Sales of mesh Wi-Fi systems have skyrocketed over the past year or so, as our growing reliance on home Wi-Fi for work and entertainment has put more and more strain on our home networks.
A mesh system is a great way to extend your Wi-Fi network throughout your home, including upstairs bedrooms or your new home office in the garden shed. But, if you only have one or two rooms where the Wi-Fi needs a boost, you may be able to save some money and fix the Wi-Fi with a more affordable range extender. in place.
Wireless connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), 2.4 GHz + 5.0 GHz, 1800 Mbps
Wired connectivity: 1x Gigabit Ethernet (with access point mode)
Dimensions (HxWxD): 125x74x46mm
We liked TP-Link’s RE650 extender, which was affordable and easy to install, and the company has now introduced the new RE605X, which is one of the first range extenders we’ve seen move to Wi-Fi 6. (aka 802.11 ax), with dual band Wi-Fi operating at 1800 Mbps.
This does not mean that you also need a Wi-Fi 6 router to use the RE605X, as the TP-Link website goes out of its way to point out that it offers “ultimate compatibility”, with anyone. which router using either Wi-Fi. -Fi 6 or the old Wi-Fi 5 that most of us still use (formerly known as 802.11ac).
It’s also affordable, at just £ 79.99 (around $ 110, AU $ 150), which isn’t more expensive than many competing Wi-Fi Extenders. And, if you’re on a tight budget, there’s also a cheaper model called RE505X, which provides slightly slower-running dual-band Wi-Fi 6 at 1,500 Mbps, for a very competitive price of £ 59.99 (around 80 $, AU $ 110).
Design and functionality
Unlike the smoothly curved design of the RE650, the white plastic body of the new RE605X is decidedly rectangular, with sharp angles all around and two large antennas that rise nearly six inches into the air to provide good reach to your new Wi. -Fi signal.
It is designed to plug directly into an AC outlet, and there is a small row of status LEDs on the front of the unit that can help you find a good location for the RE605X by displaying signal strength. for 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz. Frequency bands.
The only other visible feature is a single Gigabit Ethernet port on the side of the unit, which can provide a wired connection for a laptop or other devices. However, you can also use the RE605X in “access point mode”, using this Ethernet port to connect it to an existing wired network, which can then be extended with the Wi-Fi signal of the RE605X.
Performance and start-up
Ookla speed test – 2.4 GHz (upload / download)
Within 30 feet, three partitions: 100 Mbps / 11 Mbps
Ookla speed test – 5.0 GHz
Within 30 feet, three partitions: 100 Mbps / 11 Mbps
20 GB Steam Download – 2.4 GHz
At less than 30 feet, three partitions: 11.0 MB / s
20 GB Steam Download – 5.0 GHz
At less than 30 feet, three partitions: 12.5MB / s
Some range extenders can be a bit tricky to set up at first, but, as we’ve discovered with the RE650, TP-Link’s Tether app for iOS and Android does a good job of keeping it simple.
You should start with the RE605X plugged into a power outlet near your main router, and the Tether app can then automatically detect the repeater’s new Wi-Fi signal and connect your smartphone or tablet directly to the repeater.
The app then walks you through the process of connecting the RE605X to your existing Wi-Fi network and gives you the option of entering new names and passwords, or sticking to the details of your existing network.
It’s admirably simple and straightforward for new users, but the Range Extender also provides a web browser interface for more experienced users who want more control over their new network settings.
We were also pleased to see that the RE605X provided a noticeable improvement to the rather poor Wi-Fi performance of our back office. Using the Ookla benchmark app, our normal router only handled a speed of 34Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 85.0Mbps on the 5.0GHz band. But, with the RE605X plugged into a power outlet in the next hallway, those speeds shot up to 100Mbs on 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz, which is the maximum speed supported by our broadband from office.
Steam downloads also benefited, dropping from 3.5MB / s to 11MB / s on the 2.4GHz band, while the 5.0GHz band increased from 10MB / s to 12.5MB / s. s, which matches the performance of many more expensive routers we tested. .
Not everyone will need a range extender that supports Wi-Fi 6, so you can still save money by going for an older extender that only has Wi-Fi 5. the ease of use and high performance of the RE605X make it a very good option for homes that need to boost Wi-Fi in just one or two rooms.
Buy it if …
You have a Wi-Fi “dead point”
If you need to improve your Wi-Fi speeds throughout your home, you might be better off going with a more expensive mesh network system. But, for a dead center that only affects a particular room or location, an affordable range extender like the RE605X will work just fine.
You have a Wi-Fi router 6
The RE605X is compatible with older routers and devices that support Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), but it will work better with a newer router that supports advanced Wi-Fi 6 features.
You are an advanced user
TP-Link’s Tether app is quick and easy to use, but the RE605X also provides a web browser interface for more advanced users who want more control over their network settings.
Don’t buy it if …
You are on a budget
The RE605X’s Wi-Fi 6 features mean it’s a bit more expensive than range extenders that still use the older Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ax) standard. You can pick up a good Wi-Fi 5 repeater for as low as £ 50 / $ 70 / AU $ 90.
You are a wanderer
Range extenders are designed to improve Wi-Fi in a particular room or location, such as an upstairs bedroom or in the garden. If you and your devices tend to travel a lot, a larger mesh network might be a better option.
You like wires
The RE605X has an Ethernet port to provide a wired connection for devices such as a laptop or game console. But if, like me, you have a desk full of gadgets that require a wired connection, there are larger range extenders that provide additional ports.