The TP-Link TD-W8950ND is a truly inexpensive modem router.
The recommended price is only £30 inc VAT and we've seen online retailers selling it for as little as £20. For something so cheap, surely something is missing? Well. Not much. It's an N-Lite router rather than full draft n 2.0 and has a single antenna so it can't supply anything like 300Mbps. However, the TP-Link TD-W8950ND offers a decent enough performance and is easy to install. A great bargain.
Hardware-wise, the TP-Link TD-W8950ND hardly lacks a thing. four Ethernet ports complement the DSL connection; the only noticeable omission is a USB port. Round the front there's a lonely QSS button – a term denoting one-touch secure connection. This gave us an instant connection with WPA encryption.
The TP-Link TD-W8950ND comes with everything we needed to set it up out of the box including a brilliant fully-functional Flash-based smart wizard on a half-size CD. TP-Link has done a great job to make installation as easy as pie and the wizard takes an absolute novice through the entire process.
The web-admin device page is also comprehensive, but there's one annoyance. The test connection setting gave us no indication of whether the test was successful so we were left waiting like lemons.
The TP-Link TD-W8950ND supports faster ADSL+ though it lacks QoS support and multiple SSIDs. This means users won't get the enhanced feature sets supported by the Wi-Fi Alliance and you can't set up different logins.
While the performance tests weren't the fastest we've seen, we were impressed to find only a little throughput drop-off up to two walls away on 11.g. The TPLink took 4 minutes and 29 seconds to transfer our test files with the router next to the laptop. Through two walls this rose to 5 minutes and 7 seconds.
As with the other contenders, the TPLink's 11.n was much faster. In the near test it took 2 minutes 45 seconds, adding an extra 40 seconds (totalling 3 minutes and 26 seconds) when faced with two walls between networked computers. We'd expected to see the transfer rate really drop off here and were pleasantly surprised that the one detachable antenna held out so well.
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