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Wireless Reviews

Setup

Like many routers, setup is quite simple. A quick start guide shows how to connect your router and modem and a wired PC. A first run wizard walks you through a short setup procedure. To access it, just enter tendawifi.com in your browser address bar. Alternatively, the default IP address is 192.168.0.1.

The AC15 arrives with a unique SSID based on the format Tenda_xxxxxx, where xxxxxx is the last six digits of the MAC address. Similarly, the 5 GHz network has the format Tenda_xxxxxx_5G. Both wireless networks ship with WPA2 pre-configured with a password. That password is printed on a label affixed to the clear protective sheet that covers the front panel as well as on the permanently affixed label on the rear of the router.

You can also set up the AC15 using either its iOS or Android app. I'll be discussing these later.

Features

The AC15 is designed for ease of use. But many of the features available in other Broadcom-based routers are missing in the AC15. I decided to compare the features of the Tenda AC15 with a fairly full-featured AC1750 class router, the Amped Wireless RTA1750. Starting with that feature set, I used strikethrough text to show features not included and bold text to show differences in features or added features of the Tenda AC15.

Routing

  • Static and Dynamic IP, PPPoE , PPTP and L2TP WAN connections
  • PPTP Server
  • MAC address cloning
  • MTU Adjustment
  • DHCP Server, range setting, lease time setting, and default domain
  • DHCP Client list
  • Connected client list showing connection type
  • DHCP reservation
  • VLAN support
  • Virtual Server entry for single or multiple ports with TCP, UDP or all protocols forwarded. Enable/disable for each entry.
  • Single port forwarding. No control over TCP, UDP or both. No port range forwarding or triggering
  • Port filtering – can set individual or range of incoming ports. Allows you to enable or disable TCP and UDP ports on network devices.
  • Bandwidth-based upload/download QoS control.
  • DMZ Host
  • UPnP enable/disable with port map if enabled
  • DDNS support for Dyndns (www.dyndns.org) and TZO (www.tzo.com) no-ip.com, 3322.org
  • IPv6 support
  • NAT enable/disable
  • RIP 1/2 dynamic routing
  • Static routes

Security

  • Firewall enable/disable at each component level
  • VPN Passthrough enable/disable for PPTP, L2TP and IPSec
  • IPv6 pass through on VPN connection enable/disable
  • DoS (denial of service) enable/disable
  • Enable UDP Flood filtering (with settable threshold)
  • Enable TCP-SYN Flood attack filtering (with settable threshold)
  • Ignore Ping Packet from WAN port
  • Remote Management on WAN enable/disable
  • MAC address filtering
  • URL filtering
  • Internet access control - Rule based access control for host (domain name or IP address)
  • Parental Control - access schedule and whitelist per IP address
  • Bandwidth control per client

Wireless features

  • WEP, WPA / WPA2 Personal and Enterprise (RADIUS) support No control over security type, no RADIUS
  • 4 guest wireless networks  1 guest network per band on separate subnet; (Guest password common for both bands)
  • Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) support, pushbutton and PIN (Enable/disable soft switch in UI)
  • Auto and manual channel set
  • Transmission rate set
  • SSID broadcast enable/disable
  • Enable/disable wireless (via hardware switch or by schedule only - switch and schedule affects both bands)
  • Wireless Repeating - WISP or Universal Repeater modes
  • Beacon interval, RTS threshold, Fragmentation Threshold adjustments
  • Wireless MAC address filtering (allow or deny based on MAC address)
  • WMM disable
  • Short GI disable
  • 5 GHz Wireless modes: a, a+n, a+n+ac (default), ac only
  • 2.4 GHz Wireless modes: b, b+g, b+g+n (default), n only
  • 5 GHz channel width  20MHz/40MHz/80MHz, 20MHz, 40MHz, 80MHz
  • 2.4 GHz channel width 20MHz/40MHz, 20MHz, 40MHz
  • Transmit power adjust, 15%, 35%, 50%, 70% and 100%     low, medium and high
  • Wireless network statistics, packets sent/received, active associated clients

Storage features

  • SMB file sharing (no user accounts) single guest account
  • FTP server. Can set port and control anonymous FTP and anonymous write protection. No secure FTP

Other Features

  • Power save schedule
  • DLNA server for attached storage
  • Printer service for attached printer
  • Smart LED - On/Off/Schedule front panel LEDs
  • IPTV - Multicast and STB enable/disable
  • Tenda Cloud for remote access by mobile apps
  • Auto Maintenance (daily reboot at night)

The image below shows the AC15's landing page. I'll work through the main menus shown along the left side of the screen and comment on either unique features, or those that are missing on the AC15, but are found on other AC1900 class routers.

Tenda AC15 landing page

Tenda AC15 landing page

Internet Status - When you log into the AC15, you land at the Internet Status page. The page shows if you are connected to the Internet, the number of attached devices, the number of blacklisted clients and wireless settings. If you click on Attached Devices, a list of devices appears along with the MAC address, connection type and provides the option to black list (block) devices. Clicking on Wireless settings lets you change the SSID and network password for each band.

Internet settings - Your choices for Internet connection type are DHCP, PPPOE, or Static IP. Other features commonly associated with WAN settings such as setting the MTU, the speed of the WAN port and MAC address (default, manual, Clone this address) are found under System Settings, WAN settings. Unfortunately, there aren't many settings available here. You can't, for example, specify DNS addresses to be used when DHCP leases are created. It defaults to the gateway address for one DNS address, and 8.8.8.8 (Google's public DNS) for the others if used behind another router.

Wireless settings - In this menu, you have basic control over Wi-Fi Name and password and a Wi-Fi Schedule to create a Wi-Fi Off period that can be repeated every day or on specified days. You can also set up wireless repeating, control the operating channel and bandwidth on both bands and Signal Condition (low, medium or high transmit power) on each band.

WPS can be enabled or disabled. There's a WPS "soft" button in the UI, and PIN access is also supported. Surprisingly, there were no options for security settings. I'm assuming that under the hood, security is set to "Auto". Enterprise wireless security (RADIUS) is also not supported. Other than the schedule option, there's no way to turn off the radios from within the UI. There is, however, a hardware switch on the top of the router that shuts off wireless on both bands.

Guest Network - the Tenda AC15 supports a guest network on both 2.4 GHz and 5GHz. Each network can have a different name, but both share the same guest network password. The guest network operates on a different IP subnet (192.168.10.0/24). There are no settings for wireless client isolation, or to allow/deny access to resources on the "home" wireless network.

Smart Power Save - This allows you create a schedule for turning your router off and on. If enabled, it will repeat every day. In the default schedule which is midnight to 7:00am, the router estimates that it will save 2.92 kw-h/month. You can check an option to delay the start time. The router remains active unless data is transmitting at less than 3KB/s for thirty minutes.

USB Application - there are three choices in this menu: File Share, DLNA and Printer Service.

  • File share, the default login is admin/admin. You can change the password, but you can't create additional users. You can access the files via FTP on the local LAN, or via SMB using \\192.168.0.1. Other options include safely eject the storage device, and allow visits from the Internet.
  • DLNA - you only options are enable/disable and to name the DLNA server. There are no options to refresh the media server database. Nor is there a status of the rebuild nor any statistics on the amount of media indexed. I enabled the DLNA server and it indexed all of the content on my standard 16 GB multimedia test flash drive. All media types played as expected using one of my DLNA clients on my iPad.
  • Printer Service - there are no options other than Enable/Disable.

VPN - The only options are PPTP server enable/disable and PPTP/L2TP client enable/disable. If you enable the PPTP server, the default address pool is 10.0.0.100-10.0.0.200 with an option for MPPE encryption. You can add users and passwords for VPN users.

The final two menu options have a quite a few sub menus - many of which are self-explanatory - so I'll include two screenshots and comment as appropriate.

Advanced Settings -

Tenda AC15 Advanced Settings

Tenda AC15 Advanced Settings
  • Parental Control - you can limit Internet accessible time for the same schedule every day or on specified days. Website Limit allows you to enter key words of permitted sites. (white list)
  • Bandwidth control - allows individual upload and download speed limits for each client
  • Smart LEDs - keep LEDs on, keep LEDs off, or schedule off time
  • TendaCloud - allows you to remotely manage your router with mobile apps. You need to create a TendaCloud account and link your router to your account.
  • Remote Web - specify port for remote access to your router. Note: HTTPS not supported.
  • DDNS- your choices are limited to no-ip.com, dyndns, and 3322.org.
  • Virtual Server - Port forwarding is VERY basic. You can configure only individual ports - there's no port range forwarding. Nine Internet services (such as FTP, Telnet, HTTP, etc.) are pre-configured. You don't have any control over which protocol to use - I'm guessing that they enable TCP and UDP for any rules you manually create. In addition, port triggering, a feature popular with gamers, is not supported.
  • DMZ - Forward all ports to a single LAN IP address
  • UPnP - Enable or disable UPnP. When enabled, a list of ports, hosts and protocols (UPnP port map) appears.
  • IPTV - This allows you to enable Multicast and STB (Set Top Box). The STB should be connected to the LAN3/IPTV port on the router.

System Settings - Only a couple of these menus need any explanation.

Tenda AC15 System Settings

Tenda AC15 System Settings
  • LAN IP Setting - You can enable/disable the DHCP server and choose a DHCP lease time from a drop down list that ranges from one hour to one week. The AC15 does not support DHCP lease reservation. IPv6 is not supported.
  • System Log - the log shows only basic entries, and does not have provision to log to an external Syslog server.
  • Auto Maintenance - This is a feature that I've not seen on any of the routers I've reviewed. This allows the router to automatically reboot sometime between 3:00am and 5:00am in order to maintain itself. This only happens if traffic drops below 3KB/s.
  • Time & Date - This is the MOST basic time/date setup I've ever seen. You can only select a time zone. There is no support for daylight savings time nor can you configure which NTP server to use. And, should you not be connected to the Internet, you also can't manually set the time/date on the AC15.

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