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TP-Link AC750 (RE210) Wi-Fi Range Extender review

Tom Morgan
4 Jun 2015
tp link ac750
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
45
inc VAT

A simple and cost-effective way to boost your Wi-Fi signal, but the TP-Link RE210 isn't as versatile as the competition

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Specifications

Modem: N/A, Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac, Stated speed: 433Mbps, USB ports: 0, Wall mountable: N/A

Wi-Fi dead zones can be a real problem if you don’t want to festoon your home with cables and wireless access points. TP-Link's latest range extender is designed to fill in those gaps in your coverage with both 802.11n and 802.11ac Wi-Fi, letting you get super-fast speeds wherever you are.

The RE210 can extend both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks simultaneously, and despite being limited to 450Mbit/s theoretical maximum speed, compared to the 802.11ac standard's current 2,600Mbit/s theoretical maximum, the adaptor should still be able to provide a speed boost to any 802.11ac devices on your network.

The RE210 is small, boxy, and plugs directly into a power socket. Two wireless antennas can be rotated to create the best reception for your wireless gear, and a row of LEDs helpfully indicate power, Wi-Fi activity and WPS pairing. They aren't particularly bright and don't flash, and you can disable them entirely through the setup page if you prefer.

Setup should be as easy as plugging the RE210 into the mains about halfway between your router and wireless devices, then connecting to it directly via Wi-Fi, opening your browser and running the setup wizard. This scans for wireless networks automatically and gives you a choice of which ones to extend.

However, we ran into several problems trying to log back into the extender and make changes to SSIDs, passwords and wireless channels, with the IP address refusing to open correctly in a web browser. It took several attempts before we even managed to get an internet connection, despite the LEDS on the extender suggesting everything was working correctly.

The RE210 has a single Gigabit Ethernet port in the bottom of the adaptor, which will let you connect a device like a PC, smart TV or games console to your home network, whether it has Wi-Fi or not. Even if a device has built-in Wi-Fi, it may not be as quick as the RE210's 802.11ac standard, so using the Ethernet port may be an easy way to get smooth HD video streaming to your smart TV, for example.

To test the extender in a real-world situation, we took it home. Our kitchen is a Wi-Fi dead zone, which is only barely covered by the 2.4GHz band of the Virgin-supplied Super Hub 2 router in the living room at the other end of the flat, and has no 5GHz coverage at all. With the extender set up in the hall, 2.4GHz throughput jumped from 1.3Mbit/s to 16.5Mbit/s. Speeds doubled again when switching to 5GHz, reaching 32.5Mbit/s.

When we stayed connected to the extender and moved next to it in the hall, 2.4GHz speeds remained at 17.6Mbit/s, but at this point our network was quicker if we went back to connecting directly to our Virgin router. However, we saw much faster speeds through the extender on the 5GHz band, with 51.6Mbit/s versus 38.2Mbit/s from the router alone.

The RE210 will boost reception on any wireless network, but setup was fiddly. You will also see better speeds from a Powerline Networking adaptor with built-in Wi-Fi, such as Devolo's dLAN 1200+ WiFi ac, although this is a significantly more expensive option. However, the RE210's biggest competition comes from BT's Dual-Band Wi-Fi Extender 1200, which is easier to set up and slightly faster for only a few pounds more.

HARDWARE
ModemN/A
Wi-Fi standard802.11ac
Bands2.4GHz, 5GHz
Stated speed433Mbps
SecurityWEP, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK
Upgradable antennaNo
WAN ports0
LAN ports1x 10/100/1000Mbit/s
USB ports0
Wall mountableN/A
Size100x89x155mm

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