My first router review, and I was given a damn fine one to kick things off. The TP-Link Archer C9 Wireless Dual Band Router is sleek, and well-rounded on the performance side of things. It’s also one of the cheapest on the market, but certainly doesn’t seem like it. If you’re unfamiliar with the TP-Link brand, they’re mostly known for producing more of a mid-tier router which isn’t going to make your wallet cry. With the Archer C9, they’ve moved up the ladder in terms of quality while still retaining a great price point. This router is an amazing pick if you’re either working from home or just chilling.
Kicking off with the design, the TP-Link Archer C9 boasts a beautiful glossy white body with a metal frame surrounding it. It’s certainly a looker, but the frame holds the body in a fixed up-right position, so laying it flat is out of the question. On top of the router, you will find the spots to screw in the three antennas for Wi-Fi use. These are included, but you can always get stronger ones if needed. Around back is where we’ll find almost all of our ports. We are given a USB 2.0 slot, the WPS button, the Ethernet Port, four LAN ports, the powers switch, and the power port. Notice I said “almost all.” If you will direct your attention to the left side of the TP-Link Archer C9, you will find the Wi-Fi button and a USB 3.0 slot. This router features pretty much everything you’ll need on the outside, aside from maybe having a second USB 3.0 slot, but I can look past that.
As far as how well it performs, you won’t be disappointed on that front either. It is an AC1900-rated dual-band router. Confused? This means that the Archer C9 can do 802.11ac (5GHz) at 1300Mbps, and 802.11n (2GHz) at around 600Mbps. Still confused? Basically, the Wi-Fi capabilities of this router are incredible. At short distances, around five metres and under, I was able to transfer information such as files at speeds greater than 40 megabytes per second, and I’ve read other reports of this as well. It also helps that the antennas used for the Archer C9 are also comparable to the ones found on higher-end routers, where the signal can be directed to a device as opposed to going all over the place. To truly take advantage of the 802.11ac, your PC, laptop, smartphone, or whichever piece of equipment you’ll be using will need to have an 802.11ac wireless adapter. Thankfully, most modern devices feature this by default.
The TP-Link Archer C9 is also very easy to set up and use, featuring one of the cleanest user interfaces I’ve seen on a router. A ton of basic information is given by default, and you’re presented with a nifty map of the network to see what’s connected. A quality of service (QoS) management tool called NAT Boost is also enabled from the beginning, and personally I didn’t have to turn it off for any reason. It’s designed to speed up Internet connections by sending out transmission frames right when it receives the destination. The only reason you may need to turn it off is for instances such as port forwarding or parental control. It also features a pretty fleshed-out “Advanced” options list offering plenty of things for you tinkerers out there to get their hands on.
TP-Link have upped their game with the Archer C9, offering a higher mid-range router for an extraordinary price point. I’ve noticed that seems to be the trend recently for the tech world. I’ve dealt with a lot of mid-range smartphones this year that felt more like a flagship phone based on performance and design. It’s a trend both me and my wallet will be happy to see continue.