I've always been interested in finding the best wireless routers and modems for the best prices.
If you have decided on the TP-Link Archer 802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless router but cannot decide between the TP-Link Archer C7 or the TP-Link Archer C8, then I hope this comparison review will help you make the decision.
As different readers have different levels of technical expertise, I would like to make this article as simple as possible, as with all my other articles on technical subjects like home networking.
Where it is not possible to remove jargon for contextual purposes, I will explain or provide links that will open up another tab so that you can continue reading from where you left off.
Before we go into our comparison, let me highlight the features of each router. That will make it easy for you to see the differences and similarities when I put both side-by-side.
The TP-Link Archer C7 is an 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard wireless router which means it is the latest generation Wi-Fi standard wireless router. The TP-Link Archer C7 V2 is the latest version at the time of writing.
TP-Link Archer C7
The TP-Link Archer C7 has two USB Ports. You can use them to share files and media as well as your printer locally with your networked devices or share it remotely via your FTP server.
It is now very common for your guest to ask for access to your home WiFi network and as such providing a secure WiFi access for your guest can become very important feature. This is easily done through the Guest Network Access.
You also have an IP-based Bandwidth Control that makes it easier for you to manage the bandwidth of individual devices connected to the router if you wish to do so. You can also set the limit on the bandwidth for your guest networks as well.
It also comes with an easy one-touch WPA wireless security encryption via the WPS button.
When people are looking to buy a high-end wireless router like the TP-Link Archer C7, they typically focus on two salient points: speed and range
This router performs very well in both departments. Many owners have reported achieving speeds of around 50 Mbps to over 100 Mbps. That's incredibly fast!
The range is dependent upon the construction of your building, obstacles, etc. and also where you put the router. However, the general feedback was that the range is very good even for a long distance and in multi-story buildings.
One feature that I particularly like is that it is very easy and quick to setup.
Setting up a wireless router may be a piece of cake for some people, but those with less experience will find that setting up the TP-Link Archer C7 to be a breeze.
Everything just works out of the box and changes are very easy without complex menus.
For those that are more technical, it is supported on OpenWRT. This TP-Link Archer C7 works with the latest "Barrier Breaker" release 14 of OpenWRT.
Video on Archer C7 from TP-Link
What's Not So Great About the TP-Link Archer C7
When the TP-Link Archer C7 V1 was first released, there were many problems, especially for those using Apple devices. It also had problems on the 5Mhz band. However, these problems have been resolved with the release of the TP-Link Archer C7 V2.
It should not happen, but if you do happen to pick up the earlier V1 model, you can contact TP-Link and request for a replacement, or you can upgrade the firmware yourself. That should solve most of the problems.
Both USB ports on the C7 are USB 2.0 version ports. It would be nice to have a mix USB version 2.0 and 3.0 USB ports so that you can utilize the faster USB 3.0 device.
You will also have to manually enter the MAC addresses into the MAC filtering page instead of just making a selection from a list of addresses that have been disallowed. However, this is really no big deal as you typically only do it once when you set up the router and make the occasional changes.
TP-Link Archer C8
The TP-Link Archer C7 and C8 are very similar, at least to end consumers like us who are not interested in the internals of the device. As the TP-Link Archer C8 is the newer model, it does have some additional features.
The main difference between these two models include:
- The TP-Link Archer C8 has an 800 Mhz dual-core processor as compared to the single core processor for the TP-Link Archer C7
- The C8 has both a USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 ports while the C7 has two USB 2.0 ports
- The C8, as expected, is slightly more expensive than the TP-Link Archer C7
Which Is a Better Buy?
The important thing that we have established is that both the TP-Link Archer AC1750 wireless router is an excellent router for the current market price.
Now that you know that the main difference between the TP-Link Archer C7 and TP-Link Archer C8, the question is whether you should fork out an additional $25 for the C8 for an ability to connect one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 instead of two USB 2.0 devices to it. Do you also need a more powerful dual-core processor as compared to a single core processor?
These two questions will determine whether you should be spending that additional $25 to buy the newer TP-Link Archer C8.
For me, I will just pay that additional $25 and get the newer TP-Link Archer C8. After all, the wireless router will last me at least more than two years. If I spread that amount over two years, I am only paying an additional $1 per month for the whole duration.
Again, that's me. You make the decision, as you may be completely satisfied with the C7!
Answers to Common Questions
Before you proceed to buy either router, here are answers to 20 common questions people have asked.
1. Can I use the OpenWRT with the C7?
Yes you can but it must be V2 and above
2. Am I getting V1 or V2 for the C7?
You should be getting V2 and above
3. Is it compatible with Apple devices
Yes. It is compatible for both Apple and PC
4. I have Apple devices and I have problems with the C7.
Check to see if you are on V1. Either upgrade the firmware to V2 or get a V2 replacement.
5. Is it backward compatible with a/b/g/n devices
Yes. You can use the 2.4 Ghz channel for the a/b/g/n and the 5 Ghz for the AC devices
6. How many connections can I make at any one time?
The number of devices is limited by the bandwidth which you have to subscribe from your provider
7. Can the C7 be mounted on the wall?
8. Can I stand it vertically?
Not for the C7 but you can stand the C8 vertically
9. Is this a modem or router or both?
It is ONLY a wireless router
10. What kind of modem does it work with?
It works with any modem
11. Can it be used as an access point?
Yes. Just disable the DHCP
12. Can the WiFi be turned off?
13. Can I only use either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz only
Yes you can.
14. Does it have beamforming?
The C7 does not have beam forming but the C8 has.
15. Can I connect any printer to it?
Yes. As long as your printer has a USB connector
16. Can I use Roku with it?
17. Is it suitable for gaming
18. Is it difficult to install?
No. Installation is very simple and fast.
19. Can I upgrade the USB 2.0 port?
No, the C7 only has USB 2.0 ports. Get the C8 if you need a USB 3.0 port.
20. What is the voltage
TP-Link Archer C9
By the way, if you are someone who loves the latest in gadgets, TP-Link has recently released the TP-Link Archer C9. If you would like to know the differences between the TP-Link Archer C7 vs. C8 vs. C9, here is a comparison of these three TP-Link wireless routers side by side.
Note: I only highlight the differences.
|Function||Archer C7||Archer C8||Archer C9|
Wireless combined speed
Individual Band Speeds 2.4GHz 5.0GHz
5GHz: 1300Mbps 2.4 GHz: 450Mbps
5GHz: 1300Mbps 2.4 GHz: 450Mbps
5GHz: 1300Mbps 2.4GHz: 600Mbps
Dual Core 800MHz
Dual Core 1GHz
2 USB 2.0 Ports
1 USB 3.0 + 1 USB 2.0 Ports
1 USB 3.0 + 1 USB 2.0 Ports
Cost (subjected to change by merchant)
Date first available
Video on Archer C9 from TP-Link
What was your decision?
With either of the TP-Link Archer C7, C8 or C9 you will get a powerful wireless router. However, you must first get that input to your router. So you may want to check the bandwidth that you have subscribed to and upgrade if it's is too low.
Once you have done that, you might want to check out some very robust cable modems from Motorola namely the Motorola SB6183, Motorola SB6141, and SB6121 so that you can get that bandwidth from your provider to your end devices via the TP-Link router.
By the way, just in case you find the TP-link routers not powerful enough for your use, check out the latest tri-band Asus RT-AC5300 to deliver you that experience you are looking for!
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2015 James Causian
Jason on November 29, 2015:
This is a very informative article. The only question I have is if C7 and C8 have similar range? C7 is well known for its marvelous range. I am not sure if C8 is at least the same.
Martin(again) on September 02, 2015:
FYI Canadacomputers.com has the C8 on sale for $119 until Sept 14. Making it $10 cheaper than the C7. (sorry for mistake above)
Martin on September 02, 2015:
FYI Canadacomputers.com has the C8 on sale for $199 until Sept 14. Making it $10 cheaper than the C7.
Pat on September 01, 2015:
Does the "beam forming" give the C8 and C9 better range over the C7 (particularly on the 5Ghz band)? If so, that could be a significant advantage (and worth the price premium).
James Causian (author) from Huston, Texas on July 14, 2015:
All three i.e. TP-Link Archer C7, TP-Link Archer C8 and TP-Link Archer C9 are gigabit routers.
Chris on July 13, 2015:
Another thing you may want to mention and compare are the ethernet ports. Do all three routers have Gigabit Ethernet or do any of them still use 10/100 LAN. That makes a huge difference if you're like me and have an internet speed package over 100 Mbps.
James Causian (author) from Huston, Texas on June 09, 2015:
You have the choice of using both bands simultaneously or switch off one or the other.
andy on June 09, 2015:
Q13 "Can I only use either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz only - yes" implies you can only use one band at once. However, the tp-link.us website says "Simultaneous 2.4GHz 450Mbps and 5GHz 1300Mbps connections for 1.75Gbps of total available bandwidth". Are they making a false claim?
James Causian (author) from Huston, Texas on May 09, 2015:
Can you please elaborate on your comment so that I can help you? Beam forming was one of the points (fourth point from the top of the table) in the comparison table.
Andre on May 08, 2015:
You mentioned beamforming as another difference for the C8. Yet this was not highlighted in your table summary. of the differences.