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Conclusion

Summarizing my tests of the TL-WR542G router I can say that an inexpensive device is not necessarily a bad device. Despite its low price the TL-WR542G may challenge some top models from renowned brands. This router is not ideal in its hardware and firmware, yet it is a well-made product overall. The main problems are that the router’s WAN interface has a low speed and that its wireless signal is feeble at a long distance with obstacles. That’s why I can’t commend the TL-WR542G for its speed characteristics. The router’s inability to transfer data bypassing the active VPN connection is somewhat disappointing, too. The good news is that the router’s other interfaces are fast and that it supports VPN connections normally (particularly, PPTP). With all its drawbacks, I guess the TL-WR542G is worth its price.

This router can be recommended for a simple home network. It is going to be an optimal and good choice for this application. But if you want to get more for your money, you’ll have to look for a more advanced device. Overall, the TL-WR542G has more good than bad points. It can be best characterized with the words “simple” and “reliable”.

Highs:

  • Good speed (except for the WAN interface)
  • Good implementation of all supported features in the web-interface
  • Simple and easy-to-use setup interface
  • Low price
  • Light and compact
  • Good implementation of PPTP connections

Lows:

  • Does not support data transfers bypassing the active VPN tunnel
  • Low speed of the WAN interface
  • Does not support dynamic routing
  • Inconvenient firmware update process (with the older version)
  • Not easy to dismantle
  • Scanty accessories
  • Wireless signal loses intensity dramatically when meets solid obstacles
  • No QoS settings
  • Poor manufacturing quality
 
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