The TP-Link Archer C3150 V2 has just about everything you could want in a $220 Wi-Fi router (it's not yet sold in the UK or Australia but that converts to about £159 or AU$283). Its performance is consistent and its range is phenomenal. Best of all, it was super-easy to set up via the Tether app or a web interface. The app didn't offer enough customization options, but the web interface had lots of settings you can adjust. Anyone looking to upgrade their home network for a reasonable price will love the TP-Link Archer C3150 V2.
Simple design with wall-mount option
If you've used TP-Link routers before, this design will be familiar. It's all black with a few small status lights that shouldn't be distracting. The router has a flat, rectangular shape, which will easily blend into your knick-knacks on a shelf or you can mount it on a wall.
The router is lightweight, and the back features four LAN gigabit ports and one gigabit WAN port, which are easily accessible. The side has buttons for reset, Wi-Fi on/off and WPS, along with a USB 3.0 port and a USB 2.0 port for network storage, file sharing, a printer or mobile device charging. Everything is laid out nicely, giving you convenient access whenever you need it.
The four dual-band antennas are just average in height but they packed quite a punch during my testing. I'll discuss those numbers later. The only complaint I have is that they were a little "floppy," meaning that if you adjust them back and forth a few times they become loose and fall over. Even if you screw them in tight, you may encounter this issue down the road.
Easy setup, but the app needs more
This router had a pleasant surprise around every corner. Setup was easy with TP-Link's guided tutorial via a web interface. I connected the router to a modem and entered the default TP-Link IP address, 192.168.1.1, in a web browser. Your IP may be different, so if that doesn't work, you can also go to http://tplinkwifi.net. The guided setup has an option to download the TP-Link Tether app if you prefer to use that for setup.
I went with the browser and everything went smoothly. I changed the router password, chose the connection type, and set up the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band names and passwords. Finally, you can set up a TP-Link Cloud ID if you don't have one, or you can do it later. While not required for regular home use, you will need a TP-Link ID for remote management.
One concern was that the setup didn't ask was if I wanted to check for firmware updates. You should always do this, especially with a new router. These updates will often have important security fixes, especially if the router is a few years old. After setup was complete, I manually updated the firmware by going to the Advanced tab, clicking System Tools in the left column, then clicking Firmware Upgrade and Check for Upgrades. Make sure you do this first, before customizing any settings, because the upgrade will change everything back to the default setup.
Here are a few more tips. After updating the firmware, it takes you back to the Quick Setup tab. You don't need to set up your router again, just click a different tab on top of the screen and you can start customizing your settings. Also, make sure you scroll down and hit Save after you change any settings. If you click away from the screen before hitting Save, it won't warn you that your changes won't be saved.
The TP-Link Tether app is easy to use, especially for setup, but it doesn't offer too much as far as customizing the router. You can do basic tasks like check the status of your devices and speeds, manage your log-in information, and use TP-Link HomeCare for QoS and security. It would have been nice to have more options on the app, but you can always use a browser to change the other settings, even from a mobile device.