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207 of 234 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
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A few points that may not be covered in the other reviews...

- - - Good documentation - - -

The 125-page PDF User Guide seems well written and helpful. The setup wizard tries to be very clear and helpful, (but was not quite helpful enough for me -- see Note 1). The administrative interface is good at explaining many of the options instead of just labeling them. (Example in Note 3). If your router-IQ is low-to-medium, this is worth a lot.

- - - Bad documentation - - -

The setup wizard **does not urge or remind you to change the admin password**. It ends with "Congratulations...Enjoy surfing the Internet." (see Note 2)

Also, TP-Link provides no clarity on where their router stands with WPS. That's the convenient but very hackable device pairing procedure that some experts say should be disabled. (see Wikipedia: "Wi-Fi Protected Setup")

- - - Good Support - - -

Mac computers don't self-discover a USB file share on the router. I emailed TP-Link and got an answer 6 hours later. (Finder...Go...Connect to Server...smb:192.168.0.1/{volume name})

- - - 2.4 GHz vs 5 GHz - - -

Apparently 5 GHz is ideal for apartments (where interference is the main problem) and 2.4 GHz is better in larger homes (where range is the main problem). You can set it to use either band, or both. (See Note 3)

- - - Energy savings - - -

It runs much cooler than my old Linksys WRT54G. Uses 3.95 watts vs 5.85 watts. Sounds trivial, but over 5 years it will save me $27 -- 40% of the router's cost. (see Note 4)

- - - USB ports - - -

A lot of routers have them now. This one supports printer sharing, and file sharing on USB sticks or USB hard drives. Local sharing is file storage and/or media server. Internet file serving is provided by FTP (File Transfer Protocol). Models like ASUS RT-N16 have direct Bit Torrent support in addition. Nice to have stuff available 24x7, even when various PCs are shut off.

- - - Improved Range - - -

I used the free and very cool NetSpot software (Mac only) to map WiFi signal strength throughout my house... TP-Link TL-WDR3600 (2.4 GHz band) versus Linksys WRT54G. The TP-Link lit up some difficult rooms that were marginal with the Linksys. A very measurable difference. Turns out we don't need two routers, just on decent one.

- - - Summary - - -

Router-world gets cheaper and better every year. I don't know if this one is the very best choice, but there are a lot of reasons to upgrade an old router.

- - - Notes - - -

Note 1: I kept failing the wizard's "Verify Router Settings" check. I had taken a little shortcut that seemed harmless, but wasn't. Instead of wiring my desktop PC directly to the router, I connected through my LAN, which had other devices also powered on. The presence of these other devices during setup apparently threw something off. If your desktop computer is 30 or 90 feet away from your cable modem, you could fall into the same trap.

Note 2: It says "The Easy Setup Assistant has completed a basic configuration of the router. For more advanced settings, please log in to the Web management interface." But that interface has 30+ screens. The average user should be told and guided to set a new admin password.

Note 3: Here's an example of the helpful stuff in the router management interface...

Advantages of 5GHz:

The 5GHz band is less likely to be congested. The 2.4GHz frequency range is much more prone to interference, as it is commonly used by other wireless networks in the area, as well as cordless phones, garage door openers and other home appliances and consumer products.

Disadvantages of 5GHz:

In general, the higher the frequency of a wireless signal, the shorter its range. Thus, 2.4GHz networks cover a substantially larger range than 5GHz wireless networks. In particular, the higher frequency wireless signals of 5GHz networks do not penetrate solid objects nearly as well as 2.4GHz signals, limiting their reach inside homes.

Note 4: That arithmetic is for parts of California, where marginal cost is $ 0.33 per kilowatt hour. If your cost is $ 0.11, your savings would be about $9 over 5 years. (1.9 watts * 8760 hours * 5 years * $ .00011 per watt hour.) 3.95 watts is when running 2.4 GHz band only. With both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands running it's 4.35 watts.

~~~ Comments & questions welcome ~~~
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2014
Verified Purchase
I did some AP tests that I would like to share to everyone. My test results (see attached file) may not the same as yours because we have different home environments (walls, electricity...).

I bought the two best rate APs:
RT-AC66R: $161.55 (I ordered it at $129.59).
TL-WDR3600: $59.94.

The RT-AC66R only wins the TL-WDR3600 on the 802.11ac. While the TL-WDR3600 wins the RT-AC66R on the 802.11n.

I think most of us use 802.11n wireless receivers. The 802.11ac wireless receivers are expensive. Based on my test results, I keep the TL-WDR3600, and returned the RT-AC66R.

The LAN Speed Test v3.4 gives you the "real data" (no network overhead). The actual Wi-Fi Throughput from the Windows Wi-Fi Throughput will be higher.
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28 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on September 14, 2013
Verified Purchase
My previous netgear router started getting flaky and not routing the wifi properly, so I ordered this based on reviews.

I got this out of the box, hooked it up, and was unable to figure out the IP (it's 192.168.0.1 but the documentation doesn't say that). So instead I installed their CD and set it up that way. Then I updated the firmware, and it wiped everything out and I had to start over. Once I got everything setup through the web admin, it's been working great. It did seem to take a long time to reboot when I changed settings (on the order of one and a half minutes).

One thing about the web interface: On the ports/services setting it has some common services, but is missing a lot so you'll have to know the port numbers yourself. And there is no way to save a comment/name on those port forwarding settings like you can do on other routers... so you have to remember what port is what.

Feature-wise it seems to have a ton of options, so I doubt there is much missing here that someone would want. It has port forwarding, port triggering, advanced routing, filtering (limited), DOS protection, DHCP, etc.

UPDATE: After 3 months and trying everything I could, I continue to have trouble. It will stay connected for wifi but randomly stops routing until it is restarted. I have given up and will be ordering something else
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 1, 2014
Verified Purchase
I was having all kinds of trouble with my D-Link router. There were lots of dead spots in my house and I even had to resort to buying a Wi-Fi extender. Lately when I started having problems keeping everything connected I decided to try this router. It wasn't very expensive so I didn't know what to expect. Set up was a snap. The disk stepped me right through and in about 5 minutes it was up and running. Immediately I noticed a big difference. I have computers on three levels of my home and a Wi-Fi printer on the first floor. Signal strength on all computers was vastly improved and my printer is connected to all with no problems. My wife even says that her Galaxy tablet is faster and I know for certain the computers are running better. This router is great and I can't wait to try to hook up a hard drive to one of the USB ports to see how that works.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 22, 2013
Verified Purchase
This review is mainly for those who purchased this with the intent of turning it into a wireless access point and NOT using the built-in routing functions. Like most people now in 2013 my ISP already provides me with a wireless ADSL modem/combination router. The problem is that it is 802.11g technology, limited to 54.0Mbps. So when I want to transfer that 2GB movie between my Synology DiskStation and my laptop it can take quite a long time, long being a relative term (between 10 and 12 minutes). I naturally wanted to capitalize on the latest wireless technology, 802.11n, to dramatically reduce that time. As a bonus, streaming would be better too since the buffer would always be guaranteed full.

I went online and read about how to do it. First off, you configure the router for initial operation. I did this easily with a laptop and the supplied CD. Once it was configured, I changed the IP address of the TP-Link to an unused address in my existing network. This step is important, since there is a good chance the pre-configured address of the TP-Link (in my case it was 192.168.0.1) is not in the same subnet as your home network. I therefore changed it to to an unused address in the existing subnet but OUTSIDE the DHCP range of my existing modem/router. This is so that there is no IP conflict when your existing modem/router is assigning/leasing IP addresses. Once this is done, you can (theoretically) type in the new IP address from any computer and go in and alter settings of the router.

The second step is to disable the DHCP on the TP-Link. You don't want two different devices assigning IP addresses on the network at the same time - that's only asking for trouble.

The next step is to plug in an ethernet cable from your network into one of the yellow "LAN" ports on the back of the TP-Link, NOT I repeat NOT the blue "WAN" port. The reason for this is so that you can still see everything behind the TP-Link from the rest of the network, and not be confined to a "network within a network". This was important to me because I have things that utilize wireless-N like a Grace digital media player that I wish to stream music to from my Synology DiskStation, which is in front of the TP-Link on a hard line connection.

After all that was done I was off and running. Or so I thought. At least once a day, sometimes 3-4 times, I would lose all connectivity within my home network. It wasn't just the wireless either; my DiskStation, my printer, my 3 laptops, all would go down and lose their connection both within the local network and to the internet. I couldn't even access my router admin pages for both my existing router and for the TP-Link. I struggled like this for about 2 weeks until I finally discovered how to fix it.

On the TP-Link you have to disable UPNP (Universal Plug 'N Play). To be safe, I also completely disabled the firewall on the TP-Link as well. It was redundant anyway seeing that the existing router already has one. I saved the settings after making the necessary edits.

It's been 2 weeks and no issues. It would appear that by having UPNP turned on for both routers was resulting in the intermittent (but total) network failures. Perhaps one of the devices was making a UPNP request and its address wasn't getting translated properly - I'm not completely sure, and I'm not an expert on this. But I do know after I turned it off on the TP-Link everything is now working 100%. So hopefully this helps a few out there who have struggled with this issue as there isn't much documentation out there on how to trouble shoot it.

As far as the actual operation of the unit is concerned, I usually connect with the 5GHz channel and get anywhere from 180 to 300 Mbps for my link speed (I'm approximately 40 feet away with an "almost" clear line of sight). I haven't done any distance testing but I plan to do so eventually.

All in all I am pleased with the device, especially since I figured out how to configure it to fit in with my existing network. Taking off one star because I feel, in 2013 with everyone on earth behind a wireless modem/router now, there should be some documentation on how to convert it to strictly an access point.

*** UPDATE 11/05/13 ***

After almost a month of thinking I had finally sorted out the problem with the network being taken down it started happening again, albeit at a much lower frequency (1-2x a week).

Basically fed up with trying to get this thing to work within my existing network, I made a last ditch effort and configured my existing ADSL modem/router (a Westell 7500) for bridge mode and wired the output of that directly into the blue WAN port of the TP-Link WDR3600, and used the TP-Link to allocate all IP addresses via DHCP. I also turned off the wireless on the Westell, and only used the dual-band networks of the TP-Link.

So far so good. I have not had any issues since doing this nearly one week later. I am not sure what kept causing my network to be taken down, if it was the UPNP requests, or maybe something in the NAT settings, or perhaps the fact that wireless was on in both devices. I'll probably never know. I just know that I had given up on trying to use the TP-Link as an access point. I would be curious to hear from others out there who also tried and more importantly if they succeeded.

Keeping the rating at 4 stars, somewhat begrudgingly, because every network is unique and I could have just had some incompatibility issue somewhere between the Westell modem and the TP-Link router, but if the problems return I am taking it down a star.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2015
Verified Purchase
I bought this last November, and now I'm looking for a replacement. I have to reboot the router several times a day, because all my devices loose connectivity several times a day.
I disable the 5Ghz mode to see if that helps but still having issues.
Got the latest firmware.... and still getting disconnections.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon April 10, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was totally blown away by functions and features of the TP-LINK TL-WDR3600 Wireless N600 Dual Band Router. It is way better than the current Linksys router I am using in almost every category. It handles all the WiFi signal standards: a/b/g/n and the TP-LINK TL-WDR3600 Wireless N600 Dual Band Router even provides you with a feature to integrate non-wireless devices into your network. The dual-band technology conforms to your needs depending on your bandwidth requirements, the lower 2.4GHz band for basic every computing to the higher 5.0GHz band for online games and streaming videos. The configuration is a bit larger than the current router I am using but you can still place this router unobstrusively in a little corner of your home or your work area.

My impressions:

Installation: The TP-LINK TL-WDR3600 Wireless N600 Dual Band Router comes with a mini CD that runs an Easy Set-up Assistant. It guides you step by step to install and configure this router for your network. This is also the time to set your router's security mode or log-in to the router's IP address to change settings according to your preferred default.

Dual-band Technology: 2 different bands (2.4GHz and 5.0 GHz) that operates simultaneously based on your performance requirements. This means minimal lag and assures of blazing fast speeds especially when the tasks requires high bandwidths like online gaming or HD video streaming. The higher bands also gives you greater range in your household or office.

Versatility/Convenience: Aside from the standard Ethernet ports, the TP-LINK TL-WDR3600 Wireless N600 Dual Band Router is also equipped with two USB 2.0 ports where it acts as a server so you can connect non-wireless devices like scanners, printers and external hard drives and interface with these devices wirelessly. This is kind of redundant in my case since the printer I own is already standard wireless but for the scanner and external hard drives, this feature comes in handy. Or, act as an FTP server so you can share files wirelessly with other PC's in your household. One of the convenient feature I found on this router is having a power button. This feature is absent from my current Linksys. I like the ability to turn off any device or appliance when you are not using it.

Range: The range of the TP-LINK TL-WDR3600 Wireless N600 Dual Band Router is great. Strong signals emanates all over the house, even in the basement. This is where the dual band greatly comes into play. 2.4GHz signals penetrates walls but with the 5.0GHz, this greatly magnifies wifi signals. So far, I have not encountered any kind of signal interference.

Advanced Features: The TP-LINK TL-WDR3600 Wireless N600 Dual Band Router has advanced features like the IP QoS which gives you the ability to optimize and utilize control of your bandwidth in overcrowding situations. I may not use this feature since wireless use of my PC's at home varies with the time or people at home. Since this router is home-based, I do not worry much about bandwidth congestion. Another great feature is being able to implement parental controls on the router to control restricted online access. This is very important if you have children at home and you want to limit their PC exposure and to prevent them from accessing, involuntarily, sites which are not suitable for their age.

Overall, I am very amazed at what the TP-LINK TL-WDR3600 Wireless N600 Dual Band Router can do and has much to offer. I may not use the other advanced features considering the household I am in but for posterity and security's sake, its best to have them on a stand-by than not having it all. This is a great router from TP-LINK.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on September 17, 2014
Worked great for 8 months and then the wifi started dropping out. Tried patching firmware and installing DD-WRT, but still have issues. Would return this unit if I could and spend the extra money on something reliable.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was curious about this when I saw it on the Vine program. I have several access points around my house and my office, and a rather complex network at home, so I'm always looking at other devices to help shape my network usage. I like to keep my Airport Extreme tied into only my Macbook Pro that I use, and have another access point for devices and other computers so their network usage doesn't impact my large file operations.

This arrived and I had some hopes for it. Dual band is handy, and the fact that it has TWO PHYSICAL switches, one for power, and one to enable/disable the wireless radio only, really set this apart from almost all the others. Nothing worse when you have to reset something not in a handy location is trying to one handedly hold the unit still while pulling the power cord out of the back of it, then pushing it back in to reboot if it hangs and isn't responsive to the web interface. Much easier to just reach behind and push a plunger switch to cycle power.

Got it unboxed, bypassed the mini CD that came with it since I use a Retina Macbook Pro that doesn't have a built in optical drive, so I just plugged into an ethernet port to get an IP address, then connect to it directly in the web interface to set it up.

There's some good features in it's management pages, access control rules, the ability to set schedules for internet access if you have kids that you'd rather not have online after a certain time at night, etc... SPI and VPN passthrough settings for advanced users to configure if needed.

My first complaint was during the "quick setup" I tested - one of the first things it tells people is that they should use the MAC address clone feature because, and I'm quoting the web page it displays during the process, it's "necessary for most users using a cable modem." Now, I'm a CTO of a networking company, and I don't remember the last time I came across anywhere that had a MAC requirement - it's been at least 6 or 7 years, and the last one I've seen was Time Warner, since their old cable modems years ago used to memorize the MAC address of what was first connected, and would not allow any other unless you contacted support to have them clear that out of the non volatile memory (the memory that holds settings even after power is lost). Even they changed that a long time ago, and now you can simply turn off the cable modem for 10 seconds or so and power it back up again to clear out the old MAC it recognized before, without having to get with support at all. And even THAT I haven't experienced in a long time, at home I've swapped out several firewalls and routers testing things and changing my configuration, never had an issue with a MAC address setting.

For people with advanced needs and knowhow, there's an easy page for setting up inbound NAT translations for ports to devices inside the network, or you can simply designate a DMZ host outright.

You can also pick how the dual band selection works - both 2.4 and 5GHz, or only one or the other. There's a handy "help" on a column to the right with context sensitive information, for example here it lists what the advantages and disadvantages are for both, explaining congestion, penetration of solid objects limited in one or the other so the range is less, etc...

The USB settings allow for network based sharing, so you can map drives and browse in Finder or Windows Explorer, or offer the drive up via FTP services. You can also allow it to act as a media server. You can create individual user accounts and allow read and read/write access, either allow FTP access or not. However, the help section of the USB settings page shows instructions only for windows XP, or Windows Vista / 7 to access the share, but not for a Mac. I was able to access with the normal Command+K then smb://192.168.1.1 (the default IP if you haven't changed it for the LAN IP) but it would have been nice for them to include the Mac user's method as well.

The USB drive copy speeds aren't too bad, a 6.6 GB acronis true image TIB file took about 9 minutes to copy from the drive to my laptop.

Another positive was a quick reboot time, and firmware updates install quickly as well.

However, this is where my rating dropped...

The 5GHz band radio is NOT visible at ALL to my 2012 Retina Macbook Pro (which has N wireless built in). It's visible and usable to my iPhone, iPads, and iPod touches, but not to any of the Mac laptops I tried at all. Even while this one doesn't work, the other N wireless networks I have around here are working fine and accessible to the Macs... Changing settings (about all you can change is channel width and channel) made no difference, so I couldn't have used this for myself if I wanted to. Immediate fail right there, since Mac users aren't the majority, but there's certainly enough of us around that compatibility would be a huge issue. I downloaded the most recent firmware update just in case that made a difference, and it doesn't. I had a similar issue but reversed with another Cisco wireless router I tested, where everything worked with it except my iPhone 5 and my iPad 3. I tested with all other devices powered off, so this was the only wireless network, no difference. Even unplugged my cordless phones and took the batteries out of the handsets to make sure I didn't have anything else interfering (although even the dect 6 phones I have only operate at 1.9 GHz, not 5). Nothing I did made any difference, no matter what I tried, none of the three Mac laptops I tested with ever could see the 5GHz band although every other apple device could.

I love the form factor and the shape, and as I already mentioned I really like that they have the nice simple plunger style power switch and having the ability to use a simple hardware switch to turn off the radios instead of having to get into the GUI based management to disable radios. However, while I like the sleek design and the black finish, I'm not a fan of all the garish, flashing bright status lights on the front panel.

So for me, it's a fail. The one thing I use the most is my Macbook Pro, and this just wouldn't work with it. I'll keep an eye out for any other firmware updates and edit my review here if I ever do get it working with the Mac computers.
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Best Regards!
Hello John,

We appreciate your time to review this product.

We are glad to see that this product has worked out for you and that the functions seem to be running without an issue.

You are right as the MAC address function isn't completely necessary, but in those instances where the Modem is only recognizing the first MAC then this function can help. A simple power cycle of the modem should fix a lot of this issue.

You can find the latest firmware to this device located on our website at http://www.tp-link.us/resources/software/TL-WDR3600_V1_130320.zip

We hope that you will be able to check out more of our products in the future and we thank you for checking out TP-Link.

Feel free to contact me directly at howard.he@tp-link.com for any further issues.

TP-LINK Support Team
support@tp-link.com
(866) 225-8139
http://www.tp-link.com/us/support
http://www.facebook.com/TPLINK
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 29, 2014
Verified Purchase
This router has an intuitive user interface for both "laymen" and "experienced" users. You can use the preset security connections easily or setup a more "complete" secure connectivity profile. One of the features I like is that you can assign authorized machines by MAC address to be the only machines allowed to access the router. The media server / ftp / etc features via the 2 usb ports are simple to use but are limited to flash drives only. I tried using an external powered FAT32 drive and had no connection so flash drives only. The high powered antennas have pretty good range (up to 200ft through 5 internal walls and was still able to connect at 72mb with 5ghz at -70dbi gain and for 2.4ghz -62dbi gain. For the price this is a good buy for a mid range router.
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