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Pros: - Biggest pro (probably only for nerds): supports HostAP! ('hostapd' in linux.)
What is that? The chip can make your computer a wifi router/firewall/server if you want. Not perk for everyone and it not easy and only on linux. Research it for a weekend hobby some day. With this card, I hosted a wifi network.
This is awesome for $20.
- Price point. You can't beat it, but see OTs.
- Low profile card (If you wanted to build a small router in a micro-ATX case?) it comes with a second bracket for a tiny case.
- Generic SMA antenna ports. You can purchase external antennas (TP-LINK TL-ANT2405C, SKU: N82E16812997086 for $8) and run them away from your router. I recommend it if you can afford it. Your case filled with components through which electricity flows and potentially (but not necessarily) interfers should be avoided if possible.
If too much you can look at simple SMA extension cables. (3M for $5, SKU:9SIA1NV0UF6248, 6M for $6, SKU:9SIA1NV0NY4981.) These cables extend the antennas off your tower so you can tack them to a wall or move them higher.
- 2T2R MIMO, two transmit, two receive, multiple-in-multiple-out. Basically means the card uses both antennas to communicate as effentiently with the AP (or clients in hostapd ;) as it can.
- No driver setup on Windows 7/8 or even linux. Most atheros stuff was enabled in a generic linux kernel and Windows recognized it already as well. I can't speak for an older OS, however. If it doesn't detect, I cover options below to fix that :)
- It performs as expected for a 802.11n 300 device. No reason to beat a dead horse with that one. The speeds are on par with actual (not theoretical throughput) speeds. My apartment is small so strength is adequate. In linux you have additional power commands and other features (also true in Windows to a lesser extent if you know where to look.) This card is way faster than my USB Edimax EW-7811Un.
- Unless you're using >Windows XP then you may not need the disk. Look into the features of TPL's software to see if it offers anything else you need. Like easier WPS but I highly recommend to *not* use WPS. "Shortcuts are security risks." WPS has proven security risks. Research the Reaver WPS exploit to know the risks!
Sidenote: It is a minidisk. In the [rare] event you have a slot-loading drive it won't work.
Here: http://www.tp-link.com/en/support/download/?model=TL-WN881ND&version=V1 for the software.
Download driver ONLY (~5MB .zip) OS, right click the .inf file ("Type: Setup Information" in Windows explorer), and click "Install." It installs the basic driver detect your card WITHOUT full software! This is also on the disk at X:\\TL-WN881ND\Driver Files\
THE WEBSITE .ZIP FILE INCLUDES WINDOWS 8 32/64bit DRIVERS AS WELL AND THE DISK DOES NOT. DISK ONLY INCLUDES UP TO WINDOWS 7.
Cons: - THIS IS NOT A CON AT THIS PRICE POINT, but this card is only 2.4GHz. At $18 you can't beat an internal card with this quality and with these features but if you can afford $10 more then the TP-Link's WDN3800 is dual-band and equally as great of a card.
- No cons to speak of.
Overall Review: To test this card I pulled my TP-Link TL-WDN3800 (NeweggSKU: N82E16833704162) and, naturally, it wasn't as fast. But it was intended for a different user base as well. If you only have a 2.4GHz (non-dual band) network then it's no question that this card will be perfect for your network, assuming you don't want to get a cheap $10 USB adapter. If, however, you plan to use TP-Link for it's hostapd abilities of it's Atheros chip or if you plan to upgrade to a dual-band network in the future then consider spending the extra $10 to $12 on the N600 model.
It's never a bad idea to future-proof your tech whenever it's not too much of a hassle to do so!
This is a great starter card but as technology improves it'll quickly become less than adequate. Overall, this card offers some killer features at a great price point. For a spare $20 (or two with external antennas) you can have a capable connection to your network or even turn your computer tower into a router itself. In my many years in the tech world TP-Link has always had a name for itself as a dependable, quality company with a budget price point. By no means am I a complete TP-Link fanboy, but they have definitely earned my respect over the years for what products I've purchased and reviewed, how they've lasted, and how they've stacked up against competitors. But if you have an extra $10 and a dual-band wifi router then consider the TL-WDN3800!!
This is a 5-egg card for filling a role targeting single band 2.4Ghz requirements. It's bigger brother, the TL-WDN3800, is more of my fancy, personally. But if this card is what you need then TP-Link won't let you down with filling that requirement. And considering their customer service history, well, that speaks for itself as well.
I'll end with what I always like to advise people:
Know your requirements.
Do your homework.
Consider your options.
READ REVIEWS. (Customers speak for a company's actions/competency.)
When you review be humble but honest. Don't be afraid to be critical but being bitter doesn't help anyone researching the product.
Pros: Good Pricing
TP-Link Brand (has never let me down)
Twin Adjustable antennas
Two bracket options
2T2R MIMO technology ??
Better than average range
Cons: Optimum antenna orientation may be difficult due to interference from monitor or other cabling out the back of computer.
Overall Review: Nowhere in the product description did I read wireless AC. If you want wireless AC buy it but don't con a product for not being something it does not say it is. That's like buying green jeans then saying they suck cause they are not blue. AC is new, expensive, not
ready for prime time and not necessary for 95% of users.
I decided that testing transfer speeds is not something that is of much value unless your networking is confined to transferring data among computers in your network. What is important.....does it transfer data in toto and in a manner that allows that data to be usable and the answer to that is YES this product does that fine.
I set my test systems (WIn 8 and XP) up in the same room as the router and received the full 300Mbps from a distance of about three feet. After ensuring all was well I moved the test bed upstairs about 50 ft on the diagonal from the router. Line of sight - the signal needed to traverse two shielded speakers, a monitor and hidden copper wall wiring.. In the test room I have a DVR and television about 6 feet away.
Windows Local Area Connection Status reported 300Mpbs but the signal bars were at 3 rather than 5.
I spent a few minutes adjusting the twin antennas to improve that signal. I was hindered in this because the TP Link card is below my video card and the cabling prevents freedom of antenna movement. I tested on a micro ATX board.
The most demanding wireless task in my house is watching movies streamed from my regular desktop. I want to watch them without pausing or hitching and have the lips in synch with the dialog. This adapter allows that. Data transfer is great, just great.
MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output,) is the use of multiple antennas at both the transmitter and receiver to improve communication performance. To me this means that the router must also have this form of smart antenna technology. A quick search of MIMO tech for routers shows only one boasting this feature at Newegg and it wasn't by TP Link. My conclusion: How important is it? Look it up and you decide. Looks good in the features blurb though.
I find PCI or PCI-E cards preferable to dongle based antennas. The reason: Less chance of breaking them and for a desktop it's really the only way to go. If you have a 3 slot micro-ATX board as I do you may prefer not to use one slot up with a card when a dongle will do. That's reasonable.
There is software included on a mini CD that works but is of questionable efficacy....Why do I want to save a profile? I can't think of a reason to save any other than the one I am using but I am sure the advanced user can.
I had no reason to get in touch with tech support. Installation was a breezy success.
In conclusion: Recommended
Pros: The biggest pro for me is that I didn't have to install drivers from TP-Links website or from the mini-CD. I installed the card, turned on the computer and Windows 7 took care of the rest and I was up and running in maybe a minute so totally Plug-n-Play compliant. I used this card to mainly transmit youtube video and netflix from my computer to one of those google chrome dongles on my non-smart television. It's worked flawless for that task. It does a nice job and I didn't have any driver issues, good signal strength when I did unplug my network cable for testing. My computer is at least 35 feet and on another floor from the wireless router and I had a good signal for the couple days I tried it out.
I'm really having to think to find anything that makes this card stand out from the others out there. I think they're all pretty much the same and I'd recommend this one just because of the price and PnP ability.
Cons: Zero - nada. I just can't think of anything bad about this card. It worked flawlessly, the signal strength was fine and that's about it.
Overall Review: If you need a wireless adapter card thats PCI Express x1, b,g,n signal and want it Plug-n-Play compliant then this is a great card at a nice price.
Pros: The physical installation was very simple. The metal on the PCI card was machined very well, as were the gold contacts, so there was no bending or metal shaving to worry about when sliding it into the case. The antennae weighed quite a bit, which is always a good sign. They seem study as well. The card itself fit tightly into the PCI-E slot, which is a refreshing change from other devices that sit loosely in the relatively small 1x slot and occasionally disconnect.
The included CD allows for the option of installing the driver alone without the wireless software, which is very nice considering that the wireless controls in Windows work just fine. There was no free trial bloatware either. That alone makes me highly recommend this card over others.
From a fairly long distance, I got -54dbm signal strength in open air with a fair amount of interference. That type of rating is right up there with the best equipment I’ve tested. Really I can’t think of one good reason not to buy this particular adapter.
Cons: Doing a ping test resulted in moderate results, about average lost and delayed counts for wireless. I had several laptops and wireless desktops operating on the same router and they all had perfect ping times so this particular adapter is just slightly below average but the amount of packet delay would barely be noticeable while web surfing. Due to the manufacturer’s good reputation, the good signal strength, and flawless driver installation, I would still recommend this card for a simpler setup.
Overall Review: Overall, I don’t like devices that place the antennae behind steel and under the power supply. It’s just not a good idea. These obvious can support remote hookups and antenna extension cables but it doesn’t come with them. A USB-based solution or PCI-E card with external antenna extension cable and base mount included are a lot better. This is a pretty well made card and it got okay signal despite that, especially with dual antennae, so it’s still a very nice product.
Pros: Signal strength is excellent; stronger than my 300 Mbps USB adapter I was using previously.
Very simple to install and set up
Speed/connectivity are great. Even when I installed this in home office server which is in the opposite corner of the house from my router, I had no issues with packet loss or weak signal.
Cons: No 5 GHz support. The 2.4 GHz band can get kind of cluttered and it would be nice to see 5 GHz supported.
Overall Review: For the price, this adapter is very good. My preference is usually to just use USB wireless adapters, but the signal strength is definitely stronger with this than most USB adapters I have used, so it has earned a permanent home in my office server!
Pros: It was simple to install and worked as expected. No problems at all with installation or operation of the card. I prefer to use windows to manage my wireless connections, so I chose to uninstall the software. I also connect as fast as 150Mbps with this card. Not as fast as I expected to connect but it works well.
Cons: Not as fast as I expected, but still connects fast.
Pros: The TP-LINK TL-WN881ND Wireless N300 PCI Express Adapter has proven to be Very Reliable, I have been using this for weeks now and has never lost connection and has had very consistent speeds. I am currently using the TL-WN881ND in my PC "Win 7 x64" in the bedroom which is about 70' away and through 4 walls and I'm getting about 70% signal strength. What is really tereffic is that I am getting between 40 Mbps and 60 Mbps from my Network Attached Storage Devices and when wired, I get around 60 Mbps to 80 Mbps, so i think that is very good for a Wireless Adapter , and when it was tested on the internet's speed test, the speeds were the same as my wired connection. The setup process was very easy, all I had to do is download the latest driver/utility from TP-Link's website and install, and was immediately recognized. This is a very good reliable and easy to use Wireless N300 PCI Express Adapter and in my opinion the range, and the price is terrific compared to other Wireless Adapters.
Cons: As of right now I have had on problems with the TP-LINK TL-WN881ND Wireless N300 PCI Express Adapter, I will update my review if I have any problems, but I really do not see that happening, I have many TP-Link Products and really have had no issues with reliability.
Overall Review: The TP-LINK TL-WN881ND Wireless N300 PCI Express Adapter has proven to be Very Reliable, and consistent. I am so happy with its performance that I will be removing the 100' of category 5 cable I have running to my bedroom. In the past I have had trouble finding a Wireless Adapter that was good enough to let me do so. The TP-LINK TL-WN881ND has many great features, but works very well without installing the TP-Link Utility. With the TP-LINK TL-WN881ND you will have no trouble streaming movies,games, and music. In my opinion this is a very nice PCI Express Adapter and should not give you any problem, seems very reliable and consistent.
Pros: * Packaging: Simple, easy to open, mostly recyclable materials used
* Low profile and space saving. In other words: small
* Plug and play - Windows 8 detected it and installed a driver for it.
* Faster speeds on 802.11b network when compared to other wireless cards, but could be better.
* Copy speed (average of three runs) on 2.4GHz network:
* 1 x 1.06GB file 6min 52sec @2.63MB/s
* 100 files totaling 626KB: 2.711sec @230KB/s
* Comparative copy speed with Linksys Wireless-G PCI Adapter (average of three runs):
* 1 x 1.06GB file: 12min 40sec @1.4MB/s
* 100 files totaling 626KB: 3.14sec @200KB/s
Cons: Status light on the card never seems to come on.
Overall Review: * Included driver could not be installed - not compatible with Windows 8. I believe that this may have impacted speeds, but uncertain because the software wasn't installed due to incompatability.
* Tests completed on Windows 8 machine
* Test machine located on first floor of wood structure home. Network router located on second floor approximately 30 feet away.
* My router is dual-band: b/g but this card only recognized and connected to "b". Not sure if it was because of my router or the driver.
* I've noticed that to achieve top speeds, one must purchase a complete "system" or combo of router and wireless card from the same manufacturer and family of products.
* This card is fast, but I reviewed a wireless USB adapter that performed even better than this unit (below)
D-Link DWA-180 Wireless AC1000 Dual Band Adapter (Newegg item # N82E16833127520) connected to same router running same tests.
* Copy speed (average of three runs) on wireless "G" network:
* 1 x 1.06GB file 2min 1sec @9.7MB/s
* 100 files totaling 626KB: 2.93sec @252KB/s
* Copy speed (average of three runs) on wireless "B" (2.4GHz) network:
* 1 x 1.06GB file 3min 28sec @5.2MB/s
* 100 files totaling 626KB: 2.70sec @244KB/s