If you are from the UK then it’s likely that you connect to the internet via an ADSL or VDSL line and thus you have probably been forced to use the crappy and extremely old router that your internet provider has provided you with. Most of these routers don’t come with the latest features like QoS or VPN, and a lot of the time they look pretty horrible.
But with a DSL modem and router like the TP-Link Archer VR2800 that we are going to be reviewing today, you don’t have to settle anymore.
Because it is a DSL box, the VR2800 is capable of working as both a modem and a router in one, allowing you to improve the wireless for your home network no matter your provider, be it TalkTalk, BT, Sky, or many others.
All you have to do is plug it in, select the provider that you are using for your internet connection and name your new connection, once that’s done, you are ready to get going with new WiFi from the VR2800.
And it’s not just more features that you are going to get, you also get an arguably sleeker design, which is a modern yet simple half and half design with one-half being a shiny (and dust-collecting) black finish and the other half being more of a matte black finish.
Along the centre of this is a white/clear column that hosts the status indicator lights for the VR2800’s features. The bottom of the column shows a white status indicator for the power, and along the top, you will find status indicators for the wireless, WAN ports, the USB ports and more.
On the left-hand side of the device, there are also two USB 3.0 ports, along with the toggle switches that you can use to turn off the wireless bands and control the WPS function.
To finish this off, you will then find the power switch, the connector for the power, a total of four Gigabit Ethernet ports (one of which is also a WAN port) and finally a DSL port for connecting to the internet.
There are also four slots along the back for the adjustable dual-band antennas that are fully adjustable and removable.
And because it has a WAN port, it is also fully compatible with cable services on top.
And, that’s not all.
With the USB ports, TP-link has also built in another cool feature, allowing you to plug in a 3G or 4G dongle and use it for the internet instead, which could be a pretty great backup plan should your internet go down.
And this connection can be provided at some pretty good speeds too. The modem/router is compatible with both the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz bands, with performance that is rated up to 2,167Mbps on the 5GHz band, or up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.
To set this up, TP-Link has built the router out with an easy to use beginning setup panel which asks you a few basic questions in order to get started with the VR2800.
You need to select the ISP, which the VR2800 already recognised as BT when I set up. After you have got the correct one, you then need to enter the login credentials for your ISP and then enter the settings that you want for the various WiFI bands.
But as with most routers, the settings aren’t finished there, you can also get setup with the more advanced features of this router.
This includes setting up the sharing of the devices that are connected to the USB 3.0 ports, the parental controls for the router that allows you to limit internet access and set what can and can’t be accessed.
You can also set up more advanced things such as port forwarding, and a VPN.
All of this is controlled via the router’s dual-core 1GHz processor, as well as a dedicated processor that is used for each of the router’s bands.
In use, this results in a pretty performant offering that is sure to improve upon what you get with most ISP-supplied routers.
During my testing, I found that the Wi-Fi signal that this router produced was strong, consistent and quite far-reaching, with more than enough power to cover my entire 3-bedroom 2 story house, and the back and front garden on top, which is pretty awesome for any router.
To top that off, it comes with newer tech like MU-MIMO (multiple user – multiple input, multiple output) and NitroQAM.
If you are finding your current router a little annoying and fancy something with a little more than you should definitely check out the VR2800.
That said, it is quite expensive for a router at £199 on Amazon, that said, if you want specs like these then that is the price that you are going to have to pay.
Disclosure: TP-Link sent us a sample of the VR2800 for the purpose of this review.