GIVEAWAY: Sabrent Rocket Q 8TB NVMe PCIe M.2 SSD worth $2000!

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review

Built on the Qualcomm EFX platform, the Archer AC2600 wireless dual-band gigabit router takes full advantage of MU-MIMO technology.

@TylerBernath
Published Mon, Feb 8 2016 11:13 AM CST   |   Updated Thu, Jul 30 2020 4:20 PM CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: TP-LINK

Introduction & Pricing, Availability and Specifications

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 02 | TweakTown.com
VIEW GALLERY - 22 IMAGES

Most solutions hitting the market as of late are coming equipped with a technology called MU-MIMO. This technology is being deployed in many solutions to improve wireless bandwidth by enabling simultaneous host to client transmission. This simply means that the host or router will serve multiple clients at the same time where previously devices would "take turns" transmitting data.

One of the newest solutions coming from the lab at TP-LINK is their AC2600 solution. This router is a four-stream enabling 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band via 256QAM and 1.7Gbps on the 5GHz band, additionally, as mentioned, this solution does feature MU-MIMO technology. Diving deeper the TP-LINK Archer C2600 shares an identical platform with the Linksys EA8500, this starts with the Qualcomm IPQ8064 operating at 1.4GHz next to 512MB of memory. The 2.4 and 5GHz radios are powered by the QCA9980 MU-MIMO radio using Skyworks power amps, and the entire platform utilizes 32MB of flash.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 03 | TweakTown.com

Hardware features of the C2600 include four gigabit LAN ports paired with a single gigabit WAN, adding to this is two USB 3.0 ports along with four detachable antennas. On the wireless side of things, this wireless router supports dual-band connectivity via 802.11b/g/n on 2.4GHz and 802.11ac/n/a on the 5GHz with each supporting 64/128-bit WEP and WPA security. MSRP of the TP-LINK Archer C2600 sits at $249.99 with a two-year warranty.

Router Details

TP-LINK Archer C2600 Wireless Router

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 10 | TweakTown.com

The product packaging is standard for TP-LINK; we have a two tone box with an image to the right of the router. Marketing information is along the bottom left with the model number.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 11 | TweakTown.com

On the back of the box, we have marketing information towards the bottom with a diagram of this unit's functionality at the top.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 12 | TweakTown.com

The scope of delivery includes the power adapter, reading materials and an Ethernet cable.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 13 | TweakTown.com

Looking at the front of the router, we have a single button that can disable all the LEDs on the router.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 14 | TweakTown.com

Switching to the side we have both of the USB 3.0 ports, the Wi-Fi on/off button along with the reset and WPS buttons.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 15 | TweakTown.com

Looking at the back of the router, we have the four gigabit LAN ports to the left with the WAN port centered.

Test System Setup and Management GUI

Tyler's Router Test System Specifications

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 20 | TweakTown.com

Setup of the C2600 is rather simple and starts with the sign in above. By default, the username and password are admin: admin or admin: password.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 24 | TweakTown.com

Basic setup landing shows you a quick view of what's going on in your network. On the left side, there is a menu to navigate options.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 25 | TweakTown.com

As you can see the C2600 can auto detect your internet connection.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 26 | TweakTown.com

Above, we have the wireless menu, and of course, you can edit basic information in this menu including the SSID and password.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 27 | TweakTown.com

USB settings allow you to setup a share using any USB storage device. Options include a media server and even a print server.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 32 | TweakTown.com

QoS is handled within the interface by placing PCs or devices into groups.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 27 | TweakTown.com

The firmware version for the C2600 was version 1 when tested the build number is also shown above.

Benchmarks – Throughput

Wired Throughput

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 40 | TweakTown.com

Starting off with LAN to LAN throughput the Archer C2600 produced 952 Mbps, right with the best AC2600 solutions.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 41 | TweakTown.com

WAN to LAN for the TP-LINK Archer C2600 reached a peak of 860 Mbps.

Wireless Throughput

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 42 | TweakTown.com

Switching to wireless throughput, we found the Archer produced 129 Mbps on the 20MHz band and 192 Mbps on the 40 MHz band. Each of these results were quite good and near the top for AC2600 routers.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 43 | TweakTown.com

Moving over to 5GHz testing, I was able to reach 132 Mbps on the 20MHz band with 248 Mbps on the 40MHz band. Peak performance for the Archer topped 448 Mbps on the 80MHz band.

Benchmarks – Multi-User Test & Final Thoughts

Multi User Throughput

In our Multi-User test, we use three identical smartphones with the latest QCA MU-MIMO chipset. This test requires the router to handle three simultaneous throughput streams with the results below for each band.

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 44 | TweakTown.com TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 45 | TweakTown.com

Looking at our testing on the 2.4GHz band, you can see the TP-LINK device reached 90 Mbps and switching to the 5GHz band we found the Archer topping all previous solutions at 373 Mbps.

Final Thoughts

TP-LINK Archer C2600 MU-MIMO Wireless Dual-Band Router Review 99 | TweakTown.com

With this being the fourth router I have seen from TP-LINK, one thing I have made note of is the consistency of each product I test. Build quality has always been, from the first product to the latest, top notch and in the case of the OnHub reviewed a few months back, stellar.

The Archer C2600 stays true to this idea with solid build materials and excellent design. On the front of this unit, you will find a single button to disable all LEDs on this router while the side of the unit houses additional buttons to disable Wi-Fi and reset the system. These are features that are quickly catching on with vendors, and it's certainly nice to see this solution adopt them.

The performance of the Archer C3200 was quite good and in comparing to previously tested AC2600 solutions, it ranks near the top in both LAN to LAN and 2.4GHz throughput while 5GHz throughput it ranks near the top as the third quickest on the 80MHz band. Performance numbers for this solution break down with 952 Mbps over LAN with WAN topping out at 860 Mbps. The wireless bands reached peak numbers of 192 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band while the 5GHz band topped 448 Mbps. And in looking at the MU-MIMO numbers, we found the Archer to be the quickest solution to date on both the 2.4 and 5GHz bands.

As you may have noticed over the past few reviews, TP-LINK uses the same platform on each of their routers. While this platform doesn't have a fancy name, it is one of the cleanest interfaces I have used. As you have seen in the screenshots, the menu is very straightforward with basic and advanced menus for the standard consumer. They will be able to navigate the basic section with ease and change settings for their wireless network. Prosumers and enthusiasts will be able to go into more detail and change bands and signal strength among other things with the advanced menu.

Overall, the Archer C2600 is a solid solution built upon the new Qualcomm Atheros MU-MIMO EFX platform.

TweakTown award
Performance95%
Quality including Design and Build90%
General Features85%
Bundle and Packaging90%
Value for Money88%
Overall90%

The Bottom Line: A great interface, solid performance with technology that's looking forward make the Archer C2600 a great solution for users wanting to upgrade their wireless network.

PRICING: You can find products similar to this one for sale below.

USUnited States: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com

UKUnited Kingdom: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.co.uk

AUAustralia: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.com.au

CACanada: Find other tech and computer products like this over at Amazon.ca

DEDeutschland: Finde andere Technik- und Computerprodukte wie dieses auf Amazon.de

Growing up in a small farm town, tech wasn't around, unless it was in a tractor. At an early age, Tyler's parents brought home their first PC. Tyler was hooked and learned what it meant to format a HDD, spending many nights reinstalling Windows 95. Tyler's love and enthusiast nature always kept his PC nearby. Eager to get deeper into tech, he started reviewing.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

Related Tags

Newsletter Subscription
Latest News
View More News
Latest Reviews
View More Reviews
Latest Articles
View More Articles