D-Link vs TP-Link

Last Updated on March 13, 2021 by Dave Farquhar

If you’re looking for the pros and cons of D-Link vs TP-Link, I have experience with both and I’m glad to share it.

D-Link is a well established brand. Founded in 1986, it started doing business as D-Link in 1994. It’s been around a long time. If you’ve been involved with computers for any length of time, you’ve probably heard of it.

I don’t blame you if you’ve never heard of TP-Link. They were founded in 1996 but if you were buying their stuff before 2005, you’re well ahead of me.

D-Link vs TP-Link: Let’s start alphabetically

D-Link vs TP-Link
You can find D-Link routers almost anywhere, but I’m not enamored with their reliability.

I bought my first D-Link product, a wired network card, sometime int the late 1990s. And I soon bought more. They were low-end cards with midling performance at best. They’re obsolete now but they do all still work.

I had worse luck with D-Link routers, unfortunately. I used a D-Link as my primary router for about two years. That was about all I could tolerate.

I bought another D-Link router for my mother in law a few years later because it was cheap. We got about two years out of that, as well, before I replaced it with an ancient Linksys router. That router is obsolete, but it’s reliable.

So while I think D-Link’s network cards are fine, I’m not enamored with their routers. You can call it bad luck, but I rarely have anything fail after just two years. I’m not sure it’s happened to me since the 1990s, aside from my D-Link gear.


TP-Link TL-WR841n
This is the TP-Link TL-WR841n. It was the best router of its generation, and it wasn’t close. TP-Link makes excellent routers for the money.

TP-Link gear is cheap. But I’ve had nothing but great luck with it. I loved my TP-Link routers. Not only were they reliable, they were incredibly stable. I used one as an access point for several years without rebooting it. That’s unheard of. The TP-Link TL-WR841N was fantastic, especially with DD-WRT on it. I’d be careful with their very cheapest stuff, but anything midrange and up they make is excellent.

TP-Link controls its own supply chain, which it believes allows it to build better products at better prices. I’m a believer.

The two things I don’t like about TP-Link were how it caved to the FCC over DD-WRT. It relented, but no other maker was so quick to ban third-party firmware on its devices. And while TP-Link does release firmware updates sometimes, it doesn’t do it as quickly as I’d like.

That said, the next time I need a reasonably priced router, I’ll strongly consider whatever TP-Link meets my price point. They aren’t perfect, but they have fewer compromises than most of the other brands you’re likely to see next to them on a shelf. I like Asus routers too, but TP-Link is easier to find.

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