TP-Link WR702N review
802.11n, 1x 10/100Mbit/s Ethernet ports
The TL-WR702N is an ultra-compact router that’s similar to the TP-Link MR3020 3G router. This model doesn’t have a USB port for a 3G modem, though, so is mainly designed to share a wired Ethernet connection wirelessly, such as in a hotel room. As well as a router, you can also use it as a repeater, a bridge or an access point.
Its compact size - not much bigger than a tin of mints - makes it perfect for travelling, and you can even power it from a spare USB port; it only uses 1W power, so you're unlikely to drain your laptop's battery in a hurry.
It would be unreasonable to expect a low-power, compact router to have huge transfer speeds and range, and the WR702N is no speed demon - Its data transfer rate drops off rapidly once you move a few metres from it. It managed a respectable transfer rate of 45.79Mbit/s in our 1m test and a slightly less pleasing 21.6Mbit/s in our 10 metre test. At 25 metres, we 4.65Mbit/s, which isn’t too bad considering many travel routers and even cheaper desktop models fail this long-range test.
If the WR702N was a regular router, these speeds would be disappointing, but they’re pretty good when you consider the context in which the WR702N is intended to be used. If you’re travelling, you’re likely to be using it in a smaller space than a typical family home, such as a hotel room, holiday apartment or caravan, making long-distance transfer speeds less important.
The WR702N is a multi-role device, and is pre-configured to work as an access point so you can quickly add wireless connectivity to a network. Unfortunately, this also means that you can’t access the WR702N’s built-in configuration screen unless you give your computer a specific IP address and make the WR702N the default gateway. This wouldn’t be so much of a problem if the manual covered this in detail, but the supplied documentation is pretty flimsy - we would have preferred a setup program to be provided or for the WR702 users to be able to access the unit's web configuration out of the box.
The web interface is excellent, though. It’s highly informative and well organised, and you can easily change various settings, although some of the help text is in dubious English. You can manually change the WR702N’s operating mode or you can use a wizard. Either way, all that’s required to change your access point into a router is a few clicks. There's only one RJ45 socket that acts as a LAN or WAN port depending on the WR702N’s working mode, but the router does have WPA2 Wi-Fi security, a firewall and port forwarding.
Like TP-Link’s MR3020, the WR702N is a handy and versatile network device. It’s ideal for the traveller who needs to share a single WAN connection with two or more people over a small distance, and for setting up wireless internet access where there's only a wired connection. If you want 3G modem support you should get the Go baby mobile Dongle Dock, but if you don’t need the 3G option the WR702N is a great-value travel router.