TP-Link Archer C20 Review: The best midrange router?

Reviews

A Wireless Router is probably the most ignored yet an important piece of hardware one can have in their home. Most people don’t care about it unless the router provided by the ISP is broken. Most people checking out routers are often limited by budget but they still want solid performance. Keeping this in mind, TP-Link launched the Archer C20 wireless router in India last month.

Here are the basic specifications for the TP-Link AC750 Archer C20:

HARDWARE FEATURES
Interfaces 4 10/100Mbps LAN ports
1 10/100Mbps WAN port
1 USB 2.0 port
Button WPS/Reset Button
Wireless On/Off Switch
Power On/Off Button
Dimensions (W X D X H) 9.1 x 5.7 x 1.4 in. (230 x 144 x 35mm)
External Power Supply 12VDC /1A
Antenna Type Two dual band fixed antennas
WIRELESS FEATURES
Wireless Standards IEEE 802.11ac/n/a 5GHz
IEEE 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz
Frequency 2.4GHz and 5GHz
Signal Rate 5GHz: Up to 433Mbps
2.4GHz: Up to 300Mbps
Reception Sensitivity 5GHz
11a 6Mbps: -91dBm, 11a 54Mbps: -74dBm
11ac HT20: -66dBm, 11ac HT40: -64dBm, 11ac HT80: -61dBm,
11n HT20: -71dBm, 11n HT40: -69dBm
2.4GHz
11g 54M: -76dBm
11n HT20: -74dBm, 11n HT40: -71dBm
Wireless Functions Enable/Disable Wireless Radio, WDS Bridge, WMM, Wireless Statistics
Wireless Security 64/128-bit WEP,WPA / WPA2,WPA-PSK/ WPA2-PSK encryption
Transmission Power CE:
<20dBm(2.4GHz)
<23dBm(5GHz)
FCC:
<30dBm
SOFTWARE FEATURES
Management Access Control
Local Management
Remote Management
Quality of Service WMM, Bandwidth Control
Port Forwarding Virtual Server, Port Triggering, UPnP, DMZ
Dynamic DNS DynDns, Comexe, NO-IP
VPN Pass-Through PPTP, L2TP, IPSec
Access Control Parental Control, Local Management
Control, Host List,
Access Schedule, Rule Management
Firewall Security DoS, SPI Firewall
IP Address Filtering/MAC Address Filtering/Domain Filtering
IP and MAC Address Binding
Protocols Supports IPv4 and IPv6
USB Sharing Support Samba(Storage)/ FTP Server/Media Server/Printer Server
Guest Network 2.4GHz guest network × 1
5GHz guest network × 1
OTHERS
Package Contents AC750 Wireless Dual Band Router Archer C20
2 Fixed Antennas
Power Supply Unit
Resource CD
Ethernet Cable
Quick Installation Guide
Box Dimensions (W X D X H) 11.2 x 8.8 x 3.6 in. (285x223x91mm)
Environment Operating Temperature: 0℃~40 ℃ (32 ℉~104℉)
Storage Temperature: -40℃~70 ℃ (-40 ℉~158℉)
Operating Humidity: 10%~90% non-condensing
Storage Humidity: 5%~90% non-condensing

Moving aside from on-paper specifications, let’s take a look at the actual performance.

Box Contents & Design

Inside the box, we have the power supply unit, an ethernet cable, the router itself and two antennas fixed at their places. On the first look, the router appears very fancy and looks equally good after installation. On the top of the router, there’s some kind of glossy textured plastic, which is a really strong fingerprint magnet. Once you touch it, by no means it’s possible to keep it fingerprint free.

Archer C20 Box Contents

Archer C20 Box Contents

The router itself is far away from the usual shape which we see with most routers. The Archer C20 has a glossy prismatic structure on it’s top, with LEDs all lined up at the end. The router itself looks pretty good in most conditions.

Setup and Connections

The router itself is pretty solid, but sometimes setups with a particular device can make the experience worse. Not with this thing. The setup is like nothing, just plug in your ethernet cable right into the WAN port and turn it on, and you’re good to go. There’s absolutely no setup for beginners or people who just want this thing to work. You can of course go to the in-router settings and configure it for yourself personal preferences later if needed.

Archer C20 Ports

The set of buttons or ports on this router are pretty standard except Wireless On/Off which most mid-end routers don’t actually provide. Additionally, it has a WPS/Reset button, 4 ethernet ports, one WAN port (standard Blue color), a USB (2.0, not 3.0 unfortunately) port, a power on/off button and power in. Except all of this, there are no buttons elsewhere on the router. The antennas on the router are not detachable, but provide pretty excellent coverage and speeds.

User Interface

This is something you don’t access often, but still matters for the initial configuration and troubleshooting. The UI of the router admin panel is the same classic TP-Link style with a shade of green instead of the usual grey. It provides all the basic functionality as well as all the advanced functionality.

Benchmarking & Speed Test

One of the most important factor in selecting a router is the max throughput or speed you will get over LAN. I tested it out with a standard Windows system with Intel N 1030 Wireless card and a Nexus 5 running Android 5.1.1. Here are the results:

  • Client within 3M range.
    • 2.4GHz Network: 55Mbps (~6.7MBps)
    • 5.0GHz Network: 115Mbps (~14.3MBps)
  • Client within 7M range
    • 2.4GHz Network: 22Mbps (~2.6MBps)
    • 5.0GHz Network: 88Mbps (~11.0MBps)
  • Client within 15M range
    • 2.4GHz Network: 13Mbps (~1.7MBps)
    • 5.0GHz Network: 57Mbps (~7.1MBps)

These tests were made with no other connections on the access point. In the 3M test, there were no walls in between, in 7M test, there was 1 wall in between and in 15M test, there were 2 walls in between. The speed test were done with 3 readings over FTP and HTTP.

The range and speeds provided by the router are great, and well worth the price. The coverage around the area is uniform and connection drops are negligible in my testing lasting more than 50 hours.

Conclusion

The Archer C20 from TP-Link excels in all departments, be it the design, the form factor or the performance. The design is very unique to be found on any router, especially of this price range. The form factor is good, it can be easily kept in small places as well as it can be hung on a wall easily. The performance excels, or at least matches, every other router in this price range. The basic working UI is full of options, with simple ones listed below and advance ones listed after.

Archer C20

2,199
Archer C20
8.5

Design

9/10

    Form Factor

    8/10

      User Interface

      7/10

        Performace

        10/10

          Price

          9/10

            Pros

            • - Good Design
            • - Exceptional Performace
            • - Comparatively inexpensive
            • - Dual band, dual antenna

            Cons

            • - Not a good UI
            • - Form factor makes it clunky in some cases

            Akshat loves to code, which is why he's a web developer. He founded Virtuaniz to serve his passion for tech, and currently serves as the Editor. You can follow him on the web: Website, Facebook, Twitter

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