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Wireless Reviews

Introduction

Update 2/19/16: Corrected flash capacity
AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router
At a glance
ProductTP-LINK AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (Archer C7 V2)   [Website]
SummarySlightly updated version of first QCA based AC router.
Pros• Gigabit wire-speed routing
• Up and downlink bandwidth limiting
• Guest network bandwidth controls
Cons• May have problems handling strong 5 GHz signals
• No 5 GHz channel bandwidth controls

There has been a steady interest in TP-LINK's first attempt at an AC1750 class router, the Archer C7, which we reviewed about a year ago. I suspect one reason is its sub-$100 price, which I think is the lowest of any AC1750 router. The other reason could be the C7's position at the top of the AC1750 Router Ranker.

TP-LINK has since made a slight design change to come up with the Archer C7 V2. The company confirmed the only change is a newer version of Qualcomm-Atheros' 5 GHz 3x3 AC radio, the QCA9880-BR4A vs. QCA9880-AR1A used in the original Archer C7. The marking on the original C7 5 GHz radio board shown below left is tough to make out. But it's pretty clear on the V2's board on the right.

TP-LINK Archer C7 (left) and C7 V2 5 GH radio boards

TP-LINK Archer C7 (left) and C7 V2 5 GH radio boards

Other than that change, the V2's innards are the same as the V1's.

Update 2/19/16:

The V2's flash memory capacity increased from 8 MB to 16 MB.

TP-LINK Archer C7 V1 (top) & V2 boards (bottom)

TP-LINK Archer C7 V1 (top) & V2 boards (bottom)

The C7 V2's key components are summarized in Table 1.

  TP-Link Archer C7 V2
CPU QCA9558 dual-band, 3-stream 802.11n SoC
Switch Atheros AR8327
RAM 128 MB Winbond W9751G6JB DDR2 (x2)
Flash 16 MB 8 MB Winbond W25Q64FV
2.4 GHz Radio In QCA9558
- Unidentified 2.4 GHz power amp (x3)
5 GHz radio - QCA9880-BR4A 3x3 802.11ac radio
- SiGE 5005L 5 GHz power amp (x3)
Table 1: Component summary

Everything else is the same, folks, both physically and feature-wise. See the original review if you need feature details.

Routing Performance

Routing performance for the C7 V2 loaded with 3.13.34 Build 131217 Rel 60903n firmware and using our standard test method is summarized in Table 3.

Test Description Archer C7 V2 Archer C7
WAN - LAN 821 854
LAN - WAN 809 943
Total Simultaneous 1435 1319
Maximum Simultaneous Connections 31,6676 32,412
Firmware Version 3.13.34 Build 131217 Rel 60903n V1_130729
Table 3: Routing throughput

Yes, the V2's results are a bit different. No, the differences are not significant. The V2 still supports essentially gigabit wire-speed routing in both directions.

The IxChariot composite plot for unidirectional up and downlink tests looks like both directions made occasional jumps above 900 Mbps. Sustained average throughput of above 800 Mbps, however, is more than most of us will ever approach needing.

TP-LINK Archer C7 V2 routing unidirectional throughput

TP-LINK Archer C7 V2 routing unidirectional throughput

The C7 V2's simultaneous up/downlink throughput again set a new Router Charts high of 1435 Mbps! Even better, it looks like the routing code attempts to keep throughput in balance in both directions even when running flat out.

TP-LINK Archer C7 V2 routing bidirectional throughput

TP-LINK Archer C7 V2 routing bidirectional throughput

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