Networking, Reviews

Hands On: TP-LINK TL-WR700N Wireless N Mini Pocket Router

wr700n

TP-LINK TL-WR700N Wireless N Mini Pocket Router

Design7
Features10
Performance8
Ease of Use7
Value for Money9
8.2 out of 10
Summary The TP-LINK TL-WR700N is an incredibly versatile device for use at home or on the road.

The TL-WR700N as a Client Adapter

In this mode, the TL-WR700N is connected to another device by an Ethernet cable and acts as an adaptor to send/receive the wireless signal from your wireless network.  This is particularly useful as a driverless WiFi adapter for devices such as DVD/BD players, game consoles, smart TVs, and media players.

cm_2012020104

To configure the TL-WR700N for this mode, you will need to perform the same steps as for a AP router until you get to the point where you choose the Working Mode in the device Settings page.

  • Click Client and Click Next.
    700-34
  • For client use, you need to access your router, locate, and record wireless router
    – SSID
    – the MAC address
    – Security Password
    Please note that the TL-WR700N supports only the WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK security options in this mode.
    700-40
  • Enter this information into the appropriate fields.
    700-37
  • Reboot for the settings to save.
    700-38

From the computer I was changing these settings from, I reset the wired Ethernet port to “Obtain an IP address automatically” (which was still connected to the TL-WR700N).

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and the computer immediately found my network as if it were wired direct.  I hooked this device up to my printer, and printed a couple of pages successfully.  As a final test, I hooked it up to my BD player and had it check for updates from the Internet without an issue.

The TL-WR700N in Repeater Mode

In this mode, the TL-WR700N copies and reinforces the existing wireless signal to extend the coverage of the signal using the existing network name (SSID) and password.

To configure the TL-WR700N for this mode, you will need to perform the same steps as for a AP router until you get to the point where you choose the Working Mode in the device Settings page.

  • Click Client and Click Next.
    rm2
  • For repeater use, you need to access your router, locate, and record wireless router
    – SSID
    – the MAC address
    – Security Type
    – Security Password
    700-40
  • Enter this information into the appropriate fields.
    rm4
  • Reboot for the settings to save.
    rm5rm6

At this point, I checked the connection using WirelessMon.

Standard Router

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TP-LINK TL-WR700N

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For this test, I had the computer in the same approximate location as for previous tests.  I then connected the TL-WR700N within fifteen feet of the computer.  As can be seen the signal improved remarkably using the TL-WR700N as a repeater.

The TL-WR700N in Bridge Mode

In this mode, the TL-WR700N borrows existing wireless Internet and broadcasts it using a different network name (SSID) and password.

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To configure the TL-WR700N for this mode, you will need to perform the same steps as for a AP router until you get to the point where you choose the Working Mode in the device Settings page.

  • Click Bridge and Click Next.
    bm1
  • Change the TL-WR700N SSID if you wish to, then click on Survey.
    bm2
  • Select the AP you need to access by clicking on Connect.
    bm3
  • This will take you back to the previous window with the AP SSID and BSSID filled in for you.
    bm4
  • Select the Security option that corresponds to the AP and the associated Password.
    bm5
  • If you click next at this point, you may be greeted with the following message.
    bm6
  • If this the case, you will need to access your router to determine the channel it is using.  In this example, it is Channel 8.  Click on Next.
    bm7
  • In this screen, you will need to decide if this is a secured or unsecured network.  If secured, you will need to enter a PSK Password.  Click on Next.
    bm8
  • Reboot for the settings to save.
    bm9
  • Change your WiFi adapter settings to use the new network.
    bm10bm12bm13
  • And done!
    bm14

At this point, the TL-WR700N will behave just like a repeater with the exception that any computers hooked into this “guest” network will not be able to access your “main” network.

The TL-WR700N as a Router

In this mode, the TL-WR700N is connected to a DSL or cable modem and works as a regular wireless router.

routerm_2012020107

To configure the TL-WR700N for this mode, you will need to perform the same steps as for a AP router until you get to the point where you choose the Working Mode in the device Settings page.

  • Click Router and Click Next.
    M1
  • Keep or change the SSID, Channel, Security Option, and PSK Password as desired.  Click Next.
    M2
  • I have a Cable modem, so I chose Dynamic IP, which should also be the connection type to use for most home applications.
    M3
  • Reboot for the settings to save.
    M4
  • At this point, it is time to unplug the old router, and plug in the TL-WR700N.  It is always best to reset the modem at this time to refresh the connection between the modem and the router.  I had only one wireless computer connected at this point, so there is not much to see here.
    M5
  • If you are not patient (like me), you will not see an Internet connection.  Wait a few minutes for all the handshaking between devices to finish up.
    M6
  • With that bit of patience, you will finally have success!
    M7

We have now established that the TL-WR700N can be used a WiFi router.  The next question is how well does it work for wireless devices?  The TL-WR700N was located right next to the router it had replaced.  I took the same computer I had been working with previously and went back to same location where I had taken other test data.  Using WirelessMon once again, the results using this mode:

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I was quite pleased to see that the signal strength was on a par with the more sophisticated router it had replaced.

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Hello. I’m from the heartland of the U.S. Lots of corn and beans, although Iowa is a lot more than just farmland. It also has a few computer enthusiasts (no, not me!). I’ve been around PCs since I got my 1st PC XT aloooong time ago. WGS is one of the first sites I found centered around WHS. And the best. Every once in awhile, I do get away from the KB and enjoy time with and my wife and our 4 kids. And I do have a day job.
  • Greg Sax

    Thanks for the write up Jim.

    Sorry if this is a little OT and long, but would this product be suitable in the following situation….

    Hotel on holidays provides WiFi for a fee.  As part of this “service” you can only have one simultaneous user logged in.  This is fine when away for business, but when with the family, my wife wants to use the wi-fi for her phone data (as do I), and the kids want to connect their media player/laptop, as well as me connecting my laptop. 

    So, would this bit of kit provide the solution where the one username and password is entered, and then this one WiFi connection is then shared amongst our devices?

    If this is suitable, would Bridge mode be the answer?

    Also, does it work the same if there is an Ethernet point, or does this change the set-up?

    Thanks for any advice you can provide here.     

    • Khaled Fakhro

      Hi Greg,

      I’ve had a 700N for around two months now. While I haven’t used it in your specific situation, I have had one at home in a very similar set-up.

      I mainly use the 700N for its Plug-N-Play AP mode, to cover Wi-Fi weak spots at home without the cut that repeater mode tends to come with in all devices. We typically have 4-7 users connected to it, myself, two of my sisters, my two brothers, and my cousins whenever they come over with their iPhones.

      They would all access the 700N through its default SSID and Password. Even with the traffic it gets, I haven’t heard any complaints of connection being dropped (except when I unplug it to tease my sister while watching anime =P).

      I haven’t used it in bridge mode, so I can’t really say anything on that front. However, I am pretty happy with it overall. 

      My co-worker used the 700N’s Plug-N-Play AP mode at the Luxor hotel in Vegas. She was very happy at how simple and efficient it was, allowing her to connect via WiFi without having to waste time configuring anything. She told me that she was sharing internet with other people there.

      Hope this helps!

      • Greg Sax

         Thanks Khaled.  That does help partly.

        • Jim Clark

          Hi Greg,

          Set it up in AP mode, plug it into the wired Ethernet port in your room and enjoy trouble-free private WiFi vs. the crappy WiFi that you will find in most hotels.  You will still have to pay for the connection; you just get better reception.

          You do *not* want to use repeater or bridge mode unless there is no wired connection in a hotel room.

          • ImaDunce

            Use it in router mode. That way you are only using 1 ip address from the hotel wired network and the WIFI side (LAN) is DHCP. You will still have to pay once and then share the WIFI.

          • Greg Sax

            Thanks for the tips guys.  I think it should work how I need it to.  One last question, does anyone know if it is dual voltage?  I have looked on the website and can’t see anything about its voltage??

          • Greg Sax

            Actually I have decided to get it anyway.  Found it somewhere else where I can get it shipped to Australia for 24 dollars.  If it works here great, if not, we are in the US a bit and is good value even if it is just while we are there.

  • http://twitter.com/TechButton Kyle Button

    This is currently on sale on newegg for only $19.99 + free shipping… 
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16833704121 
    $10 off w/ promo code TPSWHE31, ends 3/5

    • Greg Sax

      Thanks for the heads up Kyle.  I followed the link but it is showing as $29.99 ($39.99 less the $10 discount).  

  • Khaled

    You get an additional $10 off on check out when you enter the promo code. I was going to pick one up on Newegg too, but it sold out…

  • M Arp

    Can the WR700 work as a repeater to strenghten wifi signal for an Ipad in a hotel room without wired connection? What configuration would be used?

    • Magikarp

      I’m not sure how it would work in your situation, but you can configure the 700N in repeater mode.

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