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TP-Link Talon AD7200 Wireless Wi-Fi Tri-Band Gigabit Router review:

Too fast for its own good

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The Good The Talon AD7200 features 802.11ad Wi-Fi and can deliver extremely fast speed to devices that support its high-end tech. It works with all current devices albeit at a lower speed.

The Bad It's bulky and expensive. Currently there are few devices that can take advantage of its super-fast speed.

The Bottom Line For the small percentage of you with 802.11ad clients in your home, the Talon AD7200 is a good futureproofing purchase, but is otherwise not worth your money.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.7 Overall
  • Setup 7.0
  • Features 6.0
  • Performance 7.0

Review Sections

tp-link-ad7200-router-0499-001.jpg

The TP-Link Talon AD7200 router is quite bulky.

Josh Miller/CNET

The TP-Link Talon AD7200 is unlike any router I've used before: it's the first 802.11ad router that can deliver up to 4.6Gbps Wi-Fi speed on the 60GHz band, while at the same time serving data on the more traditional 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. That's three different bands, all operating at once. A first for a consumer router.

OK. So what's 802.11ad?

In a nutshell, it's a new Wi-Fi standard that operates on the 60GHz frequency band, has incredibly high ceiling speed -- up to 7Gbps, compared with the 1.3 Gbps most users experience today -- but extremely short range (about 30 feet at most) and can't penetrate walls, meaning, devices will only work if they're within the line of sight of the router. The new standard is meant to supplement the existing 802.11ac, which is slower but has much longer range. So conceptually, all 802.11ad routers will have access to the superfast 60GHz band, but also work as a normal 802.11ac router, which is the standard most routers on the market use today. (For more on the 802.11ad, check out this post.)

Note: The Talon AD7200 doesn't support the full speed of 802.11ad, but just at 4.6Gbps, which is already crazy fast.

What do I need to take advantage of 802.11ad?

To get the full benefits of the 802.11ad standard with the Talon AD700, you'll need at least two clients (a smartphone, laptop. etc) that support 802.11ad.

Unfortunately, there are very few of these kinds of laptops, smartphones or tablet etc. currently on the market. Fortunately, I had access to an 802.11ad-compatible laptop, the Acer TravelMate P446. I used a network cable to connect the router to a file server and then copied the file to the Acer via Wi-Fi. While the transfer took place in seconds, it still did not reach the full speed of 802.11ad, topping out at 1Gbps (the same connection speed as the connected file servers.)

There are a few reasons for this:

  1. The router and a the laptop could only connect at a maximum of 2.3Gbps using the 60GHz band, which was the top Wi-Fi speed of the laptop itself.
  2. The router was physically connected to the file server using a Gigabit connection which tops out at 1Gbps, effectively bottlenecking the wireless performance of the router

Still, it's refreshing to confirm that 802.11ad devices are at the very least Gigabit speed capable.

CNET Labs 5GHz Wi-Fi performance

Arris SBR-AC3200P
652.5
247.7
Linksys EA9200
577.8
242.7
TP-Link Talon AD7200
574.2
192
Asus RT-AC68U
521.4
336
Linksys WRT1900AC
520.67
340.7
Asus RT-AC3200
513.7
289
Linksys E8350
511.1
304.6
Asus RT-AC87U
504.4
278.6
Netgear R8000
482.2
241.6
Linksys EA8500
437.8
272.4
Netgear R7500
381.7
242.4

Legend:

Close range
Long range

Note:

Measured in megabits per second. Longer bars mean better performance.

Since there are so few 802.11ad clients, why should I care about this router?

Faster is always better, and the Talon is futureproof. When 802.11ad devices are more readily available, the Talon will give you the option of wirelessly connecting them together at extremely fast speeds, as long as they are in close proximity to the router. Imagine being able to quickly connect your laptop to a big-screen TV and instantly stream 4K video to it. That's why you'd care about this router.

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