Review – TP-Link AC3150

Review – TP-Link AC3150

Kok Kee

The enthusiastic nanoelectronic engineer who found his way into simplifying the world of tech for everyone. Introverted, but noisy. Nice to meet you!

Earlier, we took a look at the TP-Link AC3200 here – that is their flagship router Now we’re taking a look at their second-in-line – the TP-Link AC3150. I have to start off by saying, TP-Link got their naming scheme right with these routers. It’s not confusing, and while the AC3200 is the highest end, deducting 50 from the value there means it’s not as high-end.

Starting off with a few  of its specs:

  • NitroQAM
  • 4-Stream 11AC
  • MU-MIMO
  • Smart Connect
  • Beamforming Technology
  • Dual-core 1.4GHz CPU

TP-Link AC3150

Again, the box is rather huge and still has their old logo and packaging design language on it too. I’m certainly unsure on when the new design language is coming to its products, but I’m quite eager to see how colorful they are.

TP-Link AC3150

Opening up the box shows off the usual things included alongside a router – Ethernet cable, some documentations, the router itself, its antennas, and power source. We’ve seen the TP-Link AC3200’s power brick before – and the AC3150 has a similar one too.

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Aesthetically, the TP-Link AC3150 is a lot cleaner – if you can maintain, that is. It features two halves – the first top half is made out of perforated matte plastic for aeration – or air circulation, whereas the lower half is made out of glossy plastic.

TP-Link AC3150

As we’ve clearly stated on why glossy plastic isn’t particular the best material to use (here, and especially here) – they tend to attract dust first, then get even the tiniest scratches very easily.

TP-Link AC3150

It has quite an interesting number of ports too. Starting off with the back.

TP-Link AC3150

WAN port and 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports.

At the left side is where most of the other I/O ports are found.

TP-Link AC3150

WiFi on/off switch, reset switch, WPS switch, USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 port.

I find it quite interesting for TP-Link to include wall mounting screw holes and has raised corners for proper ventilation.

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The interface and setup process is mostly the same as its elder brother, the TP-Link AC3200 which we’ve seen here,

Throughout my test, the TP-Link AC3150 the speeds are good, but signal strengths just aren’t that strong compared to its elder brother, or my personal unit of the ASUS RT-AC66U. 5GHz, the signal drops off quite significantly when I was at one floor below the router.

TP-Link AC3150

Here are my findings when I used the 802.11ac WiFi on the TP-Link AC3150. These were done by copying files via the AC WiFi SSID between two computers.

Number of files/sizeDistanceAverage speed (MBps)
1 file @ 2.3GBNext to the router33
One floor down22
On the other end of the house1.2
784 files @ 1.13GBNext to the router18
One floor down14
On the other end of the house0.677 (unstable)

The signal drops off quite significantly when I was at one floor below the router – especially when it comes to the single large file test. When I moved to the other end of the house, the connection starts to drop off. I was getting inconsistent transfer speeds, and it sometimes reached 1.2MB/s and fluctuates to zero.

TP-Link AC3150

Another thing I discovered is the file transfer speeds via USB on the TP-Link AC3150. While copying out of the TP-Link AC3150 can bring its theoretical max speeds via AC WiFi, copying files into the USB however shows another story, as it just can’t keep up with USB 3.0 speeds and was consistently hanging.

TP-Link AC3150

Particularly on the single 2.3GB file, it copied for about 15% of the file before the speed dropped and tanked to the aforementioned lower speed mentioned in the above table, and stagnated. I discovered that during this “tanking period”, playing around in the web UI can cause the transfer speed to drop 0MB/s.

I think it’s unusual to stress the WiFi signal this hard until it tanks, and this is a stress test after all.

TP-Link AC3150

Power consumption isn’t the friendliest to your power bill too, as it comes with a large power brick. The TP-Link AC3150 takes in 12V at 5A,  and that means a massive 60W consumption. Again, 60W means a lot of power for a router, as many laptops these days take in only 45W.

TP-Link AC3150

Wrap up

Personally, the TP-Link AC3150 is a decent router that can handle quite a heavy beating. While its aesthetics aren’t the best due to its dust attraction, it can still please some eyes. Just be careful while wiping it. The performance of it can be a little better – especially for its AC WiFi signals.

TP-Link AC3150

The TP-Link AC3150 is priced at RM969 – which I think is a little hefty too. I suppose finding an alternative might be better.

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