Looking to nab the best deals in Wi-Fi routers? The TP-Link Archer A7 may not easily be the best around, it may not have impressive range or the customization options of more expensive competitors, but it does the job of connecting your desktop PCs, TVs and other gadgets that need Internet. It has parental controls, Quality of Service (QoS) software and is pretty simple to setup. This router should be more than adequate for most families, and for the price, the Archer A7’s price is a winner. If you’re looking for a bargain, the TP-Link AC1750 is one of the best Wi-Fi routers out here.
The TP-Link AC1750 is small, discrete and can be hidden just about anywhere. Not as stylish as the Asus Blue Cave, but at 9.6 x 6.4 x 1.3-inches, the Archer A7 is, almost 80% smaller and is almost a quarter the size of the Netgear Nighthawk XR500 Pro Gaming Router.
With a black exterior color, the Archer A7 is small enough to be stashed on a table, bookshelf or hung on a wall with its pair of mounting cutouts on the underneath. It does run cool, but it doesn’t exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit like its high-end sibling, the TP-Link archer C2300.
On the front, the TP-Link AC1750 has 10 demure green LED icons that show power and activity on the 2.4- and 5-GHz channels as well as status indicators for the internet connection and its Ethernet ports. Others are icons for the USB port and whether you’re using the system’s Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) for quick connections.
It doesn’t have a physical switch for the lights, instead it does it via its firmware settings with Night Mode, where the lights can be scheduled to automatically turn on and off. Around the back, it has an Ethernet input, and four downstream Ethernet ports for wired connections, accessories and access points; all are rated at a gigabit per second top speed. The available USB 2.0 port can be used to share a hard drive or printer, this router supports most popular printers such as HP, Epson, Canon, and Brother.
On the inside, this dual-band router is powered by a Qualcomm Atheros QCA9563 Wi-Fi chip with a 750-MHz processor with 128MB of RAM. You also have 16MB of flash storage for holding the router’s settings and firmware. The dual-band router has a maximum throughput of 450MBs for its 2.4GHz band and 1.3 Gbps for its 5-GHz band, totalling to a bandwidth of 1.75 Gbps.
Overall, that’s conventional throughout but it lacks Mu-MIMO’s ability to connect with multiple users simultaneously. It does have Quality of Service (QoS) and parental controls.
The TP-Link Archer A7 uses many of the latest speed-boosting techniques such as beamforming and IPTV streaming, giving a perfect balance of price and performance. In testing, it manages to achieve a top speed of 649.5 Mbps at 5 feet from the client, which is a better score over the Netgear R6220 Router’s 381.7 Mbps at the same distance.
The throughput fell off to 621.5 MBPs, 473.2 Mbps and 348.6 at 15 feet, 50 feet and 100 feet, respectively, putting it well behind the Archer C2300’s 683.1 Mbps, 913.7 Mbps and 612.6 Mbps at the same respective distances. Still, it beats most of its similarly priced routers. It uses 4.3 watts of power when operating, making it one of the most economical routers to use.
Setup is pretty straightforward to install: either through a Web browser or using TP-Link’s Tether app (available for iOS or Android). For home sue, the Archer A7 suffices for basic Internet tasks like sending email, watching video, playing basic games and generally keeping the house connected.
The TP-Link Archer A7 may not be the fastest, largest or most powerful router available, but its price tag is hard to beat, making it one of the best bargains in the routers world. Again, its range is disappointing, but it works as expected – it should be enough for a small to midsize home and includes parental controls and Quality of Service (QoS) software, in addition to the ability to mitigate online attacks.
If you’re looking to connect a home with high-speed Wi-Fi, you’re better off with the better-performing but more expensive TP-Link Archer C2300. However, for those with an apartment or small house, the TP-Link Archer A7 is a definite winner.