Gaming has gone from being a hobby you indulged in on weekends, to a full-fledge career. The rapid influx of online multiplayer games has opened the floodgates to a whole new line of work, with the youth now using their expertise at gaming to earn a living. But when you talk about professional gaming, there is serious investment involved. Playing online does not offer you the choice to pause your session, and even a single drop in framerate or bandwidth can cost teams millions. PC brands all over the world have come forward with dedicated workhorses for such demanding situations, but the team is not complete without a router that can help online gaming and make it seamless for the entire community. Say hello to the TP-Link Archer C5400X gaming router.
Currently the best in the business, the C5400X has everything you would need to build a gaming career online, and we are not just talking about reliability. So, what is it that the Archer C5400X brings to the table?
Let’s find out –
Design – When you talk about the gaming industry, the sheer demand for performance forces the designers to look at other aspects before coming on to the aesthetics and the C5400X is the perfect example. The overall body is flat, square and very functional to look at, while the array of antennas do give it a very UFO-like demeanor. The fact that you can’t move the antennas is a bit of a downside, but with the overall aggressive design, it’s going to find a place on the gamer’s center table rather than somewhere hidden away from the public eye. The router has been designed to perform best when laid flat and not on its side, which is not really a limitation and you can easily get around to doing that. A concern, however, is heating. With a peak temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s definitely something you should think about.
On the inside, the C5400X is powered by the Broadcom BCM4366 Wi-Fi chip that includes MU-MIMO for connecting with several simultaneous devices and beamforming for adjusting the transmissions to make the most of the receiver’s hardware. What this means is that the C5400X is capable of giving you 1Gbps over its 2.4GHz band, as well as 2.167Gbps over each of its two 5GHz channels, which in layman’s terms, is “Pretty Neat”.
The C5400X does not feature geo-filtering, something you will find on the Netgear Routers in the same bracket, but what you do get is inbuilt VPN for true incognito browsing.
Another point to note here is that while the C5400X is clearly designed and built for gaming, the malicious content filter and a rock-solid security package in-built, makes it a good option for a home router as well. Coming back to the overall design, the C5400X features a glowing TP-Link logo on the top which is white when all functions are normal, and red when there is no connectivity, simple but very very useful. On the back, we have an input WAN connection and 8 downstream ports, which is insane considering the competing routers only offer half as many. On the other side, we have two USB 3.0 ports for printers and data devices. The other side has individual push buttons for turning the lights off, pausing the internet and cutting the Wi-Fi transmissions, thus making the C5400X into a wired router.
Performance – Anything gaming related needs to show the performance, and in that respect, the C5400X is no pushover. The Broadcom BC4366 WiFi chip has a 1.8GHz quad-core processor with three auxiliary co-processors along with 512MB of storage space and 1GB of RAM. Its triband design has a single 2.4GHz transmitter (1Gbps) and two 5GHz ones (2.167Gbps each) that can handle around 5.3Gbps of data flow under ideal conditions. At 5 feet, the C5400X delivers 733.9Mbps which is clearly ahead of its competition, the Netgear XR500 (704.7 Mbps) and the Linksys WRT32X (527.6 Mbps). The performance is so overpowering in fact, that the only router that can match the C5400X in terms of raw speed is its younger sibling, the C2300. The only real situation where the C5400X actually concedes defeat is at 100 feet, where the provided 447.1Mbps versus the XR500’s 524.3Mbps. The Linksys is nowhere in the picture at this point.
Another aspect for a router’s performance is how well is transmits this bandwidth across your home. True, some constructions are more conducive than others, but its always good to have a router that can overcome obstacles and deliver seamless connectivity. The C5400X does well in multiple situations and is built to withstand obstacles such as metal walls, ceilings, and even multiple standing structures in your home. The C5400X handles obstacles with ease and with a range of 100 feet, you are sure to get seamless connectivity anywhere in your home. What’s more, the router can handle insane workloads such as simultaneous gaming sessions online, live streaming on twitch, and even streaming 4K content on your favorite streaming service. Overall, the C5400X is a dominating piece of hardware and promises and delivers nothing but the best to its customers, be it at gaming or even normal household internet browsing. There are no frame drops, no lags, and no sudden breakdowns, thereby ensuring a tear-free session online.
Setup – Setting up the C5400X is fairly simple. You can use a connected browser to get things going and then monitor the setup using the tether apps available for both iOS and Android.
The process starts with the selection of an administrator password. Most of the routers in the market ignore this step, so that’s a win for the C5400X. The algorithm tells you how strong or weak your chosen password is. Next, pick your time zone and the software then asks how your broadband modem connects with your ISP, with the expected choices: dynamic IP, Static IP, PPOE, L2TP, and PPTP. You can use the auto-detect feature, which is flawless in case of the C5400X, while you also get relevant QR codes in case you are using your smartphone for the task. After typing in the names and passwords for the 2.4GHz and pair of 5GHz networks, the interface shows a settings summary for confirmation. Once done, you can restart the device and you are good to go. All in all, the setup should not take more than 10 minutes of your time, which is fair considering the bang for buck performance you will get after that.
All in all, the TP-Link C5400X is a no-nonsense router built for the gamers. The sheer power-packed specifications, as well as a robot and reliable design, make it a must-have for anyone who is in the market for a router that will assist their gaming career or even someone who is in the market for a router that will give them seamless connectivity all over the house without a hassle.