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Router Charts

Click for Router Charts

Mesh Charts

Click for Mesh Charts

Routing Performance

Routing performance for the Archer C7 loaded with V1_130729 firmware and using our standard test method is summarized in Table 3. You're looking at as close to Gigabit wire speed routing as you're going to get in a consumer router.

The 32,412 Simultaneous Connections hit the ever-changing limit of our test process. Plenty of sessions to go around here.

Test Description Archer C7
WAN - LAN 854
LAN - WAN 943
Total Simultaneous 1319
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 32,412
Firmware Version V1_130729
Table 3: Routing throughput

The IxChariot plot for the routing tests shows rock-solid throughput in the unidirectional tests. I had to repeat the test to make sure that the flatline uplink plot was real!

TP-LINK Archer C7 routing unidirectional throughput

TP-LINK Archer C7 routing unidirectional throughput

Simultaneous up/downlink throughput set a new Router Charts high of 1319 Mbps! Once again, uplink throughput was extremely steady, with downlink showing much higher variation. In real-world use, you'd be hard pressed to notice a problem with wired routing speed.

TP-LINK Archer C7 routing bidirectional throughput

TP-LINK Archer C7 routing bidirectional throughput

Storage Performance

Windows filecopy tests were run using the standard NAS testbed with our standard USB drive (Startech USB 3.0 eSATA to SATA Hard Drive Docking Station (SATDOCKU3SEF) containing a WD Velociraptor WD3000HLFS 300 GB drive) formatted in FAT32 and NTFS.

  Archer C7 ASUS
RT-AC66U
Buffalo
WZR-D1800H
NETGEAR
R6300
FAT32 Write 15.0 9.0 7.3 8.6
FAT32 Read 16.3 9.9 11.8 10.2
NTFS Write 9.8 13.5 8.4 11.3
NTFS Read 12.2 9.4 8.7 10.3
Table 4: Filecopy performance summary - MB/s

Table 4 shows the C7's results along with other draft 11ac routers using first-generation Broadcom designs and USB 2.0 ports. The C7 does a bit better with a FAT32 formatted drive and on NTFS reads, but NTFS writes are its weak spot. But the results are close enough that you probably wouldn't notice a difference in everyday use.

Wireless Performance

The Archer C7 is not Wi-Fi Certified. It defaulted Auto channel mode on both 2.4 and 5 GHz radios upon power-up. The 2.4 GHz radio defaulted to Auto Channel width and I assume that the 5 GHz radio did, too. But that radio has no channel width setting exposed in the admin GUI. The router comes with different 2.4 and 5 GHz SSIDs set, so you'll be able to connect to your desired band without having to change router settings.

WPS tests produced mixed results. I successfully got a WPA2/AES secured connection to the 2.4 GHz radio after being prompted for a PIN by a Win 7 client. Trying the 5 GHz radio also prompted for a PIN, but the WPS session would not complete. When I fell back to entering the WPA key, I successfully got a WPA2/AES secured connection. Note that the default WPA password is the same on both radios and is the 8 digit WPS PIN, not the most secure way to go.

Both 40 MHz Coexistence and Fat channel intolerant tests failed, with the C7 continuing to link at 40 MHz rates in both cases instead of falling back to lower 20 MHz channel width rates.

For throughput testing, the router was first reset to factory defaults and Channel 6 was set for 2.4 GHz and Channel 153 for 5 GHz. 20 MHz B/W mode was set for 2.4 GHz and, as noted earlier, I could not set the 5 GHz bandwidth mode. However, when I linked the client for testing, I saw a full 1.3 Gbps link rate.

The closest surface of the router was positioned 8" from the chamber antennas in 0° and 180° test positions. It got slightly closer in the 90 and 270 degree positions due to the width of the router. The 0° position had the front of the router facing the chamber antennas.

The retest Benchmark Summary below shows the average of throughput measurements made in all test locations. The 2.4 GHz values in the summary correspond to 2.4 GHz values (20 MHz B/W) and the 5 GHz values correspond to the 80 MHz B/W - 3 stream values measured with the previous test methodology.

Benchmark Summary

Benchmark Summary

Comparing average 2.4 GHz benchmark values with other AC1750 routers in the Charts, the C7's 72 Mbps downlink average is about 20% lower than the top-of-chart Buffalo WZR-1750DHP's 91 Mbps average. The C7's 93 Mbps uplink average is not that far behind the RT-AC66U's 95 Mbps. Total throughput in the simultaneous up/downlink test measured only 128 Mbps, tying for bottom-of-chart status with the TRENDNet TEW-812DRU.

The C7 looked like a very different router in the 5 GHz charts, topping both downlink and uplink with averages of 210 and 208 Mbps, respectively.

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