We're back in home networking solutions territory today, and taking a look at a product from our chums at TP-Link. Anyone with WiFi will know the heartache that can be suffered from those dreaded blackspots; places in the house where the wireless signal just isn't strong enough. To that end, get yourself a range extender, and we've been testing a good 'un. We review the TP-Link RE305 WiFi Range Extender.
First of all, is it just us are are TP-Link products looking a lot cooler these days? We're aware they recently had a brand refresh, but it seems that their new batch of routers and extenders (and now smarthome products, too) look slick and modern. The RE305 is no exception, sporting a light silver body and pleasing curves. Even the two antennae look cool, and that isn't something we say often about antennae.
For those who aren't familiar with the concept, a WiFi range extender is a smallish device that you - typically - plug directly into a power socket, and which picks up and then rebroadcasts your WiFi signal, strengthening it and pushing it further. Therefore the overall WiFi coverage in your home is stronger and has a larger footprint. Simple enough, eh?
And the TP-Link RE305 WiFi Range Extender is very simple, taking just a few seconds to set up and start increasing your WiFi. Plug in somewhere you want a stronger signal (or rather near to where you want a signal, without being too far from your existing router), then hit the prominent WPS button on top of the device. Press the same button on your router, and the two devices will find each other and start sharing that glorious WiFi.
The TP-Link RE305 WiFi Range Extender boasts two bands, having a 2.1GHz network capable of speeds of up to 300mbps, and a 5GHz channel with speeds of up to 867mbps. For an extender of this size, that is very good.
But it gets better, as the RE305 also has an Ethernet port on the underside, allowing you to connect wired gadgets to it, too. Things like games consoles and smart TVs, which usually have a wired connection option, tend to benefit from being so connected, so that's nice. And there is also a jolly handy indicator light on top which will tell you if you've placed the extender too far from the router, saving you the hassle of sitting around trying to watch Netflix and wondering why it's taking an age to load.
In use it was very good and superbly reliable - but we've come to expect that from TP-Link; we still use one of the WiFi routers they sent us a couple of years ago as the main Test Pit Towers internet distributor. By God, it gets some welly. As we said, set up was easy as pie, and it started working with fast and stable speeds immediately.
The device itself is pleasing on the eye... if you have it somewhere on show, but it is also small and thin enough to fit down the back of furniture and bed and be forgotten about. We do so appreciate seamlessly integrated technology.
This is a great compact range extender, with a lot more going for it than the price suggests it should. Check it out.