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Tenda W1800R review

Kat Orphanides
23 Jan 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
76
inc VAT

The cheapest 802.11ac router we’ve yet seen was also one of the most consistent performers in our challenging test environment

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Specifications

802.11n dual band, 4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports

The Tenda W1800R is one of the cheapest 802.11ac wireless routers you can buy, coming in at around £25 less than most. This is even more surprising, as it uses the fast AC1750 standard, with a theoretical maximum throughput of 1,300Mbit/s. Like most AC routers, it's a bit larger than its 802.11n predecessors. It sits flat and has three replaceable antennas.

Tenda W1800R

At the front of the router, a bank of lights indicates the status of its various ports and features. At the back you'll find a Gigabit Ethernet WAN port, two USB ports, four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and a button that serves double duty as the factory reset switch and WPS button. It's not an ideal combination of functions, be we encountered no problems with it during our tests.

The W1800R gives you simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi: a 2.4GHz 802.11n connection, still widely required by many laptops and mobile devices, and a 5GHz 802.11ac connection, which is faster but requires a compatible Wi-Fi adaptor to get the full benefit of its faster throughput. Neither channel is secured by default, so the first thing you'll want to do is log into the router and add a wireless passphrase.

Tenda W1800R interface

The web interface prompts you to add a security key when you first connect to it, but as the suggested option is 12345678, you should change it to something less predictable. Enter your chosen keys, click OK and you're almost ready to go. Click through to the Advanced section of the web interface, select the Wireless tab and correct the country entry. The router annoyingly defaults to America, which uses a slightly different set of wireless channels and can only use those up to 11. There isn't a UK option, but France uses the same ranges we do, so pick that. The 5GHz settings option is locked to America if you wish to use 802.11ac mode. Once again, the US and European authorised ranges differ, but you've got no choice here.