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Wireless Reviews

Ultimate Wireless N Gigabit Router
At a glance
ProductTP-LINK TL-WR1043ND Ultimate Wireless N Gigabit Router   [Website]
SummaryBargain-priced Gigabit-port 2.4 GHz N router based on Atheros chipset with FTP/UPnP USB drive sharing.
Pros• Relatively inexpensive for a Gigabit four port router
• In and outbound bandwidth limiting
• Upgradeable antennas
• WDS support
Cons• No SMB drive sharing
• Unimpressive wireless uplink performance
• No Guest WLAN

Typical Price: $43  Shop Amazon


This is our first review of a product from TP-LINK. The company aims squarely at the value-conscious consumer, with products typically priced below functional equivalents from their better-known competitors. TP-LINK says it has decided to make a bigger grab for the U.S. market, so let's see what they have to offer.

The TL-WR1043ND represents the top-end of the company's 300 Mbps Wireless N line. Given that position, it's odd that the router is only single band. But like most other top-end routers, the TL-WR1043ND has Gigabit Ethernet ports for both its single WAN and four switched LAN ports.

A glance at the front and rear panel callouts in Figure 1 shows the product is strictly old-school when it comes to indicator lights—of which it has plenty—and antenna configuration. The three 3dBi antennas are all external and screw on via RP-SMA connectors.

Ports and indicators
Figure 1: Ports and indicators


The FCC ID photos are detailed enough that I didn't open up the product to take my own. Figure 2 is an internal view, showing the router still in its case.

TL-WR1043ND board

Figure 2: TL-WR1043ND inside

The closer view of the board in Figure 3 was still fuzzy for identifying all the components. But some web searching quickly revealed the key components, which I've documented in Table 1.

CPU Atheros AR9132 Atheros AR9132
Switch Realtek RTL8366RB Realtek RTL8366SR
RAM 32 MB 64 MB
Flash 8 MB 32 MB
2.4 GHz Radio Atheros AR9103 Atheros AR9103
Table 1:Component comparison

Cisco X2000 inside view

Figure 3: Cisco X2000 inside view

In keeping with TP-LINK's low-cost focus, the design is relatively dated and is very similar to Buffalo's WZR-HP-G300NH Nfiniti Wireless-N High Power Router & Access Point, which dates from 2009.


Since this is our first dance with a TP-LINK router, I'm going to have Craig do a full feature review on it. In the meantime, Figure 4 provides a taste of the GUI, which isn't fancy, but gets the job done.

Cisco X2000 inside view

Figure 4: Wireless settings

If you're looking for IPv6 support or multiple SSIDs/Guest wireless, the TL-WR1043ND will disappoint. But if you're looking for WDS bridging/repeating or up and downlink bandwidth controls by IP and service port, you'll be happy.

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