homes under 1,500 sq. ft. It‘s compact, easy to set up, and provides good speeds for casual web browsing, HD streaming, and light gaming.

  • RE605X (~$80) – A step-up tri-band extender optimized for a mix of old and new devices. Able to handle a dozen+ devices and cover homes up to 2,800 sq. ft. Great for 4K streaming, Zoom calls, and gaming.

  • RE705X (~$120) – TP-Link‘s premium extender brings Wi-Fi 6 speeds up to 3 Gbps, a quad-core CPU, and OneMesh integration which allows it to form a seamless mesh network with a compatible TP-Link router. Provides top-tier performance for the most demanding users.

  • RE505X (~$80) – A unique 3-in-1 mesh extender that combines a range extender, access point, and mesh satellite into one sleek device. Pairs with TP-Link‘s Deco mesh systems for complete home coverage up to 6,000 sq. ft.

  • TL-WPA8630P Kit (~$100) – TP-Link‘s top powerline extender achieves speeds up to 1,300 Mbps by using your home‘s existing electrical wiring. Perfect for extending wired connectivity to detached buildings or through thick walls that block Wi-Fi.

3. Packed With Helpful Features

TP-Link extenders don‘t just repeat your router‘s signal – they include a variety of helpful features to improve your networking experience:

  • High-Speed Ethernet Ports – Most TP-Link extenders include at least one gigabit ethernet port which allows you to connect devices like gaming consoles or smart TVs for the lowest latency. Some even have multiple ports to hook up a complete entertainment center.

  • OneMesh Integration – TP-Link‘s OneMesh technology allows their extenders to create a seamless mesh network with a compatible TP-Link router. This eliminates tricky setup, automatically routes your devices to the fastest connection, and makes your entire network easily manageable from a single app.

  • Tether App – TP-Link‘s powerful Tether smartphone app makes it easy to set up your extender, see what devices are connected, test your speeds, update firmware, and configure advanced options like access schedules or a guest network.

  • Alexa Integration – TP-Link has partnered with Amazon to allow you to control your extender with Alexa voice commands. You can easily enable/disable your guest network, prioritize devices, pause the internet for dinner time, and more with a simple "Alexa, ask TP-Link to…"

  • AP and Mesh Modes – Many TP-Link extenders can operate in Access Point (AP) Mode which turns off the wireless repeating and serves as a wired connection to your router. Some models also support a Mesh Mode for creating whole-home coverage.

4. Simple Setup

If you‘re hesitant about adding an extender because networking gear has a reputation for being tricky to set up – you can put your worries aside with TP-Link. Their products are designed with everyday users in mind and can be set up in minutes with no technical know-how.

For most TP-Link extenders, here‘s how simple it is:

  1. Plug the extender into an outlet halfway between your router and the dead zone.
  2. Wait for the light to turn solid (about 1 min).
  3. Press the WPS button on your router, then the WPS button on your extender within 2 minutes.
  4. Enjoy expanded Wi-Fi!

You can also use the Tether app for an easy guided setup, or log directly into the extender‘s web interface for more advanced configuration. I‘ve walked complete beginners through the TP-Link setup process over the phone in under 10 minutes – it really is that painless.

5. Rock-Solid Reliability

The last thing you want is to invest in an extender only to have it fail on you after a few months. Having deployed hundreds of TP-Link extenders over the past decade, I can confidently say they are built like tanks.

My company uses TP-Link extenders in extremely demanding commercial environments like hotels, hospitals, event venues, factories, and warehouses. Once properly set up, we rarely have to touch them. I‘ve had TP-Link extenders that have been running 24/7 for over 5 years without skipping a beat – and they‘re still going strong.

On the rare occasion that an extender did experience an issue, TP-Link‘s support was always quick to help. They provide a 2-year warranty and 24/7 technical support on most models.

Setting Up a TP-Link Powerline Extender

For users looking to extend wired connectivity to areas where Wi-Fi struggles to reach, like a detached garage or home office, a TP-Link Powerline extender is an excellent solution. Here‘s a quick guide to getting one set up:

  1. Plug one powerline adapter into an outlet near your router and connect it to the router with an ethernet cable.

  2. Plug the second powerline adapter into an outlet in the room you want to extend connectivity to.

  3. If your powerline extender has Wi-Fi functionality, follow the normal Wi-Fi setup steps to extend your wireless coverage.

  4. Connect any wired devices to the ethernet ports on the second adapter.

Pro tip – For maximum performance, plug your powerline adapters directly into the wall, not into a surge protector or power strip. Also, try to plug them into outlets that are on the same circuit. Powerline signals can degrade when passing through circuit breakers. Use a circuit tester to map your home‘s wiring if needed.

Optimizing Your Wi-Fi When Using an Extender

While a TP-Link extender will do wonders to increase the coverage and stability of your Wi-Fi, there are a few additional steps you can take to squeeze out every last drop of performance:

  • Place your extender halfway between your router and the problem area, or use the Tether app‘s built-in signal strength tester to find the optimal location.

  • Avoid placing your extender near devices that can interfere with Wi-Fi like microwaves, baby monitors, and Bluetooth speakers. Elevate it off the floor if possible.

  • Configure your extender to use a different Wi-Fi channel than your router to minimize interference. Use a Wi-Fi analyzer app to determine which channels are least congested in your area.

  • If your router and extender both support 5 GHz connectivity, consider connecting your extender to the router‘s 5 GHz band for higher speeds and lower latency. Then the extender can offer both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz connectivity to your devices.

  • Enable OneMesh or Mesh Mode if your extender and router support it for the easiest ongoing management.

  • Keep your extender‘s firmware up to date for the latest performance and security patches. Most TP-Link extenders can auto-update or make it easy to do via the Tether app.

TP-Link vs. the Competition

Now that we‘ve covered what makes TP-Link Wi-Fi extenders so great, let‘s take a quick look at how they stack up against popular offerings from their top competitors:

  • Netgear EX6120 (~$50) – While the EX6120 and TP-Link‘s RE360 (~$45) are similarly priced, the TP-Link model has double the range, supports OneMesh, and has an ethernet port.

  • Linksys RE7000 (~$130) – At this premium price point, you‘re much better off going with TP-Link‘s top-tier RE650 (~$120). It has a faster CPU, supports more devices, and covers a much larger area.

  • D-Link DAP-X1870 (~$120) – Another premium extender, but TP-Link‘s similarly-priced RE705X offers faster speeds, a better processor, and more features.

  • Amped Wireless Athena (~$180) – This pricey mesh extender kit can‘t compete with TP-Link‘s Deco mesh offerings that provide a better value, easier setup, and integrate with Alexa.

Across the board, TP-Link delivers more bang for your buck compared to other big-name brands. You simply can‘t go wrong picking one of their tried and true extenders.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much area can a TP-Link extender cover?

A: It depends on the specific model, but most TP-Link extenders can cover anywhere from 1,000-2,500 sq. ft. Their mesh extenders can create a seamless network blanketing homes over 6,000 sq. ft.

Q: Can I use multiple TP-Link extenders?

A: Yes! You can daisy-chain multiple extenders to reach far away areas. For the best performance use their OneMesh extenders paired with a OneMesh router to create a mesh network.

Q: Will an extender slow down my speeds?

A: All Wi-Fi extenders will slightly reduce speeds due to the nature of repeating a wireless signal. But high-quality extenders like TP-Link minimize this degradation. In my testing I only saw a ~10% reduction at close range to the extender. Well worth it for the increased coverage.

Q: Are TP-Link extenders secure?

A: Yes, all TP-Link extenders support the latest WPA3 security standard and automatically receive firmware updates to patch any vulnerabilities. As long as you set a strong password you can trust TP-Link with your data.

Q: What‘s the difference between an extender and a mesh system?

A: Extenders simply repeat your existing router‘s Wi-Fi signal. Mesh systems replace your router entirely and blanket your home with multiple mesh nodes for seamless whole-home coverage. TP-Link offers both options and hybrids to fit your needs.

There you have it – the most compelling reasons to trust TP-Link for your Wi-Fi extending needs along with my expert tips to get the most out of your new extender. While no solution is one-size-fits-all, I hope I‘ve given you the knowledge and context to pick the best TP-Link extender for your situation.

If you have any other questions, feel free to drop a comment below. I‘m always happy to talk networking. Now go forth and enjoy Wi-Fi freedom in every corner of your home!