In my recent review of the NETGEAR Nighthawk X10, it quickly became clear during testing that while the router offered extremely high speeds from its 10 GbE and 802.11ad connections, performance from its 5 and 2.4 GHz radios was less spectacular.
The same is true of the TP-Link Talon AD7200, which – with the right clients – can deliver wireless speeds approaching (but not hitting) Gigabit rates. Performance elsewhere is solid, rather than stellar.
Gigabit Ethernet Performance
Let’s kick off with Gigabit Ethernet. I’d expect an expensive, top of the range router to be able to easily hit average speeds of 900 Mbps+ over its Gigabit Ethernet connection, but the TP-Link Talon AD7200 disappointed. It was only able to transfer data at an average speed of 783 Mbps which, admittedly, wasn’t far off the Nighthawk X10. But, it’s well behind the pace of the fastest routers we’ve tested on these pages.[wpdatatable id=30] [wpdatachart id=11]
60 GHz Performance
You’ll struggle to find 802.11ad wireless clients on the market at the moment, which could make testing the Talon’s 60 GHz wireless band a challenge. However, TP-Link kindly loaned me an Acer TravelMate P446 notebook for testing, which is equipped with an integrated 802.11ad adapter.
When connected at 60 GHz, the Talon managed an average speed of 818 Mbps, which is very fast indeed. In fact, you may have noticed that it’s faster than the router’s Gigabit Ethernet performance. However, the Talon was significantly outpaced by the Nighthawk X10, which was able to deliver a result of 934 Mbps.[wpdatachart id=10]
5 GHz Performance
Let’s move to more traditional territory, starting with our 5 GHz benchmark. We were able to put the TP-Link Talon AD7200 through its paces with our full suite of test clients.[wpdatatable id=26] [wpdatachart id=7] [wpdatachart id=5]
As you’d expect, the fastest speeds were delivered when the Talon was connected to 3×3 and 4×4 wireless clients. The best performance I saw was an average of 573 Mbps with an Apple iMac, which sounds speedy but again, is well behind the best. Performance across the tests was broadly similar between the Talon AD7200 and the Nighthawk X10, with NETGEAR’s device edging it slightly.
5 GHz Multi-device Performance
In this test, we connect five devices to the router’s 5 GHz network and run concurrent speed tests. This allows us to see how the router performs under pressure in a typical, real world situation. We aggregate the average speeds delivered from each client and compare performance.
It’s worth noting that unlike other high-end routers, neither of these devices offer a band steering/smart connect feature which can optimise speeds across a range of devices. As a result, neither device was particularly strong here. The Talon AD7200 won the day, aggregating 376 Mbps, but when you consider we’ve tested AC5300/5400 devices that deliver results in the 700-900 Mbps range here, it’s not a brilliant result.[wpdatatable id=22] [wpdatachart id=4]
2.4 GHz Performance
On the slower, longer range 2.4 GHz band, performance between the two AD7200 devices was again similar. The highest average speed I saw from the Talon was 130 Mbps, which is quite respectable. However, once again, the NETGEAR Nighthawk X10 proved itself to be faster, delivering a massive 223 Mbps with our ASUS PCE-AC88 test client.[wpdatatable id=28] [wpdatachart id=13] [wpdatachart id=8]
Finally, we come to USB Performance. With the Nighthawk X10 positioning itself as a hybrid media server, it was no surprise to see it exel in USB shared storage performance, with read/write speeds of 101/79 MB/s. The TP-Link Talon AD7200 wasn’t quite up to that level, but speeds of 60.6/44.1 MB/s are perfectly respectable. You should have no concerns about file transfer performance or media streaming from a connected USB 3.0 drive.[wpdatatable id=21] [wpdatachart id=3]
SummaryFor all of the excitement of 802.11ad support, the TP-Link Talon AD7200 is a sheep in wolf’s clothing. Sure, if you’re able to find a supporting AD7200 wireless client, you can reach superfast speeds, but that’s at the expense of lacklustre performance everywhere else.
The Talon AD7200 may be much cheaper than the competing NETGEAR Nighthawk X10, but that’s device’s enhanced technology and better performance means that it’s a better bet for those thinking of jumping on the 802.11ad bandwagon early.
However, TP-Link has faster and cheaper routers in its range (such as the excellent Archer C5400) which are better buys for those seeking optimal 802.11ac speeds. The Talon AD7200 is both compact and easy to get along with, but mostly average performance means that it doesn’t do enough to earn our recommendation.