Archer C1200v1 Beta Firmware Testing Walkthrough

Good Monday everyone. I am back with a news that an engineer in TP-LINK released a beta firmware to the testers to test it out. The engineer claims that it solves the auto reboot issue. However, to further clarify their statement, I’ve personally downloaded the beta firmware to test it out. The file has been removed from the forum. Hence, don’t worry as I will provide the link to the beta firmware so that you can download and test by yourself.

Disclaimer: This post based on my personal testing towards the router. Hence, all the provided information is valid and tested.

Date of the firmware downloaded: 3rd January 2018

Firmware Version: Build 20180101 rel.66049

Number of days tested: 4 Days

Link to Beta Firmware: Download Here . Available for both US and EU version.

Initial Verdict:

According to the engineer of TP-LINK whose responsible for this firmware, he claims that the beta firmware developed solves the problem of Archer C1200, whose, according to the user, the router auto-reboots very often and usually occur during torrenting and heavy downloading.

beta

The admin user interface of C1200. TP-LINK BETA watermark can be seen.


#1: Reboot

Firstly, I’ll compare the boot-up time for the router that has been flashed with the beta firmware.

Router

Type of boot-up

Standard AUS (EU) Firmware

Beta Firmware (EU)

Before set-up

3.52 minutes

1.17 minutes

After set-up

5.23 minutes

3.29 minutes

Table 1: Router boot-up time before and after set-up

Based on the results above, the time taken for the router to reboot is lesser than the stock firmware which differs in 2.35 minutes. To be precise, the router boot-up time were differentiated in two categories. Before set-up refers to the router which has been reset to their factory settings. After setup refers to the router has been configured to my desired settings.

#2: PPoE Setup Process

The process of setup PPoE connection was smooth, although at some point, the admin web interface hangs.

#3: Customizing desired settings & CPU Load Reading

3

The CPU Load and Memory Usage

After the setup process was completed, I’ve customized the setting according my desired setting. However, I encounter significant improvement via beta firmware. This firmware does improve the router’s performance, according to its awesome specs. I must say, for its price range as an entry level of dual band router, this router does have better specs. The only flaw (things that limits the performance) of this router is the poorly developed firmware. Since there is no real-time graph to monitor the CPU Load (Usage), I’ve created a table to give a rough reading before and after flashing the router to the beta firmware.

Firmware Type
Stock AUS (EU) Firmware Beta Firmware (EU)
  • CPU Load: 45 % – 100 %
  • The settings applied:
  • WPS disabled
  • USB sharing disabled
  • Print Server Disabled
  • Transmit Power was set to “Middle”
  • Remote Management disabled
  • NAT Boost disabled
  • Added cooling fan to reduce the heat generated from the router
  • CPU Load: 20 % – 75%
  • Applied Settings:
  • WPS Disabled
  • USB Sharing Enabled
  • Print Server Disabled
  • Transmit Power was set to “High”
  • Remote Management disabled
  • The duplex of the WAN & LAN port was set to 1000Mbps
  • NAT Boost enabled
  • No cooling fan was added since the router does not overheat
Result: Result:

The router seems to restart every two days, despite heavy downloading, although at some point, the router seems to last about a week before auto-reboot by its own. One of the obvious result is, this router tends to overheat.

I’ve personally test the router for 4 days and never encountered a single auto-reboot. The download process using IDM tool was smooth, the website is responsive despite heavy downloading was going on. Handling multiple torrents seem to be normal for the router without hanging as complained by another user.

 

Table 2: Customized settings and their CPU Load reading.

#4 USB Sharing (read & write speed)

We’ve come so far. Well, as we’ll know, the router comes with 1 USB 2.0 port. In general, the maximum write speed for USB 2.0 is 60 megabytes/s (MB/s). Hence, the time taken for transferring 100 GB file takes 5 hours and 21 minutes. Setting up the USB sharing feature is not hard at all if you know how to customize the USB sharing feature and access the folders through your computer. However, there is a downside of this feature. I will explain later in the report.

26694095_288339971689102_1739639668_n

The USB Sharing feature is being tested. My router setup thou.

#5 Stability of the router

From my point of view, the beta firmware seems to be a stable firmware for the time being. The beta firmware getting positive reviews from the testers who test out the firmware by flashing their router. Despite from disabling some features to make the CPU load not to hit 100%, this firmware does improve. The engineer of TP-LINK does put their hard work in developing the firmware. I would like to congratulate the entire team of TP-LINK whose working on developing this firmware.

#6 Wireless Performance

Now, we’ve reached to my favorite part, the wireless performance. I must say, the wireless performance of this router after flashing to the beta firmware simply superb. To be honest, I’ve experienced a significant drop of 5GHz signal from my iPhone 7 Plus. However, I must say that, once you set the settings to your desired settings, do a reboot of your router since the router seems not taking an appropriate action to apply the settings. I am living in 20 X 70 (1400 sq ft). I can get the 5GHz signal from my parent’s house entrance (gate). This router outperforms its big bro, Archer C7 which has some wireless performance issue.  I’ve personally used Archer C7v2 before for my 50Mbps UniFi package and the router has some issues with its wireless performance. I hope the engineers have solved the issue with the wireless performance in Archer C7v4.

6944034653

Speedtest using 5GHz band via iPhone 7 Plus.

#7: Admin Web Configuration (UI Response)

The user interface quite laggy and some of the settings does not apply once the button “Save” was clicked. So, there is a need to press down the button twice after a gap to apply the settings. It is acceptable since this firmware is on the testing stage for the alpha tester like us.

Final Verdict

I’ve explained the good thing about the beta firmware. Now I am going to describe the flaw of the beta firmware according to the “#1 to #7” in an order. I would like to strongly emphasize that, this is ONLY a firmware that was released to the alpha testers and not an actual firmware released to public.

The reboot process takes less time. PPoE setup quite normal. You can choose the “Custom” profile to set VLAN manually. For a novice user, you still can pick “UniFi” profile and proceed to the next phase of setting up your router, but make sure you plug the ethernet cable at the port of 2, 3 or 4, since LAN 1 port reserves for IPTV. At the end of the setup, it takes time, normally 2 to 5 minutes time to finish setup before reboot your router. Some may get “Failed” message, do not worry. Just manually reboot your router by turning off your router and on again after 30 seconds.

The CPU Load does improve in this beta firmware. However, when you’re writing a file into your external hard drive via USB sharing feature, you will notice that you couldn’t enter the admin interface of your router. The admin interface of the router does stay on the login screen when the writing process is going on, thus indicating that the router having some hard time with the CPU Load. Do mind that, when conducting this test, 2 PC, 3 Smartphones was connected and I was downloading torrent files while my little brother was streaming 4K videos on YouTube while the writing process is going on. This can be acceptable at some point. However, this beta firmware simply superb despite handling so many activities, it is still stable and there was no single auto-reboot occurred. Let’s hope for the best for the actual firmware to be better than the beta firmware.

I have no negative feedback on the wireless performance of the router despite, I am amazed of the wireless performance of the router. Simply awesome, the router does outperform the big bro, Archer C7v2 in terms of wireless performance. The web admin interface of Archer C1200 quite laggy as mentioned and it gets worst when the CPU Load is at its peak, you can’t even login to the admin interface (refer to my point #3, #4 & #5).

Now, let us analyze the advantage and disadvantage of the beta firmware. Shall we?

Advantages:

  1. Fast Boot-up
  2. No auto-reboot occurs
  3. Average CPU Load
  4. Able to withstand heavy usage
  5. Less heat generated (no overheat)
  6. Wireless stability

Disadvantages:

  1. USB Writing speed below average
  2. Laggy interface
  3. Cannot login to the web admin interface if the CPU load at its peak
  4. Less responsive buttons, sometime need to click twice to change/save the settings, more worst, when the logout button was clicked, I couldn’t logout from the router after clicking the “Yes” button.
  5. No real time graph of CPU Load and Memory Usage
  6. Lack of system up-time information

My Marks: 75 / 100 (but A+ for the effort of TP-LINK engineers).

Let us wait for the real firmware to release to public officially. If the actual firmware able to solve all the issues with the current firmware, then Archer C1200 will be the best router supplied by TM and TIME to their respective customers out there.


By the way, for TIME users, TP-LINK has released a new firmware update on 26th December 2017. Do make sure that you read the fixes the engineers made to the firmware before you flashing your router. Most TIME users complaining that their firmware upgrade page went missing.

lmao

Please read carefully before proceed to flash your router.


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Thank you.

  1. Superb review bro..dont forget to highlight on disadvantage due to gui dont have system and connection uptime info.

    Like

    Reply

    1. Thank you bro. Sorry for the late reply. The disadvantage tab is updated.

      Like

      Reply

  2. superb review bro!!!
    by the way, TP-Link engineer has provided me BETA firmware for TM UNIFI (custom firmware)

    I wondering why you not using TM firmware? Or you can suggest me why i should not flash the TM firmware? it’s better if you write an article about this.. you explanation superb…

    I already upgraded the beta firmware you mentioned and the results are same as yours.

    Archer C1200 (EU) V1
    http://support.tp-link.com/f/83ec721f22/?dl=1
    Firmware Version: Build 20180101 rel.66049

    However, when i tried to flash the provided tm unifi BETA custom firmware, there is an error message appeared…
    It means that after upgraded to the (EU Build 20180101 rel.66049), i cannot flash TM UNIFI custom firmware.

    Any suggestion what i should do?

    Thanks!

    Like

    Reply

    1. Good evening. Thank you for dropping by to my blog. I don’t strongly recommend you to flash to TM’s firmware. Because you will be a marketing “puppet” for TM since your ssid will be forced with fixed “@unifi” suffix. I would strongly give you two options.
      One, you have to flash your router to Australian firmware (EU)
      Two, wait until an official firmware release from TP-LINK until then, you can use the beta firmware.

      Most of the user’s out there, they prevent themselves from using TM’s firmware. You personally opening a backdoor for them and hackers. So it is better to stay on the safer side.

      The beta firmware obviously much more better than the TM’s firmware bro. May I know what error message is shown if you don’t mind?

      Like

      Reply

      1. Hi Bro.. after your explanation i think let’s forget this shitty TM firmware.
        i’ll never use it anymore. Just focus on the EU version.

        I want to ask your opinion… regarding the SSID name.

        Can we use the same SSID name for both 2.4/5 ?
        Any impact or performance issue if using the same name?
        I saw default configuration is using different SSID name by appending ‘5G’ at the back.

        Like

      2. Good evening bro. Pardon me for the delay of replying your comment late. I would strongly suggest you to use different ssid. But the password for the different ssid can be different if your router allows so. Like asus router, you can’t use different password if the ssid is different. It is advisable for you to use different ssid so that it is easy for you to recognize which band you wish to use. There will be no impact of using same ssid, only a confusion of which ssid you wanna use and the password for the ssid if the ssid is under same name but different password. Thanks.

        Like

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