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Linksys WRT1200AC Wireless AC1200 Dual-Band and Wi-Fi Wireless Router with Gigabit and USB 3.0 Ports and eSATA
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Robust case, this is the biggest consumer router I’ve seen. The design harkens back to my first Linksys, a WRT54G, this one looks as if it’s been taking steroids though. Great Signal Strength. Relatively easy setup. This router can be flashed with OpenWRT, see Cons and other thoughts due to space restrictions.

Cons: Some of the UI organization is a bit non intuitive. Poor AC speed, (see other thoughts). Pricey.

Other Thoughts starting here---

This was a drop in replacement for an AC750 modem and the replacement process itself was very painless. Port forwarding etc. were all very easily setup. I tend to avoid setup wizards on routers so this was all done manually. So after about 20 minutes I had my network pretty much back to where it was before the new wireless router was plugged in. That is apart from speed. No matter what I tried I could not get the 5GHz speed above 9 MB/s (measured using iperf), I changed wireless modes, channels, channel widths, antenna orientation, factory reset, firmware upgrade, reconfigure from scratch both manually and using the wizard, everything I could think of and I still ended up with a maximum of 9 MB/s. With my previous Rosewill AC750 router I was getting 22MB/s routinely and on a good day closer to 26 MB/s. In fact my old Edimax dual band n router used to get 14MB/s. Very disappointing so I resorted to Linksys customer support via their online chat. I don't usually use customer support as I tend to think that most of it is done by some poor guy reading from a script. After some toing and froing I was eventually passed to an agent who went through all the stuff you would expect and after a marathon 2 hour session came to the same conclusion I did, namely that something in the router was messed up. So I was told to contact customer support with a case number and they would organize a replacement. The agent was very good and quickly realized that this wasn't my first rodeo and so avoided some of the more inane procedures.

Other Thoughts: All this was on Saturday evening and telephone support didn’t open again until Monday morning, on Sunday morning I decided to bite the bullet and flash the router with OpenWRT as a last chance saloon, specifically OpenWrt Chaos Calmer r45573 which has the LuCI GUI included.

The flashing is a relatively painless procedure and should be conducted from a wired PC, certainly much less fraught than in days gone by. 15 minutes later router was up again, network configured and the speed on the wireless ac was clocking in at 45 MB/s, this was with about 2 feet between the router and the laptop. I retired to my lounge and fired up iperf and clocked it at 41 MB/s at a distance of about 12 feet through a wood floor and a drywall ceiling. Now we're cooking on gas, straight file transfers of 1GB files are steaming along at 40 MB/s, lots of small files kills this but it is still significantly faster than with the Linksys firmware. This reminds me of issues the WRT54G had especially with torrents, the router would have to be hard reset every few days, and I remember flashing mine with DD-WRT to purge me of that irritation.

While I wouldn't recommend that you flash OpenWRT as a default, if you are having issues with wifi speed getting nowhere near what it should give it a whirl, you never know. OpenWRT with LuCI isn't the friendliest of environments but the organization of the interface is fairly logical if short on eye candy, well I’ll take functional over eye candy anytime. On Friday I would have given this router 2 eggs, on Saturday after the support session probably 3 eggs as a reflection of how helpful their agent was and their willingness to replace the router, today after messing around with OpenWRT and getting the speeds I would expect I would give it 4 eggs with the caveat that YMMV. As with a lot of things with wireless routers it may have been the phase of the moon that was at fault, whatever it was it now seems to be fixed. Let’s hope it stays that way. I’m taking an egg off because of the frustration of doing everything right and still not getting there.

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TP-Link Archer T2UH AC600 High Gain Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: Well packaged although you could argue the box is a bit big given the size of the contents, very robust , installed automatically with default drivers (see other thoughts), good to excellent signal strength through hardwood floor. Good reception on 2.4GHz and 5 GHz band. Extension USB cable M-F included.

Cons: Dongle size plus antenna. This is a very large USB dongle reminds me of the old Linksys WUSB100 in physical size, a cradle may have been a better option than the extension cable.

Other Thoughts: I installed this on my i7 quad core Windows 8.1 laptop to see how it performed compared to the Broadcom BCM4352HMB 802.11ac that is installed internally in this laptop. The physical install was as easy as USB can be, this laptop has no USB 2.0 sockets so it had to be plugged into a USB 3 port. The Adapter is USB 2.0 so this wasn't an issue. The dongle juts out about 2.5” from the side of the laptop and then the antenna sticks up about 4” from this. When initially installed it wouldn't detect my ac router signal and instead I had to connect to wireless n, this allowed me to go to the TP-Link website and download the driver, this laptop has no optical drive so I couldn't use the included driver disk. As soon as the downloaded driver was installed the ac router signal became available and I was able to connect to it with minimal fuss. The laptop was in my living room during the tests and my dual band AC router is in the basement about 12 feet away through a hardwood floor. With a dual band n router I was able to get circa 8 MB/s, this improved to a consistent 25 MB/s with a dual band ac router, in both directions. I used a 2 GB iso file to conduct these tests as a straight copy from SSD to SSD. These numbers were almost identical to what I see on a regular basis using the inbuilt Broadcom adapter. I will say that the file transfer rate fluctuated very little with the TP-Link AC600 whereas there was a fair amount of fluctuation with the Broadcom, overall this didn't seem to noticeably affect transfer times on either adapter. The signal strength meter on the TP-Link was consistently maxxed out whereas with the Broadcom I would usually get 4/5, again this didn't seem to affect transfer rates. Adjusting the orientation of the antenna didn’t seem to affect the signal strength although the effect on transfer rate could be seen and in the worst case brought it down to just under 18 MB/s. doubling the distance to the router and adding an intervening wooden wall dropped the transfer rate to about 15 MB/s and this was the case for both Wi-Fi adapters, it also dropped the signal strength to 3 bars on both adapters. Out of curiosity I plugged this into a MacBook Air, TP-Link provide no drivers for this and don’t stipulate it as a supported platform, just as well as it didn't work, nothing nada not even a glimmer of recognition from the Mac.

This would be the ideal solution for those of us with a laptop with an old internal Wi-Fi adapter that can’t be upgraded or a desktop which is inaccessible in terms of wired Ethernet. Transfer rates are great at fairly close range rapidly diminishing the further you get from the router, not a function of the adapter but of the standard. Certainly good enough for file transfer and streaming modest to large files at a reasonable price. 5 eggs.

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Fosmon Micro HDMI to HDMI (M/M) High-Speed Cable with Ethernet and Gold-Plated Connectors for Asus Transformer TF300 Prime - (6FT)
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: Reasonably priced

Cons: None

Other Thoughts: Bought to be used with a Kingsing W8 tablet. works very well with this.

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Robbin N.'s Profile

Display Name: Robbin N.

Date Joined: 01/21/04

Achievements:

  • Top 1000 Reviewer
  • 100 Reviews
  • Reviews: 161
  • Helpfulness: 56
  • First Review: 02/03/10
  • Last Review: 08/02/15
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