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Pros: Great looking router which is easy to set up and covers the bases.
Just the hardware features you need.
No gigabit Ethernet. OK, let’s be honest here. Most everyday folks these days don't have any Ethernet wired devices except their modem, so why pay more for gigabit Ethernet ports. This is just fine for a value router. It’s all about the wireless. You've got 4 10/100 lan ports to connect your printer or whatever random thing you have that still needs an Ethernet cable.
Simultaneous 2.4 and 5 ghz. That's really the killer feature in an entry level wifi router. While 5 ghz doesn't have the range of 2.4, you're less likely to get interference, and it’s usually faster. A lot of folks like to use 5ghz for their gaming consoles, tv's and other things that are in the livingroom. This leaves plenty wifi bandwidth on 2.4 for laptops, tablets and phones that can use the added range of 2.4 (because they tend to move about the house).
USB Storage or Printer. There's a USB 2 port that can be used to attach an external hard drive for shared network storage of files, pictures or other media. Sure, you're limited to USB 2.0 speed, but that's plenty to surf your photos, stream music and most video. You can set up SMB shares (network directories), DLNA media server, or even FTP access to your drive. This is a great feature in an entry level router, usually reserved for the fancier ones. Alternately, you can plug in a usb printer and share it on the network (its one or the other).
Hardware firewall. The lan/wan interface (your internet provider) can handle a full 100mbs speed. Some entry routers can't keep up. This one can. Your old WRT54G could only handle about 25mbps.
The most important firmware features in an entry level router:
Easy setup. A built in wizard will get you up and running fast, with minimal expertise required. Nicely done.
Built in guest networking. An increasingly appealing feature that even entry level users will like -- keep your guests visitors isolated from all your network gadgets, while not having to hand out your super secret wifi password.
Aesthetically, this router rocks. I think it’s great looking -- can put it in your livingroom. The cables come out of the lower back in a good spot, no geeky external antennae, and the blue lights on the front are subtle and not constantly blinking.
Power consumption: This thing sips power. Doesn't get particularly warm. If you are a greenie, you should agree this is a plus. Nice.
Cons: Designing an entry level router has got to be an exercise of managing all the cost trade-offs to achieve balance. So I would say most of the cons I would cite below are debatable quibbles.
Lack of Gigabit Ethernet. I assume the reason it was left out is for cost. Its a bit hard to believe today that gigabit chips are any more expensive than fast Ethernet chips, but there you are. I think from a marketing point of view, some buyers would like to have gigabit even if they don't really need it.
Wifi speed is *only* 300 + 450. Another cost vs practical utility tradeoff for sure. Higher spec wifi costs more, as each speed increment requires additional antennae and amplifier chips, so I'm giving a pass here. In reality, the faster speeds don't really make a big difference, most of your gadgets probably can't use them anyway and wont for the next few years.
Range. Although they brag about the range in their literature, my test show that range is good - right up there with most modern devices, but not exceptional. A nice workman-like engineering job. YMMV, but I wouldn't buy this thing thinking it was going to do miracles wrt range.
Software. Still in v.1 firmware, so improvements are likely coming. Not much of a con, because settings seem to work pretty well. In fact, the firmware feature set is pretty darned robust, including a great set of advanced firewall features. But still, a device that has experienced a few firmware update cycles gives one a feeling that bugs have been worked out especially for the fancy features.
Location of USB Port. Its on the side, not the back. A niggle, but c'mon guys, for a good looking router, having a USB cord sticking out the side spoils the design. Again, YMMV.
Alternative use cases. There is no easy way to set this thing up as an access point. Some folks may not need (or want) to replace their ISP supplied router, but would like to upgrade their wifi capabilities (as well as take advantage of the USB port). It might be nice to add an access point mode to this router's setup. Although there is enough configurability to do this manually, it takes some expertise. (assigning an alternate IP manually, turning off DHCP, etc.). Maybe it can be added in future firmware upgrade.
Other Thoughts: If you drool over cars with 300 horsepower and are willing to pay for the latest and greatest, this router may tickle your geeky desires.
But if your primary considerations are (1) cost, (2) good looks, and (3) a solid, thoughtful set of features, I'd say this is should be on your short list. If you are reading this review, then that probably means you. Buy this and you'll be covered pretty well.
TP-Link has been putting out a lot of good kit lately. I'm a big fan of their switches in particular. They are making a reputation for themselves by providing well thought out and executed products and great prices.
Pros: Although I've only had this for a couple days, I can report setup was a breeze.
It does take a bit to understand things are defined, but if you read through the manual, the information is there, if terse.
Once you get the hang of it, VLANs using /q are a easy to define. Haven't dug into qos, link aggregation or mirroring, but the setup seems simple enough. They are just not part of my use case.
At this price point there is no competition. Except perhaps m*krotik.
Cons: There is no web management interface or CLI, which isn't really a con, but CCNA types may quibble. The management software comes in a windows installer, but appears Java based, so java experts should be able to figure out how to run it on other platforms. The windows install worked flawlessly for me. Latest firmware was already on the device, so I haven't tested the upgrade process.
The device does need an IP address to communicate and has a dhcp client to facilitate, or you can set the IP manually - for example if you want to run setup in a lab environment, then deploy.
One niggle, if you do use the dhcp client, it seems to grab the first dhcp server that it sees, regardless of which VLAN its on, So if you want to manage the switch while its in place, you should probably set the IP manually for your preferred management network, or perhaps connect the primary network first after rebooting. It might be nice if you could specify the vlan for the dhcp client. If you are like me, you prefer to set IP reservations on the server rather than have manual IP clients on your network.
Oh, and one other thing that caused a moment of confusion. Tplink uses the term "trunk" to mean link aggregation. So be warned :)
Other Thoughts: Using this to "un-trunk" a Ubiquiti Unifi AP. The unifi management interface cannot be tagged, so the "trunk" port PVID setting conveniently steers the management traffic to my desired vlan. Once you get the gist of how the tplink software does this, its pretty intuitive.
Although I could have achieved the vlan management in my primary firewall router (ASA), using this gadget is convenient, and keeps the ASA configuration from becoming too complex, especially since my guest network is set up on a second router, with a separate ISP.
It would probably be useful if TPLink provided some configuration examples for common use cases for folks just getting started with managed switches. The product line is too new for the tplink forums to be of much help, but you can try asking questions there.
If you already know your stuff, its just a matter of reading the manual to understand how tplink configuration works -- especially if you are a cisco guy.
Pros: Maybe the heat spreaders make it "cool", but I count this as good reliable memory at commodity price.
Nice packaging, shipped quickly and installed without a hitch. CL 11, 1.5 volts works great in a Dell Precision w/ i7 4770, running side by side with the OEM memory.
Cons: Why didn't it unwrap and jump into the computer by itself? Or carry itself in with the mail?
Other Thoughts: Buying more memory rarely helps me remember more. I do, however, remember that memory used to be cheaper.
Now I remember that the reason I put this in was to have enough memory to run a virtual machine or two. Thanks.