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TP-Link Archer VR2800 DSL modem router review

TP-Link Archer VR2800

£200
8.2

Build quality

8.0/10

Design

8.0/10

Ease of use

8.5/10

Performance

8.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • DSL modem and Wi-Fi router all-in-one
  • Fast and reliable Wi-Fi
  • Easy set-up
  • Simple management options
  • Not ugly

Cons

  • There are more striking designs
  • Aggregated ports would have been the icing on the cake

vr2800 workingI have had the TP-Link VR2800 hooked up at GadgetyNews HQ. It really makes a change that someone has thought about us that connect to the internet via ADSL or VDSL.

The TP-Link VR2800 is part of the company’s Archer range.

As already alluded to, this is not only a Wi-Fi router, but a DSL router. This means that one box, albeit a sleek one, will take the feed from your none-fiber internet provider and then sling it out Wi-Fi as well as four wired connections.

My usual system uses the Huawei modem/router supplied by TalkTalk and then, as I found the Wi-Fi range fairly poor on that unit, a separate Wi-Fi router. Most recently those duties have been covered by the Archer C9.

So, does the VR2800 do the job of two boxes or is it back to separate modem and Wi-Fi router?

Read on to find out.

TP-Link VR2800 design

The VR2800 is quite a compact and rather unassuming unit.

It’s not as flashy as the Nighthawks or EXOs of this world, neither is it as stylish as TP-Link’s aforementioned C9.

Saying all that, it isn’t ugly either. I’d say that it errs on the side of functional.

vr2800 working frontOn the top of the VR2800 is a clear column of white status indicators, as well as a power light nearer the front edge.

vr2800 usb 3.0Along the left side you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports alongside toggle switches for each of the wireless bands and WPS.

As is the norm, the bulk of the connectivity options are tucked neatly around back.

vr2800 portsHere’s where you’ll find a dedicated power switch, a connector for the mains adapter, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, Gigabit WAN and a port for the built-in modem.

The four removable dual-band aerials can be adjusted backwards or from side-to-side.

TP-Link VR2800 performance

Modem benefits

Having a built-in modem is a genuine value-add, especially as this one supports all the standard DSL services you’d expect. This means that it will play nice with VDSL2, ADSL2+, ADSL2 and ADSL.

That means you’re good to go if you’re on, say, BT Infinity or an equivalent fibre-optic service, and you needn’t worry about compatibility with Cable – plug in your modem via the WAN port and hey presto.

vr2800 frontWhat is really cool is that, should your usual provider have an outage, you can just sling in a 3G/4G dongle in to one of the USB ports. Boom, up-and-running again.

Speeds

Versatility is without a doubt the VR2600’s strong suit, and TP-Link continues that theme with support for some of the latest networking standards. Making good use of the 2.4Ghz and 5GHz bands, WiFi performance is rated as up to 2167Mbps on the 5GHz band alone. You get 600Mbps on the 2.4 band.

That speed bump is thanks to the enhancement of NitroQAM. This boosts Wi-Fi speeds by 25%. Then there’s 4-Stream tech that runs 4 data streams on the 5GHz band to increase overall speed by 33%.

Set-up

TP-Link’s admin panel is both clear and intuitive. Before getting there, you can set-up the modem by using the simple wizard.

Remember to get your ISP (internet service provider) login credentials before you get going.

SETUP1The software recognised that I was using TalkTalk and everything else was easy.

The setup procedure really shouldn’t take you more than 10 minutes at most.

vr2800 connection-testOnce it’s all sorted you are able to explore the features.

You can create guest networks on both available bands, sort out file or printer sharing via the USB 3.0 ports, and add parental controls that can limit Internet access to a time schedule on a per-device basis.

For advanced users you can get to everything from port forwarding to VPN passthrough.

A dual-core 1GHz processor powers things along. That might not sound much but you have to remember that VR2800 is also packing a dedicated processor for each band as well as that 1GHz CPU.

VR2800 in use

The TP-Link really does knock the socks off the unit provided by my ISP.

It might not be the prettiest box out there but the VR2800 certainly performs. Wi-Fi range is good with excellent coverage throughout my home – a small 2 bedroom house.

tp-link vr2800The modem speeds are comparable to what I get from the Huawei but that’s more down to TalkTalk’s ADSL connection.

The Wi-Fi signal was not only strong, but consistent.

I was really impressed at the speeds and reliability when streaming large audio files, as well as video, over Wi-Fi.

TP-Link VR2800 modem router review conclusion

It might wear the equivalent of a business suit but the VR2800 has it where it counts.

Not only is this a sure-fire upgrade to most router modems supplied by your internet provider, but it’s most likely a better Wi-Fi router than most own too.

Packing MU-MIMO, NitroQAM and other clever tech means that everyone will get the benefit of the VR2800’s speed.

Add in the USB 3.0 ports that can be used for printers or even a 4G dongle, then this starts to look even more attractive.

The TP-Link VR2800 should be on any DSL connected user’s upgrade list.

TP-Link VR2800 price and availability

The VR2800 will be available soon (I hope to get a more precise date asap) and will have a RRP of £199

Features at a glance

 Speed
  • Ultimate Wireless Speed – Combined wireless speeds of up to 600 Mbps (over 2.4GHz) and 2167 Mbps (over 5GHz)
  • NitroQAM Technology – Uses NitroQAM (1024 QAM) modulation scheme for higher data throughput, boosting wireless speeds by up to 25%
  • MU-MIMO Technology – Simultaneously exchange data with several devices, achieving speeds which are 4x faster than standard AC routers
  • 802.11 ac – Provides a data transfer rate 3 times faster than 802.11n for each stream
  • Dual-core CPU – 1GHz dual-core CPU and 2 co-processors
Wi-Fi Range
  • Ultimate Range Wi-Fi – 4 dual band detachable antennas ensure widespread Wi-Fi coverage and a stable connection
  • Wi-Fi with Beamforming – Beamforming technology locates the connected devices and further improves the Archer VR2800’s range and the signal strength to each mobile device, delivering a more reliable and efficient wireless connection
Reliability
  • Simultaneous Dual Band – Separate Wi-Fi bands enable more devices to connect to your network without a drop in performance
  • QoS – Device/Application-based QoS makes it easier for you to prioritize the internet traffic
Ease of Use
  • Intuitive Web UI– Ensures quick and simple installation without hassle
  • Fast Connection – Connect wireless devices securely with the press of WPS button
  • Easy On/Off – Turn On/Off power, wireless radio and LEDs separately using the Power On/Off, Wi-Fi On/Off and LED On/Off buttons
  • Remote Management with TP-Link ID – Manage your home network from your smartphone or tablet via a single TP-Link ID, no matter where you find yourself
  • Hassle-free Management with Tether App – Network management is made easy with the TP-Link Tether App, available on any Android or iOS device
  • Online Upgrade – Keeps you informed of the latest firmware and allows online updating
Security
  • Guest Network – Keep your main network secure by creating a separate network for friends and visitors
  • Access Control – Establish a whitelist or blacklist to allow or block certain devices from accessing the internet
  • Parental Controls – Manage when and how connected devices can access the internet
  • VPN Server – OpenVPN, PPTP VPN and IPSec VPN are supported, making it easy to set up a secure connection between your private network and the internet
  • Encryptions for Secure Network – WPA-PSK/WPA2- PSK encryptions provide active protection against security threats
Easy Sharing
  • Dual USB Ports for Fast Sharing – With two ultra-fast USB 3.0 ports, you can access and share a printer as well as your files and media locally. Through the modem router's FTP server, you can also access your files and media from network devices remotely
  • 10x Faster Transfer Speed – The USB 3.0 port provides up to 10x faster USB hard drive access than previous generation USB 2.0 connections
  • Built-in Print Server – Allows wireless printing from multiple computers (works in conjunction with a USB printer)
  • Built-in Media Server – Allows you to play music, watch videos and view photos from any device on your network

TP-Link Archer VR2800 DSL modem router review

by Jay Garrett time to read: 5 min
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