The curiously named Archer D7 is new flagship 802.11ac router from TP-Link. Interestingly the D7 also includes an integrated modem, a rare thing in third party wireless ac routers these days. But not everything is as it seems.
Out of the box the D7 is quite a looker (for a router). It adopts the triple external antenna design to show it means business like recent flagship models from Linksys, Netgear and Asus and at 229 x 160 x 37mm it maintains a slim, living room-friendly appearance.
Build quality is also strong with sturdy construction and the tasteful sliver slice through the middle adds interest. On the downside TP-Link has finished the D7 in piano black which makes it a dust and fingerprint magnet and there are no points for wall mounting.
SEE ALSO: Asus RT-AC56U
TP-Link Archer D7 - Features
Of course looks are never where the real interest lies in premium routers and TP-Link has done a lot to turn heads with the D7.
Front and centre is 802.11ac WiFi rated at 1300Mbit and 450Mbit 802.11n. This combined 1750Mbit rating isn't quite up there with the 'AC1900' products like the Linksys EA6900, Netgear Nighthawk and Asus RT-AC68U, but on paper it should be more than fast enough for most users.
Where the D7 turns heads for the wrong reason though is its DSL modem. Outside of ISPs, few third party wireless ac routers integrate modems (the AVM Fritz!Box 7490 being the main one) so there's a big opportunity here, but TP-Link has rather dropped the ball. While AVM fitted the 7490 with a VDSL fibre ready modem, TP-Link has opted for an ADSL2 modem which is limited to speeds of just 24Mbps. This is slower than the majority of fibre connections in the UK so most will want to disable this feature (something TP-Link allows in the settings). An opportunity missed.
Elsewhere the D7 ticks a lot of boxes. There is Gigabit WAN and four Gigabit LAN ports, a pair of USB 2.0 ports (though no USB 3.0), WPS and a dedicated WiFi on/off button. WEP, WPA/WPA2 security and IPv6 support are also included, as expected. That said DLNA compatibility - nearly ubiquitous these days - is absent.
SEE ALSO: TalkTalk SuperRouter
Setting up the D7 is like stepping back into the past.
Unlike an increasing number of router makers, the D7 doesn't automatically open a browser tab upon initial connection and start the setup wizard. Instead you type 192.168.1.1 into your browser, login with the default admin/admin username and password (which you should change) and the wizard will then start.
The UI is also functional rather than packing any visual punch. It is a text heavy layout without any graphical enhancement - something which may appeal to enthusiasts but will certainly intimidate technophobes. It needs an update.