This is a review of a free product received from TP-LINK as part of the review program.
The TP-Link Archer C1900 router has the same semi-vertical 8.7"x6.6"x3.4" format (with permanently attached support stand) as the earlier routers in this series, and looks identical except for being a glossy black. The packaging graphics show that this is a 900mW High Power version, with a 1GHz Dual-Core Processor, Dual Bands, and BeamForming technology. The three Dual Band antennas mount on top of the router, and are detachable. There are eight backlit LED indicator lights on the front, which clearly display the identity and current status of all router functions. There are four Gigabit ethernet LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port on the back, a USB2 port for printer connection, a USB3 port for a network drive connection, and two on/off switches for main power and for the WiFi channels. The power cord is 60" long, and terminates in a 2.2"x3.5"x1.4" , 3.3 Amp power supply at the plug-in.
The Quick Installation Guide clearly identifies the six easy steps for connecting the router, and, after logging into the administrative console, selecting the time zone and internet connection type, and entering any names and passwords you want for your wireless networks, you are good to go in under 3 minutes. The final click is to test your internet connection.
I run multiple networks, so I always prefer to set up a new router by connecting it directly to an off-line computer via the provided ethernet cable, re-setting the default (192.168.0.1) router address to something else, thereby preventing conflicts with my cable modem that already uses that address. This also allows me to check and update the router firmware (if needed), and make a few quick adjustments to key functions before connecting the router to my modem and/or my other LAN networks. The firmware on the router was current, as received(FW: 3.17.0 Build 20151009 Rel 61423n). Note that you must go to the US TP-Link site for downloads (http://www.tp-link.us/download/Archer-C1900.html#Utility) of the C1900 firmware or Printer Controller Utility - the current link in the C1900 Administrative Console points to TP-Link.com , which has no C1900 listing. The C1900 appears to be a US product form at present.
After verifying that everything is up and running fine, a quick review of the Admin Console starts in the Basic tab, where the Network Map gives a very clean overview of all of the router's attached devices and functions. Simply clicking on any item of interest opens a drop-down window with detailed status information for that item. Basic Internet, Wireless, USB Print Server and File Sharing, and Guest Network settings can all be adjusted on the Basic Tab.
Advanced users will find additional and specialized settings options for fine-tuning performance in the Advanced Menu. Most people will likely only need the Advanced Tab for setting up the Guest Networks and for Parental Control settings, in addition to taking care to check/adjust a few Security settings to their needs. Gamers will likely want to enter DMZ settings in the Forwarding Tab, and all should note that UPnP is ON by default.
I have been running several different wireless routers (of various vintages) in my two story home, in order to more fully cover the wireless networking needs for my various computers and other devices. Some network routers are for separation and security, but wireless signal strength has been lacking in my remote upstairs corner locations. My cable modem and main router are located in a corner of the basement of our two-story house and the signal to the furthest computers and other devices (streaming to the master bedroom) has been variable. I have had some success with various other devices (range extenders, and trying an added first floor router), but I have been interested in finding a single router that will cover all of the devices in my main general device network.
After setting the C1900 up in my downstairs Modem/Router location, I did a few measurements of signal strengths at my main computer and at my worst computer locations, and did some data transfer rate measurements via ethernet and wireless to the router's USB3 attached storage. The other networks that are also running in the attached graphics are from an older, very highly rated dual-band N600 router located at the same basement router location, and also a channel from an extended network device located on the same level as my computer.
As can be seen in the attached graphics, the Archer C1900 signal strengths were 15dB better for the 2.4GHz Channel and 34 dB better for the 5GHz channels when compared to the old N600 router, when measured at my main computer location. The data transfer rates for the USB3 attached drive were 41.9 MBps write and 41.1 MBps read. The Archer C1900 signal strengths at my worst computer location were 11dB and 18dB better than the N600 for the 2.4 GHz and the 5GHz channels, respectively.
So, in summary, the TP-Link Archer C1900 router is a great upgrade from my N600 dual band router. Anyone looking to upgrade their router for improved signal strengths at weak locations within their network, and also looking for network printer and file sharing capabilities for all of the network wired and wireless devices will definitely benefit from the addition of a TP-Link Archer C1900 router.