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TP-Link Network ARCHER C7 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router 2.4GHz 5GHz USB Retail
Most helpful customer reviews
475 of 502 people found the following review helpful.
Excellent Router that Punches Well Above its Price Point -- Buy It
By Tech Dude
I found this router through a third party website review (the Wire Cutter), that aptly called this, "the Best Wi-Fi Router (for Most People)." I would probably amend that title and say, "the Best Wi-Fi Router (for Virtually Everyone)." Do not let the low price fool you into thinking it's an entry level or low-end model. It only costs around $100 but, from my observations against four other routers that cost considerably more, it performs well beyond its price point.
I have purchased a number of routers over the years as the technology and performance improves, and the number of devices my family uses has increased. Over the past few years, I had migrated to the more expensive ($300+) routers in the hopes of greater performance. Right before this, I had an Asus RT-AC5300, a beast of a router that exceeded $400 when I bought it. But what I found was that as the price point goes up, the performance does not, and the reliability goes down. These expensive routers tend to be buggy and drop connections; they simply have too many features and are way too complex, all to provide functionalities that no one uses, or that none of your connected devices support anyway. The ASUS got so bad it was rebooting itself every few hours. The days of the rock-solid Linksys WRT54G seemed long gone... So I returned the ASUS RT-AC5300, gave my WRT1900ACS to a friend, and bought an Archer C7 (v2).
After two weeks of testing it, I have four words: it just works -- period. The signal is strong and punches through the lathe-and-plaster walls of my nearly 100 year old house. Its signal is considerably stronger than the WRT1900ACS that I had (which cost almost three times what this one did), and rivaled the signal strength of the $400 ASUS. It doesn't drop connections, doesn't reboot itself, and delivers a strong and steady stream of data to all devices, wired and wireless.
Only one word of warning; you need to make sure the Archer C7 that you purchase is NOT a first version. Everyone on the web has reported that TP-LINK badly botched the V1, especially for Macintosh/Apple devices (which is most of my house); most of those should be out of circulation or in landfills by now. The one I bought from Amazon was a V2, and it works perfectly with all of my Apple and non-Apple devices.
70 of 75 people found the following review helpful.
I did plenty of research in my hunt for the perfect replacement for my outdated router. I chose this one and I have been extremely happy with it. My router is in my bedroom and I stream Sling, Netflix, etc on multiple televisions throughout the house. Since I hooked this router up, I have had zero buffering, zero problems, zero frustration with internet connectivity. I am extremely happy with this purchase and would recommend this router.
153 of 169 people found the following review helpful.
Nice hardware - dissappointing firmware
By Paul Thompson
This unit has great signal, it's easy to get going, I really appreciate the wall mount features - and they've built in a great little feature that dims/kills the external LED lights at a set time ("nighttime mode" if you keep a router near where you sleep - so handy!). I am leading with the positives, because for a router that is over $200, the TP-Link has some glaring omissions in its firmware - the software that provides a router's features - it seems like the firmware of a much cheaper unit.
The router does not have any HTTPS functionality when connecting to its web management via a browser, making it dangerous to manage over a public network/WAN connection. All router management functions happen over unencrypted HTTP - no self-signed key generation is available. That makes it really only safely manageable on your home network -- if you want to manage it away from your home on a WAN port, you will be exposing your router security credentials to anyone listening. I have a commercial-grade network with fixed public IP addresses - I don't like that I can't manage this router over HTTPS and force HTTPS to be the only protocol the web interface will answer on.
The VPN functionality is Meh. PPTP is provided - but it only allows for a single login account - and it's an insecure protocol that MacOS 10.11 and higher no longer supports. OpenVPN is the only other VPN option available, and it's good, but it requires 3rd party client software on most platforms, and it requires a fair amount of networking knowledge. L2TP over IPSec would be a welcome addition here - along with any number of separate VPN login accounts.
Lastly and most frustrating: the router has 3 separate "WiFi" radios - a 2.4ghz and two separate 5.0ghz radios (or "networks"). This is great for high utilization or for a setting where different networks may be able to reach different areas of your house - but here is the problem: either you can set up 3 separate networks (IE: WIRELESS-LOW, WIRELESS-HIGH-1, WIRELESS-HIGH-2) or you can have the router "federate" all 3 networks under 1 common name (WIRELESS) and the router will hook up each device to the optimal radio based on signal quality. This is great - the preferred option - but TP-Link doesn't allow devices on one radio to see devices that may be connected to either of the other two radios. There is no option to have a single logical network... so if your AppleTV and your iPhone don't happen to like the same signal, they will not see each other. In my case, my iDevices all like the 5ghz network, but my "smart lights" only support 2.4ghz, so none of my devices can control my lights - unless I turn off the "federated" mode and force my high-speed devices to only link to the low-speed network. Not being able to turn on a unified network where all devices can see each other regardless of which radio they link up to is a terrible oversight - and I expect a lot of non-technical users are banging their heads thinking (a) their router is broken or not set up right (b) their [smart device name here] is broken or not set up right (c) they think they did something else wrong and are waiting for their kid to come home from college to help fix it.
If you really just want a strong signal to power your laptops, phones and tablets, and you don't care if a device can't see another device, then right out of the box this is the unit for you. If you are setting up an integrated "smart home", I know Netegar routers I've used in the past have *none* of the issues I'm listing above. The hoops you will need to jump through if you want the TP-Link AC5400 to serve as a smart home's central network router are substantial -- and may not be worth your time or the $200+ cost.