A fast Wi-Fi router for ADSL lines
A couple of years ago, the prevailing Wi-Fi standard moved on from 802.11n to 802.11ac. It’s theoretically faster, uses the less crowded 5GHz band, and has better range, so you should get decent reception over a wider area. Meanwhile, the ADSL broadband connections available over the phone lines to our homes moved up to VDSL, allowing internet service providers (ISPs) to run fast fibre-optic cables to the cabinet in the street and just use the copper wires for the last few yards.
The Archer VR900 is a wireless router that connects to any ADSL, ADSL2, ADSL2+, VDSL or VDSL2 internet socket and provides an 802.11ac network for your Wi-Fi computers, phones and tablets. You could use it to replace an old router or in preference to one supplied by an ISP such as BT, Sky or TalkTalk. Unlike the similar-looking Archer C9, it includes a modem that transmits and receives data over the phone line as well as the router itself, so you don’t need another box. If you have a cable or fibre connection, the VR900 can connect to it, but the C9 would be a better choice.
The white case has LED lights to tell you what’s happening, but they can be disabled if you find them distracting. As with other routers, you set up the VR900 using a web browser, and the settings screens are presented with a basic mode to avoid wading through details you don’t need to tweak. The options aren’t as extensive or user-friendly as on some routers, but you can set up guest networks with bandwidth limits and apply parental controls to specific devices. You can also connect USB storage and a printer to share over the network.
Like other 802.11ac routers, the VR900 is designed to work with older 802.11n devices, but in our tests it communicated with them quite slowly, especially on the old 2.4GHz band, a problem the C9 didn’t suffer. On 802.11ac it was very fast, especially via TP-Link’s own T4UH adapter, which you could use to upgrade any USB 3.0 PC to 802.11ac Wi-Fi.
Its performance with older devices is unsatisfactory, but as an affordable 802.11ac ADSL/VDSL modem router the VR900 is a good choice.
A compact and simple option if you want an all-in-one modem router and mainly use 802.11ac devices.
Dual-band 802.11ac/a/b/g/n • 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports (one convertible for cable modem) • 1x USB 3.0 port • 1x USB 2.0 port • 181x245x90mm (HxWxD) • Three-year warranty.