There are currently two versions of this router, this is version 2. Looking over the specs for each, they both appear to have the same hardware and features, so I am unsure what has changed internally between them. There are a few cosmetic differences between the two, and the packaging is different as well. Maybe TP-LINK will respond with an answer on what differs between them.
Below are the cosmetic differences between V1 and V2.
Old TP-LINK logo located on top right of the router
TP-LINK name is displayed on each antenna
New TP-LINK logo located on top left of the router
Antennas do not have anything displayed on them
Has newer shiny packaging with newer logo
Note: As of the posting date of this review, Best Buy is showing images for the older version of this router.
Please see my images below for what the version 2 packaging and router looks like.
First, Let's Have A Look Around The Router
The Archer C3150-V2 wireless router has a glossy black finish. On top, you will find the LED panel for the various indicators. These LEDs may be turned off by pressing on the white LED located on the long metal strip on top of the router. You can also have these LEDs automatically turn off at certain times to prevent distraction at night, if you wish. You can set the time you want them to turn off, and the time when they will automatically turn themselves back on. You do this through the router’s web-management page.
On left side of the router, you will find a Wi-Fi On/Off button, a Reset button, a WPS button (Wi-Fi Protected Setup), a USB 2.0 port, and USB 3.0 port.
On back of the router, there is the Internet cable port, four Gigabit Ethernet ports for your devices that require a wired connection. The power cable socket and the Power On/Off button. The 4 antenna connectors are also at the back of the router.
There are also vent-holes for heat dissipation on the top and bottom of the router. So be sure to place your router in a location these vent-holes will not be blocked.
I do not have a high-tech, super duper wireless testing facility, so to test the performance of the router, I simply had a couple of my friends over with their desktops to help me. We had planned to have a LAN party anyway, so this just made things a little more interesting. Once we were all setup, we all surfed the net and watched a few HD videos on Youtube at the same time. Neither one of us had a single issue streaming them. All of our videos played flawlessly. Now for the main reason I had them over, we also played a few hours of Battlefield 1 together. Not only did we have a great time gaming, but our wireless connections were all strong and stable. Not sure if it was due to the router, or the wireless adapter he was using, but one of my friends did briefly lose connection a couple times during the first few minutes of gaming, before clearing up. Heck, it may have also been due to Windows 10 needing to be updated on his system. Regardless, it happens. After that, none of us had a single issue. I live in a smallish 4 bedroom home with a very large backyard area, and the router provides awesome coverage in and around my home.
Also, accessing/uploading files to a USB 3.0 drive connected to the router, performed nicely as well. This worked much better than I expected, actually.
What Can Impact Wi-Fi Performance
The size and layout of your home can impact performance. The farther you are from your router, the slower the connection may get. Walls and certain electronics can also impact the Wi-Fi signal and shorten its range.
Router Placement Tips
Do not place your router on or near the floor. For the strongest signal and widest coverage area, place your router in the center of your home, if possible.
The free TP-LINK Tether App will allow you to manage your router or range extender from any Android or iOS device. You can set up parental controls, check the status of your device, see who’s online and what their privileges are. Also, if you were to spot anyone that you do not recognize connected to your network, you can block them with a simple touch of a button. And for those of you who have children, you can choose which websites they are allowed to visit with a URL-based white list. Access will only be given to websites that you have added to this list. You can also control and limit access to the network on certain days and times of the day for users in the child list.
I find the app to be laid out nicely, all the settings are easy to find and navigate. You can always adjust your router settings by logging into the web-management page from your desktop or laptop, which is what I prefer to do anyway.
If you want to stream movies over Wi-Fi, play games over Wi-Fi, and are going to have several devices connecting to your router at the same time, you will need a router that can efficiently handle all of that bandwidth. And if you own newer devices that support the latest 802.11ac wireless standard, you should consider upgrading to a router that supports this standard for optimal performance. And of course, your older wireless devices will still work with these newer routers. Also, if you are using an older router, which the manufacturer hasn't updated the firmware for in several years, it may be vulnerable to security flaws. And that alone ought be enough to make you consider an upgrade to something much newer.
The Archer C3150 was designed for homes and offices requiring high bandwidth usage across multiple devices. If that’s yours, the Archer C3150 is certainly worthy of your consideration. And if you’re one who likes to dig into advanced settings, you’ll have plenty to dig into with this highly advanced router. If you will only be using one or two devices with your router, this one may be overkill for your wireless networking needs, and TP-LINK has several inexpensive AC routers for you to choose from. Do consider going with an AC router, though, which will allow you to future-proof your network.
Best of luck with your wireless network.
Submitted as part of a free sample program