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Wireless Reviews

AC1900 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router
At a glance
ProductTP-LINK AC1900 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router (Archer C9)   [Website]
SummarySecond generation Broadcom-based AC1900 class router with Gigabit Ethernet ports and USB 2.0 & 3.0 storage and printer sharing
Pros• Up and downlink bandwidth control
Cons• No VPN server
• Low storage performance

Typical Price: $90  Buy From Amazon

Introduction

With the Archer C9, TP-LINK finally has released its first AC1900 class router. It's quite late to market, given that the first of its competition introduced AC1900 routers well over a year ago and followed up with AC2350 and AC3200 products last summer. But TP-LINK AC1900 is here now, so let's see what it brings to the party.

You could easily mistake the C9 for its AC1750 class Archer C8 sibling we reviewed a few months ago. If it weren't for the product number on the label on the back, you couldn't tell them apart. Connectors, lights and packaging are identical, so I just copied the callout graphics below from the C8 review. All the physical design comments there apply to the C9.

Archer C8 / C9 front panel callouts

Archer C8 / C9 front panel callouts

As with the C8, the C9's rear panel has only Gigabit Ethernet (with no Link / Activity lights) and USB 2.0 ports, Reset / WPS button and power switch. The USB 3.0 port is on the right side panel aside a wireless on / off switch. Most of the back cover is perforated for cooling.

Archer C8 / C9 rear panel callouts

Archer C8 / C9 rear panel callouts

Inside

The C9's board design continues the very-much-like-the-C8 theme. The board shot below has a heatsink very similar to the C8's.

TP-LINK Archer C9 board with heatsink

TP-LINK Archer C9 board with heatsink

And with the heatsink and RF can tops removed, the internal board is eerily similar to the C8's. In fact, you can judge for yourself with the composite image below. The C8 board is on top; the C9 on bottom.

TP-LINK Archer C8 (top), Archer C9 (bottom) boards

TP-LINK Archer C8 (top), Archer C9 (bottom) boards

The C9's key components are summarized in Table 1 along with the C8's. Basically, this is an Archer C8 with a Broadcom BCM4360 swapped in for the BCM4331 for the 2.4 GHz radio.

  TP-Link Archer C9 TP-Link Archer C8
CPU Broadcom BCM4709 Broadcom BCM4708
Switch In BCM4709 In BCM4708
RAM 128 MB 128 MB
Flash 16 MB 16 MB
2.4 GHz Radio Broadcom BCM4360
- Skyworks 2.4 GHz power amp (x3)
Broadcom BCM4331
- Unidentified 2.4 GHz power amp (x3)
5 GHz radio - Broadcom BCM4360
- SiGE 5003L1 5 GHz power amp (x3)
- Broadcom BCM4360
- SiGE 5003L1 5 GHz power amp (x3)
Table 1: Component summary

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