- TP-Link Wi-Fi extenders can significantly increase the range in your home, but they can also have drawbacks such as reducing internet speed.
- Obstructions and construction materials in older homes can affect the signal strength of TP-Link Wi-Fi extenders.
- For larger homes or multi-story homes, one TP-Link Wi-Fi extender may not be enough to provide adequate coverage.
- Network congestion can be a problem with Wi-Fi extenders, as they create a separate network and add more traffic.
Wi-Fi extenders can significantly increase the range in your home, which makes them a great option for people with a spotty connection. While popular, however, there are a variety of reasons I would avoid a TP-Link Wi-Fi extender.
TP-Link is a leader in this space, with a large array of devices to choose from. Are they the best choice for your needs? We aim to answer that question by touching on some of the pros and cons of a TP-Link Wi-Fi extender.
Why I Would Avoid a TP-Link Wi-Fi Extender
When you have spotty internet throughout your home, a Wi-Fi extender is a quick and easy solution. This popular gadget can extend your Wi-Fi signal, and I have owned several of these devices over the years. They can be useful, but here are the main reasons I would avoid a TP-Link Wi-Fi extender or a Wi-Fi repeater from any brand.
The Need for Speed
Having spots without Wi-Fi coverage in your home is a huge inconvenience. A TP-Wi-Fi repeater can help with that but will have a major impact on your speed.
By design, a Wi-Fi extender connects to your network and “extends” the coverage. It does this by repeating the signal. While it does work, it also slices your speed in half. If your connection pulls 50Mbps through your wireless network, an extender will bring that number down considerably.
It’s arguably the biggest drawback of purchasing a Wi-Fi extender, regardless of the manufacturer. Speed has been a deal-breaker in my household, although not the largest hurdle I’ve dealt with when using a Wi-Fi repeater.
Obstructions and Construction
Do you live in an older home? Building standards and the materials used to build homes have changed dramatically over the years. If you live in a house built in the last 30 years, the construction may not be an issue. For people with older homes like mine, the walls and what’s behind them will affect signal strength.
Plaster was a common component used in old or historic homes, and so was chicken wire. While it’s something you’ll hopefully never have the displeasure of dealing with, it wreaks havoc with Wi-Fi networks. It doesn’t matter if it’s been covered by sheetrock; it will still cause issues with routers and Wi-Fi extenders.
Obstructions are also problems with TP-Link Wi-Fi extenders. While you don’t have to have a clear line of sight, placement must be perfect. These devices have a limited range, so thick walls and other obstacles can impede signal strength from your router to the extender. This results in an unreliable performance along with the aforementioned speed issues.
Not Enough for Larger Homes
While I don’t have a massive home, one Wi-Fi extender wasn’t enough for our needs. We were able to get a strong signal in the rear of our home but had to install another one to handle another area with a dead spot.
Anyone living in a multi-story home is fighting an uphill battle with a Wi-Fi extender. You can scatter these devices throughout your home, but that becomes challenging due to placement and price. A TP-Link AX1500 can cover up to 1500 square feet — in ideal conditions.
This Wi-Fi extender is one of the company’s better models, with dual-band compatibility and support for up to 25 devices. It’s also pricey, especially if you need to install more than one in your home.
Many of us deal with congestion when allergy season rolls around, but it can also affect your tech. Network congestion is a leading cause of internet issues in connected homes, and a Wi-Fi extender just adds more traffic.
A Wi-Fi extender creates a separate network in your home, which adds another signal to deal with. If you see a half dozen connections when you attempt to connect to Wi-Fi, adding an extender to your network probably isn’t the best idea.
That’s the case in my home and it’s a problem that immediately caused issues with a Wi-Fi extender. It’s one reason I don’t use them anymore and why I went a different route to improve my signal.
Alternatives to a TP-Link Wi-Fi Extender
If you don’t want to use a TP-LINK Wi-Fi extender and are struggling with coverage, there are a few alternatives you can try. What you shouldn’t do is upgrade your internet, as you need coverage, not speed. Instead, consider one of the options below.
Amazon eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi System
- Includes one router plus two extenders
- Wi-Fi 6
- Supports speeds up to 500Mbps
- Coverage up to 4,500 square feet
- Compatible with Alexa
Amazon has a gadget for almost anything, including improving the Wi-Fi signal in your home. The best alternative to a Wi-Fi extender is a mesh Wi-Fi system, and one of the most popular options is the eero 6 mesh Wi-Fi system.
This kit has everything you need to get started as long as you have a solid internet connection. It comes with the eero router and two extenders, which provide coverage of up to 4,500 square feet. Those extenders allow you to eliminate dead spots, and you won’t have to deal with cutbacks in speed.
The eero system is rated for speeds up to 500Mbps and supports Wi-Fi 6 along with around 75 devices. It can handle busy homes and is incredibly easy to set up. As a bonus, the eero utilizes Alexa, so you can use the system as a hub for your smart home. Other noteworthy features include a guest network, ad-blocking, and content filters.
Amazon’s mesh Wi-Fi system is affordable and a great way to increase the Wi-Fi range in your home without sacrificing speed. Consumers love how easy it is to use, and it’s also a breeze to expand through additional extenders as your needs change.
TP-Link Deco Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System
If you’re interested in trying a mesh network in your home but don’t want to overspend, the TP-Link Deco S4 should be high on your list. This system is half the price of the eero but can handle just as many devices.
This version of the Deco S4 comes with two extenders featuring Deco Mesh tech. This lets you connect with over 75 devices and has dual Ethernet ports on the back. Each module acts as its own router, and the system is compatible with all major providers, from Xfinity to Verizon and Frontier.
The Deco 4 is a dual-band system with 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. It doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6, but the coverage is excellent at 3,800 square feet for two modules. This system is much easier to deal with than any traditional Wi-Fi extender, including ones from TP-Link, and affordable to expand.
We’re fans of the price of this Mesh Wi-Fi network and feel like it’s one of the easier options to use without being tethered to Amazon. There are no serious drawbacks to the system unless you simply need something with more coverage or speed.
TP-Link AXE5400 Tri-Band Router
If you don’t want to set up a new network in your home, and just need a bit more reach, a new router can usually do the trick. TP-Link has a variety to choose from, but the AXE5400 is our favorite and a great way to future-proof the connection in your home.
With Wi-Fi 6E support and four Gigabit LAN ports, this router gives you a variety of ways to connect at high speeds. This tri-band router can handle six simultaneous streams and has a 6GHz band. It’s ideal when you need a frequency that’s fast and free of congestion in your home.
The AXE5400 also has a WAN Gigabit port, a USB 3.0 port, and fantastic VPN support. It will keep your data safe with WPA3 encryption, while the six high-powered antennas ensure a steady connection. If you need to take the range a little further, you’ll be thrilled with the router’s OneMesh support.
TP-Link’s router isn’t the cheapest way to bring Wi-Fi 6 into your home, but it will provide excellent coverage. Those six antennae have beamforming tech, and you won’t be disappointed by the speed as long as you have a connection to support it.
Best Alternatives to a TP-Link Wi-Fi Extender
|1. Amazon eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi System
|2. TP-Link Deco Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System
|3. TP-Link AXE5400 Tri-Band Router
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