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Wednesday | February 22, 2017
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Router Comparison Spring 2016

Router Comparison Spring 2016

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Router Comparison – The Products

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TP-LINK are a company we have been watching for a while now (founded in 1996 and now operating in 120 countries). They may not be the first name that comes to mind in the average consumers thoughts about network equipment but we have no doubt that will change. Their devices are on sale everywhere from supermarkets who might have their average specification kit to Amazon who offer that and more recent higher end kit such as the C2600 we are using today. It matches the Netgear and Linksys models with its dual core CPU, four GB ports for connecting wired devices and all the latest wireless-AC support and 2.4/5GHz bands.

Router Comparison – Features

The first thing which is worth noting about the three routers we have been testing is that all offer quick and easy setup (known as WPS). We unbox, attach their antenna, turn them on and then search for the Wi-Fi using our PC/Tablet/phone… or whatever device we plan on using (SmartTV, Console, etc). Select the network which the router is transmitting and then hit the WPS button on the router to begin accessing the internet. Done. No passwords, no messing about (though the manual method is still available).

Here is a summary of the key specifications of each router:

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Writing College Admissions Essays College Admission Essays Com Wireless a/b/g/n/ac Yes Yes Yes
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Buy Essays Online Townie 2.4GHz speed 600Mbps 600Mbps 800Mbps
Should I Do My Homework Tonight 5GHz speed 1300Mbps 1733Mbps 1733Mbps
USB 3.0 ports 1 2 2
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Nursing Admission Essay Guest Networks Yes Yes Yes
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Router Comparison – Software

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7500c 7500b

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Management of your new router very much varies from brand to brand as the screenshots above show. We’ve tested all of them extensively and it would be fair to say that while the appearance varies, the functionality is very similar. Our preference was for the Linksys. Well set out, intuitive and responsive. TP-LINK feels more minimalist on the surface but has plenty of features when delving into the advanced mode. Netgear offer good functionality but their interface doesn’t quite feel as modern and when accessing through a browser it can take time to move between screens. That said, they do offer a desktop client which is faster and firmware updates are easier than TP-Link. Automatic download and install for Netgear, manual for TP-LINK. (Linksys are automatic too).

Router Comparison – Apps

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So, on each of the routers we can configure our network (for example changing passwords, setting up access for guests so we don’t need to share our password, etc) using an internet browser… as a nice bonus all three also offer the ability to do the same on our phone/tablet. Styling is very similar to the main control panels we would access on our PC and each is very quick to install and open. All the key functionality is available and each offers compatibility with Android and iOS devices.

Router Comparison – Summary

As well as checking out the functionality and ease of use for the three routers above, we also checked performance on all of them. In terms of signal strength, the C2600 just edged things in our test which was passing the signal across 30ft and through 3 walls. It offered around 5dB stronger signal than the Netgear with the Linksys sandwiched between (Tested on 5Ghz using a Sony Xperia Z Series handset). That said, signal strength will vary depending on your environment and even with the small variation in signal strength and rated Mbps figures each was more than capable of providing full speed from the UK’s leading ISP packages for home users.

Overall, a very closely matched set of routers all of which are designed to offer strong signal strength and enough bandwidth for many devices, HD streams and gaming. Each will offer top notch performance and features with the TP-LINK rated for the fastest speeds, which may make it a touch more future proof. Linksys being the easiest to manage while offering some cool optional extras like high gain antennas which enhance signal strength and Netgear leading the way on balancing performance and connectivity/features.

 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Wireless AC Routers
Author Rating
5

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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