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Wireless Reviews

Features

The C3200's GUI has the same style as the Archer C8 (and C9), but features have been tweaked and reorganized a bit.

Basic mode status

Basic mode status

Here's a fresh summary. We'll cover wireless features later.

Routing / Firewall

  • Static IP, Dynamic IP, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP WAN connections
  • MTU Adjust on PPTP and L2TP only
  • WAN MAC address clone on all connection types
  • LAN IGMP snooping
  • IPTV support with multiple modes, IGMP V2 / V3 select and internet / IPTV select for each LAN port
  • DHCP Server with lease time setting, default domain, gatway and primary/secondary DNS
  • DHCP Client list
  • DHCP reservation (no pick list)
  • DHCP Condition Pool
  • IP / MAC binding
  • Virtual Server entry for single or multiple ports with separate local and remote ports and TCP, UDP or all protocols forwarded. Enable/disable for each entry.  9 preconfigured common service ports
  • Port triggering – can set individual or range of incoming ports.  9 preconfigured common applications
  • DMZ Host
  • UPnP enable/disable with list of current UPnP applications, settings, protocols, internal port and status
  • DDNS support for Dyndns (www.dyndns.org) and No-IP (www.no-ip.com)
  • IPv6 support:
    • WAN types: Dynamic; Static; PPPoE; 6to4 tunnel
    • LAN address assignment: SLAAC; DHCPv6 server
    • MTU adjust
  • SPI firewall enable/disable
  • DoS controls: ICMP-Flood; UDP-Flood; TCP-Flood, Block LAN ping, Block WAN ping
  • DoS controls: Low / Medium / High Flood block modes
  • Blocked DoS Host list
  • VPN Passthrough enable/disable for PPTP, L2TP and IPSec
  • Application Layer Gateway enable/disable for FTP, TFTP, H323, SIP and RTSP
  • Enable ICMP Flood filtering (with settable threshold)
  • Enable UDP Flood filtering (with settable threshold)
  • Enable TCP-SYN Flood attack filtering (with settable threshold)
  • Ignore Ping Packet from WAN port
  • Forbid Ping Packet from LAN port
  • Static routes

Bandwidth Control

  • Enable/disable bandwidth control with user settable upload / download speeds.
  • Bandwidth rules list based on IP address (or IP range), port range and protocol

Access / Parental Control

  • Schedulable internet access time by MAC address (no service / port control)
  • Keyword blacklist / whitelist

USB features

  • SMB storage sharing with account-based folder authentication
  • FTP server (no secure FTP)
  • Media server
  • Print server

Admin / System

  • Local management port adjust (80 default) and MAC address control
  • Remote management port adjust (80 default) and single remote IP / MAC address setting
  • Time zone, NTP server, daylight savings settings
  • Ping and traceroute tools
  • Online help (internet access not required)
  • Firmware upgrade from downloaded file (no auto check)
  • Backup and restore settings
  • Reset to defaults
  • Router reboot
  • Password change
  • Log with Type and Level setting and scheduled auto email (no alerts)
  • LAN traffic statistics
  • SNMP agent enable with Read / Set Community, System Name, Description, Location & Contact, Trap Manager IP
  • LED on / off schedule

Missing Features

  • HTTPS management option for either local or remote access
  • Bandwidth usage monitor
  • Port-based access control
  • NAT Boost control

It's disappointing to still see no HTTPS administration option, which would help secure remote access. The larger omission is the complete inability to block specific internet services. Parental controls provide only all-or-nothing internet access control.

It's nice to see TP-LINK add a VPN server, but it's IPsec based, not OpenVPN as found on many competing products, and for gateway-to-gateway use only; there are no VPN user accounts.

IPsec VPN serve

IPsec VPN server

I've put many of the screens with commentary into the gallery. But there's also an online emulator if you'd like to drive the C3200 yourself.

Features - Wireless

Unlike other AC3200 routers, the C3200 wants to come up with all three radios operating. The screenshot below shows the default screen in the Quick Set wizard that's launched automatically upon first accessing the router. In fact, this same screen is shown as the Basic > Wireless screen. So, clearly, TP-LINK believes Smart Connect is for Advanced users.

Quick Setup - Wireless

Quick Setup - Wireless

The Advanced screen below shows the 2.4 GHz radio defaults. The only change in the 5 GHz-1 and -2 screens is the mode changes to 802.11a/n/ac mixed. Note "Personal" and "Enterprise" (RADIUS) wireless security are both supported.

Advanced Wireless - 2.4 GHz defaults

Advanced Wireless - 2.4 GHz defaults

Checking the Smart Connect Enable box sets a single SSID to whatever is shown on the screen when you check the box, i.e. the SSID for the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz-1 or 5 GHz-2 radio. Note that Mode, Channel and Channel Width controls disappear.

Advanced Wireless - Smart Connect Enabled

Advanced Wireless - Smart Connect Enabled

You have do some digging to locate the Advanced Wireless settings in Advanced > System Tools > System Parameters. What you see below is it; no beamforming or airtime fairness controls are to be found.

Wireless Advanced settings

Wireless Advanced settings

Like all other AC3200 routers except ASUS' RT-AC3200, the Archer C3200 lacks wireless bridging features; no WDS and no "universal" client bridging. There is no AP mode either.

As with other AC3200 routers, each 5 GHz radio is limited to a subset of channels. 5GHz-1 supports only channels 36, 40, 44 and 48 and 5GHz-2 supports only channels 149, 153, 157 and 161. This is due to the filtering and other design tweaks required to keep the two radios from overloading each other.

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