After removing the top of the case I finally had a view of the router’s internals. There was a small system PCB at the back of a roomy case that was connected to a small card with indicators via a small piece of cable. The smaller card was secured on the back of the front panel with self-cutting screws.
This is not the best type of connection. The cable may get damaged if bent too often. And you have to unscrew the small card from the front panel or detach it together with the card in order to take the main PCB out of the case. This is inconvenient and unreliable. The manufacturer tried to avoid the former problem by applying a thick layer of glue to the spot where the cable is connected to the card. The second problem has not been addressed. Added to it, the manufacturer didn’t use a connector, but soldered the wire from the external antenna connector right to the PCB. The wire is also very short.
The connector proved to be firmly fastened to the case, so I got a garland out of the front panel, PCB, and bottom panel when I tired to take the PCB out.
The PCB itself looks much better:
It carries few components which are distributed freely on the available space. Everything is neat and tidy here.
The only unpleasant thing is the white patterns on the reverse side of the PCB. By the way, the PCB design resembles the reference PCB design for the AR2317 chip.
TP-Link’s engineers must have taken the latter as the basis for developing this router. None of the elements on the router’s PCB is screened.