Now, even though 802.11ac has been a standard for the past 5 years, it’s surprising just how few people are actually using it. Sure, it can offer some amazing speeds, but the two main downsides compared to 802.11n are the slightly shorter range and the slightly higher price. As a result, most people are perfectly happy with a maximum bandwidth of 300Mbps. After all, the average home internet speed according to speedtest.net is just 55Mbps.
However, that’s just a basic use-case scenario for the average user. Here at NCIX Tech Tips, we’re all about overkill, so here is the new TP-Link Talon AD7200 802.11ad router. Yes, you heard us right. It’s the first 802.11ad WiGiG router released, with a maximum bandwidth of 7200Mbps.
Let’s have a quick tour of the outside, shall we? All things considered, it’s actually a pretty subtle design compared to some of the spider or space ship-looking routers from other companies. The Talon AD7200 is basically a square with 8 antennas that flip out from the center and a mesh cover on top for ventilation. At a glance, you wouldn’t have any idea that this was the fastest consumer router on the market right now.
On the front, you’ll find abooout a bazillion blue status LED’s and three buttons: one for turning on and off WiFi, one for Wifi-protected set up, and one that we wish literally every other device had: a button that turns on and off all the LED’s. On the back you’ll find two USB 3.0 ports, an internet input, four ethernet outputs, power adapter, and power button. It should be noted that this router does not support port remapping, so you can’t use any of the ethernet ports as another input for teaming.
On the underside, you’ll find more mesh ventilation and two mounting holes for wall mounting. However, for this router, you’ll ideally want to place it on a surface horizontally. If you wall mount it, the antennas can’t actually pivot upwards. But if you really want it, it’s there. Because this is America. (It’s Canada)
And finally, let’s dig into the guts of this router. That 802.11ad frequency band. In case you’re not familiar, this standard runs on the 60Ghz frequency. Now you might think, “oooh, 60Ghz, that must be fast!” Well, sort of. There are some pros and cons. Let’s start with the positives. 60Ghz is very rarely used by other devices so there’s almost zero interference. It’s also capable of a maximum bandwidth of 4 thousand 600Mbps, which by itself is faster than the combined frequency bands on most other routers out there.
However, there’s one pretty significant drawback: 60Ghz radio waves can’t pass through walls. Just like people. Non-X-men people, anyway. So to enjoy those sweet 802.11ad speeds, you need to be in the same room. The signal can bounce off walls, also like people, but ideally, you want line of sight with the router to achieve max speed. So at this point you might be wondering, well, what’s the point?
The way we see it, the TP-Link Talon AD7200 is a very specific router for a specific audience. If you’re just an average home user looking to fill your entire house with WiFi for your devices, then you’re much better off saving your money and getting something cheaper. However, if you’re a power user, running an event, or need to transfer a lot of big files to a lot of different devices frequently, then this is pretty much perfect.
Imagine yourselves in our shoes. We’re at CES. We’ve shot an entire day’s worth of footage. We go back to the hotel. Jack copies all the files onto his laptop. When that’s done, he starts editing a video. Barret and I both start copying all the files to our laptops as backups. While thats transferring, we start editing a video each using the files from the shared folder. In the mean time, Julia scrubs through footage on her laptop looking for awesome still shots to post on social media. Anthony’s downloading additional B-roll we need, and uploading previous videos. And on top of all that, we’re all browsing the internet double checking media kits and probably streaming music.
That alone saves us over an hour of just sitting around, and lets us all do work at the same time. We’ve essentially created a portable wireless gigabit file server with one single device. And don’t forget, alongside the 802.11ad band, the Talon still has 2600Mpbs bandwidth on the 2.4 and 5GHz bands as well for all your regular devices.
In conclusion, do we think the TP-Link Talon AD7200 is the perfect router? It all depends on whether or not you have any 802.11ad devices. It’s kind of like an EVGA Hydro video card. Sure, it’s ridiculously fast, but it won’t do you any good if you’re putting it into an air cooled system. The Talon is the same thing – without an 802.11ad device, it’s capabilities are put to waste. And as of right now, there’s only one Acer TravelMate notebook that has native support. So for now, we think it’s a great proof of concept, in a market that’s… not quite developed enough yet.
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