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Pros: Where to begin!
* The most easily configured router I've seen (and I have used many). Everything is straightforward.
* Print Server included.
* NAS Mass storage server included.
* Can be NAS AND FTP simultaneously. (on same device).
* Multiple FTP and NAS Configurable separately.
* FTP available intranet or internet or both. User accounts configurable and password protected.
* DHCP allows reservations. And those reservations can be inside or outside the defined DHCP Pool (or both).
* HTTP Configuration utility is VERY fast and simple. Not like some where you feel your connected with dialup to your router config.
* Configuration almost never requires a reboot. I did nearly my entire configuration of this thing without ever needing to reboot the router. Changes to wireless configuration and dhcp reservations require a reboot to take effect, but basically nothing else does except obvious stuff like restoring backed up settings, etc. Reboot does take about 30 sec.
* Servers start and restart in seconds, all without reboot (media/print/ftp).
* Port Forwarding takes effect instantly (again, no reboot required).
* Parental controls by MAC allow white listing domains (sites your kids can access).
* Bandwidth controls by MAC allow throttling up or down or both. (Speed limits by computer)
* Supports Dynamic DNS (as all routers nowadays)
* Wireless on 2 bands simultaneously allows you to split usage on two channels and avoid conflicting wireless bandwidth needs.
* 4 port Gigabit switch offers good wired ethernet speed. (Good processor)
* Switched power supply appears very efficient. Very little heat produced. Same for the router itself.
* With all ports full and USB full, its barely warm to the touch. In a 68F closet, router has one small spot that's 93F and the power supply runs at 87F. Nothing like some brands that could fry an egg (and fail accordingly).
* Default address is fairly standard 192.168.0.1/255.255.255.0 Default login = admin/admin
* Help screens in the config utility genuinely help.
* Daylight savings start/stop dates are configurable. (no more incorrect clock for 4 weeks causing mystery issues with your internet service and mail)
* Wireless range was fantastic! I was able to get uninterrupted video streaming via 2.4 and 5.0ghz at 80 feet from the router and through 3 walls, one of them brick. I was impressed. I'm not going to say it's the best range I ever saw, but it's loads better than most. I didn't have a 300Mbps capable device to test with, but at 150Mbps connection it worked flawlessly. Same for 2.4Ghz operation via G.
Cons: * Lack of documentation and incompleteness of what is provided. Thankfully, everything is so intuitive you really don't need more. There are some items they could cover better. Must go to the website to get the docs on the print server and they are incomplete to say the least.
* USB ports are USB1. Great for slower needs, can't service high speed components. Can be worked around though.
* Can't forward to the Broadcast address x.x.x.255. For me and my current setup, this is important. This could be a firmware upgrade added feature later.
I See that other reviewers say the print server functionality doesn't work. That is not true, mine works fine. It was not easy. Turns out it has to do with the way you configured the printer _before_ you connect to the router. If your printer was not connected with a usb interface, then it will not configure correctly on your system when you connect to the router. I have an HP Laserjet P2015DN and I had to delete the printer from control panel, then reconnect it to the PC via USB. Now, configure the printer via USB. Disconnect from the PC and connect to the router, now it shows up as re-direct-able. From there, configure as the PDF instructions say and everything's fine. You wont' find that in the documentation.
For printing, there's no way to make it work without carrying the printer around to the PC's to install first. However, it works fine once configured.
USB Speeds: The USB Ports are great, but they appear to be USB1. If you require a high speed device then get one that uses Ethernet (such as gig Ethernet NAS) and use it. Speeds via usb will be limited to about 1.3MB/s to 4.2MB/s. I connected a USB3 1TB external drive to it, and those were the speeds I could achieve. If you want to use this via FTP remotely, then chances are this is plenty. Most folks internet service won't allow speeds any greater than that anyway. Unless you're somewhere with 4G and have some pretty serious bandwidth at home. If that's the case, then purchasing higher speed devices and connecting via Ethernet is your solution. Under any circumstance, the extra usb ports offered are a great addition, and when used with the right items, they free up 2 of your built in switch ports, and hey, they didn't cost anything!
Overall Review: They have a sticker covering the Ethernet ports warning to load the software first. This really isn't needed if you are familiar with router configuration. Their setup utility though is nice. I do not like loading software that isn't needed by my system. The app they use for setup is really small and doesn't make a lot of registry entries. You do require a separate app to use the print server functionality, and it must be loaded on all systems that print though the router. But that is not installed with the setup utility unless you specifically install it, and its very small also. All in all, a very tight installation. They also don't install any third party junk on your system.
My wired Ethernet systems were all limited to just over 90MB/s transfer (pc-pc or pc-server) using the built in switch. This is slower than I'm accustomed to, 130+MB/sec max net throughput. Most of my hard disks are not that fast anyway, but the lack of jumbo frames does limit your max network throughput (important for all you performance nuts). This is meaningless to most people, and totally meaningless to wireless users. In fact, I have never seen a home network that came anywhere close to saturating a Gig-Ethernet network, other than my own. Mine did take a slight performance hit with this router, but only because it was so fast to begin with. Not nearly enough to be a deal breaker and for all I know this could improve via a firmware update in the future. Jumbo frames would be nice. I see the TP-Link Desk/Rack mount switches support jumbo frames up to 10k. This built in switch does not for now.
I could not broadcast to x.x.x.255 and that causes some issues for remote wake on lan (WOL). I put in a support ticket about this and they said to set up a DHCP reservation, then forward to that address. That will only work for one system since Port 9 can only be forwarded once. If you need to wake more machines you'll need to do some other workaround. Locally, this works fine so it is only when attempting to wake a home system from the internet that this is an issue. Also, unlike other brands with "link" in their name, this model doesn't dump the ARP cache and stop WOL from working altogether. Another feather in this router's cap!
I saw no spying being done while using this router (unlike that of some other brands I've seen). Spying via sneaky dns substitutions/redirects among other things. This router does not do that as far as I can see. Just old school routing and firewall the way it should be.
Taking into account my experiences with routers in the past, nothing takes a star from this one. Even the things I am not thrilled with are fixable. All in all, the nicest, most trouble free, easiest configured router I ever used.
Pros: I’m sitting here looking at the post-rebate price on this router and can’t believe it. The PRE-rebate number was about 1/3 of what I paid for my last bunch of routers with similar features earlier this year. In addition to being an easy-to-setup consumer router, it also has features that might make it a major force in the open-source scene.
In short it is a decently sized, attractive, cool when running (I test about 5W), concurrent dual band 2.4/5 GHz with 300Mbps (two streams) on each band, removable dual antennas, dual USB 2.0, stable factory firmware that includes print server, Samba file server, FTP server, and media server, a hard switch that can turn off the wireless, gigabit LAN, gigabit single WAN, a 2 year warranty, 800Mbs WAN to LAN spec (I tested over 900 Mbs), real QOS controls (not just WMM), and nice parental controls. The insides look like a 560 MHz CPU, Atheros wireless, 128Mb RAM, and 8Mb Flash size. I got about 90Mbit/s at 2.4GHz n and about 190 Mbit/s at 5GHz in real life at about 25 feet and one room away which is quite good for real-life in a 2.4GHz noisy world.
If you’re a non-geek you’ll probably set it for mixed mode on the 2.4 GHz band so all your devices can connect – giving up some speed on that band in return for compatibility—and use the 5 GHz radio to do your fast media and gaming stuff that’s not hardwired (assuming your peripheral devices support 5 GHz). It is so new that there is sparse open-source firmware currently available but, with this hardware, it’s easy to imagine adding a lot more capability to what it can already do with factory firmware.
The recent noise involving another major router company using its software to collect potentially sellable data on its customers may cause some consumers to look at untainted brands like this TP-LINK.
Cons: The documentation could be a bit more complete on some functions. For instance, more detail on what drive formats/types are supported by the USB pseudo-NAS, and a step-by-step on connecting the print server would be nice. (There is an online list of the many compatible printers. The web GUI help tab is actually useful.) Some things you have to find out by trial and error. For instance, I found that a Seagate Expansion 750GB USB3 drive gets enough power to run and is recognized if it is formatted with MBR as NTFS but the same drive is not recognized when formatted with GUID as NTFS or GUID as mac/HFS+. (Using that drive I get between 2-4 MByte/sec transfer router USB->LAN diskbench).
Improving the scope of the firmware features or helping the open-source community to do so could add so much more value to this very capable hardware and differentiate this product in ways beyond its unbelievable price point. Features that would be nice to have in next firmware upgrade: guest network, more than three site options on the dynamic DNS client, improved QOS, graphical use reporting, option to format the USB disk, SFTP or OpenVPN for secure remote access. (It would be really cool to have one of the USB ports support a 3G/4G cellular modem as a back-up to the wired WAN.)
Overall Review: It would be interesting to see what would happen in the router market if one company changed its focus a bit from just making great hardware and added some non-mainstream software features to their routers provided “as-is”. For instance, a downloadable firmware with an “advanced non-supported features” tab in the GUI. I can’t be the only one who has consumer-grade routers doing: triple WAN with 3G backup, serving openVPN, and bridging. At the moment, doing all this with a sub $100 dollar router requires open-source flashing (with DD-WRT, tomato, openWRT, etc.) and other messing around. It probably won’t affect higher-end corporate equipment sales if these features are provided by the router company as “unsupported features” for the enthusiast. It might even result in this router being as long-lasting and prevalent as the venerable, old, omnipresent WRT54GL.
Pros: 300mbps on 2.4ghz and 5ghz bands, 2 usb ports, great value, looks very sexy, easy setup, clean web interface, gigabit LAN, great web based help and support, media server support with USB hard drive and shared printer functionality.
Cons: Huge device with 2 x 12 inch antennas (could be a pro for some), high gloss finish shows finger prints easily, could not get shared printer to work with USB connection, no guest network functionality, inconsistent connectivity. Documentation could be a little better and no included screws for wall mounting.
Overall Review: I really wanted this router to excel, so much so that I bought the matching TP-Link WDN3200 USB Client to use with my work laptop. Setup was easy once I updated the original firmware. The original firmware did not play nice with my Motorola DOCSIS 2.0 Surfboard. In any event I upgraded to a new DOCSIS 3.0 modem. With these updates and upgrades I expected a fast network and using LAN Speed Test to test the wired LAN between two of my networked computers I saw a speedy 420mbps and 301mbps (read and write), having said this my older Trendnet TEW-639GR would read and write at 420mbps and 472mbps. I left all the wireless settings on auto and tested the 2.4ghz and 5ghz channels at 6ft from the router and 35ft from the router (these are the two locations I usually work from at home. The Trendnet router would easily hit both locations. Testing a wireless network is not always easy as RF is not a consistent science, however I always like to test new gadgets and I uncovered some inconsistencies with the TP-Link throughput. At 6ft using the 2.4ghz band I was able to hit as high as 124mbps (write) and 120mbps (read) but at the same location I could retest and find speeds of 26mbps and 40mbps (write and read). While the top speed is excellent for this N600 router I was concerned by the minimum speeds. Range was pretty good in the 2.4ghz band and I was easily able to work on my network at 35ft from the router and still see top speeds of 29.9mbps and 10.9mbps (write and read) although I did notice drop outs at this location. Transferring a movie via wifi from laptop to server showed a speedy 18.1mb/s at 6ft and 7.52mb/s at 35ft. The same movie would copy across at 68mb/s when connected by Ethernet. 5.0ghz is higher frequency so a shorter wavelength, this means that it can carry larger amount of data but range will be reduced and this was quite noticeable as I was not able to connect to the network at 35ft on the 5.0ghz band with any reliability. When I was able to connect I was able to write at a max of 21mbps and read 29.98mbps which is great, at 6ft I measured max of 104mbps (write) and 65mbps (read). This actually surprised me, I expected reduced range compared to the 2.4 band but at 6ft I fully expected faster speed on the 5.0ghz band. Where do I stand with this router, well to be honest I am a little disappointed with the consistency and poor 5.0ghz performance. With 2 x 12 inch antennas I expected better. However when compared to other brands of routers with N600 specifications this router is considerably cheaper, the web interface was easy to navigate and the router was easy to setup (once I upgraded the firmware). I like having two usb ports for attaching external hard drives and performance was excellent (ignoring inconsistencies). Perhaps a firmware update will solve some of these inconsistencies? This is my first TP-Link product and won't be my last. This has an Atheros chip so perhaps I will retest with a DD-WRT firmware when released.
Pros: 1. The WDR3600 Router is basically the TP-Link TL-WDR3500, but with Gigabit Wired Ethernet added. I view Gigabit Wired as a necessity (vs. the old obsolete 10/100).
2. Hardware Version: WDR3600 v1 00000000.
3. Came out-of-the-box with Firmware: 3.13.26 Build 130129 Rel.59449n. I upgraded the Firmware to 3.13.31 Build 130320 Rel.55761n which adds Guest Network functionality to the GUI.
4. Power On/Off Button, Wireless On/Off Switch, and WPS/Reset Button. Some Routers don't even have a Power Switch.
5. Runs cool, and low power consumption (1.5A at 12V).
6. Good performance (Internet, wired Gigabit, USB, and a very "snappy" GUI/Web). Pretty easy to configure via the GUI.
7. Has two USB 2.0 ports. No USB 3.0, but it doesn't really matter because I've yet to find any router that even approaches the maximum performance (MB/sec) of USB 2.0.
8. The Logs are useful, and can be offloaded via email. It would be nicer if the Log was cleared on offload, so you didn't send duplicate information.
Also see my 11/18/2012 review of the TP-LINK TL-WDR3500 (NewEgg product N82E16833704150).
Cons: 1. The USB Storage has several issues (in my opinion this is the weakest part of the Router):
[a] To access the USB Storage from your PC, you need to execute the Windows command \\192.168.0.1 (i.e. the IP address of the Router). Other Routers will show a Router Icon under the Windows Network.
[b] From time to time (to access USB Storage from my PC) I have to Stop and re-Start Storage Sharing. This is easy but should not be necessary.
[c] I found one rather enormous Firmware Bug. If you re-Boot the Router with the FTP Server active, your USB Storage gets re-Formatted (all files are lost). Turning FTP off before the re-Boot gets around the issue, but if you forget, you loose all your files.
2. My largest functional complaint is, there is no way to see all the devices connected to the router. The DHCP Client Table gives you a partial list, but only shows the DHCP clients which have booted after the last router reboot (and no non-DHCP clients). There is also no way to delete an IP address.
The Wireless Statistics page show only the MAC address of the attached device, and there are two Pages to look at (2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz). TP-Link should add a Status Page which builds a Table of all attached devices, their Device Name, MAC Address, IP Address, and how they are connected (e.g. wired, 2.4 GHz, 5.0 GHz, etc.) most other routers have this.
3. Lots of re-Boots required to activate GUI configuration changes. They take about 50 seconds each.
4. Ten very bright blinking Green LEDs on the front. There is no way to turn them off.
5. No QoS latency menu, only Bandwidth Control. Other Routers have this function.
6. No support for: "Wireless Repeater" or "Wired Access Point" modes. Other routers have these functions.
7. New Firmware levels must be Downloaded and Installed manually. Other routers have this function in their GUI.
I have not yet had time to load the third level of available Firmware: TL-WDR3600_V1_130909. If the 130909 level solves any of my issues, I will post another review. TP-Link's Firmware release notes imply it will not.
Overall Review: This Router is good for the price, if you don't need the new Wireless AC protocol. It is missing some function other routers provide, but I like the layout and performance of the GUI. USB Storage has some issues (see Cons).
For the price, I would recommend this Router.
Pros: Previously I had a TP-LINK TL-WR1042ND which provided a solid performance, and again, TP-LINK has pulled it off again with the TL-WDR3600. Let's talk about the Pro's
- Great range: I have this Router installed inside a garage, in a two story 1500² ft house. My office is on the other side of the house and I get a solid connection on both 2.4 and 5 Ghz networks on all my devices which include a Kindle Fire, Epson Workhorse Printer, HP g7 Laptop, Samsung Galaxy S4, iPhone 4S and Blackberry Torch 9850. All devices connect with a very good signal, never drops, and speeds range from 75 Mbs all the way up to 300 Mbps in wireless connection. My speed tests show the full maximum available bandwidth constantly throughout the day.
- Features: Wireless/Dual Band Selection with flexible Encryption and filtering, 2.4 Ghz as well as 5 Ghz networks running simultaneously, Guest Network, DHCP Address Reservation, USB Drive/Printer sharing, FTP Server, Media Server, Print Server, NAT Settings, Port Forwarding/DMZ/uPNP functions, ICMP Flood Protection, Local and Remote Management, Parental Controls, Access Controls, Bandwidth Control, IP and MAC Binding, ARP Table modifications, Dynamic DNS (no-IP, DynDNS, comexe), IPv6 support, diagnostics, great logs and statistics.
- Performance: My LAN and Internet speeds never experience problems. The Router is connected directly to the Verizon FIOS ONT, and feeds my entire house with it's GB ports. The performance of GBit is completely solid. Movies can be streamed, huge files can be transferred in minutes, and the performance of browsing the Internet, downloading and uploading is always consistent.I also perform backups to my NAS (Zyxel NSA310) and I get write speeds of 60+ MB/s.
- Ease of use: If you have a basic idea of networks this router should not be hard to install. The interface is also very easy to navigate and intuitive. Every setting is exactly where you expect it to be. I was also able to easily mount it on a wall within minutes. For Verizon FIOS (Dynamic IP) make sure you do a DHCP release on the old router before you install the new one.
- Low Power consumption: All ports taken up and constantly working, my power meter reports 6 watts/hr.
Although a Home Router, I am able to implement many functions that a business would need. Using the ARP binding feature I am able to power on my computer over network and also over the Internet with WOL. I've also tested plugging in USB flash drives and external Hard Drives and then sharing out to computers and devices on the network. This is definitely one of the best routers I have owned.
Cons: My only observation that may bother some (not me) is that the blue LEDs are very bright. These can be covered with electric tape or dimmed down with Scotch Tape.
Overall Review: Please update your Firmware to the latest from the TP-LINK website to make sure you have the most stable version.
My review is based on :
3.13.31 Build 130320 Rel.55761n
WDR3600 v1 00000000
Pros: I suppose if spending as little money as possible is at or near the top of your priority list when it comes to designing your home network, this router could be just what you’re looking for, if you snag it on sale. Keep in mind, you get what you pay for.
Setup was relatively easy. Insert the included setup CD, ran the Easy Setup Assistant program, following the step by step instructions up until receiving an error message stating the router could not complete the setup. So, I ended up ditching the included disc’s ‘Setup Wizard’ and went directly to the configuration webpage instead. Whatever the reason the ‘Setup Wizard’ kept reporting router setup failure. A quick view of the status webpage verified my presumption that the router wasn’t obtaining an address from my Motorola SB6120 cable modem. So, another simple power down of both cable modem and router rectified the problem, and the router finally received the necessary address information and I was now online. I then reconnected my other wired devices (Vonage VoIP router, 3 PCs) as well as various wireless devices (2 smartphones, laptop, PS3 in this case).
I was impressed with the overall wired speed of this router. I was half-expecting only decent or even relatively poor performance. The TP-Link 3600 proved me incorrect, and had no problems downloading at my ISPs' capacity, even spread across multiple wired devices.
The configuration webpage was extremely easy to navigate, informative (context sensitive help directly to the right, with detailed explanation of most router options and settings), which some other manufacturers could take a lesson from! Most of the standard (or what should be standard) home router settings available for those wanting more control over their network.
Cons: Unfortunately, the relatively low price comes with some compromises, and those compromises probably are not worth saving a few bucks.
The overall feel of the router is, well, cheap. It’s very light, almost too light. I’m not expecting a lot here, what I mean is, just because it’s light, does not necessarily mean cheap, except in this case. Almost seems that just holding it will snap it in half. Routers can get hot, my guess is the insides are not going to hold up for the long run if you run this router at its supposed capacity. In other words, if it dies, it’s probably going to be due to overheating, because of the seemingly cheap quality of material.
Wireless connectivity and speed were unacceptable. The smartphone I had been using with my previous router was now pretty much useless. The router is located in an upstairs bedroom in a two-story, 3 bedroom town home. The three bedrooms are located upstairs, each with a wired PC, one with a wireless PS3, and a laptop located downstairs almost directly under the router. I received a very weak signal using my smartphone, upstairs, anywhere from right outside the room with the router, to the far side of another room, a distance of 4 to 26 feet from the router, door to the room closed. So weak I could not complete even half the bandwidth speed tests (using 2 different apps). I could not load videos from Youtube or even access common websites. Just for relevance sake, the smartphone’s wi-fi settings information reported a 5Mbps link speed while connected to the TP-Link 3600…(using my other router, the phone reports a 65Mbps link speed…yes sixty-five versus a mere five Mbps). Both of which should be plenty for your average texting and e-mail, though it’s obvious those figures are not exactly 100% accurate given the real world poor performance I experienced while connected to this router. I included them just to show the difference between my old router and this one.
The downstairs laptop had a tough time streaming from both Hulu and Crackle, both regular and HD streams, frequently pausing to buffer, the duration of which varied from merely a second to 5 or 10 seconds, sometimes even longer.
Overall Review: I’ve owned (and still own) various wireless routers; which include 2 D-link, 2 Linksys, Netgear, and TrendNet. None of which performed as poorly, wireless, as this unit. If you’re looking for great wired connections, you won’t be disappointed. I cannot recommend this device if you’re looking for anything better than mediocre wireless performance.
Pros: I wanted to wait a few days to review this unit since a lot of times network devices don't really show their true colors for a few days or weeks. After a week I can say that I've had absolute zero problems with this guy rebooting, dropping connections, and so on, and I've been very happy with the range and transfer speeds (see all the way at the bottom for benchmarks). I've never had a router hit the theoretical claimed 300mbps, and the numbers below are pretty much par for the course in my house. The admin interface is easy to use, and the help section location on each page of the interface is well written and suitable even for novices. It's definitely much better than D-Link's horrible interface. WPA/WPA2 is enabled as the default out of the box. On/off switch is nice, as is the dual USB interface.
Cons: USB interface is only v2. USB3 would be preferred, especially for people with a lot of network attached storage. Physically it's pretty big, bigger than my old Linksys E4200. One thing I really didn't like was that 2.4GHz and 5GHz were independent in terms of security settings (WPS, WPA2 password, etc). Personally, I prefer to set the security and have it carry over into both networks. I can see "prosumers" preferring to have them separate, but I would guess the regular consumer market would prefer both to be identical. The Blue LEDs on the front bleed into each other. The brightest ones are obviously the blinking ones, but it's still kind of annoying to see the bleed over. UPnP is enabled by default. I'm not sure how this model handles UPnP security from the WAN (internet) side, but I would probably recommend disabling UPnP. You can perform a Google search for UPnP security for further info. Depending on your physical environment and neighbors, you may also want to disable WPS on the router since it could give a local hacker total access to your network. Feel free perform a Google search for WPS wireless security if you want more information on that front. I couldn't find a way to change the machine's name on the network from the default of tplinklogin.net. I know a lot of technically-savvy people who like to name their devices in a specific manner (Neo, Morpheus, Luke, Vader etc).
Overall Review: Overall I was very happy with this router and would recommend it to others. The wireless quality and speed is very good, and I don't really have anything bad to say other than the minor nitpicks above.
Administrative website is http://192.168.0.1 or http://tplinklogin.net - login & password are both admin. Sharing services are enabled by default - USB, FTP (internet access disabled by default, thankfully), media server, print server. 2 USB ports, and passwords/user accounts can be enabled for accessing them. All the usual network settings that are common to pretty much any router nowadays (port forwarding, triggering, parental controls, DHCP reservations, dynamic DNS, etc) are present, so there's no real need to go into listing all of the features. If you're looking for a very specific feature or it's implementation, feel free to download the manual from TP-Link's website http://www.tp-link.com. As a side note - after fully configuring everything, always save your settings somewhere so you can easily restore them in the future in case you accidentally muck something up.
The part that people care the most about - benchmarks! All numbers are run from my 2000 square foot townhouse in a very crowded community with a TON of other 2.4GHz networks and very few 5GHz networks. My router is in a second floor corner room. Benchmarks were run on the same floor but opposite side of the house, first floor opposite side of the house, and finished basement opposite side of the house. Wireless card in my Windows 8 laptop is an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6205. The file used for the transfer speed test is a 42GB Avatar M2TS Blu-Ray file. The file resides on my Windows 8 home server with a Realtek 8111E gigabit NIC card hardwired into the router. Transfer speed was averaged out over the time it took to transfer the entire file over the network.
Hardwire baseline transfer speed: 105 MB/s (840 mb/s)
Wireless same floor, opposite side of house 2.4GHz
Speed - 8.2 MB/sec (65.6 mb/s)
Quality - Excellent, steady transfer speeds
Wireless same floor, opposite side of house 5GHz
Speed - 19 MB/sec (152 mb/s)
Quality - Excellent, steady transfer speeds
Wireless one floor down, opposite side of house 2.4GHz
Speed - 6.4 MB/sec (51.2 mb/s)
Quality - Good, mostly steady transfer speeds
Wireless one floor down, opposite side of house 5GHz
Speed - 11.3 MB/sec (90.4 mb/s)
Quality - Excellent, steady transfer speeds
Wireless finished basement two floors down, opposite side of house 2.4GHz
Speed - 0.240 MB/sec (1.92 mb/s)
Quality - Very spotty signal, transfer rates all over the board, probably because of my very crowded 2.4GHz spectrum
Wireless finished basement two floors down, opposite side of house 5GHz
Speed - 1.4 MB/sec (11.2 mb/s)
Quality - Good, mostly steady transfer speeds
Pros: I was so excited to see a decently powerful router as my next EggXpert assignment! My Linksys EA4500 had been driving me insane as of late. Ever since I bought that router, it has had poor signal, terrible QoS (Media Prioritization) issues, and an all around "slowness" for loading anything. But enough about that.
This TP Link WDR3600 arrived and I had it up and running in minutes. As someone more technologically savvy, I never use the included software install discs. I like to connect directly to the local IP Address (192.168.0.1) and configure it manually. A lot of newer routers these days are trying to make it "easier" to configure by making a graphical user interface or another software layer to setup their routers, which I personally hate. I am so glad that this router has the normal manual setup interface that I am used to, though it could be much better (see cons).
The range on this router is great. I have many walls between my router and living room/upstairs, but still get 4-5 bars of signal throughout the house. The router is stored in a closet and it never gets warm or hot, even after a week of heavy usage (downloading, gaming, etc). I don't know what it is about external antenna's, but they always seem to perform better even if the routers with internal antennas claim to have better range. Love the large external antennas on this router.
The speeds I am getting are about 5-10Mbps faster than the EA4500 over WiFi, which is great. Plus, this router does not have the issues with Media Prioritization that made everything slower on my EA4500. Just for clarification, the EA4500 has so many software bugs and errors that have not been patched, and it does not support DD-WRT so I had no other real options. I was fooled by the marketing numbers/descriptions.
The 2 USB ports make printer/hard drive sharing easy, though the USB ports only support USB 1.1 I believe, which greatly limits the bandwidth and transmission rates.
Cons: These are not major cons at all, but it is notable enough to keep it from being 5 stars for me. The interface has clearly been designed with some other primary language other than English. The descriptions and wording of all the various options are hard to understand and sometimes require reading through multiple times to realize that they were using the wrong sentence structure or the wrong plurality.
Another minor con was that setting up port forwarding in this router was very different and was not located under "Port Forwarding" like it is with most other routers. It exists in a menu option called "Virtual Servers" which is under the main menu option of "Forwarding."
Also, QoS seems to be nowhere to be found, at least not in it's traditional sense. They do have a bandwidth control section, but I was not able to see any configuration options since it is disabled by default. I have not spent the time to play around with it yet to see if that is their version of QoS or not, but the basic settings for it look incredibly limited in functionality. However, since I had such bad experience with QoS on my EA4500, I will wait for now. Really the only reason I used it in the past was to give my media streaming services priority to the bandwidth (Xbox Live, Netflix, Hulu, etc.) in order to prevent someone's downloads from drastically decreasing my viewing experience for example.
Another thing I experienced was that the 5GHz signal had much weaker range than the 2.4GHz range. It didn't even make it out of the bedroom, much less to the living room. This has been my experience with every router I have used that supported 5GHz signals so far. It really is an overrated addition to most devices. The only way you will need it is if you have tons of wireless traffic in your area (apartment building, lots of cell phones, wireless phones, wireless headsets, etc.). For my WiFi needs, I have never experienced issues with 2 laptops, 2 cell phones, and 2 game consoles using the WiFi on the 2.4GHz band.
Overall Review: f you are looking for an exceptional multi-band router with plenty of speed for years to come, this is a great value.