A solid but simple budget router, TP-Link’s TL-WR941ND draft-n 2.0 unit offers little beyond the absolute essentials, but scores points for price and performs well. Though its features are limited, the TL-WR941ND does offer an arguably helpful setup tool called quick secure setup (QSS).
QSS automatically sets up a secure WPA2-PSK wireless network and allows WiFi protected setup (WPS) compatible devices to connect at the press of a button, or by entering a PIN, eliminating the need to have prior knowledge of networking hardware. Unfortunately the supporting material doesn’t clearly explain how to utilise the feature, which may result in more confusion for first timers.
Alternatively, using the Web interface is fairly intuitive. The router doesn’t force you to, or even suggest you add security. However, finding your way to the wireless settings does allow you to use all standard variations of WEP and WPA/WPA2 security options.
Its design is very much the standard of old, with a box shape and three 2dBi external aerials. On the front of the unit is one plainly apparent ‘QSS’ button, while on the rear there’s the obligatory WAN port for your modem and a four-pack of ethernet 10/100 ports. The absence of a USB port means no network attached storage functionality.
Unfortunately the TL-WR941ND only broadcasts on a shared 802.11 b/g and n signal, so there’s no setting for draft-n only. Port forwarding, VPN Pass-through, IP and MAC address filtering are all available among other stock settings, but there’s no QoS.
We achieved solid 62.44Mb/s and 53.58Mb/s speeds in our close range file copy tests, using large and small files respectively. In the next room, at 10m, we were still able to get speeds around 57.98Mb/s and 43.8Mb/s. At both these distances streaming a 1080p WMV video never faulted. Outside, in the long range tests, the router achieved speeds of around 3.8Mb/s and our video stream became jumpy.
We did find that speed and reliability were greatly affected by other electronic equipment and physical obstructions in the area, so we’d recommend using this router with line of site to your other devices and in a reasonably interference free area.
This Review appeared in the February, 2009 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine