In this review, we will look at the TP-Link Archer VR600v, an AC1600-class DSL modem router from the Shenzhen-based manufacturer that has been designed specifically to meet the needs of those who are on a tight budget but still requires a decent wireless performance (nothing spectacular, mind you) as well as an easy-to-use, intuitive user interface that should cover at least the most essential features (such as QoS, Parental Controls or Guest Access).
Because of this, the TP-Link Archer VR600v should be able to deliver respectable wireless performance (although the AC1600-class designation indicates that this modem router is not among the most powerful that TP-Link has to offer), it is compatible with a VDSL, ADSL, fiber, or cable connection, and, as an added bonus, the VR600v is capable of supporting VoIP and phone functions (which makes it a great addition to any small to medium businesses). If it wasn’t previously clear, the VR600v is the second generation of the Archer VR600, which has been upgraded to include built-in VoIP capabilities.
Even though WiFi mesh systems continue to be more popular than traditional routers this year, the DSL modem router will inevitably remain the primary center-piece of a home or business network for many people (particularly in areas where the ISP is slow to upgrade the lines). So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the Archer VR600v and see what makes it such an attractive solution for both homeowners and SMBs.
While the great success of WiFi systems may be attributed to their ability to evenly cover a bigger area, the minimalist design approach that eliminated the need for external antennae and adopted a neutral appearance is also a contributing factor. As a result, it is evident that the typical router must be made less aggressive and more living-room friendly. These little networking devices are now an essential element of practically all households (this means that the manufacturers can no longer cater only to the enthusiasts). Aside from the Talon AD7200 (which was still less sinister than the Asus gaming routers series), TP-Link routers are always more discrete in appearance, and the company isn’t renowned for creating provocative-looking routers in general.
And this is also true with the Archer VR600v, which, despite the fact that it has three exterior antennae, manages to maintain an attractive appearance and will not seem out of place on a coffee table. TP-VR600 Link’s modem router series (which includes the original v1 VR600) have all adopted this design, which has shown to be extremely durable over time. Because of how well it has held up over time, it has also been translated to several of the company’s wireless router series (such as the Archer C2300 or Archer C2600).
However, the VR600v has a rectangular design with rounded edges, and its major feature is a top region that is half covered by a glossy finish (which does retain fingerprints), while the other half is covered by a matte finish and includes a large number of tiny air vents (that slightly expose the internal hardware).
TP-Link addressed the issue of adequate thermal management seriously, as seen by the fact that the case’s bottom region is nearly fully covered by small ventilation cut-outs, and that there is a small canal between the top and bottom sides, where TP-Link has also placed extra vent holes. Although the case appears to have adequate heat management, I did notice that the router was running a little hot and that there were some hot spots on the bottom of my computer case (and this has proven to be true during my test, especially while putting the device under a lot of stress).
Even though it is not as small and compact as the latest WiFi mesh nodes, the VR600v is still among the smaller routers, measuring 8.49 x 6.44 x 1.44 inches and weighing 1.01 lbs, making it easy to place on a shelf or on a desk. If you don’t have much space to spare, you can also mount it on the wall using the two holes on the back of the router.
Because the TP-Link VR600v is a low-cost device, it will only have a few features to improve wireless performance. The most notable of these is Advanced BeamForming, which has the function of directing the signal directly towards the clients who are connected via WiFi rather than broadcasting it throughout the entire network (be aware that in order to take advantage of this technology, the wirelessly connected clients need to have compatible WiFi adapters). As a result, if you want the MU-MIMO technology (which is only beneficial if you are able to obtain devices with high-end WiFi adapters), the NitroQAM (1024QAM) technology, or the 160MHz Aggregation, you should choose the more expensive TP-Link VR2800v router.
In addition, the VR600v will not be able to function as a node within a mesh network; and even if TP-Link decides to develop something similar to the AiMesh technology, it will not be compatible; therefore, if you have a large home and require a mesh system, you can use the VR600v in modem mode only (to do so, go to the Network > Internet tab > Add > Connection Type > Bridge and afterward, disable the DHCP as well This way, you’ll be able to install any other WiFi mesh system you like, and if you’re a fan of the TP-Link environment, you could try out the dual-band Deco M5 or wait a little longer and check out the newer tri-band Deco M9, which is now in beta testing.
However, the VR600v is more than just a wireless router and DSL modem; it also has VoIP compatibility built-in, allowing you to connect two analog handsets and up to six cordless phones or fax machines to the network through the accompanying DECT station (additionally, it comes with 270 minutes Voice Mail). While away from home, you may connect any smartphone to the modem router and make landline calls, check messages and missed phone calls, and browse your PhoneBook contacts. The VR600v also can connect any smartphone to the modem router.
3G / 4G Router Mode and Wireless Router Mode are the three operational modes supported by the TP-Link VR600v. The first of these is VDSL / ADSL modem router mode, the second is 3G / 4G router mode, and the third is the Wireless Router mode. The first Mode (which I used with a VDSL connection) yielded a maximum speed of 75 Mbps, which corresponds to the real maximum speed I can receive on that line (as verified by the ISP technician), allowing the modem router to pull the maximum available speed from the network. Keeping the VR600v in this mode will allow you to receive up to 100 Mbps from your connected devices (limited by the DSL port), and you will be able to enjoy up to 1000 Mbps solely on the LAN. Fortunately, this device can also connect to an FTTH fiber connection, allowing you to achieve speeds of up to 1Gbps.
|Interface||3 10/100/1000Mbps RJ 45 LAN Ports|
1 10/100/1000Mbps RJ 45 LAN/WAN Ports
1 RJ11 Port
1 USB 2.0 Ports
|Button||WPS Button, LED Button, Wireless On/Off Buttons(2.4GHz & 5GHz),|
Power On/Off Button
|External Power Supply||12V/2A|
|IEEE Standards||IEEE 802.3, IEEE 802.3u, 802.3ab|
|VDSL2 Standards||ITU-T G.993.2, Up to 17a profile (POTS)|
ITU-T G.993.5 (G.vector)
ITU-T G.998.4 (G.INP）
|ADSL Standards||Full-rate ANSI T1.413 Issue 2,|
ITU-T G.994.1 (G.hs),
|ADSL2 Standards||ITU-T G.992.3 (G.DMT.bis),|
ITU-T G.992.4 (G.lite.bis)
|ADSL2+ Standards||ITU-T G.992.5|
|Dimensions ( W x D x H )||216 x 164 x 36.8mm|
|Antenna Type||3 External detachable dual band antennas|
|Compatibility||NBN – Fibre to the Node (FTTN) – DSL Modem Router Mode.|
NBN – Fibre to the Building (FTTB) – DSL Modem Router Mode.
NBN – Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) – Wireless Router Mode.
NBN – Fibre to the Home (FTTH) – Wireless Router Mode.
NBN – Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) – Wireless Router Mode.
For further information on NBN connections please visit: http://www.nbnco.com.au/learn-about-the-nbn/network-technology.html
|Wireless Standards||IEEE 802.11a/n/ac 5GHz,|
IEEE 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz
|Frequency||2.4GHz and 5GHz|
|Signal Rate||1300Mbps at 5GHz, 300Mbps at 2.4GHz|
|Transmit Power||2.4GHz <20dBm(EIRP)|
|Wireless Functions||Enable/Disable Wireless Radio, WDS Bridge, WMM,|
|Wireless Security||64/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA-PSK2|
encryptions, Wireless MAC Filtering
|Quality of Service||ATM QoS, Bandwidth Control|
|Security||NAT Firewall, Access Control,|
IP and MAC Address Binding
|Operating Modes||VDSL/ADSL Modem Router, Wireless Router, 3G/4G Router|
|Management||Web Based Configuration (HTTP), Remote management,|
command Line Interface, SSL for TR-069, SNMP v1/2c,
Web Based Firmware Upgrade, Diagnostic Tools
|DHCP||Server, Client, DHCP Client List, Address Reservation,|
|Port Forwarding||Virtual Server, Port Triggering, DMZ, ALG, UPnP|
|Dynamic DNS||DynDns, NO-IP|
|VPN Pass-Through||PPTP, L2TP, IPSec Passthrough|
|Protocols||Supports IPv4 and IPv6|
|ATM/PPP Protocols||ATM Forum UNI3.1/4.0, PPP over ATM (RFC 2364),|
PPP over Ethernet (RFC2516), IPoA (RFC1577/2225), MER\IPoE (RFC 1483
Routed), Bridge (RFC1483 Bridge), PVC – Up to 8 PVCs
|Advanced Functions||Parental Control, Network Address Translation(NAT),|
Port Mapping(Grouping), Static Routing, RIP
v1/v2(optional), DNS Relay,
DDNS, IGMP V1/V2/V3
|USB Sharing||Support Samba(Storage)/FTP Server/Media Server/Printer|
Server, 3G/4G Modem
|Guest Network||2.4GHz Guest Network, 5GHz Guest Network|
|IPSec VPN||Supports up to 10 IPSec VPN tunnels|
|Package Contents||AC1600 Wireless Gigabit VDSL/ADSL Modem Router|
RJ11 DSL Cable
RJ45 Ethernet Cable
Quick Installation Guide
|System Requirements||Microsoft Windows 98SE, NT, 2000, XP, Vista™ or|
Windows 7, 8, 8.1, MAC OS, NetWare, UNIX or Linux
Internet Explorer 11, Firefox 12.0, Chrome 20.0,
Safari 4.0, or other Java-enabled browser
Cable or DSL Modem Subscription with an Internet
Service Provider (for Internet access)
|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
|Warranty||Limited 3-Year Warranty|
For further information on our warranty policy please visit: http://www.tp-link.com.au/support/rma
Even though I know that 2018 is the year of WiFi mesh systems, I found the TP-Link VR600v to be a pleasant surprise on a number of fronts: the wireless performance on the 5GHz WiFi network was significantly better than average considering its price tag (while the performance on the 2.4GHz WiFi network was noticeably worse); the web-based user interface will appeal to tech-savvy people, while the Tether app should suffice for those who don’t want to bother with the complicated configuration; and the web-based Obviously, it has some shortcomings, such as the aforementioned 2.4GHz performance, a slight overheating issue, and the absence of a USB 3.0 port, but these do not outweigh the advantages, and the Archer VR600v continues to be a great budget-friendly option for small-to-medium-sized homes that are still reliant on DSL connections.