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Wireless Reviews

Features

The C3200's admin GUI and feature set is similar to the Archer C3200's. We did a pretty good run-through of the features in that review, so check it out if you're interested C2600's software knobs and switches. Since I learned the trick about TP-LINK posting a more complete set of emulators on its Global English website (vs. U.S.), I can post it for your browsing pleasure.

Basic mode status

Basic mode status

The C2600 and C3200's features differ a bit because of their different chipsets. The top-level menus differ in sequence and the C2600's QoS entry vs. the C3200's Bandwidth Control.

Basic mode status

Basic mode status

Diving into the sub-menus reveals a few other differences. The summary below is the C3200's list with C2600 missing features struck out and added features in bold red. 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
  • DoS Protection Low / Middle / High Level settings (packets / sec) for ICMP / UDP / TCP-SYN-FLOOD
  • VPN Passthrough enable/disable for PPTP, L2TP and IPSec
  • Application Layer Gateway enable/disable for FTP, TFTP, H323, SIP and RTSP
  • 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

QoS

  • Enable/disable bandwidth control with user settable upload / download speeds.
  • Priority-based rules for High, Middle and Low priority based on MAC address, application port range and protocol or physical port including main and guest Wi-Fi

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
  • Local FTP server (no secure FTP)
  • Internet accessible FTP (changeable port)
  • 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

The biggest differences between the QCA-based C2600 and Broadcom-based C3200 are in bandwidth management and VPN. The C2600 uses Priority-based QoS vs. the bandwidth-based controls of the C3200. The C2600 controls refer to a database, but this appears to be a simple database containing applications and the ports and protocols used. I see no sign of the C2600 using Qualcomm's StreamBoost intelligent bandwidth-shaping.

The C2600's difference in VPN is that it has no VPN server, just PPTP, L2TP and IPsec pass-throughs. It also doesn't have a UPnP / DLNA media server. Two things such an expensive router should have are HTTPS management and port-based access controls. You can only completely block internet access for specific devices, not just access to specific services. This seems redundant, since you can schedule internet access by MAC address via the limited Parental Controls.

Features - Wireless

The C2600's main wireless controls are similar to the C3200's. The Basic Wireless Screen contains only enables, SSID and pasword for each radio. Both radios are enabled by default with different SSIDs based on the router MAC address, but the same WPA / WPA2 password for both.

Basic Wireless

Basic Wireless

The Advanced Wireless screen below shows the 2.4 GHz radio defaults. The only changes in the 5 GHz screen are the mode changes to 802.11a/n/ac mixed and the channel is set to 149 vs. Auto. "Personal" and "Enterprise" (RADIUS) wireless security are both supported. Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is enabled by default on both bands. You can set 5 GHz channels 36, 40, 44, 48, 149, 153, 157, 161 and 165; DFS channels aren't supported.

Advanced Wireless - 2.4 GHz defaults

Advanced Wireless - 2.4 GHz defaults

The Advanced > System Tools > System Parameters is where the MU-MIMO enables are found, along with an assortment of other WLAN controls. Like the C3200, there are no beamforming or airtime fairness controls. I don't know why there's a MU-MIMO enable on the 2.4 GHz radio, since MU-MIMO is an 802.11ac spec that applies to 5 GHz only.

Wireless Advanced settings

Wireless Advanced settings

You'll be happy to know the C2600 supports bridging to any AP or router, or those that support WDS. Despite what you see below, you can't bridge both bands at once. Once you bridge one band, the other's controls are greyed out. Note the simple WPS enable / disable. You can't reset WPS and it looks like only push-button method is supported since there is no PIN to be found on the router labeling or admin GUI.

The last things you'll find on this page are DoS Protection Level Settings, Ethernet Duplex control and front panel LED on / off schedules. You can also turn the LEDS on and off manually via a front panel pushbutton.

Wireless Advanced - bridging

Wireless Advanced - bridging

Storage Performance

The summary graphic below from the Router Charts shows all 4x4 routers—both AC2350 / 2400 and AC2600—we've tested with our standard procedure with USB 3.0 connections and NTFS drive format. The Linksys EA8500 remains the storage performance champ among all 4x4 routers we've tested.

Storage Performance Comparison - USB 3.0 / NTFS

Storage Performance Comparison - USB 3.0 / NTFS

More Wireless

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