TL-WA850RE and the TL-WA750RE

TL WA850REFirst impressions

The TP-Link tl-wa850 and the wa750 are both very identical, the only differences I could find are that the wa750 only has one internal antenna and the wa850 has two of them. This translates into to that the wa750 can only do 150Mbps and the wa850 300Mbps and of course de ring with the coloured leds on the wa750 are orange and on the 850 they are blue. (I do like orange leds better). Also the wifi strength indication on the ring looks nice, but is slightly pointless in my opinion. Price wise between the devices is not much differences either, so I would go with the wa850 in any case.

A bit more in depth

Because this device is a range extender, it is a shame it doesn’t have two radios. The benefit of two radio’s would be that it can send and receive at the same time passing the extended wifi along happily. This basically means that if you retransmit your wifi trough the range extender, you cut the speed in half more or less. Although this is a bit of a drawback, I haven’t found any device in this price range with two radio’s. It would be amazing if a router company decided to make such a device 🙂

Feature wise the wa850 and wa750 is a bit crippled lacklustre but that is probably by design, the slightly more expensive routers and access points they offer the much needed missing things. The fun thing is though that in terms of hardware there are no difference between some access points tp-link offers and the range extenders. For example it is not possible to run a lead to the range extender from your existing router and eliminate the issue of the cut in half speed of the wifi, oh well who know maybe they add it in a future update. But I wouldn’t bet my money on it.

Configuring the thing is relatively easy, but it works terrible when attempted over wireless directly. I would recommend using the included Ethernet cable to set it all up, Also worth mentioning is that the connection over wifi back to the main router is sometimes flaky and cuts out completely from time to time, and requiring you to unplug and replug the device.

My conclusion for the firmware that is running on the wa850 and wa750, the intend is there but not not quite there yet. Also the flakiness is dependent on what router you have, in conjunction with other tp-link devices there wasn’t an issue worth mentioning.

Beyond the exterior casing

Because I had other plans for this need device and needed some custom firmware on it I cracked open the case. Getting into the device was really a hassle because the ultrasonic welded the thing together, I ended up putting the whole thing into a vise and tightening it until a cracking sound was heard. At least my warranty was void for sure at this point ;). How the device cracked open along side the seems, I was very pleased with that. At least I’m able to put/glue it back together again.

pcb and cracked casing tl-wa850re v12

Frontside pcb tl-wa850re v12 Backside pcb tl-wa850re v12The pcb is double sided and rather thick, not flimsy as you see more and more common these days. This also means that the device can handle some abuse of dropping it for example, from experience I know that the exterior case can handle a lot of abuse as well.

One thing though I am missing is a heat sink on the SoC, but not really needed for it’s intended purpose as range extender. Oh well it can do probably without.

The design itself is put together properly, and is almost identical the the Atheros ap123 reference design. Why change a good design anyway 🙂 For the tinkerers under us, the ring of leds can potentially be used for signal in and outputs.

More bang for your bug

Because the lacklustre firmware that the device came with and I needed to do run some other funky software on it. I ported it to OpenWrt. Currently the wa750 and wa850 are only supported under the trunk (beta) release of OpenWrt, this also means that there is by default no user interface. But my custom OpenWrt firmware comes with a webgui installed by default.

If you like to install OpenWrt stable (Attitude Adjustment), I backported the wa850 and wa750 to it as well, only downside to my backported devices is that it does come without a webgui, but it can be installed afterwards.

To install the OpenWrt firmware simply download the correct image that ends with factory in the name, and you are good to go :). You can simply flash it trough the tp-link web interface

More bang for your bug the simple way

Of course I understand that OpenWrt is not your cup of tea and you don’t want to keep tinkering with it and get frustrated when it doesn’t work. The solution for you is GarGoyle , it does run on OpenWrt Attitude Adjustment (stable). But in this case the added value is that the firmware isn’t harder then your avarage firmware a router comes with, but it does have a complete range of amazing features you have always been missing without the hassle of learning OpenWrt.

Because the range extender is fairly recently supported under OpenWrt, I made some custom gargoyle images available to flash them on to your range extender 🙂 . Just download the correct firmware with factory in the name and you are good to go, you can simply flash it trough the tp-link web interface.

The why on the custom firmware

While the original firmware on the Tp-link TL-wa850re and the wa750 works more or less, the custom firmware can really get everything out of the device. And if you flash the GarGoyle firmware you can have the same functionality again as the original firmware (extending your network). But have a lot more stuff and options in the process.

Also an other potential benefit would be that you now also have a fully fledged router.

Short conclusion

Although the original firmware on both the wa850 and wa750 leave a lot desired, putting custom firmware on it makes it an amazing device and router.


Tags: ,

Wednesday, March 5th, 2014 Routers

99 Comments to TL-WA850RE and the TL-WA750RE

  • Dan Connor says:

    I was struggling with the default firmware being finicky and not entirely stable and I tried OpenWRT but couldn’t get it to work with my OpenWRT base router. Your Gargoyle image is working well so far! Thanks for making that!

  • Pinchloaf says:

    Looking good so far, thanks a million.

  • Herubrand says:

    Hi Fried,

    A couple of us were looking for solutions to the 850RE in the forum looking as you gone inactive i searched you out on google to see if you can help us out.

    A new build would be much appreciated.

    Many thanks for all the help and support !!

    • FriedZombie says:

      Thanks, yeah I gone a bit inactive on OpenWrt. But still do things with OpenWrt behind the scenes.

      Also barrier breaker is now a “stable” branch, it comes precompiled with luci (web gui) now.
      The firmware can be downloaded from:
      Only a shame though it doesn’t come with zram-swap
      I will compile and upload an image that includes zram-swap shortly. (that will be compatible with the bb rc3 repo from openwrt)

      a newer version of Gargoyle I will compile and make that available as well.

  • DrCOOCNUTS says:

    I downloaded this on my range extender and it doesn’t work anymore then I tried the trunk beta and that didn’t work either now there isn’t any web GUI, is it possible for me to go back to the TP LINK Firmware or get your version on it up and running?

  • Gary says:

    Hi Fried,
    I read your blog about the WA850RE with interest and decided to flash my one with the custom gargoyle image.

    I downloaded the appropriate bin file using the link you provided and tried to upgrade. I browse to and select the file, but when I press the upgrade button I get a popup saying “Please choose a file to upgrade!”.

    Have you seen this before? Do you have any suggestions to get around this?

    • FriedZombie says:

      Can’t say i ran into this issue, but make sure that the file you are trying to flash ends in .bin (Internet explorer sets a different extension sometimes).
      Also you could try a different browser to upload the image.

    • Dan Connor says:

      Rename it something that looks like a stock image filename like:


  • Xitto says:

    Hi Gary, you have to rename bin file in shorter length, ex. garg1.bin e then all works fine! FriedZombie you had a very goid workwith this firmware!

    Thanks a lot

    • Gary says:

      Thanks, for the tip Xitto. I had my suspicions, I have encountered max filename issues within windows before. I restored the original factory firmware (had a few nervous moments when that dis seem to work) and then I repeated the whole exercise again, with a shortened filename for the bin file and this time it worked like a charm.

      The gargoyle firmware has been running faultlessly 24hrs a day since the 30th Aug and the signal strength is terrific. I very nearly through the repeater in the rubbish bin, this blog made me have one more try.

      Thanks Fried for firmware!!

  • Mike says:


    What is the Password for the Webif ??



  • jimmys says:

    Hello FriedZombie, i’d like to ask if there is a chance to create a gargoyle firmware for the TL-WA854RE. The one that you have for TL-WA850RE gives me this error:
    Error code: 18005
    Upgrade unsuccessfully because the version of the upgraded file was incorrect. Please check the file name.

    • FriedZombie says:

      There where a few wa850 devices that had a slight issue, flashing a slightly modified official firmware version of tp-link will fix that issue. the downloads can be found here:

      For the wa854re it seems possible to create an openwrt/gargoyle image. But it is currently not supported, if I port it for the wa854re there is a posibility the device gets bricked. Since the case is sonic welded there isn’t an easy way to unbrick it.

      • jimmys says:

        well basically i wanted to flash the TL-WA850RE because it keeps disconnecting every now and then. Do you think that even if i flashed it, it would still keep disconnecting?

        • jimmys says:

          anyway, can you port it for the wa854re, i’d like to try anyway and i’ll tell you the results

          • FriedZombie says:

            The tp-link firmware from is a newer version from the tp-link firmware that you are currently running.

            However after flashing that tp-link version you can flash gargoyle or openwrt without the error you are currently getting.

            Some people say that the latest tp-link firmware is somewhat more stable then the older one. But still it isn’t the best in my opinion (and sometimes still disconnects).

            The gargoyle and openwrt firmware is more stable then the tp-link firmware, Also gargoyle has an option to use the device as a range extender.

            If I have time, I will port a version for the wa854re as well.

  • jimmys says:

    If you find the time to port it i will be grateful,


  • Ron says:

    Hallo Friedzombie,

    ik heb 3 TL-WA850RE’s gekocht, maar ben nog op zoek naar de beste configuratie. Gargoyle heb ik geinstalleerd en bevalt prima.
    Maar ik krijg het niet voor elkaar om een kabeloze Brigde/repeater te installeren. Mijn client devices krijgen dan geen ip adres.
    Wellicht ideeen?

    • FriedZombie says:

      Met gargoyle is het mogelijk het apparaat te gebruiken als bridge.
      Hier heb ik verder geen problemen mee gevonden en werkt zoals verwacht. Het kan wellicht aan de instellingen liggen, maar die zijn vaak per setup verschillend.

  • Pat says:

    Thanks! My 850re was running real slow and dropping connections every few minutes and I installed your firmware. Well at first I wasnt impressed because I couldnt get the wifi to connect to the 850re and I even tried to go back to the original firmware but that wouldnt work then finally after about 2 hrs I got it. woohoo! And it has been running so much faster and no dropped connections.

    Thanks you are the man!

  • Amit says:

    The latest version for Gargoyle is 1.6.2. Where can i get the laltest gargoyle firmware for TL 850?

  • kalingganet says:

    Works fine in my TL-Wa850RE… perfect!!! Thx fried

  • ZPreheim says:

    I put gargoyle on my TL-wa850re and got it up and running. After it rebooted, I can no longer access the web gui. I have also tried to use telnet (never used it before) and it says “telnet: Unable to connect to remote host: Network is unreachable” (I am not sure if I am doing it correctly). Any help would be appreciated.

  • xmorfeo says:

    ZPreheim same here.
    The repeater doesn’t seem to have DHCP anymore, so I’m not able to connect to it anymore. It doesn’t answer to the IP
    Any hint on how I can access it again? Or reset it?

    • FriedZombie says:

      Resetting would be the easier solution, if you want to trouble shoot it. There is documantion on it on how to do that. (but often resetting and setting all settings agains is often faster)

  • Goldencore says:

    Can I use your Gargoyle image also on a 850RE V1.2?

  • KJ says:

    Hi FriedZombie,

    did the reset key loose its functionality within Gargyole firmware?
    I have messed up my routing config and can’t access the device, even though LEDs tell me, the WAN interface connects to wlan.
    how can I hardreset the device?

    kind regards!


  • sunar says:

    can i flash directlly to the memory? i have bricked tl wa850re becouse of using ddwrt? help me plis

  • Andy says:

    Hi Martijn!

    I found modified U-Boot for AR9341 – look at

    May you compile OpenWRT for TL-WA850RE with writeable mtd0 partition? Sorry, I use Windows only ;-(

    P.S. On my TL-WDR4300 U-Boot from hackpascal works fine!

    • FriedZombie says:

      The device is for some time supported in the official openwrt release. you can easily change the code and compile it as well.

  • rvermijs says:


    If you want to replace the wall-socket supply with a 5VDC supply, just solder the + of the 5V to the cathode of the large diode right of the transformer. Solder the – of the supply to the third hole of the four holes on the left (counted from the top). I did this to power the repeater from a solar array.


    Rene Vermijs.

    • Nigel Samhain says:

      I have a WA854RE, I was planning on doing the same thing. It seemed suitable for out door applications given a waterproof enclosure and since I didnt want to have to change out the battery on my TL-MR3040. The board layout seems identical minus a few components. Are you using the images posted here as reference?

  • Bernardo says:

    Hey I have the Tl-wa854re, and I was planning on changing the firmware since the repeater is completly unusable (the internet is really unstable), and one of my friends told to me to change the firmware since that helps alot, and so I have a few question:
    1º Is this version compatible with my model?
    2º Whats the easiest firmware to setup, since I am a complete noob in terms of this.
    3º If I fail to setup the new firmware can I role back to factory firmware so I can try again, and what do I need to do.

    • FriedZombie says:

      Th 854re is identical to the 850re only that the device doesn’t have lan ports. This means that technically the firmware would work.

      But the problem is that OpenWrt by default disables the wifi, meaning that you can’t access the device anymore.

      However Gargoyle had wifi enabled by default, so that would technically work.

      It is easy to restore back to the original firmware, but if you can’t access the device via wifi it isn’t possible since you don’t have access to the device.

      So in short gargoyle would work and openwrt doesn’t because you loose access to the device.

  • ASA says:

    Can I use your Gargoyle image on a 850RE V1.2? Please reply.

    • FriedZombie says:

      That works

      • Tom says:


        I also have a 850RE FR
        3.15.8 Build 141124 Rel.36522n

        Unfortunately, trying to use the gargoyle factory bin ends up with an
        Error Code 18005

        Same with wa850rev1fix_en_3_1…bin
        (tried just in case)

        Am i doing something wrong ?

        I’d like to use it as an AP connected to the LAN, using a VPN endpoint -YES 🙂 –

        Thanks for your help

  • Jenish says:

    I went to the gargoyle website and found that there were two files named as




    Which one should i use for my tl-wa850re?

  • Carlos says:

    Hi, I updated my gargoyle 1.71 for tp-WA750RE
    everything was fine, but I can not access, you turn off the wifi, any solution?
    I reserteado and nothing, since network cable … and nothing, thanks

  • Carlos says:

    I could already access, cable problem …
    but I can not reload the original firmware …
    loses connection, within seconds of connecting via ethernet


  • Ralph Schuenemann says:

    Hello FriedZombie,

    i have several TP-Link WA854REs dropping their connections every few minutes and only rarely recovering. I guess flashing a new firmware would be kind of risky due to the missing LAN port, but assumed i was about to take the risk, which firmware should i give a try (especially, which firmware definitely has the wifi turned on by default? :D)?

    Kind regards


    • FriedZombie says:

      By default most custom firmwares have the wifi disabled by default, also on of the only few that would be of actual use on the 854re would be gargoyle.

      The reason for that is is that it is the only one that can be used as repeater with this device. If I find the time, I will make a custom image for the 854re. Currently there is none.

      • Ralph Schuenemann says:


        and thank you for answering so quickly! 🙂

        So it wouldnt work to just install your customized gargoyle for the WA850RE version with LAN port on the WA854RE model without LAN port via WIFI? I thought that they would be identical except the missing LAN port?

        “FriedZombie says:

        May 30, 2015 at 9:43 pm

        Th 854re is identical to the 850re only that the device doesn’t have lan ports. This means that technically the firmware would work.

        But the problem is that OpenWrt by default disables the wifi, meaning that you can’t access the device anymore.

        However Gargoyle had wifi enabled by default, so that would technically work.

        It is easy to restore back to the original firmware, but if you can’t access the device via wifi it isn’t possible since you don’t have access to the device.

        So in short gargoyle would work and openwrt doesn’t because you loose access to the device.”

        With best regards


        • FriedZombie says:

          It is true that the 854re is identical to the 850re, however in the event that the wifi is disabled by default the device would become unusable though.

          First I like to check out if that is the case with gargoyle, I think it was by default. And I’m sure about that with OpenWrt.

  • jachsz says:

    I did upgrade the Gargoyle firmware to TL-WA850RE after it reboot i can’t able to connect ethernet only the power light and Range extender light is on. Is there any one advise.

  • jachsz says:

    TL-WA850RE wifi signal strength led’s not on eventhough extender working well. Is there any one having same problem. Is there any solution for this problem?

  • jpissarro says:

    Hi, do you have any news regarding the wa854re?

    If I use the gargoyle version (gargoyle_1.6.0-ar71xx-generic-tl-wa850re-v1-squashfs-factory.bin) will the wifi interface be active upon upgrade?

    If bricked, what is the alternative method to unbrick it (lets assume I can get the device opened)!


  • Mauro says:

    Hello,i need your help. I changed supply of my TL-wa854re to 5v because id want put it in my car. I made this because i thinked wireless profiles can connect to my home/bar/work wi-fi and wa854re distribuite it my cars peripherals but i was wrong. Yes it work but using the same name of original AP, and in this case i can use wi-fi tablets directly.
    With gargoyle or wrt the wa854re still have profiles?
    and can have the same name/security type/password for profile? in this manner i have to configure only wa854re and not peripherals.

  • Wolfstein says:

    Hi, and for the TL-WA860RE exist support in OpenWrt now.

  • hg says:

    It’s amazing to pay a visit this site and reading the
    views of all colleagues about this article, while I
    am also eager of getting experience.

  • Ulysses says:

    I’ve tried to upgrade my WA850RE model to GarGoyle’s firmware version but I’ve received a message error. Then I upgraded the lastest version on TP Link’s website. After this, when I try to connect the extender again, the following message shows up: “You have no authority to access this router”. How can I fix this and upgrade the firmware to one of you custom versions?


  • voodoo says:

    Hi, thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.
    I have the tl-wa750re and it’s running stable with the stock firmware. What are the benefits using your firmware? Is there an access point mode implented? That would be the only reason for me to give it a try… Regards!

  • Solid Snake says:

    Updated using the factory bin file, and the device restarted but isn’t broadcasting after about 15 minutes. What do?

    • FriedZombie says:

      !5 minutss is too long, the wifi should have started sooner already. To be honest I’m not completely sure what went wrong, but you could try an ethernet cable on the lan port.
      If that doesn’t do anything, try the openwrt failsafe mode.

  • Tom says:


    Found the answer myself.
    If you want to use an
    TL-WA850RE V1.20 with gargoyle :

    “Patch gargoyle_1.6.0-ar71xx-generic-tl-wa850re-v1-squashfs-factory.bin
    using TP路由固件头修改工具.exe
    value 0x40-0x43 = 08500001
    value 0x44-0x47 = 00000002” => 2, this is the correct value

    rename the file as

    flash it through the interface

    Here you are,

    using the LAN you have the gargoyle GUI.
    password: password…

    Next step : where can I set the VPN ?

    Tom says:
    October 31, 2015 at 12:16 am
    I also have a 850RE FR
    3.15.8 Build 141124 Rel.36522n
    Unfortunately, trying to use the gargoyle factory bin ends up with an
    Error Code 18005

    Am i doing something wrong ?
    I’d like to use it as an AP connected to the LAN, using a VPN endpoint -YES 🙂 –

    Thanks for your help

  • OV says:

    Thank you so much! I got the firmware installed without a hitch. Getting it to behave like a wireless repeater through the GUI was a bit of a trial/error process, but eventually got it to work. Now, it’s slick as snot. Thank you once again for all of your hard work.

  • Ducote says:

    Thank you very much, I work and my n600 is again to his firmware.

  • Ripper says:

    Hi, I flashed my TL-WA750RE with Gargoyle 1.8.1 all works well and speeds are good, however the signal strength LED’s on the front no longer work? Is it a setting I cant find or is this expected?

    Thanks for the great firmware btw 😉

  • fabio says:

    Hi there, as many other users pointed out, I have a TL-WA854RE that is very unstable. I’d like to try your firmware if possibile. It is very cheap and I can risk to brick it. Which version can I try to install? Thanks, Fabio

  • Anna says:

    Hello FriedZombie, i’d like to ask if there is a chance to create a gargoyle firmware for the new TL-WA850RE v2?

  • Novian says:

    Hi fried, thanks before…I have some problem with wa850
    re, how replace or setting router ssid with openwrt wa850re, because I have still no connection….(sorry my English bad)….Thanks a million

  • Michael says:

    There may be a solution but only someone with the expertise can do it. Based on the FCC page the TL-WA850RE v2 components appear to be the same as the TL-WR841ND v10.
    QCA9533-BL3A SOC
    Zentel A3S56D40gIP-50L RAM
    Winbond 25Q32FVS1G (not clear – can’t make out about half in the photo)
    The TL-WR841ND V10 has a 15.05.1 image with luci.

  • Pinky says:

    I’m looking for recovery of original firmware for the 850RE v1.4
    But here it isn’t ?

  • Andrew says:

    Hiho! Oh man… Where should I start? I bought 750RE about a year ago and after spending hours to configure it I finally gave up and put id in a drawer.
    Yesterday I was forced to find some solution of extending wifi again, so I took it back, tried to configure – didn’t work. I came to this site and downloaded Gargoyle. Tada!!! It works from the first try!
    Now I have only one question. I can configure SSID of the repeater, but I don’t see any option to change the password. It uses the same password as the main gateway. Is there a way to change it so the repeater and the router have different passwords?

  • hello i bricked my wa850re after trying revert back to original firmware from tplink, the led blinking forever. and i cant ping it. plis help me.

  • Jeison Sanches says:

    With Gargoyle I can turn the repeater into a router through the enthernet port?

  • Fabio says:

    Hi there,
    I have a TP-LINK WA854Re:

    Hardware Version: WA854RE v1.0 00000000
    Firmware Version: 3.14.8 Build 140827 Rel.34191n

    I’ve read that is not possible to install openwrt because the wifi is disabled by default, and you suggest to install Gorgoyle. Ive downloaded this versione:


    but still get this error:

    Error code: 18005
    Upgrade unsuccessfully because the version of the upgraded file was incorrect. Please check the file name.

    Are there any chances to get a better firmware on this extender? Currently it is very unstable.

  • FC says:

    Hello Guys,
    I have a TP-LINK WA854Re:

    Hardware Version: WA854RE v1.0 00000000
    Firmware Version: 3.15.8 Build 150820 Rel.40002n

    I download:

    but get this error:

    Error code: 18005
    Upgrade unsuccessfully because the version of the upgraded file was incorrect. Please check the file name.

    I tried to change the name, but nope..
    Any idea to how fix it?

  • Antonio Quevedo says:


    Any news on a Gargoyle image for the Wa850re V2?

    • Adelino Barbosa says:

      I would like to know that because i´m waiting to a “supercharger” firmware but with only 4MB ram, i imagine that it will be dificult…

  • Jochem Blok says:

    Hi there,
    I upgraded my wa750re with the bin file via the factory software. It doesnt want to boot anymore. I downloaded the correct bij file. Is there any way I can get it working again?
    I am concerned I broke it or something

    Kind Regards, Jochem Blok

  • themacmeister says:

    I am running TWO 850re’s as range extenders… originally used same SSID as main wireless router, and only got 1/4 speed… simply changed each SSID name, and only losing about 20% overall speed, which is great.

    Sadly, one of my (closest) repeaters is disconnecting every 10 or 15 seconds, and it is PAINFUL

    I’m going to try on this one repeater, and if successful, will do it on other repeater as well…

    Any pointers on setting up ROUTER->REPEATER->REPEATER->Computer for internet only, with minimal speed loss??? I have seen some YouTube vids, and they are OK, but OpenWRT GUI and not Gargoyle… Does Gargoyle bring anything substantial to the equation?

    • FriedZombie says:

      Simply said I wouldn’t recommmend range extenders at all like this, because they do have only a single radio.

      A propper one would have two.

      With a setup like that it would always work somewhat horribly.

      The chipset that most (cheaper) routers use, they need to work as range extender a rather clunky software solution as well. That does also give a preformance penalty.

      But having said that, gargoyle does support the repeater function. and it is more stable then the tp-link firmware.

  • Marcin Plowe says:

    I dont think that firmware makes more functionality to this hardware. Just default software thats all I need, without customs

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  • Paul says:


    Whilst installing your custom gargoyle image, I had a power cut, and now I cannot get to my WA750RE.

    Do you have any suggestions please?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Charles says:

    Hi, I had a problem installing the original firmware again. now all the lights turn on and off. What happened to me?


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  • Harneet says:


    I’d really appreciate if you could point me to any openwrt/gargoyle binary for the TL-WA850RE (EU Ver 4). I cannot seem to be able to find any specific or compatible one. Kindly help me out. I am experiencing a lot of signal drops with this hardware.

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