The RE 200 AC750 WiFi Range Extender by TP-Link is a Dual Band Range Extender designed to boost your WiFi signal in home or office locations where you have areas with poor WiFi signal or dead spots. The RE 200 plugs into a power outlet, and can also be used to provide wireless internet to a wired device such as a Blu-ray player, Wii or Playstation console.
I have an awkwardly shaped house for WiFi signal – it is split over 3 floors with lots of walls and we have a lot of areas with poor reception and dead spots. I have used another WiFi extender in the past, but with it I have to keep switching between the main signal and the extender signal in different areas and still have dead spots, so I was interested to see how the RE200 would cope with this challenging environment.
There are 2 ways to set up the range extender, if your router has a WPS button that is the simplest way, if not you need to setup via a web browser.
WPS (WiFi Protected Setup)
My router does not have this button so I was unable to test this method but it sounds incredibly simple:
1. Plug in RE200, wait until WiFi light on RE200 is solid green
2. Press WPS button on router and Press WPS button on RE200, 2.4GHz and 5GHz LEDs will turn solid green once connected
3. Relocate the RE200 to preferred location (1/2 way between router area you are trying to extend coverage to.)
Web Browser Set Up
This is the method I used.
1. Plug in RE200, wait until WiFi light on RE200 is solid green.
2. Disconnect your Ethernet connection – this instruction confused me a little – disconnect it from where ? It actually just means if your computer is connected to your router via an Ethernet cable then disconnect it, otherwise do nothing.
3. Click on your computers WiFi to see available networks and choose TP-link-Extender.
4. Launch a web browser and connect to http://tplinkrepeater.net/, use admin as both username and password
5. Enter your router’s WiFi password and choose whether to keep this same name as your WiFi network name when using the RE200 or to give it a separate name. I choose a separate name – it automatically suggested my regular WiFi name_EXT. Having a separate name allowed me to compare signal strengths with and without the extender in different parts of my house. If you choose to keep the same name as your regular WiFi network name you wont need to switch between networks in different parts of the house, making things very simple.
6. Repeat the setup for the other band (do once for 2.4GHz and once for 5GHz)
7. Relocate the RE200 to preferred location (1/2 way between router area you are trying to extend coverage to.)
Even though the non-WPS method has a lot more steps it was still very straightforward and only took about 5 minutes from start to finish.
If you make a mistake when setting it up (e.g. enter your WiFi password incorrectly) there is a recessed “reset” button on the base of the unit, a word of warning though – the RE200 must be plugged in when you reset otherwise the reset doesn’t work.
My first challenge was finding a good location to place the RE 200 in, my router is upstairs in my kitchen, and I have dead spots in my bedroom (1/2 a level down and off to one side), living room (also upstairs) and office (full level down in another direction). One thing that made it a little tricky was that it needs to be located away from Bluetooth devices, cordless phones and microwaves, and I have a lot of Bluetooth devices in my house. The reason for this is that all these devices can interfere with the 2.4GHz signal, so you will get better performance avoiding them. The interference a typical household gets on the 2.4GHz band is a good reason to use a dual band extender like the RE200 (not all devices will work on 5.0GHz hence needing 2.4GHz also). The good news is it is really easy to move it between locations, after the initial set up it is just plug and go, when you move it to a new location just plug it in and wait for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz indicators to light green, and its ready to go.
My house is a really awkward configuration for WiFi signal, plus our incoming signal isn’t that strong (we have DSL but live quite a distance from the hub), so it is quite a challenge for a signal extender. I did find one location for the RE200 where I could get internet in all areas of the house, but the signal was still pretty weak in the far corners of the bedroom, this was still an improvement as there was no connection before in this area. However, I also found that by moving it between two different locations each one would improve my signal strength in different problem areas. The improvement in signal strength did vary significantly depending on the location of the RE200, and depending on whether I was using a computer or mobile device, in general the signal in the house was much worse on my mobile devices, so this was where I saw the biggest improvements. Once I had found the right locations I saw from 15% up to 100% improvement in download speed tests.
The things I like about the RE 200 are: it is very easy to set up, very quick and easy to move between locations, it has both 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands and can be used to provide wireless signal to a Blu-ray or game console at the same time as being used as a range extender. It worked better than my previous extender, and with my previous extender I found areas where my devices automatically connected to the extender even though it had no useable signal and I had to manually switch back to the main router signal in those areas, this did not happen with the RE200. My house is a big challenge for a signal extender, and although I did not find one ideal location for the RE200 that gave good signal in all areas of the house I did see an improvement in my signal throughout the home, and by moving it between 2 locations I could get a useable signal in all areas (which I could not previously).
The RE 200 AC750 WiFi Range Extender by TP-Link is available from Amazon and other retailers, retail price is approximately $50
NOTE: A product was supplied by the company for review purposes, no other form of compensation was received, all opinions stated in the review are those of the author and have been offered honestly.