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TP-Link TD-W8961ND review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £33
inc VAT

Impressive speed and range, plenty of advanced features and a great price make it worth putting up with the arcane admin controls.


802.11n, 4x 10/100Mbit/s Ethernet ports

The TP-Link TD-W8961ND is almost identical to the TD-W8951ND except that it has an extra antenna. This allows it to operate at a theoretical top speed of 300Mbit/s by using MIMO (multiple-input and multiple-output) technology. This is a hopelessly optimistic claim, but 300N wireless access points often perform better over longer distances than 150N models.

TP-Link TD-W8961ND

We’re not big fans of TP-Link’s setup interface: it’s supposedly designed to hide advanced options from novice users, and yet some screens mix arcane settings with basic stuff like security. Still, if you’re familiar with terms such as WDS and MAC address filtering, you’ll find yourself pleasantly surprised by how many features this router supports: as well as WDS, there’s WPS push-button security, VLANs, QoS, UPnP and Dynamic DNS. It doesn’t help that TP-Link has renamed WPS to “QSS”, although the large button on the front panel could be for little else.

Setup is reasonably straightforward: a guide on the supplied disc explains how to attach the router to a PC and phone line, and logging into the router’s web interface reveals a wizard to set up Internet access and a wireless network, including security. For most people, this should be enough to get them up and running.

Despite the extra antenna, we got the exact same results in our close-range wireless test for both the TD-W8961ND and the single-antenna TD-W8951ND. The difference in results in the Far test was within a fairly narrow margin of error. However in the Very Far test, the TD-W8961ND managed almost twice the speed, coming in at an impressive 11Mbit/s – faster than most broadband connections and more than enough for streaming video.

TP-Link TD-W8961ND ports

Wired connections are less impressive, with Fast (100Mb/s) rather than Gigabit (1000Mb/s) Ethernet ports and no USB ports. However, this is the least expensive router we’ve seen that supports MIMO. Whether it’s worth paying the extra £7 over TP-Link’s own TD-W8951ND is up for debate, but for larger homes where long-range performance is important, we reckon it is.

Basic Specifications

Rating ****
Modem type ADSL2+
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
Draft 802.11n support yes
Draft 802.11n 5GHz support no
MIMO yes
Stated speed 300Mbit/s


128-bit WEP yes
WPA2 yes
Firewall yes
MAC address filtering yes
DMZ yes


Size 29x174x120mm
Antennas 2
Internal/external antennas external
Upgradeable antenna yes
Number of WAN ports 1
Ethernet ports 4
Ethernet connection speed 10/100Mbit/s
Other ports none
Wall mountable yes
Power consumption on 8W

Other Features

Dynamic DNS yes
Universal Plug and Play support yes
DHCP server yes
MAC spoofing yes
Port forwarding yes
WDS Support yes
USB device support no
QoS yes

Buying Information

Price £33
Warranty three years RTB