A review of the low-cost TP-Link TL-WR845N router with three powerful antennas.
TP-Link TL-WR845N is a representative of the budget series of routers of a well-known, established brand. But the budget, in this case, does not mean bad. In it, TP-Link discarded all unnecessary to the average user without compromising quality.
TP-Link TL-WR845N router Review
The TP-Link TL-WR845N has the following characteristics.
|Internet||1 port 100 Mbps|
|LAN||4 ports 100 Mbps|
|Wi-Fi standards||802.11 b/g/n|
|Power transmitter||20 dBi|
|Antenna power||5 dBi|
|Supported OS||Windows 98, NT, 2000, XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, 10, MAC OS, NetWare, UNIX, Linux|
I will give a small explanation for those who are not very well-versed in the characteristics of routers.
Internet speeds of 100 Mbps will be enough for most users, as the higher speed can provide rare providers, and the tariff will not be cheap.
With 4 LAN ports, up to four computers or other devices can be connected to the router with a cable. Speeds of 100 Mbps will be enough to share files up to several gigabytes and watch videos in high quality.
Wi-Fi runs at 2.4 GHz, and the 802.11n standard supports almost all modern devices. For older devices, 802.11b/g standards are maintained. But such routers are already significantly more expensive, and devices working at 5 GHz are still few.
The power of the transmitter 20 dBi is typical for many modern routers. Still, three antennas with a capacity of 5 dBi each are a good help in the conditions of a large house or apartment, as well as the dominance of a large number of Wi-Fi networks.
Almost all stationary routers can work with all operating systems, as I do not require the installation of drivers. In this regard, nothing is surprising in TP-Link TL-WR845N.
The other parameters are more related to the firmware router, and we will consider them a little later.
Packaging and trim
The TP-Link TL-WR845N is packed in an unexpectedly large quality box.
In the upper right corner, the manufacturer promises 2 years of warranty and focuses on the 5 dB antenna gain factor.
The bottom left is about a wireless connection speed of up to 300 Mbis/s and claims that this is the best solution for quick file downloads, internet games, and HD video streaming.
It also mentions the smartphone router control app, the presence of the WPS button to quickly connect to devices, the prioritization of traffic (IP zos), and the ability to operate in bridge mode (WDS). We’ll talk about all this.
There is also a variety of information on the back.
In the left corners, information from the front of the box is duplicated, and additional features are reported.
This is the wifi button, parental control, and guest network.
On the right is a description of a router and what devices can connect through it.
Router combines all devices connected by cable and Wi-Fi into one local network, allowing you to share any data between them and access the Internet from all connected devices, with the simultaneous sending and receiving of data. With three antennas, a reliable wireless connection is provided through physical barriers (walls) and in conditions of electromagnetic floods (other wireless networks). Computers, laptops, TVs, players, game consoles, tablets, smartphones, and other devices with a network card or Wi-Fi adapter can be connected to the router.
Below is a comparison table with the nearest models.
The younger model TL-WR841N features two antennas and a smaller range of coverage. The older TL-WR941N has a wireless connection speed of up to 450 Mbps and a slightly larger coverage range. In contrast, the TL-W1043ND still has a USB connector for the external drive and improved traffic prioritization.
Some of the information printed on the box on the side we have already reviewed, and the rest concerns the firmware, and we will consider it in the relevant section below.
On the other side of the box again mentions the application TP-Link Tether to control the router from under the operating system Android and iOS. There’s also a code reference to it.
Inside the box is a pallet of recycled cardboard, which is a router and everything else.
In addition to the router itself, the package includes a power supply, a patch cord to connect to the computer, a guide to quickly adjusting the scheme of connection in different languages, including Russian, and a few more useless pieces of paper. The patch is about 120 cm long.
Design and design
The router is made in a white-gray range and turned out to be unexpectedly large for me with long thick antennas.
At first, I thought that it would look unimportant in white, but thanks to the beautiful shape with interesting curves and textured plastic router look surprisingly nice.
The TP-LINK logo is emblazoned in the center, and in front is a gray stripe with indicators that dimly glow green when the respective interfaces are active.
I’ll list them from left to right:
- Power indicator
- Wi-Fi activity indicator
- 4 LAN indicators
- Internet indicator
Indicator behavior is typical of most routers. The power indicator starts flashing when the power is turned on, and after the router is fully loaded, it glows constantly.
The Wi-Fi lights up when Wi-Fi is turned on and goes out if it’s turned off. Local network indicators (LAN) glow when a computer or other device is connected to the corresponding router port.
When the router is turned on glows orange, the Internet indicator, and after connecting with the Internet green. If the indicator does not glow, there are problems with the cable, and the router does not see the provider’s equipment at all. If it is constantly orange, it indicates that the router sees the equipment provider, but some problems hinder the internet.
The WPS lock-shaped indicator starts flashing when the appropriate button is pressed on the router. This is used to connect devices over Wi-Fi without entering a password quickly. While the lock flashes to the router, you can connect. Once you’ve connected, the lock is always green, and no one can connect to your router without a password until you press the WPS button again.
There are 3 non-removable antennas, all connectors, and router controls at the back.
I will also list all the connectors and buttons from left to right.
- Power – power connector
- Power On/Off – Router on/off button
- Reset – reset button for all router settings
- WPS/Wi-Fi – WPS and Wi-Fi button
- Internet – Internet cable connector (WAN)
- Ethernet – 4 local network connectors (LAN)
I’ll also give a few explanations.
Conveniently, the router has an on/off button, and you do not have to pull the power supply from the outlet as in most routers of other manufacturers.
If you hold the Reset button for 10 seconds, you completely reset all router settings, including the rules and passwords you entered.
The WPS button, when pressed, includes a Wi-Fi connection mode without a password for 2 minutes until one device is connected. When you hold a button, Wi-Fi is turned on or off, which is also convenient.
In the blue connector, the Internet understandably connects the cable from your provider, and in the orange connectors LAN 1-4 computers and other devices in any order. But the patch cord in set one, for the rest of the devices, needs to buy separately or order a cable draw on the apartment.
To make your router work well, use the router’s instructions to install and connect devices that you can download at the end of the article or right now in the Links section.
The router has a well-organized ventilation system with holes around the perimeter, which does not overheat even in hot working conditions.
To prevent the air vents from overlapping, there are legs from below that provide airflow.
TP-Link TL-WR845N has a typical firmware for most routers. Entry to the control panel is made from any browser, either at the router’s IP address (192.168.0.1) or at a special symbolic address (tplinkwifi.net). The username to enter “admin,” the password “admin.” This data is listed on the back of the router. It also lists the name of the Wi-Fi Network (SSID) and the password (PIN) to connect over Wi-Fi.
After moving to the router, you need to enter the login and password.
On the first page of the Control Panel (Status), you’ll see a summary of the addresses and current settings of the local network (LAN), wireless network (Wireless), and Internet (WAN), which can determine whether everything is working properly.
On the left is the menu to go to the various sections of the settings, and on the right, a detailed reference on them. Unfortunately, this model is firmware in English. But this should not frighten you, so in most routers and the common user, many settings do not need it at all. But I will still talk about the main, the most interesting, and useful parameters.
A simple step-by-step master of setting basic parameters (Wi-Fi and the Internet). The first step is to choose the name of the wireless network (optional), your country (must), and change the password to Wi-Fi (optional).
In the second step, you are asked to choose the type of Internet connection, after which you will be asked to enter the parameters provided by the provider (IP addresses, password) if they are.
All types of connections are supported:
- Dynamic IP
- Static IP
If you don’t know what type of connection your PROVIDER is using, you can press the “Detect” button, and the router will identify it.
This is the end of the master’s work. Did you think something complicated was going to be done?
Cloning your computer’s MAC address into a router.
You should if your ISP uses MAC filtering. Just click the “Clone MAC Address” button, reboot the router, and don’t have to call the support provider to change the MAC address.
Here you can change the router’s IP address.
Normally this is not required, and a more interesting option is “IGMP” that you need to include if you use IPTV (broadcast television over the Internet). The provider can provide this service.
In wireless network settings, you can enable WDS-bridge mode, allowing you to use a router to increase wi-fi network coverage in a large apartment or home.
In this case, you will need to enter the name of the main router network (SSID) and password to it or click “Survey” and select your network from the list. You may also want to install the same channel (Channel) on both routers.
In wireless security settings, you can choose different protection and encryption algorithms.
The best WPA2-PSK and AES algorithms are used by default. You can also change your Wi-Fi password here.
Wireless MAC Filtering
Prohibit specific devices or allowing only certain devices to access Wi-Fi at their MAC addresses.
Just turn on this option, click “Add New,” and select the devices you want to block or allow. In this way, you can restrict access to the Internet to a naughty son or obstinate neighbor.
Settings for guest Wi-Fi network.
You can create a separate Wi-Fi network with a different password for guests or inquisitive households. Connecting to your guest network, they will be able to go online but will not be able to fumble on your devices on the local network and climb into the router settings. You can also limit the network’s running time to certain days of the week and time.
Set up IP addresses that the router gives to devices.
The most interesting thing here is the opportunity to set a DNS server. You can prescribe a Google server (220.127.116.11) if your ISP’s DNS works poorly and pages in the browser open through time. Or ask for a secure DNS to protect against malicious or obscene sites.
The demilitarized zone is used if you need to access a computer from another computer from the Internet.
Router blocks access to all devices on the local network from the Internet. If you use some programs that allow you to access it, you can write here the internal address of your computer (e.g., 192.168.0.2), and the router will transfer all internet connections to it. But at the same time, on the computer, you will need to set this IP not to change and take care of security.
This option is on by default.
It allows you not to customize access to applications from the Internet such as torrent customers and online games by throwing port, as it had to do before. The default router blocks all connections coming from the Internet to protect against attacks. But it can affect some network applications so that they won’t normally work (for example, you won’t be able to hand out torrents). UPnP automatically opens the right ports for applications when needed and automatically closes them when they are no longer in use. This ensures that applications normally work with minimal security damage.
Protect against external attacks and various network protocols.
As I’ve said many times, the router blocks all unsolicited PC connections from the Internet. This provides excellent protection against network attacks, which is very important. Many routers do not even provide for disabling this protection. There is such an opportunity here and for different network protocols. If the router blocks what you need, it can be turned off.
Extended security setup. Here you can turn on protecting against various network attacks if you suddenly are very unlucky and hackers will start harassing you, interfering with the Internet. You can also ban your router’s ping, which will help hide it on the internet.
Another stage of defense. You can clearly specify the computer’s MAC address from the local network from which the router is allowed to control. Then no one else will be able to enter it, even if he gets access to Wi-Fi.
Same, but the IP address of the computer from the Internet is set.
You’ll be able to remotely access your router from a computer with a preset IP address. It’s not enough for anyone, but I used to use this opportunity.
Parental control helps protect children from the harmful effects of the Internet.
Here you can limit your child’s computer access to certain sites and limit the child’s time on the Internet on schedule.
Excellent option of sharing the speed of the Internet between devices, previously not available in budget routers.
You can set the maximum and minimum internet speed for each computer, laptop, or other device by their IP address. Then your wife won’t be able to take away all the internet speed when you play tanks.
The option is necessary to access a computer with a dynamic IP from the Internet.
Once I used it, I could send a signal to the router from any computer or smartphone, download the right file, put on an updated online game, and turn off the computer. But if your IP is constantly changing, you can’t do that. DDNS services help solve the problem. They assign a permanent IP or symbolic address to your router, through which it can be accessed from the Internet.
TP-Link TL-WR845N supports the following DDNS services:
You need to register on one of their sites and then enter your data in the router settings. Personally, I used the free no-IP tariff, and everything was fine.
Support for IP version 6.
TP-Link TL-WR845N supports the internet protocol of the latest version of IPv6 on both WAN and LAN interfaces. And if many providers do not use it, then PCs in the local network have long mastered it. Starting with Windows 7, PC connections to the homegroup are subject to IPv6 protocol.
Tools for diagnosing a network connection.
Here you can ping and trace the route to the target server (such as a game) to determine which network site there are delays and, in conjunction with the provider, this problem (for example, reduce ping in the game).
Backup & Restore
Reserving and restoring settings.
You can back up the settings in the file on your computer drive and then restore them. It can be useful in case of failure or for experiments to not set everything up manually.
And the last but important section, allowing you to change the username and password to access the admin.
Here you can change your standard credentials to what you like. It is recommended that this always be done for security reasons. What if someone gets access to your router, and knowing the standard login and password will stitch you into its virus? If you make a mistake or forget them, the old name “admin” and the “admin” password will return after the router is reset to the standard settings with the Reset button (hold 10 seconds).
You can download a full description of all the TP-Link TL-WR845N router settings at the end of the article or right now in the Links section.
With the TP-Link Tether app, you can change router settings from your smartphone or tablet. You can download the Android version in the Play Market for iOS in the App Store.
When you first start, you’ll be asked to read a brief description of the program’s capabilities.
Then you need to choose a router, enter a login and password to access the control panel.
A window with the image of a router and connected devices appears. When taping on the router icon opens a window with general information about it and its current connection with the provider.
When taping on devices, open windows with information about them, where you can immediately block anyone, except, of course, the smartphone, from which you are now connected.
When you tap on the yellow circle opens the router menu, where the first icon is responsible for turning off Wi-Fi, changing the name of the network, and password.
Shared Password lets you send your Wi-Fi password to someone on your contact list in various ways through messaging programs.
The “Internet Connection” section displays IP addresses issued by the provider, allows you to select and customize any connection, and the “Guest Network” is included nearby.
The latest settings allow you to pardon “Blocked Customers” and pull your child out of the internet by turning on “Parent Control.”
In general, the settings are minimal, but if you have only a smartphone or tablet, you will adjust the basic parameters of the router to connect to the Internet.
I decided to compare the Wi-Fi power of the old router D-Link DIR-615 with two antennas with 3 dBi amplification and our TP-Link TL-WR845N with three 5 dBi antennas. To do this, I went out into the entrance and took measurements. It turned out that where the D-Link coverage was on the verge and almost lost, TP-Link confidently kept the connection with a good stock.
With the modern smartphone Lenovo Vibe P1 connection installed at 72 Mbps. HP ProBook 450 G2 laptop connected as required by the standard 802.11n at a speed of 150 Mbps. As for the 300 Mbps claimed by the manufacturer, a computer or laptop must have a Wi-Fi adapter with at least two antennas to reach this speed, as a higher speed is achieved by transmitting data simultaneously through multiple channels.
But this is all in theory when connecting to the provider through a dynamic or static IP at a speed of 100 Mbps router gives the computer about 95 Mbps, i.e., taking into account official traffic almost does not cut the speed.
When connected through the tunnel protocol (PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP), the speed can be cut to 65-75 Mbps.
Here is a weak processor that does not have time to handle network packages of tunnel protocols. In this case, the situation can save only the purchase of a faster gigabit router, as the processors install more powerful. But that’s only if your internet speed is 100 Mbps and the provider uses a tunneling protocol.
The real wi-fi speed on a smartphone through one wall from the router is about 45 Mbps.
And the Wi-Fi speed on the laptop is about 60 Mbps.
I also checked how the router behaves in the online game World of Tanks on a laptop. The game gave the usual for my computer, connected by cable, ping 30-40 ms with temporary jumps up to 50-60 ms. In principle, I did not notice any problems during the game, but the lag indicator periodically flashed red. This pattern is observed on other routers, so I do not advise using Wi-Fi for online games.
Within a few days of testing as the main router on a stationary computer and smartphone, no problems were noticed.
Router TP-Link TL-WR845N is a great solution for thrifty users. Its speed is enough for most tasks, and a powerful Wi-Fi signal will provide good coverage and a stable Internet not interrupted by neighbor routers.
Well, if you want to drive tens of gigabytes between your devices on your local network or have the Internet at a speed of 100 Mbps through the tunnel protocol, it is better to look at more expensive and powerful gigabit models, for example, from the TP-Link Archer series.