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TP-Link Archer C5400 Review: Lightning Fast WIFI

TP-Link Archer C5400 Review

TP-Link Archer C5400 is a new addition to the range of high end consumer routers in the market consist of D-Link DIR-895L and Asus RT-AC5300. It has a really familiar design as it looks the same as TP-Link Talon AD7200. Like every other router in this range, it offers tri-band ability and capable of some seriously fast performance. But, forget about all the technology buzz words, we shall take a look on how well it performs and how good it is.

Ports

There are 8 antennas on top of the router and they are non-removable. The entire top of the router is filled with ventilating holes to help with cooling. It is only available in matte black color.

Quick Spec:

  • Wireless AC5400
  • 4 Gigabit Ethernet Ports
  • 1 x USB3.0 + 1 x USB2.0

Router Performance Overview

UI
The new user friendly management interface

TP-Link Archer C5400 supports a theoretical maximum throughput of 5400Mbps and that is seriously fast. As this is a tri-band router, there are dual 5Ghz bands and a single 2.4Ghz band. The reason behind such configuration is the router can handle more devices connected at a same time with higher performance as devices can choose between 3 bands. This is able to reduce the congestion in one particular band and all the devices are able to enjoy a much higher bandwidth in average. You can enable the Smart Connect feature to allow the router to push your connected devices to the least congested band automatically as well.

The performance is the last thing you need to worry about this router. Routers have gotten really good recently and the thing which set them apart is the stability and the firmware. I can’t measure the stability of a wireless network but I would say the signal coverage is good and performance is outstanding. With a 100Mbps Internet connection, I do not have any issues obtaining the full 100Mbps speed on the wireless network. The coverage is able to cover a 1600 sq ft apartment as well.

TP-Link Archer C5400 Unifi Setup

unifi
Unifi mode right on the Quick Setup!

Good news for Unifi user. TP-Link Archer C5400 come with ISP selection when setting up the router. You no longer need to manually configure the Unifi profile from the advanced option. Just plug in the Ethernet cable from the Unifi modem to the WAN port of the router, follow the quick start guide and you are good to go.

The router is fully compatible with all Malaysian ISP such as Unifi, Maxis fibre and Time fibre with HyppTV fully working properly. You can refer to my TP-Link Unifi setup guide over here on how to configure Unifi on this router

Firmware Features and Practicality

App

TP-Link have been making constant improvements on the firmware with every new router being released. TP-Link Archer C5400 is no different and it now comes with some really amazing interesting feature. It now allows users to select ISP profile on the initial setup, a great initiative by TP-Link considering most users in Malaysia use Unifi. Setting up the C5400 for Unifi is easier than other TP-Link routers as you no longer need to navigate through the settings to change the VLAN config. The rest is pretty much the same with small improvements here and there. The overall interface is smoother and more responsive as well.

The TP-Link Tether mobile app is slightly revamped with the new TP-Link logo as well. It now support more features and it is now more user friendly.

TP-Link Homecare

Homecare

TP-Link debuted the new Homecare feature with this router. It is a combination of 3 new features which include a new QoS mechanism, antivirus protection and parental control.

The new QoS mechanism is really simply and it is enabled by default. You can conduct a speedtest right from the management UI and the app of the router and it is powered by Speedtest.net. The default QoS profile is Standard in which the router will intelligently allocate your Internet bandwidth among all the devices to prevent any single device from abusing the entire Internet connection. I tested it and it works really well for me. You can also manually select which device you want to prioritise to fine tune the QoS engine and there are other profiles as well. You can use the Gaming profile if you want your gaming experience to be smoother. I like the QoS feature a lot and it is the first time TP-Link put such a comprehensive QoS mechanism in their firmware.

I also want to talk about the new router level antivirus protection. Basically, it will prevent the users connected to the router from accessing a website containing a malware. This could be really useful with the rise of ransomware as websites containing such infected files will be automatically blocked by the router. I tested it and it works really well. Whenever I try to access an infected webpage, it will prevent me from opening it and it will redirect me to a page letting me know that the website is trying to harm my computer. It is good to note that the Antivirus protection is powered by TrendMicro.

USB Performance and Feature

USB Benchmark

The router comes with 2 USB ports with one of them being USB3.0. You are able to use it to share the files in your USB external hard drive on the network. Besides, the router support USB printer sharing on the network as well. Performance of the USB3.0 port is decent for a router, I am able to achieve 33MB/s write and 52MB/s read speed on my usual benchmark. That is pretty close to the performance of a dedicated NAS.

The Verdict

Front

TP-Link Archer C5400 is great piece of equipment. It is a good combination of good router firmware and good router hardware. I think it is the best router TP-Link ever made! The hardware and the firmware work seamlessly. It is now really easy to setup and it even has a really powerful app to monitor your entire internet connection. You would ask, why would I need a RM1300 wireless router?  Well, it offers a really good wireless performance so you can great WIFI coverage for your entire home. Besides, it is able to handle a lot of devices connected simultaneously. If you have a really big family or you simply have a lot of devices, this router would work fine!

At the current retail price in Malaysia, I think it offers a really good value considering the competitor is selling routers with similar specification at a RM500 premium. With the improvements on TP-Link firmware especially on the recently added HomeCare features and the inclusion of Unifi mode by default in the firmware, I would proudly say this is the first TP-Link with firmware that I really like. I do not notice any bugs and of course, it is fully compatible with TM Unifi now! This router earned a stamp of approval from Blacktubi.com for sure!

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