Getting WiFi throughout the house is sometimes a big challenge. Depending on where we have our router, it is very possible that we lack coverage . And depending on how the distribution of our apartment or house is, it can be a problem where we have left the fiber connection. But sometimes that is not discovered until it is late ... how do we fix it?
That's what inventions like this TP-Link RE200 are for, a small coverage extender or "range extender" that is very easy to install. Just insert it into the most central outlet that we have in the area without coverage. As for the price, it is very economical. It costs around 30 euros.
Since we discovered many years ago that we could have a network without being plugged into a cable , our lives have changed. The arrival of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) expanded the possibilities. To see the mail, browse, check our accounts ... Then came social networks and a huge range of possibilities, and there was no going back.
But like all good things, when you get used to it working you can't live without it if difficulties arise. And the 2.4GHz WiFi network has quite a few drawbacks . We started with security when we discovered that the neighbor, or the savvy kids in the neighborhood, “entered”. Later we discovered that when the microwave heats the milk, the reception stops. Later, it was necessary to choose the channel and configure it because we had dozens of nearby networks. And finally, if we have a rather large flat or house, it is easy for coverage not to reach everywhere.
5GHz WiFi networks solved some of these problems . That frequency is less saturated and microwaves or Bluetooth do not interfere with it. It also facilitates selectivity in environments with many networks (apartment buildings). But that is, in part, because with a higher frequency, the waves penetrate walls less well. The range is smaller: if our problem was that a 5GHz WiFi will not fix it, on the contrary.
That's where gadgets like the TP-Link RE200 come to our aid. As we will see, it has more functions, but the coverage extender will be the most used . And surely the reason for your purchase for most people. In this mode, the TP-Link receives the WiFi signal from the main router, and amplifies it. It will therefore be enough to place it in an area that still has a correct coverage, and this will be extended to the rooms or areas that were outside.
Doing so is as easy as plugging in the TP-Link RE200 near the main router and activating the WPS button on it. Next, we press the connection button of the RE200. After a few seconds of negotiation, it will have connected to our WiFi. It will be enough to unplug it and take it to the planned place, plug it there, and as if by magic the WiFi of our router will have spread . You will go further and with more power. And since it works with both bands, if our router also does it, we will extend the WiFi on both frequencies. The RE200 is compatible with 802.11a / b / g / n / ac standards and is simultaneous dual band.
The indicator lights on the body of the TP-Link RE200 help to find an ideal position if we are not clear. Applications that show WiFi coverage are a good ally for that. We activate them and move slowly with our mobile through the house, identifying where the signal is weak. That area where enough signal is received, and is closer to where it is lost, will be the ideal. As we say, TP-Link itself would also show us with its cover lights. Perfect for deciding where to locate it, between the router (with sufficient signal) and the area without coverage.
Another utility of the TP-Link RE200: to offer a wired network access for devices that do not have WiFi. It will not do much to extend the WiFi coverage if we have devices that can only be connected with cable. This happens with video players (DVD, Blu-ray and network file players), game consoles, televisions ... In some cases they have a connection with cable and WiFi, in others only with cable.
It will be enough to plug the TP-Link nearby, at a point with coverage as we have seen above. In addition to extending the WiFi network in that area (which may be sufficient for some devices), the TP-Link Ethernet connection is used to connect any device to the network there .
Features of the TP-Link RE200
This device complies with the AC750 nomenclature. That is, it is Wireless with N technology at 300Mbps in the 2.4GHz band. For that it uses two internal antennas (MIMO 2T2R). It is also 802.11ac in the 5GHz band at a speed of up to 433Mbps. In the latter case, it uses a dedicated antenna (1T1R) and 80MHz channel width (One-Stream). As we have mentioned, it has a WPS button, which facilitates connection with compatible routers. This makes it one hundred percent plug & play . The wired network output is Fast-Ethernet 10 / 100Mbps (not Giga, too bad).
In addition to working as a dual-band WiFi coverage extender, we can use it for other purposes. You can extend a 2.4GHz network broadcasting at 5GHz, ideal if we have an old 2.4GHz router to take advantage of the other frequency. It also allows the opposite: we have a new 5GHz router but we suffer from little range. Well, the RE200 can receive WiFi at 5GHz and broadcast at 2.4GHz to go further (and devices that are not compatible with the highest frequency). Also, as we have seen, it allows you to receive the network by WiFi (in any band) and connect a device with cable (called “WiFi client mode). For some advanced functions we can connect to the RE200 itself: by default it generates an open network for this purpose. We will access complete quite clear menus, common in TP-Link products, with a good assistant.
TP-Link Extender RE200
|Protocols||IEEE802.11ac, IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11b|
(2.4GHz and 5GHz)
|Wired connection||1 10 / 100M Ethernet port (RJ45)|
|Buttons||RE (Range Extender) Button, Reset Button|
|Consumption||6.5 W approximately|
|Dimensions||110 x 65.8 x 75.2 mm|
WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK