03 April 2017

Review TP-LINK High Power Wireless N Router 300Mbps - TL-WR841HP

In modern day, access to the internet has become so crucial that it has no longer become a luxury, but an essential. The internet can not only be accessed by computers but also by phones, laptops and tablets. 

What has also become important is not only having access to the internet but having faster speeds enabling faster transit of data. Such speeds aren’t available through SIM cards on phones or tablets. This is where a WiFi router shines, its ability to transfer data at such high speeds enables one to access the internet wirelessly on phones, laptops and even tablets. For those wondering exactly what a router is or does you’ve come to the right place.
 


A router is connected to at least two networks, commonly two LANs or WANs or a LAN and its ISP's network. Routers are located at gateways, the places where two or more networks connect.Routers use headers and forwarding tables to determine the best path for forwarding the packets, and they use protocols such as ICMP to communicate with each other and configure the best route between any two hosts. 




The purpose of this review isn’t to question the ability of just any router. The router in question is theTP-Link TL-WR841HP. The MRP of TL-WR841HP WiFi router is priced at a decent offering of RM199 depending upon the local or online store it is purchased from. What comes as a sweet surprise is the fact that it has two antennas for better reception even though it’s being sold as more of a basic router. The features of the TL-WR841HP can be seen below.



​Highlight Features
  • High power amplifier and two detachable external 5dBi high gain antennas provide superior wireless range.
  • Enhanced Wi-Fi signal cuts through walls and obstacles, eliminating dead zones
  • Excellent wireless speed over long distance brings a more enjoyable experience for your whole-home network access
  • 300Mbps wireless speed ideal for video streaming, online gaming and VoIP
  • Easily set up a WPA encrypted secure connection at a push of the WPS button
  • Easy Setup Assistant provides quick & hassle-free installation
  • Backward compatible with 802.11b/g products

Zooming In

The TL-WR841HP we received from TP-Link was a sealed pack. The router as well as the other essentials were packed well. The first thing that might gain one’s attention are the two detachable antennas. Two antennas have been provided as this router has been made to provide a 4x larger range than an average router. What makes this router even more interesting is that it has been manufactured for enhanced WiFi signal to penetrate through walls, obstacles and even eliminating dead zones. 



Dead zones are the primary reason why consumers are required to purchase WiFi range extenders, often known as repeaters. However, since that wouldn’t be a concern with this router, consumers will be more than happy with their purchase. The TP-Link TL-WR841HP also comes with a 2 year warranty. The contents of the box included the following:

1) TL-WR841HP

2) Two Detachable Antennas

3) Power Adapter

4) RJ 45 Cable

5) Easy Installation CD

6) Quick Installation Guide

7) GNU General Public License Notice 

The router is perfectly shaped not giving it the appearance of a bulgy device but a rather fine, smoothly cut overall look. The colour itself is black giving it that classic, classy yet futuristic appeal. What further heightens this appeal is the top portion of the router which has a glossy finish to it. 

It certainly doesn’t lack much in the looks department and will most probably go with the colour scheme of the rest of the computer components, assuming they are black, which in most cases are. The router istelf is armed with 4 Lan ports, 1 Wan port, the power input socket as well as a handy reset button. 

Unlike some routers which require a pin to hit the rest button, the TL-WR841HP has a button which is physically visible from the outside and does not require a pin to press it.

 

Performance and Functionality

The installation was fairly easy as a CD was provided by TP-Link along with a pamphlet of instructions. After inserting the CD it was a breeze as all we had to do was follow the instructions on screen. This serves as an easy alternative for those users who aren’t accustomed to accessing the router’s web page. We used the web page as it does have a more detailed availability of options but is mainly recommended for advanced users and not first time users. One can do so by pasting this URL- http://tplinklogin.net/ in a browser’s search bar.



The TL-WR841HP makes use of WPS as well as WPA2 as a security measure. This is the most up-to date security measures included with almost all recent routers. Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is a network security standard that allow users to easily secure a wireless home network, and connect wireless client devices (iPad's etc.) to it, without accessing the router's configuration screens, and without even knowing the wireless network's security key/passphrase. 

To connect using WPS, both your wireless router and your wireless client device must support WPS. Wi-Fi Protected Access 2, the follow on security method to WPA for wireless networks that provides stronger data protection and network access control. It provides enterprise and consumer Wi-Fi users with a high level of assurance that only authorized users can access their wireless networks. 


Based on the IEEE 802.11i standard, WPA2 provides government grade security by implementing the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) FIPS 140-2 compliant AES encryption algorithm and 802.1x-based authentication. There are two versions of WPA2: WPA2-Personal, and WPA2-Enterprise. WPA2-Personal protects unauthorized network access by utilizing a set-up password. WPA2-Enterprise verifies network users through a server. WPA2 is backward compatible with WPA. This router has both WPA2-Personal as well as WPA2-Enterprise as options.

The Signal supported by this router is 802.11g/802.11b/802.11n/802.11gb mixed/802.11gbn mixed with the highest speed transfer of 300Mbps available through 802.11n. 802.11ac is relatively new and not many devices support it and neither does the TL-WR841HP. This isn’t a dual bandwidth router with a frequency of 2.4-2.4835GHz. However, dual bandwidth and 802.11ac support is seen in routers which are all in a higher price bracket. Other features of the router which can be accessed through the router’s web page includes, Wireless MAC Filtering, Security including Firewall, VPN and ALG, Parental Control, Bandwidth Control, IP and MAC Binding. 


One feature which really stood out was the Diagnostic which allows one to check their ping using the IP Address or Domain Name. This saves one from having to do it the more manual, old fashioned way using Command Prompt. MAC Cloning is also very useful especially when ISP’s lock down the Ethernet connection to one MAC address. It allows users to clone the computers MAC Address. 

It’s also interesting to note that we didn’t need to forward any ports while playing online games like Battlefield 3 and 4, Dota 2, and other MOBA games. Many routers will fail to log in if certain ports aren’t forwarded. This can be very annoying for those whose Internal IP keeps changing. If the Internal IP changes, one would have to forward the ports all over again. Most of all gameplay was smooth and uninterrupted by any sort of lag or stuttering which usually implies a network issue.

Below is a picture of the various options available in the TP-Link's router page.



The LAN as well as WAN port speeds are limited to 100Mbps imposing a slight restriction on the router in terms of speed. This may not be too much of a problem with it as internet speeds don’t always reach those high speeds and connections which offer high speed service definitely come at an extravagant price. What does suffer, however, are the transfers over the wireless network being limited by the speed of the ports. 

The router is in itself a 300Mbps router which does what it says and more. The speeds transferred through it wirelessly was stable which is what matters the most. Speed tests were done and speeds were consistent on all runs. What came as a welcome surprise was the range that the router supports. Usually one would notice the speeds drop off as the distance increases. 


This wasn’t the case with the TL-WR841HP router which not only penetrated through walls but extended its range to over four rooms without any significant drop in internet speeds. This router not only managed to distribute wireless signals throughout the house but amazingly did the same for the second floor of the building. The signal was in fact available all the way up to 30metres away from the house making this a very affordable purchase for home use and more. It could also be considered a cheaper alternative for office use.

 



Conclusion

After all our testing and using the TP-Link TL-WR841HP over a period of time, we realized that at it's price point it offers a wonderful experience and functions extremely well making it a very smart budget buy. A consistent experience is what is provided by this router. It’s perfect for home use and can connect up to a number of devices without have any trouble.

Design- 8/10
Features- 7.5/10
Performance- 8.5/10
Usability- 8/10
Value- 8.5/10

Final Verdict- 8.1/10

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