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TP-LINK TL-PA4010KIT High-speed AV 500Mbps Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

4 out of 5 eggs Good alternative where wireless doesn't work 01/31/2015

This review is from: TP-LINK TL-PA4010KIT High-speed AV 500Mbps Nano Powerline Adapter Starter Kit

Pros: Worked on the other side of the house from my wireless adapter, where I just didn't get reliable wireless on the 802.11n band. Setup was incredibly easy - just plug one adapter into a wall near your router, using one of the included ethernet cables to connect it to the router, and plug another adapter in near your device, connecting it to your device with the other ethernet cable in the box. Perfect for PCs and home theater equipment, since it doesn't require drivers. You can "pair" the devices for added security, if you wish.

Cons: Speed varies a lot. I've found everything from 35-65Mbps for both uplinks and downlinks, depending on the time of day. It seems to be worse at night, perhaps because more lights are on in the house. This was tested on both the Internet and my intranet, so it wasn't the fault of my Internet service, which is actually 120Mbps. My high-end 802.11ac wireless devices are capable of 200-250Mbps when in range, so this Powerline kit is much, much slower.

Other Thoughts: There's some confusion reflected in the user reviews about the speed rating of this device. The Mbps rating never reflects real life throughput, regardless of the networking product you're using. For instance, even ultra-high-end 802.11ac 1.3Gbps products only achieve 300Mbps. Put simply, buy a Powerline product to provide networking where wireless doesn't work, not because you want something faster than wireless that does work as designed.

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TP-LINK Archer C9 Wireless AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Router
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

3 out of 5 eggs A value play in the AC1900 field 01/05/2015

This review is from: TP-LINK Archer C9 Wireless AC1900 Dual Band Gigabit Router

Pros: Sleek, upright design makes it easy to position out of the way, and hides the bundle of cables extending out the back somewhat. Includes both USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports. Easy to set up.

Cons: Performance simply isn't good enough at this point in the game. Across my intranet, using a triple-stream 802.11ac bridge placed about 40 feet from the router, I achieved the following speeds:
Downstream: 17.3MB/s
Upstream: 24.0MB/s

Yes, this is fast, but not fast enough. It doesn't match the 20.5MB/s and 24.4MB/s I measured using a competing AC1900 router from a big name that costs just slightly more.

More concerning was the implementation of file sharing. Using a ultra-fast USB 3.0 thumb drive (plugged into the USB 3.0 port) I was only able to get 11MB/s read speeds via a hard-wired connection to the Archer. That compares to 20MB/s over wireless that my other router achieved. Furthermore, TP-Link uses a limited-access file sharing method - it functions as a media server, but you cannot mount the drive or write to the media, meaning it will not work as a backup solution.

Other Thoughts: TP-Link is relatively new to the AC1900 arena, where other big names have been operating for quite some time. It's a difficult place to compete, with many of those big names fumbling badly and withdrawing products from the market. That being said, there are some established players that have proven themselves worthy. I've been using an AC1900 router from another manufacturer for over a year that has performed well for me, other than the occasional dropout, and that's what I've compared the Archer to here.

For TP-Link to really distinguish itself, it either needed to compete on performance or compete on price. In my opinion it hasn't really been aggressive enough on price, given that it's not bringing any more performance to the table. Coming out a year after its competitors, this AC1900 router, which no doubt uses many of the same components, should have been significantly less expensive. It's not. Yes, you'll save perhaps $10 or $20 over the big names for a similar experience, but that's not enough. The poor implementation of file sharing makes the Archer all the more questionable as a high-end router.

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TP-LINK TL-WA860RE V2 300Mbps Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender/Repeater with Power Outlet Pass-through, Dual External Antennas, Wall Plug Design, One-button Setup, Smart Signal Indicator
  • eggxpert iconEggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month

Pros: My 802.11n 2.4GHz (single-band) devices were having trouble staying connected 100 feet or more from my router. This single-band range extender did indeed extend the range of my network, allowing me to use the devices further from the router.

Also, it worked well as an Ethernet adapter for wired-only devices.

Cons: - This device is not about speed. Range extenders by necessity result in lower speed than a direct wireless connection, and this one is limited to 2.4GHz 802.11n networks, the slowest currently-used standard.

- The WPS one-button setup did not work, but thankfully, TP-Link provides a very easy way to set the device up by logging into it wireless. I'd advise simply skipping the WPS approach all together, since you'll spend many minutes looking at the blinking lights wondering whether it's going to connect. Just do it the fool-proof way and log into the device (method 2 in the instructions). It literally took less than a minute, or about 1/10 the time I spent trying to get WPS to work.

- if you just need a range extender, this two-in-one device is probably a little costly.

Other Thoughts: Tested 100 feet from AC1900 router:
Using TP-Link wireless: 6.5Mbps down, 3.4Mbps up
Using TP-Link wired connection: 14.6Mbps down, 6.2Mbps up

These results are not that impressive, but this is on a 2.4GHz 802.11n network in a location where my 802.11n 2.4GHz clients would not otherwise work. So the device is doing it's job - just don't expect miracles. From the very same location, my dual-band 5GHz 802.11n devices easily top 60Mbps.

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Ari A.'s Profile

Display Name: Ari A.

Date Joined: 04/23/06

Achievements:

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  • 100 Reviews
  • Reviews: 107
  • Helpfulness: 57
  • First Review: 07/16/06
  • Last Review: 01/31/15
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