TP-Link Archer C5400
THE C5400 HAS A SNAZZY WEB INTERFACE AND GREAT PARENTAL CONTROLS, BUT WI-FI SPEEDS ARE UNEXCEPTIONAL
With its slim, square design and eight ip-up antennae, the Archer C5400 certainly looks the business. And internally, it boasts two 5GHz radios, each with a maximum bandwidth of 2,167Mbits/sec, for a huge total throughput that’s matched only by D-Link and Linksys this month.
Unfortunately, as we’ve seen in this Labs, such gures don’t always translate to real-world performance. Over a sameroom connection, the Archer C5400 gave us distinctly slower download speeds than its rivals, and while that headline speed didn’t falter as we moved to the bedroom, the TPLink slumped far down the table when we moved away to the bathroom.
It’s a shame, because the Archer is otherwise a rather snazzy router. The web portal is one of our favourites – it’s easy to navigate, perfectly responsive and even fairly tasteful. The Status page is detailed yet clear, and the links down the side provide quick, logical access to all the core settings.
There’s a good set of features too. File-sharing and print server functions let you make good use of the unit’s twin USB ports, and the TP-Link Cloud service allows you to access your les over the internet too. Set up the built-in OpenVPN server and you can connect directly to local shares and NAS appliances while you’re out and about – and to make this easy TP-Link offers its own dynamic DNS service.
TP-Link’s parental controls meanwhile are among the best we’ve seen. You can easily set up device-speci c usage limits and schedules with a few clicks, and TPLink’s HomeCare service provides three years of free category-based restrictions. The company hasn’t yet decided how much it will cost to continue the service after that – but by then you may well be ready to replace your router anyway.
When you’re paying this much, you’re entitled to expect top-class performance, and based on our experience the C5400 sadly doesn’t deliver that. Nevertheless, it’s an undeniably likable router, especially if you have kids; if coverage isn’t your top priority, it’s well worth a look.
$459 • www.tp-link.com