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80 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Router for the Price
My network connection is 6000/768Kbps ADSL through DSLExtreme and live in a house which has lot size of ~20K sq-ft. Our household has upwards of ~15 types of wireless devices including 5 laptops, 3 game machines, 4 tablets, iPod touch, Nintendo DS', and a few other hand held gaming devices - average of 5 or 6 connected to the router simultaneously. In ~March 2013, after...
Published 15 months ago by N. Jones

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148 of 174 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars TP-Link Archer AC1750 Router
First, let me caution anyone in the US that you MUST ensure that you are using the correct frequency setting as the UK and the USA do not have the same bands available for wireless.

With that said, here is my evaluation of the US version of this Router:

I have a lot of wireless devices in my household and I am always looking for better range and...
Published 18 months ago by Ralph Furlong


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80 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Router for the Price, September 23, 2013
My network connection is 6000/768Kbps ADSL through DSLExtreme and live in a house which has lot size of ~20K sq-ft. Our household has upwards of ~15 types of wireless devices including 5 laptops, 3 game machines, 4 tablets, iPod touch, Nintendo DS', and a few other hand held gaming devices - average of 5 or 6 connected to the router simultaneously. In ~March 2013, after my kids got rid of some old games that would only work with WEP security, I changed the security settings of my old NETGEAR WNR854T 802.11n router from WEP to WPA2. Note: WEP security only supports up to 54mbps (802.11a/b), whereas WPA/WPA2 support the higher n-standard speeds (300mpbs+) and strong AES/TKIP encryption. This single change increased wireless throughput by >20% (verified using speedtest.net). Note: in 2006 the WNR854T was one of the 1st 802.11n standard gigabit routers that supports single band up to 300mbps @ 2.4ghz. However, after changing the security settings, my old WNR854T router would lock-up or lock-out a device (many times per day) requiring the router to be rebooted. After several frustrating months of trying different router settings, mac-address/IP tethering, different router locations, different phone-line filters, etc., I threw in the towel and started looking for a different router. I found the latest standard ac1750 appealing because of the acclaimed speed and range - both of which I wanted anyway. Over the course of about 3-4 months I tried 4 different 802.11ac compliant routers. What I found is described below. Hopefully, it will save others a lot of time.

The Pros of the Archer C7: 1) Very fast, 2) Excellent range, 3) Three external antennas, 4) Good built-in web user interface with good help and explanation of terminology corresponding to the displayed menu that stays displayed to the right in each menu, 5) Sleek smart design, 6) Good price @ $150, 7) Good information on how to improve wireless performance on their website. Cons of the Archer C7: 1) there is no logout button of the browser interface - the browser must be closed completely including all tabs otherwise the last admin session remains active - not as secure as just having a logout button to click, 2) A lot of bright blinking blue leds on the front that I covered up with a strip of black electrical tape.

These are the 802.11ac1750 dual band (2.4 & 5.0 GHz) routers I tried: 1) TRENDnet TEW-812DRU, 2) TP-LINK Archer C7, 3) NETGEAR R6300V2. I also tried the 802.11ac1200 Amped Wireless RTA15. All of them supported Guest Networks on both bands, and easy setup of multiple wireless Access Points (effectively range extenders by means of adding other routers wirelessly to the primary router that connects to the DSL modem). The NETGEAR had excellent range and very easy setup, but surprisingly had similar problems as the old WNR854T I was trying to replace - locked-up several times right after being setup and required rebooting (cycling power). See my review of the TRENDnet TEW-812DRU at Amazon.com. The Amped Wireless RTA15 had a good setup / user interface, but my experience showed that it did not provide quite as complete the range that the Archer C7 did. The Archer C7 was priced at almost $40 less than the others. You can download the user manuals for each router from the respective company's website. At the TP-LINK website, under the Support drop-down you can find the link labeled TP-LINK emulators. By selecting the Archer C7 you can get a firsthand experience of the setup / user interface running and play with it. I liked the help / user's guide that is displayed to the right of the settings. The TRENDnet user interface was almost identical to the Archer C7's. The Amped Wireless RTA15 user interface was good as it provides pictures and explanation of each setting. The NETGEAR R6300V2 built-in web user interface provides many excellent features including a network topography, signal strength, other networks nearby, and potential interference, etc. - checkout the user's manual from their site as it is all explained. However, I didn't like that the help is on the bottom and keeps auto-hiding when you click off of it - I want to read it while also looking at the menu.

I liked both the TP-LINK Archer C7 and Amped Wireless RTA15 because both have external antennas, thus providing the ability to add higher gain antennas if it becomes necessary. Further, (a YouTube video turned me on to this) - with external antennas one can slip a metal kitchen whisk over the antenna to improve the wireless signal - I tried this using one whisk on the middle antenna on the Archer C7 and sure enough the radius of my wireless network range increased by ~70 feet.

Amped Wireless also rates an "excellent" for their learn and tutorial links (bottom of their website), and they have a super nice free app for Android and PC in their WI-FI Analytics Tool - helps identify signal strength, other wireless radios in the area, channel overlaps and potential sources of interference, other networks, etc. Similar apps are available from other sources.

Things to keep in mind: Dry-wall, wood, electrical wiring and conduit, metal, etc. will absorb, reflect and distort Wi-Fi signals thus reducing speed and range. Also important is that each wireless device (laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.) has a different quality of radio receiver and transmitter, and each device may respond differently. Try to locate the router in an open room (perhaps on a desk or bookshelf) a bit away from nearby walls. Thus, the router, its location, security settings, and other factors that work well for one wireless device may not prove beneficial for other devices. In problematic environments, instead of wireless, consider Power Line network extenders that work by using your electrical wiring to transmit the signals up to ~30 meters in radius. Finally, you don't have to pay for all router bells and whistles. Do some research of the options available and determine what you can live without. I've seen 300mbps 2.4GHz & 5GHz routers that give sufficient speed and range performance priced as low as $40, while the ac1750 450mbps (2.4GHz) / 1350mpbs (5GHz) are $150 and beyond. Find a retailer that accepts returns and try several to find out which you like best. Buy several and set them up as access points (via wireless or power line) if you need extended range. Use speedtest.net and Wi-Fi analytics tools to digest the signal to help determine what location, channels, settings, etc. work best. Enabling the firewall at your router and turning off the firewall at your service provider may eek-out more speed as well. Periodic service drops out could be due to a bad or marginal router, modem, phone line filters, the phone line, or the DSL service provider equipment. Check the wireless settings of your laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc. to ensure the wireless settings have optimized.

Note about support for QoS (Quality of Service): One reviewer stated that QoS is not supported in the Archer C7. However, I found that the settings are indeed there, but under "Bandwidth Control".
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148 of 174 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars TP-Link Archer AC1750 Router, June 21, 2013
This review is from: TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router, 2.4GHz 450Mbps+5Ghz 1300Mbps, 2 USB Ports, IPv6, Guest Network (Personal Computers)
First, let me caution anyone in the US that you MUST ensure that you are using the correct frequency setting as the UK and the USA do not have the same bands available for wireless.

With that said, here is my evaluation of the US version of this Router:

I have a lot of wireless devices in my household and I am always looking for better range and features from a Wireless Router. I decided to give the TP-LINK ARCHER Wireless Router a try.

Short Summary:

This router is a bit of a design change from other TP-LINK routers. It is a desktop or shelf design that is also designed for wall mounting. There are two mounting holes with slots that allow you to use screws that will fit in the holes and then slide the unit down. The slots are sized for the shank of the screw and too small for the head of the screw so it holds the unit securely. It has lots of the annoying blinking lights that generally make a router a problem trying to locate in a home. Now, I am not saying that flashing lights cannot be impressive in an office atmosphere, but I hardly think that it makes a home look appealing. It certainly makes it a distraction, especially in a darkened room. And, contrary to popular believe, blinking lights provide little information about current status. If you must have lights, make them steady state with color change for issues or provide an option to turn them off.

The design of the Archer unit combines internal antennas for the 2.4 GHz band with three external antennas for the 5 GHz band. The interesting thing here is the internal antennas work extremely well for the 2.4 GHz band while the three external antennas provide only so-so range for the 5 GHz band. The 2.4 GHz band cares very little which way you rotate the unit, it still provides great coverage. The 5 GHz band gets really picky very quickly as to how you orient the unit.

This router works fairly well, has medium coverage in the 5 GHz band and excellent coverage in the 2.4 GHz band. As with other TP-LINK routers, the user interface is a bit rough. The router status page can be particularly irritating in the fact that it is more than one page long and the status updates every 35 second which means it takes you back to the top of the form. This, in turn, forces you have to scroll back down to finish reading the router status.

There are no apps yet that you can download to monitor your network with and to share files with. As with other storage sharing implemented on most routers, SAMBA is used to share either storage or a printer which has native support on Windows machines and on Apple computers. For other devices, such as Kindle Fire, Android devices, and Apple devices (IPAD, ITOUCH) you will need to locate and download a compatible SAMBA app.

This router suffers some of the same security issues that most home routers do in that it does not use HTTPS on the wireless, yet it allows you to login as the Administrator on the wireless. This means you user ID and Password are sent in the clear (readable by anyone snooping on your network) which is NOT a very good idea. In addition, this unit also has an additional security issue in that it allows more than one person to login as the Administrator at the same time and both people have full control over the unit configuration. TP-Link is aware of this and they are promising an update to address this issue.

This router is also missing common features such as Bridging and Repeating functionality in their quick setup procedure. Access Point can be done, but it requires you to know what you are doing. Their engineers state that these functions were left off due to the high end nature of the router and that you would not normally use this expensive of a router for those features. However, if you look under the 2.4 GHz wireless or the 5 GHz wireless sections, you will find that there is a listing for Bridging. However, you will not find the fields that you need to fill in or the scan feature referenced in the help file UNLESS YOU SELECT the bridge function. When you do that, the necessary fields will show up. So, if you also want those functions (bridging and Access Point (not repeating), you will need to go in and configure these items yourself. If you want an automated option for doing this, or if you need a repeater function, you will need to consider a different router. However, if what you are looking for is strictly a dual band AC router that is capable of configuring itself and already has WPA security enabled (a unique PIN is assigned to each router), this router would be a good choice.

Full evaluation:

Here are the things that I wanted it to be able to do:

1. Provide Robust Security for all aspects of the router.

2. Support Apple products including IPAD2, IPAD3, and the I-Touch.

3. Support multiple Microsoft Operating Systems to include: Vista Pro, Windows 7 Pro, Windows 7 Home, Windows 8, and Windows Home Server.

4. Support multiple manufacturers of Internet Enabled TVs

5. Support multiple manufacturers of Internet Enabled Blue Ray.

6. Support multiple manufacturers of Internet Enabled Audio Receivers.

7. Provide full coverage to a two story home of 3300 square feet, and attached three car garage, and coverage to all areas of the 1/3 acre property that the house sits on.

8. Be more esthetically pleasing so that you can locate it in a house WITHOUT it looking like a light show!

I was also looking for a router that could provide the highest level of protection to include the latest security levels on RF with protection turned on as default, the ability to turn off SSID (turning off broadcast ID makes it that much harder for someone to break into the system) and good security on Router Configuration control. It also had to be able to use the latest AC band to provide for multiple streaming videos while also providing adequate support for other functions at the same time.

One of the things you need to understand about dual band routers is that the 2.4 GHz band will pass easily through walls and other obstacles while the 5 GHz band will not. This means that you will generally have the best coverage with the 2.4 band and the worst coverage with the 5 GHz band. My testing showed this premise to be absolutely correct. The 5 GHz band does fine with no walls or one wall, but quickly deteriorates after that. Thus the coverage in the yard was almost exclusively the 2.4 GHz band as was most of the garage. However, the fastest data stream was obtained using the 5 GHz band.

Most video streams for HD are only 3 megabit per second, so work very well on the 2.4 GHz channel where my test showed that it was easily able to support 16 to 20 megabits per second. So, if you are streaming video to multiple televisions (think Netflix and Amazon video at the same time to different television sets) you will probably want to use the 2.4 GHz band for that function if the televisions are very far away from your router or if the signal must pass through multiple walls or floors.

If you are gaming or needing to do large backups quickly, you will want to use the 5 GHz channel where my tests showed that it could easily support up to 64 megabits per second with 4 to 5 bars of signal. That data rate dropped off as the signal dropped. By locating the unit in the middle of the upper floor of the house, I was able to receive at least 4 bars of signal at 2.4 GHz in every room of the house and 3 bars of signal at 5Ghz with up to two walls or a floor and a wall between router and the device.

I should also mention here that I tried turning this router several ways and found that the radiation pattern of the signal was generally the same no matter how I turned it for the 2.4 GHz band! This is an important note which means that you can turn it whichever way works for you for best aesthetics. The antennas for the 5 GHz band will affect how your signal is broadcast so you will need to do some testing to decide how to locate your unit for best effect on this band.

Finally, this router supports the new AC data rate on the 5GHz band as well as all of the other previous standards. It also supports all of the current standards for the 2.4GHz band as well. What this means is that it will support existing equipment and any new equipment that you might acquire. Note: each of the standards (a,b,g,n,ac) are only different ways of encoding data. The original standard encoded data at a much lower rate and the newest standard encodes data at the fastest rate. They all use the exact same radio frequencies!

TESTING RESULTS:

First and probably the most important to a lot of folks, this system is very easy to configure! In fact, if pressed, you could just connect cables, power up the unit and run with it! Wireless is preconfigured for security and the unique PIN code for the unit is contained on the strip with the SSID and Network Key on the internal package of paperwork. It also supports WPS which means that as long as your equipment supports it, you can just push a button on the router to have your device automatically connect; no need to type in passwords or PINs!

The user interface is a bit rough and not organized to make it easy to navigate. Instead of having functions separated into basic and advanced, it is all run together. You have an enormous amount of flexibility with the configuration of this unit, it just takes a bit of time to find what you want to accomplish. Still, I was easily able to accomplish my requirement of turning off SSID.

There are several negative aspects to the security of this router. Besides not having a way to sign-out or an automatic feature to log you off if you wander off to another website, this router also allows someone to log in as an administrator from the wired ports at the same time as someone is logged in from a wireless port. BOTH people will have full control over the router!! Also, the unit allows you to connect to the Admin functions via the wireless and does not use HTTPS for encryption. This means that someone could read your password information if they were watching the network. TP-Link is now aware of the problem and they are promising a fix to this in the next release of firmware.

There are no apps currently available for you to run on any device to check your network status, connection speed, do file transfers, or to use the printer function. These apps are expected sometime in the future.

The two USB ports (used for either data storage devices or for printer functions) are only USB 2.0 and are not USB 3.0. This does limit the functionality of the ports. Also, my testing showed that while the unit would recognize up to a 1terabyte hard drive, it would not recognize a 4 terabyte hard drive. NOTE: All drives tested have their own power source.

Here are my physical testing results: (Note: not all devices will support both bands! Ensure that your devices support both bands before trying to use them! Many less expensive wireless devices only use the 2.4 GHz band)

For the Apple products, this router supported them with the following caveats:

1. The Apple Touches do not support the 5 Ghz band so that frequency of the router was useless to them. Both of the Ipad models though supported and used both bands. Due to the construction of the Ipads and of the Ipods, reception was not as good in either distance or in quality as any of the other equipment. This has nothing to do with the router and everything to do with the design of the Apple equipment.

2. For the Microsoft products, I had the best range on both bands with the four different laptops that I tested. I was able to reach over 200 feet from the router with the 2.4 GHz band and less than 35 feet with the 5 Ghz band.

3. All three of my Internet enabled Televisions which were located in different areas of the house, floors, and in the garage, were able to connect to the 2.4 GHz band without issue. Only one of the televisions was able to maintain a consistent connection with the 5 GHz band. The second television was 20 feet away and had a floor and one wall between it and the router while the third television (located in the garage) was the farthest from the router and had the most number of walls and floors between it and the router (four walls and one floor). I had the router located on the second floor, in the middle of the house, against the front wall of the house.

4. All of the Internet enabled radio receivers were able to connect without issue using either band. These are low data rate devices and as such having 1 bar of signal strength in the 5 GHz band was sufficient for reception.

5. All of the Internet enabled Blue Ray Players were able to utilize the 2.4 GHz band while the 5 GHz band worked on all except the unit located in the garage. The unit in the garage could only connect via the 2.4 GHz band.

YARD USAGE:

By setting up all of my portable units to utilize either of the two bands and to be able to automatically connect, I was able to wander around my yard and maintain a connection with everything except the I-Touches. The I-touches were able to reach out to 90 percent of the yard, but dropped off at the extreme end of the property. For the most part, the 5 GHz band was not useful anywhere outside of the main section of the house.

Being able to connect to the USB Ports (there are two of them) and whatever device you put on it (Thumb Drive, Hard Drive, Printer) requires that the wireless device you are using support SAMBA. All Macs and all Microsoft Operating Systems support this function. What does not support this function directly are the Apple Touch, the Apple IPAD, Android devices, and the Kindle Fire. The good news is that you can download a free app onto each of those devices which then allows them to connect to the local resource on your network. This is a great way to share documents and pictures!

Future apps are promised by TP-Link to allow you to connect to the share port to either print or share files. There is no information yet if this app only allows you to access files on the share drive on your Apple or Android devices or if it will allow you to upload or download files to it.

Home Server was quite happy to connect to any device that it will support using either band. The requirement is that you either plug the server into one of the 5 ports on the back of the router or that the server you are using has wireless capability.

The guest network is a very nice feature and it works in such a way that you can isolate that network from your home network. There is also an ability to configure access times and days that the Guest network will be available. You can configure both the 2.4 and the 5 GHz bands for Guest Networking. You can also implement parental controls to limit what content can be accessed on either the Guest Network or on your own network.

There are more security and other features in this unit than you can shake a stick at. I tested as many of them as I possibly could and had good results with all features. It just takes a bit of time to work your way through all of the options and to figure out how it is all organized. Each section that you work on has a help section to the right side of the screen to help you understand each function that you have the ability to configure on that page.

SUMMARY:

As you can probably tell from the above, setup is extremely easy and takes less than 5 minutes from starting to unbox to having the system up and running. The user interface is a little rough and the layout is not very intuitive. You can be as simple or as complicated as you want to get with the configuration.
The router passed most of my requirements (the eight items listed earlier) with the following exceptions:

1. Router Security was short in that multiple people could log in as administrator and there was no way to physically log off or to automatically have you logged off after a period of inactivity. The wireless lack of HTTPS seems to be common across all manufacturers of home grade routers. There is a fix for the dual login security issue being promised by TP-Link in the future.

2. Aesthetics from my perspective were not good because there was no way to turn off the light show and the three antennas are also distracting. I would have preferred them to be contained within the unit rather than being external attachments.

3. Coverage of the 5 GHz frequency where you have the most bandwidth is much too limited for use in a large home. Signal strength drops off very rapidly and is much lower than other units that I have looked at.

A FINAL COMMENT ON BANDWIDTH:

You need to keep in mind that no matter how fast and how much data a router can pass, it cannot make your Internet connection any bigger or any faster! So, if your Internet connection is capable of 10 megabits per second and your router is capable of 800 megabits per second guess what? The fastest connection you can get is 10 megabits per second!! This also applies to streaming video if the source of the video is the Internet (think Amazon Prime Movies, Netflix, etc.). However, if you have a home server with videos, a game server with games, a server that does backups, you are doing file transfers between computers, etc., you will have a lot more bandwidth to be able to do concurrent things!! I will also note that to obtain the fastest data transfer rates you will need to use a wireless device that supports AC standard. The units I tested with are the NETGEAR A6200 and a Belkin AC wireless adapter. Each of these units are USB adapters and were connected to USB 3.0 ports on the Windows 8 machines and USB 2.0 ports on the other machines that did not have native 2.4 and 5.0Ghz support.

RECOMMENDATION:

If you can locate your router close to where you want 5 GHz support and you pay attention to the security issues mentioned, this router can provide very decent functionality for home use. This is especially true if you do not want to get involved with programming a router and just want to plug it in and have it run with encryption already enabled and functional. I would only recommend that you change the administrator password from the default setting.
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47 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the upgrade I hoped for and then some. NOW ADDED A 2nd AS A BRIDGE, October 10, 2013
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I usually wait a couple of weeks for my reviews of tech products, but I am so thrilled with this purchase after 24 hours that I can't wait.

This is replacing my D-Link DIR-825 that I have had for more than 4 years. I have been happy with the D-Link but it has been dragging when it comes to actual routing. Seemed to be dropping connections (even if just momentarily) and browsing shared files between computers and devices on the network just seemed to be getting more and more buggy with each passing week. So I figured I might as well future proof. At some point I plan on using the 5ghz AC band to wirelessly bridge the router upstairs with the server downstairs. Right now I have a Cat 5e cable running through some duct work. I had used 5Ghz N for home media serving before with good success but the bandwidth limitation just made it less than 100% smooth. Reviews seem to give a real world benefit of 2x to 3x better performance from AC so as soon as prices come down on AC equipment I will probably do that.

Anyway, I am only using the 2.4Ghz N band right now and I am stunned. My plan was to keep the old D-Link as an access point connected via 100 feet of CAT 6 so that I could have good wireless in the backyard. After setting up the Archer C7, the D-link is in its box and in storage. The range is simply awesome. I haven't found a weak spot, yet. Simple networking across cable or wireless is definitely snappier. With any PC using a wired connection, accessing shared files is like I am accessing a local drive. My D-Link did a fine job with transfer speeds, maxing out all but my 2TB Seagate 7200 drives and the Archer C7 is no different. I don't have any SSDs, so I don't really have the capability of maxing the gigabit connection but the speeds are running 70-80 MB/s (which is the top read/write rate for the drive I am using for file transfer). I will temporarily move my USB 3.0 external that usually transfers about 120MB/sec to my tower PC and copy some files over to my server. That should give me a pretty good test.

Setup was done in about 30 minutes and that includes setting up my DHCP reservations and setting the Date/Time. I just popped the mini-cd in my tower and followed the steps. I even had my D-Link router set up as an access point and working nicely with the Archer C7 (hand offs were nice and smooth) but I disconnected it shortly thereafter because the final position of the router plus the greater range made it moot.

Can't wait to try out the 5Ghz AC band.

UPDATE: 1 WEEK LATER

I can safely say that my enthusiasm for this router has not waned. Networking between computers is much smoother than before and the little blips and hiccups that I used to experience are gone. Often, with my old router, it would take several seconds (and what often felt like a minute or so) before certain devices would show up in my network for remote access. Sometimes a reboot of the devices or the router was necessary. Now, everything is instant. I click <Network> in the Windows Explorer and the attached devices are all there in less than 2 seconds if not instantly. Accessing my server is no longer a click and wait game. I just don't think the D-Link had the horsepower to act as a true Gigabit router. I chose this router because of the reviews that showed it had some of the highest total throughput for any consumer grade router and it seems to be living up to it.

Range on the 2.4Ghz band is greatly improved. I don't know if it is twice as far as my D-Link but it is awfully close.

Wired and wireless transfer speeds seem to be unchanged, just limited by the speed of the hardware at the each end (HDD speed for wired and wireless adapter speed).

The interface is smooth and easy to learn for those of us with a basic knowledge of networking. My only complaint is that it doesn't allow you to assign an arbitrary name to permanently reserved IP addresses. That is one feature I will miss from my D-Link.

Shipped with the July 29 firmware. I had noticed that reviews from several websites mentioned issues with the 2.4Ghz band. Several had mentioned contacting TP-Link about it and that they had planned a fix with a firmware upgrade. Looks like that was the truth because I have been nothing but impressed with the 2.4Ghz and no problems with transfer of large files over the wireless connection among a variety of devices from cell phones to laptops to tablets.

I briefly connected the old D-Link as an AP, but the range of the TP-Link is so good that I disconnected it. I guess if I wanted to run a couple hundred feet of Cat6 then there might be some benefit, but my home is too small to really need that unless I dig a trench and bury some Cat6 out to the detached garage.

UPDATE #2: About a month in

Tired of looking at that grey Cat5e cable that runs along the wall, through the heating vent and along the duct going to the basement where the server and my tower PC and my DirecTV ethernet connection are located. I noticed the price drop on the Archer C7 so I bought a 2nd one that I will be using as a bridge in 5Ghz 802.11ac mode to join the two levels of my home. My cable modem will be upstairs with the original Archer C7 router. All the wireless devices in the house will connect through this one along with being hardwired to my WDTV Live Hub that I use to stream my Blu Ray rips and other media from the server. The server is downstairs and is a WHS 2011 homebrew based on an AMD FX 6100 with 4 x 2TB Seagate ST2000DM001 HDDs for storage and a 2TB WD Green that's used for parity via FlexRAID. Most testing transfers on the gigabit wired connection are between 80MB/s & 100MB/s. Can't wait to see how HD media streams between the 2 routers to the WDTV Live since I just couldn't quite get it to work really well with 802.11n.

UPDATE #3: Added Archer C7 #2 as a wireless bridge

I have cut the cord.

The Setup: My Homeserver, PC Tower and DTV are cabled into Archer C7 #2 (downstairs) that has been set up as a wireless bridge on the 5Ghz AC band. Archer C7 #1 (upstairs) is still the main router with all DHCP and routing being handled there. My modem and WDTV Live are cabled directly in to Archer C7 #1 and all wireless devices connect there as well. I put it into dual band mode and turned off 2.4Ghz on #2. Distance between the 2 is about 15-18 feet in a straight line, through a wall, a floor and some metal ducting for the AC/Furnace.

Baseline & Results: Had the 2 C7s connected via a Cat5e cable that runs along the climate ducting. When I tested it out with the free 'LAN Test' from CNet, transferring 500MB test files would come in around 700mbps (about 84MB/s). Plenty fast for home use. Reconnected the cables so that the Homeserver was wired directly to #1 and the PC Tower was connected to #2 (The Wireless Bridge). Running the tests from the Server side (WHS 2011) came back about 200mbps; a little south of what I had hoped. I ran it that way through the weekend. Watched a couple of HD movies with no problems so I was starting to soften and think about keeping the setup anyway.

Well, my daughter got sick so I came home early from work today and while she was napping I took special note of the location of #2 directly below the metal ducting. Decided to make a lateral move of about 3 feet so that the ducting wasn't direct line of sight to #1 and re ran the test, again from the server side. BANG!:

Test 1 - 364mbps Write/345mpbs Read (300MB transfer)
Test 2 - 275mbps/426mbps (300MB transfer)
Test 3 - 358mbps/415mbps (500MB transfer)
Test 4 - 346mbps/448mbps (500MB transfer)

Transferred a 4GB .iso file from the PC Tower to the server and got the same consistent results of about 46-48MB/s as reported by Windows 7. Transferred in less than 2 minutes.

I am convinced. I will be pulling the Cat5e off the floor and off the ducting. I can't help but think that I'm a little crazy since it is taking me $270 to replace a $10 cable at half the speed, but looks count and I'm tired of looking at that Cat5 cable along the edge of my floor.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great hardware, especially for the price!, December 8, 2014
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This review is from: TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router, 2.4GHz 450Mbps+5Ghz 1300Mbps, 2 USB Ports, IPv6, Guest Network (Personal Computers)
GREAT router. I've mostly used the cisco/linksys units (E3000, E3200, etc.) in recent years, they're affordable and easy to install custom firmware on (tomato, dd-wrt, openwrt, etc.). Thanks to the nearby powerlines and the way that my house is built I've always needed 2-3 routers/access points to cover my entire house (only about ~1500 sq. feet!). I remembered how great the coverage was from my old 802.11g Linksys WRT54G (that had external antennas), so when I decided to upgrade to 802.11ac I wanted to try a router with external antennas, and I'm glad I did. After experimenting for a while, I found a location in my house for the router where it could reach the entire home on the 2.4g band! I get great performance on both bands, even with a wide variety of devices connected (2.4g 802.11n and g, 5ghz 802.11a, n, and ac). I'm going to wait for the custom firmware for this unit to mature a bit more before I jump into that boat, but there are versions available.

At about 20 feet away, without direct line-of-sight, my macbook pro usually connects to 802.11ac at 700-900Mb/s. That is *great* for 802.11ac - in order to see full 802.11ac speeds you need to be close to your router without any obstructions.

Something that isn't totally clear in the documentation - you want the antennas to be vertical, with the two on the outside slightly tilted (like in the product photo), no matter what the orientation of the router. So, if you're mounting it on a wall like I did, you should extend the antennas (so that they are "pointing" towards the floor or the ceiling).

Also, this router doesn't have an Access Point "mode", but can be used as one like pretty much any other wireless router. Just make sure that you 1) Turn off the new router's internal DHCP server, 2) Set a static IP address for the LAN interface that's in your home's current subnet and won't conflict with anything, and 3) Plug the ethernet cable from your main router into one of the LAN ports of your new access point (and leave the WAN/Internet port empty). Some people just plug a cable from their main router to the WAN port of the new router - this will usually work but you won't be able to see any of the devices on your local network when you're connected to the new wireless router.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast NEW AC router well worth the money get it now DDWRT compatible as well., October 18, 2014
This review is from: TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router, 2.4GHz 450Mbps+5Ghz 1300Mbps, 2 USB Ports, IPv6, Guest Network (Personal Computers)
Review is for the TP-LINK Archer C7 V2 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router. First id like to state that before you do anything with this router make sure to grab the newest firmware which i believe as of this review is 3.14.01. The reason is due to alot of issues that the manufacturer patched and addressed that will make your life much happier. The process is straight forward and easy. Everyone on here complaining about the menu being hard apparently have never used a router menu in the last 10 years because i find it easier to use than half the routers out there.

This router blows older generation routers away with its speed and range. The connections are solid ive been running 3 laptops, 2 phones, 2 360's and 1 xbox one all running at the same time. Not a single slow down so pleased with this purchase will recomend to anyone that is looking for a next gen ac router but on the cheap cost side.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Easy Setup, good speed, failed after about 3 hours, September 24, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TP-LINK Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router, 2.4GHz 450Mbps+5Ghz 1300Mbps, 2 USB Ports, IPv6, Guest Network (Personal Computers)
Received the unit quickly as always from Amazon. Unit was undamaged, assembled the antennas. Read over the " Quick Start" instructions, then followed those instructions through set up. The unit was an absolute breeze to set up, I loved the ease of setting it up and it was quick. Within 15 minutes of unboxing, I had basic internet to the wired network devices and they were working fine. Assembled all the wireless toys, and logged each onto the network. Thanks to the quick start directions, this was easy and quick. With all devices on the network, tested each, the 5khz band really nice for the two devices that used it, the rest worked as good as always. Using my main wired Mac, I worked about two hours utilizing internet searches and other data from the internet. The system was quick and clean. After finishing work, printed screen shots of all the settings from the router web based interface so that if something happened, I could reset them to where I knew it worked. One last task of about 20 minutes, system worked great, I took a break for dinner. About 2 hours later, I came back to find the modem and the router had stopped "talking" to each other and I essentially had a dead network. I could access the router interface, checked all the settings from what I had printed earlier, all were the same, could not get traffic to flow between the router and the modem. Rebooted both devices several times, no joy. Bypassed the router with a wired laptop, internet connection worked perfect. Rebooted the router yet again and the modem again, reconnected the router to the modem, same problem, they will not talk to each other. Shutdown the system, reinstalled my old router, wired everything back up, then restarted, old router and modem working great. So left the system on the old router and will return the TP Link and research another router.
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The manufacturer commented on the review belowSee comments
36 of 48 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If you are a MAC User: BEWARE!!! Archer C7 V1 shipped & won't work on 5GHz band, April 24, 2014
By 
Chifan (Chicago, USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
*** A shame that AMAZON sellers keep on selling Version 1 of this Archer C7 product, KNOWING FULLY THAT IT IS NOT COMPATIBLE with APPLE Mac Computers*** *** PLEASE AMAZON / REMOVE ALL SELLERS shipping Archer C7 Hardware Version 1 / OR AT LEAST Make it known in the title of the product which version it is ***
Like everyone here, I was really eager to try the Archer C7 because it was priced reasonably vs other offerings, and yet offered an upgrade path to 802.11ac from 802.11n (which is what I have for now only). I was hoping that I would receive the latest Hardware version of the Archer C7 (version 2) but no, I received Version 1.1... but still was willing to give it a try.
I own a Macbook Pro Late 2011 model (which supports 802.11n on both 2.4 and 5Ghz bands), and after a quick setup was quite happy with my 2.4GHz band using the Archer C7, being to connect to the internet and get good 50Mbps throughput via Comcast.
Then I tried the 5GHz band, and no internet connection was possible. I tried restarting my computer, modem, router, upgrading to the latest firmware (140402 from the original 130729) changing channel config for 5GHz band from auto to a fixed channel, and nada... the browser would be stuck at trying to resolve host no matter what I tried.
I then went to TP Link forum and found out that there is an issue between Archer C7 Hardware version 1, and Apple Mac computers and the 5GHz band specifically. I read that Version 2 of Archer C7 would fix this issue.
I'm awaiting to see if they will allow me to RMA this product. Else, I just have to return the product via Amazon.
It just doesn't work, no matter how much I'd wish it worked!!!
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stem
The manufacturer commented on this review(What's this?)
Posted on Apr 24, 2014 2:41:42 PM PDT
Dear Chifan,
We sincerely apologize about the inconvenience caused by the Archer C7 v1 and compatibility with Apple devices, especially MAC computers on the 5GHz band specifically. It's unfortunate that you did not receive the hardware version in which you had desired, but based on what you are experiencing, I suggest contacting our technical support staff at the number provided below so any of our technical representatives may issue an RMA for a v2 hardware of the Archer.
As the replacement device is shipped directly from our warehouse, we can guarantee that the brand new Archer C7 hardware will in fact be a version 2 and hopefully you should no longer encounter the same problems that you are experiencing presently.

Best Regards!

TP-LINK Support Team
Support.usa@tp-link.com
(866) 225-8139
http://www.tp-link.com/us/support
 
 

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Quick and easy setup, January 18, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I got this to replace a Linksys WRT610N which suffered a fatal blow after a power outage. I really wanted to stick with Linksys since it's all I've ever used for my home network but after reading tons of reviews I couldn't find one for $150 or less that consistently had good reviews so I broadened my search....

First off I read the negative reviews on Amazon for this router, and aside from the entertainment value there were 2 things I noted: 1) most of the negatives are by people who blame the device rather than admit they are clueless and 2) there were a lot of replies from TP Link, which to me is a good sign. I moved on to professional reviews and based on those reviews I decided to take a chance this router. Thus far it seems to have been a good decision.

Since I RTFM, it took me all of 5 seconds to find the URL to configure this router. After initial login I changed the user/pass and the IP of the router. The reboot on this device is pretty slow but for me that's not an issue as I expect from my routers that I won't need to reboot it again for months if not longer after it is configured. After the reboot I spent about 20 minutes on the rest of the configuration which for me included setting the DHCP Range, DHCP Reservations, Port Triggering, DMZ, and wireless networks. Rebooted again and 4 days later it's still business as usual.

I can't speak to the long term reliability of this router yet as I've only had it up and running for 4 days, but thus far it's given me no issues at all. The speeds are what I would expect for wired connections, getting about 70MB/second consistently transferring 2-4GB files. I don't know actual wireless speeds at this point, but I am able to stream 720p/1080p HD videos without any issues from my media server to multiple devices simultaneously using both 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz.

The only reason I gave 4 stars instead of 5 is because the 5Ghz band doesn't have the range I hoped it would, but to be fair, the router is in my basement and 5Ghz is not known for doing well through floors/walls but there are completely dead spots on this band upstairs which I did not have with the Linksys. I may be able to remedy this if I play with the antennae but I haven't gotten around to it yet.

The 2.4Ghz band far exceeded my expectations. With my Linksys I could get a decent signal anywhere in my house on either floor but at the opposite end of the house on the main floor it was about 60% signal and outside the house the signal dropped to about 10% immediately outside the door and after 3 steps there was no signal. With this router I have a 100% signal in every corner of my house and I can now even get wireless on my patio at about 50% strength and I the signal doesn't drop off completely until I'm well out in the yard.

I'll update this review should I run into any major issues, but otherwise I'd say this router definitely seems to be worthwhile.

My network and connected devices:

Motorola Cable Modem->TP Link Router->Trendnet 8-Port Gigabit Switch

Hardwired to router: Desktop (Win7), Switch

Hardwired to switch: Domain Controller (Server 2008), Plex Media Server (Win7), Desktop (Win7), Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS3

Wireless 5Ghz: Mac Mini (OSX 10.9), Macbook Pro (OSX 10.9), Laptop (Win7), Laptop (Win8)

Wireless 2.4Ghz: iPad2, 2 Kindle Fire HD, 2 Laptops (Win7), Wii, 2 Smart TVs, 2 Bluray players, 4 Smart Phones, 2 iPod Touch, Printer

Update: 10 days since I wrote this review and no issues to report. I've done lots of co-op gaming on xbox live (wired), worked from home over VPN on the 5Ghz wireless for way too many hours, streamed movies over both wireless bands, and it's been business as usual for the rest of the the family with all their wireless devices. No drops, no hiccups, no speed issues... Still remains to be seen if it will hold up in the long run but so far this router seems to be a good buy.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Each version has issues., May 20, 2014
By 
FoTacTix (Chicago, IL USA) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Pros:
- One of the cheapest AC1750 routers in the market.
- Gigabit Ethernet ports + WAN
- External antennas
- Wireless on/off switch
- Power on/off switch
- Dual USB 2 ports

Cons:
- IPV6 does not work on the V2 with the latest firmware and Comcast/Xfinity internet
- Lots of firmware bugs + translation bugs.
- Lack of USB 3
- 5Ghz is extremely weak especially with internal antennas.
- Support is not fluent in English.
- Cannot name DHCP Reservations. (You can only enter their mac and their ip) So I have to keep a text document with all the info.
- Cannot name Port Forwards. (Same as above, I don't understand why this hasn't been fixed in the firmware yet)

Thoughts:

I've had both the V1 and V2 versions of this router and each version has had its own issues.
When I first got the V1, it had issues where the 5ghz would drop out from my Nexus devices. IPV6 also did not work. The Media Server would also run even though it was disabled. That was all fixed with subsequent Beta firmwares.

The latest firmware for the V1 has fixed most of the issues for me. 140402 is the firmware release.

The latest firmware for the V2 has many of the previous issues the V1 had. Such as, IPV6 not working and the Media Server running even though it's disabled.

To put it simply, the V2 is the better/more compatible hardware than the V1. If you had issues with devices and 5ghz with the V1, you shouldn't have a problem with V2. Unfortunately, you will inherit all the previous firmware problems that the V1 has fixed in their April firmware release.

To TP-Link:
Howard, I tried my best giving you feedback, but it seems like all the love and attention is going into the Archer C5 router, which is a shame considering the C7 is your flagship product and has the potential to be one of the best routers out there. Firmware is taking too long to come out and old bugs are haunting the V2 version which is really disappointing. You cannot advertise that the product is IPV6 is compatible if it doesn't work out of the box. It shouldn't take months to fix either. Not being able to name DHCP Reservations or Port Forwards is unacceptable. TP-Link has the potential to be great, but until they can get past these shortcomings, it will only continue to hurt them as a company.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Performance / Value Winner, January 15, 2014
By 
txsouthpaw (Fort Worth, TX, USA) - See all my reviews
I selected the C7 after having come to the conclusion that it had become time to replace my trusty Tomato equipped Linksys E3000. I used a number of sources to make my selection including Smallnetbuilder, WikiDevi, and Newegg & Amazon user reviews. I was looking for a fast and reliable router to serve my all wireless N network. The C7's AC capabilities really only add bonus value for future expandability. Some of the attributes that brought me to the C7 are as follows:

-720MHz Qualcomm/Atheros QCA9558 CPU (Newer, faster, and much more efficient than other offerings at this price)
-Plenty of RAM (128MB)
-Atheros AR8327N gigabit switch w/ hardware NAT
-Dual band, 3 stream wireless N capabilities (to fully utilize my notebook's Centrino Ultimate 6300)
-External 5GHz antennae
-Awesome total routing and wireless throughput
-Awesome price compared to other similar AC offerings and even other high end N routers.

Upon receiving the C7, connection was a breeze and configuration was equally easy. While basic in appearance, TP-Link's browser based configuration page seems to be fast, well organized, and full featured. I was quickly able to assign static IPs, forward ports for my Magic Jack Plus, and configure my wireless SSIDs and their security settings. Once configuration was complete, it was very easy to create a settings back-up for later use after a firmware update or factory reset. The only things I was left wanting were a centralized table of all connected clients and the ability to re-name devices when setting static IPs. I really don't care how flashy the web UI is, just that it gives me the ability to configure as I see fit. In my opinion, the C7 did not disappoint in that regard. I also upgraded to the newest beta firmware in order to avoid possible wireless connection issues. The update also seemed to improve the quality of my wired connection experience (more consistent throughput and seemingly lower latency). My connected devices function wonderfully and I have noticed a bit of improvement in my Roku 3's HD streaming experience (faster browsing & and transitions from SD to HD). Coming from an E3000, an added bonus is that this router runs very, very cool. I am very happy with my purchase and the C7 has proved to be a stellar wireless N router. I look forward to seeing what it can do with AC clients.

Edit (1/23/2014)

The C7 has been a pleasure to own and this is a very fast router, especially given the price. While I haven't used AC clients with it yet, the wireless N performance has been great. I am very impressed with the range of the 2.4GHz band and I struggle to find an area of my home where I can't achieve a 450 Mbps link rate using my notebook's Intel Centrino Ultimate 6300. To get the best performance from the 5 GHz band, I did have to experiment with the antennae positioning. File transfers and sharing are quite quick with wired throughput being off the chart fast. I have grown to really like the web UI and I find it sufficiently full featured as well as quite intuitive. One feature I am very grateful for is the bandwidth limitation settings for the guest SSID(s). Overall, I have been quite pleased with the C7 and it compares quite favorably to other routers I have used in the past. I highly recommend it.

Edit (5/15/2014)

Since January, I purchased a Macbook and acquired an older Dell Latitude notebook, both of which came equipped with Broadcom wireless adapters. Soon after I started using the devices, I noticed very erratic wireless performance and dropped connections with the Archer C7. It was at this point that I contacted TP-Link in order to seek an RMA to exchange my V1.1 unit for a V2 unit which does not suffer from the Broadcom connection problem, has a new 5GHz radio, an updated Atheros switch, and is OpenWRT supported via the Ath10K driver.

I was initially dreading the idea of an RMA due to my previous experiences with Linksys and Netgear. My fears of having to humor ridiculous suggestions, arbitrary requirements, and endless runaround from overseas support subcontractors were quickly laid to rest. Two days after calling the toll free support line to simply ask for a V2 replacement, I received an email granting my RMA request. I followed the instructions and shipped my V1 C7 back to TP-Link via Priority Mail. About a week later, I called the phone number on the email I received to check the progress of the RMA and was immediately able to speak with the representative handling my case. She promptly checked on the status, confirmed that my replacement had been shipped, and emailed me shipping confirmation and a tracking number. All told, I spent a total of 150 seconds on hold between my two calls to support staff. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that my replacement had been shipped out the very same day TP-Link received my old unit and that it would arrive the next day. The shipment arrived as scheduled and I was extremely pleased to find that I had received a brand new C7 V2 in shrink wrapped retail packaging rather than a beat-up refurbished unit. After getting everything configured, I can report that the replacement works flawlessly with all of my devices and the performance and range far surpass that of my old Linksys E3000, which wasn't a bad router.

Despite having to do an RMA, I can say that I am very happy with my purchase as the new unit functions excellently. Much of my continued happiness with my purchase is owed to the excellent post-sales support I received from TP-Link.
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