Not every Wi-Fi connection needs to run at super speed, and for basic connectivity, a simple, cheap extender will do just fine. However, while the Qlocom Wi-Fi Range Extender Booster N300-B-RN1 fits the bill, it’s difficult to recommend. It didn’t provide many benefits over using the router’s built-in 5GHz network – and if you specifically need a 2.4GHz solution, the Mercusys ME30 repeater is cheaper and more versatile.
- Extra range and speed for 2.4GHz networks
- Small enough to plug in anywhere
- Can’t get near the performance of a 5GHz connection
- Costs more than the competition
- Operating modesRepeater
- Wi-Fi versionWi-Fi 4 (300Mbps 2.4GHz)
The Qlocom Wi-Fi Range Extender Booster N300-B-RN1 isn’t intended for hardcore gamers or video streaming addicts. It’s more suitable for low-bandwidth jobs, such as extending network coverage for a smart speaker or an appliance in the bedroom or garage.
That means it doesn’t need top-tier wireless hardware. While most modern devices support Wi-Fi 6 or 6E, Qlocom’s extender uses the much older Wi-Fi 4 standard – also known as 802.11n. It’ll still work with the latest laptops and phones, but it only operates on the 2.4GHz radio band, with a maximum connection speed of 300Mbits/sec.
Design and Features
- Compact casing, with no wired connection
- Management portal is ugly but usable
The Qlocom Wi-Fi Range Extender Booster N300-B-RN1 is one of the smallest extenders I’ve tested, measuring just 49mm across – so it shouldn’t obstruct access to any nearby plug sockets. At the side, there’s a WPS button and an on/off switch. On the front, you’ll find three LEDs showing your connection, WPS and power status. There are no other controls or Ethernet sockets – it’s wireless or nothing.
You can get set up very quickly by simply pushing the Qlocom’s WPS button, then doing the same on your router. This tells the extender to duplicate the network name and password from your main Wi-Fi network, allowing devices to connect without any further configuration.
Alternatively, you can log into the rather garish management portal and enter your network settings manually. However, I found that this prompted the extender to create its own subnet, rather than join the existing network. Connected clients still got internet access, but they couldn’t communicate with devices connected directly to the router.
The management dashboard also offers a few custom security options, which you can use to prevent specific devices from connecting or block certain websites. Unexpectedly, there’s support for dynamic DNS too, for easy access to the web dashboard over the internet.
- Can extend and accelerate a 2.4GHz network
- A direct 5GHz connection works better in most cases
In my tests, I found that pairing the Qlocom extender with my D-Link R15 Eagle Pro AI router gave me a stronger, faster 2.4GHz signal all around my home. In the bathroom, download rates were raised from 20Mbits/sec to 27Mbits/sec, while the bedroom went from 19Mbits/sec to 26Mbits/sec. However, this isn’t a huge lift – and the boosted speeds are still low, compared with what I’m used to seeing over a 5GHz connection.
In fact, I did just as well when I ditched the extender and connected directly to the router’s 5GHz network. This gave me practically identical download speeds in the bathroom and bedroom. And in the kitchen and living room, where I had measured average download rates of 18Mbits/sec and 17Mbits/sec from the Qlocom extender, speeds shot up to 44Mbits/sec and 122Mbits/sec, respectively.
This does raise the question of why anyone would choose to use the 2.4GHz band. The short answer is that some smart home devices require it, and its lower-frequency radio waves have slightly better reach and penetration.
Should you buy it?
If you want a compact 2.4GHz extender and don’t really care about performance, this may be suitable.
If you’re looking for halfway decent Wi-Fi speeds, there are plenty of faster options.
How we test
Unlike other sites, we test every wireless router we review thoroughly over an extended period of time. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever, accept money to review a product.
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Used as our main wireless router for the review period
We throughput test all wireless devices using the same equipment in the same locations so that we have accurate comparisons
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No, this device will extend a 2.4GHz network only.
It can act as a repeater only.