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TP-Link Archer D7 AC1750 review: It may not have the fastest 2.4GHz speeds, but the price is a winner

The Good Despite the drop in price, the Archer D7 still performs at the 5GHz end of town, and has nearly all the features of the D9.

The Bad Options and web UI design aren't as advanced as competitors, and 2.4GHz performance isn't great.

The Bottom Line If you're budget-conscious, the D7 could be the modem/router you're looking for. Then again, if you're budget conscious, why are you looking at 802.11ac routers?

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7.0 Overall
  • Setup 7
  • Features 7
  • Performance 7
  • Support 7

Review Sections

Just take a look at the price tag -- the Archer D7, an AC1750 router costs AU$169 in Australia. That's a $90 difference between that and its bigger brother, the Archer D9 . UK citizens don't get quite the same deal at £129 compared to £159, but it's still a substantial saving.

The sacrifice? You lose a USB 3.0 port which has questionable advantage on a router, and you get slower 2.4GHz at close range. 802.11n 5GHz and 802.11ac performance remains comparable. But rest assured: amongst top-tier AC1750 and AC1900 routers, the D7 easily takes the prize as the most budget-friendly.

Design and ease of use

The piano-black Archer D7 is separated down the middle by a silver, painted bit of plastic that also helps the router to sit flat. Above this separator are the status lights -- power, line sync, Internet connection, wireless, LAN and USB. Sadly there's just the one light to accommodate the four gigabit Ethernet ports, making troubleshooting a little harder than it needs to be.

archerd7-3.jpg
Dave Cheng/CNET

TP-Link includes a mini CD in the package, containing manual, printer software, and an "Easy Setup Assistant". This is more for those who aren't familiar with their router's web UI, and walks the user through ADSL and Wi-Fi settings. Those who go straight to the router's web UI will also find a quick setup tool, with more options therein.

Tech enthusiasts will love TP-Link's web interface -- it's spartan and straight forward. Newbies may find it a bit overwhelming, especially as it pulls no punches on technical language -- but this aside, it's all laid out in a fashion that makes sense and is easy to find what information and settings you need.

Features

The D7 has the standard four gigabit Ethernet ports, and two USB ports. It has physical buttons for both power and Wi-Fi on/off. Despite the potential through its design, it is not wall mountable.

The D7's options are fairly standard for a router of this class, the major standout feature being VLAN support (listed as "interface grouping"). Otherwise the usual firewall, single 2.4GHz guest network support, port forwarding, wireless and DSL settings are here. DynamicDNS support is included, but only covers DynDNS and No-IP as service providers.

Dave Cheng/CNET

Parental control is restricted to a time scheduled, MAC assigned URL whitelist -- add no URLs, and the associated client will effectively be cut off from the Internet.

USB support includes storage access via FTP and SMB, DLNA streaming and a print server. For printer support you'll need to install TP-Link's USB printer controller app, which is straight forward. While it suggested we hook our laptop up to the router by Ethernet during set up, wireless worked just fine.

tp-link-archer-d7-ui.jpg
Screenshot by Craig Simms

Just like the Asus DSL-AC68U, the D7 brought up our HP Photosmart as "CQ176A" -- unlike Asus though, TP-Link's software is a little more confusing to use. It does come with an extra benefit though - the ability to use your scanner over Wi-Fi if you have a multifunction printer.

Inside the box you'll also find a line filter, phone cable, Ethernet cable, warranty card and manual.

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