The TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender is a plug in unit that makes it super simple to install and use but while still offering lots of power.
This is a lot larger than most plug-in extenders, but with that extras size comes a lot of extra range. As such this takes up most of the socket space but with four antennas and lots of range that seems an acceptable sacrifice. if you've got a big house and need to cover a lot of ground, this is one of the best WiFi boosters (opens in new tab) there is.
Somehow TP-Link has managed to make this device look pretty good with a minimal design flanked by some pretty solid looking antennas. With lights to give feedback and an app for smart controls this is a very accessible device, both for beginners and WiFi aficionados alike.
The price is steep but then this is a top-end WiFi extender that is going to offer you exactly what you want – more speed all over your home.
Of course, before you buy a WiFi booster you should consider whether that's really what you need too. It could be that your internet problems stem from your wireless router, or maybe just that you're not with the best internet provider.
So is this the best WiFi extender for your needs? Read on to find out everything you need to know about the TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender.
TP-Link RE650 review: Design and build
As WiFi range extenders go – and we're not saying they're a good looking bunch – this is a bit of a stunner. With those clean lines and that minimalist white and metal finish, this does look decent. It won't stand out but if you happen to spot it, the look futuristic and certainly looks better than an empty socket.
The unit itself is 6.3 x 3 x 1.8 inches making it one of the biggest socket based extenders you can buy. As such this will more than likely take up both sockets in your wall outlet, depending on what you try to plug in below.
On the front are LED lights which show information about the unit at a glance. The LED ring is a useful way to find the ideal sweet spot between the base router and where you want the signal to go. Red is poor signal and blue is good. Simple. The other lights show things like power as well as 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz connections. All that can be turned off if you like it dark and hidden or set to come on at certain times as you need.
Under the surface, the brains of this device feature TP-Link's Intelligent Processing Engine. This works to pick the most efficient data path, but more on that below. It's backed by four antennas, which are fixed, not removable. It also features a one gigabit Ethernet port if you want to hard-wire into this for the most stable connection at the highest speeds.
WiFi rating: AC2600
WiFi spec: 802.11ac dual band
Antennas: 4 external
Ports: Gigabit Ethernet
Range: 14,000 sq ft
TP-Link RE650: Features
The shout-out feature that this modern WiFi extender offers is MU-MIMO beamforming smarts. This means the extender is built to work with lots of device at once with the highest speeds as the goal for everything that's connected. It sends targeted signals to the specific device for the strongest connection.
This uses four streams of that AC2600 rated dual-band WiFi at once for 1,733 Mbps on 5 GHz and 800 Mbps on 2.4 GHz simultaneously.
That also means the TP-Link RE650 AC2600 is able to claim it can fill an impressive 14,000 square feet of space using its 800 MHz dual-core processing brain to streamline data delivery.
This will also work as an AP Mode device meaning you can add a WiFi connectivity to your otherwise wired only network. Plug an Ethernet cable into the Ethernet port on the device and your wired connection gets the WiFi overhaul from that location.
There is a TP-Link Tether app that works with the device allowing your greater levels of control, personalization and feedback via your smartphone or tablet.
There is a massive two year warranty but it does come with 24/7 customer support, making it ideal if you need help with setup and beyond.
TP-Link RE650: Performance
The performance level of the TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender in real world use delivered speeds of around 525 Mbps over a 500 feet range. Add in a couple of walls and at 30 feet that dropped to nearer the 215 Mbps mark. Through a wall and up a floor and it was hitting about 155 Mbps.
This isn't as much as some dedicated free standing extenders offer, but they cost more. It is far better than most plug-in extenders can offer.
The real-world range is about 75 feet, where you're still going to get a decent speed and across multiple devices. That was fine for playing 4K videos and gaming without any lag issues.
The device worked constantly when left on all day and simply got a little warm, but within normal expected ranges. It kept power consumption minimal too, using around five watts for the entire time.
The app was very easy to use and showed useful data like how many devices were connected at the time. It also allowed for easy access to things like lighting timers. But, crucially, it gave a place that offers more control, or the feel of control, than mere lights on the device itself offers. The schedule mode is great – especially if you want this off at night upstairs when the kids go to bed.
Should I buy the TP-Link RE650?
The TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Wi-Fi Range Extender is a really powerful and good looking way to boost your Wi-Fi signal without taking up the space of a freestanding unit. Yes, it may cost you two socket spaces, but for its size and relatively expensive price, you get a lot of performance.
Since this is easy to setup and get running, that's also a big appeal here as this straddles the line between pro-level performance and everyday usability. The two year warranty with 24/7 customer support is a really great deal sweetener. That said, once it's setup you'll likely forget it's even there or that you ever had a range problem in the first place.