Winter Driving Best Books of the Month Men's Leather Watches Learn more nav_sap_SWP_6M_fly_beacon Nothing But Thieves All-New Amazon Fire TV Subscribe & Save Valentine's Day Cards Bring a little greenery into your home Amazon Gift Card Offer jstfd6 jstfd6 jstfd6  Amazon Echo All-New Fire Kindle Paperwhite Lisa Loeb AMO Winter Sports on Amazon.com Sale

  • Customer Reviews



There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on December 30, 2014
The TP-Link Archer C7 is an AC1750 class router with gigabit ports and dual band Wi-Fi that supports up to 450mbps on wireless-N and 1300mbps on wireless-AC. Here's my take on it:

The box and connectors:

As far as consumer routers go, this is a pretty standard router that offers a couple of nice extras that generally are not found on most routers. On the back panel, the Archer C7 has four gigabit Ethernet ports, and the accompanying WAN port is also gigabit making it suitable for use with the newer class of modems. It also houses a pair of USB 2.0 ports for attaching NAS devices and/or setting up a print server directly off the router without a host computer. The router also supports IPv4 and IPv6 protocols making it a bit future proof (I use this term loosely - as we all know, standards have a way of changing overnight). The unit also uses a standard AC adapter/wall wart combination for power. The connectors for the 5gHz connectors are also located on the rear of the box, as is the WPS reset button.

Last but not least, this router has a dedicated wireless on/off switch in the back AND a power on/off button - seeing as most routers do not have these - this is very cool. These two switches allow the user to disable wireless, and/or perform a cold reboot of the router independently - without having to unplug it from the AC jack (to say nothing of this reducing greatly the risk of the box getting fried by constantly plugging and unplugging this jack). Kudos to TP-Link for this.

On the front panel it's a pretty typical modern display for a router (with the cutesy icon shaped LED indicators of course). From left to right, you get: a power on indicator, a sun shaped icon displaying the overall status of the router, two separate on/off/active indicators for each wireless band, four indicators for the Ethernet ports, internet activity/active light, and a WPS indicator light. It would have been cool had the Ethernet lights had different colors to indicate 10/100/1000Base-T connections, but this is probably just me wishing to see more information at-a-glance.

The router has a very shiny black finish - which looks fantastic, but you better keep a microfiber cloth handy if you expect it to always look that way - the surface is a big-time fingerprint and dust magnet. You could almost say that one of the Archer C7's sub functions is to tell you how polluted the air in your house is.

Setup:

Setting up this router is fairly easy to do when it comes to instant gratification. Generally the quick setup (which can be done either through the web interface or included mini-CD) allows one to quickly set up all the rudimentary stuff to get up and running quickly. This will only address the most basic settings, such as setting up the wireless network's SSID's, channels, and security keys. This method of setup is probably the best method for novices.

Tweaking this router to your personal tastes and preferences takes a good bit more patience - they are only available from the web interface - and the interface itself, while fairly well laid out is a bit cumbersome to say the least, and requires a lot of clicks to get to certain aspects of the router's configuration parameters. Changes made that require reboots also take a bit longer than the average router. The bottom line is, while this router can be fully configured, it's just not a very fast process - put aside a good block of time to do the modifications you want to do to the router.

The first thing I personally would recommend doing before you start diving into the heavier tweaking is to upgrade the firmware. This device will not retain any settings that were modified once the firmware is upgraded, so it can result in a lot of lost time and effort if you don't do this beforehand. Also it is very important to upgrade to the latest version of the firmware as several critical issues in the original firmware have been fixed.

I am happy to report that once configured to my liking, the Archer C7 has been rock solid - it retains its settings and hasn't required a single reboot and/or dropped connections anywhere. This makes the time ones puts into customizing very well worth the effort.

Security settings are pretty standard for a consumer router. You get the hardware NAT firewall along with the SPI firewall. You also get DoS protection with assignable flood filters. There is VPN tunnel management and also ALG filters for the NAT firewall. Local and remote management of the router is also fully programmable to make accessibility to the web based interface as tight or as loose as you want.

Other setup features involve the USB ports, as you can set them up for an FTP server, shared storage, print server and also a media server for the entire network. There are also a slew of other features, such as port triggering, setting up a DMZ or virtual server, and so forth.

Wireless Features:

I kind of made wireless the focal point of this review because the simple fact is, that's about 90% of the reason anyone gets a wireless router of any kind. Let's take a look:

The TP-Link Archer C7 comes with a pretty comprehensive wireless feature set. You get dual transmitters on 2.4gHz and 5gHz, which can be run simultaneously or in one band only. There is also a hardware master wireless on/off switch on the back of the router, which saves one the trouble of having to login to the router to disable the wireless system. Each band is completely programmable and independent of the other, and both bands also offer a guest network - effectively giving the ability to offer four wireless networks (all with unique SSID's) in a single box. Both bands also offer WDS bridging for expanding coverage, and I suspect there is also a way to manually bridge as well. Each band has three antennas - the 5gHz antennas are external and detachable, and the 2.4gHz antennas are fixed internal.

Both bands also offer WPS connectivity, wireless MAC filtering, WEP (up to 152bit keys) WPA/WPA2 PSK Personal and WPA/WPA2 Enterprise (both WPA/2 modes offer TKIP and AES encryption). You also get three power setting levels (low, medium and high), the ability to adjust the beacon interval, RTS threshold, fragmentation threshold and the DTIM interval. You also get the ability to enable and disable WMM and short GI. Lastly there is also the option for enabling/disabling AP isolation. Guest networks are fully controllable in accessibility, wireless security and bandwidth limiting.

The Archer C7 is compatible with wireless A, B, G, N and AC. 2.4 gHz offers wireless B, G and N while 5gHz offers A, N and AC. The flexibility of assigning bands left a little to be desired as the router does NOT offer single modes (IE - Wireless-N only, etc). Rather, each band offers two sets of mixed modes. 2.4gHz offers B/G and B/G/N mixed modes while 5gHz offers A/N and A/N/AC mixed modes. This is probably my biggest gripe about the Archer C7.

I would have liked to have had the options of being able to run single modes in both transmitters, at the very least have the options of wireless N only and wireless AC only. Now while the slower wireless G adapter in my older Toshiba laptop did not seem to effect the connection speeds/transfer rates of my N devices on the 2.4gHz band, the simple fact is the potential for devices with slower modes to have an adverse effect on overall performance of the devices with the faster modes is a real possibility.

I should say this is at best a small turnoff in the face of an otherwise solid set of wireless features, but what makes this a bit more of a head scratcher is the fact that according to the manuals, single modes seemed to have been available in the version 1 models of the Archer C7, but were done away with in the V2 and V3 models. So why did they decide to get rid of the single modes in the later versions of the Archer C7? TP-Link: PLEASE bring the single modes back.

Channel width setting options also were a little on the lean side. The 2.4gHz transmitter's options were standard with B/G mode fixed to 20mHz (as it should be) and the options of Auto, 20 and 40mHz on B/G/N mode. The 5gHz transmitter curiously offers NO options for channel width at all. The only choices present in the 5gHz transmitter are either choosing a channel manually or setting it to auto. I am presuming that the channel width is auto in the firmware (or could it possibly be fixed to a certain width?) - I personally would have preferred being able to either set it to Auto or a fixed width of my preference. Perhaps this can be addressed in the next firmware update.

Wireless Performance Testing

My house is not a large house, but also does not have an open floor plan. Wireless signal strength has always been a problem on the far side of my house because I have lots of walls to deal with, and I have to hook up a main router on the other side of the house. My testing conditions therefore are as such that the truth definitely will come out about the abilities of any wireless transmitter I use. For the long distance testing my router was located in the front right corner of my house and the clients were located in the left rear corner of the house - the maximum possible distance between clients and router inside my house. For close testing my clients were located in the next room over from the router with a bathroom directly between the two rooms.

Please note that the speeds listed here are the connection speeds and not the actual throughput rate. But in regard to transfer rate, one can generally get a quick ballpark estimate of the actual maximum possible data transfer rate by taking the wireless connection speed and dividing that number by 2. I focused more on the actual signal strength, because in reality the connection speed AND actual data transfer rate is 100% dependant on the signal strength of the wireless connection. Simply put, the weaker the signal, the slower the data transfer rates are going to be.

The devices I used in this test were a Google Nexus-7 2013 android tablet, LG LS970 android phone, a Toshiba Satellite 5825 laptop with the original built in wireless 2.4gHz B/G adapter and a newer Dell laptop with an i5 processor and 300N built in dual band wireless adapter. Finally, with the aforementioned Toshiba laptop, I tested TP-Link's T4U AC1200 dual band USB adapter which sports connection specs up to 300mbps on wireless-N and 867mbps on wireless-AC.

2.4gHz - mixed B/G/N @ 11 feet through 2 walls:

Client Mode Average Speed Signal Strength
Nexus 7 2013 N 72mbps -40dBm
LG LS970 N 65mbps -51dBm
Dell laptop N 144mbps excellent
Toshiba Laptop G 54mbps excellent
Toshiba w/T4U N 144mbps excellent

2.4gHz - mixed B/G/N @ 40 feet through 4 walls:

Client Mode Average Speed Signal Strength
Nexus 7 2013 N 26-65mbps (usually 52mbps) -57dBm
LG LS970 N 12-24mbps (usually 24mbps) -65dBm
Dell laptop N 40-144mbps (usually 72mbps) good
Toshiba Laptop G 48-54mbps (usually 54mbps) good
Toshiba w/T4U N 58-130mbps (usually 86mbps) very good

5gHz mixed mode A/N/AC @ 11 feet through 2 walls:

Client Mode Average Speed Signal Strength
Nexus 7 2013 N 150mbps -41dBm
LG LS970 N 150mbps -51dBm
Dell laptop N 300mbps excellent
Toshiba w/T4U N 300mbps excellent
Toshiba w/T4U AC 867mbps excellent

5gHz mixed mode A/N/AC @ 40 feet through 4 walls:

Client Mode Average Speed Signal Strength
Nexus 7 2013 N 40-90mbps (usually 60mbps) -69dBm
LG LS970 N 12mbps -72dBm
Dell laptop N 60-180mbps (usually 120mbps) fair
Toshiba w/T4U N 120-180mbps (usually 150mbps) good to very good
Toshiba w/T4U AC 260-325mbps (usually 325mbps) good to very good

It is clearly obvious that 2.4gHz is a stellar performer on this router - and offered signals around 10-15dBm stronger than my old Linksys WRT150N. Signal strength and connection speeds were very respectable on the far side of the house. On 5gHz, the transmit range is very similar to that of the WRT150N's range on 2.4gHz - that is to say - the 5 gHz range on the Archer C7 is ok, but you possibly will need a repeater or adapter with a strong transmitter to get reliable full coverage and/or good performance in either a large house or a house that does not have an open floor plan. In my case the performance of 5gHz was significantly degraded on the far side of the house, but it did stay connected without a repeater. The
lone exception to this was TP-Link's own T4U adapter, which clearly has the strongest transmitter of all the test devices in 5gHz - as it maintained a good to very good 5gHz connection on the far side of the house.

Also clearly obvious (and what a lot of people seem to either forget or not realize) is the fact that the useable range is just as dependant on the transmitters of the clients connecting to the router as the router itself - not all device's radios are created equal, and the performance chart I compiled reflects this. I also have seen a lot of people complain about the performance on certain devices not passing certain speeds, but one needs to take into account that the maximum speed is limited to the transmitter with the slowest rate. The only real way to test a wireless-N signal at the advertised 450mbps (and wireless-AC at 1300mbps) rate on the Archer C7 is to connect it with an adapter that can run at those speeds. I didn't have a 450N/1300AC device to test it with; however I can report that the T4U adapter on the Toshiba laptop ran at its maximum possible connection speeds of 300N/867AC when close enough to the router. On a side note, the performance I got from my Toshiba laptop's built-in wireless-G adapter on 2.4gHz was virtually the maximum 54mbps throughout my entire house.

In both the case of 2.4gHz and 5gHz, I only experienced dropped connections when the signal strength was extremely weak (below -85dB), which is really as it should be. Otherwise all my devices stayed connected without any interruptions.

The power output settings left me a bit befuddled. I was expecting to see very noticeable differences between the power settings at greater distances, but the actual differences were so minimal that it left me to wonder if this feature is really effectively enabled in the Archer C7. Whether I had the setting to low, medium or high, there was very little difference between the actual signal strength - even at beyond 50 feet through several walls, and in some cases there was no difference at all. It would seem the only real world usefulness this feature MIGHT have is to run at router at a lower power setting when you have devices in close proximity to the router as to avoid the overshoot effect, where too strong of a signal becomes just as problematic with connectivity as a very weak signal would.

Overall performance:

This router has been very solid in performance, the gigabit ports are what I would expect to see performance wise with either CAT 5e or CAT 6 cables attached. It hasn't lost connection with my modem or randomly rebooted itself, or created any kind of bottlenecks. I stream video from a Roku player through 2.4gHz wireless N and it has performed very well when it comes to buffering and picture quality - there have been no buffering interruptions of any kind. All of my other wireless devices stay connected flawlessly and the router itself plays nice with all my older routers (that are being used as switches in my network) and all of my wired computers. The Magic jack I'm running sounds crystal clear and never gets any skippy audio during phone calls. In all I have 18 devices patched into the network (about a 60/40 split between wired and wireless) and everything works perfectly without the router even breaking a sweat (it runs very cool).

Pros:
Price. For the average street price of around $75-$95 it is very hard to go wrong with this - you get a lot of functionality and reliability.
Good Wi-Fi transmitters and antennas, particularly on 2.4gHz.
Gigabit ports and very stable gigabit connections.
Simple to get going quickly out of the box and lots of options for tweaking your network to run the way you want it to.
Good security features.
Detachable 5gHz antennas
Runs very cool.

Cons:
Very cumbersome interface, and slow restart times, making this a bit of a pain to set up.
Only runs in mixed wireless modes - no options for running one mode only (eg - Wireless-N only).
No options for channel width in 5gHz.
Power level settings seem to have little or no effect on the actual power output.
The glassy smooth casing is a total dust magnet.

In conclusion

The TP-Link Archer C7 replaced a Linksys WRT150N that had given me 7 years of solid service as a main router, and I only replaced it because it was getting a bit long in the tooth and I wanted to go to a gigabit network. The wireless considerations generally have always been an afterthought in my own home network simply because I prefer wired networks for several reasons - most notably for the easy connectivity, faster performance overall and less security concerns. However with the age of smart phones, tablets, video streaming boxes and other devices, wireless capabilities have become more of a concern lately, and it won't be long before we start seeing AC as a common feature in these types of devices, which my old router doesn't support. As my new main router, the Archer C7 hasn't disappointed me.

I generally buy networking equipment using what I call the power curve theory. That is to say - get the most features and reliability for a reasonable price, and if possible, buck the concept of cutting edge. The Archer C7 certainly fits this description - you get a lot of router for a very pedestrian price - so much so that stepping up to its own more expensive siblings (Archer C8 and C9) or more feature laden models from other brands is really unnecessary for most people.

The bottom line is - while not quite on the cutting edge of technology, one gets a very capable router with a few inevitable shortcomings and curiosities (mostly in the wireless feature set). The good news is the Archer C7's overall performance far overshadows the aforementioned shortcomings. It's generally pretty easy to get set up out of the box within a short period of time for instant gratification, and has a much deeper (and more cumbersome) set of parameters in the admin menu - one can do a lot with this router just as long as you have the patience for it. Once it is set up the way you want it however, this device runs rock solid and is very reliable - I have had mine in for six weeks and have not had to do a single reset, and it passed the first power outage with flying colors as the settings did not get corrupted or forgotten.

5 star-rating.
1414 comments510 of 524 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 10, 2013
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.
1010 comments260 of 278 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 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".
55 comments362 of 394 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
2929 comments438 of 495 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 3, 2015
I am extremely impressed with this router! Like most households, we own more wireless devices now than ever. A few years ago the Netgear N300 wifi router I had was sufficient. But now that my family owns about a dozen different wifi devices, things weren't working as smoothly as they used to. It was even getting to the point where my kids would argue over who was using too much wifi because they couldn't connect to X-Box live, stream Youtube, etc. So, in doing some research, I came across the Archer C7. The specs said it should solve my problems and the reviews seems to back that up, so I gave it a try. Now, I'm no IT guy, and can't give you a spreadsheet worth of figures to explain why it works. But I can tell you, in practice - this thing does exactly what it says it will! To try it out I had the whole family use every wifi device they could. 2 laptops, 3 phones, an X-Box, a Firestick, a Kindle, a Galaxy Tab, etc...everything we threw at it worked smoothly, no lag, no buffering, nothing. That alone justified purchasing this router.
But it didn't end there. I only found out after I purchased it that TP-Link makes a free app that allows you modify and control your router from your phone, including parental controls. This was like icing on the cake! Without even being in front of the computer, I was able to turn off and on wifi access to any of the individual devices in my home, as well as set up rules for my kids devices that will block wifi access between certain hours of the day. As a parent this is a HUGE advantage to have built into a home network. It even has the ability to create whitelisted websites so you can control what they're allowed to view on the web.
I would highly recommend this router to anyone with a growing list of wifi devices in their home, and especially parents looking to monitor and control their kids' access.
review image
0Comment67 of 72 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 9, 2015
Terrible performance of the built in switch when using a LAN line rather than wireless. I wasn thinking with such great reviews this unit will be a great upgrade over my Belkin N1 unit. Well initially the wireless results were good. But I also work from home and a lot of my gear is working through the LAN ports as my house is wired. I started noticing really poor performance and slow speeds when working so I started digging. I was shocked when I ran a few speet tests. I did many different ones all with the same general results. I was getting about 2-4MBPS on my cable modem. So I swapped back to my original older unit and the same tests ran on average 55-60 Mbps. So Im thinking ok lets do a firmware upgrade after digging around in the settings and not seeing anything pop out at me. Well I downloaded it but every time I tried to upgrade it threw an error. So I give up and back to Amazon this piece of junk goes. Ill buy a name brand replacement instead of this or just keep my Belkin. I attached the results for you to see. Maybe I got a lemon but I dont think a second chance is warranted here as Ive already lost my taste for this brand.
review image review image
55 comments53 of 60 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 17, 2015
Extremely unreliable. Requires restarts once every couple days because Wifi just stops working, sometimes the 5-GHz, sometimes the 2.4-GHz (I have to use both because some old devices need 2.4GHz). I've tried switching channels after analyzing the neighborhood Wifi patterns but no luck. And when the Wifi quits working, even trying to use a device right next to the router doesn't work.

I bought this based on a review from the wirecutter, but now I'm not sure if they even tested it for more than a few hours.

My old Roku 2 HD doesn't play well with it at all, keeps losing its connection.

I've actually gone back to my old 2.4GHz single-band router while I evaluate alternatives.
55 comments34 of 37 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 14, 2015
The TP-Link Archer C7 Router is an excellent compromise between price and speed/reliability. We have a 1900 Sq. Ft townhouse, and are able to get WiFi signals everywhere in our house. Most reviews here have already done a good job listing the PROS and CONS of this router, so instead, I will just give a few tips to folks using this router:

1) Upgrade the firmware immediately after you purchase. The upgrade requires wiping off all settings, so it is best to do this as soon as you receive the router. The newest firmware as of this writing fixes some important security concerns & device compatibility.
2) Configure a different SSID name for the 2.4 and 5 Ghz. The speed and connection behaviors are very flaky if you use the same name. Technically, using the same SSID for both frequencies should work as most modern devices will use 5ghz when available. However, I experienced some flakiness on this router when doing so.
3) Change the default username & password from admin/admin to something more secure.
4) Place the router in a central location in your home. Don't place it in your basement or behind a pile of garbage. I place it in the entertainment console below my television.
5) Use WPA2-PSK with AES encryption for the best tradeoff between performance & security -- most home users will find that this is the best configuration. Depending on your use you may want to increase our reduce the security, but WPA2-PSK + AES should work for most/typical home users.
6) Set the channel & channel width manually. Do not use "Auto". It is best to download a wifi channel analyzer app on your smartphone, walk around the house, and use a channel that has least interference in places you spend most time (living room, bedroom, etc).
7) There is no way to configure a different channel for guest and non-guest AP, so they both WILL interfere with each other. If you don't need the guest access point ssid, disable it. This solved most of my random "connection lost" issues.

I am still giving this a 5-star rating because most of these are software issues, not hardware. Possibly going to OpenWRT or DD-WRT might fix these, but the stock firmware works good enough for my needs, so I have not tried alternate firmwares.
0Comment28 of 30 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 15, 2014
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.
0Comment23 of 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 24, 2015
This router is fantastic for the price.

1. Speed: I pay for 4 Mbps internet and get around 4.3 Mbps download speed with this via wifi. I'm not connected to it via ethernet cable, but I'm sure it would perform just as well.

2. Range: I have a 1500 square ft home and it covers every part of my house. Matter of fact, I can pick up my router's 2.4 GHz signal even 200+ yards away from my house.

3. Performance: We have about 8 devices connected to it, including a Roku streaming stick, and use the internet pretty heavily including video streaming on multiple devices simultaneously (yes, my 4 Mbps internet can handle it), and this router handles all devices without a hitch.
review image review image
0Comment18 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Questions? Get fast answers from reviewers

Please make sure that you've entered a valid question. You can edit your question or post anyway.
Please enter a question.
See all 69 answered questions


Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.