A router is an increasingly important part of a home network, as more and more devices connect at ever faster speeds. The Tenda AC9 promises great speeds for a budget price. I’ve already unboxed the AC9 in a previous article, so let’s find out if it actually provides the value its $69.99 MSRP suggests.

Tenda may not be the first name that comes into your head when you think of networking devices, but they have been around since 1999, as the first homegrown router and device manufacturer in the Chinese market. We’ve recently reviewed a few of their products including another wireless AC router, the Tenda AC15.

The AC9 is an AC1200-class router, featuring 802.11/b/g/n/ac wireless alongside four LAN and a WAN Gigabit port for wired connections. The two external omni-directional antennas provide up to 300 Mbps over 802.11n at 2.4 GHz and 867 Mbps over 802.11ac at 5 GHz and can operate concurrently for dual band support.

What’s in the Box?

Tenda’s orange on black colour scheme results in a very eye-catching retail packaging without being overwhelming due to the matte finish of the box. The front of the box features a photo of the AC9 on the left side below the Tenda logo. Down the right side is a list of highlight features such as AC1200, Gigabit wired connections, beamforming, and sleep mode.

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On the left side of the box the package contents are listed below the same Tenda logo found on the right side. Below the package contents section are a pair of QR codes to download the iOS and Android apps before you even open the box. At the bottom of the panel, the system requirements are listed, which are very generous as they start at Windows XP and IE 8.0 as minimum. More modern devices are supported as well with listed compatibility with Windows 7, 8, and 10 as well as Mac, provided the latest versions of Chrome, Safari, or Firefox are used.

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Inside the box, Tenda packages the AC9 in a shaped cardboard insert with the Ethernet cable and power adapter in their own cavities. The AC9 is packaged in a loose plastic bag over the removable base (also in a bag) and all the documentation. It is a compact but secure arrangement and the bulk of the packaging should be easily recycled in most municipalities should you not be the type to hold on to device boxes.

A perforated grid of holes provides both the functional cooling for the AC9’s internals along with the style for the rear of the unit. The grid is broken only for the information sticker in the middle of the device and the cutout area that contains the ports near the bottom edge. On the left end is the power jack, followed by the WPS, WiFi, and reset buttons. In the middle, the internet port is distinctively blue to differentiate it from the four yellow LAN ports. The right-most LAN port is labelled 4/IPTV, implying that it may have additional functionality or QoS capabilities. The final port on the back is a white USB 2.0 Type-A port to provide printer or storage connectivity.

Notably absent on the AC9 is any manner of wall mounting capability as the rear-facing ports would prevent the typical keyhole mounting that many other routers employ. For most people, this is likely not a big issue but for some the lack of a wall mounting option could be a deal breaker.