One of the most underrated pieces of technology that enable our wonderous access to the Internet is a router. Often, we get a router and use it for years without replacing it thinking that all routers are good indefinitely. That’s far from the truth as WiFi router technology is always improving. So, if it’s been a few years since you upgraded your router it’s time to consider doing so. The TP-Link Archer C9 router has been on the market for over a year now, and despite the fact there are newer routers, this one remains one of the best! Should you buy it? Yes, if you’re running an older (pre-2014) router, this would be a fantastic upgrade and improve connectivity at home.

TP-Link Archer C9 Design

TP-Link Archer C9 Desk

The TP-Link Archer C9 is a well designed, passively coloured router in white and silver. When we say passive, we mean that it’s unlikely to draw any attention which is nice. It has a fixed ‘leg’ to enable it to stand up, which is convenient but also slightly disappointing. It would be nice if you could wall mount it or even lie flat, but alas no such luck. The lights along the top show the status of the device, from the power, line sync, WiFi, WPS and USB. It also has three antenna ports along the top that are detachable – though you’ll want them attached at all times for best performance. Overall, the design is clean and functional. It will look good in an office, and won’t stand out in a living room.

TP-Link Archer C9 Features

Inside the box, you get the standard things like an ethernet cable, manual, CD, phone cable and a line filter. The TP-Link Archer C9 comes with a number of features that benefit the device experience. First off, you get two USB ports, one is 2.0 and the other is 3.0. This makes connecting devices to it simple and convenient. You can use those two ports for for FTP storage, printer access, and DLNA streaming (enabling you to create your own personal Netflix). It also has four ethernet ports for wired connectivity.

On the access menu, you get the option of creating a guest network, port forwarding and firewall settings. You can also set time of use limits as well as parental controls. Quality of Service (QoS) has been renamed to Bandwidth Control. The digital menu to your router is a little less user friendly than some other routers, but the controls are more detailed. You’ll be able to customize the device to your specific home needs.

TP-Link Archer C9 Performance

TP-Link Archer C9

From my performance tests, the TP-Link Archer C9 is a formidable router. While the apartment where it has been tested is on the smaller side, I’ve gone outside as far as signal strength allowed to get an idea on range. First off, the 2.4Ghz band is strong and reliable. It delivers a strong signal at full speeds from nearly all places tested. I can’t say the exact same about the 5Ghz band to be honest. While it’s reliable when within 20ish meters, after that I experienced decreases in speed and connectivity. Granted, most devices and laptops run primarily on the 2.4Ghz band so it won’t be a problem for the majority of users.

Overall, performance is why you would buy this router and this one delivers it. From the customizability of the router, to the access ports, to the quality of the signal, it gets high marks. It would be fantastic if the ‘leg’ was flexible to be able to lie it flat or mount it, and the 5Ghz band could be better – but those are afterthoughts. This is a router that is not only current, but it’s going to remain useful and relevant for another couple years!

You can buy the TP-Link Archer C9 at most retailers online including Best Buy, Amazon, and Staples for about $170.