TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Range Extender - Setup and Testing

Article Index
TP-Link RE650 AC2600 Range Extender
Features and Specifications
Setup and Testing

Rnage Extender Setup:

Installing the RE650 is as simple as plugging it in. Setting it up is almost as easy. For basic setup, press the WPS button on your router and then on the RE650. Once it connects to the 2.4GHz band, press the WPS on your router again, and then once more on the RE650. This time it will connect to your 5GHz band and you're done. If that doesn't work for you, you can head over to either the Google Play Store or the App Store and download the Tether App. Once you have that installed, you can tweak the setting on your mobile device if required or desired. If you know the IP of the range extender, you can log into the web interface on your computer as well. 

In the video below, we fired up our browser to give you a better overview of setup options and features inside the web interface. Please watch it full-screen at 1080p for the best experience.

 

Performance Testing:

When it comes to performacne testing, we had to move and shuffle a few things around to really push and stretch this incredible unit. It claims to be able to extend your network by 14,000 square feet and as such, it can be position pretty far away from your router. In the end we tested a few scenarios to get a good idea of how the performance of this unit really stands up.

First, we did a baseline benchmark with my ThinkPad T540p in the same room as my Netgear Nighthawk R8500 router. Second, I moved upstairs in my house to the opposite end and connected directly to the Netgear router to see how the performance held up at this extreme range. Next, I plugged in the RE650 upstairs in my home and plugged my laptop directly into the RE650 through the Gigabit connection to see how fast it was when it was just firing wireless between itself and the router. Finally, I used my laptop on the same level as the RE650 and connected to it. In this scenario I was connected wireless to the RE650 which was connected wirelessly to the router on a lower level of my home. The results are below.

Speed

We ran multiple streams at once to see how the performance was affected. We also ran single streams to get an idea of how it runs with only a single connection and a single network thread. As you can see above, the best performance comes when we are close to the router without a range extender. That is normal and is no surprise at all. What I found quite surprising is that the performacne when plugged into the extender as an access point was almost as good. I was very impressed with the performance of this extender in this mode.

When at a fair distance, the Netgear can't push the signal to my laptop very well and this is where the extender shines as well - namely at 5GHz. I get up to 48.1Mbps when at a far distance and connected to the Nighthawk R8500, but I manage to squeeze an impressive 146.1Mbps when connected to the extender on the 5GHz band. That's three times faster with the extender. If you run it as a bridge (while still running as an extender as well) I managed to get 362.5Mbps out of it. That's a very impressive result as a close, direct connection to the router only yielded 366.6Mbps.

 

Conclusion:

At the end of the day the RE650 is a very solid product. As far as wireless capability and performance, it's almost as fast as a close connection to a very capable router - and that's impressive. When it comes to wireless hopping, there is some loss in performance as the dual-band configuration limits the node performance. Other companies eliminate this bottleneck with a tri-band setup, but that is very expensive at this point. 

Still, the performance is great. Ease of setup is wonderful and the benefit for you home or business is pretty much invaluable. As the RE650 clones your SSID and passwords, you can move around between the router and the extreme range of the RE650 without dropping connection, choosing a different SSID or even losing packets. It's a fantastic device that offers a one-node mesh network with your existing hardware.

I really can't find anything wrong with TP-Link's RE650 and easily give it our Gold Award.

 

If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please feel free to post in the forum.