The TP-LINK Archer C7 is an affordable and reliable 802.11 AC router that provides excellent coverage, durable external antennas and solid speed. This router is dual band, wireless and pretty much bare bones. It doesn't have the extra special high tech bells and whistles of other routers on the market yet it is quite cheap. It retails for around $100.
The unit has the wireless standard for "next generation" routers, 802.11AC. In terms of technical data, the TP-LINK Archer C7 can provide support up to 450 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. It can also support 1,300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. The device averages 100 Mbps at 2.4GHz when in 11n mixed mode. When in 11ac mixed mode, it averages 87 Mbps. Most users will be content with its throughput and its wireless coverage range.
In terms of aesthetics, the TP-LINK Archer C7 measures 9.6 inches by 6.4 inches and has a depth of 1.3 inches. The exterior is a glossy black that is made of plastic. It does look a bit basic and some would even go as far as calling it cheap when put side by side with the new, higher quality 11 ac routers. It has 3 5dBi antennas that can detach. Each is incredibly sturdy with ample girth so they won’t fall downwards. They remain upright at all times thanks to their sturdiness and superior craftsmanship.
The front panel has all the normal LEDs of the typical router and the rear panel contains 2 USB 2.0 ports for external drives and printers. The back also has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports along, a Gigabit WAN port antenna connections, a power button, a WPS reset switch and a button to turn wireless radios on and off. The TP-LINK Archer C7 also has 3 antennas on the inside in addition to those found on the outside.
The router allows the configuration of IGMP proxy to manage IP multicasting. There is also WDS bridging and the router provides support for WPA2 Enterprise, which is a bit rare for most consumer oriented routers. So, while the TPLINK Archer C7 is fairly basic, it does boast these advanced features that set it apart from other traditional low cost consumer routers.
Yet the TPLINK Archer C7 does not permit users to set the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands to function solely at 802.11n. Users will be limited to the 802.11b/g mixed mode, the 11a/n/ac mode at 5GHz, the 11a/n mixed and the 11b/g/n mode at 2.4GHz. The unit has also been criticized by users for having an average throughput and lack of wireless settings.
While the TP-LINK Archer C7 doesn’t provide the premier 11ac performance on the market, it is serviceable. Those who don’t need ultra fast speed will likely be perfectly happy with it. It doesn’t have as many extra features as premium 11 ac routers but is priced at about half the amount of those competitors, so it is a good deal.