Brand: tp-link (New Logo)
Model: Archer C3150
Latest Firmware ver.: Archer C3150(US)_V2_170926
Subscribed Internet Package: UniFi Pro 100 Mbps (Thank You Surprise)
Start Test Date: 5 March 2018
End Test Date: 12 March 2018
Test Duration (days): 7 Days
Number of uptime days (w/out reboot): A week (still counting)
This is the new tp-link logo’s packaging style. From the box, I can say that the box was well designed and all the important information regarding the router were perfectly illustrated for the user’s understanding. A product’s main success is, the packaging itself. The more attractive the packaging, the better.
Archer C3150 is a dual-band router supporting NitroQAM and 1000 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 2167 Mbps on the 5GHz band
I bought this router at MINES, Seri Kembangan at the price of RM 759.00.
Upon open the box, the router and other relevant equipment were well packaged in a box. Such a cool way to arrange the router inside the box.
From the top left, Cat 5e ethernet cable, 4 x wireless antenna, quick installation guide book, power plug, router, power adapter, wireless card and warranty information.
The router comes with a physical button to turn on or off the wireless broadcast signals, a reset hole button, a physical WPS button, a 2.0 USB port and a USB 3.0 port.
The rear of the router houses four gigabit LAN ports and a single WAN, and four RP SMA connections for the antenna, power input and a physical on or off button.
Archer 3150 v2 is a Wave 2 Dual Band MU-MIMO Gigabit Router. In order to fully optimize the MU-MIMO feature, your device should be able to support the MU-MIMO as well. If your device such as laptop or smartphones that doesn’t have the MU-MIMO feature, then you will experience the normal wireless performance. Only a few laptops that come with MU-MIMO-ready wireless receivers, and a select number of smartphones and tablets that come with a Wi-Fi chip that knows what to do with a MU-MIMO stream (like the Microsoft Lumia 950). If you wish to use the MU-MIMO features, you have to purchase the MU-MIMO USB dongle for your laptop or PC.
At the moment, MU-MIMO routers tops out at four streams, which means that if you add a fifth device to the network, it will have to share a stream with another device in the same way a SU-MIMO router would be. In addition, MU-MIMO broadcast signals work on a directional basis, and can only be split up when devices are in different locations around the house. As an example, if you are using a laptop and torrenting, while your dad streaming to the internet at another laptop, you both will be forced to share the same bandwidth (50 – 50%).
Archer C3150 v2 using a respectable processor, Broadcom BCM4709C0 (1.4 GHz, 2 cores). The other router using the same processor is:
- Asus RT – AC88U
- Asus RT – AC5300 A (1.31 GHz)
- D – Link DIR 882 Exo AC2600
- D – Link DIR 885L rev. A1
- D – Link DIR 895L rev. A1
- Linksys EA9400 v1
- Linksys EA9500 Max – Stream AC5400
- Netgear R7800
- TP – LINK Archer C5400 v1 & v2
- Xiaomi MiWiFi (R2D)
I would suggest, before setting up the router, please go to TP – LINK Malaysia’s official website to download the latest firmware and flash it. If you fail to do so, you won’t be able to set up the router properly. In other word, you won’t be able to connect to the internet although you’ve entered the right PPoE username and password.
I personally not sure whether this firmware does solve the issues of WPA2 KRACK vulnerability. But I would highly recommend to update to the latest firmware as an early precaution for your router security.
The router comes with the standard login method by prompting the user to enter the password. The password can be customized according to the user’s standard. It is recommended to use a complex password for this router, if and only if you’re staying in a 2000 square feet or less (residential areas / flats / condominiums).
The router’s interface is simple and elegant. There is no irrelevant information available here. The login interface is smooth as well compared with low end TP-LINK routers.
#4 MAIN INFORMATION PAGE
When the user successfully logged in, the user will be greeted with a basic information page.
When the you clicked on the wireless client icons, the user will be shown the device name along with the assigned IP address and MAC address.
All the icons were clickable and you can view the connected device either via wireless or via wired.
The advance view option made for the expert users who knows how to customize according to their needs.
The advance view for the router were quite basic without important feature, such as, CPU Load and Memory Usage table to notice the users of the status of the router and when an odd situation occurs, such as auto-reboot, the user shall be enlightened of the course of the auto-reboot of the router.
Hereby, I attach a simple wire-framing by me, of the lacked “features” that should be in this high end router.
An optional features such as a real-time graph can be added as well. As for the such a high end router, the these features are a must. I would strongly urge tp-link engineers solve this issue as soon as possible since it deals with their reputation of being the reliable choice for the consumer to choose tp-link routers as their main networking router.
#5 WIRELESS PERFORMANCE
There are new features called “Smart Connect” in the wireless section. In general, Smart Connect is a feature that promises to simplify wireless connection and ensuring you optimize most out of your router.
According to tp-link website, “Smart Connect takes all of the hassle and guesswork out of prioritizing your wireless devices and distributing them efficiently among the three available bands. By balancing the load and assigning devices to the most appropriate band, delays and interruptions can be dramatically reduced”.
Previously, on my post, I always advise the users to use 20 MHz channel width for their 2.4 GHz to fully optimize the performance along with the most stable channel in your area. I would strongly suggest the user to use Wifi-Analyzer application to scan your wireless channel and select the channel least congested. As for the wireless mode, I choose 802.11n only because all my device in the house does come with 802.11ac wireless receivers (drivers).
The above image shows my current settings for 5 GHz wireless bands. I set the channel to auto since I have no problem when using the 5 GHz band. Most of the time, I always opt for 5 GHz band. I use 40 MHz since most newer devices need more width compared with older device. It is advisable not to use 80 MHz channel width.
Speedtest of both on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless bands. I able to achieve over 100 Mbps speed of 5 GHz and 97. ++ Mbps on 2.4 GHz wireless bands. I did the test 3 days in gap since I was quite busy for a few days. However, for those who subscribed to UniFi Pro 100Mbps, then they will know the eligibility of this test.
I turned off the WPS feature to enhance the security of my home network. Highly recommended to use this feature only to set up your wireless printer or other devices, this feature should be turned off once after the setup was done.
The router does come with wireless schedule. A user can schedule the wireless broadcast for both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless band. Before use this feature, you should set the time for your router according to your region (Malaysia) to make this feature to take effect.
The user can see the details of the connected device via wireless to this router. User can view the received packets, sent packets and the transmit rate.
I didn’t use the guest network since there won’t be guest that will come to my house. Hence, I abandoned this feature. Moreover, you can allow the guest to access to your local networks or vice versa. I would strongly recommend that always use WPA2 Personal for your guest network, although you choose not to allow your guest access to your local network. This is for your own home security.
#6 USB SHARING
This router comes with two USB ports, a USB 2.0 and a USB 3.0. A good feature for those who likes to use their external hard disk as your network storage. For this test, I’ve used a 1 TB Transcend External Hard Disk.
Since I am the heavy torrent user, I always download series and anime until all my available hard-drives full. Hence, I’ve set the default file save location to my hard-drive.
How to setup network storage (applicable for both pendrive & external hard-drive)
This is for those who wish to have cheap NAS storage without needing to buy a NAS storage. Although the performance won’t be great as the real NAS storage, it is only acceptable for short term. Whenever you’re not using the network drive, you can disconnect the network drive from the router.
- Open search bar on windows 10 and key in “run”.
- Next, enter your router default IP address along with the name of the storage given in the router’s admin interface.
- Once the “OK” button, you will be prompted with a login message, enter the default username of the router and the password you set or you can create a new account to separate the login username and password. I would strongly recommend to setup a different login account.
- You will be prompted with a window which will be your main storage.
- Next, click on the directory of your folder (your router IP address) and once you able to see your folder of your pendrive or external hard-drive, right click the folder and select “Map network drive”, once completed, you can access to your external hard-drive or pendrive.
- You will be prompted with such message. Do not change anything. Just proceed to click “Finish” button.
- Lastly, you’re successfully mapped your external hard-drive or pendrive on the home network.
- You can access to the folder anytime at your will. You can use the network to save torrent file directly from torrent client by changing the default save path to your network drive. You also can play the videos, songs, view images or edit the documents in the folder without even have to copy the file to your desktop or laptops.
USB Read & Write
OS: Windows 10 Edu (Laptop) – Wireless & Windows 7 Ultimate (Desktop) – Wired
OS Architecture: 64-bit
Other condition: Using the the copied file while other file is copying or downloading.
Copying via wired for USB 2.0 is slow. However, playing the other file while copying activity were going, the process quite unresponsive.
Copying the file via wired for USB 3.0 quite average. Playing other file slightly slow and laggy. But it is acceptable since this is not advance such as a real NAS storage.
The copying file over wireless similar with wired. There is an improvement copying over wireless for USB 2.0.
Next, the result of copying the file over wireless for USB 3.0.
Overall, the router seems to handle the activity well. You can copy multiple files into the same drive. It is possible. However, the transfer rate will be lesser and the rate will be shared with the total number of copying activity transfer rate.
Next, this router does comes with print server feature.
A simple guide was given to the novice user to set up their wired printer to print wirelessly when the printer was connected to the USB 2.0 port.
One of the interesting feature of this router is, this router comes with a unique way of setting the QOS priority. The user can customize the activity by clicking on the “custom” icon. When the user click on the “custom” icon, users will be greeted with this page.
The “custom” settings of the activity similar to the equalizer that comes integrated with the media player. The only thing differs with normal equalizer is, this one does not increase your sound quality, it does change your priority of your activity you wish to customize. I feel this feature were better than the low end tp-link routers that come with manual way of setting bandwidth.
As for this section, the user can set the device priority at here. Besides that, the user can see the real-time bandwidth usage of the device that are currently connected to the router. When the priority pin was enabled for the specific device, the user can set the timing for the priority for a specific duration to prioritize the device over other devices.
For other commercial router such as Asus, you can view your real time usage in this section, but, when the device was turned off, the traffic usage reset to zero back. So it is acceptable.
This router does come with built in Trend Micro antivirus. Do not worry, this antivirus is FREE and it always update its database with its own. Hence, the user doesn’t actually need to upgrade the database manually as what most PC antivirus required to do so.
Most users always think that having an antivirus for PC is safe enough, in reality it is not. Your home network not only should be secured with good and strong password, but the router itself should be protected by an antivirus to make it to be more secure. Most of the home networking routers only have built-in antivirus for higher range products only. Even Asus, Linksys, and TP-LINK is currently offering this feature to their high end routers. For more info, click here.
As for the detection, I purposely went to the suspected sites to test the detection along both with PC and android. The built-in antivirus does a good job.
#9 OPERATION MODE
This router does come with two selective mode, Router mode and Access Point mode. The user can select which mode they preferred to use the router as.
#10 SYSTEM TOOLS (System Tools / System Parameters / Wireless Advance)
This router has a feature called AP Isolation feature. What this feature does is, AP isolation confines and restricts clients connected to the Wi-Fi network. They can’t communicate with devices connected to the same network and creates a more secure wired network, nor can they communicate with each other. In the end, the connected clients can only access the Internet.
For 5 GHz section, the router has Multi-User MIMO feature. When you enable this feature, you can fully optimize MU-MIMO feature. However, to use this, you need to have the suitable network adapter that supports MU-MIMO feature. In other word, even if you enable the MU-MIMO feature, if your devices don’t support the MU-MIMO feature, then you will experience the normal wireless experience.
#11 INTEGRATED OOKLA SPEEDTEST
One good feature that a high end router as Archer C3150 v2 has is, built in speedtest by OOKLA. You can use this feature if and only if you click on the speedtest icon on top center that’s located in between the Internet and Archer C3150 icon.
#12 ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF THIS ROUTER
- Awesome design and good built quality
- Respectable CPU
- Great wireless coverage
- Stable and no auto-reboot
- Having ventilation hole on top, so the router will always stay cool
- Larger RAM
- Built in Antivirus
- Built in SpeedTest OOKLA
- Has MU-MIMO feature
- Physical Wireless Button to turn on or off manually without even have to log in to the router.
- Wall mountable
- Responsive UI
- Great LED coloration
- Physical LED button to turn on or off the leds
- Having more 5 GHz channels
- NO CPU Load and Memory Usage feature (NEED ATTENTION!)
- Router does freezes when there is too much of a load given to it (all the activity occurs at the same time).
- No frequent update for such a high end router
- Not support third party firmware such as DDWRT, OPENWRT or TOMATO
This router definitely on the high end class of TP-LINK brand. This router quite huge thus, you need a space to put the router. It is recommended that, the router should be placed in an open area so that the air from the router can go out freely. Next, the router does not overheat, which is a major plus point to not to buy a cheap laptop cooler. Initially, in the picture above, I’ve put a laptop cooler under the router. After I customized some settings, the router remains cool thus, I’ve wall mounted the router. Next, this router comes with MU-MIMO Wave 2 Wireless AC which considered as a future proof of your home network. If you are staying in a bungalow, you wish to setup your own home network with server, this router suitable for such requirement. TP-LINK known as their reliable choice for the consumers, this router is one of the proof of their motto. The wireless performance of the router were great and almost all the dead-spot in my house were filled with the wireless signal. One thing I like about the router is, this router has a physical wireless on and off button which ease the user to turn off their wireless broadcast from the router physically rather than need to login to the router admin interface to turn it off. In addition, the router does have a physical led turn on and off button which is another plus point. For people like me who sees the perfection, this router one of it. The user interface were well developed and responsive, The button were mapped properly and each of the new feature were given information to guide the user of the feature’s function.
To conclude my point of view on this router, I would strongly say, this router is a good investment if you wish to future proof your home network with a good router that has all the current features such as built-in antivirus to further secure your home network. This router worth for your money.
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