Too strong a Wi-Fi signal is not an issue we as consumers usually have to deal with, weak signal however is an issue. Whether its the construction of your building, or external factors one of the solutions to the problem is an extender. These devices can be placed part way between our router and device, boosting the signal to achieve maximum performance and stability. Today we look at one such device in our TP-LINK AC1900 Wi-Fi Range Extender Review RE580D.
TP-LINK AC1900 Wi-Fi Range Extender Review RE580D – Packaging and Bundle
Those of you who have seen past TP-Link reviews will recognise the packaging style here and the green/white colour scheme. We get a nice clear view of the product on the box, info on key features and inside the device is well protected within a cardboard tray. Bundled with it is some product documentation, software CD, network cable, mains adapter, three antenna and a stand which can be used to sit the RE580D vertically.
TP-LINK AC1900 Wi-Fi Range Extender Review RE580D – The Extender
As with the vast majority of Wi-Fi hardware, the TP-Link RE580D uses an all plastic casing, in this case with a very distinct pattern on top. A set of LED’s can be seen bottom left which give us status info on the device and there is some discrete branding on the front surface. The unit measures 9.5 X 6.4 X 1.7 in. (242 X 162 X 44mm).
As the name suggests, is a wireless ac product. Our speed is split into 600Mbps on 2.4GHz and 1300Mbps on 5GHz. Elsewhere on the specification front we have 1GHz dual core CPU to run our device, 700mW amplifiers, support for beamforming, high speed mode which combines both bands and support for all standard security encryption as well as routers from TP-Link and the competition.
Round at the back of the RE580D we our antenna connectors (screw on), power input, power button, reset/LED buttons and five GB LAN ports. The base of the device has holes for ventilation and there are four rubber feet that keep it steady on the desk.
TP-LINK AC1900 Wi-Fi Range Extender Review RE580D – Setup/Software
Setup of the RE580D is a simple process. We turn on the device and then scan for local Wi-FI networks. The unit identifies itself via a TP-Link name in our Wi-Fi list and we click connect.
Once connected we access http://tplinkextender.net are prompted for a user/password which are printed on the base of the unit and upon successfully entering them we choose a more secure/memorable combination. From there the RE580D begins to walk us through the process to extend our existing network.
Extending the network is a 4-5 step process. Find it, set our location, enter the security details, confirm everything is well. Done. It really is that simple. Maintenance of the device is also pretty simple too. We can update our settings, for example if we upgraded router, and perform tasks like LED management and updating our firmware all in a few clicks.
Of course the RE580D also supports WPS so we could simply press WPS on our existing router, hit the RE button on the extender and let them sync. 2 click setup if you like.
TP-LINK AC1900 Wi-Fi Range Extender Review RE580D – Conclusion
As far as build quality and design go, there is a lot to like about the RE580D. It looks stylish, yet is finished in a way that it will blend nicely into the background in most environments. The chassis feels solidly constructed and our port layout is good. 5 GB LAN ports is one more than most other manufacturers offer, so very much appreicated in a world where many devices can connect to the net and we like that the unit can be placed horizontally or vertically… even wall mounted if needed.
Setup could not be easier, just push a button on your router, one on the extender. Connect. Done. We can of course get hands on with the settings too and we like that TP-Link have kept the admin panel open for use, alowing us to manage the extender over time with ease. Speaking of that panel, it works very well indeed. Yes TP-Link still need us to manually download firmware updates but other than that, the processes all work well. Intuative, responsive. Ideal.
Performance of the extender was also good. It certainly boosted the signal in areas of our building which were previously a less than ideal. In those areas video calls became clearer and our ping was reduced. For general surfing, no issues and we happy went about streaming multiple HD videos at the same time without issue.
Summary: Decent build/design, simple and responsive setup/maintenance and good performance. Just what you need in an extender.