- TP-Link RE650 represents the best Wi-Fi range extender for installing at home.
- Wi-Fi performance: AC2600
- Coverage: 14,000sq/ft
- 2.4GHz speed: 45Mbps
- 5GHz speed: 133Mbps
- Antennae: 4
- Single SSID support
- Supports MU-MIMO and Beamforming
- High FPS
- Available Gigabit Ethernet port
- Relatively weak 2.4 GHz throughput
TP-Link provides customers with a variety of wireless extenders, and this TP-Link AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE650) can be considered their top entry into the extender space. This model includes tops specs when compared to the lower models, with AC2600 speeds (N800 + AC1733) and four external antennas. The integrated Gigabit Ethernet port on this extender is also conveniently available for facilitating the use of this as a wireless bridge, or access point, providing the user with flexibility as they build out their network. This extender includes the option to transmit the same SSID, even with routers of a different manufacturer, allowing this RE650 function as a ‘pseudo-Mesh’ node.
Throughput tests on the 2.4 GHz frequency are considerably lackluster. However, the 5 GHz tests are the standout, beginning with the Speedtest download of 132.91 Mbps, the best throughput we saw from any of the smaller extenders. On the gaming test, the 69+ FPS, and dropped frames of <1% on the streaming 4K video on the 5 GHz frequency matched the baseline benchmarks of the wired Ethernet connection. Furthermore, RE650 is the only compact extender to do this feat.
Testing on real-world benchmark tests showed that the experience with the RE650 could be described as almost the same as gaming while connected with a wire using this extender. This great performance, coupled with the over 14,000 reviews on Amazon that provide it four stars, and the affordable price make the TP-Link RE650 the top recommendation for a wireless network extender.
The RE650 has a three-prong plug in its back that goes right into an AC outlet, but at 6.3 x 3.0 x 1.8 inches, the white and gray extender is four times bigger than the Netgear EX6120 AC1200 Essentials Edition Wi-Fi range extender, which also includes a plug-in design. In fact, TP-Link's device is so big that it can block nearby wall outlets.
Its four LEDs serve as indicator lights for power as well as connections with the host router's 2.4- and 5-GHz networks. Near the top, a circular LED ring glows red when the device is too far from the router and blue when it's in its sweet spot. If this ends up looking like a light show, it is possible to turn the LEDs off with a switch on the unit's side or schedule them to turn on and off.
The RE650 uses TP-Link's Intelligent Processing Engine to pick the most effective path for the data to travel from router to extender to the client. Unlike the Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000tri-band Wi-Fi extender, the RE650 does this transfer without a dedicated data channel. It moves data on four lanes of traffic and can theoretically deliver 1,733 Mbps over its 5-GHz channel and 800 Mbps over the 2.4-GHz channel for an AC2600 bandwidth rating.