These routers will both deliver great range and the same AC1750 throughput, but only the Archer A7 works with Amazon Alexa.
TP-Link Archer C7 vs. TP-Link Archer A7 tech specs
|TP-Link Archer C7||TP-Link Archer A7|
(450 Mbps + 1,300 Mbps)
(450 Mbps + 1,300 Mbps)
|Wireless standards||802.11ac/n/a (5 GHz)
802.11b/g/n (2.4 GHz)
|802.11ac/n/a (5 GHz)
|Memory||16 MB Flash
128 MB RAM
|16 MB Flash
128 MB RAM
|Ports||Two USB-A 2.0||One USB-A 2.0|
These two routers have essentially the same hardware inside (with a small change to processor), RAM, and Flash memory, altogether delivering theoretical AC1750 throughput over the 2.4 GHz (450 Mbps) and 5 GHz (1,300 Mbps) radios. Either router is capable of handling a standard household full of wireless devices — TP-Link claims the A7 can deal with 50 or more devices at once, though I wouldn't push it anywhere near that — and range should theoretically hit about 2,500 square feet, though that number too is only an estimate. The layout of your home, the thickness of walls, and plenty of other factors will knock that number down, but it will provide enough coverage for a medium to large home or office.
If you'd like to connect external storage to your router for multimedia sharing, the Archer C7 has two USB-A 2.0 ports on the back. The Archer A7 is likewise using USB-A 2.0, so speeds will be the same, but it only has one port, meaning you can only connect one drive at a time. As for wired Ethernet connections, both routers have four LAN and one WAN ports.
With either of these routers, you're getting parental controls, guest networks, WPA and WPA2 encryption, and the ability to flash with custom firmware, like OpenWRT. Both are easy to set up, and both have an available app for management thereafter.
What the Archer C7 doesn't have is the ability to work with Amazon's assistant. The Archer A7 is an Amazon-exclusive product and lets you control some of its features with Alexa. You can do things like tell Alexa to set up a guest network, connect a new device, perform a speed test, and perform certain Quality of Service (QoS) tasks, like prioritize gaming data among other things.
Those of you getting started on or continuing to build a connected home centered around Alexa will no doubt find great value in the Archer A7. It is missing one of the two USB-A 2.0 ports found on the back of the Archer C7, but other than that it's essentially the same router. It's also usually a few dollars cheaper than the Archer C7.
If you have no need for Amazon Alexa and want to stick with two USB-A 2.0 ports on the back, the Archer C7 remains a viable option.
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