When it comes to choosing a wireless router for your home, there is an overwhelming amount of choice. Fortunately, TP-Link has put their best technology into their Archer 3200 wireless router, so you can get the best connection possible in your home. The full name of this device is the TP-Link AC3200 Wireless Tri-Band Gigabit Router, which in layman’s terms, means this router is fast! Speed aside, though, I’ve really enjoyed using this router and the features it includes. Read more find out why it stands out to me as one of the best routers I’ve tried.
TP-Link AC3200 Overview
First off, I’m sure many of you are asking yourselves why anyone would need to purchase a wireless router in 2016, when most internet service providers (ISPs) provide one for you. The simple answer is that you may not be getting the best performance out of the ISP-provided equipment. You also may be paying a fee to lease the router, which is costing you monthly for an outdated product. With the TP-Link AC3200, you’re getting top of the line technology with an easy-to-use product.
Design and Setup
When it comes to appearance, TP-Link is leading the way. Not only did they create the beautiful Google OnHub router, but they put their best design forward with the AC3200. This router is sleek, and I could best describe it as a 6-legged spider. Each of the high-performance antennas fold up to maximize coverage and network stability, and fold down when not in use for easy storage. It’s the kind of router that I’m not embarrassed to put on my counter.
The main features of the TP-Link AC3200 all make your Wi-Fi signal as strong and far-reaching as possible, while simplifying the setup and administration of the device for everyone. I’ve owned many routers before from different brands and never experienced a setup process as easy as this. TP-Link has released an app for iOS and Android devices called Tether. This app makes it simple and fast to get your wireless up and running within seconds. And yes, I mean seconds. With TP-Link’s revamped user interface, they promise a 15 second setup process through their app or web interface, and I can honestly say that this was what I experienced. No issues with setup whatsoever.
Tri-Band Technology and Smart Connect
The router technology that TP-Link has included on the AC3200 is called Tri-Band technology, and it creates three separate Wi-Fi networks, allowing more devices to connect without any noticeable drops in performance. I’ve only ever owned routers with dual-band support before, so this was a great idea by TP-Link. Once turned on, you’ll see three networks available to connect to: 2.4 Ghz, and two 5 Ghz networks. As a power user, I manually assign different devices to different networks, but this isn’t ideal for most people.
Thankfully, TP-Link created a feature called Smart Connect to improve this. With Smart Connect on, the AC3200 automatically assigns devices to the most appropriate band of the three, taking the guesswork out of prioritizing and distributing devices across the networks. My only complaint is that TP-Link hid the Smart Connect switch in Advanced Settings, and left it off by default. (There’s a fantastic overview of the Smart Connect feature on TP-Link’s website here.)
Optional Range Extender
While the power and range of the TP-Link AC3200 will be more than enough for most households, there are sometimes certain areas of a home that Wi-Fi signals have trouble reaching. If that’s the case for you, like it is at my parent’s house, you might want to consider a Wi-Fi Range Extender. TP-Link sells a few different options, but my favourite is the RE450. This extender works to minimize Wi-Fi Dead Zones, and features dual-band technology so any type of signal can be boosted with it. TP-Link is all about simplicity, and for that reason the RE450 extender can be set up with a simple push of a button. I found setup really simple and easy to do. On the front of the device, there is a beautiful glowing light, and if everything is working well, it will light up blue. My favourite part of the TP-Link RE450 extender is that when you want to use it, you just need to plug it into a wall outlet. There is absolutely no need to run an ethernet cord to this device. If there’s a power outlet in the room, you can place the extender there. Since using the extender, I’ve had no issues at all with my Wi-Fi signal strength in my home.
I’ve used many wireless routers before, from well-known brands to the no-name routers leased monthly from my internet provider, but none of them have the features and simplicity of the TP-Link AC3200 router. I absolutely love the spider-like design of the AC3200, and the tri-band technology is a really unique selling point. For me, though, the Smart Connect feature really takes the cake. No matter how many devices I connect to my network (currently there’s a laptop, gaming console, 2 iPads, 2 phones, and a smart TV), the TP-Link AC3200 will automatically direct traffic to the best channel to optimize for speed and performance. The Range Extended did not have this feature, but it still featured two different bands, which is a plus. The TP-Link Tether app also allows for simple management of the router, allowing me to set up the device, and even remotely reboot it if needed. It’s exciting to see this innovation in the Wi-Fi space, and I’m really impressed with what TP-Link has delivered in these products.
The TP-Link AC3200 Wireless Tri-Band Gigabit Router retails for $299.99 CAD, and the RE450 Wi-Fi Range Extender retails for $99.99 CAD. Both products are available at major retailers, including Best Buy and Amazon. There are often sales on these products, so keep an eye out for deals!