TP-Link | N300 Wifi Extender Review

TP-Link is a company that I know and trust, so when I saw the N300, I knew I had to give this product a try. What made this extender stand out was that it’s very affordable, so it’s often going to be the first extender that people try.

But the one issue that I have is that affordability doesn’t equate to quality.

I wanted to see what this highly affordable extender could offer.

Let’s take a look at the features before going any further.

TP-Link | N300 Wifi Extender Features and Specs

  • Easy setup
  • Speeds up to 300Mbps
  • Compatible with any router, gateway or access point
  • Two external antennas
  • Gigabit ethernet ports
  • Set time schedules
  • 2-year warranty

TP-Link | N300 Wifi Extender Review

When you receive your package, glance at the quick instructions on the side of the box. These instructions are all you need to get up and running with your extender. What you’ll need to do is rather simple:

  • Plug the network extender in close to your router
  • Wait for the green light to start flashing
  • Press your router’s WPS button
  • Press the button on your extender

You’ll perform this process for most routers, and when the blinking green light turns red and then to a solid green color, you’re now connected to your extender.

A lot of people are connecting using their smartphone, so you’ll now want to grab your smartphone and look for the connection that has the following after it “_EXT.” When prompted to input your password, plug in your normal password and you’re set.

That’s all that you need to do to get started.

If you do have to call customer service for any issues relating to drivers, you can expect to be on the call for a very long time. The customer support for TP-Link is severely lacking, and if you’re a person who will need some help with the setup process, the lack of sufficient support can be a deal-breaker.

Keep in mind that this product works best with other routers that support N300 WiFi.

Compact in size, this extender will plug into an electrical socket and contains two antennas that are highly effective at extending your Internet. What a lot of consumers agree on is that when this product works, it can actually increase your Internet speeds when compared to a spotty, weak connection.

Wireless speeds up to 300Mbps are supported.

Dual band connectivity is offered, but as you’ll see later in the review, this is a key issue with this device. The company has failed to update older firmware issues, so a lot of people will lose connectivity when in the 5GHz band.

The size is small, the speed is increased and the product is inexpensive – everything most consumers are looking for in an extender.

I do like that you have the ability to have much better control over devices that connect to your extender network. You can set schedules for each device so that you can control when devices can and cannot connect to the network.

If devices shouldn’t be connected, such as your kid’s smartphone when the school season is in session, you can have the device automatically kicked off of the network. You have access to a refined set of access controls, and there’s also a power schedule which can turn the entire network on or off as you see fit.

There are additional functions through the web UI that allow for full WiFi coverage control.

Overall, despite all of its quirks and issues, this is a great WiFi extender when it’s working properly and you have everything setup. A key issue has to do with the firmware update, or lack of an update from the manufacturer.

But that’s not to say that there aren’t a few things that we did like about this product.

What We Liked About This Product

The N300 is a product that we really wanted to love, but it simply came up short during our research. A major bonus of this extender is that it is universally compatible with other hardware, it’s easy to setup and you can manage the N300 directly from your phone.

And there are also key schedules and controls for your WiFi access.

If you have children that you want to ensure are in bed at a certain time and not scouring the Internet, you can set schedules for all of the devices that connect to your extended WiFi. You also have the option of plugging your device directly into the ethernet port at the bottom of the extender for faster overall speeds.

It’s small. It’s compact. It comes with a long warranty.

What We Didn’t Like

When the N300 works, it is a device that everyone with an Internet connection will enjoy. The main issue that others have had is that the device doesn’t always work. But to understand why the product doesn’t work you have to understand that there is a 2GHz mode and a 5GHz mode.

The product claims to work in both modes, but a router that has dual band mode will not work well.

A key issue is that there has not been a firmware update for quite some time, and when the issue was found, it could have quickly been remedied with an update. The device may work well when you install DD-WRT.

If the company would have taken responsibility for the issue and didn’t require the consumer to download third-party firmware to make the product work, it would have received a much higher rating.

The company clearly knows how boosters work , but they should have done more to improve the continued issues with this product.

The Verdict

Rating: 83%

I may have added this product to my must-have gadgets  list, but the company failed to meet their obligations to the consumer in the customer service department.

The N300 is a good product, but it’s not our first choice for a WiFi extender .

If you don’t mind installing third-party firmware and really hacking through this product, then it may be a good option for you. Otherwise, I recommend using one of the other WiFi extenders that we have reviewed on our site.