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TP-Link TL-WDR3600 and WDR4300 review: two shades of black

The TL-WDR3600 performs the same as the more expensive WDR4300

TP-Link has created two virtually identical routers with the TL-WDR3600 and TL-WDR4300. With an average price of £62 the WDR3600 is a good option if you're looking for a reasonably-priced dual-band router with gigabit ports and can live with the design. The performance of the WDR3600 is very good, especially considering the price. See all Wi-Fi and networking reviews.

TP-Link is known for providing a lot of bang for your buck, and it was definitely true for the TL-WR2543ND. When Hardware.Info reviewed this 450Mbps router earlier this year it earned the Bronze Award. It will be interesting to find out whether the new TL-WDR3600 and the TL-WDR4300 are equally impressive. See also: Group test: what's the best modem router?

In terms of looks the WDR3600 and the WDR4300 are completely different than the WR2543ND. The WDR3600 and the WDR4300 still can't be called stylish exactly, but it's a bit better than how the WR2543ND looked. The only external difference between TP-Link's two new routers is in the number of antennas - the WDR3600 has two, while the WDR4300 has three. The main difference between the two is that the WDR3600 is a so-called N600 model, while the WDR4300 is a N750 model. The experts will know that it means that the WDR3600 has a maximum theoretical speed of 300 Mbps on both frequencies, while the WDR4300 can achieve 300 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 450 Mbps on 5 GHz. See also: Group test: what's the best wireless router?

Both routers are equipped with four gigabit LAN ports, a WAN port, two USB ports, an on/off button, a WPS button and switch for enabling and disabling the wireless connection. All of the network chips are from Atheros, and they're the same on both PCBs aside from the 5 GHz one. That's because the WDR4300 supports three data streams on that frequency while the WDR3600 supports two, and why the former has an AR9580 chip and the latter an AR9582. The CPU and 2.4 GHz band come from an AR9344 chip, and the switch is an AR8327. Each router had two 64MB Hynix RAM modules for a total of 128 MB of RAM.

The software on the two TP-Link routers is of course identical. The interface is generally well-organised, and includes help information in the right panel. Features are pretty limited, however. There is basically no QoS, and it's not possible to create a guest network.

The WDR4300 costs an average £84, and the WDR3600 costs an average of £62. To find out how they perform, read the full review on Hardware.Info.

TP-Link router

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