TP-Link TL-WR941ND Wireless N Router review: TP-Link TL-WR941ND Wireless N Router

The TP-Link TL-WR941ND has four LAN ports and one WAN port. None of these ports are a gigabit port, which is disappointing for a Wireless-N router. It doesn't have a USB port, either. This means there are no USB-related features, such as print serving, attached storage, or Windows Connect Now, which would allow you to transfer the wireless encryption from the router to other clients using a USB thumb drive. Most other Wireless-N routers support at least some of these features, for example the D-Link DIR-655.

The router's Web interface is responsive, well-organized, and it somewhat resembles that of routers from Netgear. It could be more intuitive; after changing a setting, for example, a pop-up message appears saying you must restart the router before the change takes effect. The message, however, doesn't tell you what to do to restart the router, and so you will have to dig deeper into the menus to find out.

The TL-WR941ND offers all of the popular encryption methods for wireless routers, including WEP, WPA personal, and WPA enterprise. It also allows for assigning static IP addresses to any computers in the network , and it has a convenient port forwarding mechanism. This is very helpful in case you want to set up a computer in your LAN to host a special Internet service, such as an FTP or Web server.


Performance

We only tested the TP-Link TL-WR941ND on CNET Labs' mixed mode benchmark, and it registered 61.4Mbps--among the top four fastest on our most recent charts. On our long-range test, the router's throughput held up well, posting 56.5Mbps--the second-fastest time we've seen on this test. We wanted to test the router in N-only mode, but the router doesn't support this configuration. Instead, it must run in mixed mode supporting older 820.11b/g clients. Mixed mode is generally slower than N-only mode, though this does depend on the particular router. Still, if you have an older networking device that you don't plan on getting rid of soon, this TP-Link router offers great mixed-mode performance and can be had for a relatively paltry sum.

In addition, the router offered good range. We were able to pick up its signal and maintain a stable connection from around 300 feet away. In our testing environment, which is not range-optimized, Wireless-N routers that can offer 270 or more feet of coverage radius are considered to have very good range. The router also remained very cool during the entire testing process.

Ixia IxChariot maximum throughput tests with mixed 802.11b/g and draft N clients operating in 2.4Ghz frequency (at 15 feet)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Linksys N Ultra RangePlus WRT31N
95.3 
Edimax BR-6504N nMax
68 
TP-LINK Wireless N Router TL-WR941ND
61.4 
DIR-855 Xtreme N Duo Media Router from D-Link
58.5 
Apple Time Capsule
51.5 
D-Link DGL-4500 Xtreme Gaming Router
50.9 
Apple Airport Express
50.5 
Linksys Simultaneous Dual-N Band Wireless WRT610N
44.4 

Ixia IxChariot long-range tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Throughput 200 feet  
DIR-855 Xtreme N Duo Media Router from D-Link
66.5 
TP-LINK Wireless N Router TL-WR941ND
56.5 
Linksys N Ultra RangePlus WRT310N
28.8 
D-Link DGL-4500 Xtreme Gaming Router
27 
Apple Time Capsule
21.36 
Apple Airport Express
11.7 

Service and support

TP-Link backs the TL-WR941ND with a one-year, parts-and-labor warranty. The company's technical toll-free support phone support can be reached 24-7 at 866-696-3962. At the company's Web site, you can find downloads for firmware and manuals, as well as FAQs on how to operate and configure the router.

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