The TP-Link N450 Wireless Wi-Fi Router (TL-WR940N) may not be very expensive, but that doesn’t deter it from strong performance and a good feature set. Its 2.4GHz throughput scores well better than similarly priced models, including the NETGEAR N300 router.
PROS: Very affordable. Good throughput performance in testing. Easy to install.
CONS: No USB ports. Non-removable antennas.
As we embrace connected home products, having a reliable router that can handle continuous traffic over multiple devices is more important than ever. For some, a router that costs upwards of $200 is the most ideal, but not all of us need that kind of networking power. Maybe the budget doesn’t accommodate, or we just need to get connected, nothing else.
With the TP-Link N450 Wireless Wi-Fi Router (TL-WR940N), you get single-band Wi-Fi, fairly good throughput and a set of management settings, including access control and remote management. If you need a small, affordable business/home router, you should seriously start here.
The TL-WR940N is small than most midrange routers, including the NetGear N300 (WNR2020v2) and the TP-Link AC1750 (Archer C7). Its black-glassy enclosure measures 1.1 by 7.87 by 5.51 (HWD) and has three external antennas. The antennas aren’t user removable, meaning, you can’t replace them if one breaks, or you want to add a more powerful antennae.
On the arched front, there are eight LED status indicators for Power, Internet activity, Wi-Fi signal activity, WPS activity, and wired-port activity (one for each of the ports). Around the back are four Gigabit LAN ports, a WAN (Internet) port, a Wireless On/Off button, WPS/Reset button and Power On/Off button. Under the hood is a 2.4GHz radio that offers theoretical throughput speeds of up to 450Mbps.
You can use change the N450’s settings via the Web-based management console or the included Cd. The management console gives you an array of basic and advanced settings, which are easy to navigate. Basic wireless settings allow you enable or disable each band, name your SSID’s, and modify the passwords. Advanced wireless settings include Security mode settings (WEP and WPA-Personal), Wi-Fi Channel Width and transmission Power settings.
Setup and Performance
Installing the TL-WR940N is very simple. All you do is, connect it to a PC and an Internet source, the router will automatically launch the Web-based settings, through which you can configure your network, adjust the Wi-Fi settings and set a router password. Once configured, I was ready to go, took less than 5 minutes.
For a budget router, 74Mbps on our 2.4GHz close-proximity (same room) test is much faster than you get from most budget routers. It is in the same ballpack with the NetGear AC1200 (R6220) that yields 73.2Mbps on the same test. Testing over a radius of 30 feet, it yielded 42.5Mbps, slightly ahead of the Amped Wireless R10000G (37.9Mbps), though a smidge behind the Netgear R6220 (47.2Mbps). This level of performance makes is a perfect choice for HD video streaming, online gaming and VoIP, though it lacks a dedicated telephone port.
The Bottom Line
The TP-Link N450 Wireless Wi-Fi Router (TL-WR940N) may not be very expensive, but that doesn’t deter it from strong performance and a good feature set. Its 2.4GHz throughput scores well better than similarly priced models, including the NETGEAR N300 router. Granted, you’re looking for a budget wireless router, which works for a small business, home or office, this is a perfect choice.
It lacks a USB port and is a single band double, but still delivers solid connectivity. With a few extra bucks, you can get the TP-Link AC1750 (Archer C7), a dual band router that uses a 720MHz CPU, can reach speeds of 450Mbps on the 2.4Ghz band and 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band, and has 2 USB 2.0 ports. It remains our Editors’ Choice for budget routers.