TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 Review 2018

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Overall

The TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 is super-fast, powerful online gamimg router. It is best for 4k streaming. No matter if you are a beginner or a pro it serve you well. It has some of the advance feature that 99.4% other cheap router dosen’t has. So, it is well worth of your money if you can afford.

Pros
  • Super fast & Powerful
  • Power online gaming and 4K streaming
  • Easy to set up
  • Great 5Ghz performance
  • 1.4GHz dual-core CPU and 3 co-processors
  • Alexa and IFTTT support
Cons
  • USB Performance
  • Expensive
  • Not the nicest-looking device

So, lets jump into TP-Link Archer C5400 v2 Review. Our expert opinions, pros & cons.

We did compare with Linksys and find this…

Specs

  • The tp-link is true to see 5400 has 8 external antennas that fold down into the device.
  • This design overall looks pretty good in my own opinion.
  • That sets it apart from some of the competitors while still being functional.
  • Inside the unit, it has a dual-core 1.4 gigahertz processor with an additional 3 coprocessors dedicated to boosting the performance of each wireless band.
  • Easily power online gaming and 4K streaming on your Xbox, PlayStation, PC or Mac.
  • Ultra-fast 802.11ac Wave 2 MU-MIMO WiFi
  • NitroQAM technology delivers up to 5400Mbps Wi-Fi speeds
  • Over one 2.4GHz (1000Mbps) and two 5GHz (2167Mbps) bands
  • Powerful security, antivirus, and parental controls.
  • Powerful 1.4GHz dual-core CPU and 3 co-processors
  • Personal VPN server with OpenVPN
  • Works with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT.
  • 2-year warranty and unlimited 24/7 technical support

USB ports & switches

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In the back you get 2 USB ports, one being 2.0 and the other 3.0. Along with the standard amount of 4, 1-gigabit internet ports and I just want to say here that I wish at this level of router 8 internet ports was the standard. You don’t find that very often but I just kind of wish it was a thing 4 ports are ok.

And everything and most people who need more have switches on their network but in today’s world everything is connected and it’s nice to be able to hardwire things without the need of additional equipment.

Wireless technology

Moving on to the wireless side of things, this is where the c 5400 begins to shine. It uses a four-stream wi-fi boosting technology called Nitro QAM that increases the maximum throughput by 25% for the combined speed of 5.3 gigabits per second. It has tri-band technology that will give you three distinct wireless bands to balance your connected devices for optimal speed. And it uses MIMO which allows you to communicate with up to four devices at the same time. Like I mentioned before, on other routers that use this that means that it doesn’t load balance those devices by providing data packets to each one individually and then switching back and forth.

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This is the old way of doing things which means that the more devices you have on your wireless network the slower things can get. With MIMO the router can provide a constant data stream to those four devices all at the same time while still being able to use some of those channels to communicate with other devices as needed. This is most noticeable if you are a gamer who needs a constant connection on a laptop or a game console. With the c 5400 having two five gigahertz band to use you can also balance those bandwidth hungry devices as needed for better overall performance and reliability. Maybe you are a PS4 user. If you are interested, you may check  Best Gaming Routers for PS4  also.

On top of all this, it’s also using beamforming technology to locate the devices on your network and concentrate the wireless signal in their direction for better performance.

Firmware

Moving on to the firmware the c 5400 has all of the standard goodies that you would find in a high-end router. Things like parental control, guest network, dynamic DNS, print server, VPN server, external USB drive, das protection and a firewall are all included.

However, something that has that I actually didn’t see on my Linksys router is a support for a 3g or 4g internet connection which actually is kind of cool. Because you can set it up to fill over to your 4g card in the event of your ISP going down. Of course, you don’t want to use 4g all the time because wireless carriers could charge you an arm and a leg to do so.

But in the event of an emergency, this could really help you out. Which actually brings up an interesting idea for me what if high-end routers in the future had two internet ports that would allow you to connect to two ISPS. Maybe even some way to load balance them from an even faster internet connection without the need for any additional hardware. And not limit this to enterprise-grade switches.

Performance & wi-fi speeds

Now on the performance, a c 5400 offers a lot of bandwidth but with one small caveat. You need the right hardware to really take advantage of it and what I mean by that is that to get the combined speed of all the bands into one pc you would need a special wi-fi card like the ASUS ac 3100 PCIe adapter.

But with this device, you could theoretically achieve some pretty crazy wi-fi speeds beyond any normal wi-fi card. But this device is only useful to those who want the maximum amount of speed for one computer. Just keep in mind that at some point that gigabit ports on the back are going to be the bottleneck when communicating with the rest of your network.

Wi-Fi signal & speeds test

It’s one of those you can only go so fast type of things but in reality, this router is designed to in a busy household with many devices being used at the same time. And more so, designed to give you a great wireless signal throughout your house and that’s where my testing comes in. I felt as if the best way to see real-world performance out of this router was to see how well performed in different areas in my house with a standard mobile device. Furthermore, I chose compared to the only other high-end router that I have the lynx is ac 3200.

To get a baseline number I set up the new router right next to my old router and put them on non-conflicting channels. I used an app on my iPhone 8 which has the most current wi-fi technology found in mobile devices to measure the signal strength by benchmarking the speed between the phone and the router.

Keep in mind that this is not a speed test to an outside server. Only a test between the router and the phone.

For my baseline numbers right in front of the routers, I was getting a range of about 450 to 500 megabits per second with the Linksys, on the tp-link I was getting about 460 to 550. My first test though was the most brutal one.

By me going to the farthest point of my house away from my router. Now my router sits underneath my TV in the bottom, quarter of my basement not the best location but it’s always worked for me. It does give me a chance though to see how well it can do on the complete opposite side of my home. With this test on the c 5400, the signal did bounce around a little bit but it had a range of about 23 to 30 megabits per second. In comparison, my Linksys was getting a range of about 25 to 40.

My next test was in the master bathroom that was still on a different floor but it was closer to the router. Here I was getting about 170 to 200 on the c 5400 while only getting around 80 to 150 off of my link cost.  Gotta say so far the numbers are looking not too bad.

For the last test though I was in my dining room almost directly above both routers. With the Linksys, I had speeds of about 360 to 410 whereas on the c 5400 I was getting 400 to 430. So in the end with these results, it looks like the c 5400 holds its own when it comes to signal strength and speed.

At a super close range, it offers a bit more speed than the Linksys but taking it up a floor it gives it a bigger gap in performance. It definitely shines through at mid-range distances offering the most consistent and reliable speeds but falls behind a bit when pushed to the most extreme points in my house. Which means that if I were to move forward with my two-year-old plan of centralizing my wireless router underneath my basement stairs, I could technically gain a stronger more reliable signal strength than I can with my Linksys router. Actually, since I never go to the far corners of my house.

Anyways I can still gain a better signal in my master bedroom and bathroom with the c 5400 as is.

Now, this brings me to price. At the time of this video, the tp-link archer c 5400 was found cheapest on Amazon for 270 dollars with free shipping with great mid-range performance and the added bonus has been able to fill over to a 3g or 4g wireless card for internet. It might actually be worth the upgrade from something like the ac 3200.

Should you buy TP-Link Archer C5400 v2

However, if you’re someone who is pushing the limit of your wi-fi range and you need the absolute best performance in the farthest corners of your house then there may be other routers out there that can give you just a little bit more speed. This really shines for me at mid-range distances of about 45 feet away through multiple walls on another floor. Take that to about 60 feet away and I see a dip in performance compared to the Linksys.

Now I’m not saying it doesn’t still work great. I’m just saying that the benchmarking numbers were not as high.

 

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