The fastest Wi-Fi 6 extender we’ve tested, especially partnered with a high-spec router
- Supremely quick
- Easy to set-up and use
- Gets faster with higher spec partnering hardware
- Takes a while to boot
We’ve seen a few Wi-Fi 6 extenders and powerline kits but most have had one thing in common: they could take your Wi-Fi network to the furthest frontiers of your home but they couldn’t maintain the same level of performance. Extenders like the TP-Link RE505x and Netgear EAX12 were stuck at speeds below the entry-level AX1800 spec, while the fastest extender we’ve tested – the Netgear Nighthawk X6S – is now a relic of the Wi-Fi 5 era.
Enter the Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 5400. As the name suggests, this one’s Wi-Fi 6 through and through, matching the speedy AX5400 spec with up to 4.8Gbits/sec on the 5GHz band and 574Mbits/sec on the 2.4Ghz band. As long as you have a high-performance router you should be good for a fast connection, wherever you need to stretch your network to.
Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 5400 review: What do you get for the money?
Most extenders or repeaters are compact, plug-in units that sit directly on a wall power socket, but the WiFi 6 Repeater 5400 is a separate box with a separate 13W power supply. This isn’t as neat but it isn’t a bad thing. If you can’t get a great signal from your router right next to the socket, you have scope to move the repeater around.
The front is dominated by a power indicator and signal strength gauge, while the rear houses a WPS button and two Gigabit Ethernet ports, which you can use to connect fairly static devices, such as a PC, smart TV or games console. The repeater can also double up as an access point, providing Wi-FI to an area where you have an Ethernet connection but no existing wireless connectivity. Alternatively, it can be used to set up a new Wi-Fi 6 network if you have an older Wi-Fi 5 router. And it will play nicely with existing Devolo Magic powerline products, working as part of the same mesh – a definite plus if you have a Magic 2 Wi-Fi 6 system in place.
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Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 5400 review: How easy is it to set up?
Devolo takes an app-based approach to setup and it couldn’t be much easier. You can either follow the instructions and use WPS to clone your existing router’s SSID and password or connect to the extender, select the network and enter the password manually. Either way, just follow the instructions and it all works flawlessly.
Devolo provides advice in-app on where to place the repeater after setup and you have the indicators on the front to guide you when it comes to finding the spot with the best signal strength. Prepare for a long wait if you need to unplug and move the power supply, though. The Repeater 5400 takes a good two minutes (1minute 58secs, to be precise) to boot and find the network. Still, you should only have to do this once or twice.
With the repeater in position, you can then use the app for checking which devices are connected to the network via the repeater, and the connection speeds between the router and repeater, and between the repeater and devices. You can also run an internet speed test or go to the device’s own browser-based UI to switch to Access Point mode or tinker with the more advanced settings. If you’re in Access Point mode you can also configure power schedules and basic parental controls with time allocations and on/off times.
Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 5400 review: How well does it work?
Let’s cut to the chase. The Repeater 5400 is the fastest extender or repeater I’ve reviewed, and by some margin. In my 1950s detached home we have two Wi-Fi troublespots; the kitchen/diner at the opposite end of the house from the router and an upstairs room I use as an office. With my standard setup – a Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 mesh system – I can get file transfer speeds of 16.2MB/sec (download) and 12.8MB/sec (upload) in the kitchen and 32.2MB/sec (download) and 21.3MB/sec (upload) in the office. Removing the satellite nodes from this system and using the router portion on its own, this dwindles to 8.1MB/sec and 7.4MB/sec in the kitchen and 25.8MB/sec and 16MB/sec in the office.
Adding the Repeater 5400 to this setup boosts speeds to 36.3MB/sec and 23.4MB/sec in the kitchen and 33MB/sec and 21.8MB/sec in the office. Not only does this boost speed and range but it’s also faster than the full mesh system can manage. However, to really see it fly, you need an AX5400 router. Paired with a Netgear RAX50 AX5400 router, I saw speeds increase even further to 47.7MB/sec and 28.5MB/sec in the kitchen and 41.8MB/sec and 28.17MB/sec in the office.
To put that in perspective, the Devolo Wi-Fi 6 Repeater 3000 was only able to achieve 23.9MB/sec and 16.4MB/sec in the kitchen and 28.9MB/sec and 17.3MB/sec in the office. The Netgear EAX12 only gets as far as 17.1MB/sec and 16.1MB/sec in the kitchen and doesn’t come close upstairs.
Just as crucially, I’ve found speeds to be consistent and reliable. Where other mesh and router/extender solutions have struggled to maintain high download speeds with games consoles in the office or with game streaming through Xbox Cloud Gaming or GeForce Now in the kitchen, the Devolo WiFi 6 5400 has been rock solid.
Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 5400 review: Should you buy it?
This is an expensive Wi-Fi extender, and if you simply want to stretch your Internet connection to a distant bedroom or study for browsing and streaming, you could get away with less. The Netgear EAX12 is a decent option and the TP-Link RE505x a steal. If, however, you need a faster connection for downloads, 4K streaming, game streaming and large file transfers, then the WiFi 6 Repeater 5400 is hard to beat. Its speeds are supremely quick, especially when teamed with a high-spec router, and it’s reliable, easy to configure and easy to use. It’s pricey, but it’s worth it.