TP-Link has a developed a router that some users may find efficient and economical. The Archer C3200 router should provide sufficient power for gamers and web surfers. Equipped with a 1GHz dual-core cpu, and three co-processors, the C3200 has adequate network capabilities. However, customers will not be overwhelmed with the router's power performance. Despite the average speed delivery, the Archer C3200 delivers more than respectable ratings in comparison with other routers in its class. Users not concerned with above-average speed connectivity, but desiring efficiency in their wireless purchase, will not be disappointed with the C3200.
The aesthetics of the C3200 features a black finished design with standard looking LED indicator lights on the front, representing power displays. The router comes with six antennas that fold down into the middle of the router when not in use, creating a flat and compact space. Other features included are guest networks, parental controls and firewall security features.
The antennas operate three separate concurrent wireless networks. One operates on a 2.4GH frequency. A second operates on the lower end of 5GH frequency, and the third runs on the higher end of the 5GH band. The 5GH bands operate at 1300 Mbps each. All networks have their own router names (SSID). The technology is not advanced enough for custom SSID selection. One included feature is Smart Connect technology that enables the Archer C3200 to guide wireless connections to the applicable network device. This may enhance homes with multiple devices running at the same time. The benefit of this technology is that devices using less data will be directed to the lower 2.4GH band. This is perfect for users sending emails and other low data-usage tasks. Less downtime will be seen from devices using the higher 5GH band. Unfortunately, the user cannot pick which channel the network operates on. The lower bands have a channel default at 36. The higher band has a default band at 153. These settings are unchangeable. Users must also be aware that the latest ac technology is not yet compatible with all devices. It may be necessary to purchase ac adapters to enable connectivity for some wireless devices.
The six antennas and amplifiers allow for 3.2Gbps delivery speed. This is adequate performance, but not impressive. D-Link Ultra routers may provide greater performance if high power is a must-have for consumers.
The rear side of the C3200 is equipped with two USB ports (USB 2.0 and USB 3.0). C3200 consumers will be able to connect to a printer, and a back-up storage system on the same network. The rear also contains four Ethernet connections for high speed hard-wired connections. Routers may typically broadcast data all over the network instead of focusing on one device as the intended target. The Archer router is equipped with "beamforming" technology. Beamforming focuses the attention to the intended wireless device, enabling a more reliable and faster connection.
One tech reviewer shared test results of the Archer C3200 in his home with five other wireless router devices, inclusive of the D-Link DIR-890L and the Linksys EA9200. The tests were ran on the higher 5GH, channel 153. The first test was administered with the routers located about nine feet away from a laptop as the targeted device. The Archer C3200 came in third place out of five devices, beaten by the D-Link DIR-890L and the Linksys EA9200. A second test was run in a larger room with the routers 33 feet away from the device, with an insulated wall and appliances in between. The C3200 was almost on even ground with three other competitors. The biggest winner was the Asus RT-AC3200. The other competitors were narrowly ahead of the C3200 by a maximum of eight points. The Asus was ahead by 28 points. The Archer demonstrated reliable performance against other brands under "real conditions".
The TP-Link Archer C3200 shows itself to be a reliable, efficient router for the money. The C3200 does nothing to stand out from competitors in its class. However, its price is much lower than other tri-band routers with similar specs making it a very compelling purchase.