There are hundreds of wireless router brands on the market nowadays. Whether you are looking for something to complement your gigabit ethernet connection or looking for something that’s cheap and simple, you are bound to find plenty of options for the specific category you are looking for. One brand that has made its name in the wireless routers space is TP-Link, a Chinese manufacturer of computer networking equipment that has been in operation for over 20 years. It is mostly known for producing cutting edge tech but while keeping the prices of their products low.
While they have a variety of routers, we are going to take a closer look at their Archer series, and specifically the TP-Link Archer C7, Archer C8, and Archer C9. A quick glance at the boxes of these wireless routers will leave you wondering what sets them apart from each other. Visually, the C8 and the C9 look more alike than the C7 because they’re both standing models. The C7, however, might get sidelined because it has the lowest series number, but this shouldn’t be the reason why you leave it out. Below, we’ll discuss each of these routers and find out which one would be ideal for you and why you should pick it over any of the other routers in the Archer series.
Comparison Between the TP Link Archer C7 vs C8 vs C9
First off, all these routers are dual-band meaning that they operate in both the 2.4GHz frequency band and the 5GHz band. This also instantly means that they support 802.11AC Wi-Fi standards. In addition, each of them has 4 Gigabit ethernet ports that facilitate Local Area Network (LAN) connections.
There is also a WAN port which as you might have guessed is also a Gigabit ethernet port. All of them have at least one USB 2.0 port that you can use with your thumb drive in case you wish to set up a local media server. The C8 and C9 include an additionally USB 3.0 port on the side of the router. Of course, it would’ve been great if the C7 equally had a USB 3.0 so that its only difference would be the single-core processor, but for its affordable price, USB 2.0 is actually sufficient. Both the Archer C8 and the Archer C9 have dual-core processors but they run at different clock speeds with the C9 being the fastest of the three with its 1GHz dual-core processor.
Differences Between the TP Link Archer C7 vs C8 vs C9
Unlike what we’ve seen with other brand names, TP-Link may be one of the few companies that actually makes sure that products in one series have noticeable differences between them. As we had earlier mentioned, the Archer C8 and the Archer C9 look more alike than the C7 because of their standing design. Other than that, all have different CPU configurations. The C7, for instance, is a single-core processor while the C8 and the C9 have dual-core processors with 800MHz and 1GHz clock speeds respectively.
It is also worth mentioning that both the C8 and the C9 have two USB ports with one of them being a USB 2.0 and the other being a USB 3.0. However, the real question is whether the inclusion of a USB 3.0 port makes them any special. Well, if you plan on purchasing an external hard drive and hooking it up to the router, then a USB 3.0 port would be better.
TP-Link Archer C7 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (AC1750)
The Archer C7 happens to be the cheapest of the three wireless routers in the Archer series, but its performance cannot really be termed as cheap. For about $80, TP-Link gives you the C7 which has a maximum throughput speed of 1.75Gbps and has a single core processor (720MHz) that helps in handling your network requests more efficiently. We won’t deny that the C8 and C9 have better specifications, but for a router that costs so little, such specifications are impressive.
Archer C7 Performance
With 1.75Gbps, you can bet that the C7 can be pushed to handle 4K streaming, but only to a certain level. While it is a great entry-level router for a gamer who is just starting off, its single-core processor can only take so much. It was also interesting that TP-Link decided to make all the four ethernet ports to accept a gigabit connection. This means that you will find this router quite ideal in case your ISP only managed to give you a cable modem without a wireless router. The C7 would complement any cable modem without any fuss.
Archer C7 Pros
- It is quite affordable and gives you more value than you would expect from routers from other brands
- It is easy to setup and even allows you to use the TP-Link Tether app that lets you easily manage your network remotely
- You can setup guest networks easily and even manage the internet speed of the guest network
- It has a high throughput speed which enables it to handle 4K content easily
Archer C7 Cons
- It lacks a USB 3.0 port
- Its single-core processor might not be powerful enough to handle a lot of tasks at a go
- With the C8 and the C9 being priced in the range of the C7, it becomes obsolete and unnecessary since the C8 and C9 are clearly more advanced
Archer C7 Best Use
This is the ideal router for a home that is not too intensive on internet usage. As such, you can use it for light duties such as HD streaming, but you could use it for 4K content as well if you won’t be sharing the network with too many people. Typically, about 10-20 people can use the Archer C7 without noticing any performance issues. This router might also be great for small businesses such as coffee shops where there aren’t too many people connected to it at the same time.
TP-Link Archer C8 Wi-Fi Gigabit Router AC1750
TP-Link’s Archer C8 goes a notch higher in terms of performance, but not too high up. The C8 has a dual-core processor with a clock speed of 800MHz. While you might argue that the difference is minimal when compared to the C7, the C8’s dual-core processor makes it capable of handling much more workload than the C7. In addition, it has a USB 3.0 port that might be great for plugging in your external hard drive and a USB 2.0 port that you can use with your flash drive. The maximum throughput speed of the C8 still stands at 1750Mbps, but it is bound to offer you much more because of its dual-core processor that can handle wired and wireless connections simultaneously.
Archer C8 Performance
It is easy to assume that the C7 and the C8 are equal because they both offer maximum throughput speeds of 1.75Gbps, but the C8 can cast its wireless signals farther than the C7. This is due to the fact that the C8 comes with beamforming technology that locates wireless devices then beams the Wi-Fi signals directly towards it. This enables the C8 to sustain a much stronger Wi-Fi connection easily. The 800MHz dual-core processor mostly comes in handy when your workload increases, but if you aren’t overworking the router, then you won’t notice any considerable difference between the performance of the C7 and the C8.
Archer C8 Pros
- It has a slightly more powerful 800MHz dual-core processor
- It has dual USB ports (USB 3.0 and USB 2.0) which means you have the best of both worlds. You can plug in your faster devices on the USB 3.0 and the slower ones on USB 2.0
- It comes in a new design which makes it visually different from the C7
- The beamforming technology enables it to have a larger range than the C7
Archer C8 Cons
While it is fast, the C9 beats its speeds yet it is also offered at a similar price
Archer C8 Best Use
The C8 is ideal for medium to large homes that don’t want to spend more money on purchasing repeaters and other networking equipment that can boost Wi-Fi signals. The beamforming technology makes your work easier since you can sit anywhere in your house and enjoy strong Wi-Fi signals. In addition, the C8 is also capable of handling 4K content, but you should be careful not to strain the network by adding too many users
TP-Link Wireless Wi-Fi Router Archer C9 (AC1900)
The Archer C9 is the fastest router in the series in almost all respects. It has a maximum throughput speed of 1900Mbps which is faster by 150Mbps. In addition, it has a 1GHz dual-core processor that enables it to handle multiple devices simultaneously. Its three long-range external antennas coupled with its beamforming technology enables it to transmit Wi-Fi signals longer and more efficiently than both the C7 and the C8. Since it also comes with the benefits of the C7 and the C8, the C9 stands out as the most ideal router in the series that you should consider.
Archer C9 Performance
Its wireless range is of course better than that of the C8 mainly because it has a faster Wi-Fi speed of 1900Mbps and it has a faster processor. It is also more capable of handling 4K content as compared to the C7 and C8. While these two can be able to handle 4K content too, they are bound to struggle at some point especially if you add many users to the network and occasionally have some users playing demanding online games. For a typical home, the C9 would be a great investment because it would take long before it becomes incapable of handling your demands.
Archer C9 Pros
- It is the faster wireless router of the three with maximum speeds of up to 1900Mbps
- It has beamforming technology which means it can transmit Wi-Fi signals farther away. This is important in big homes that do not want to spend extra cash on purchasing repeaters
- It has a fast 1GHz dual-core processor which enables it to process multiple requests easily
- It has both the USB 3.0 and the USB 2.0 port
- It is easy to install and setup thanks to the TP-Link Tether app
- It has an elegant design
Archer C9 Cons
- It lacks some advanced but essential customization features such as VPN
- When compared to routers from other manufacturers with some of its specifications, the C9 looks too basic and might not meet the need of tech-savvy users
Archer C9 Best Use
The C9 is great for a household that isn’t too keen on heavy internet usage. A home with about 3 4K TVs, 5 smartphones, and 5 laptops can enjoy the C9. While it can be used for gaming, its lack of optimization features only makes it ideal for light to medium gaming as the ideal routers for gaming usually need to be heavily configurable.
Choosing between the Archer C7, C8, and C9 isn’t as difficult because their prices are almost the same and their differences are quite noticeable.
Archer C7 vs C9: Which Should You Buy?
Since the difference in price is minimal between these two routers, you should simply go for the C9 because it offers much more than the C7 and is newer. In addition, you also get two USB ports with the C9 while with the C7, you only get one. We would still pick the C9 as the ideal option if you wanted to upgrade to a router in the Archer series.
Archer C8 vs C9: Which Should You Buy?
Once more, the situation is ideally the same. The C9 should come first before the C8 because it has a better performance than the C8. While all three routers are great especially if you are an average internet user, it is only the C8 that gives you enough room for expansion.