TP-LINK TL-SG1005D, 5-Port Gigabit Desktop Switch Review

Happy weekend everyone. Today we’re going to have a look at the most affordable switch that currently available on the market, TP-LINK TL-SG1005Dv2. This post follows the principle of KISS, “Keep It Short, Simple”.

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Figure 1: The “hero”.

#1 PACKAGING’S

 

The most important way of presenting your product information to the user is very important, especially if you’re providing a service to the user. Hence, the information delivery should follow the Keep It Simple, Smart (KISS) method. Based on the box, the usage of fonts was okay and I feel there is some correction that has to be done.

#2 DESIGN

The design of this switch is simple and attractive with a curvy look on the front of the switch. On the back, the switch comes with 5 LAN Gigabit Ethernet port for your devices that will use a physical connection via cable. LAN 5 Port is reserved for the connection from the router’s LAN Port to the switch LAN 5 port.

Currently, in the market, there are two version, that being sold out. The differences are:

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Another common difference between these two switches are:

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#3 REVIEW

This is an unmanaged switch that only allows Ethernet devices to communicate with one another that uses the mechanism of “plug-and-play”. On the other hand, a managed switch, gives you more control over your LAN traffic and some advance features to control a specific traffic.

I would strongly justify that, this is not a managed switch which offers you, advance performance, it is based on “plug-and-play” switch.

Performance:

Performance wise, it is the same way of using the stock LAN ports on the router itself. More devices connected to the switch, the more bandwidth will be distributed to the connected devices. If you’re using QOS, it won’t affect your device even if you’re using the switch and the same goes to those who uses an automated QOS known as “NAT BOOST”.

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Figure 10: The switch.

Remarks:

The blue cable from my main router while the white cable connects from switch to PC.

Final Verdict:

This switch suitable for small houses that rented by students whose gives priority on physical connection instead of wireless, small business offices, schools (office) and small shops. If you’re living in a bungalow or in a Semi-D houses, then this is not something you should consider as if you having a plan to create your own personal home network, then I would recommend to buy a smart switch (have interface and supports VLANS) or managed switch as to future proof your home network.

Where to buy?

There are few options.

E-Market such as Lazada: You can check in here.

Shops: Lowyat Plaza.


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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.

ArcherC3150unV11157large0_1507864306511j
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%).

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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.

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    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.

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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.

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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.

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Figure 29: Copying over wireless USB 2.0.

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

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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.

 

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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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Archer C1200v1 – NEW FIRMWARE IS OUT!

Salutations:

I would like to use this opportunity to thank TP-LINK engineers for taking responsibility to listen to the users complaint and make an effort to overcome it to serve your loyal customers. Congrats TP-LINK.

Second thank goes to RoxyGal for highlighting us that the new firmware is out.


Date of the firmware downloaded: 30th January 2018

Firmware Version: 1.1.3 Build 20180124 rel.52299 (EU)

Number of days tested: 4 Days

Link to New Firmware: Download Here. Only for Hardware V1 (EU) version.

TP-LINK released the firmware to the unofficial website. It seems that this firmware is the latest and all the bugs in the previous release might be fixed. Some of the users might experience laggy UI interaction during running the router using the beta firmware, it is acceptable since the it is in the beta stage.

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Image 1: The bug fixes in the latest firmware.

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

We have reviewed the beta firmware’s both pros and cons. Shall we move to the new chapter of the TP-LINK C1200v1 flashed with the new and unofficial firmware?

Router Archer C1200(EU)_V1_170706 Archer C1200_V1_20180101 Archer C1200_V1_20180124
Type of boot up
Before setup 3.52 minutes 1.17 minutes 2.13 minutes
After setup 5.23 minutes 3.29 minutes 5.12 minutes

Table 1: Comparison chart of the boot-up time between the 3 firmware’s that focuses on before and after setup.

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Image 2: The firmware information page.

It seems that the stock tp-link router didn’t lock the firmware upgrade page as done by TIME’s tp-link firmware and perhaps soon, UniFi will implement it.

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Image 3: The main interface under “Advance” tab.

The “Advance” tab shows most of the advanced features of the router. Here, I focus on the CPU load which plays a “major” role in the router. The CPU load reading was better / way better than in the previous firmware where the CPU load always shoots high up to 100%. When the CPU load is high, the router seems to hang and some of the users have complained that the torrenting process was interrupted may due to the memory leak from the router.

I’ve personally tested the router flashed with the latest firmware downloading around 20 torrents file, each file exceeds 5GB with a quite number of seeders out there. While downloading the torrents, I noticed that the CPU Load was quite okay in the range of 50% to 65%. Streaming 4K videos while downloading torrents were okay, however, not a good experience, but, still, it is okay.

I am running a D-LINK DNS320 NAS for my parents home. I did a vigorous test on the router where, torrenting, streaming 4K videos, streaming to the NAS, and copying the files to and from the NAS at the same time. I am quite surprised that the router able to handle the test well without a single auto-reboot or hang during the test conducted (CPU Load reading was in between 72% to 89%).

New Features!!!! Added Operation Mode for the router in the latest firmware.

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Image 4: Operation mode: Router / Access Point

Here comes the most awaited features by the users out there. Now, in this firmware, you can opt to choose either to make your ISP router to work as the main router or as an access point without even need to do in “old school” way which quite troublesome for the respected ladies and gentlemen who has less knowledge on the networking field. If you’re planning to purchase your own router to replace the current stock router, you can use the ISP router to act as an access point which is a major plus point.

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Image 5: WEP and Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) features removed.

Wireless Experiences

Previously, I’ve stated that, the wireless experiences of using this router was excellent. However, the wireless performance after flashed to the latest firmware drops. The reason why I said drops, that doesn’t mean that, this firmware worsen the things up, it is just, the wireless experience quite okay. (65/100). From the image 5, I’ve put my router’s transmit power to “high” because if when I opt for “middle”, the router tends to get hotter than usual, hence, I opt for “high” option.

7023671397
Image 6: Tested on 5 GHz wireless frequency
7023676971
Image 7: Tested on 2.4 GHz wireless frequency

When the test is conducted, the distance between my laptop and my router is around 12 feet.

USB Reading & Writing

Same as in the previous walk-through for the beta firmware.

Stability

The router seems to handle multiple events occurring at the same time without auto-reboot or hang.

Comparison between the beta firmware and the latest firmware in a nut-shell.

Archer C1200_V1_20180101 (Beta) Archer C1200_V1_20180124 (New)
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

Advantages:

1.       Average boot-up time.

2.       No auto-reboot occurs.

3.       Awesome CPU Load (Lesser compared with old and beta firmware).

4.       Less heat generated.

5.       Operation Mode (superb features).

6.       Responsive UI.

7.       No memory leak during torrenting which freezes the router (a reboot needed).

8.       Able to handle multiple events at a time (heavy tasks).

9.       Awesome read  and writing files to the NAS storage.

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

Disadvantages:

1.       USB Writing and Reading speed average.

2.       No real time graph for the both cpu load and memory usage.

3.       System up-time features were not present.

4.       The router taking time to gather the information from the server side when downloading using IDM tool yet sometimes fail, the same test was conducted using my very own Asus AC58U and the router performs well even-though it is using Qualcomm chipset compared with C1200 which were using a Broadcom chipset.

Before upgrade to the latest firmware, do remember this important tips!

 

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Image 8: Important precaution before upgrade to the latest firmware.

For the users who accidentally (rushed) to upgrade the firmware from TIME fiber provider, you can use this link to upgrade your router’s firmware to the latest.

Some users raised a question to me how to set up your own custom LAN ports of the router since the AUS (EU) firmware automatically reserved the LAN 1 port for the IPTV. It is easy, when setting up and upgrading your router, it is advisable to plug in the ethernet cable to the LAN 2 / 3 of your router. Next, you will be greeted with a page that says, “Select your connection type”, PPoE and under the PPoE, select Custom and make sure the VLAN ID was set to “400” for VoIP,  “500” for internet and “600” for IPTV, then tick on the 802.1Q Tag, and finally, choose which of the LAN port you wish to customize according to your wish. Click next to set-up your wireless option.

The image below for those who missed out the step by choosing the pre-define value in the drop down menu, “Malaysia – Unifi”. For those who missed it, you can go to Advance tab, under the Advance tab, select Network then IPTV/VLAN option.

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Image 9: Customize your LAN Ports

Final verdict:

I am using the router flashed with the latest firmware for about 3 days. My experience with the router quite happy with the performance.

My rating:

80%. & my rating for TP-LINK company and their engineers, 98%.


Happy weekend everyone.

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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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Solution for TP-LINK Archer C1200v1

Welcome again, dear readers. Today lets discuss about the latest router supplied by our internet service provider. UniFi. For those who recently subscribe to UniFi will get 3 standard items, a residential gateway (router), a broadband termination unit (BTU), a set up hypptv box and a dect phone. Lets focus on the main agenda here, most of the users in Malaysia gets Archer C1200 from UniFi as well as TIME as their stock router. However, not all free things comes without a problem. Such case recently happen to the D-Link company where according to a researcher called, Pierre, found that, the stock router supplied by TM and TIME (100Mbps and 300Mbps) which is D-Link 850L come with alot of vulnerabilities. The summary of the vulnerabilities found in the router is:

  1. Firmware “protection”
  2. WAN && LAN – revA – XSS – CVE-2017-14413, CVE-2017-14414, CVE-2017-14415, CVE-2017-14416
  3. WAN && LAN – revB – Retrieving admin password, gaining full access using the custom mydlink Cloud protocol – CVE-2017-14417, CVE-2017-14418
  4. WAN – revA and revB – Weak Cloud protocol – CVE-2017-14419, CVE-2017-14420
  5. LAN – revB – Backdoor access – CVE-2017-14421
  6. WAN && LAN – revA and revB – Stunnel private keys – CVE-2017-14422
  7. WAN && LAN – revA – Nonce bruteforcing for DNS configuration – CVE-2017-14423
  8. Local – revA and revB – Weak files permission and credentials stored in cleartext – CVE-2017-14424, CVE-2017-14425, CVE-2017-14426, CVE-2017-14427, CVE-2017-14428
  9. WAN – revB – Pre-Auth RCEs as root (L2) – CVE-2017-14429
  10. LAN – revA and revB – DoS against some daemons – CVE-2017-14430

 

Let’s focus on the agenda here, the TP-Link C1200 is a good router with an awesome specs. Most users will receive Archer C1200 v1 from TM as well as TIME. Below is the spec of the router in general:

Router TP-LINK Archer C1200 v1.0 (EU/US)
Availability now
Manu/OEM/ODM Proware
FCC Approval Date 31 August 2016
Country of Manufacture China
Type wireless router
FCC ID TE7C1200
Industry Canada ID 8853A-C1200
Power 12 VDC, 1 A
Connecter type barrel
CPU1 Broadcom BCM47189B0 (900 MHz)
FLA1 16 MiB (Winbond W25Q128FVSG)
RAM1 128 MiB (Samsung K4B1G1646G-BCH9)
Expansion Ifs USB 2.0
USB Ports 1
Serial yes, 4-pad header
WI1 chip1: Broadcom Broadcom BCM47189B0
WI1 802dot11 protocols an+ac
WI1 MIMO config 2×2:2
WI1 antenna connector U.FL
WI2 chip1 Broadcom BCM43217T
WI2 802dot11 protocols bgn
WI2 MIMO config 2×2:2
WI2 antenna connector U.FL
ETH chip1 BCM47189B0
Switch Broadcom BCM53125S
LAN speed 10/100/1000
LAN ports 4
WAN speed 10/100/1000
WAN ports 1

Table 1: The specification of the TP-Link C1200 v1 by wikidevi.com

Why I am focusing on the topic? Is it very important? What can I get from this?. Well, let me explain in very detail.

The router supplied by the TM in general has firmware bugs that cause the router to have random reboot issue. Most of the users complaining that the total time taken for the router to be up is around 5 minutes. Not only that, there is a report saying that the router hangs during torrenting, downloading heavy files and streaming probably due to the memory leak (high cpu load). For the “lucky” users, the router reboot twice or thrice in a day. To overcome this issue, for the people who wish to use their stock router to the max before moving to buy a new router, for those who wish to save some bucks, for those who don’t have the budget to buy a new router, well, here what you can do.

Disclaimer, if you accidentally bricked your router, I shall not be responsible for the incident. Do at your own risk. 

First of all, in order to flash the router, make sure you flash the router over a wired connection (LAN cable). Flashing the router over wireless not recommended. Plug your LAN cable to LAN port 2 on the router because by flashing to EU Australia firmware, LAN 1 reserved for the IPTV.

  • Go to TP-LINK Australia website

Click to enlarge the image

  • Next, download the Archer C1200(EU)_V1_170616 firmware. Unzip the file using tools such as 7-zip (recommended by me) or Winrar.
  • Next, log in to your router by entering the default ip address of the router, 192.168.0.1 or tplinkwifi.net.
3
Browse to Advance -> System Tools -> Firmware Upgrade
  • Once you reach to the desired destination, click on the Browse button to upload the firmware from the download folder (make sure you know where you save the file). Once uploaded the file, click on the Upgrade button. The upgrading process will take some time. The router then will be restarted to complete the upgrade process.
  • Once the flashing (upgrading) process completed, don’t be panic if you’re greeted with the new web admin interface of your router. If you’re not greeted with a web admin interface, just enter the default IP address of your router, 192.168.0.1.
  • Once you greeted with the web admin interface, enter your new password (highly recommended) to secure your router even more. You can change the router’s default IP address with custom for more security. But most people will use the standard IP address of the router.
4
Pick the current time zone (For Malaysia users)
5
Select PPoE. An additional info will appear below and select Malaysia – Unifi profile
6
Enter your PPoE username and password. The password should be 13 characters long
  • If you forget your UniFi PPoE username and password, you can request from TM via dial to UniFi CS or 100.
  • The above username and password demonstrate for the understandings of the user.
  • Click on the next button.
7
Set up your wireless SSID and password
  • You can change the wireless channel later on the web admin interface.
  • Click on the next button.
  • You can skip from signing up TP-Link Cloud Service.
  • Once completed, your router will restart and wait for the router to be online
8
The main web admin interface of your router.
  • Pick wireless tab
  • You can change the wireless
13
Make your wireless security to WPA/WPA2 – Enterprise
  • Pick WPA2 and encryption type: AES.
  • Use Wifi-Analyzer tool to scan your network to find which channel has the most congestion.
  • Channel width should be 20Mhz because 2.4 GHz performs the best at 20 MHz
  • Channel width for 5 GHz should be 40 MHz.
  • Transmit power can be adjusted from low, middle and high. For my use, I select middle option.
9
Custom IPTV profile
  • You can customize the profile for IPTV (previously chosen profile was Malaysia – UniFi).
  • Key in Internet VLAN ID: 500, IP-Phone: 400 and IPTV VLAN ID: 600. Remember to tick the 802.1Q Tag checklist there.
  • You can customize the LAN ports for internet and IPTV.
  • Click save. The router will reboot again.
12
Customize the DNS server, 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4
  • If you don’t wish to use the stock TM dns, then you can opt to use third party dns such as Google DNS and Open DNS.
  • Once entered the desired dns address, click save.

Click to enlarge the image

  • To overcome high CPU load, you can disable the USB sharing and Print Server.
  • Some users will say (suggest) that disabling the SPI Firewall will improve the router stability and lessens the CPU load. I would strongly emphasize that, do not disable the SPI Firewall.
16
You can change your router username and password here
  • Use a unique username and a strong password that contains alphanumeric characters.
  • Remember to disable the Remote Management.

There you go, you’ve finally flash the router and customize some of the settings to make your home network more secure. It is advisable to change your router password from time to time as well as your wireless password.

Advantage of using this firmware:

  • No “@unifi” suffix
  • Less boot up time
  • Wireless signal stable (even better than Archer C7)
  • Stable at the moment

Disadvantage of using this firmware:

  • Firmware bug / defect
  • Memory leak
  • High CPU load
  • Tend to hang at some circumstances

The image used in this post is from the TP-LINK emulator. Any inquires, you can comment down below.

Thank you for spending time to read my post. Have a great weekend. Will come back with a new information / topic.


UPDATE!!! A new beta firmware for the TP-LINK Archer C1200 were released to the testers on 3rd January 2018. According to the forum, it solves the random reboot issues. I will personally test the beta firmware on my own Archer C1200 router for my own satisfaction before giving out my review on the router that running on the beta firmware.

You can get the beta firmware here

However, as an early precaution, do the flashing process only if you know what you’re doing. By flashing to the beta firmware, all your settings will turn back to default. Hence, make sure you do a backup before flashing your router. I do not responsible if you accidentally bricked your router. Do at your own risk or wait for my review on the router soon. 


UPDATE!!! You can refer here for securing your home network. Applicable to all type of routers.


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