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TP-Link TD-W8961ND review

Barry de la Rosa
30 Mar 2011
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
33
inc VAT

Impressive speed and range, plenty of advanced features and a great price make it worth putting up with the arcane admin controls.

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Specifications

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

The TP-Link TD-W8961ND is almost identical to the TD-W8951ND except that it has an extra antenna. This allows it to operate at a theoretical top speed of 300Mbit/s by using MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) technology. This is a hopelessly optimistic claim, but 300N wireless access points often perform better over longer distances than 150N models.

TP-Link TD-W8961ND

We're not big fans of TP-Link's setup interface: it's supposedly designed to hide advanced options from novice users, and yet some screens mix arcane settings with basic stuff like security. Still, if you're familiar with terms such as WDS and MAC address filtering, you'll find yourself pleasantly surprised by how many features this router supports: as well as WDS, there's WPS push-button security, VLANs, QoS, UPnP and Dynamic DNS. It doesn't help that TP-Link has renamed WPS to "QSS", although the large button on the front panel could be for little else.

Setup is reasonably straightforward: a guide on the supplied disc explains how to attach the router to a PC and phone line, and logging into the router's web interface reveals a wizard to set up Internet access and a wireless network, including security. For most people, this should be enough to get them up and running.

Despite the extra antenna, we got the exact same results in our close-range wireless test for both the TD-W8961ND and the single-antenna TD-W8951ND. The difference in results in the Far test was within a fairly narrow margin of error. However in the Very Far test, the TD-W8961ND managed almost twice the speed, coming in at an impressive 11Mbit/s – faster than most broadband connections and more than enough for streaming video.

TP-Link TD-W8961ND ports

Wired connections are less impressive, with Fast (100Mb/s) rather than Gigabit (1000Mb/s) Ethernet ports and no USB ports. However, this is the least expensive router we've seen that supports MIMO. Whether it's worth paying the extra £7 over TP-Link's own TD-W8951ND is up for debate, but for larger homes where long-range performance is important, we reckon it is.

Basic Specifications

Rating****
Modem typeADSL2+
802.11b supportyes
802.11g supportyes
Draft 802.11n supportyes
Draft 802.11n 5GHz supportno
MIMOyes
Stated speed300Mbit/s

Security

128-bit WEPyes
WPA2yes
Firewallyes
MAC address filteringyes
DMZyes

Physical

Size29x174x120mm
Antennas2
Internal/external antennasexternal
Upgradeable antennayes
Number of WAN ports1
Ethernet ports4
Ethernet connection speed10/100Mbit/s
Other portsnone
Wall mountableyes
Power consumption on8W

Other Features

Dynamic DNSyes
Universal Plug and Play supportyes
DHCP serveryes
MAC spoofingyes
Port forwardingyes
WDS Supportyes
USB device supportno
QoSyes

Buying Information

Price£33
Warrantythree years RTB
Supplierhttp://www.redstore.com
Detailswww.tplink.com