Today, most electronic gadgets like smartphones and laptops are compatible with 802.11ac technology. We know that manufacturers of router equip their devices with this technology. Also, there is another imperative technology known as MU-MIMO, which powers up the device and offer many benefits to the users in the network.
The AC technology, however, has become popular and widespread. It is important to upgrade the router to take benefit from this technology. Previously, we have reviewed a few devices in the AC1900 series from different brands including Netgear and Asus. Both are popular brands and offer devices with good speed and area coverage. However, they are a bit expensive.
On the other hand, we have TP-Link Archer C9 (AC1900), which promises equal networking performance like Asus and Netgear, it comes with an affordable price. To prove whether or not the claim of the manufacturer is valid, I put the device to a test. Read on!
Size: 8.7 x 3.4 x 6.6 inches
Antennas: 3 dual-band (non-removable)
Wi-Fi Spec: 5 GHz 802.11ac dual-band
Ports: 1x USB 2.0 and 1x USB 3.0
Peak Performance: 1900 Mbps
Range: 1000 sqft.Check the latest price on amazon here »
The TP-Link Archer C9 is equipped with 3 dual-band detachable antennas, which offer greater area coverage. This router has the beamforming technology, which is incorporated in some high-end router devices like Netgear Nighthawk and Asus RT-AC68U. The beamforming technology locates any connected device and directs or amplifies the signal towards it.
As a result, this provides wider coverage, targeted and efficient Wi-Fi connection rather than distributing the Wi-Fi all over the place. I tested the device by connecting the router to another C9. Then, I configured the router and put it in the bridge mode. I saw some decent results.
On 802.11ac, I used the 5 GHz radio frequency band. First, at 5 feet, I saw that the router gave the maximum speed of 320 Mbps. At 30 feet, the speed I measured was 210 Mbps and at 100 feet, the speed was 430 Mbps. At medium range, the performance on the 5 GHz radio band is not adequate. However, at close and long-range, you can see that it performs way better than Netgear Nighthawk.
Further, I tested the router on the 2.4 GHz radio frequency band. I got 165 Mbps at a close range of 5 feet, 146 Mbps at 30 feet, and 115 Mbps at 100 feet. You can couple it with external HDD via the USB 3.0 to boost the speed.
TP-Link Archer C9 has a simple and classic design. It has a plastic body with a white glossy finish. It also has a silver band, which extends on the back as well as doubles as the stand of the router, which is non-removable. So, you can only use the router in the standing position. You can’t mount it on the wall.
Also, there are 3 detachable and dual-band antennas on the top of the router, which you can orient in multiple directions. It has small dimensions, which measure 8.7 x 3.4 x 6.6 inches. The weight of the device is 3 pounds. It has an attractive design. You will see an array of LEDs directly below the 3 antennas. They are responsible for power, Ethernet, WPS, internet, and USB 2.0/3.0.
You will see the USB 2.0 on the rear panel of the router. You can use it to connect to HDD or any other storage device. On the backside, you will also see a WPS or Reset button, Internet, ON-OFF button, and the power socket. Moreover, you will see a Wi-Fi button on the side panel. There is also the USB 3.0 port.
Overall, this router is designed uniquely. Some people think that it does not look premium. I think it does need to look premium. I find it attractive enough and its sleek design helps to achieve the aesthetic effect.
When it comes to the hardware of the TP-Link AC1900, the device is powered by a dual-core Broadcom BCM4709 CPU. The clock speed of the CPU is 1 GHz, it has 16 MB of flash memory and 128 MB of RAM.
The router can deliver a maximum speed of 1900 Mbps – i.e. 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz radio frequency band and 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz radio band. You can attach any external storage device with the router using the USB 3.0. This way, you can create your NAS.
The router’s installation is quick and can be done in a few minutes. You can configure the router simply from the configuration page. If you are tech-savvy, you can set up and configure the device using advanced options, which allow you to modify the router as per your requirements on an advanced level.
The setup configures the login details of ISP and creates 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz SSID and passwords. It also allows you to set the region and time zone. In contrast, the advanced section enables you to do more extensive configuration.
This way, you can set up dynamic DNS settings, Access Controls, and Port forwarding. You will see an easy-to-use and simple interface with a lot of info – such as the map of the network so that you see the number of devices connected. This feature is also present on some of the Linksys routers.
On the other hand, I found no built-in VPN, which is a little disappointing. Then again, you can install custom firmware to take benefit from this feature. You find a built-in QoS enabled by default. You can also find parental controls, which can control internet usage at certain times. Also, it can create a list of websites, which can be accessed by each connected device.
What We Liked
- Stylish Design
- Good wireless Performance
- Beamforming Technology
- Easy to Setup
- Affordable Price
What We didn’t Like
- The USB throughput is not satisfactory
- No Built-in VPN
- Vertical positioning