Performance and Testing
Performance and testing of Networking products are always fun, although for this little product it is a little harder to test due to its nature of being a mini product built for travel and portability! But the TP-LINK Nano router does have Router / AP / Client / Bridge / Repeater modes, giving it an impressive arsenal of tools to combat any situation. However this product was created for being on the road, do you want to share a wireless connection between your devices whilst on the go? Transfer files between two laptops on a train easily? These are all things the Nano router can do.
For the testing however we placed the product in repeater mode to give it a good comparison to our existing router. For all the tests you can see the mac address beginning with 30 is the “Nano Router” and for a nice comparison to the kind of router an everyday user might have, we are using a Virgin Super Media Hub 2.0 beginning with e8, we got this out of the box for this test.
For the following tests, it’s worth noting DBM scales mean the following:
- >-50 dBm (Excellent)
- -50 to -60 dBm (Good)
- -60 to -70 dBm (Fair)
- < -70 dBm (Weak)
Comparison to existing router.
For this test we simply placed the routers at equal distance in this case 1 meter on either side of a desk, just to gauge the level of wireless functionality and how well it stacks up against the competition. Then slowly moving away to see how the repeater compares to an existing product, these tests are purely based on “Strength” and “dBm”. Please note that a lower DBM is better!
As you can see the DBM is fairly good on both, nothing to really complain about at this point. Remember that as a repeater it will simply routes what the router can’t! So this is a test on strength / DBM nothing else.
The next test is an external test taking objects like walls into consideration, and through one brick wall the mini router does leaps and hurdles better than the Super Hub which was slightly odd given its size.
The last DBM / Signal test is at absolute ground zero, the furthest point from the router. Obviously we can find it difficult to gauge on distance but it is give or take 20 meters, which for me is quite far up the road through a single brick wall and some concrete. Overall we can see that the Nano Router is an absolute beast in comparison to a full sized router, really showing how “networking” should be done. Maybe they should roll out these as fully fledged routers?
Router Mode speed tests
This is quite a simple test, because I live on a ground floor flat I started testing by using the same room which yielded promising results. Given the small nature of these devices its rare you’ll be using them in a different room so as we can see its perfect.
Moving on I used a structural wall (bricks, concrete) to see how well the signal travelled through something that isn’t an internal wall. As you can see this effectively halved the working speed and testing it twice gave a varied gauge of strength. But this is very impressive considering we are talking about a tiny router. Now what is interesting is further away I still managed to get the same amount of signal strength at around half way on the WiFi gauge.
Now the impressive bit, I simply found the least remote place (as you can see from the screen shot) and gave it a speed test and even with reduced signal it still pushes large amounts of data. Now when you consider this is a portable device I think its spot on.
The infamous Speed Test
We all know that Speed Test is what some people want to see, it helps us measure how good our connection is. To ensure this test was not thrown off in anyway I reduced my network use to absolute minimum and did the tests seconds apart, obviously these tests both run through the connection on a wired basis, so basically there are no bottlenecks from the router to the Nano Router.
TP-LINK Nano Router (Router mode)
Virgin Super Hub 2Ghz
As you can see based on the benchmarks which have absolutely no bottlenecks, we can see that they are pretty on par and deliver decent upload speeds which is what I consider to be really important with devices like this. With only 4ms difference compared to a wired line., and on par with a fully fledged (quite big) router. Very impressive stuff.
Software and interface
For this section we’ll briefly show you the admin control panel that comes along with this tiny Nano router, and let me tell you it is not lacking in features or functionality even with its small stature. Firstly the interface you can gain access to via tplinkwifi.net or its IP address (both work).
The home page tells you information regarding the status of the product. Firstly you can see the current network status, and the mode of the device, but also the number of packets it has routed.
We can adjust stuff like DHCP if we want to give the product a static IP giving all those network junkies out there a fix, even if the product is small it does not mean you don’t get the advanced features of larger wireless extenders.
I was really impressed with the wireless suite however, giving you features like MAC filtering in case you don’t want a particular person or device connecting to this network. Great for locking down networks even before entering a password, and for those that travel it does give this product a little more security should someone want to gain access.
Something I was not expecting in the depths of this little nano routers firmware was the ability to use SNMP which is great if you plan on running a large network. TP-LINK Have simply outdone them self in catering to multiple markets and really set a pedigree for how networking products should be designed.
The icing on the cake for me personally though? How simple and user-friendly the actual setup process was, even when surrounded by all of the scary options, the easy setup guide worked flawlessly.