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Review Detail

TP-Link TL-WR2543ND Review

9th June 2012

TP-Link entered the UK market back in January 2011. We've not had much chance to review their first generation routers, but we're pleased to get our hands on their latest router the TL-WR2543ND, and put it through the BestRouter labs.

Features

The WR2543ND is a dual-band router offering 450Mbps speeds in both bands, however do note that you
can only use one band at a time, so you're using either the 5GHz band or the 2.4GHz band in 450Mbps mode. Whilst this is understandable as it keeps the number of radios and therefore the costs down, it does mean that if you have any non-dual-band devices, such as mobile phones or the like that you want to use in wifi mode then you're pretty much stuck with the 2.4GHz band.

Other features of the WR2543ND are good, 4 gigabit ethernet ports and gigabit on the broadband WAN port. As this is a broadband router there is no ADSL connection. The wireless supports a,b,g and n standards, and all the usual security features, including WPS set-up are present and correct. There's only a single USB port for sharing printers or hard drives - however, media sharing is supported via Media Server, Samba and an FTP server function. There's also an Stateful Packet Inspection(SPI) Firewall built in. We did however, find no IPv6 support which could be a problem if you're looking to hang onto your router for a few years.

Unboxing

What's in the box? The TL-WR2543ND comes well packaged - in its box you get the router itself, a network patch cable, 3 aerials for attaching to the router, power cable, installation CD, quick install guide and some leaflets. It's a neat if not great looking router, nice and compact, although it does buck the current trend of internal antennae.

            TP-Link TL-WR2543ND unboxed - thumbnail - click for full-size            thumbnail of tplink WR2543ND size shown vs iphone comparison - thumbnail - click for full-size            the TL-WR2543ND wireless router reviewed at BestRouter - thumbnail - click for full-size
* click on thumbnails throughout for full-size images.

Installation

The version of the firmware that came with our router was 3.13.6 (110923) and we found setting up the router was pleasantly easy. It was nice to find wireless router settings which were very responsive when used wirelessly, too often we find router settings pages staggeringly slow to load or switch between.

            TP-Link TL-WR2543ND bios settings screen - thumbnail - click for full-size            thumbnail of TP-link WR2543ND wireless settings screen - thumbnail - click for full-size            

Testing

Performance wise the TP-Link TL-WR2543ND was one of the most consistent performers in read tests that we've ever had returning a steady 89.5Mbps read rate across all of our tests in the 2.4GHz band and a steady 91.3Mbps read rate in the 5GHz band. Write rates were more varied and we saw rates vary between 33 and 70Mbps in the 2.4GHz band and between 54Mbps and 85Mbps in the 5GHz band.

Despite this variance the chart below shows that the TP-Link turned in a very good overall performance in our noisy domestic environment.

speed comparison of the TP-Link TL-WR2543ND

the busy urban radio environment we use for testing

From a reliability perspective, we're pleased to say that a week's full use of the WR2543ND produced no problems whatsoever.

Price

TP-Link's focus on value shows through in the pricing of this wireless router, and you can find it in the shops for £79.99. This is a cracking price considering the high-end features provided. (Editor's note there is currently an even better offer on Amazon to get this router for just £50.03).

Conclusion

This is nearly an unbelievably good router. It's a strong feature set at a great price, and is only let down by two factors. Firstly, the dual-band is not simultaneous so you're selecting one band or the other. And secondly the lack of IPv6 support. If you can live with these drawbacks then we would unreservedly recommend the TP-Link WR2543ND.

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