Is TP Link router good?

TP Link is a popular brand of home and small business networking devices, including wireless routers. Many users wonder if TP Link routers are a good choice when shopping for a new wireless router. Here is an in-depth look at TP Link router’s features, performance, security, and overall value to help you decide if a TP Link router is right for your needs.

Is TP Link router good?

What are the key features of TP Link routers?

TP Link routers offer many useful features that appeal to home users and small businesses, including:

  • Wireless standards support – TP Link routers support the latest WiFi standards including 802.11ac and WiFi 6 (802.11ax) for fast wireless speeds. Models vary in terms of 2.4GHz and 5GHz band support.
  • Multi-device connection – Most TP Link routers allow 20-30 wireless device connections simultaneously. High end models can support 50+ connections.
  • Gigabit ports – Many TP Link routers have Gigabit WAN and LAN ports for faster wired network speeds. Some models also include link aggregation for combining two Gigabit LAN ports.
  • USB port – Most TP Link routers have a USB port to share files and media across the network or to share a printer wirelessly.
  • Guest network – TP Link routers allow setting up a separate guest WiFi network with a different SSID and password for guests to connect without accessing other devices on your main network.
  • Parental controls – TP Link routers allow setting up basic parental controls to block certain sites and limit online time. More advanced models include robust QoS bandwidth management too.
  • MU-MIMO support – Higher end TP Link routers include MU-MIMO technology for simultaneous streaming to multiple devices.
  • Easy setup – TP Link routers support easy setup and configuration through the Tether app for mobile or via web browser.

How reliable are TP Link routers?

Overall, TP Link routers provide reliable wireless performance and stability for most home and small business users. Here are some key factors when considering TP Link router reliability:

  • Good wireless range – TP Link routers generally provide good omnidirectional wireless coverage thanks to internal antennas. High end models include external antennas for greater range and performance.
  • Decent throughput – Under regular loads with typical wireless devices, TP Link routers can provide throughput speeds of 300-900Mbps depending on model and wireless standard support. High demand can impact speeds.
  • Solid stability – TP Link routers and firmware are reasonably stable for everyday use cases. Users rarely report outright failures or crashes during normal operation.
  • Good uptime – Properly configured, TP Link routers stay up for long durations comparable to other consumer router brands. Critical issues are uncommon.

For most everyday internet usage like web browsing, streaming HD video, gaming, and running smart home devices, TP Link routers deliver reliable WiFi connectivity. Performance can take a hit in very high demand scenarios. TP Link reliability meets the needs of average home users well.

How is the wireless performance and coverage?

The wireless performance and coverage of TP Link routers is quite good for typical home use cases but cannot match more advanced commercial grade routers. Key aspects to consider:

  • Good short range speeds – When connected nearby, TP Link routers can deliver tested 802.11ac speeds of 300-450Mbps and 802.11ax speeds around 900Mbps depending on model and conditions. This is comparable to other consumer router brands.
  • Decent mid-range speeds – TP Link routers can maintain speeds of 150-300Mbps at medium distances of 40-60 feet through walls and furniture. Performance varies by model. More expensive units with beamforming have better range.
  • Weak long range speeds – At long distances of 100+ feet, connectivity with TP Link routers remains possible but speeds may reduce to below 54Mbps on 2.4GHz band or 100Mbps on 5GHz. Again beamforming and external antennas improve this.
  • Good omnidirectional coverage – The wifi coverage from TP Link routers provides a nice 360 degree bubble centered on the router location, but not very deep. Adding range extenders or positioning the router centrally can help.
  • Limited configurability – TP Link does not allow much customization of wireless settings, channels, transmission power etc. Optimization for challenging conditions is not one of its strengths.

To summarize, TP Link router wireless performance is quite good for typical small homes and apartments, but cannot match high-end gaming or VR needs requiring maximum throughput throughout a large home.

Are TP Link routers secure?

TP Link routers have decent but basic security mechanisms suitable for casual home use. However they lack some advanced security features found on higher end routers. Notable aspects:

  • WPA2 wireless encryption – TP Link routers support standard WPA2 PSK security with AES encryption to secure wireless connections and prevent snooping.
  • Basic firewall – A simple firewall blocks common intrusion attempts and denies inbound traffic by default. But it lacks more advanced inspection capabilities.
  • No anti-malware – TP Link routers do not include any built-in anti-malware or virus scanning capabilities.
  • No intrusion detection/prevention – More advanced network threat detection and prevention found on commercial grade routers is missing.
  • Occasional firmware vulnerabilities – Like all router brands, security researchers do find vulnerabilities in TP Link firmware occasionally that require patching. Updates are released to fix issues.
  • Remote access disabled by default – Remote administration access via WAN IP is disabled out of the box reducing attack surface. Enabling can pose a risk.

For home use protecting typical consumer devices, the simple firewall and WPA2 encryption of TP Link routers can provide adequate security. But lack of advanced protection makes them less suitable for business use or protecting sensitive data. Proper router hardening is recommended for optimal security.

What are the advantages of choosing TP Link routers?

Some of the notable advantages of choosing a TP Link router include:

  • Affordable price points – TP Link routers are very competitively priced, providing good value for money. Even their higher end MU-MIMO models are relatively inexpensive.
  • Easy setup and use – With the Tether app, even non-tech savvy users can easily set up a TP Link router. The interface is intuitive for casual users.
  • Regular firmware updates – TP Link issues periodic firmware updates to add new features and fix bugs/security issues. Updates are easy to install.
  • Good range of models – The broad TP Link router portfolio has models suitable for everything from tiny apartments to larger homes. There are also routers tailored to advanced needs including gaming, mesh, and VR.
  • Decent performance – As outlined earlier, wireless speeds and coverage are very capable for typical home needs, even for 4K video streaming and online gaming.
  • Reliable connectivity – Once set up, TP Link routers provide reliable day-to-day network connectivity with minimal downtime or need for rebooting/intervention.

For many home users who want an affordable yet well-rounded router that’s easy to install for everyday use, TP Link checks all the right boxes. Business and power users may want to consider more configurable enterprise grade models.

What are the downsides when using TP Link routers?

While TP Link routers are great for plug-and-play home use, there are some downsides to be aware of for more advanced networking scenarios:

  • Limited configuration options – TP Link routers provide very minimal settings tuning and lack commercial firmware features like VLANs, dynamic routing,Better for basic scenarios that don’t require a lot of customization.
  • Mediocre range/performance – Lack of advanced capabilities like beamforming limit the range and maximum wireless throughput compared to high end router brands.
  • Basic traffic management – Options for fine tuning QoS bandwidth management are basic compared to enterprise grade firmware. Prioritization is possible but limited.
  • Cannot install custom firmware – Being closed source, open source firmware like DD-WRT cannot be installed on TP Link routers to add more complex features.
  • Limited troubleshooting – There are few advanced diagnostic or troubleshooting options built into TP Link firmware interfaces. Technical capabilities are optimized for simplicity over configurability.
  • Subpar technical support – According to user reports, TP Link’s technical customer support is just average in terms of resolving issues promptly.
  • Security lacks extras – Additional wireless security like a built-in VPN server, intrusion detection/prevention, and malware blocking offered on some routers is missing.

For simple home setups, TP Link router downsides may not be an issue. But the lack of advanced capabilities can be limiting for more demanding business, enterprise and technical use cases.

Are TP Link routers good for gaming and streaming?

TP Link routers can provide decent performance for gaming and streaming, but are not optimized for these demanding use cases where maximizing throughput is critical. Key factors:

  • Good for basic online gaming – For casual online gaming like Minecraft, DOTA, team fortress etc. TP Link routers can provide low enough latency and 7-15Mbps needed. Enabling QoS helps.
  • Falls short for fast paced FPS – For twitch sensitive FPS like COD or Overwatch, more optimized gaming routers handle 100+ Mbps with minimal jitter better.
  • HD/4K streaming works well – Video streaming services like Netflix, Disney+ etc. work well on TP Link routers. 4K streams need 15-25Mbps which is easily achievable.
  • Can struggle with heavy multitasking – Gaming while others stream HD video can tax TP Link routers, creating lag if insufficient bandwidth. QoS helps allocate bandwidth.
  • Limited speed tuning options – Technologies like DFS channels, 160Mz channels, and other performance boosting settings common on gaming routers are missing.
  • Insufficient for VR gaming – For cutting edge virtual reality gaming/Metaverse applications, the high throughput and ultra low latency requirements will exceed most TP Link models.

If your household’s gaming and streaming needs are relatively light, a TP Link router can deliver perfectly acceptable performance. For more professional esports gaming setups or high demand scenarios, a dedicated gaming router has clear advantages.

Do TP Link routers support mesh and whole home WiFi?

TP Link offers a range of Deco branded mesh WiFi systems that can provide whole home coverage by creating a mesh network between multiple access points. Key features:

  • Seamless roaming – Deco mesh APs support seamless client roaming from one node to the other without drops as you move through a home.
  • Dedicated backhaul – Deco systems use a dedicated 5GHz radio for backhaul data transmission between nodes, avoiding the need for multiple SSIDs.
  • Easy setup – Adding mesh nodes is straightforward through the Deco app with instant plug-and-play activation.
  • Affordable pricing – Deco mesh router packs with 2 or 3 units is relatively inexpensive compared to other whole home mesh systems.
  • Expandable – Most Deco systems can expand coverage by adding more satellite nodes based on need. Models vary in maximum nodes supported.
  • Lacks advanced features – Due to simple firmware, Deco systems do not have the full range of mesh optimizations and customizations found on enterprise mesh routers.

For delivering seamless wall-to-wall WiFi throughout large homes, Deco mesh systems are an affordable option to consider. But they lack the advanced wireless optimization of higher-end mesh router systems.

What are some of the best TP Link routers to buy?

Here are some of the best TP Link routers across different categories based on overall value:

  • Budget – TP Link Archer C6
  • AC1750 – TP Link Archer A7
  • AC1900 – TP Link Archer A9
  • WiFi 6 – TP Link Archer AX10
  • Gaming – TP Link Archer C5400X
  • Mesh – TP Link Deco M4
  • WiFi Extender – TP Link RE450

Specific models provide the best combination of wireless performance, features, and price point for that category. It’s worth checking detailed professional reviews on sites like PCMag and Tom’s Guide before buying to pick the right TP Link router for your needs and budget.

Conclusion

To conclude, TP Link routers provide very good value overall for home users seeking an affordable, reliable wireless router that’s easy to set up and use day-to-day. They may fall short for more demanding business networks or high performance gaming, but for basic WFH, streaming, smart home, and light gaming needs they get the job done. With regular firmware updates and evolving features, TP Link routers remain a solid choice for cost-conscious buyers who don’t need advanced customization or optimization.

Key Takeaways:

  • TP Link routers provide good features and reliability for the affordable price point.
  • Wireless performance and range is decent for typical small homes but cannot match high-end routers.
  • Security includes standard WPA2 encryption but lacks advanced threat protection.
  • Advantages include affordable pricing, easy setup/use, and good performance for most home needs.
  • Downsides include limited settings, basic traffic management, and subpar range for larger spaces.
  • Performance can handle light gaming and streaming but struggles with intense multitasking usage.
  • TP Link mesh WiFi systems provide easy whole home coverage but lack optimization of enterprise mesh routers.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Here are 20 of the most frequently asked questions about TP Link routers:

Q: Is TP Link a good router brand?
A: Yes, TP Link is one of the better consumer wireless router brands, known for affordable, reliable models with easy usability. They offer great value for the price.

Q: Are TP Link routers fast?
A: TP Link routers can provide fast wireless network speeds, with high end models supporting the latest standards like WiFi 6. Under regular loads, speeds of 300Mbps+ are common over short distances. Absolute maximum speeds are not best-in-class however.

Q: Are TP Link routers secure?
A: TP Link routers have basic WPA2 encryption and firewall which is reasonably secure. But they lack more advanced threat scanning or prevention capabilities found on business-class routers. Not the most secure but adequate for homes.

Q: What is the best TP Link router?
A: The Archer AX11000 is currently TP Link’s fastest and most advanced consumer router with WiFi 6 support, eight streams, speeds up to 10,756 Mbps, and advanced gaming optimizations. But far more affordable models like the Archer A7 or Archer C5400X are best for most needs.

Q: Does TP Link block VPN?
A: No, TP Link routers do not block or restrict the use of VPNs. You can connect to a VPN service without issues while using a TP Link router. Some configuration may be required on the router to allow access to the VPN server.

Q: How far does TP Link WiFi reach?
A: Most TP Link routers provide WiFi coverage in a 250-400 square feet radius under optimal conditions. Long range router models can provide a wider coverage area of 1000-2000 square feet. Adding range extenders or mesh units can further increase coverage.

Q: Is Linksys better than TP Link?
A: Linksys and TP Link are both good quality consumer router brands. Linksys routers provide more advanced configuration options suited for technical users. TP Link routers emphasize simplicity and ease-of-use. For basic needs, TP Link is often a more affordable choice.

Q: Does TP Link block devices?
A: No TP Link does not block devices from connecting by default. You can restrict device access via MAC filtering if desired. Some parental control and access control options may also limit when a device can connect.

Q: Are TP Link extenders good?
A: Yes, TP Link makes reliable WiFi extenders and signal boosters to improve WiFi coverage. The RE450 is an excellent mid-range extender providing AC1700 speeds. More premium models like the RE650 and RE705 provide greater range and performance.

Q: Does TP Link replace your router?
A: No, TP Link does not replace your existing router if you are having issues with it. You would need to purchase a new TP Link router or other brand of your choosing on your own. TP Link only provides support for their own products.

Q: Can you use TP Link as a repeater?
A: Select TP Link router models can be configured as a wireless repeater to take an existing WiFi signal and extend it further. This is done by setting the TP Link router to Wireless Access Point mode and connecting to the existing router wirelessly.

Q: Is TP Link extender same as repeater?
A: TP Link’s dedicated range extenders act as wireless repeaters, taking an existing WiFi signal and rebroadcasting it to expand coverage. You can also use a TP Link router in repeater mode to achieve the same effect.

Q: Does TP Link block VPN?
A: No, TP Link routers do not block or restrict the use of VPNs. You can connect to a VPN service without issues while using a TP Link router. Some configuration may be required on the router to allow access to the VPN server.

Q: How do I know if my TP Link router needs a firmware update?
A: You can check for firmware updates for your TP Link router by logging into the web interface and going to the firmware update page. Any available new firmware version will be shown. Release notes indicate what is changed or fixed in each update.

Q: Why does my TP Link router disconnect randomly?
A: If your TP Link router is disconnecting randomly, it is likely due to wireless interference, a firmware bug, or a struggling power supply. Try a firmware update first. Switching to different wireless channels, repositioning devices, or replacing the power adapter may also resolve disconnects.

Q: How do I setup port forwarding on TP Link router?
A: To set up port forwarding on a TP Link router, access the web interface and go to the Forwarding menu. Click Virtual Servers. Enter an IP address, port range, and traffic type to forward

 

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