TP-Link is one of the largest routers manufacturers, offering hardware choices to people all over the world. Libre Planet, however, found that they may also be the first to start locking down their firmware, their evidence being the support conversation that shows TP-Link are starting to lock down the installation of open source and custom firmware on their devices.
TP-Link state that they are doing this in order to comply with FCC regulations regarding customizations on wireless routers, the very thing we were told wouldn’t happen! The result could be that third-party software, many of which are open-source, would become illegal if you attempted to place them on your router, something many do due to the support, features and quick security updates often found in open source software.
Do you customise your router’s software? Do you think it’s a good idea for people to be able to do this or is it a better idea to ensure everyone uses the same software?
Popular network hardware manufacturer TP-Link have stated that they will be preventing their users from loading open source firmware such as DD-WRT and OpenWRT onto its routers sold in the United States as part of a move to comply with new Federal Communications Commission regulations.
The rule laid out by the FCC aim to limit the amount of interference with devices, by disallowing user modifications to wireless networking hardware that causes it to operate outside of licensed radio frequency limits. The FCC do not intend to deliberately ban the use of third-party router firmware from use entirely, theoretically allowing router manufacturers to permit the installation of this firmware provided there are controls in place that block devices from operating outside of their specified frequencies, power levels and types of modulation.
With locking out custom firmware being the easiest way to ensure the new FCC regulations were upheld, the open source community feared that this would be the action taken by manufacturers. In this case, they were right.
In all TP-Link routers produced on and after June 2, 2016, TP-Link’s changes will mean that “users are not able to flash the current generation of open-source, third-party firmware.” They also stated that “excited to see the creative ways members of the open-source community update the new firmware to meet their needs.” However, they did not provide any further information as to what would allow future versions of custom firmware to be installed on these routers.
Other router makers are yet to release explicit statements regarding their plans to enforce the FCC’s new rules on their routers would be, however, it is easy to imagine many taking a similar route. Even if custom firmware developers were to rewrite their software, there would be no real assurance that it obeys the restrictions without making the radio controlling software entirely separate so there can be assurance it was not tampered with.
TP-Link’s smart wireless router with a touchscreen is now available and the Touch P5 is unlike other routers. You can control all the features without the use of PCs or smart devices, directly on the router via the 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen. A sweet extra function that can come in handy.
The Touch P5 features four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and one WAN port besides the AC1900 WiFi connection. The three antennas and up to 1300Mbps on the 5GHz band and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band provide a great connectivity for lag free gaming and 4K video streaming alike.
The router features both guest networks and parental control as well as USB sharing. The powerful 1GHz dual core processor inside should provide plenty of power to run all this simultaneously. The Touch P5 was designed as a versatile unit and it can act as a router, repeater, or access point.
With its clean, user-friendly design, The Touch P5’s display interface provides an ideal portal through which to quickly access and manage your network settings. Now you can modify parental controls, add/remove devices from your network, and change guest access privileges with a few taps on your router’s display. For added functionality, the touchscreen display can also function as a clock, when not in use.
TP-Link’s Touch P5 routers are now available at the TP-LINK store and other major retailers. It features a 2-year limited warranty and 24/7 tech support. The MSRP is set for $204.99 which isn’t all bad considering you get the best available Wi-Fi along with a fancy touchscreen for control.
TP-Link also released a new video showcasing the router in a setup environment.
This video below was the first time we got a view on the TP-Link Touch P5 back in May 2015.
For today’s review I am taking the TP-Link Archer VR900AC 1900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit VDSL/ADSL Modem Router for a spin in our test area to see how well it performs, it surely sounds like a great device. While the Archer VR900 looks very similar to the Archer C9 that we reviewed not long ago, it’s quite the different device and it also sports some general improvements over the C9.
Most noticeable is the built-in modem that allows you to connect it directly to your phone line when using that sort of connection. There is no need to keep the old modem around and couple a router on the back of it in order to gain the features and functionality you want; The Archer VR900 does it all. It supports all current ADSL as well as VDSL formats right out of the box.
TP-Link didn’t just stop after adding the DSL modem to the VR900, they also made sure that it will work with pretty much any connection. At some point, and as it becomes available in more and more regions, there is a good chance that you’ll switch from your DSL line to a more modern Fibre optical connection. When you do so, you don’t need to replace the VR900 with something new as it also supports a direct WAN connection via the fourth LAN port. But once again, TP-Link weren’t satisfied with the connection options, so they made sure that you’re also able to connect it to 3G or 4G/LTE network via a USB dongle and the two onboard USB ports. All in all, there isn’t much that this router can’t do and connect to.
The TP-Link VR900 is an AC1900 dual-band router, meaning it can perform with up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 1300 Mbps on the 5GHz band for a combined throughput of 1900 MBps. It has a great coverage thanks to the three 5 dBi omni-directional antennas. The wireless range and performance is further enhanced thanks to the beamforming technology that is applied on both wireless bands.
Inside the router is a 1GHz dual-core processor that makes sure that you don’t encounter any bottlenecks as the router has to perform its tasks.
The wireless bands feature the normal 64bit and 128bit WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryptions for secure connections and the WPS button makes connecting devices as easy as it can be. The software parts feature everything from Wireless MAC filtering, QoS control, NAT Firewall, VPN, Virtual server and Port Triggers, as well as any other function you could want from a router. Guest networking and parental control is also present and both are great features to have around.
Packaging and Accessories
A great router like this also deserves a beautiful wrapping and TP-Link delivers that. The Archer VR900 has a simple yet very beautiful package. The front shows the device itself as well as providing all the basic feature information.
On the rear of the package, we find more details about the specific functions as well as a comparison table with other TP-Link devices. That way it’s even easier to pick just the right model when you’re visiting your local tech shop and have them all in front of you.
Inside we find everything we need to get it set up. The router itself and a power supply for it, two RJ11 cables and a splitter for your DSL connection, an RJ45 LAN cable, and the three detachable antennas as well as a quickstart guide and technical references.
In today’s review, I am not just going to look at a single product, but a combination of two that work perfectly in tandem. The SilverStone ECW02 Mini PCI-E 802.11ac Wi-Fi module is ready for laptops and similar equipment, but a desktop system will most likely require an adapter such as the SilverStone ECWA1 Mini PCI-E Adapter with external feet and 5 dBi antennas. This combination of the two will allow us to add an IEEE 802.1ac dual-band wireless connection to any normal desktop system that comes without its own Mini PCI-E slot.
There can be a quite a few reasons why you might want to upgrade your desktop system with a wireless connection. It isn’t any secret that a wired connection provides the best throughput, but that doesn’t mean that we should forget all about wireless connections here, they can be quite beneficial too. You might not be able to run a cable everywhere you want too, maybe because you aren’t allowed to drill holes in the walls of your rented house or apartment, or you just don’t want to. You could also use the wireless connection as an ad-hoc access point where you are able to connect other wireless devices directly and use the PC as a bridge and send it on via your wired connection. Or maybe something completely different, but whatever the reason might be, the combination of SilverStone’s ECWA1 adapter and ECW02 WiFi module will suit the task.
The Mini PCI-E adapter card can naturally be used with other types of cards too, but the included antennas and holes on the slot cover make it optimal for just this. The same way, the Mini PCI-E WiFi module can be used on other adapters and directly in slots that support it: such as in notebooks and laptops.
The specification as taken directly from the manufacturer supplied information and can as such be subject to change in future revisions of the product.
ECWA1: Mini PCI-E to standard PCI-E x1 adapter card
Support PCIe x1 at 1.5V and 3.3V
Includes standard height and low profile expansion brackets
2x dual band (2.4G/5G) 5dBi MIMO antenna
Includes circular magnetic base with gold plated SMA plug RP and 1.5m cable
ECW02: Mini PCI-E 802.11ac WiFi module
Supports 2T2R dual-band (2×2 MIMO)
Mini PCI-E interface
Packaging and Content
The SilverStone ECW02 Wi-Fi 802.11ac mini PCI-E module comes in a simple brown package with basic information on both the front and rear. It is nothing spectacular, but it is plenty and we get all the important information right away.
The ECWA1 mini PCI-E adapter comes in a more fancy package. The front displays a clear image of the product along with the basic features and specifications.
On the rear of the ECWA1 package, we find all the detailed information that we might be interested in before a purchase, such as the antenna specifications. This is an important factor in my opinion and something a lot of manufacturers of such devices forget to add. It’s nice to see SilverStone adding it all.
Inside the package we find the two antennas, two magnetic feet, a low profile bracket for mounting the adapter in a small form factor chassis as well as screws to secure the mini PCI-E module, and a manual.
TP-Link were recently in the news as the company behind Google’s fancy new OnHub router, but they’re also working on their own products. The latest which just has been released is the AC1900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit VDSL2 Modem Router, the Archer VR900. The Archer VR900 offers a versatility of connection options, making it suitable no matter which type internet connection you have. At the same time, the VR900 offers great speeds with its AC1900 wireless signal as well as great coverage thanks to beam-forming technologies and three external antennas.
For maximum flexibility, the DSL and WAN input on the TP-Link VR900 support VDSL, ADSL, fiber, and cable connections. You can even use it for with your 3G and 4G dongles when connected to the built-in USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports.
The Archer VR900 utilizes the latest 802.11ac wireless standard to deliver data at speeds of up to 1900Mbps. Simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi provides excellent stability and eliminates wireless interference by transmitting and receiving on both 2.4GHz band and 5Ghz bands. You’ll get up to 600Mbps via the 2.4Gbps band and up to 1300Gbps via the 5GHz band. The modem router also has four Gigabit Ethernet ports for the best possible and wired connection.
The Archer VR900 is built around a 1GHz processor that should deliver enough power even for data-intensive tasks. No need to worry about speed caps because you’re using a lot of connections at once. Connect all of your network-dependent devices and let the VR900 balance the load to avoid bottlenecks at the processor level.
Nelson Qiao, assistant general manager at TP-LINK UK Ltd, says, “As the foundation of your home network, choosing the right router is an important decision, complicated by the various connection types. The VR900 takes the guesswork out of getting the right type of router so customers get the latest wireless features for high performance networks now and in the future, even if they change ISP.”
Forget dual-band routers, here comes the wave of tri-band routers. TP-Link is ready with theirs and they have announced the availability on the Archer C3200 AC3200 Wireless Tri-Band Gigabit Routers. The third band isn’t a new wavelength, but rather an extra 5GHz connection. That gives you a total speed of up to 3.2Gbps, 600Mbps from the 2.4GHz band and 1300Mbps from each of the 5GHz bands.
The extra 5GHz band is useful for places where a lot of wireless devices connect at the same time, still offering an optimal connection for everyone. To maintain a constant throughput, the Archer C3200 comes with a 1GHz dual-core processor and three coprocessors that exclusively handle the Wi-Fi tasks over the three bands. This should give a total bottleneck free experience.
There are also four Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired devices on the TP-Link AC3200 Gigabit Router as well as a USB 3.0 for direct and fast storage connection and a USB 2.0 port for older legacy devices and printers. The square-shaped C3200 router comes with six high-performance external antennas for maximum coverage, even in larger homes.
A router like this won’t come cheap, but it’s still a very fair price in my opinion. TP-Link attached a $259.99 MSRP to the Archer C3200 AC3200 Wireless Tri-Band Gigabit Router, and it comes backed by a 2-year warranty. Availability should be very shortly.
There is no shortage of routers on the market and today I’m taking TP-Link’s Archer C9 AC1900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router, a beautiful and simple looking router capable of handling the newest AC connection standard.
The Archer C9 looks like it could have it all, powerful dual-band wireless for up to 1900Gbps total transfer speeds, Gigabit Ethernet ports for both LAN and WAN, USB 3.0 for file sharing and an easy to use setup and configuration interface.
Archer C9’s strength doesn’t just come from the support for the 802.11ac standard, the next generation of Wi-Fi, and the combination of the 2.4GHz 600Mbps and 5GHz 1300Mbps connections for a total available bandwidth of 1.9Gbps, but also in the added features and functions such as USB file and printer sharing as well as beamforming technology for the best possible connection between your devices.
The Archer C9 has three detachable dual band antennas for maximum and omni-directional wireless coverage as well as reliability. The signal strength is further boosted by the built-in beamforming technology for an even better and efficient wireless connection between the router and the connected devices. The router will focus the strength of its signal where it is needed.
To achieve all the power needed to handle all that traffic speed, TP-Link built the Archer C9 with a dual-core 1GHz processor that is able to handle a lot of simultaneously wired and wireless tasks at the same time.
On the rear of the unit, you’ll find a USB 2.0 port for older legacy storage devices and printers and it also comes with a USB 3.0 port on the side for modern and high-speed storage. The built-in FTP server and file-sharing allows you to easily access the stored files and media from any device connected on your network.
The built-in FTP server, media server, and Samba file-sharing allows you to easily access the stored files and media from any device that is connected to your network.
There is a separate LED for almost every part of the router from power over the two wireless signals to LAN, WAN and an individual for each of the USB ports. The only thing that you can’t see quickly on the LEDs is which of the four LAN ports that’s active.
There isn’t a way to mount this router on your wall, it instead comes with a stand that will make the router stand at a small backward angle. The rubber feet may not be large, but they are enough to keep the router where you place it.
The addition of a power button is a nice touch. You rarely need it on a router, but it is a lovely feature to have when you do. There is plenty of room on the device, so why not.
All four LAN ports and the WAN port are Gigabit ports for the usual great LAN speed and without limitation on faster than 100MB/s internet connections that are making their entry in more and more location and markets. The WPS button also works as reset button at the same time.
I really like the design that TP-Link applied to the Archer C9. The gentle curves give the router a simplistic yet almost sophisticated look. But it doesn’t just look great, it’s also a well-crafted unit made with great parts.
On the side of the unit you’ll find the USB 3.0 port where you easily can connect your fast portable storage and share it over your network. It’s also where the button is located to turn the WiFi on and off. No need to have it running when not needed, especially when it’s so easy to access and switch.
The Archer C9 also supports guest network connections for people who only need access now and then and to whom you might not want to give your normal and more static password. Parents can also rest assured that their kids won’t visit sites that they shouldn’t and on hours where they should be asleep thanks to the parental control.
Other features include IPv6, Dynamic IP/Static IP/PPPoE/PPTP/L2TP/BigPond WAN connections, 64/128-bit WEP, and WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA-PSK2 encryption. It has built in firewall, bandwidth control, supports direct setup for dynamic DNS services and VPN passthrough.
iOS users will also have access to easy management through the Tether APP while anyone can enjoy quick and hassle free installation via the web interface via any computer, smartphone, or tablet.
Within the box you find everything you need to get started with your high-speed wireless network: the router itself with its three antennas, a AC/DC power adapter, a RJ45 LAN cable to connect it to your internet connection, manuals, resource disk, and a quick installation guide to get your started and running as quick as possible.
TP-LINK has introduced us to the smallest travel router in the world, the 150Mbps Wireless N Nano router (TL-WR702N). Geared for mobile users and hotel travellers, the new nano router would be ideally suited for travellers wanting to share their hotel room’s internet with devices such as laptops, phones, tablets and portable gaming consoles.
The tiny router only measures 57 x 57 x 18 mm, but that doesn’t mean that it lacks functionality compared to the bigger brothers. The IEEE 802.11b/g/n 150Mbps router is compatible with most 2.4GHz Wi-Fi devices and has a built-in firewall and support for all of the usual encryptions from WEP to WPA2. Other features include Virtual Server, Port Triggering, QoS, UPnP, DMZ, DHPC server and client, DoS protection, Mac filters and much more.
It isn’t just highly portable, it is also highly functional with five operating modes. It can work as an access point, router, client, repeater and bridge. The TL-WR702N travel router consumes just as little power as it’s tiny and only needs the power of a USB port; you can power it through any USB port or use the included power supply.
The LAN port is a 10/100Mbps WAN/LAN port and besides a reset button and the USB power port there aren’t any external features. The antenna is built into the nano router and can transmit with 20dBm.
The new TP-LINK 150Mbps Wireless N Nano Router is available now for an MSRP of $24.99.
Thanks to TP-LINK for providing us with this information
Want a chance to win a stunning Cube Raptor gaming PC? I bet you do! Equipped with an Intel Core i5 4590 Haswell Refresh CPU, 8GB of Kingston HyperX Fury 1866MHz RAM, an MSI R7 265 OC 2GB graphics card and a whole lot more. The Raptor is a great all-round gaming system for those who need an upgrade and with an RRP of £669.99 it will certainly feel like Christmas come early for one lucky winner.
There have been reports about critical vulnerabilities in a variety of routers, including Cisco, TP-Link, ASUS, TENDA and Netgear among others, all of which can be found in a normal household.
According to Polish Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT Polska), they have noticed an increase in cyber attack, leading to a cyber attack campaign aimed at Polish e-banking users. The hackers apparently use known router vulnerability that allow attackers to change the router’s DNS configuration remotely. This allegedly is used to lure users to fake bank websites or can perform Man-in-the-Middle attacks.
“After DNS servers settings are changed on a router, all queries from inside the network are forwarded to rogue servers. Obviously the platform of a client device is not an issue, as there is no need for the attackers to install any malicious software at all.” CERT Polska researchers said.
The DNS can be changed and point to a malicious DNS server from the router’s settings, giving the hacker complete control to facilitate interception, inspection and modification to the traffic between the user and the online banking website.
It is said that most of the Banking and E-commerce sites are using HTTPS with SSL encryption, making it impossible to impersonate them without a valid digital certificate issued by a Certificate Authority (CA), but to bypass such limitation cyber criminals are also using the SSL strip technique to spoof digital certificates.
The recommended steps to take in case of such attacks are to change the default username and password for the router, update the router’s firmware to the latest version and disable Remote Administration features in the router’s settings. Another way to notice fake websites is to lay attention to the browser’s address bar and HTTPS indicators.
Several TP-Link routers have been found to be vulnerable to webpage based DNS hijacking attacks. Worryingly the researcher who uncovered information about this vulnerability, Jacob Lell, has also found “an active exploitation campaign,” aimed at the affected TP-Link routers. Meanwhile TP-Link has released updated firmware for some but not all of its affected networking hardware.
There have been many router exploits before, however this newly reported TP-Link exploit looks more immediately serious as Mr Lell has found “five different instances of the exploit on unrelated websites so far”. An automated client honeypot system set up by Lell generated “some 280 GB of web traffic”. The five unrelated instances of the exploit he found tried to change the primary nameserver to three different IP addresses.
The affected TP-Link routers have something called a CSRF vulnerability. These routers allow access to their web-based administration page using HTTP authentication. “When entering the credentials to access the web interface, the browser typically asks the user whether he wants to permanently store the password in the browser. However, even if the user doesn’t want to permanently store the password in the browser, it will still temporarily remember the password and use it for the current session,” explains Lell.
If a user then visits a compromised site, like one of the five discovered so far, the site attempts to “change the upstream DNS server of the router to an attacker-controlled IP address, which can then be used to carry out man-in-the-middle attacks,” says Lell. After that DNS change web addresses typed in by the user can be easily redirected to phishing sites and similar places you wouldn’t ordinarilty want to visit. Also, among many other consequences, software updates can be blocked and email accounts hijacked.
The following devices are confirmed to be vulnerable:
TP-Link WR1043ND V1 up to firmware version 3.3.12 build 120405 is vulnerable (version 3.3.13 build 130325 and later is not vulnerable)
TP-Link TL-MR3020: firmware version 3.14.2 Build 120817 Rel.55520n and version 3.15.2 Build 130326 Rel.58517n are vulnerable (but not affected by current exploit in default configuration)
TL-WDR3600: firmware version 3.13.26 Build 130129 Rel.59449n and version 3.13.31 Build 130320 Rel.55761n are vulnerable (but not affected by current exploit in default configuration)
WR710N v1: 3.14.9 Build 130419 Rel.58371n is not vulnerable
Some other untested devices are also likely to be vulnerable
Thank you Hexus for providing us with this information Image courtesy of Hexus
In the grand scheme of networking vendors, TP-Link is not going to be the first brand amongst the big players that one would normally think of, but this is not to say that they are a small company. For a number of years, the Shenzhen based company has been making networking products ranging from un-managed switches, through to routers, wireless adaptors enterprise level managed switching gear. With the recent introduction of powerline technology, its only to be expected that powerline adaptors are going to be a part of their growing catalogue of products.
The 500Mbps kit that I’m going to take a look at today is not the first powerline kit to come out of the TP-Link production line, with a 200Mbps kit already available, but this kit sees faster speeds with a [up to] 500Mbps link speed and Gigabit Ethernet on each plug. Another feature that the TL-PA551 offers up is AC pass through which as simple as it sounds, allows the plug to still be used whilst the powerline does its work.
For those of you out there that follow my reviews, I hope you recall the time when I was very hesitant about powerline technology but with this view very much reversed, it seems I’ve grown a soft spot for it, as it can easily link different areas of a house together with ease and with no fuss – with some kits on offer that eliminate WiFi black spots or remove the need for wireless extenders altogether. This kit though with its AC pass through and Gigabit Ethernet ports is already looking to me to be a great option as it has the prospect to give a more than adequate throughput speed whilst still allowing the plug to be used for another electrical device.
TP-Link off this particular model in two SKUs, the first is a single plug which can extend an existing TP-Link powerline set-up even with 200Mbps models as they are full backwards compatible. The second variation and the one I have here to look at is a starter kit with two plugs and two cables. Also included is a set-up CD with the Powerline Utility, a user manual and a leaflet for some of TP-Link’s other products.