It's downright maddening when your home's Wi-Fi network won't quite reach a specific area in your house where you need to connect -- but you can fix the problem in a pinch with. Just plug it in near your dead zone and pair it with your router, and it'll rebroadcast a fresh Wi-Fi signal throughout your dead zone, making it much easier to connect at faster, more usable speeds.
You've got lots of options in the range extender category, but one of our top recommendations is the TP-Link RE220, which typically costs about $35. It isn't as significant an upgrade, and it isn't anything fancy -- no , no support for gigabit speeds -- but if you just need to boost a back room's speeds from near-zero to 80Mbps or so, it's as reliable (and affordable) as they come. Plus, it outperformed pricier competitors .
The RE220 is easy enough to afford on its own, but today, Amazon is sweetening the deal by marking it down to just $20. That makes it a no-brainer pick-up for anyone with a home Wi-Fi network that could use a little help.
To use the RE220, you'll need to plug it in and then press its WPS button as well as the matching WPS button on your router. That'll create a link between the two, and it'll begin re-broadcasting the signal as a new Wi-Fi network with the name of your main Wi-Fi network plus "EXT" at the end. Devices around the range extender, including in your dead zone, should be able to make use of that EXT network to connect to the net.
For best results,throughout your home to find the outlet closest to the dead zone where you still have a fairly strong signal (look for speeds that are at least half as fast as when you're close to the the router). Ideally, that'll be no more than one or two rooms away from the dead zone -- that's about as much usable range as you can expect from a basic, plug-in extender like this one.
In my home, where I test routers, range extenders and other home networking products, the RE220 was able to boost download speeds in my back bathroom, where most routers struggle to maintain a signal. With the router I tested with alone, I was lucky to hit double digit speeds at all, but with the RE220 in play, I was able to crack speeds as high as 80Mbps on a consistent basis over multiple days of tests. In my eyes, that makes this a steal at $20.
This story was published earlier. We've updated it to reflect that the offer has returned.