- Very low price for an all-in-one unit, was reliable in our Internet connectivity tests, has good statistics reporting
- Was sluggish in our wireless transfer tests, doesn't have keyword filtering
This all-in-one ADSL2+ modem, 4-port switch and wireless access point is very affordable and does a good all-round job. It was a little slow in its wireless transfers to Centrino notebooks, but for under $100, that's excusable.
Price$ 99.00 (AUD)
It's inexpensive and well featured, but TP-Link's ADSL2+ Modem/Router doesn't excel in any one particular area. However, as a Jack-of-all trades unit, it will please those of you who are after modem, network switch and wireless access point functions in a single chassis.
Setting up the modem part of the unit isn't as straightforward as other ADSL2+ modem units that we've tested. Its 'Quick Setup' process proved to be a little arduous as it didn't detect all of our ISP's settings; we were required to enter the VPI and VCI settings manually, which is something we haven't had to do in most recent modems. In any case, make sure you have all of your ISP's broadband settings to hand before setting up this modem.
Once connected, the modem was reliable over a one-week period. It never once dropped out, nor required a restart. It worked perfectly on a relatively slow ADSL connection (512Kbps, which provided up to 50KBps throughput for downloads) as well as on an ADSL2+ connection -- we're quite close to our phone exchange, so download speeds of up to 2MBps were achieved during our tests.
In the 'Quick Setup' process, the wireless settings followed on from the ADSL account settings, but it didn't follow through to the security settings. After entering an SSID, we had to manually navigate to the security settings, where we selected WPA/WPA2 (AES) encryption for our network. We hope TP-Link adds wireless security to the 'Quick Setup' process for future models.
The wireless access point makes use of a single antenna and SuperG technology to provide a theoretical throughput of up to 108Mbps, as long as you have a SuperG-capable adapter. However, we tested the unit with Centrino-based notebooks, using 54Mbps connections. From 1m away, our Centrino-based notebook achieved a transfer rate of 1.47MBps. At 10m, it achieved 850KBps. Both are sluggish results. The unit also worked with modern 802.11 draft-n adapters, but the speeds were the same.
The TP-Link did provide enough bandwidth for us to stream two DivX-based videos from the same server to our two Centrino-based notebooks -- although we did experience some stuttering at the start of the transmissions. We tested at a radius of 10m.
As for distance, the TP-Link allowed us to stream video at up to 16m away -- again with some stuttering -- and that was with double-brick walls and electrical appliances interspersed between the router and the client. Within a 10m radius, the TP-Link streamed a DivX file to one notebook, yet still allowed us to transfer files at up to 1.2MBps to another notebook.
For security, the unit allows you to block incoming and outgoing traffic from specified IP addresses, and it also has 'Parental Control', which simply allows you to restrict Internet access to specified IPs or MAC addresses on your LAN according to the day and time. It doesn't have keyword filtering.
We like the amount of reporting that is offered in the unit's Web interface; we were easily able to view how much traffic was sent and received from the Internet (in bytes), as well as how much traffic was transmitted over the wireless network. Physically, the unit has simple LEDs to report the status of each function, although the constant blinking of the ADSL light was a little confusing, as we're used to this being a sign of connection problems, rather than a stable connection.
In the end, while its wireless networking proved to be a little slow with our Centrino notebooks, this is a solid all-in-one unit that's worth a look due to its low price point. TP-Link states in its specifications that the unit also has a built-in surge protection circuit, but we were unable to test this particular function.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Google Daydream VR headset
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Portable SSD
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Dell XPS 13 laptop
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Surface Pro 4
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 HTC U Ultra phone full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Venom Blackbook Zero 14 laptop review
Latest News Articles
- Chips coming by June will herald the next generation of Wi-Fi
- Plume's 'routerless' mesh network blankets your home in Wi-Fi with an army of tiny pods
- Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart WiFi Router goes all the way to 11
- Can Wi-Fi and LTE-U live together? The tests are ready
- New wireless tech from MIT promises password-free Wi-Fi
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- LG G6: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- Samsung Galaxy A5 2017: unboxing, hands on review and detail shots
- And the 2017 winner of the Formula 1 Best Pit Lane Boom Gantry is...
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSocial Media ExecutiveNSW
- FTSCOM AdministratorACT
- FTMonitoring Tools Support l NimSoft , SMARTS, ehealth, TivoliNSW
- CCPMO Analyst - Financial ServicesNSW
- TPAPS6 Java DeveloperACT
- CCIT SharePoint SpecialistNSW
- FTSenior IOS DeveloperNSW
- FTSoftware Tech Lead - C++ Back Office Trading SystemsNSW
- FTChief Architect - Principal ArchitectVIC
- FTSenior Business Analyst - Data Warehouse/ Statistical projectNSW
- FTInfrastructure Project Manager Office 365 ImplementationVIC
- FTWeb DeveloperVIC
- FTMonitoring Tools Support l NimSoft , SMARTS, ehealth, TivoliNSW
- TPProject Support Officer - Data and Information ManagementVIC
- FTICT ManagerNSW
- CCOrganisational Change LeadNSW
- TPSenior Business AnalystQLD
- FTSenior Java EngineerACT
- FTEnterprise ArchitectQLD
- CCUser Researcher/Business AnalysisACT
- CCDeployment GraduatesSA
- FTBillings Integration ArchitectVIC
- FTTechnical Data Business AnalystNSW
- FTGIS Software DeveloperQLD
- CCFull Stack DeveloperQLD