TP-LINK ARCHER C3150v2 – Review

Brand: tp-link (New Logo)

Model: Archer C3150

Version: V2

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)


#1 PACKAGING

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Figure 1: The new style of the new tp-link logo packaging.

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.

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Figure 2: Un-boxing of the router.

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.

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Figure 3: The items that comes with 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.

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Figure 4: The side view of the router.

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.

ArcherC3150unV11157large5_1507864307410B

Figure 5: The rear view of the router.

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.

#2 SPECIFICATIONS

Capture

Figure 6: The specifications of the router.

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%).

3

Figure 7: The blue-print of the router.

Archer C3150 v2 using a respectable processor, Broadcom BCM4709C0  (1.4 GHz, 2 cores). The other router using the same processor is:

  1. Asus RT – AC88U
  2. Asus RT – AC5300 A (1.31 GHz)
  3. D – Link DIR 882 Exo AC2600
  4. D – Link DIR 885L rev. A1
  5. D – Link DIR 895L rev. A1
  6. Linksys EA9400 v1
  7. Linksys EA9500 Max – Stream AC5400
  8. Netgear R7800
  9. TP – LINK Archer C5400 v1 & v2
  10. Xiaomi MiWiFi (R2D)
fdgdf

Figure 8: Firmware of Archer C3150 v2 (Latest).

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.

#3 LOGIN

login

Figure 9: Login page (only password field available).

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.

basic

Figure 10: The basic information panel.

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.

wireless client

Figure 11: The clients information.

The advance view option made for the expert users who knows how to customize according to their needs.

advance view

Figure 12: Advance view panel.

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.

device information

Figure 13: The wire-framing of the lacked “feature”.

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”.

2.4

Figure 14: Current 2.4 GHz settings of Archer C3150 v2.

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).

5ghz

Figure 15: Current 5 GHz settings of Archer C3150 v2.

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 Results:

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.

wps

Figure 16: WPS feature turned off.

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.

wireless schedule

Figure 17: Wireless schedule of the router.

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.

mac add

Figure 18: The statistic of connected device for wireless.

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.

guest

Figure 19: The guest network.

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.

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Figure 20: An external hard disk attached to the USB 3.0 port.

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.

  1. Open search bar on windows 10 and key in “run”.

    fgdg

    Figure 21: Run application.

  2. Next, enter your router default IP address along with the name of the storage given in the router’s admin interface.

    1

    Figure 22: Enter your router’s IP address.

  3. 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.
  4.  You will be prompted with a window which will be your main storage.

    dfsdf

    Figure 23: Your storage (w/out map the network driver).

  5. 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.

    gfddfg

    Figure 24: Map the network drive.

  6. You will be prompted with such message. Do not change anything. Just proceed to click “Finish” button.

    gfjhjh

    Figure 25: The setup of the network drive.

  7. Lastly, you’re successfully mapped your external hard-drive or pendrive on the home network.

    2

    Figure 26: The drive successfully mapped at My Computer.

  8. 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

Prerequisite:

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.

Wired:

Copying via wired for USB 2.0 is slow. However, playing the other file while copying activity were going, the process quite unresponsive.

10

Figure 27: Copying the file over wired for USB 2.0.

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.

11

Figure 28: Copying the file over wired for USB 3.0.

Wireless:

The copying file over wireless similar with wired. There is an improvement copying over wireless for USB 2.0.

3

Figure 29: Copying over wireless USB 2.0.

Next, the result of copying the file over wireless for USB 3.0.

4

Figure 30: Copying over wireless 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.

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Figure 31: My current router setup.

Print Server

Next, this router does comes with print server feature.

print server

Figure 32: Print server.

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.

#7 QOS

qos

Figure 33: Application priority.

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.

qos 1

Figure 34: Customize your application priority by choosing the activity.

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.

device priority

Figure 35: Device priority of the router.

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.

 

3

Figure 36: Device priority can be set up here for specific duration.

#8 SECURITY

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.

antivirus

Figure 37: The antivirus features available in the router.

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.

detection

Figure 38: Detection of blocked incoming connection.

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.

operation mode

Figure 39: Operation mode.

#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.

wireless advanved

Figure 40: Wireless Advance for 2.4 GHz.

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.

wireless 5g advanced

Figure 41: Wireless Advance for 5 GHz.

#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.

SPEEDTEST

Figure 42: Built in SpeedTest OOKLA.

#12 ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF THIS ROUTER

Advantages:

  1. Awesome design and good built quality
  2. Respectable CPU
  3. Great wireless coverage
  4. Stable and no auto-reboot
  5. Having ventilation hole on top, so the router will always stay cool
  6. Larger RAM
  7. Built in Antivirus
  8. Built in SpeedTest OOKLA
  9. Has MU-MIMO feature
  10. Physical Wireless Button to turn on or off manually without even have to log in to the router.
  11. Wall mountable
  12. Responsive UI
  13. Great LED coloration
  14. Physical LED button to turn on or off the leds
  15. Having more 5 GHz channels

Disadvantages:

  1. NO CPU Load and Memory Usage feature (NEED ATTENTION!)
  2. Router does freezes when there is too much of a load given to it (all the activity occurs at the same time).
  3. No frequent update for such a high end router
  4. Not support third party firmware such as DDWRT, OPENWRT or TOMATO

Overall verdict:

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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Thank you.

  1. Good review Bro. tq for the nice work done.

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    1. Thank you. Keep on supporting us.

      Like

      Reply

  2. Bro, which current firmware use to watch unifi tv(hyptv). Currently im using unifi 100mbps. Most important thing dont want unifi suffix in my ssid

    Tq

    Like

    Reply

    1. Good evening. Can you please let me know, what router are you using currently? It will be easy for me to guide you.

      Like

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      1. Currently using tplink c1200 provide by tm and manage to watch hyptv. Want to replace this stock router with this one c3150. Is’t a good idea?

        Like

    2. Noted.

      First of all, the C3150v2 costs about RM 750 nett. Secondly, you need to know how to tweak the router to maximize the performance and your user experience using the router. For 100 Mbps package, this router is suitable and stable, from my point of view. This router on another league, in other word, it is a high end router bro. So yes, it is a good idea.

      Regarding the question, there are few users asked the same like you bro. I’ve come up with a solution to guide the novice users on guide to select a third party router as a replacement to their stock ISP router.

      Like

      Reply

      1. Thanks for the info bro. Actually i already survey the router. Other option is asus ac 1300uhp. For performance wise such as wireless coverage/can handle many tasks bcoz i do torrenting & streaming, which 1 is better?
        Lastly do you have any site/portal, how to setup unifi and how to tweak the router.

        Thanking you in advance

        Like

    3. Good morning bro. Unfortunately, I haven’t test any asus router yet. But some says that ac1300uhp performs well for heavy tasks. It does comes with 128MiB ram, halve of total ram of archer c3150. Performance wise, i would say both might perform well. It depends on you which one you like bro. Asus low end routers such as RTN12 or RT14UHP able to handle heavy duties although they have less ram. You can read the reviews on both routers at internet. Since I haven’t tested yet asus 1300uhp, so I really couldn’t say which is the best.

      If you wish to buy a new router, you can refer here:

      https://techmemasta.wordpress.com/2017/12/25/wireless-router-pricing-myr-as-per-2017/

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      1. tq for sharing. really appreciate it.

        Like

  3. Hi there, I’m planning to replace my TP LINK Archer C1200(bundle from UNIFI) with this C3150 v2.

    First of all, I’m not a networking expert. But after did some reading here & there, it seems like this C3150 v2 can fulfill my needs~

    I’m a Unifi 100mb user, staying in a 2sty link house with 2500sf built up area. Currently I’m facing wifi coverage issue, the C1200 is sitting at my living hall and my sister’s room seems not fully covered by the wifi range (be it the 2.4GHz or 5GHz). Hence the speed is also affected when my sis is using her phone & laptop inside her room…

    I’ve tried to relocate the router to the 2nd floor, in between the living hall & kitchen area (my sis room is some where above here). The coverage does improve for the entire 1st floor and for the living area it is average(before that was 80+- for 2.4GHz & 100+- for 5GHz). For the dining area, it is still acceptable. Until it reach the kitchen, coverage & speed seems to affected a lot after the relocation(be it 2.4GHz or 5GHz).

    So I’m thinking to get the C3150 v2 and see whether it can solve my issue or not. But I need some advice before I invest into such costly router. If I’m putting the C3150 v2 on the 1st floor, will the coverage & speed in the kitchen be better than the C1200? This is due to my wife always watch online movies when she is in the kitchen, so I don’t hope that it solve my sis problem, but create another issue with my wife…

    Like

    Reply

    1. Good morning C.K sir,

      As for your problem, first, you can try downloading this tool, called Wifi Analyzer on your smartphone and do a quick test to locate the dead spots in your house. As far as I concern, the c1200 suitable for such house, however, there are some limitations in terms of wireless signal, (how long can it travel across multiple walls).

      Your current solutions are:
      1. go here goo.gl/Mzo6AE and download the tool.
      2. Scan your wireless network and try to relocate the router to a few places until you didn’t find any dead spots in the house,
      3. Do a quick speedtest for every user’s device in the house.
      4. Finally, if it doesn’t solve your problem, perhaps you can try to upgrade to this router.

      However, I would suggest Asus AC55UHP as you always can get updates for the router. However, I would strongly advise you to do the quick test to find out the dead spots in your house using the tools.

      Thank you. 🙂

      Like

      Reply

      1. Thanks for the prompt reply…

        I downloaded the Wifi Analyzer but it seems like it only able to detect the 2.4GHz under the channel graph mode. And since this is the 1st time I’m paying attention to the wifi coverage at my own home, I’m not quite sure how to read the signal strength (dBm)…

        Is it the higher – value equal to poorer coverage/speed or vise versa?

        Alright, will take a look at the Asus AC55UHP 1st~

        Like

    2. Good morning sir.

      You can use the 5GHz channel graph by tapping to 2.4GHz logo on the top left of the graph.

      Please kindly follow the tutorial provided in the link down below:

      Link: goo.gl/LzyVmG

      As to know the wifi strength, the lesser the dBm, the better.

      Thank you.

      Like

      Reply

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