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TP-Link Archer C3150 V2 review: A router with speed, range and security

The TP-Link Archer C3150 V2 router has everything you want for a better home network, including speed, security and great range.

dan-dziedzic
Dan Dziedzic
dan-dziedzic

Dan Dziedzic

Associate editor

Dan has been a professional writer for more than a decade and now specializes in routers and networking devices. Originally from Chicago, IL, Dan studied comedy writing at Second City and worked as a Chicago sports journalist for a number of years. With a background in physics, he spends his spare time learning about the intricacies of the universe.

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6 min read

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.

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8.7

TP-Link Archer C3150 V2

The Good

The web interface is full of customizable features, the hardware performs like a high-end router, and link aggregation allows you to transfer files to a NAS device at 2Gb per second.

The Bad

The app should have more customization options and the antennas come loose if you move them around too much.

The Bottom Line

TP-Link created a router that's the complete package for an affordable price. The hardware performed really well and its range was surprising. With the Archer C3150 V2, you get all the bells and whistles, plus an easy-to-use web interface.

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.

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One issue I had was that the antennas came loose fairly quickly if you move them back and forth a few times.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

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.

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The app was designed more to monitor your network than to customize your settings. The router menu from a web browser has plenty of customization options, though.

Dan Dziedzic/CNET

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.

Feature-rich including added security

The Archer C3150 V2 is packed full of features. Often, you find that a router at this price point will be missing a few major things, but this router has it all.

With smart connect, the router will automatically place each device on either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz network, whichever has a better signal. Airtime fairness helps speed up networks with older devices connected. The Archer C3150 V2 also includes MU-MIMO for fast simultaneous connections and beamforming to focus Wi-Fi directly on devices.

One rare bonus on this router is link aggregation. This allows you to combine two gigabit LAN ports into one super-fast 2 gigabit per second (Gbps) port for wired devices. This will come in handy if you have a network attached storage (NAS) device that will be accessed by multiple devices. The router also features co-processors for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, to help handle your network load.

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Link aggregation lets you turn two LAN ports into a super-fast 2Gbps wired connection.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

My favorite feature of this router is the TP-Link HomeCare, powered by Trend Micro. This free service gives you customizable parental controls, quality of service (QoS) and antivirus. The QoS settings let your prioritize your traffic based on the device or type, like games, streaming, surfing and so on. The antivirus is basic with on/off functions for malicious content filtering, intrusion prevention and infected device quarantine. Security is a top priority in a router, so you should always look for one with additional security features. The Archer C3150 V2 offers HomeCare for free.

Consistent speed and range throughout your home

The TP-Link Archer C3150 V2 is an AC3150-rated router, offering speeds of 1,000 Mbps on 2.4GHz and 2,167Mbps on 5GHz. It has these theoretical speeds due to its high-end 1024-QAM modulation, called NitroQAM, and four spatial streams. This provides speeds 25 percent faster than standard 256-QAM 802.11ac routers. Keep in mind, though, that many factors will diminish these speeds, including interference, your internet connection and older devices on your network.

In my throughput testing, I was again pleasantly surprised by the Archer C3150 V2. It had great range and speeds, comparable to high-end routers I've tested in the past, such as the Asus RT-AC86U and the D-Link DIR-882. On 2.4GHz, speeds were very consistent all the way up to 50 feet away, averaging just above 160Mbps everywhere I tested. A large home should see good coverage throughout. You may even get some decent coverage out in your yard.

2.4GHz Wi-Fi Performance

Asus RT-AC86U AC2900 142 169 143Linksys WRT32X AC3200 172 165 152D-Link DIR-882 AC2600 165 164 164Linksys EA8300 AC2200 110 116 116AmpliFi AFi-R AC1750 133 130 94TP-Link Archer C3150 V2 AC3150 163 163 160
  • 7 feet
  • 25 feet
  • 50 feet
Note: All speeds in megabits per second (Mbps)

On 5GHz, the Archer C3150 V2 really flexed its muscles, hitting nearly 900Mbps at close range and holding strong at 274Mbps from 50 feet away. It really shows that the hardware they use is solid quality.

5GHz Wi-Fi Performance

Asus RT-AC86U AC2900 938 567 293Linksys WRT32X AC3200 770 370 116D-Link DIR-882 AC2600 927 568 283Linksys EA8300 AC2200 655 367 89AmpliFi AFi-R AC1750 431 279 70TP-Link Archer C3150 AC3150 897 529 274
  • 7 feet
  • 25 feet
  • 50 feet
Note: All speeds in megabits per second (Mbps)

I also tested the router's wireless file transfer speeds using an ADATA SD700 256GB external solid-state drive connected to the router's USB 3.0 port. In general, the speeds were slower than other high-end routers I tested, but they were still sufficient for transferring large files. From 15 feet away on 2.4GHz, download speeds averaged about 10 megabytes per second (MBps) and upload speeds were about 11MBps. On 5GHz, download speeds were nearly 18MBps and upload speeds were just above 15MBps. This means you can transfer a DVD's worth of data, 4.7GB to be exact, in four to eight minutes.

Should you buy one?

The TP-Link Archer C3150 V2 has nearly everything you could want in a router for around $200. It performed exceptionally well in my speed and range tests and includes all the features you need for a medium to large home. The app could use more customization options but the web interface was very helpful and easy to use. The additions of link aggregation and its HomeCare security make this router a must have. Novice users or techies who want complete control of their home network will get great bang for their buck.

TP-Link Archer C3150 V2 specs

Brand TP-LinkModelArcher C3150 V2
IEEE 802.11 Standard a/b/g/n/acClassAC3150
Speed (Mbps) 3,167 (1,000+2,167)CPU processorDual- core 1.4GHz
Frequency Dual-band (2.4GHz+5GHz)RAM memory256MB
Ethernet ports 1 Gigabit WAN; 4 Gigabit LAN; Link aggregationFlash memory32MB
USB ports 1 USB 2.0; 1 USB 3.0Guest Wi-FiYes
Antennas 4 external; Dual band; detachableParental controlsYes
Spatial streams 4 (2.4GHz); 4 (5GHz)MU-MIMOYes
Modulation 1024-QAM 5/6BeamformingYes
Security 64/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA-PSK2, HomeCare powered by Trend Micro, SPI firewall, DoS protection, VPNSetupApp or Browser
Size (inches) 10.4 by 7.8 by 1.5Weight (pounds)1.9
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8.7

TP-Link Archer C3150 V2

Score Breakdown

Setup 9Features 8Performance 9
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