TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Review

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TP-Link has been one of the corner stones of networking products on the global market since their first entry into the international market in 2005.  Although they were formed in 1996, they have gone from strength to strength since then and continue to provide consumers and businesses alike with many different products, catering for many different needs.

With that in mind, today I have one of TP-Link’s premier products on my test bench today, more namely the Archer C7 AC1750 Wireless Router, which packs some impressive features such as triple antenna for maximum wireless coverage, dual USB ports for the connection of external HDDs and printers as well as the support of dual band technology.  With that said, how will it perform?  Is it a premium product from a global networking powerhouse or is it just not that good?  Let’s take a look, starting with the specifications…

Specifications

HARDWARE FEATURES
Interface 4 10/100/1000Mbps LAN Ports
1 10/100/1000Mbps WAN Port
2 USB 2.0 Ports
Button WPS/Reset Button
Wireless On/Off Switch
Power On/Off Button
External Power Supply 12VDC / 2.5A
Dimensions (W X D X H) 9.6×6.4×1.3 in. (243×160.6×32.5mm)
Antenna Type Three 5GHz 5dBi detachable antennas (RP-SMA)
Three 2.4GHz internal antennas
WIRELESS FEATURES
Wireless Standards IEEE 802.11ac/n/a 5GHz
IEEE 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz
Frequency 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Signal Rate 5GHz: Up to 1300Mbps
2.4GHz: Up to 450Mbps
EIRP <20dBm(EIRP)
Reception Sensitivity 5GHz:
11a 6Mbps-96dBm
11a 54Mbps: -79dBm
11ac HT20: -71dBm
11ac HT40: -66dBm
11ac HT80: -63dBm
2.4GHz
11g 54M: -77dBm
11n HT20: -74dBm
11n HT40: -72dBm
Wireless Functions Enable/Disable Wireless Radio, WDS Bridge, WMM, Wireless Statistics
Wireless Security 64/128-bit WEP,WPA / WPA2,WPA-PSK/ WPA2-PSK encryption
SOFTWARE FEATURES
WAN Type Dynamic IP/Static IP/PPPoE/
PPTP(Dual Access)/L2TP(Dual Access)/BigPond
DHCP Server, Client, DHCP Client List,
Address Reservation
Quality of Service WMM, Bandwidth Control
Port Forwarding Virtual Server, Port Triggering, UPnP, DMZ
Dynamic DNS DynDns, Comexe, NO-IP
VPN Pass-Through PPTP, L2TP, IPSec
Access Control Parental Control, Local Management Control, Host List, Access
Schedule, Rule Management
Firewall Security DoS, SPI Firewall
IP Address Filter/MAC Address Filter/Domain Filter
IP and MAC Address Binding
Protocols Supports IPv4 and IPv6
USB Sharing Support Samba(Storage)/FTP Server/Media Server/Printer Server
Management Access Control
Local Management
Remote Management
Guest Network 2.4GHz guest network × 1
5GHz guest network × 1
OTHERS
Certification CE, FCC, RoHS
Package Contents Archer C7 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router Archer C7
3 detachable antennas
Power supply unit
Resource CD
Ethernet Cable
Quick Installation Guide
System Requirements Microsoft Windows 98SE, NT, 2000, XP, Vista™ or Windows 7, Windows 8, MAC OS, NetWare, UNIX or Linux
Environment Operating Temperature: 0℃~40 ℃ (32 ℉~104℉)
Storage Temperature: -40℃~70 ℃ (-40 ℉~158℉)
Operating Humidity: 10%~90% non-condensing
Storage Humidity: 5%~90% non-condensing

 

On the front of the packaging, we have the usual TP-Link green coloured design, which is very bright and vibrant which draws real attention to the packaging in my opinion.  On the right hand side, we have the model number as well as some of the features listed at the bottom.  The packaging also informs of its compatibility with cable routers and must not be confused with a modem router.

The rear follows the same green, vibrant design as the front, with a diagram of the AC1750 router itself detailing different ports on the rear.  There is also a more comprehensive list of the AC1750s features which include Dual Band support, dual USB ports which allows you to connect USB hard drives/printers and Gigabit wired ports which is to provide users with super-fast connections.

Bundled with the TP-Link Archer 7 AC1750 router, we have the following:

1 x Quick installation guide
1x Installation CD
3 x Antennas
1 x RJ45 Ethernet cable
1 x Warranty information leaflet
1 x Power adapter

All in all, quite typical for a wireless router although with one of such power and expense, I would expect maybe 2 cables at the minimum. How much do they cost to produce?  With that being said, maybe I am just expecting too much but for a router costing £100+ I would expect a little bit more.

Taking a general look at the AC1750 wireless router, the first thing that stands out is the glossy black finish; this is a magnet for fingerprints so beware.  This is contrasted with the white TP-Link logo on the top panel of the router, with the AC1750 model number displayed on the front at the right hand side.  Also in plain view is the AC1750s use of 3 antennas which is to give an overall better wireless signal with a wider Omni-directional range making this router of suitably high spec for those wanting Wi-Fi signals at long distances.

Taking a closer look at the front panel, here I have illustrated the AC1750 logo which represents the model number of the router.  As you can see the black glossy finish is very glossy and reflects light with little effort so those looking for a nice matt finish will need to look elsewhere.

On the rear of the router, we have the following ports:

1 x Power input
1 x On/off switch
1 x Wireless on/off switch
2 x USB 2.0 ports
1 x Internet port (RJ45) – For connection to a modem etc.
4 x LAN ports (RJ45)
1 x WPS reset button

Plenty of options here and I really do like the inclusion of the USB ports; it wouldn’t be a premium router without them!  Very handy for quickly attaching a USB hard drive if you want to store files on the go or even better, sharing documents over a network.

On the bottom of the TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750, we have mountings to enable the end user to attach it to a surface or wall mount, 4 small rubber pads to allow air to vent underneath the router and an information sticker which has information regarding the make, model, serial and even the default information required to log into the network for the first time.  The wireless password is also included by default but it is recommended to change all this information when in use.

Finally, we have the antennas which are all black, screw into the router and are modular in the way you can point them in the direction you need to.  They are Omni-directional meaning that it will provide a quality signal equally in all directions thus reducing the need to place the antennas in certain positions.

Once the hardware is setup (plugged into the modem/antennas attached, it’s time to setup the AC1750 onto the network.  There is a small CD which comes included to install the software.  It is fast and simple; pretty much with all software that come bundled with products these days.

Starting with connecting it to the network, first you must enter the IP of the router into your chosen browser (192.168.1.1 in this case) and you will be directed to the following page.

This page allows you to see all the relevant information regarding the wireless network, such as the 2.4GHz/5GHz settings and information regarding the IP of your network.

To make installation easy, I would recommend using quick setup, which is the next option in the list.  This allows you to quickly set your network up pain free and with ease.  The following screens depict the setup.

Very easy and has all the options needed to setup your wireless router to your network.

Next we have the guest network screen, this allows you to edit and change the bandwidth for the router including incoming and outgoing.  With the AC1750 being dual band, it has options for both 2.4GHz/5GHz for simultaneous use.

Here we have the basic one touch security options of the TP-Link AC1750 which includes firewall, VPN and ALG security so plenty of options for a multitude of users who require different methods of security on their network.

One of the most fundamental options when setting up a wireless network, especially if you have kids, is the parental control feature.  This is included and it allows you enable or disable as well as ban certain websites/IP addresses.

On time settings, this allows you to set the router in whichever time zone you wish, so if you decide to go abroad but want to take your router with you (not sure why) but you never know, this allows you to keep the time in sync with your current location.  There are also options for running diagnostics, firmware upgrades and resetting the router back to factory defaults if you need to do a quick reset of all the settings.  Please note I always recommend to change the password from the default one as it is very easy to guess and you want to make sure all your data is safe, right?

Now it’s time to see how the AC1750 performs…

To test the performance of the TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 router, I have devised a simple testing methodology to test the quality of signals at different distances and through obstacles using my Google Nexus 7 Tablet (2.4GHz wireless).  To test the quality, I ran Speedtest (www.speedtest.net) and took down each result from the following locations:

–          1m away from router

–          5m away from router

–          15m away from router (Through 2 walls)

–          25m away from router (Though 3 walls)

The internet connection wired reads as follows:

Ping – 7ms

D/L Speed – 125.70 Mbps

U/L Speed – 11.53 Mbps

Now it’s time to test the router…

1 metre away from router:

Ping –16 Ms

D/L Speed –37.50 Mbps

U/L Speed – 12.27 Mbps

5 metre away from router:

Ping – 17ms

D/L Speed –32.31 Mbps

U/L Speed – 11.95 Mbps

15 metre away from router:

Ping – 25ms

D/L Speed – 32.07 Mbps

U/L Speed – 11.90 Mbps

25 metre away from router:

Ping – 20ms

D/L Speed – 3.27 Mbps

U/L Speed – 1.12 Mbps

As you can see from the results, the AC1750 performs superbly and to make matters even better, the 25 metre range consists from the front of the house all the way to the back garden; 3Mbps is nothing to be sniffed at on a tablet.  The ping is also relatively great and stable across all of the differences meaning the wireless signal emanating from the router is of great quality, much improved over Virgins Superhub in which cuts out even upstairs.

So after having had the pleasure to take a look at what is considered to be a top end router, how did I feel it performed and what did I think overall about the TP-Link Archer 7 AC1750?

Well starting with the most important aspect, the performance, I was very surprised to see the improvement over the Virgin Superhub; not too surprised that it was an improvement but more so by how much.  The ping, even at a maximum distance of 25m was simply amazing and kept in line with the rest of the results meaning it was a stable connection throughout.  Obviously at 25m the speed was somewhat weaker and slower, but 3Mb download is still not exactly slow, especially given the distance and obstacles combined.  Obviously the wired connection was dominant in speeds but given the testing was done on the 2.4GHz wireless signal, the results speak for themselves; The AC1750 performs brilliantly and there was no issues with cutting out or drop-outs that I sometimes found with the Virgin Superhub.

The aesthetics of the Archer 7 AC1750 were a joy to behold, a very nice finish with a great look to it.  The 3 antennas in my opinion make it look like a really high end top quality product but the main issue for me was the finish.  It is a fingerprint magnet and if you’re like me, after touching it you will be spending a few minutes wiping it.  Is that a truly bad thing?  Of course not but a matt finish would have just been that little bit better in my opinion.

With a plethora of features ranging from dual band support, all the way to the basic functions of parental controls, those wanting a safe and solid wireless network, I can’t really recall anything that the AC1750 has missing from its arsenal.  One thing I mentioned earlier, was the lack of RJ45 cables in the box, for £105, I would expect 2 minimum as someone looking for a piece of networking kit but one could argue that anyone looking at this would probably have a selection of cables to choose from already and I can see it from TP-Links point of view in lowering costs etc.; goes both ways!

The AC1750 can be had for around £105-115 depending where you purchase from, which in my opinion, it is a very reasonable price given the specification and the actual performance that TP-Link offers with this particular model.  Obviously if this was priced a little bit lower and on the cusp of the sub £100 mark, this would have been a bargain in my opinion given that I couldn’t find any major issues at all with the Archer 7 AC1750.

I would like to thank TP-Link for the sample and I look forward to seeing more in the not too distant future.

  • Performance
  • Design
  • Value

Summary

The TP-Link is a high end router with matching high end performance and given the results in the above review, the AC1750 deserves nothing short of the performance award. If you have a budget of around £110 and are looking for a router to either expand or simply upgrade your wireless network, the TP-Link AC1750 should be somewhere at the top of your list.

4.3

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