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TP-LINK Archer C8 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router, 2.4GHz 450Mbps+5Ghz 1350Mbps, 1 USB 2.0 Port & 1 USB 3.0 Port, IPv6, Guest Network
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: This is a 6 month update to my review on 11/10/2014 8:15:52 AM.

Still affordable, still powerful, still multifunctional! Extremely simple to set up.

Networked printing and scanning working flawlessly! Also check out “TP-Link Tether” on android market. You can kick wireless clients, reboot the router, and see DHCP leases.

A DD-WRT port is in progress, however the Broadcom chipset isn't easily ported so it isn't expected anytime soon, but sometime in the foreseeable future.

Signal is great on the 2.4GHz band, however 5GHz is understandably lacking. Tried to set up a WDS but it wouldn't initialize. (See Cons).

I won't repeat all the features mentioned in the other review.
To see all the features here is a simulator for the web interface:
http://www.tp-link.com/resources/simulator/Archer-C8/Index.htm

Dual-band, 2-year warranty, SMTP mail reporting, uPNP & SMB file sharing, various ACLs and customizable security features, DynDNS, guest networks, etc.

This router remains a great powerhouse to my home network. 802.11ac might not be completely ready yet without mesh networking, depending on the distance to cover.

Still no issues running Plex Media Server- even through a nested NAT with ports forwarded.

Cons: NO VPN SUPPORT (neither client nor server.)

I mainly wanted to post this update to cover the WDS hassles, in addition to reporting back on the continuity.

WDS failed with a second Archer C8 v1. WDS in both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands failed. (stuck during initialization) I wanted to set up a 5GHz WDS (ideally, even as a repeater, half the throughput would still be faster than 802.11n.) Initially, I realized I had flashed the UN instead of US firmware, which I corrected and the secondary router read as running the WDS briefly before they both stuck with “init…” after I reciprocated the WDS settings at the host.

On the plus side, it was worth it to put them on a copper backbone (Router1 LAN -> Router2 WAN) and expanding distance with a secondary network. A wireless solution would have been ideal; however, the throughput was faster compared to the signal loss with only one SSID.

It wasn't until this experience that I realized I really miss DD-WRT. I’ll mess with it more when I have time, but a 5GHz WDS would be great with two or three of Archer V8's.

Other Thoughts: This is still a workhorse of a router to consider if you want to upgrade to AC. The most practical benefit over the past few months is that streaming 1080p HD content is more pleasant for larger 2GB to 4GB files, naturally.

If, or when, DD-WRT is finally ported it should really unlock this dual-core 800MHz processor and 128MB of memory to do a lot more that only the open source community can deliver (VPN- and not to mention implement better WDS or Bridge-Repeat operations.)

Also notable for the more tech savvy users:
In the spirit of TP-Link's commitment to openness, I extracted the firmware (a compressed squashfs image). It uses a basic busybox install, dropbear, a 2.6 kernel, etc. If this router is truly open, a skilled hobbyist/enthusiast can probably cross compile a toolchain and chroot into the firmware image and add ssh and other essentials.

Firmware tools are included on a kali linux live DVD and debian repos.

Importantnote: I haven’t seen any JTAG headers and there doesn't appear to be any recovery method through TFTP or anything like Asus uses. I'm guessing it would be simple enough to make firmware changes and update the MD5 in the key file that unpacks alongside the sqfs image, before repackaging back into a binary. Though I haven't seen TPL confirm this anywhere.

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TP-LINK TL-WA854RE 300Mbps Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender, Repeater, Wall Plug design, One-button Setup, Smart Signal Indicator
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: - Easy to set up. Vert informative instructions, also. (Linked in OTs)

- User can manually set country. (Though illegal, technically someone in the U.S. can set it to another country and use channels 12 and 13, if supported by the host router)

- Very sensitive receiver. It picked up wireless networks I had never seen even on my laptop roaming around my house.

- tplinkrepeater.net to configure, no IP address.

- “Set SSID and MAC” manually if you do not broadcast your SSID.

- You can also choose to rename the repeater SSID, say if connecting to “network” you can name the TP-Link “network-EXT” (In theory, see cons.)

- Profiles list: In case you drag this thing around, say, to school or your favorite restaurant with an outlet at the table. It saves your connections as profiles. However, you can’t remove a single profile entry. To remove a profile, there are checkboxes but only a ‘Delete all’ button (alongside ‘Add’ and ‘Connect’).

- Universal and WDS mode.

- Adjustable Tx power, Beacon Interval, RTS Threshold, and Fragmentation Threshold, as well as DTIM Interval. These settings should be familiar to wifi devs or enthusiasts- especially if familiar with DD-WRT/Openwrt/Tomato. You can fine tune the reception and throughput settings depending on how far away the repeater is from the AP. Definitely a perk on this $20 device.

- Data throughput monitor, multiple user support, and other extra TP-Link bonus features.

Cons: Initial setup is limited to Quick Setup only. Only after this can a user go in and manage other settings (including the default password.) This seems a little counterintuitive.

UPDATE YOUR FIRMWARE if it isn’t at least 3.14.8 build 141224 Rel.38509n. Initially, I couldn’t connect to a host and choose a different SSID...well I really had problems connecting at all. Also, users couldn’t distinguish between WPA and WPA2. A lot of fixes came from updating. It actually rescued an egg on this review.

Other Thoughts: Not having a configuration IP address is good and bad. Good because it is easier to remember for some, however, bad because you may have to reset the device to connect to it if you need to change settings. If your devices automatically connects to main AP, then you won’t be able to reach the repeater to make configuration changes. For instance, in WDS mode. I had to briefly disable the 2.4GHz band on my AP to connect to the repeater to make changes. An IP address briefly worked but didn't last.

Also, I have a TP-Link router point as well. The DHCP settings overlapped and I had to change them. Otherwise, the repeater tries to lease the same IP addresses as the host.

It looks to have an Atheros chipset but I couldn’t find a developer datasheet on it. I extracted and browsed around the firmware and see references to Atheros, at least.

Overall, this seems like a decent $20 to spend if you have problems connecting to certain networks. You can save profiles for different networks and it’s relatively small and easy to carry around. There are some bonus features but this is a pretty straightforward, purposeful device and it does what it is intended to do.

Link to guide: http://www.tp-link.com/resources/document/TL-WA854RE_V1_QIG_7106504767.pdf

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SteelSeries Siberia RAW Circumaural Prism Headset
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

4 out of 5 eggs These headphones shine, somewhat. 01/15/2015

This review is from: SteelSeries Siberia RAW Circumaural Prism Headset

Pros: All in all, these are decent sounding, beautiful ‘cans’ but Steelseries should seriously consider a 1 to 3 inch retractable mic in place of that small knobby..

The lights on these headphones are the quality that really makes them shine:
- Changeable colors match a scheme if paired with lighted fans on a desktop or a lighted keyboard.
- Lights can be fully disabled.
- Software triggers (detailed below.)
- "ColorShift" pulsing light. (Non-programmable. Only 4 presets: Purple to teal, orange to yellow, rainbow, and pulsing off/on between Red/Yellow/Green/Teal/Blue/Purple)
- Playstation support (Only tested on PS3, which does not output sound through the headphones.)

Sound quality:
Balanced sound. I'm hobbyist audiophile and have owned headphones by Grado, AKG (detailed mids-highs, less bass/lows), and August EP650's (strong bass/lows) in addition to numerous in-ears. These have a decent sound signature that falls between the two extremes. With this frequency response, they provide great in-game detail and acceptable lows for listening to music.

Software pros:
- Custom configuration presets.
- Application triggered presets. (Example: Open a music player and the equalizer changes to the "Music" preset and color changes. Whatever config preset created for any application designated to trigger it.) When closed, then it reverts to the config preset enabled previously (Whether default or other.)
- Equalizer works great, custom presets suit intended optimization.
- "Mic optimization" (I had no mic problems with it on or off but I didn't have voice monitoring on.)

Long-term wearability/comfort:
These aren't the most comfortable cans to wear for long periods. I wore them for 5 hours and it became slightly uncomfortable but not as uncomfortable as my AKGs. Honestly, I am prone to discomfort with headphones with pains on the top of my head and especially my ears (from glasses). These were actually more comfortable to wear compared to other headphones so I’d say for those who don’t have wearability problems they should be okay. If I didn't get a headache, which I did not, then others should find them comfortable.

- Removable ear pads...sort of? (See cons.)

Cons: Initially, I thought the ear pads were non-interchangeable/non-removable. The two-paged instruction booklet didn't mention anything about removal, either. When I grabbed at them to look closer, it felt very cheap and easy to pull apart like they might have been glued on. I cautiously pried a bit and saw that they do come off, but I am not sure that they are meant to. With a little forceful effort (and slightly ripping the fabric on one...) I got them back on after venturing to remove them.

The mic is very quiet, but I understand why. It's really an issue of design. That built-in mic is going to pick up game play in the speakers and be sensitive to any voice monitoring. Lowering the mic gain avoids feedback- at a cost.

Like others mentioned, there is some feedback when chatting. I was able to hear my own voice feeding back on a Google Hangout through the other's sound. Suggestions in OTs.

Maybe a con, maybe not, but there is almost no documentation for these included in the box. Sure, everything is online, though. It would have been nice to know that the pads are/are not removable or whether the PS3/PS4 will play ingame sounds through the headphones.

Mediocre build quality. They seem like they will last a while if you are careful. But for some of those hardcore gamers who may or may not rip her headset off and throw it across the room when someone breaks the kill streak...well they may not hold up so well to that. Personally, I'll keep them nicely lit on my desk lamp :D

Other Thoughts: All in all, I like these headphones. They are an overall 3.5 stars.

Sound quality is 5/5 for gaming headphones at this price point.
Build quality is 3/5.
Aesthetics is easily a 5/5.
Functionality is 2/5 since they are limited to PC, have a short USB cable, and poor microphone design.

They look great, sound great for their intended purpose, but the build quality feels rather cheap. These go well with my Corsair Raptor K50 keyboard (also changes colors similarly)! I put in the same hex numbers and the headphones are far brighter than my keyboard and do not match exactly. But it's no worry. With some fine tuning you can match the light colors.

They remain lighted even if you choose other sound devices on a Windows PC. You know, like if you want to sleep to some mellow music on your speakers and set the headphones to a mellow dark red color. Even when not on your head, they're nice to hang on a desk lamp at night as a subtle nightlight, whatever color you want. That is the best quality, in my opinion, a subtle nightlight matching your mood.

A couple opinions:
Regarding the comfort of the pads and somewhat also addressing the sound leak into the mic:
Designing removable ear pads might not increase manufacturing costs too much and also would allow for users to optionally invest in more comfortable or noise isolating pads, if he or she should choose to. As they are now, there isn't even that option unless someone hacks and glues them herself.

For the quiet mic/feedback issue everyone mentions:
I have experience in audio engineering, and knowing what I know, they should design a retractable mic! (A thin, ~2-3 inch slightly curved rod that slides out in place of the current small microphone knob) then they could probably avoid this problem completely. (hint, hint, SteelSeries ;)

I would look forward to a Bluetooth version of these headphones in the future. The USB cable is quite a limitation if you’re using them with a PS3/4 and sitting across the living room. As with the August EP650 headphones, decent Bluetooth cans at under $60 are possible. Doing so would expand these beyond the gaming market to other devices, also.

Perhaps with more comfortable, noise isolating ear pads I imagine quite a few people would buy them up (although you'd have to make the color scheme hardware programmable, like with some programmable keyboards and mice.) These are extremely stylish and the changeable color is very appealing, stylistically.

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Theodore P.'s Profile

Display Name: Theodore P.

Date Joined: 02/13/11

Achievements:

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  • First Review: 03/02/11
  • Last Review: 02/18/15
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