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Pros: This is my 6th 802.11ac wireless router from Newegg and despite it not being the “nicest” on paper, it blows all the others away for one reason: wireless range! I swapped out my trusty TrendNET box for this one not expecting to notice a difference, but he difference was noticeable as soon as I walked up to my bedroom.
My current setup has my cable receiver/modem, personal wireless router, and various other network equipment in the corner of my basement. Stretching wi-fi up to my bedroom was possible, but speeds dropped from 25 down to 1-3 mbps by the time it got there and that couldn’t hardly support Netflix. To remedy this, I set up an old, cheap non-ac router on dd-wrt on my main floor as a wireless access point. This helped, but speeds were still never there. Now I can receive 25 mbps reliably on my entire main floor, and I’m still pulling 10-15 on the 2nd floor.
Linksys might claim that it is the external antennae that this router features that so many seem to forgo now in terms of a clean design. On that topic, this router features a very sharp looking, almost Lamborghini inspired design that really stands out amongst a sea of small, nondescript routers designed to blend into a bookshelf. This one is made to stand out and be admired, what with its bright blue casing. Further, if you’re expecting this to be light and airy like most routers, think again. It has a heft that, like other things, makes it feel decidedly more high end.
On to the rest! Setup with this router, like nearly every other new router on the market, is made grandparent-easy with some nice pictoral instructions that show you how to get up and running in all of 2 or 3 minutes. Plug it in to the modem, plug in power, and if you just want to use the provided network name and password, you’re good to go. If not, log in through a wired or wireless connection and you’re greeted with a very modern screen that outclasses nearly every other router. This model, like many of the new Linksys routers, uses their new GUI that features a handful of (nearly useless) apps. Instead of just settings for wireless and wired networks, there are some apps for various features built in, though I doubt most people will use them. Even if all you want to do is change a few settings, it looks much cleaner and on the whole is more user friendly.
On the back side, it features the normal 4 port gigabit switch built in, a USB 2.0, and a USB 3.0 (disguised as an eSATA port…not that anyone uses those). Accessing your files can be done through a specific app (mentioned above) or just via the regular network.
Cons: All’s not sunshine and rainbows, though. When trying to set this device up as a bridge or repeater, every time I clicked save and it restarted, it would no longer connect to anything – wired or otherwise. This would require a press and hold of the reset button then going through and reestablishing all my settings.
Further, it doesn’t feature the option to set it up as an Access Point right out of the box. I’m sure loading open source firmware would fix that issue, but that gets a little more complicated (and I’ve had some real hit or miss luck with other open source firmware).
For the average, or even more than average user, I don’t think there will be many gripes about this router outside of the cost, which will hopefully come down once ac goes a little more mainstream.
Other Thoughts: As I mentioned, this router is my 6th high end piece from Newegg in the last 18 or so months. My favorite up to this point was my TrendNET for its rock solid durability (over 6 months without needing a power cycle!) However, the excellent range of this model really has me sold, and I think it will end up permanently claiming the seat of main router.
I had every intention of doing a full barrage of speed and signal strength tests on this router vs my old one, but life got in the way. Long story short, this router is proving to be my favorite yet, even though it is priced like a top-end router but lacks the all out speed capability of the nicest ac routers at the same price point.
This review is from: Seagate STCR4000101 4TB Personal Cloud NAS server
Pros: The first thing you notice is of course the looks, and I’m glad to say that it is a very sleek looking device. It looks modern and clean and the small status light is mostly unobtrusive. Though I keep mine in a small server/network area in my basement, I think anyone would be happy to have the device sitting out in the open. Just be sure to dust it off and avoid touching it! Along these same lines, I can say that the drive is nearly silent. It has one small fan on the back and it runs very, very quiet.
Conveniently, the device does have a few USB ports, including a USB 3.0 port. This is nice if you want to plug in a flash drive and access it without having to plug it into your PC. Especially nice if you’re trying to access it from your phone or compatible TV.
Setup is pretty straightforward, albeit a little slow. This drive is aimed at the casual user and it seems to be very easy to get it set up for basic backups and access. I haven't had the time to dig into the more advanced features, but I will do that in the coming weeks and update my review.
My favorite feature might be the ability to have it automatically back up all pictures/videos from my phone. You have the option to only have it back the files up over Wi-Fi so it won’t eat your data. This is great as I am constantly wiping/resetting my phone.
Cons: Access/read/write speeds don’t seem to be spectacular. My entire home network is 100% gigabit and yet I struggle to hit 30 mb/s write speeds. This is probably due to the slower drives used (5400 RPM rather than 7200), but I would really like to see an improvement there. Backing up my main workstation took more than 24 hours with essentially 0 other network traffic.
Every time I try to pull up the Seagate Media app to log in to the drive from my phone over 4G, the first time it tries to access the drive it says it fails. Clicking again makes it work, but that seems to be a waste of my precious data.
Along these same lines, when using my 4G connection on my phone (currently speed testing at 40+ mbps down and 18+ up) it takes a full minute or more to pull up something as small as a picture (<1 MB). My home connection is 25 mbps, so it doesn’t appear my connection(s) would be the issue.
Other Thoughts: Admittedly, I haven’t spent a whole lot of time messing with this drive and getting it set up to my specific wants and needs. I plan on updating this review once I do have everything running the way I want it. Currently I have it set to back up, but my backup isn’t showing up on the drive. I haven’t really had the time to trouble shoot this, but I hope to very soon.
Being a Seagate drive, I expect pretty good longevity out of it. Random failures seem to mostly be a thing of the past. Even if it does have a problem, I have had good luck with Seagate's warranty department in the past.
Pros: Physically, the device is pretty attractive and minimal. They aren't particularly small, but the plain white exterior is pretty easy to look past when its plugged into a wall somewhere. I know some people like the space-agey look of some of the newest networking equipment with antennae sticking out everywhere, but I much prefer the clean look of these.
Set up on these devices is grandparent-level of easy. Plug one in to a wall outlet near your router or modem, plug the (included) ethernet cord into the device and the router, and then do the same on the other end where you have your device. There are no drivers required; your device will simply see it as a network connection, end of story.
Functionally, the device seems to perform pretty well. I recently moved to a home that is only 11 years old and my connection seems to be substantially more reliable and faster than in my previous (60 yr old+) home. Currently, this device is providing a network connection to my AV receiver for the purpose of accessing the receiver via mobile app. I only ever need to use the app when I'm in the other room, so maybe only for a few minutes every other day, but so far so good. The "in" unit is down in my basement next to my router, the "out" is on the main floor.
Cons: One of the biggest surprises of this device was that even though it is advertised as "500 mbps max speed", the device doesn't have a gigabit port, so the maximum theoretical throughput it could achieve is 100 mbps - 20% of its stated maximum.
In my older house, I found that my connection was slower and more unstable. I was pulling a paltry 30 or so mbps, which equates to about 6% of the advertised max speed. I know better than to expect 500, or even 100 mpbs, but this drastic drop meant that for anything outside of simple internet browsing, the device was almost more of a hindrance than it was worth.
Unlike some other TP-Link products, this one does not feature a pass-through power port. Not a huge deal, but worth mentioning.
Other Thoughts: Others have reported that updating the firmware on the devices seems to help with connection issues. Again, I haven't had much of an issue with dropping the connection, but I am definitely interested in seeing if the firmware update allows a little bit faster speeds.
All in all, for the cost, you can't beat these. No, they aren't anywhere near as fast as an actual, hard-wired network, or even a decent wi-fi network signal, but they do get the job done with ease.
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