What we like best about TP-Archer Link’s C8 Wi-Fi router is its price-to-performance ratio. However, despite the fact that it lacks 802.11ac Wave 2 capabilities, it does not provide a remarkable range, and its performance with legacy 2.4GHz 802.11n clients is plainly poor, you can get this router virtually anyplace for less than $130.
As a result, the Archer C8 is one of the most affordable 802.11ac routers available, and it comes with a number of useful features such as three detachable antennas, beam-forming capability, and two USB ports (one of which is USB 3.0) for sharing storage or a printer across your network. Printer sharing, on the other hand, is disabled by default, and if you want to activate it, you’ll need to install software on each client’s PC. Other notable characteristics of the Archer C8 include a four-port gigabit switch and an 800MHz dual-core processor.
The router is permanently attached to a metal stand, which holds it in a position that is almost vertical while not in use. The casing is made of a glossy white plastic that does not gather fingerprints, although it was found to be sensitive to scuffs and scratches throughout the testing process. Power, wireless network, the existence of a device connected to any of the four switch ports, Internet connectivity, the presence of a device attached to either of the two USB ports and WPS pairing are all shown by LEDs along the top front edge of the device.
An 802.11n network on the 2.4GHz band (with a maximum throughput of 450Mbps) and a separate 802.11ac network on the 5GHz band are both supported by this dual-band router, which operates on two different frequencies (maximum throughput of 1300Mpbs).
On any band, you may set up a guest network for your guests. A button on the right side of the device toggles the Wi-Fi radios on and off, which is useful for people who want to turn their wireless networks off while they are not there.
The Wi-Fi Protected Setup button is located on the back of the router, and, strangely enough, it also functions as the factory-reset button in some cases. This is a strange design choice because it has the potential to cause an inadvertent reset if held down for an extended period of time (or if an inquisitive child discovers it).
When a reset button is used in this manner, it is generally recessed and requires the use of an unbent paperclip to be activated. This discrepancy has no bearing on my ultimate decision; it is just worth mentioning.
If you are concerned about parental restrictions, you will discover that the Archer C8 is a pretty blunt item to have in your arsenal. If you enable it, you will be able to designate a single PC as a “parental PC” (which will be recognized by its MAC address) that will have unlimited access to the Internet.
After that, you must input the MAC addresses of every additional computer that will be connected to your network and establish a whitelist of websites that those computers are permitted to view. If a website is not included on that list, those PCs will be unable to access it.
It was difficult to be impressed by the Archer C8’s performance as an 802.11ac Wi-Fi router when it was used in conjunction with a 2×2 Asus USB-AC56 Wi-Fi adapter. In fact, it came in last or second to last in three of my four test sites, which was disappointing.
In fact, it was quicker at close range than any of the other three routers I tested with a 3×3 802.11n client equipped with an Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 Wi-Fi adapter running on the 5GHz frequency band, including the other three routers I tested with. Whenever the client was in the kitchen, it was put second since it was 20 feet away from the router and separated by a single wall.
However, when I relocated the client to my home theater, its performance plummeted, and it was completed last when the client was in my home office (which is the room that is the furthest away from the router).
IEEE 802.11ac/n/a 5 GHz
IEEE 802.11n/b/g 2.4 GHz
5 GHz: 1300 Mbps (802.11ac)
2.4 GHz: 450 Mbps (802.11n)
|WiFi Range||3 Bedroom Houses3× Detachable High-Performance Antennas|
Multiple antennas form a signal-boosting array to cover more directions and large areas
Concentrates wireless signal strength towards clients to expand WiFi range
Allocate devices to different bands for optimal performance
|Working Modes||Router Mode|
Access Point Mode
|Ethernet Ports||1× Gigabit WAN Port|
4× Gigabit LAN Ports
|USB Support||1× USB 3.0 Port|
1× USB 2.0 Port
Supported Partition Formats:
NTFS, exFAT, HFS+, FAT32
Apple Time Machine
|Buttons||Wi-Fi On/Off Button|
Power On/Off Button
|Power||12 V ⎓ 3.3 A|
|Network Security||SPI Firewall|
IP & MAC Binding
Application Layer Gateway
|Guest Network||1× 5 GHz Guest Network|
1× 2.4 GHz Guest Network
|Parental Controls||URL Filtering|
|WAN Types||Dynamic IP|
|Quality of Service||QoS by Device|
QoS by Application
|Cloud Service||OTA Firmware Upgrade|
|NAT Forwarding||Virtual Server|
DHCP Client List
|Dimensions (W×D×H)||8.7 × 3.4 × 6.6 in|
(221 × 86 × 168.5 mm)
|Package Contents||Wi-Fi Router Archer C8|
RJ45 Ethernet Cable
Quick Installation Guide
Cable or DSL Modem (if needed)
Subscription with an internet service provider (for internet access)
|Certifications||FCC, CE, RoHS|
|Environment||Operating Temperature: 0℃~40℃ (32℉ ~104℉)|
Storage Temperature: -40℃~70℃ (-40℉ ~158℉)
Operating Humidity: 10%~90% non-condensing
Storage Humidity: 5%~90% non-condensing
|WiFi Transmission Power||CE:|
|WiFi Reception Sensitivity||5GHz:|
11a 54Mbps: -79dBm
11ac HT20: -71dBm
11ac HT40: -66dBm
11ac HT80: -63dBm
11g 54M: -77dBm
11n HT20: -74dBm
11n HT40: -72dBm
The TP-Link Archer C8 is one of the more basic dual-band 802.11ac routers I’ve evaluated, but it’s also one of the most reasonably priced options available.
If you don’t require a large number of features and don’t have clients that are notoriously tough to reach, there’s no reason to spend more money on features that you won’t use or profit from.