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Friday | December 9, 2016
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TP-Link Archer C7 Review AC1750

TP-Link Archer C7 Review AC1750

A number of years ago there was a big shift in networking as users moved from wired to wireless. More recently the industry has changed a little with the introduction of Powerline networking. That had a lot of people sceptical however in our experience it actually works very well. Of course those powerline products are competing with the latest Wireless-ac kit and it is one of those devices we look at today in our TP-LINK Archer C7 Review.

TP-LINK Archer C7 Review – Packaging and Bundle

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The Archer C7 arrives in a box which sticks to TP-LINK’s standard design while giving us a nice clear image of the product as well as noting the key features. Inside the box we get some product documentation, software CD and mains adapter. TP-LINK also include a RJ45 cable and three 5dBi antenna which attach to the back of the router.

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TP-LINK Archer C7 Review – The Router

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The TP-LINK Archer C7 is shown above and as you can see it uses a black chassis. This is plastic and has a glossy top with matt base. The front features a range of status LEDs and  it as well as the top panels have some discrete branding too. In terms of dimensions, this is a 243×160.6×32.5mm unit.

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Turning the router round and over we find that there are some sections on the base which allow us to mount the unit on a wall and then on the back, all of our connectors. Starting from the left as we look at it above, we have the first of the three dual band antenna connectors then WPS setup button and our four 10/100/1000 (GB) LAN ports. Another antenna is next followed by our port for connecting to a modem. Two USB activity LEDs sit between a pair of USB 2.0 ports used for file/print sharing and then we have a switch to turn wi-fi functionality on/off as well as the power button, power input and our final antenna connector. Also worthy of note is that there are a further three 2.4GHz antenna inside the router.

In terms of features the C7 starts off with the aforementioned dual band tech. Thats 2.4GHz and 5GHz with support for b/g/n and ac/n/a. The 5GHz band is capable of 1300Mbps operation and the 2.4GHz, 450Mbps with reception sensitivity as follows:

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
(Transmit power in CE regions is <20dBm (2.4GHz) and <23dBm (5GHz) with FCC areas being <30dBm.)

 

TP-LINK Archer C7 Review – Setup

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There are a couple of ways of setting up the Archer C7. One is to launch the TP-LINK Easy Setup Assistant which walks us through the process. Including handy diagrams to show how we should connect wiring. Alternatively we can launch our browser (after connecting to the router) and enter the TP-LINK web setup.

TP-LINK Archer C7 Review – Software

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The web based interface for the router starts with a login prompt, default details which you should change later. Once in we get a basic summary of the router status and then can move on to the quick setup tab (assuming we didn’t use the Setup-Assitant).

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Basic functionality includes the setting up of network names and choosing passwords. We can then move on to the more advanced functionality.

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We can for example manage bandwidth  and guest access or set parental controls. Diagnostic tools are also available to help resolve issues and we can update firmware to add new features or resolve issues.

Here is a full list of key features TP-LINK support:

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TP-LINK Archer C7 Review – Conclusion

Starting with the build quality and design of the Archer C7 TP-LINK have done a fairly good job. The overall shape is pleasing however the use of gloss just makes for a dust magnet (a common router problem). It would be nice to have a button to disable the LEDs too, but that like the finish is just a minor issue. Port layout is decent, maybe a little more space around the USB ports would be ideal for larger drives though. Overall, a nice solid, compact unit.

Setup of the Archer C7 is easy. It would probably be best for TP-LINK to add a sticker on the unit pointing us to the direct download link for the Setup Assistant but once we launch that, or the web interface the process is nice and smooth. Just configure the basic settings and we are good to go. Those who want to delve deeper will find plenty of options available to ensure the router runs as we like and other than a few text/formatting errors in the various on screen messages the interface is simple and intuitive. That said, one improvement would be to include a more automatic firmware update process, instead of sending the user off to the TP-LINK site to find the latest download.

For performance, we found no issues with the AC1750 rated Archer C7 and it offered similar signal strength to competing parts from the likes of Netgear. Four GB LAN ports mean plenty of fast connectivity for wired users and this could of course be expanded round our location using TP-LINKs powerline kit. We also noted that during our time testing (with the latest firmware) the Archer C7 we had no down time, or need to reboot the router. It was completely stable which is always good to see.

Summary: A solid, well priced wireless-ac router with plenty of features and competitive performance.

Recommended Award

Available from Dabs in the UK and Newegg in the US.

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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