We've finally had an opportunity to review The TP-Link Archer C9 wireless router. This was finally released from TP-Link with little fanfare but from what we've seen we think it deserved a bit more spot light.
Building off of the C8 form factor, the C9 is TP-Link's addition to the 1900AC wireless router line up. This router has a lot of nice upgrades from the Archer C7, like beam forming and a USB 3.0 port (see our review of the Archer C7).
The Archer C9 looks very modern (though our taste still lies with the Archer C7 chassis), this is no doubt appealing to the Apple iCrowd. The gloss white case with round edges and a built-in stand for upright orientation seems like they are hoping you are going to proudly showcase this alongside other media center trophies.
Our first impressions of the TP-Link Archer C9 were really good. If this was even close to the Archer C7, we thought this would be a great win for consumers. The router has great advertised speed, amazing price point, and the same awesome features we saw in its predecessors.
But our hope were dashed slightly as we started doing some testing and pulling back the covers on this wireless routers. Our results were as stellar as we had hoped. Maybe we just got our hopes up too high. We'll let you be the judge.
In the Box You Get:
Archer C9 1900AC Router
Power supply/Power cord
1 Ethernet Cable
Quick install guide
The contents of the Archer C9 box were the standard things you would expect to find, install CD, ethernet cable, power supply, install guide, and router.
We are glad to see so many manufacturers packaging the devices with molded paper cardboard which is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. No more styrofoam.
We connected up the router and quickly configured the basics without any issue.
Once we got connectivity to the router we reviewed the internal components and the over all specifications of the device. The CPU looks to be a Broadcom BCM4709 with 128MB RAM and 16MB of Flash for firmware upgrades, log and configs.
Here's a break down of the over specs:
1 Gig dual core CPU
128 MB of RAM
4 10/100/1000 Mbps LAN ports
1 10/100/1000 Mbps Wan port
1 USB 2.0 port
1 USB 3.0 port
Most all of the connections are on the back, however one thing that we noted is that none of the ethernet ports have any link LED or status indicators. Most likely done to save space. The back also includes the USB 2.0 port, the power connection, power button, and WPS, Reset button.
On the side you'll find the USB 3.0 port, and a factory reset pin hole.
On the front is all of the LED that are missing on the back relocated to the front for easy viewing. Front status indicators are: Power, Wireless On/Off, Ethernet On/Off, USB On/Off/Flashing, and WPS On/Off.
The wireless chipset included in the Archer C9 for are Broadcom BCM4360 for both the 2.4GHz and 5.0Ghz channels. The amps for both a different of course with the 2.4Ghz being powered by a Skyworks amp and the 5.0Ghz being poured by a SiGE amp.
Web UI used for configuration seems to be very similar to that used with the Archer C8. We found it fairly intuitive and easy to understand.
Many people might choose to move up to the AC1900 platform simply for some of the added features that you get with the slightly larger processing.
Some of these features are seen in the C7 and C8 however things like beamforming for improved 5.0Ghz performance can only be found on the C9. The one missing feature however was support for MU-MIMO. You have to move up to the Archer 2600 to get that feature.
Here's a quick list of some of the major features of the Archer C9:
Beamforming technology - concentrates the Wi-Fi signal towards your Wi-Fi devices
USB 3.0 which is 10x faster speed than USB 2.0.
USB sharing - for Media server, file server, printer server, FTP server
Media Server, Print Server, FTP servers, File Server, Storage Sharing
1900 Mbps - 1300Mbps over 5.0GHz channel and 600Mbps over 2.4Ghz (due to the dual channel processor).
In our tests, we tried to get close to 600Mbps but never got close. We searched through other independent reviews online, to see if anyone could get to the 600Mbps mark... but sadly we haven't found anyone who could hit this mark.
Overall the speed of the Archer C9 is exactly what most people will need. If you are having speed problems with your ISP, upgrading to a new router will help you get what you are paying for.
We've seen some pretty decent ranges from the Archer C9. Considering the price point of this router we were able to have excellent connections (70% and better) in two different large types of homes.
Using only the 5Ghz radio in a newer built very large 5000 square foot test home, we were able get very reliable connections every where in the house. With the 2.4GHz radio we were able to connect in every part of the house as well as outside up to approximate 8000 square feet.
We then took this router to an older, more solidly built, multi-story home of about 2600 square feet. Our tests here still showed full bars in all part of our house using both the 5GHz and 2.4GHz radios. Overall much better coverage that the ASUS AC1900 router.
The recent ability to load any alternative firmware on the Archer C9 has improved the flexibility of this router. Many people report being able to load DD-WRT on the Archer C9 v1 hardware without issue. Most people decide to use an alternative firmware because they are advanced users, like the flexibility of DD-WRT, or there is a feature that DD-WRT supports that the stock firmware does not. We highly recommend not upgrading to an alternative firmware unless you know exactly what you're doing. A failed firmware upgrade can ruin your router.
Almost every Amazon customer seemed to have very very positive things to say about the Archer C9. There were a few outliers who might have received a defective product, but overall there are really high ratings for purchases from Amazon
Remote mobile app for managing the router via your mobile device
Some of the best speed and range for the price point
Easy to setup
Depending on the features you use you may run into some bugs in the firmware.
Bugs we found were with parts of the firmware involving the DHCP server. Descriptions for DHCP ranges do not save properly. Also disabling WPS cause DHCP to stop functioning for new clients.
There are also some known issues with using the print server feature with OS X v10.11.3. This can be tricky to get working as you need to be sure the TP-Link controller software as well as the printer driver is support by your version of Apple Mac.
Amazon's Choice for Essential WiFi Router - AC1900 Whole Home Coverage Wireless WiFi Router
Eliminate connection issues in your home or office and get greater coverage and reliable wifi
Share local media, files and printers over the included USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports
Take advantage of the FTP server to access files stored on the Archer C9 while you are away
Reduce ping while gaming with the 1GHz dual-core processor
What This Product Does:
This AC1900 wifi router is best for a connected home. Whether you have smart home products, 4k streaming, online video gaming, or the whole family’s smartphones, the Archer C9 is engineered for fast and reliable wifi for the entire home. The 1GHz dual-core processor will ensure that your media streaming will not buffer if someone else is downloading a 4K movie in another room. Perhaps you have simultaneous devices connected taking up bandwidth, the beamforming technology will laser-focus your wireless signal to where you need it most. Superior wifi bandwidth utilization increases wifi range, delivering highly targeted and efficient wireless connections. Never more will you need to miss that climatic action scene, or booted out of a gaming server. TP-Link’s AC1900 wireless router is the solution for your home network.
$108.88 USD In Stock
TP-LINK ARCHER C7 REVIEW RATING
We gave the TP-Link Archer C9 a higher rating than found on Amazon with good reason. 4.8 stars for most items reviewed. This simple takes the best of the Archer C7 and really makes it even better and still at a great price. It's incredibly stable with all of the newer features you might come to expect in a home wireless router. We still found a few bugs that we hope will get fixed in upcoming firmware releases but over all this is a best buy!
Print Server issue using a Mac
Some DHCP bugs (minor)
Best speed and range
This is one of the best AC1900 wireless routers you can buy!