Affordably priced at $99.99, the TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (V2) delivers performance comparable to that of more costly models at a lower price. It outperformed the competition in our 2.4GHz and 5GHz throughput testing, and it comes with a comprehensive feature set that includes four Gigabit LAN connections and a pair of USB 2.0 connectors, among other things.
Although there are several management options, the online interface is sluggish to react and does not have any user-friendly symbols to aid you in navigating the menu system. In the end, neither of these issues prevent it from being named our Editors’ Choice for cheap routers.
The Archer C7 is a dual-band AC1750 router with a 720MHz CPU, which is the most recent model. It has the ability to attain rates of up to 450Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,300Mbps on the 5GHz band, depending on the configuration. As far as design is concerned, the TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Dual Band Wireless AC Gigabit Router that we evaluated back in 2014 hasn’t been modified at all. The container, which measures 9.6 by 6.4 by 1.3 inches and is glossy black, is used for both devices as well.
The router’s rear panel contains three detachable and adjustable antennas, four Gigabit LAN ports, a Gigabit WAN port, and two USB 2.0 connections, among other features. There’s also an On/Off button, a Reset/WPS switch, a Wi-Fi On/Off switch, and two USB activity LEDs to round out the package. The front of the router includes LED indications for power, both radio bands, all four LAN ports, the WAN port, and WPS activity. The back of the router has LED indicators for power, both radio bands, and WPS activity.
The web console on the TP-Link Archer C7 is an older, text-based version of the same interface that was used on the original Archer C7. It lacks the graphical elements found on newer TP-Link routers such as the AC2600 Wireless Dual Band Router Archer C2600 ($327.99 at Amazon) and the AC3150 Wireless MU-MIMO Gigabit Router Archer C3150 ($193.99 at Amazon). A considerable latency exists between the moment that you make a change and the time that it is saved; in some situations, I had to wait as long as 30 seconds before my modification was saved.
Despite this, it provides a plethora of basic and sophisticated configuration options. The main Status page contains a list of configuration options on the left side and information about LAN, WAN, wireless, and traffic statistics in the middle. Each set has a thorough explanation on the right-hand side of the screen. Network configuration choices include WAN, LAN, MAC Clone, and IPTV, and each radio band includes basic wireless configuration options (SSID, Mode), as well as WPS, security (WPA/WPA2 Person and Enterprise), and MAC filtering configuration options (for each radio band).
The TP-Link Archer C7 is capable of handling three lanes of data traffic and uses beamforming methods to ensure that the sent data matches the data received by the receiver. However, it does not have MU-MIMO functionality, which would allow for more effective management of available bandwidth when a large number of bandwidth-hungry devices are connected.
The C7 performed admirably in real-world testing conducted with Ixia’s ixChariot software in a busy office setting with a large number of Wi-Fi networks. It achieved a peak throughput of 360.6 Mbps over both channels at a distance of five feet. The C7’s performance on the 802.11n (2.4 GHz) band was below average, reaching a maximum speed of 59.2 Mbps and doing so only from a distance of 15 feet. The C7’s performance on the 802.11ac (5GHz) band, where it was capable of moving 304.4 Mbps at a distance of 5 feet, helped to redeem it.
To put that performance into context, the C7 was around 5 percent slower than the total data transmission capacity of the comparable priced Netgear R6220 and more than 20 percent slower than the more costly Netgear R7000.
When tested with a Surface 3, the C7 was able to maintain connectivity up to 130 feet away, which is 5 feet further than the Netgear R6220’s range and about typical for a router today. It should be sufficient for any except the most extravagant houses. In addition, the C7 supplied enough data to run three devices that each played a television show, an Internet radio station, and ran a movie, all while two systems were transferring data back and forth between them. After a series of testing, we found that the router transmitted video and audio without stuttering or freezing frames.
The Archer C7 performed admirably in our throughput testing. In our 2.4GHz close-proximity (same-room) test, it achieved a speed of 91.3Mbps, which was significantly higher than the scores achieved by the other budget routers, which included the Netgear AC1200 Smart Wi-Fi Router (R6220), which costs $79.95 on Amazon and delivers 74.1Mbps, the D-Link AC1200 Wi-Fi Router (DIR-842), which delivers 75Mbps, and the Linksys EA6350 AC1200+ (72.5Mbps). Furthermore, its throughput of 62.8Mbps in our 30-foot test outperformed the competition; the Netgear R6220 had a throughput of 48.3Mbps, the D-Link DIR-842 had a throughput of 41.5Mbps, and the Linksys EA6350 had a throughput of 39.3Mbps.
The Archer C7’s performance in our 5GHz throughput tests was exceptional for a budget router, especially considering its price. During the close-proximity test, it outperformed the Netgear R6220 (331Mbps), the D-Link AC1200 Wi-Fi Router (DIR-842) ($109.21 at Amazon) (332Mbps), and the Linksys EA6350 (also 332Mbps) (427Mbps). A score of 250Mbps at 30 feet again put it on top of the list, topping the Netgear R6220 (104Mbps), the DIR-842 (111Mbps), and the Linksys EA6350 (100Mbps) (199Mbps).
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× Fixed High-Performance Antennas|
Multiple antennas form a signal-boosting array to cover more directions and large areas
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 2.0 Port|
Supported Partition Formats:
|Buttons||Wi-Fi On/Off Button|
Power On/Off Button
|Power||12 V ⎓ 1.5 A|
|Network Security||SPI Firewall|
IP & MAC Binding
Application Layer Gateway
|Guest Network||1× 5 GHz Guest Network|
1× 2.4 GHz Guest Network
Without replacing your existing devices or buying a whole new WiFi ecosystem, OneMesh™ helps you create a more flexible network that covers your entire home with TP-Link OneMesh™ products.
|Parental Controls||URL Filtering|
|WAN Types||Dynamic IP|
|Quality of Service||QoS by Device|
|Cloud Service||OTA Firmware Upgrade|
|NAT Forwarding||Port Forwarding|
DHCP Client List
|Dimensions (W×D×H)||9.6 × 6.4 × 1.3 in|
(243 × 160.6 × 32.5 mm)
|Package Contents||Wi-Fi Router Archer C7|
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
It’s true that the TP-Link Archer C7 AC1750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (V2) is less than $100, but its performance and feature set belie the low price tag. While it did not outperform similarly priced budget versions, such as the $90 Linksys EA6350 AC1200+ Dual-Band Smart Wi-Fi Wireless Router, its 2.4GHz, and 5GHz throughput ratings were significantly higher. It also has a plethora of administration options and I/O ports.
However, the Archer C7’s user interface should be improved, and its file-transfer performance might be improved as well. After all, is said and done, it is the fastest dual-band router available in its price range and our Editors’ Choice for budget routers.