The TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router (Archer A7-V5) offers the fastest throughput speeds we’ve seen recently from a budget router. It now supports Alexa integration and is very easy to install and has plenty of settings.
PROS: Very affordable. The best throughput performance for the price. Includes Amazon Alexa integration.
CONS: Only one USB 2.0 port. Middling file-transfer speeds.
TP Link’s Archer A7 AC1750 WiFi Router (V5) is an affordable router that performs and has features like a more expensive one. If you’re a techie who knows networking numbers, they you must be aware that the 1750 is indicative of a full-speed avant-garde 802.11ac 1300mbps router, with support for 3×3 450mbps 802.11n capabilities. More importantly, the 802.11n has dual support for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The result is a budget router with reduced buffering and much suited for 4K streaming.
In addition to performance, it offers a nice feature set, including four Gigabit LAN ports and a USB port. Its menu system is very user-friendly although the icons aren’t the best around, but neither gripe holds it back from earning our Editors’ Choice award for budget routers.
The latest Archer A7 is a dual-band AC1750 router that uses a Qualcomm CPU. It can reach speeds of up to 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz, just like its predecessor the C7. However, there are a few features that have been removed from the C7, in order to make the A7 more affordable.
Now on the new model, you have three fixed antennas instead of detachable antennas on the C7, one USB port instead of three, there isn’t a status LED for the USB port and the Wi-Fi off switch is being shared with WPS. Otherwise, everything else on the inside is the same, only that the newer A7 supports Alexa integration as well.
Design-wise, it uses the same glossy-black enclosure with three fixed antennas on the back, measuring 9.6 by 6.4 by 1.3 inches. Also, on the back are four Gigabit LAN ports, a Gigabit WAN port, a USB 2.0 port and, a WPS/ON/Off switch. The front of the router hosts LED indicators for power, both radio bands, the four LAN ports, the WAN port and WPS activity.
Setup is straightforward. The Archer A7 can be setup with the TP Link Tether app or by navigating to http://tplinkwifi.net on your browser to access the management console. Once logged in, all you do is click the Quick Setup tab on the left and choose Auto-Detect, follow the easy prompts and in a few minutes, you’re done. You can choose to run Concurrent (dual-band) Wi-Fi or just a single band –2.4GHz or 5GHz, but you can’t run both.
The Archer A7 rocks with its newer Alexa integration and delivers impressive throughput of 92.6Mbps on 2.4GHz band, which is significantly higher than other budget routers that top up at 75.1Mbps. For instance, the Netgear AC1200 attains 74.2Mbps, while the Linksys EA6350 AC1200+ delivers 72.6Mbps on the same close-proximity tests.
On 5GHz band, the Archer A7’s performance is outstanding for a budget router, delivering 511Mbps on a close-proximity test, compared to the Netgear R6220’s 332Mbps and the D-Link DIR-842’s 108Mbps. The single USB 2.0 port’s read and write file-transfer speeds are middling, which is the same thing you’d experience from most budget routers.
The TP-Link Archer A7 AC1750 Smart Wi-Fi Router may not cost much $64.99 at Amazon , but you may not tell its performance and feature set from just the price. Its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands throughput scores are much better than other similarly priced budget routers. Plus, it offers Amazon Alexa integration as a new feature alongside numerous management settings and useful I/O ports. The A7’s interface would use an update to accompany the new version (V5), however, and its file-transfer could be better. Nevertheless, it still is, the fastest dual-band router in its class, thus our Top Pick for budget routers.