TP-LINK WDR3600 Review 2017
has a lot going for it out of the box.
It’s a fairly high-performance dual-band 802.11n router with a surprisingly impressive list of features; at least at a glance, the only problem you’re really going to notice is that it’s rather ugly.
“Rather ugly” is hardly enough to make this router look even slightly less attractive,
though – especially given how reasonably priced it is, when it can be easily enough obtained for less than $70.
TP-LINK has a history of producing solid, if not exceptional, wireless routers and other networking hardware and selling those products for modest prices.
There’s good reason to believe that the TP-LINK WDR3600 will be more of the same in that respect.
Let’s start by talking about wireless speeds.
In theory, an 802.11n router can provide up to 450Mbps on the 5GHz band and up to 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band; in practice,
that’s an unrealistic standard to hold any hardware to; wireless signals have a certain inhere degree of unpredictability.
You’re realistically looking at around 240 Mbps on the 5GHz band and 130Mbps on the 2.4GHz band; this isn’t performance on par with some high-end models,
but it’s certainly not bad for one as affordable as this.
Wired connectivity is fantastic, too, with the gigabit Ethernet ports providing at least 900Mbps under essentially all circumstances.
Range is the other half of this coin, and it’s a strong point.
This router manages to send a signal through three or four layers of typical internal walls with minimal loss of signal strength on either band; this last part is worth stressing,
since many dual-band routers at lower price points have decidedly unimpressive performance on one band or the other.
You have a completely usable Wi-Fi signal from around 60 feet away; there are routers with more impressive figures, sure,
but they’re typically using impressive high-power radios with impressive price tags.
TP-LINK WDR3600 is great for its position in the market; that’s for certain
Under the hood, things continue to look nice.
Your 560 MHz Atheros AR9344 and 128MB of RAM provide more than enough horsepower to keep performance consistent and stable, or to allow you to do some interesting things with DD-WRT or Tomato.
The two USB ports provide plenty of expandability in the latter case, which is a nice advantage over some other cheaper routers.
TP-LINK’s stock firmware is so-so. It’s not bad, but it doesn’t really have many distinguishing features of its own; it’s just sort of there.
It’s easy enough to use, though.
There’s a setup CD included in the box, but, really, you don’t need it; the router already has a random WPA2 key set up, right out of the box.
Plug it in and you’ve got rudimentary security settings in place right away; you can just put the key right into your devices and connect them.
Obviously, most people are going to need to do something with the router’s settings anyway – but it’s nice that you have the option of getting some use of it right out of the package.
It’s worth noting, though, that this key is only eight characters – very minimal strength; WPA2 is still fairly secure, but you will probably be better off replacing it with a longer one sooner or later.
QoS features are reasonably robust and perform well enough, as does the standard batch of extra features like the USB file and printer servers.
Nothing particularly stands out as exceptional, in the positive or the negative sense; the TL-WDR3600-n600 works, and it works well,
but you shouldn’t expect something that’ll surprise you. You’re buying a solid dual-band 802.11n router for $65; that’s the draw here.
It’s stable, and it has excellent performance
but it has relatively few bells and whistles that aren’t present on most of the competition anyway. Conclusion The TP-LINK TL-WDR3600 really doesn’t do much of anything that most of the other wireless routers out there don’t.
The feature set is fairly robust, sure – but only because that’s what consumers have come to expect at this point; you don’t really have anything here that you wouldn’t expect.
You know what, though? That’s okay.
This isn’t a glamorous product by any stretch of the imagination – but it provides you with all the features that you want from a modern wireless router, great performance, and an excellent price tag.
It really doesn’t need to do any more than that. More Wireless Router Reviews…