WIRE­LESS MASTER

TP-LINK Archer C2600

HWM (Malaysia) - - TEST - Az­izul Rah­man Is­mail

TP-LINK's latest router uses the Qual­comm VIVE 802.11ac Wi-Fi tech­nol­ogy and prom­ises to de­liver speeds of up to 2.6Gbps. While in­creased speeds and per­for­mance are com­monly touted im­prove­ments with each it­er­a­tion of any router, TP-LINK vastly im­proves on the front most man­u­fac­tur­ers ne­glect: user in­ter­face.

The de­sign of the Archer C2600 is not some­thing we have not seen be­fore. It is sub­tle, but dis­tinc­tive, fea­tur­ing a mix of matte and glossy black with sil­ver ac­cent. Although it is a four-an­tenna router, its de­sign is not so rad­i­cal, which is great for most en­vi­ron­ments. We es­pe­cially like the in­di­ca­tors that softly lit up and do not dis­tract in the dark.

On the side of the router are two USB 3.0 ports that can be used to share hard drives, por­ta­ble USB drives, print­ers, and more. There, you would also find the Wi-Fi On/Off but­ton, the WPS but­ton, and the rel­a­tively easy-to-ac­cess Re­set but­ton.

In­side is a 1.4GHz dual-core pro­ces­sor from Qual­comm, pow­er­ing 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands at max­i­mum speeds of 800Mbps and 1,733Mbps, re­spec­tively. In prac­tice, this trans­lates to the abil­ity to sup­port more si­mul­ta­ne­ous Wi-Fi de­vices at any one time – a fea­ture that is fast be­com­ing a must in house­holds with mul­ti­ple mo­bile and stream­ing de­vices.

Get­ting the Archer C2600 up and run­ning is very sim­ple. Re­cently, TP-LINK routers, in gen­eral, have some of the best web in­ter­face in their price range. Its quick setup takes you step by step through the ini­tial set­tings.

We es­pe­cially like the Ba­sic tab in the web in­ter­face, where we can see all the in­for­ma­tion we need, such as the num­ber of clients con­nected, at a glance. There's also an Ad­vanced tab, where the net­work in­for­ma­tion and set­tings re­side. The router also fea­tures parental con­trols and guest net­work, which is fast be­com­ing a stan­dard as router pro­ces­sors get more pow­er­ful.

One way TP-LINK may im­prove this in­ter­face is to in­clude a search bar where users can type in a set­ting or fea­ture that they are look­ing for. There are also no app sup­port, which is com­monly re­served for high-end routers.

How­ever, the Archer C2600 does sup­port mo­bile ac­cess and man­age­ment through the TP-LINK Tether app for both An­droid and iOS de­vices.

When it comes to per­for­mance, the router de­liv­ers as ex­pected, which is ap­prox­i­mately two thirds the rated speed. We con­nected mul­ti­ple mo­bile de­vices and PCs to the C2600 and its per­for­mance did not wa­ver de­spite the load.

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