Just bought a TP-LINK Wireless WiFi range extender? Having connection problems with it? Well you’re not alone. It appears that these WiFi repeaters are causing a lot of people a lot of headaches …. and it’s not just TP-LINK …. if you take some time to Google the problem (and product reviews) you’ll find that the majority of WiFi repeaters are difficult to set-up and connect. This page has been created to share our experience with the TP-LINK TL-WA850RE although the advice may very well work with other models.
DISCLAIMER: this advice is given in good faith and you will use it at your own risk. We are not technical boffins (in fact we’re still fascinated by fire and instant gravy) so if you blow up your computer in the process you’ve only got yourself to blame.
So here’s the thing. You may have found that the WPS function on the TP-LINK repeater doesn’t work. This isn’t uncommon. Our main wireless router has always connected faultlessly via WPS with other devices (including another make of wifi repeater) but it seems that the TP-LINK TL-WA850RE does not connect with WPS very happily.
So when WPS fails you’ll probably resort to ‘Method Two’ which they describe as ‘Set-up by Web-Based Management Page’. This might cause you another problem! After making your wireless connection to your new repeater you are told to open your web browser and type tplinkextender.net to access a set-up facility which seems simple enough. Unfortunately , for many people tplinkextender.net does not work … even worse typing tplinkextender.net into your address bar might take you to a page that looks like it’s full of spam, adverts and other bad things.
GOOD NEWS EVERYONE! … we found a solution to this!
Once you have made your wireless connection to the TP-LINK signal extender don’t type tplinkextender.net in the address bar … instead type http://192.168.0.254 which hopefully will open up the admin panel so that you can finally connect your existing wireless router with your new TP-LINK repeater.
(Thanks to Mitch who has contacted us to suggest we add a reminder to fill in ADMIN as the user name and password).
Thanks also to Ron who sent us this supporting information:
“I resorted to your advice after encountering problems with the TP-Link extender instructions. I followed your advice for setting the TP-Link extender (model TL-WA850RE), made a few trials and finally it worked! Specifically, this is what I did, after disconnecting the router from the computer and connecting the extender instead:
1. Used the URL you suggested: http://192.168.0.254
2. Selected the automatic custom name (<my router name>_EXT)
3. Unplugged the extender after the last step finished with. Completed!”
FOOTNOTE: Well two weeks later we appear to have a new problem … the signal drops when a new gadget connects with the network. The repeater works perfectly for hours and hours but as soon as somebody turns on an additional gadget (usually an Apple iPad or a laptop) and tries to connect to wifi the signal drops and *ALL* wireless connections are lost from our original router along with the TP-LINK repeater.
FOOTNOTE 2:Some good news and some bad news. We found that by changing the wifi network settings on iPads and iPods there was a definite improvement although it only lasted for a few days. If you’re interested in giving it a try too then (on your Apple products) choose Settings–>Wi-Fi–>Select your wifi signal and then at the bottom of the next screen change the ‘HTTP proxy’ setting from ‘Off’ to ‘Auto’. Not sure why this solved the TP-LINK problem for 2 days and then failed(?); might be a permanent fix for you though.
FOOTNOTE 3:Following a lot of research everything is pointing towards clashes with security protocol when multiple devices (iPads, iPods, laptops, etc) try to join and leave the wifi signal generated by the TP-LINK repeater. We’re using WPA2-PSK (as most people do) so what are the options? Change to WEP? Definitely a backward step. Hit it with a thumping-great mallet? Tempting. Send it back and try a different one? Probably.
Every day’s a school day when you own a TP-LINK wireless product. For example, did you know that WPA2-PSK stands for ‘Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 – Pre-Shared Key’? That useless piece of tech knowledge almost certainly won’t resolve your connection problems but at least you won’t have had an entirely wasted day.