Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 5400: Two-minute review
The new Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 54000 takes a different approach than other devices of its kind.
A Wi-Fi range extender is an affordable alternative to an expensive mesh Wi-Fi system for many homes that need to improve their Wi-Fi reception. They’re convenient too, as most Wi-Fi range extenders have a compact plug-‘n-play design that allows you to plug them straight into a mains power socket anywhere in your home that needs a bit of a Wi-Fi boost. That was the case with Devolo’s compact and affordable Repeater 3000 - although the company prefers to use the term ‘repeater’ rather than ‘range extender’.
But the new WiFi 6 Repeater 54000 is larger than the Repeater 3000, and it opts for an external power supply, which means that you’ll need to sit it on a desk or shelf rather than just inserting it directly into a power socket. However, the larger design allows the Repeater 5400 to pack in more powerful hardware, stepping up to dual-band Wi-Fi 6 with a top speed of 5.4Gbps.
It also provides additional features, such as a pair of Gigabit Ethernet ports that can provide wired connections for devices such as a laptop or games console. It’s easy to use too, although Devolo’s Home Network app can be a little awkward at times.
As mentioned, the Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 54000 steers clear of the traditional plug-n-play design of most range extenders, and its larger size and separate power supply are more suited for use on a desktop, table or shelf. However, the size of the Repeater - 140mm high, 37mm wide, and 115mm deep when standing upright - allows it to house four internal antennae that help to boost the Wi-Fi signal. There’s also a handy LED on the front panel that indicates the strength of the Wi-Fi signal, which can help you when you’re deciding where to place it.
The larger design also means that there’s room on the back panel for two Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired connections (although the Repeater is still using Wi-Fi to connect to your main router, so the connection isn’t completely wired). There’s a small stand built into the base of the Repeater but, if you prefer, you can lay it flat on its side and tuck it out of the way if you’re tight for space.
Getting started is quite straightforward, as Devolo’s Home Network app for iOS/Android guides you through the process quickly and easily. You need to place the Repeater close to your main Wi-Fi router during the initial set-up process, but once that’s done you can move the Repeater to any other room or location where you need to improve the Wi-Fi signal. In general, though, Devolo recommends positioning the Repeater about halfway between your main Wi-Fi router and the room that suffers from poor Wi-Fi, so that the Repeater can still get a good connection to the router.
But, as we’ve seen before, Devolo’s Home Network app for iOS and Android does have some rough edges. By default, the app uses the same Wi-Fi name and password as your existing network. That keeps things simple and allows your computers and other devices to log in to the Repeater’s new network without having to enter a new password. Sometimes, though, it’s useful to change the name and password for the Repeater’s new network - as we wanted to do to isolate the Repeater for our performance tests. The Devolo app does provide an option to enter a new Wi-Fi name and password - yet the app resolutely refused to save the new details that we entered.
Fortunately, the app also allows you to open a web browser interface, which provides more detailed controls and settings, and this did allow us to make the changes we needed. However, dealing with a browser interface is a more complicated option, and not ideal for less experienced users who may not have too much network knowledge. We’ve experienced similar problems in the past, so Devolo needs to eliminate glitches such as this from the app.
Thankfully, after working through that problem, the Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 54000 did perform well. Devices close to the Wi-Fi router in our main office can hit 150Mbps on the Ookla speed test and 19MB/s for Steam downloads, but we also have a back office at the end of a corridor that the Wi-Fi can’t quite reach, forcing us to rely on a set of PowerLine adaptors to provide a wired connection. The Repeater 5400 solved that problem with no trouble at all.
Admittedly, the slower 2.4GHz band did dip slightly - but only to a still very respectable 144Mbs with the Ookla speed test, and 17Mb/s for Steam downloads. And, on the faster 5.0GHz band it bounced right back and hit the maximum speeds of 100Mbps and 19MB/s once more.
Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 5400: Price & availability
- £129.99 (approx. $160.00/AU$160.00)
- Available in EU, UK (US TBA)
- Currently unavailable in Australia
The higher speed and additional features of the Repeater 5400 mean that it’s more expensive than its smaller sibling, costing £129.99 (about $160 / AU$160). Devolo is based in Germany and tends to launch its products in European markets first, but its popular Magic Mesh systems are available in the US, so we’d expect the Repeater 5400 to reach the US quite soon.
However, Devolo products aren’t widely available in Australia or the Pacific region at the moment.
- Value: 4 / 5
Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 5400: Specs
Should you buy the Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 5400?
Buy it if...
You have weak Wi-Fi
Large homes may need a more extensive mesh system, but a range extender is a good, affordable option for curing weak Wi-Fi in just one or two rooms.
Mesh is too expensive
Range extenders are also a lot cheaper than mesh systems, and even the top-of-the-range Repeater 5400 only costs around £129.99 (approx. $160.00/AU$160.00).
You’re a network guru
Devolo’s app can be troublesome at times, but more advanced users can make use of the Repeater’s web browser interface to fine-tune their network settings.
Don't buy it if...
You have lots of bedrooms
Larger homes, with four or more bedrooms, might benefit from the greater range and coverage of a more expensive mesh networking system.
You’re on a budget
The Repeater 5400 is one of the fastest range extenders we’ve seen so far, and many less expensive extenders will still be perfectly adequate for most home broadband services.
You live in an old castle
Thick walls and other obstacles can block even the fastest Wi-Fi signal. Some homes may benefit from PowerLine adaptors that can provide a wired alternative.
Devolo WiFi 6 Repeater 5400: Also consider
First reviewed March 2023