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TP-Link Archer C9 review

Richard Easton
9 Jul 2015
Expert Reviews Best Buy Logo
TP-Link Archer C9 teaser image
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
102
inc VAT

The attractive TP-Link Archer C9 has top performance at a reasonable price

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Specifications

Modem: None, Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac, Stated speed: 1,900Mbit/s, USB ports: 1x USB3, 1x USB, Wall mountable: No 

The prospect of an AC1900-rated router for a fraction over £100 is an enticing offer. The TP-Link Archer C9 can broadcast simultaneously on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands at a rated 600Mbit/s and 1,300Mbit/s respectively.

It's a good-looking router, too. Its glossy white finish with silver accents could almost be described as classy. It’s about the size of a hardback book and is designed to be propped upright with its integrated stand.

There are two USB ports: one on the back and a USB3 port on the side. These ports can be used for connecting storage or sharing a printer. You can use DLNA, SMB or FTP to share your connected media files. There are four full-speed Gigabit Ethernet ports for your wired devices as well as a Gigabit WAN port for connecting an external modem or router, such as that provided by your ISP.

There’s a wireless on/off button on the side of the router as well as a WPS pairing button that also doubles as a reset switch. Resetting requires a long press, so you shouldn’t find yourself accidentally rebooting the router when you’re adding a wireless device through WPS pairing.

By default the Archer C9 broadcasts two distinct networks with different SSIDs, the names of which are printed on the back of the router. This is also where you can find the default network password that also doubles as the WPS PIN.

TP-Link Archer C9 ports

One peculiar anomaly we found was that for some reason the 5GHz band was set to United States by default, while the 2.4GHz band was correctly set to United Kingdom. This meant that initially we weren’t able to detect the 5GHz band until we noticed the incorrect setting. Changing the region affects the channels the router broadcasts, which is why we were struggling to detect the 5GHz network.

Changing the setting was straightforward, however, and the Archer C9’s router admin interface is generally easy to use. It has all the functions you would expect, including Dynamic DNS and Port Forwarding. You also get Parental Control settings so you can control internet usage during specific times or restrict access to certain websites. You can also set up two guest networks, one on each band, allowing you to let visitors connect without having access to other devices on your main network.

TP-Link Archer C9 router USB settings

Overall wireless performance was fantastic, even on the more congested 2.4GHz band. Using our laptop’s integrated 802.11n adaptor we saw speeds of 42Mbit/s and 17.9Mbit/s at 10m and 25m, which are strong results. Performance was much better on the 5GHz band, where we saw 181.8Mbit/s at 10m and 105.4Mbit/s at 25m; one of the best 10m speeds we've seen, and above average at 25m.

To test 802.11ac speeds we switched to TP-Link’s Archer T4U 802.11ac USB adaptor (£30 inc VAT from www.argos.co.uk). 802.11ac performance was excellent. At 10m it managed an exceedingly swift 326.2Mbit/s, dropping to a still superb 256.3Mbit/s at 25m. This is the fastest 802.11ac router we've seen at both distances.

With such great performance at a reasonable price, the Archer C9 is a fantastic router. It wins a Best Buy award. Buy Now from Amazon

Hardware
ModemNone
Wi-Fi standard802.11ac
Bands2.4GHz, 5GHz
Stated speed1,900Mbit/s
SecurityWEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WPS
Upgradable antennaYes
WAN ports1
LAN ports4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s
USB ports1x USB3, 1x USB
Wall mountableNo
Size221x86x168.5mm
Software
Guest networks2
Media serverDLNA, SMB, FTP
USB servicesPrint sharing, NAS
DDNS servicesDynDns, Comexe, NO-IP
Buying Information
Price including VAT£102
WarrantyThree years RTB
Supplierwww.amazon.co.uk
Detailswww.tp-link.com
Part codeArcher C9