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by Anura Guruge
>> Ordered TP-Link — May 27, 2014.
>> Returned RE2000 — May 16, 2014.
>> I get full refund … — Apr. 25, 2014.
>> I file BBB complaint — Apr. 21, 2014.
>> Sledgehammer to Linksys RE1000 — Apr. 18, 2014.
>> Cisco Linksys Sales will LIE — Apr. 17, 2014.
>> Linksys brain-dead as well — Apr. 18, 2014.
**** Search ‘Linksys‘ and ‘Cisco‘ for other posts >>>>
I have now been using, with daily increasing glee, a TP-Link TL-WA850RE 300Mbps Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender for 9 days [since Friday, June 6, 2015]. So far, so good. So very good. I am scared of jinxing myself! This $30 rather cute looking Range Extender sure seems much, much better than the infuriating Linksys (Belkin) RE2000 & RE1000 equivalents.
To be honest the TP-Link TLWA850RE seems too good to be true!
So far it has worked like a champ. It doesn’t get too hot unlike the all black Linksys RE2000 that used to ‘glow white’ because it got so hot. [Actually that was part of the reason I returned it and insisted on getting my money back. It ran way too hot for what it was.] It was a breeze to set up. We (Deanna helped me by pressing the button on the router side) set it up using “Wi-Fi Protected Setup” (WPS). Sure did not take 2 minutes to sync up — as is the expectations set for WPS. It was much faster. The whole setup from the time I took the TL-WA850RE out of its little box and had ‘Wi-Hi’ bars showing on its pleasingly blue front LEDs was definitely less than 5 minutes. It came with a mini-DVD but I didn’t use it.
After setting it up close to the router as they all insist, I unplugged it and moved it to where I had previously deployed the Linksys Range Extenders. 4-story house. Wi-Fi router is on the 4th floor. What I really need the Range Extender is for a Canadian ‘set-top’ box that allows me to watch cricket on our ‘large’ 47″ TV. I am 98% sure that the ‘set-top’ box has a c. 1998 802.11 a/b chipset. Definitely cannot be ‘n’. We use 802.11 n laptops and pads all over the house with impunity and good speeds. Without a Range Extender this ‘set-top’ box is dead in the water. The TV and the ‘set-top’ box is on the 1st (ground) floor. I use the Range Extender, in a hallway, on the 2nd floor. So that is where I put the TP-Link TL-WA850RE.
To my great relief I got the 3-bar Wi-Fi signal. This, per TP-Link, is the minimum recommended. Ever so often the 3-bars flicker and I end up with 2-bars — but it seems to go back to 3. So far, as I keep on saying (like a good luck mantra), so good. The aesthetically appealing TLWA850RE is easily visible to me when I am in the kitchen getting my coffee, tea, hot dogs (and I eat a LOT of hot dogs a day) and red wine. I have got into the habit of glancing over to check the bars. 99% of the time I see 3. So I am happy. So far, so good. Have I said that before.
I have, despite my passing familiarity with this industry, never heard of TP-Link. Appears that they are a Chinese company and growing like crazy. They seem to be doing very well on Amazon. The TLWA850RE is #1 in Amazon for ‘Repeaters’ and ‘Wireless Access Points’! Wow. D-Link, Netgear, Linksys etc. must be somewhat worried assuming that these companies now have any management that cares.
TP-Link claims to have 24×7 phone support. I have not tried that. I did use their e-mail support. I did get a decent response overnight. I wanted to know whether I can and should use multiple repeaters. At $30 a pop, even I despite my acute lack of funds, can afford to buy two or three — given I paid “$90” for one Linksys RE2000. So my logic was to put a TP-Link Range Extender on each floor (other than the 4th) — rather than just having one on the 2nd floor. I thought of it as using Range Extenders in tandem. Each extender boosting the signal and propagating it to the next. Much to my surprise they advised me against it — actually it was stronger than that. They told me NOT to even think about it. Made me feel like I had had impure thoughts about Wi-Fi!
They told me to use this.
Click to access TP-Link product page.
I am somewhat au fait with LAN-over-your-powerlines extenders. DISH had given me one, which I rarely used, 4 years ago. This one by TP-Link, AV500, appears to be best of all worlds. Extends the LAN and then gives you Wi-Fi and a 500Mbps Ethernet port at the other end. Yes, I can use it. At ‘$60’ from Amazon it is even in my price range. Yes, I will be getting one of these soon. I plan to be getting one or more additional ‘set-top’ boxes in the future. Possibly a Roku now that you can get cricket on it. There is a $300/year box that gives me ALL the U.K. TV channels. That seems to be a given in my future. All these “set-top” boxes have the latest in 802.11 n chipsets. So they might not be as dependent on a Range Extender as my current box. But I, as an ex-networking guru, work on the adage that: “You can never be too rich, too thin, have too much sex or bandwidth”. The only thing I am debating — should I get a third, yes third, broadband connection to the house! Right now we have two separate TDS fiber lines each delivering (upwards) of 15Mbps. To me that is just about bearable. What I am mulling over is to get a third-line and a load-balancing WAN aggregator. To my delight TP-Link has one. Fate! Not too bad on the price front either. “$105” from Amazon. So IF I get a 25Mbps cable connection from Metrocast (to spread my risk) I could have 55Mbps aggregated and at least 7Mbps uploads. Yep, in my brain … I will keep you posted.
But for now. TP-Link — SO FAR, SO GOOD.
Damn sight better than Linksys. Buy them, refurbished from Amazon — knowing that Amazon will take good care of you.
Hope this helps.