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TP-Link TL-WA7510N

150Mbps Outdoor Wireless Access Point

TP-Link’s TL-WA7510N is a flexible access point with multiple operating modes and a long reach. It uses 802.11a/n wi-fi in the 5GHz band, for increased performance and less susceptibility to interference – the usual 2.4GHz band is very busy these days.

The admin web interface provides full control over network parameters but the device was a bear to configure, requiring rebooting after changes. Nothing I did would make it pick up an IP address via DHCP on my LAN, and I had to use a static one instead.

Housed in a sturdy, light-grey weatherproof case suitable for outdoors deployment with power over Ethernet, 4kV lightning protection with grounding, and external aerial connector, the TL-WA7510N features a 15dBi dual-polarised antenna and 500mW transmission power. This, TP-Link says, is enough to maintain a stable wireless signal “ranging multiple kilometres”.

And, the TL-WA7510N does seem to provide good reach: after setting up the device so that it pointed towards a field roughly 750 metres away, I was able to connect to the TL-WA7510N from there via a Samsung Galaxy 10.1 tab that showed three bars of wi-fi signal strength. The tablet was able to receive data 12-15Mbps and send at 8-10Mbps with WPA-2 PSK encryption.

The 150Mbit/s promised for the TL-WA7510N is too optimistic considering the Ethernet port runs at 100Mbs. What’s more, selecting New Zealand as the region stops the TL-WA7510N from using 40MHz bandwidth, only half that, and the 802.11n speed is set to 65Mbs instead.

In other words, the TL-WA7510N goes the extra mile but not at the speed promised and is difficult to configure, which is a shame as it retails for an affordable $165-$180: far below its $229 RRP.

TP-Link is distributed in New Zealand by Anyware Computer Accessories.

This review was first published in the August issue of New Zealand PC World.