The Bottom Line
Introduction & Pricing, Availability, and Specifications
The Archer lineup from TP-Link spans from the Archer C2 at AC750 to the Archer C5400 using the latest tri-band AC5400 tech. The Archer C3150 in-house today sits near the top of TP-Link's massive router lineup as a dual-band Wave 2 solution.
The C3150 too has been updated with a second revision of its hardware, an update that has brought it HomeCare capabilities, the same as the C5400 we recently reviewed. That said, the C3150 is a dual-band solution supporting NitroQAM and 1000 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 2167 Mbps on the 5GHz band.
It matches up perfectly with our test platform using the same AC3100 technology, so it will be interesting to see how this solution performs.
The specification sheet for this solution notes its four LAN ports and single WAN. The router supports a physical button for WPS, reset, and wireless on/off, in addition to its LED on/off button. The antennas for this solution are detachable using the RP-SMA connector and power is rated at 12v 5A.
The MSRP for the TP-Link Archer C3150 comes in at $219.99 with a two-year warranty.
TP-Link Archer C3150 Wireless Router
Packaging follows the new color scheme and branding from TP-Link. The bottom shares features of the router and the top mentions its Wave 2 design.
In the box, the router is covered in plastic with its power adapter next to it.
Outside the box, we have four antennas, the power adapter and ethernet cable.
The front of the router houses a single LED in the center. The front of the router is solid plastic, and the back is vented to let heated air escape.
The side of the router includes the hardware buttons for Wi-Fi, WPS and reset. We also have USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports.
The backside houses four gigabit LAN ports and a single WAN, and four RP SMA connections for the antenna and power input.
Management GUI Details
Setup starts with selecting time zone.
A few steps later, you set up your SSIDs and passwords for each band.
The dashboard gives a quick look at connections and status of the router.
Wireless settings give you access to SSID and passwords. Ticking the advanced menu allows you to change higher level wireless settings.
USB settings include folder sharing and media server naming.
Parental controls include a per device list where you can choose the type of restriction.
Test System Setup & Benchmark Throughput Tests
Tyler's Router Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Maximus IX Hero (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K (buy from Amazon) / (Read our Review)
- Memory: G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Hybrid (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Intel 730 480GB SSD (buy from Amazon) / (Read our Review)
- Secondary Storage: MyDigitalSSD BP5 512GB SSD (buy from Amazon)
- Case: EVGA DG-86 (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 750 P2 (buy from Amazon)
- Networking: ASUS PCE-AC88 AC3100 (buy from Amazon)
- Networking: ASUS ROG 10G Express
- I/O: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
The Tenda AC9 was the last router I tested with the old Z170 platform. With our new test system, we re-ran it through testing to have it on our new charts.
With our LAN throughput, I found the C3150 to grab up 942 Mbps, which is on par with the best solutions we have seen.
WAN throughput came in at 918 Mbps.
2.4GHz performance reached a peak of 228 Mbps while 5GHz performance reached 909 Mbps.
Mobile throughput reached a peak of 453 Mbps on the 5GHz band with 2.4GHz hovered around 105 Mbps.
Benchmarks - Wireless Range and File Performance
Our next test for this new setup sees how range affects performance. With this, we start at 10Ft and move out to 30Ft. Routers are tested in their default configuration for this part; the client device is the iPhone 7 Plus.
Throughput at 10ft started at 105 Mbps while moving to 20ft saw that drop to 101 Mbps. At 30Ft, the C3150 ended at 58 Mbps.
The 5GHz band started at 453 Mbps and finished at 453 Mbps at 30ft, losing no performance in testing.
Storage performance was admirable; I reached 92 MB/s read and 53 MB/s write.
It's worth noting that the hardware version we had in for testing is V1 and TP-Link has since launched a V2. I'm unsure what the differences are at this point but Version 2 does support the new homecare firmware so there may be more memory or additional flash.
The build quality of the solution in-house is quite good. Half of the plastics are glossy so it will gather prints and dust rather quick, apart from, there were no issues found with the C3150.
Wired performance of the C3150 was on par and equal to every other solution I have tested. At 942 Mbps LAN to LAN and 913 Mbps for WAN, the C3150 can handle anything up to a single Gig connection from your ISP.
Wireless throughput for 2.4GHz touched 228 Mbps which appears to be normal for our new test system. 5GHz was quite good at 909 Mbps, just a touch under the quickest we have seen.
For range, the C3150 could use some help on 2.4GHz. In testing, we quickly lost almost all the throughput at 30Ft, but switching to 5GHz, we gained it all back and much more. USB performance was admirable with read performance hovering around 92 MB/s. Write performance came in at half that at 53 MB/s.
The firmware interface for the C3150 is average. I do enjoy the HomeCare platform slightly more because of its additional features, but if you do end up grabbing a hardware Version 1 solution, the default interface is quite easy to navigate.
The Bottom Line: TP-Link's C3150 is a well built Wave 2 solution with remarkable 5GHz performance but lackluster 2.4GHz performance. For those in the market, I would look for Version 2 with the better WebGUI.
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