[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

Affordable and Managed? YES | TL-SG105E Smart Switch Review

It’s been a while since I did a review on some hardware and figured this would be a great one to start things off again since what IT person doesn’t want a managed switch? This review is just because I liked the switch so much. I was NOT paid to write this and the link to buy is NOT an affiliate link. Just wanted to get the word out about these nice little switches.

I bought this switch for my workstation to split the one ethernet drop I have run to my desk. I wanted something that supported VLANS and had easy management. I found the TL-SG105E on Amazon for under $35 with Prime shipping. They also have 8, 16, and 24 port variations with the same features here for a GREAT price (The 24 port is only ~$130). Plus this switch is 100% gigabit (as well as the others in the lineup).

Going into this I really only expected some VLAN support and that is about it given the $35 price tag. The reality is that there is much more. The amount of features packed into this tiny little switch is pretty impressive.

Like all of my hardware that I buy I immediately updated the firmware to the latest that was available on TP-Link’s website and restored the factory defaults. I connected the switch up between my network drop and my workstation and fired it up. The switch does NOT pull an IP address from DHCP by default but this actually doesn’t matter. Just download the Easy Smart Configuration Utility from their website and run it. The software will find the switch and from there you can set a static IP address or have it pull one from the DHCP server (I opted for the DHCP since this is not a core switch).

Once you get it setup on the IP setting you want you can log in to the switch, the default username and password is simply admin.

My one and only gripe with this switch is that it does not have a web GUI. However given the price point, I believe they did this so they could put less hardware in the switch to keep costs and power down. This is because they don’t have to have the switch running a web server to serve up the management pages. Given it’s price point I am just mentioning this and it does not take away from the switch at all. I am not sure if they have a Linux utility but I suspect that it is written in Java as when I load the application my Java runtime pops up in my tray.

On to the features. Obviously this supports VLANs but in addition, it supports the following:

  • Port to VLAN assignment
  • VLAN Tagging
  • Link Aggregation (LACP)
  • Loopback Prevention
  • Basic QoS Per Port Control (Priority Based)
  • Basic QoS Per Port Control (Bandwidth-Based)
  • Broadcast Storm Prevention/Limit
  • Build in Cable Testing (Length & Wiring)
  • Wall Mounting
  • Metal Casing

I tested out all these features and they work as they should. I am very happy with this little switch and I just wanted to give a shout out to TP-Link for making an affordable and feature packed switch for the Home/SOHO environment. If you have any questions or comments please let me know! I have posted posted pictures of my  unit (Hardware V1) and the screenshots of the Utility below. Enjoy!

Pick one up here: Amazon

NOT! TP-LINK Archer C7 Router Finally Stable! – New Firmware Inside

As you recall in previous posts I was having random connectivity issues with my Archer C7 router. I found another firmware that was sent over to me from a contact I have. This firmware is 100% stable and has not shown any of the connectivity issues I had in the past. Download link is below. Flash it and let me know if you have an improvement too!

UPDATE: As of 12 days of running this I am getting drops yet again. I am going to RMA my router and get some other brand. I am done with this sub-par router.

Continue reading

TP-LINK TL-POE10R Gigabit PoE Splitter – Review

Quick and Dirty Review of the TP-LINK TL-POE10R Gigabit PoE Splitter

Some of my readers may not know what this is but I am going to start covering more networking devices and other items that can help clean up and automate your home networks. Let me explain what my need for the TP-LINK PoE splitter was and help you understand.

In my condo I have a main gigabit drop going out to my living room that also shares a wall with my 2nd bedroom. When my little brother moved in he needed a gigabit drop and I didn’t have any more room to pull another cable in the pipe that was going over there. So rather than have to pull another cable another way (which would have been a HUGE hassle) I decided to stick a small 5 port gigabit NetGear (metal case) switch in the wall.

PoE Splitter Diagram

Now the only issue then was getting power to the switch. Enter the TP-LINK PoE splitter. On the back of my little switch is a 12V power input. What the TP-LINK PoE splitter does is it takes the PoE power signal and outputs it to a DC jack in 5V, 9V, or 12V increments. This paired with a small standalone PoE injector in my main network area I was able to power the 5 port NetGear switch over the network cable. This also gave me the added benefit that where the PoE injector was installed at also had a UPS attached so when the power goes out the switch will stay on.

Conclusion

All in all I am very happy with this little product. I picked it up for a measly $15 shipped from Amazon. I would recommend this to anyone who needs a small solution like this. This will also work with most routers and access points that take the small round bullet style power plug. I know this works with my Cisco M20 router and numerous other 12V network devices (access points, switches, routers, etc) that have the same connector. MOST small office/home office network devices use the 12V round connector. Check yours before you buy this. You will only get the standard sized cord when you buy this. You could always go to radio shack with the cord and the device you want to power and see if they have an adapter tip that would allow you to use it with a different end.

If you want to pick one of these up hit the link below. Thanks for reading!

TP-LINK TL-POE10R Gigabit PoE Splitter Adapter, IEEE 802.3af compliant, Up to 100 meters (328 Feet), 5V/12V Power Output

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