TP-Link TL-WR741ND review
802.11g, 4x 10/100 Ethernet ports
TP-Link's WR741ND router with 150Mbit/s N-Lite wireless networking and 10/100Mbit/s Ethernet is almost obscenely cheap at just £17. At this price, anything vaguely functional would be a bargain, but we were pleasantly surprised by the WR741ND's performance and interface.
An easy configuration tool guides you through connecting the router correctly, but requires you to have an active internet connection via the WAN port to complete setup, which could be frustrating for users whose internet isn't yet active or who simply want to route a local network for now.
Fortunately, the web interface includes a Quick Setup option, which allows you to configure your WAN and wireless settings. While you're there, you'll want to reset the wireless radio's region settings to UK from the default US setting, as we use a slightly different frequency range and have access to two more wireless channels (12 and 13). That's all you need to do to get your router and secure wireless connection up and running, so unadventurous users probably won't even need to look at any of the other options in the admin interface.
The router has the usual range of extra features here, like port forwarding and static IP addresses. Setting up the latter requires you to enter a device's full MAC address, but this this can be copied from its DHCP entry.
Also supported is VPN tunnelling through PPTP, L2TP or IPSec, remote management, dynamic DNS and a parental control option that simply blocks any listed PC from accessing the internet. We were pleased to find detailed instructions on configuring each setting in the web interface's sidebar. Like most modern wireless routers, the WR741ND supports push-button WPS, although both the button and admin menu option to set it up are marked QSS, for Quick Security Setup, a less common term for the same feature.
Transfer speeds aren't the fastest around, but they're not bad by any means, reaching 38.7Mbit/s at 1m, 40Mbit/s at 10m and 15.3Mbit/s at 20m with our Centrino 2 laptop. Connection speeds were slower using TP-Link's £7 TL-WN727N wireless adaptor.
The WR741ND produces reliable speeds and has plenty of features. It does everything most users will ever need from a wireless router for a bargain price. It wins our Budget Buy award.