Tuesday, 29 July 2014

TP Link TD-W8968 Wireless ADSL2+ Modem Router

Another review, another product. So this time, its slightly a product which is more a necessary one for most people these days but doesn't really get talked about as much. People call these "routers". Now as a guy that does alot of internet work, its best to get a router that suits the needs of what i want and maybe what roomates and family members. 

May i present to you.

TP Link TD-W8968 Wireless ADSL2+ Modem Router 

If you want, you can buy it for up to £25 by clicking on the picture:

So, this router has a fair amount of features and i've also been selling TP-Link equipment in work for over 2 years. So i do have a slight bit of experience with the products, well some anyway. But with my Belkin router just being rubbish and the DHCP locking up and rendering access to the internet useless without rebooting and with it happening too often, its now a tale of replacing it. The unique features of this one is that USB and also support for Fibre, but i will get to that later. 

If you want a video review of this, enjoy it below: this doesn't go as detailed as i like it due to time i had to record this and also there is no sound due to some idiot (being me on OBS) not including the mic when recording :(. 

The Outside - Packaging:

The box has a pretty clear and nice ocean (not oceana) design to it, with the white logo and the blue backgrounds, its nice to have a good contrast which doesn't make it hard to read. Also i'm sorry that i didn't get the right images, i used screencaps instead :/.
The front of the box, with the nice colours, clear symbols and gives a good idea of what this is 

The right hand side of the box with the spec and what is required 

A Clear picture of the features of the router and how it compares to other TP link products and what other accessories you could buy to get connected. 

The left hand side of the box to explain how easy it is to connect to the internet and set the router up
Now the box was quite easy to open up, which is a bonus for the most part, well its easier for people to get it setup if the box is easy to open, which does sound common sense like. Now its time to see what you get in the box.

The inside - what you get, then plug the thing in...

There is a nice shaped inside container which gives a general idea of where the parts go in the box. But what do you actually get inside , well a list is below:
  • The Router itself, sealed and both aerials attached
  • The power cable
  • 1 ADSL filter (will be handy if lighting strikes)
  • 2 ADSL RJ11 cables, this made me go hmm, why 2, maybe for fibre but thats rj45 ??
  • 1 ethernet RJ45 cable
  • 1 tiny CD with the setup, you don't need it unless you really read by the book
  • 1 quick install guide for both CD and non CD use (please read this, it makes life as easy as kissing a,.... uhh....just walking in the park)
  • 1 GPU license Doc, mostly for the legal team
  • 1 Wireless document, this is more for the standards of wifi and the legal paperwork
The insides of the box, as i mentioned above.
Now getting this to work was ok, i already had the router connected so i turned it off, unplugged everything and put the router in its place and wired it up, it even fitted the power cable that was there, which that cable was a BT homehub 2 power adapter. Then its as i see it below:
The connections and getting the router in place

All the lights lit up :)

Where the router was placed, its at an angle but some of the cables were tight ?

The timing of the set up

Now after it was turned on, the site to go to is "http://tplinkmodem.net" or the IP is actually, but people prefer URLs nowadays, the lazy things. As you get to there, your welcomed with a login page
The login page. the Defaults are admin and admin. Simple but make sure you change it if you do set it up, makes it more unhacker frfriendly
After logging in, you are shown a page of what you can do as well as the current connection status, This can be useful to see what you get. Now funnily enough, the reading on my belkin was showing 17-19mb but this was showing 15mb, so it might be more accurate. 
The status of the router, i've hid the IP on purpose
The list of options to get on the left handside are: 

That was copied from the actual router, Each one does different things, from STB (Youview...ugh) to even setting up a guest wifi for friends and customers to use, B&Bs will like this feature a fair bit. there is also times to time when the wifi or internet is off, closed minded parents will like this feature a fair bit as well, since they can stop their kids talking to predators online (or end up conned out of £1.5k over paypal from a guy 15 miles away in efford). 

Now each setting might confuse the majority, i will be included in that, but this can help people be in control if they can handle it. Below is a screenshot of some of the menus, i can only do some of them, i don't want to mess with them.
The setup for WAN connections, either fibre (top) or ADSL (bottom)

Setting up External HDD and flash drives on the router

The guest network screen

Exporting the settings of the router

Testing the thing:

Well, there are so many tests i could do but it would be too long to get this even done, i just made 2 tests for this review. The 1st test is how far can the signal go for, and my repsonse is to the edge of a garden in this case, as you saw on the video, the distance is quite far, even though it is also 2 bars at the same point when i tested the Belkin, i feel it will be more stable there than before. 
The list of networks in my garden and the strength of the new router

The next test was actually making sure Upnp works, i've had troubles with that and NAT Type 3 on my PS3, so i hope this would fix it and sure enough... it works with no problems. YESSSSSS
Part 1 of the PSN connection Test. NAT TYPE 2 is what is needed

It also does a quick speed test, this is not too bad

The conclusion

So, the router was quick to set-up, works on wifi quickly and also quite far and it makes PSN work nicely, which makes it easier for me to handle. 

omracer's Rating: 8/10

But there can be more good points than bad but lets include as much as know about:

Good Points:

  • Very presentable
  • Clearish instructions
  • Nice looking, 
  • Easy to set up (without CD) 
  • Good looking interface on web
  • USB
  • Fibre support when needed
  • PSN works better
  • Good value for money

Bad points: 

  • the wps button isn't easy to get to (more late at night if needed)
  • maybe gigabit and more Ethernet ports if possible (but thats more a corporate environment)
  • The manual wants you to use the CD if you can, implies it
  • maybe could of added microsim slot to make it a mifi router with ease 

So that is a router review, i might of missed a fair amount of features but this is more focused on basic usage but the extras are there, 

see you in a review soon, i might do restaurant reviews eventually