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This review is from: TP-LINK TL-WA860RE 300Mbps Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender/Repeater with Power Outlet Pass-through, Dual External Antennas, Wall Plug Design, One-button Setup, Smart Signal Indicator
Pros: The TP-LINK TL-WA860RE wireless range extender is a great device to expand the wi-fi coverage of your home network with relative ease. By placing this range extender in an opportune spot within your home you will be able to get enough energy to enable those wi-fi devices to be a normal part of your network. This range extender operates in the 2.4GHz band and is 802.11n ready - also backwards compatible with 802.11g and 802.11b networks. Additionally, there is a single fast Ethernet (100BASE-TX) port on the bottom of the device which will enable a wired device to be connected via Ethernet cable and available in a wireless manner on your network - a wireless bridge function.
After removing the range extender from the convenient and well-packed packaging, you merely plug in the range extender into a wall outlet near your wireless router. From here you can sync the range extender with your wireless network via a WPS push button (by far the quickest and easiest method), or by connecting to the range extender's web interface via a web browser after connecting to it wirelessly from a computer, tablet, phone, etc. Either method is simple and illustrated and documented clearly in the included quick-start guide. I connected the range extender to my 802.11n network via the web interface method in roughly 7 or 8 minutes – the WPS button should take someone a mere minute or two total.
After this initial setup it is recommended in the documentation to place the device roughly halfway between your router and the area in which you want to extend wireless coverage. This is completely subjective and dependent on one's home and the available wall outlets - though not terribly difficult. The range extender will actually indicate via a LED color and function on where it should be placed in terms of distance from the router. The signal LED on the device should be solid green in order to get solid connectivity and service, if the signal LED is solid orange the device is too close to the router and if the signal LED is blinking orange it is too far from the router. There is also an Ethernet LED which shows if the wireless bridge mode is enable with a device connected to the range extender via the wired connection, and a power LED that indicates if the range extender is powered on or off.
It's also a nice feature that the range extender provides an electrical outlet on the face of the device in order to still use the wall outlet like one normally would. Included in the box is the range extender unit, the quick start guide, a CD that includes more in-depth documentation if needed, and a single Cat 5e Ethernet cable.
Cons: The single Ethernet port for the wireless bridge connectivity is only a 100BASE-TX port. A Gigabit Ethernet (1000BASE-T) port would have been nicer and speedier; though Fast Ethernet is perfectly capable of streaming HD media across a connected 802.11n network. This does not warrant the loss of an egg in my opinion.
Other Thoughts: TP-LINK did a great job overall of creating a robust and easy to setup and use device. In my testing I was able to provide 802.11n wireless coverage to the entirety of my basement (with my router located 2 floors up). Before the use of the range extender I only had wireless coverage in a small corner of the basement.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: Large size, 16:9 aspect ratio (1080p). DVI, HDMI connectivity. Zero dead pixels. Integrated speakers do the job. 100mm VESA mount support
Other Thoughts: Used this as an upgrade to a small mini-pc mounted on the back of this thing via VESA for use in the kitchen. The integrated speakers are nothing fancy but do the job for my application. I've owned several Asus monitors over several years and have always been happy with their quality and price.READ FULL REVIEW
Pros: The TP-LINK Archer C2 is an excellent, capable, and modern 802.11ac dual band router for a very affordable price. Not only does the Archer C2 give you wireless connectivity in the speedy 5GHz 802.11ac band, but also provides a concurrent 2.4GHz 802.11n band as well. One can choose which band what devices operate in based on bandwidth and/or device capability requirements (i.e. web browsing, email, and low bandwidth tasks in the 2.4GHz band and video streaming, gaming, and high bandwidth task in the 5GHz band). The theoretical total bandwidth available with the Archer C2 is 733 megabits per second (Mbps) - 433Mbps in 5GHz band and 300Mbps in the 2.4GHz band. Additionally, the Archer C2 provides backwards comp ability with 802.11a/n devices at 5GHz and 802.11b/g/n devices at 2.4GHz.
The rear of the Archer C2 features five gigabit (1000BASE-T) Ethernet ports (1 WAN and 4 LAN) for speedy wired connections, a WPS/reset button, wireless on/off button, power on/off button, AC adapter connection, single USB 2.0 port, and 2 external RP-SMA antenna connectors. The power on/off switch is a nice feature in case you want to physically power down the Archer C2 without having to pull the power cable. The wireless on/off button is also a nice feature in order to completely disable both wireless radios from the rear of the router without having to log into the firmware interface to power down or pull the power cable. The USB 2.0 port provides the capability to share a thumb drive or hard drive across the network, or to enable a printer or scanner for network use.
Cosmetically the Archer C2 is sleek and attractive with a shiny, texturized black top, removable antennas, and LEDs to indicate power, 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio use, and connection/activity for each of the 5 gigabit Ethernet ports. The LEDs are a subtle blue color and not overly bright in a dim or dark room.
Security standards used with the Archer C2 are the standard and modern WPA2/WPA2-PSK/WPA/WPA-PSK/WEP encryption. There is also the capability for parental control within the firmware as well as IP and MAC address filtering and binding – nice features for a router at this price. The Archer C2 also supports IPv6 and guest networks.
In my testing and wireless environment in my home I was receiving as to be expected 802.11ac speeds throughout my home and around my property. Link speeds were affected when the signal was traveling through multiple walls and at distances further out on my property - all to be expected. The 802.11g/n speeds in the 2.4GHz band were also as to be expected from the capability of both of these standards. The streaming of HD content was seamless in my environment in the 802.11ac and 802.11n bands. The firmware appears solid and required no unusual tweaking or rebooting of the router in my wireless testing.
Cons: The single USB 2.0 port on the rear of the Archer C2 works perfectly fine in sharing a thumb drive or hard drive across a network, though it will be limited to USB 2.0 speeds - which are quite slow compared to the latest USB 3.0 standard. If one is not particularly concerned with moving large amounts of data to and from a connected storage device this is of no concern, but one would certainly notice the slow speed. For networking a printer or scanner the USB 2.0 port speeds will be trivial and are of no concern. While a USB 3.0 port would have been ideal, the low price point of the Archer C2 with the USB 2.0 connectivity does not warrant the loss of an egg in my reviewing opinion.
Other Thoughts: The value proposition is quite compelling for the user who wants to upgrade their home network to the latest, fastest, wireless standard due to the Archer C2's list of features, reliability, and most importantly low price. The home user will find the 802.11ac capability robust and somewhat future proof while providing backward compatibility with 802.11g/n devices in currently in their network.
It is worth noting, as a disclaimer, that there are reviews out there that mention transfer speeds and/or connectivity without mentioning some basic environmental details in which a router is deployed. The advertised wireless speeds and actual real-world performance will vary in every situation and environment. External controlled and uncontrollable factors such as: wireless interference, home construction, device capabilities, distance, and/or weather and humidity are a named few sources. This affects all wireless devices, not just the Archer C2.
In the box you will find the Archer C2 router, two detachable omnidirectional antennas, power supply, resource/install CD, and a Cat5e Ethernet cable.
TP-LINK did an excellent job with the Archer C2 and one would be hard pressed to find a similarly spec'd 802.11ac dual band router at this price point. Well done TP-LINK!