TP Link AC 1200 aka Archer C5 have been the router serving my residence for the past 2 years. It is a decent router with Dual Band Gigabit Router capable of broadcasting 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals at the same time. It also supports 802.11ac standard which was revolutionary at the time this router was introduced. I must say it is not an entry level router.
There are many settings and features available. Some of the features worth mentioning are: Guest Network Access, Built in 2 USB Ports for easy file sharing and share local printer, Port Forwarding, scheduling access to internet and many others.
As far as the appearance, it looks like a very capable router with big long antennas and very glossy plastic. Definitely a change from my previous router with no antenna.
Performance: I’ve had almost zero issues with the router. Come to think about it, most of my network issues in the past are due to the internet provider. I had no problems connecting over 20 devices with both wired and wireless connection.
Deficiency: As much as it is being reliable, it does not serve me well in my dwelling. I live in about 2200 sq ft 2 story house. The internet connection is on the bottom floor on one end of the house. 5Ghz signal is pretty much only available in the same room where the router is located. Internet speed drop significantly as soon as a wall is crossed. Upstairs is another issue, as the signal is just not penetrating through the wall / beam of the house. The signal issue is not necessarily due to router weak performance. Higher bandwidth e.g 5Ghz although can deliver at the higher speed, it also unable to penetrate through the wall. The location of the internet connection is also play a big roll. If I could place the router in the center of the house, less dead spots should be found.
Solutions: Over the years, I’ve been patching the dead spots issue with variety of solutions. The following are some of the solutions:
TRENDnet TPL-406E2K Powerline 500 AV Nano Adapter Kit. This device allows me to use the electrical outlet to carry the data signal. One of the device is plugged into an electrical outlet nearest to the router, connect the Ethernet cable between the router and the device. Then plug the second device to the electrical outlet nearest to the computer (or any device requiring internet) and connect the Ethernet cable between the secondary device and the computer. It is super convenient, plug and play ability. It will only work as long as all of the electrical circuits are connected. The only issue with this solution is speed inconsistency.
Although the TRENDnet TPL-406E2K is great for the computer or any devices with Ethernet cable, there are devices that still require wireless connection. For those devices, NETGEAR AC1200 WiFi Range Extender come to rescue. Just like the name, it communicate with the main router via wireless, amplify the signal, and finally re-broadcast the signal. The one issue with NETGEAR AC1200 WiFi Range Extender or any extender is they use different SSIDs. For this particular model, it broadcast 2.4Ghz as well as 5Ghz, which therefore adding 2 more SSIDs into my network. To have more than one SSID in a location is not very practical, as most devices will not be able to seamlessly jump from one SSID to another and evaluating which signal is the strongest.
Both of these networking devices are patches to a solution. They get the job done, but not the most ideal. Further, these devices communicate at half duplex, which means only one thing S L O W. There are numerous occasions where I prefer to connect directly to main router with 3 bars instead of connecting to NETGEAR AC1200 WiFi Range Extender at 5 bars.
At this point, these 3 set of devices cover my home. Still do not cover 100%, but it cover at least 90% of the living area within the house. As I collect more devices inside my house from phones, tablets, computers, smart switches, cameras and so forth, I may want to re-think this current strategy.