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Wireless Reviews

Features

While the feature set of the TP-LINK Archer C5 V2 is very similar to the C5 V1, the user interface has been updated. The two screenshots below show the Basic and Advanced interface. Both interfaces are fairly "flat" with only one level of sub-menus below a top level menu. There is no online emulator for the Archer C5 V2, but there are emulators for the Archer C8 and the Archer C9 that appear to be the same as the C5 V2. Using the emulator for either product will allow you to explore all of the features of the router.

The Basic interface provides you with a network map along with a limited set of menu items.

TP-LINK Archer C5 V2 basic interface

TP-LINK Archer C5 V2 basic interface

Clicking on the advanced feature tab at the top of the screen provides you with full access to all configuration options.

TP-LINK Archer C5 V2 advanced interface

TP-LINK Archer C5 V2 advanced interface

One feature that I particularly like is the built-in context sensitive help found on the Archer series routers. Clicking on the green "?" at the top right corner of the screen opens a help page that completely describes the menu you have currently selected. The screenshot below shows you the level of help detail available for the Network->WAN menu.

TP-Link Archer Help

TP-Link Archer Help

If you're looking for more detailed information, you can download the data sheet or the complete Archer C5 V2 user guide.

Wireless Features

The image below shows the default wireless configurations for the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radios. In addition, there are wireless settings menus for each band for WPS (PIN and push button supported), Wireless Security (secure, WPS/WPA2 Personal, WPA/WPA2 Enterprise and WEP), Wireless MAC filtering (Enable all/disable all) Wireless Advanced (transmit power, Beacon Interval, RTS Threshold, Fragmentation Threshold, DTIM interval; Enable WMM, Enable Short GI, Enable AP Isolation) and Wireless Statistics.

TP-LINK Archer C5 V2 basic wireless defaults

TP-LINK Archer C5 V2 basic wireless defaults

Guest Networks are very configurable for each band with the options shown below. Access to local network and bandwidth controls are global controls. Other settings apply to individual bands.

TP-LINK Archer C5 V2 Guest Network Settings

TP-LINK Archer C5 V2 Guest Network Settings

Routing Performance

The C5 V2 was loaded with 3.17.1 Build 20160201 Rel. 61368 firmware and tested using the Version 4 router testing methodology. Due to the need for a constant internet connection that isn't possible using the new router test method, the only other AC1200 router with V4 results is Luma. So that's what you'll find in Table 2 with the C5 V2's results. You can download an Excel test summary that contains all functional and performance test results for the Archer C5 V2.

Test Description TP-LINK Archer C5 V2 Luma
WAN - LAN - TCP 919 941
LAN - WAN - TCP 919 941
Total Simultaneous - TCP 881 1764
WAN - LAN - UDP 364 960
LAN - WAN - UDP 459 960
Total Simultaneous - UDP 794 1898
Functional Score 91 N/A
Firmware Version 3.14.1 Build 1411126 Rel.62171n Unknown
Table 2: Routing Throughput (Mbps)

Both products delivered unidirectional TCP/IP routing throughput over 900 Mbps in both directions, with Luma hitting the 941 Mbps maximum achievable rate in the test.  This maximum is lower than 1000 Mbps because it includes protocol overhead.

As noted in previous reviews using the V4 testing methodology, Total Simultaneous TCP/IP throughput is proving to be a better performance differentiator.  The chart above shows Luma had almost exactly double the unidirectional TCP/IP throughput compared to the Archer C5 V2. Luma also outperformed the Archer C5 V2 by an even larger margin for Total Simultaneous UDP performance vs. unidirectional UDP. The gist of all this is that the Luma is a much more powerful wired router than the Archer C5 V2.

Most products fail the new maximum UDP connection test and pass the TCP connection test. But the Archer C5V2 failed both, establishing only 198 out of 3000 TCP/IP connections. For UDP, it was able to establish all 3000 connections, but couldn't keep them all open long enough (3 minutes) for the confirmation pass in the UDP test.

The functional score of 91% equates to 22 failed tests, which is a decent score.  Most failed tests related to DNS and UPnP functions related to the DHCP server.

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