Is a RM1,000 router worth it?

Posted:  February 17, 2017   By:    14 comments   


Intro

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“Is the WiFi working?” That’s a question that gets asked a lot in the SoyaCincau headquarters. Most of the time, it’s met with a resounding groan and a big no. When you’re in a profession that needs a steady internet connection like we do, having your router go down more often than you take meal breaks is just plain frustrating.

So, we put our heads together and after some investigation, we deduced that our poor little sub-RM300 router simply couldn’t handle the load we put it under. So, that got us thinking: Is investing more money in an expensive router actually worth it? To find out, we reached out to TP-Link and asked if they could let us review one of their new routers. They responded by sending us the Archer AC3150 Wireless MU-MIMO Gigabit router.

Yup, that’s a thousand ringgit router. Here’s what we think of it.

Wait, it’s RM1,000?

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Nearly. TP-Link’s official online store in Lazada lists the router at RM969 with a 2-year warranty. But that’s still more than 3x what we paid for our original router.

OK, what do you get for your money?

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You actually get quite the spec sheet. First up it supports dual-band wireless networking at 2.4GHz and 5GHz. It’s also got MU-MIMO capabilities so it can achieve wireless speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps on 2.4GHz and 2,150 Mbps on 5GHz. That’s a far cry from our sub-RM300 router which can only push 300Mbps on 2.4GHz and 450Mbps on 5GHz.

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Besides that, it’s also got two USB ports (one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0) that can convert your hard disk into a network attached storage (NAS) accessible to anyone connected to the WiFi, and four antennas. You can also set up two separate guest networks (one on 2.4GHz and one on 5GHz) for your guests if you don’t want to give them access to stuff like your NAS or other connected devices.

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Setup was also really straightforward and TP-Link’s web admin UI was pretty intuitive too (plus you can access it at tplinkwifi.net instead of your router’s IP address). What’s more, it’s also compatible with UniFi, Maxis Fibre and Time Fibre so it should work no problem. We did have a little hiccup with setting up our UniFi connection, but once we went into the router’s Advanced settings, enabled IPTV and selected Malaysia-Unifi, everything was peachy.

TP-Link also lets you control your router via the TP-Link Tether application that you can download on Android and iOS. From the app, you get access to a whole bunch of controls. For example, you can see what kind of devices are connected (and block specific ones from connecting), view your wireless settings, set up guest networks, share passwords and access parental controls among others. It’s got a nice interface, but we feel that performance could be improved as it can get quite frustrating when you want to make a quick settings adjustment but get stuck staring at a loading icon.

Hmm, what about the build?

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Well, it certainly feels better than our original router, that’s for sure. However, it is still very much a hunk of plastic, half of which is glossy, while the other half is matte. Is it robust? Certainly. We tried our best to make it flex but it held up really well. Still, we wouldn’t recommend throwing it off a building, however.


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14 Comments for Is a RM1,000 router worth it?

digi no good

it makes no different

kamarul

Hopefully the c2300 will cost a lot less.

The c7 is perfect for most home users, but it doesn't have a usb3 port.

    Sub_zero

    You just can buy a switch with usb support

    Much more better since the router are less congested and leave the LAN management to switch

    And this is how basic network should be

anon

Please continue reviewing phones. I enjoy reading them

This article lacks the usual quality. Article mentions it can handle 1000Mbps on 2.4GHz and 2150Mbps on 5GHz, but you just brought it around your office and checking the link speed. Perhaps you should consider testing it with a capable device?

Aniki

I'm using AC2600 and it is really worth it as compare to Mi Router as i don't need additional repeater to get to distance very far away from the router in my house. Extra bandwidth will definitely make the network smoother and less congested, especially if you have a lot of 2.4GHz devices in your house like CCTV etc.

Tofu

A router with mu-mimo really helps as mu-mimo was designed to handle multiple user connections at the same time rather than serving one user connection at a time. It is worth it if you have many users on your network.

-Budding Network Engineer

    Sub_zero

    Close enough but not a proper explanation

    Here’s far more better explanation;

    http://www.howtogeek.com/242793/what-is-mu-mimo-and-do-i-need-it-on-my-router/

Samseng

Rory. why is your titles always a question?
can you start providing some answers instead of keep posting your readers questions?
Soya, can you get this school boy off your editorial and review (especially review) pieces? I am sure he has his strength (skateboarding maybe), but review products is not it. he did ok when he first started… but now is just unreadable.

Ngan Tengyuen

If processor and RAM is the main bottleneck, get a routerOS. https://www.geckoandfly.com/24015/router-os-enter…

    Sub_zero

    Or buy router that FULLY support openwrt or ddwrt OR sometimes tomato

    IF you know what you were doing of course since this is consider pretty much advance and you don’t want to have an electronic paperweight instead

Sub_zero

The general rule of wifi router is

It doesn’t matter if you have the space age router or bang of the buck router

If your backhaul aka your isp have teribble services then you will have the teribble services

And a lot of people confuse that they think wifi speed is equal to internet speed WHICH IS NOT AND NEVER WILL

Not to mention a lot of these people treat the router like old school telephone and hid in cupboard or put it hidden away and then complaint why the signal is terrible and so on

And not to mention these certain special snowflake who think they know wifi bought those chinese rubbish wifi device and claim can transmit over 1km with 5dbi antenna on 2.4ghz range

Topkek level malaysian ministers

eidrag

Hoping to see 30MB/s transfer rate to NAS but it seems to be too much for sub RM1k router to handle, better wait a while some more