Wireless network performance
First, let's take a look at the apartment that was used in our testing and how it is set up. You can see that the router is placed in the living room. With most wireless routers, the signal strength is not that great in rooms like the Kitchen and the Medium balcony .
Our testing was done using a fast 1 Gigabit Internet connection that's capable of uploads on the Internet of up to 200 Mbps. We used a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 for all our measurements and several software tools. To get a better perspective of the performance offered by TP-LINK Archer AC2600, we compared with its predecessor - TP-LINK Archer C9 - and two routers from the competition: ASUS RT-AC87U and ASUS RT-AC3200.
We started by evaluating the 2.4 GHz wireless network and measured the signal strength offered in each room, using a tool named inSSIDer. As you can see in the graph below, TP-LINK Archer AC2600 offered very good signal strength in all the rooms from our test apartment.
For the next set of measurements, we used SpeedTest to measure how fast the Internet connection offered by this router is when using 2.4 GHz wireless network. When measuring the download speed, TP-LINK Archer AC2600 was outperformed by its brother TP-LINK Archer C9, in most rooms.
The same was true when measuring the upload speed with SpeedTest.
Continuing our measurements on the 2.4 GHz wireless network, we used LAN Speed Test Lite to measure downloads and uploads when transferring a 350MB file between two computers connected to the network. Just like in the previous test, TP-LINK Archer AC2600 was outperformed by its brother TP-LINK Archer C9, in most rooms.
Again, the same picture was noticed when looking at the upload speed over the 2.4 GHz wireless network.
TP-LINK Archer AC2600 offers stable and fast 2.4 GHz wireless networks. However, it's more affordable brother - TP-LINK Archer C9 - is slightly better in this regard.
Next, we analyzed the performance offered by the 5GHz wireless network. First, we looked at the evolution of the signal strength, from room to room. As you can see below, TP-LINK Archer AC2600 was a solid performer but it did not manage to stand out in any way. It's performance was similar to that of other routers.
Next, we used SpeedTest to measure the speed of the Internet connection on the 5GHz wireless network. In the download speed measurement, TP-LINK Archer AC2600 was the fastest router only in the room where the router is placed. In other rooms, TP-LINK Archer C9 managed to beat it.
When looking at the upload speed, TP-LINK Archer C9 managed to beat TP-LINK Archer AC2600 in an even more dramatic fashion.
Lastly, we used LAN Speed Test Lite to measure downloads and uploads when transferring a 350MB file between two computers connected to the network. When measuring the download speed, TP-LINK Archer AC2600 was outperformed both by TP-LINK Archer C9 and ASUS RT-AC87U.
When measuring the upload speed, TP-LINK Archer AC2600 was the slowest of the bunch.
TP-LINK Archer AC2600 is capable of delivering fast 5GHz wireless connections. However, it's competitors are slightly better, including its more affordable brother, TP-LINK Archer C9.
Wired network performance
In order to test the quality of the wired Ethernet connection, we used a desktop PC, equipped with an Intel Core i5 4460 processor, running at 3.20GHz, 16GB of RAM and a very fast Samsung 850 Pro 512GB SSD and a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 with an Intel Core i5-4300U processor, running at 1.9 GHz, 8 GB of RAM and a fast 256 GB SSD drive from Samsung.
First, we measured the download and upload speeds using SpeedTest. As you can see below, TP-LINK Archer AC2600 managed to beat the other routers in terms of download speed. However, it was behind ASUS RT-AC3200 and TP-LINK Archer C9 in terms of upload speed.
For the last measurement, we transferred an 883 MB file between the same two computers connected to the network, both of which were using an Ethernet cable. Here, TP-LINK Archer AC2600 was faster than TP-LINK Archer C9 but not faster than the ASUS routers we used for comparison.
Looking at our measurements, it is very clear that TP-LINK Archer AC2600 is capable of delivering true 1 Gbps Ethernet connections.
Being a premium wireless router, TP-LINK Archer AC2600 offers quite a few extra features:
Guest network - you can enable up to two guest networks, one for each band that is broadcast by the router. You can set each guest network to allow guests to see each other or to access the local network. However, we advise against it. Guests should not be allowed to access your network, for increased security and privacy.
QoS - a standard Quality of Service service that helps prioritize Internet traffic based on your needs and rules.
USB applications - which allow you to connect USB storage devices like an external hard disk or a printer and share them with the network.
Parental Controls - this module allows you to control the Internet access of devices on your network as well as block access to certain websites.
Dynamic DNS - allows you to assign a fixed host and domain name to a dynamic IP address. TP-LINK Archer AC2600 can work with the No-IP and DynDNS service providers.
Night mode - allows you to set a schedule for when the LEDs on the top side of the router are turned On and Off.
TP-LINK Tether App – an Android and iOS app that allows you to manage the router from your smartphone. Unfortunately, there is no version for Windows Phone.
TP-LINK Archer AC2600 offers quite a few extra features that are useful to its users. However, there's one miss that might be important to some users: the router doesn't offer a VPN server feature.
TP-LINK Archer C2600 AC2600 is a good wireless router that offers solid signal strength, good wireless coverage, and reasonably fast wireless networks. However, from a performance perspective, it doesn't stand a chance to TP-LINK Archer C9. In our measurements, it was easily outperformed by its more affordable brother, which remains one of the best performers that we have tested so far. On the plus side, when compared to its predecessor, TP-LINK Archer AC2600 offers a more stylish look, more extra features that may be useful to you and a system for mounting it on walls.