I’ve been using the router supplied by my ISP for the past two years, this dedicated router, the AC3200 Wireless Tri-band by TP-Link, is a real breathe of fresh air when it comes to speed and usability. It is better looking, faster and easier to use than the ISP router.
The physical size of the device is what we’ve come to expect from these devices. The 6 antennas are well integrated in the design, they are designed to be used propped up for a better range, however, they can be used in the folded position if the device must be placed in a tight area. The router lies flat with the ports in back and status LEDs in the front.
The TP-Link router uses a technology called Tri-Band that creates three separate Wi-Fi networks that allow you to connect more devices. The router provides one 2.4GHZ and two 5GHz bands. Another technology called Smart Connect automatically connects you to the best channel to balance network demand.
The back of the device includes 4 gigabit ports, a power switch and 2 USB ports (1x2.0, 1x3.0). The router uses a 1GHz dual-core CPU and three co-processors that handle simultaneous connections without interruption.
The administration interface is very well featured. A tab is available to toggle between basic and advanced settings. This makes the basic controls easy to use and a lot less daunting. The advanced tab adds a whole bunch of extra settings: NAT Forwarding, Bandwidth Control and Security just to name a few.
The parental controls might come in very handy for certain users since they let you set internet access restrictions. The access is set per device using the MAC address, a list of connected devices is supplied to ease with the setup. Each device can then be set to a different daily schedule. Specific websites can also be added to a blacklist or a whitelist to even further control what is visited using your network.
The speed of wireless transfers on the local network has definitely improved. It’s not only faster but a lot more reliable than before. Using the same two computers the TP-Link router would reach a maximum bandwidth of 79.7 Mbits/sec during testing compared to 36.7 Mbits/sec for the ISP supplied router. The TP-Link bandwidth speed during a 30-second transfer is 58.8 Mbits/sec, almost double the 30.7 Mbits/sec achieved by the other router.
I can’t speak too much about the range since the router is used in a small/medium apartment and it’s reachable from everywhere. The ISP router wasn’t reachable from the complete opposite side of the apartment. The test would be more conclusive in a multiple-story house.
Alexandre: I did indeed use it on my 3-level house and I can confirm that the range is excellent. The Airport Extreme, installed in the basement, works fine at the second floor but I did manage to get a stronger signal with the TP-Link AC3200. I immediately saw more bars and the connection was noticeably faster.
I am very happy with the overall performance and customizability of the TP-Link AC3200 Tri-Brand Gigabit Router. The next logical test will be trying to relocate the router further away from the electrical panel and hot water heater. This might even further improve range and performance of the wireless network.
- Very customizable
- Nice design
- Fast wireless file transfers
- Easy setup
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