[TTT] ‘PoE’ AP on the Cheap – TP-LINK TL-WR841HP + 12V PoE Adapter

Welcome to another Tim’s Tech Tips. Today we are going over a little $60 combo that will give you a 2.4ghz 802.11N access point with plenty of coverage without breaking the bank. You’re going to see that I have a lot of solutions where I combine multiple pieces of hardware and/or software to accomplish a goal.

In the review I posted before this (FitBit Aria Scale) I talked about setting up a separate wireless network for the FitBit Aria scale. I did not want to spend a ton of money on this setup as I had already spent $200 on my main Access Point (NetGear R7000) and another $130 on the scale itself. I decided to go this route as I had a spare network drop to my main PoE switch and wanted something that was self-powered from the main switch. Enter the TP-LINK WR841HP with a handy 12V PoE adapter.

I picked up the TP-LINK TL-WR841HR for $25 from Amazon via a warehouse deal and the PoE adapter for under $11 shipped. I updated the firmware on the router with the latest one from TP-LINK’s website and set it up as a separate network from my main one at home.

The router is placed in my bedroom on a dresser and has no obstructions. I am able to get a stable and quick (10-20mbps) around my entire 1500+ Square foot condo with it and it does well to fight off the other 2.4ghz networks here. I think it may actually have better 2.4ghz range (but not throughput) than my NetGear R7000 but given their placement and purpose are different I cannot give an accurate assessment.

Performance & Features

Once I got the network all setup I connected a few devices and started running WAN and LAN throughput tests. I had a multitude of devices that I tested with so you can get a feel for the speed of this device. Do note that the 2.4ghz band is pretty congested in my building and you may see better throughput if you are in a single family home where there is less interference. All the tests were done about 50 feet from the router with 1 wall in between the router and the devices. I have a 150+ MBPS WAN connection so the LAN and WAN throughput tests were identical. The upload from WLAN to LAN were all within 1-5 mbps of the download averages.

All in all the speeds were what I expected from this router. The limiting factor here is that all the ports are 10/100 so even though the radio supports up to 300mbps you will never see past 100mbps when pulling data from a wired network port.

This router is pretty standard aside from its higher output wireless signal. You have port forwarding, basic firewall options, uPnP, DNS forwarder, and DHCP server. This is a baseline router so keep that in mind.

Closing Thoughts & Links

For the application, I was needing this worked out very well. I used a cheap/off brand PoE to 12V power adapter from Amazon to get power to this router so that I wouldn’t have to worry about placing a power strip or UPS by it to protect it. This adapter will work with most 12V network devices under 2A of load if you want to power them over PoE. I am using a small 8 port Engenius PoE Gigabit switch and it powered it all up with no problem.

If you want to use this to extend your network and not make use of the router features just leave the WAN port set to dynamic, disable DHCP, and set the LAN IP address to an open address on your network. Once that is setup connect the router to your network via one of the 4 LAN ports, do NOT use the WAN port in this kind of setup.

I could see this being a nice solution to extend a network over PoE for a low cost if high speeds are not needed. The range on this router is fantastic for the price and I think you would be hard-pressed to find a better deal in the sub $40 range. The only thing that would make this router better is if there was Tomato or DD-WRT support for it. If you have any questions or comments please use the Contact Me link at the top of the page, comments are closed on this site.

Purchase Links (NOT affiliate links):

12V PoE Adapter: Amazon.com

TP-LINK TL-WR841HP Router: Amazon.com

Actual Pictures:

Specifications From TP-LINK’s Website

HARDWARE FEATURES
Interface 4 10/100Mbps LAN Ports
1 10/100Mbps WAN Port
Button WPS/Reset Button
Antenna 2*9dBi Detachable Omni Directional Antenna (RP-SMA)
External Power Supply 12VDC / 1A
Wireless Standards IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11b
Dimensions ( W x D x H ) 6.6in.x5.1in.x1.2in.(168.5mmx130mmx31.5mm)
WIRELESS FEATURES
Frequency 2.4-2.4835GHz
Signal Rate 11n: Up to 300Mbps(dynamic)
11g: Up to 54Mbps(dynamic)
11b: Up to 11Mbps(dynamic)
Reception Sensitivity 270M: [email protected]% PER
130M: [email protected]% PER
108M: [email protected]% PER
54M: [email protected]% PER
11M: [email protected]% PER
6M: [email protected]% PER
1M: [email protected]% PER
Transmit Power CE:
<20dBm(2.4GHz)
FCC:
<30dBm
Wireless Functions Enable/Disable Wireless Radio, WDS Bridge, WMM, Wireless Statistics
Wireless 64/128/152-bit WEP / WPA / WPA2,WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK
SOFTWARE FEATURES
Quality of Service WMM, Bandwidth Control
WAN Type Dynamic IP/Static IP/PPPoE/
PPTP/L2TP/BigPond
Management Access Control
Local Management
Remote Management
DHCP Server, Client, DHCP Client List,
Address Reservation
Port Forwarding Virtual Server,Port Triggering, UPnP, DMZ
Dynamic DNS DynDns, Comexe, NO-IP
VPN Pass-Through PPTP, L2TP, IPSec (ESP Head)
Access Control Parental Control, Local Management Control, Host List, Access Schedule, Rule Management
Firewall Security DoS, SPI Firewall
IP Address Filter/MAC Address Filter/Domain Filter
IP and MAC Address Binding
OTHERS
Certification CE, FCC, RoHS
Package Contents 300Mbps Wireless N High Power Router
Power supply unit
Resource CD
Ethernet Cable
Quick Installation Guide
System Requirements Microsoft® Windows® 98SE, NT, 2000, XP, Vista™ or Windows 7, Windows8/ 8.1/10
MAC® OS, NetWare®, UNIX® or Linux
Environment Operating Temperature: 0℃~40℃ (32℉~104℉)
Storage Temperature: -40℃~70℃ (-40℉~158℉)
Operating Humidity: 10%~90% non-condensing
Storage Humidity: 5%~90% non-condensing

TP-LINK Archer C7 Follow Up – New Firmware

Last week I wrote an article on the new TP-LINK Archer C7 802.11ac router. I was having some throughput issues with their latest official firmware so I found a beta firmware on a .de site and that seemed to fix the issues. Then the following day the TP-LINK support sent me an email following up on the review. They then provided me with a new beta firmware that further fixed the wireless throughput issues and improved stability.

softwareupdateI installed this about a week ago and since then the router has been stable and the throughput issues have been ironed out. I have about 10 devices on the 2.4ghz network now and have had Apple devices on it without any issues. I am running it in a 20mhz bandwidth mode now since there is too much overlap in my condo building but I still manage to pull in about 25mbps up and down.

Now the 5ghz band has improved in stability and throughput is consistently between 400mbps and 600mbps. I am very happy with the performance of the 5ghz band with this firmware. It’s nice to finally have a wireless connection that is more than capable of handling large file transfers without a dropout and at high speeds.

If you want to try it on your TP-LINK Archer C7 hit the download link here: TP-LINK Archer C7 130812 Beta Firmware

TP-LINK Archer C7 Review and Fix

Overview/History

For the past 2 years I have been running 2 separate access points to facilitate a 2.4ghz and a 5ghz wireless network. Since I moved into a condo a year and a half ago I have had to rely on the 5ghz band to provide me with fast wireless access since there are over 20 SSIDs on the 2.4ghz band in my living room. With all the sales on equipment on Black Friday and all the other holiday sales I saw the TP-LINK Archer C7 router on sale for $100. I managed to get $5 off with a NewEgg.com promotion and then on top of that there is a $20 mail in rebate. All in all I got an 802.11ac router for just under $75.

TP-LINK Archer C7 Router

Now I suspected that there may be some weird issues since it is a cheaper router but I was actually pleasantly surprised at it’s performance. Now I am only running this as an Access Point (DHCP disabled) and not as a router so I can only comment on it’s wireless throughput and stability.

Network Setup

For my main router I am running a custom built Atom powered embedded solution with PfSense 2.1 running under the hood. All my switches are 8 port HP ProCurve 1410-8P gigabit switches.

I am running the 2.4ghz on Channel 1 with a width of 40mhz and I am running the 5ghz channel on channel 36 with a width of 80mhz. There are separate SSIDs for each band.

The wireless card in the laptop I am testing with is the Intel 7260-AC Mini-PCIe card in my Asus X202E laptop. Android testing was done with a HTC Droid DNA running the Venom 4.2.2 ROM v2.0.3.

I should add that I have friends over all the time with different Android devices, iPhones, and laptops. So far they have all been able to connect and use the wireless network without any issues.

2.4ghz Band Performance

In my heavily saturated 2.4ghz enviroment with a 40mhz channel width I regularly see speeds of 15-30mbps on the downstream and the same on the upstream. I am very happy with the 2.4ghz performance and range. I am able to pickup my 2.4ghz network almost 500ft on the ground from my 3rd story condo. My previous DD-WRT powered Linksys Valet M20 AP barely could manage 10mbps on a good day in the same conditions. Some users were complaining of low signal on both 2.4 and 5ghz bands but this covers my 1500sq feet condo and my friends same condo above me through the flexicore ceiling just fine.

802.11ac File Transfer

5ghz Band Performance

Luckily the 5ghz band in my condo is almost completely untouched at the moment. There are only 2 other SSIDs on this band and they are both at the higher end of the spectrum. Since I am using a lower channel number these do not affect me.

Now the 5ghz channel is running in full 80mhz AC mode and the speeds are great. On the download and upload I manage between 300mbps and 600mbps. These speeds are great and it reliably transmits files over the LAN without any issues.

Firmware Issues

Until today I was getting random slow downs and some dropouts from the router on all the devices that I am using. I already checked that the router was not getting too hot to rule that out. Then while searching to see if anyone else has this issue I managed to stumble upon a beta firmware on the TP-LINK .de site. I flashed it on my router and appears to be working the best without these issues. I have posted a copy of the firmware for download here: TP-LINK Archer C7 130625 Beta Firmware.

Conclusion and Thoughts

This is my first 802.11ac and TP-LINK router. I have seen these before and they also seem to usually get supported by DD-WRT or OpenWRT at some point so that is why I decided to give them a try. For the more advanced users that would want to tweak more this router may annoy them as they have some more common settings locked down (channel width selection on the 5ghz band, b/g/n/ac mode selections are limited). But for the average user who just wants a solid 802.11ac router or access point this is a good solution. If I have any other issues with this router or the above mentioned firmware proves to be unstable I will post an update.

All in all I am happy with my purchase and it is nice to have the 802.11ac in my home. It’s also nice to only have 1 AP instead of 2 separate ones. Thanks for reading!