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This review is from: TP-Link Archer T2UH AC600 High Gain Wireless Dual Band USB Adapter
Pros: This things works! In fact it works rather well. I normally don't bother to use any type of USB networking device. I make sure to either purchase my mobile devices with adequate integrated wireless connectivity or I go the PCI-E route for desktops needing wireless connectivity (although many motherboards today have it onboard now too). For a desktop needing wireless AC, this is a pretty decent solution however, as it is easily up and running within minutes and avoids all the fanfare of installing a PCI-E card and the like.
So I tested this on my daughter's computer, which is the only machine in our house that isn't a laptop that connects using WiFi. I also happens to be located across the entire length of the house, whereas the majority of other WiFi devices are usually much closer to the router.
Let's just say it worked really well. There are a few if any devices that ever hit their advertised theoretical speeds and this one is no different. This is because of a few reasons, some of which I'll share later, but ultimately because no device does due to real-world conditions and overhead. So I could list some numbers of transfer speeds, but I don't feel as though they provide much context. So instead I'll explain why this device did well. When I compare it to any other USB network adapter I've ever used or tested, it did anywhere from 2-3 times better in terms of transfer speeds. I did some gaming with it (albeit some what light gaming) and it was fine there also. It had strong connection despite it's somewhat poor location. I was able to use both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands equally as well. So it's the best right?
It was good sure. But it's numbers were no better than the PCI-E AC900 Wireless Adapter I already had installed in the same machine. You might be thinking "Well why would it be better? It's advertised as an AC600 and you are comparing it to a AC900 device". And that's totally logical. It's just that if the PCI-E AC900 does no better, then there are other factors at play that are probably limiting both devices and sharing the numbers is a bit misleading. I do feel comfortable stating however that it did perform as well as the better more expensive solution. This is why I feel comfortable recommending this as a good affordable solution for a desktop machine that needs Wireless AC.
Cons: So the obvious issue with this device is simply this. It's a USB 2.0 device. USB 2.0 is only capable of up to 480Mbps. They are stating the wireless technology is capable of 600Mbps. So there you go, it could never actually ever do the advertised speeds. So we can hold that against them.
However, as I explained in the Pros section, it's unlikely it matters. Sure they are being very truthful in how they are describing and marketing their device. But at least in the scenario I tested the device in, a better PCI-E AC900 wireless adapter performed similarily.
I do feel that it should support USB 3.0 though. It just should regardless of any real world arguments and I'm a little dissapointed that it doesn't.
Here is another thing I didn't care for with the device. It's long and unweildly. I first was going to spend my time testing this using a laptop and then after trying it thought to myself, "Who would really be using this thing in a very mobile situation?". It was constantly in the way and thought I was going to catch it on stuff as I moved around. When I finally felt comfortable using it with my laptop I was sitting at the kitchen table with my laptop in a relatively static position. This is why I decided to stop using the device with my laptop and instead focus on using it with a desktop. I'm not saying it is a bad fit for laptops, for any laptop that doesn't already have AC, this will work, but it might limit your mobility a bit or at least make you be a little more careful. Granted the length and need for the large antenna is part of the technology that makes it work well, but if they ever figure out how to minimize the technology and keep the effectiveness, this device is going to seem a bit dated.
Other Thoughts: Again I'd like to state that I think this is a good device. I think it's most appropriate application is using it for a desktop machine that needs a higher bandwidth connection and is easy and quick to install. An older machine that doesn't have any open PCI-E slots is probably a good canidate.
Video streaming (Netflix, A-VOD, Hulu, HBO, etc...)and gaming (TF2 is what I tested it with) all worked great for me. I got slightly better signal strength and lower latency using the 2.4GHz band. This was probably due to my poor location from the router. Despite that 5GHz worked fine.
Pros: Initial setup, although largely the same as any router (not such a bad thing) was easy enough.
Range was good enough. It didn't reach to my outside deck on the back of my house, but I won't hold that against it too much as only 50% of the routers I've tried have ever been capable of doing that. Surprisingly it hasn't always been the most expensive routers either, or the biggest well known brand names.
Once I figured out how to make it work it stayed working.
I was still able to do media streaming to all my devices wirelessly, things such as Netflix and other services I'm not allowed to talk about apparently (seriously feel threatened much Newegg?)
Cons: Antennas can't be detached. If it could I didn't see how.
Only two antennas. Well this is by design of the router of course, but for the price?
Firmware/UI is not my favorite. Gone are the old days on my WRT54G (earlier versions of course) with the simple but friendly UI that worked well and could be replaced with DD-WRT and turn your router into a powerhouse machine on a budget. I couldn't find any support for this router via DD-WRT, so you're stuck with what you get, and what you get is pretty run of the mill these days. After seeing many routers now nothing in the UI here seemed to stand out.
Not wall mountable. How hard is it to put a couple screw holes in the plastic? Or provide a mountable bracket?
Then there is the just the sheer effectiveness of this router in that it seemed to be a bit lacking. I had a lot of initial connection issues with my first attempt to review this router. I'll go into detail in the other thoughts section.
I didn't think the router appeared particularly attractive either and more so appeared cheap in it's appearance.
It seemed to get pretty hot at times also.
Other Thoughts: I had a lot of drop out issues initially. I've got maybe 10+ devices connected wirelessly at all times. When I first tried to review this router I some time to do it, but during that whole initial attempt it kept dropping devices. At times it was so bad that my family was complaining forcing me to abadon my review till another time.
When I finally got back to reviewing this router, I had to play with the channels quite a bit until finally everything started working. So great it worked. But I shouldn't have to do this. I don't live in a place with a lot of interference or WiFi competition. So I don't think one should have to fiddle so much with the channels to get it to stay connected to everything.
Linksys used to be my go to brand for anything networking. Then their focused changed and they stopped making easy to use reliable networking equipment instead focusing on making things that looked liked space ships instead of great hardware/firmware combos. I left Linksys behind and moved into the D-Link Gaming routers and stayed with those for many years recently changing over to the ever popular Asus routers. Its a bit of a shame that now having my first opportunity to try Linksys again that it appears not much has changed.
However there is hope as I have a Linksys WRT1200AC sitting here for review next.
So to summarize, if you want a router that is pretty much the same as most of the competition and a tad over priced, are willing to fiddle with the wireless channel settings, then perhaps this is your router. For me not so much.
This review is from: TRENDnet TEW-737HRE N300 High Power Easy-N-Range Extender
Super Easy to setup, especially if your router supports WPS, and what routers these days dont?
The device works with in the best way possible in that it's transparent and you don't even realize or bother to notice it's presence after it's been installed, yet it's boosting signal range from it's location.
I was still able to perform any media streaming after this device was in place.
Cons: Wireless speed is cut in half for anything connect to it as opposed to those connected directly to the router.
Other Thoughts: This was a bit tricky to test as once the device is installed, it doesn't appear as a second network or anything, so you don't exactly know that you are connecting to it or the router very easily when you are in range of both. In some of my tests I had to lower the transmit power of the router and go past the direction of the extender from the router to ensure that I was indeed connected to the extender and that the range was indeed being extended.
Setup is a breeze. I literally took it out of the box, didn't read any instructions, plugged it in, pressed the WPS buttons on the router and the extender, watched the light turn green and it was setup. I then relocated it to a more strategic position and walked away.
I waited for my wife to notice, and she did that she now had more bars of connectivity from her laptop when she uses it in the bedroom, a location typically affected by lower connectivity due to it being the farthest location in my house from the wireless router.
Other than that though, I never bothered to notice this device's existence, which is what I like about when things just work. All of the wireless devices in my home continued to work the same or slightly better.
In the end though I'm undecided if I'll continue to use it. Truthfully my router can cover the whole house adequately on it's own and despite the extender working as advertised without issue, I still like to minimize the complexity and possibility for issue by using less devices.
Is it worth the price? For some I'd say sure. For others, those having real issues with connectivity I'd still advise if possible to extend your network with wire to wireless access points. However this is surely more costly. Any of the workarounds such as power-line adapters and wireless extenders are cost saving tactics that often deliver less than desirable results.
Display Name: Nathan R.
Date Joined: 06/21/02
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