TP-LINK Archer C2600
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.