Last Updated on September 16, 2018 by Dave Farquhar
You’ve probably seen TP-Link network equipment on computer store shelves, but it’s possible you’ve never bought any. TP-Link hasn’t been around as long as other brands, after all. But I don’t blame you for wondering: Is TP-Link good?
I like their stuff and recommend it. Here’s why.
TP-Link controls their own supply chain, which they say helps them improve reliability and keep costs low, simultaneously. Typically, other companies who do that have similar results.
I’ve built several home networks over the years. At this point, I’ve tried out all of the major brands. Most of them make better stuff now than they did 20 years ago, but I’m happier with TP-Link than any of the others.
My personal experience with TP-Link equipment
I ran a TP-Link TL-WR841N wireless router for years until I lost it to a power surge. I never owned a more stable router. So I would buy another one in a heartbeat. Most TP-Link wifi routers, except for their very cheapest models, have good third-party support for aftermarket firmware like DD-WRT. Aftermarket firmware usually adds functionality you’ll want, so that’s a good thing to look for.
I also own a TL-SG1008d gigabit Ethernet network switch. It’s a perfectly fine consumer-grade switch, and it’s really inexpensive. If the price difference is $5, the TL-SG108 is a better switch, but for most home use either of them will be perfectly fine, and no worse than any other consumer-grade switch. My webserver runs off that switch. For a while I ran my office off that switch too. I expected it to hold up under that load, and it did.
TP-Link also makes modems. The only one I have any experience with was a low-end DSL modem, but it didn’t give me any issues either. That’s more than I can say for any other DSL modem I ever dealt with. Huge, household-name companies like Motorola can’t seem to make a decent DSL modem, but TP-Link figured it out. They get my respect.
The TP-Link TL-MR3020 portable router/hotspot is a popular choice among security professionals for keeping yourself secure while traveling. Load OpenWRT on it, enable an OpenVPN client, and you can secure your communications on the road. Just connect it to whatever network is available, then connect your phone, tablet, and laptop to it.
Is TP-Link good?
So is TP-Link good? I think so. Initially I approached them with caution. But now that I’ve used some of their stuff, I look for their name.
My caveat with them is that their cheapest product in any category probably won’t be as good as their higher-end offering. I think I could overload their cheapest network switches. I take care not to. If you’re unsure, buy their second-cheapest model instead of their cheapest.
Keeping that caveat in mind, when I see TP-Link’s name on something, I have a pretty high degree of confidence it will work well. And chances are it will cost less than a comparable device from someone else. But if not, that’s OK. I’m fine with paying a few dollars more for quality.