I have just finished setting this up a few hours ago, having needed to quickly replace an unreliable Tenda W311R 150Mbps Wireless Broadband Router
that I ordered for my parents to replace an old Sweex .G router.
I was looking for:
- Easy initial setup
- Easy configuration once set up
So far this ticks all boxes.
- Plug it in to your existing network
- Connect to the default wireless network it creates (TP-LINK_AP_XXXXXX)
- Access it via a browser @ [...]
- Follow the easy setup steps and then click Finish (if you've changed the Wireless SSID or added a password during this stage, then you'll need to reconnect to the Wireless network with the new name, or newly-added password)
-- I use this as an Access Point (AP). My parents have BT Business broadband in their home office, in a different building to the house. This access point is coupled with the excellent TP-Link PA411KIT AV500 500 Mbps Powerline Adapter - Twin Pack
to bring the broadband from the existing Netgear router in the office, across into the house about 25 metres away.
- I use these settings:
-- Mode: Access Point
-- Network Settings: Type: "Smart IP(DHCP)" (instead of having its own range of IPs to serve over DHCP, this AP uses IPs from the Netgear DHCP server, which works fine for me - I simply made sure that the existing Netgear router was serving enough IPs for the existing computers in the office, plus all the devices I wanted to connect in the house via this AP). The other option would be to give this a Static IP within the range of the Netgear DHCP server and then configure a different DHCP range for devices in the house, but I didn't see the point as the Smart IP works great out the box
Some of the reviews here talk about needing to connect your PC directly to this and manually setting the PC to have an IP of 192.168.0.254 in order to set this up. This is only required if your existing network that you're trying to extend is using this IP. As the Netgear router in the office was configured to serve IPs over DHCP between 192.168.0.2-192.168.0.10 I was simply able to plug this in, connect to the default unsecured wireless network it creates (TP-LINK_AP_XXXXXX) and configure it via [...] Factor this in before you start messing around connecting it to your PC / Mac. A lot of people simply won't need to do this and could use it out the box.
I was also pleased to see that this access point shipped with the latest firmware already installed, so I didn't need to go installing anything. Quite often routers etc arrive with old and unreliable firmware that you need to upgrade before they become usable.
Once set up, it was a doddle to set up additional security, such as wireless MAC filtering, accessible via Wireless -> Wireless MAC Filtering. First I had to click the Enable button, then add my MAC addresses one by one. One minor feature, but something I like, is being able to put a description along with the MAC address, so as you replace devices it's easy to see which ones to change / remove. Luckily this router gives you that. I've found quite a few that don't, leaving you with a big list of MAC addresses and more work trying to find what to change.
There are lots of other modes of operation that this device has, but for my needs Access Point is exactly what I want, so I've not explored all the other settings.
I haven't run any tests using the old powerline adapters that I also replaced, but on pure network speeds and range in the house, this is excellent for the money. Although I haven't used this functionality yet, being able to use power over ethernet is excellent - so for instance, you could connect the supplied ethernet cable from a powerline adapter into the supplied power-injector, along with plugging the power injector into the mains via the supplied power block that you'd normally plug into the AP. Then, run an additional ethernet cable from the power injector to the AP, which will let you install the AP somewhere more convenient for getting the best signal in your house, without worrying about not having a long enough power lead.
Coupled with the excellent TP-Link powerline adapters I mentioned above, I am getting the maximum possible performance in the house over a broadband speed test, with not a fraction of speed being lost from the office 25 metres away.
It's still early days, but so far, so good - very reliable in a few hours of constant hammering. I've been downloading movies on Sky+HD solidly since setting this up, using my MacBook Pro, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 and PS3, Mum using her iPad, Dad using his MacBook Pro etc etc and absolutely no issues and rock-solid performance throughout all of this.
I would definitely recommend this to anyone in the market for an Access Point.