TP-Link Technologies Co., Ltd is a Chinese manufacturer of computer networking products. They are a recently company to the networking space in the United States, but in their home country of China, they are one the largest market share holders of networking products for small office / home office. In their short time on the US market, TP-LINK has proven themselves to produce some outstanding networking equipment.
TP-LINK as their trademark goes manufacturers a wide variety of products. This Editor of Gizmo Scoop tried out several of their products and over time their reviews would show up at Gizmo Scoop.
This particular review is for the TP-LINK N300 Wi-fi Range Extender with Pass-Through outlet (TL-WA860RE). The device features 2 antenna’s, a Ethernet port on the bottom and a 110v outlet up front. Setup is reasonably simple, but I’ll admit that TP-LINK’s instructions were a bit convoluted and unnecessarily complicated.
The easiest way to configure this device is to plug it into the wall. Once plugged in, use your computer to find the wireless network (information on a card given) and connect to the said device. From that point forward, open up a browser to the IP address of the device and configure it from there. The device has quite a few configuration options. I did not particularly need the device to extend my wifi network, but rather provide an Ethernet port to another part of the house (without requiring me to run Cat5e or Cat6 cables though the wall). The easiest option is to let the device clone the name of your default network. I preferred to isolate the extender by giving it a unique name. Thus allowing me to connect and configure the device at a later time without doing a hard reset.
The web configuration allows for a lot of unique settings, much of which are far too advanced for most casual users. That said, it does allow you to set the power out of the extender. If your extender is reasonably close to the main router, the efficiency of the network will drop at the default power levels. This is when, reducing the extenders power helps keep your wireless network stable at all times. Another suggestion is to assign a static IP to the extender and to turn off the default DHCP server and let your primary router issue DHCP IP’s. This would cause less interference with overlapped IP’s.
Overall the setup is not for the casual user. I would state it is more an an enthusiast that has the time to tinker around a bit. However once setup, it is highly stable. I have had no issues with the wifi extender. This particular extender powers my VoIP lines, which were relocated to another section of my home. The audio quality has not skipped and the fear that I would have ‘tunnel audio’ is long gone.
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