Product Review: TPfocus Wireless-N WiFi Range Extender

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_DSC0775Unless you use your computer/tablet/smartphone in the same room as your wireless router it is likely that you will benefit from a WIFI range extender – particularly if you want to connect upstairs, when the router is downstairs, for those late night Netflix binge sessions – don’t worry, we’re not judging you. Netgear are the most commonly associated name with such products, however competitors have entered the market, and TPfocus were kind enough to send us their range extender for us to take a look at.

The item can be used in five different modes:

1.Wireless Router Mode-Creates an instant private wireless network and share Internet to multiple Wi-Fi devices
2.Repeater Mode – Receives and broadcasts your existing wireless signal to extend wireless range
3.Access Point Mode – Connect to a wired network and transform wired Internet access into wireless allowing multiple devices/users to share the Internet
4.Client Mode-Connects to another device via Ethernet cable and acts as an external adaptor to send/receive wireless signal from your wireless network
5.Bridge Mode-Connect to an outdoor WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider) AP to allow multiple devices/users share the same wireless internet connection

The set-up is very easy, and the image instructions are very clear and easy to follow. Once set-up it is easy to connect your devices to, and will relocate from and to various plug sockets without the need to reset. From our limited testing so far, the product is reliable and has certainly made an impact on the internet speed from one floor to the next, more than doubling the signal and achieving its promised 300 Mbps.

 

Without the extender
Without the extender
Using the extender
Using the extender

 

It seems like a really strong product which would survive a few bumps with a scratch being the only damage. But the main flaw with this product is its bulkiness, sitting in a plug socket it is hardly flattering and cannot be tucked easily out of the way. Also the plug orientation may cause issues for some users, as the device will fit upside down depending on the orientation of your sockets – if you have sockets low to the ground I advise you check before purchasing this product. It is not huge, but if you’re trying to travel light, this is potentially not the easiest product to slip into your packing. That being said, a lot of similar products on the market are a similar price with only a few premium products coming in a smaller size.

You could pay approx £50 for a Netgear, which would probably give you slightly more coverage and a better support network – but for average use, and as long as your WIFI speed does not exceed  300 Mbps, then this product fits the bill.