Product TP-Link TL-WR2543ND
Specifications 802.11n/a/b/g 2.4/5GHz dual-band router, 4 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN, 1 x USB 2.0, 3 x 3 MIMO antenna array, Samba, FTP, UPnP media server, print server, Dynamic DNS, WPS, WMM and WDS, 234x36x155mm, 350g
THERE ARE SEVERAL routers around that offer 450Mbits/s bandwidth on the 5GHz 802.11n WiFi band such as the Linksys E4200, but TP-Link's TL-WR2543ND is the first we've seen that can do this trick on the 2.4GHz band as well. And for the price, it's a lot of router for the money.
The black and grey design could be described as fashionably retro, but equally it could be called just plug-ugly. Thankfully, ugliness is only skin deep, and inside the all-plastic casing is a triple-stream (3x3 MIMO) dual-band radio capable of 450Mbit/s on either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency bands.
Sadly, as it has only a single radio it can't run both bands simultaneouosly, but at this low price that's a reasonable compromise - a dual-radio version would need six antennas (three for each radio), and as it uses traditional external arrays it would end up looking like a Christmas tree.
A row of small green status lights on the top keeps you abreast of what the four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, Gigabit WAN port, USB port and WiFi channels are up to. At the rear there's a power switch, WPS button and a reset button.
Installation was refreshingly simple on our cable internet broadband - the setup wizard even allowed us to change the WAN MAC address, which is vital for those using older Virgin Media cable modems. There's no pre-configured SSID, so you can't do the initial setup wirelessly.
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ