Tenda AC5 AC1200 router review: Budget dual band smart router

Tenda AC5 AC1200 router is a budget network device which comes with smart features such as app management for small homes and offices…

India is one of the countries where the cheapest internet data packages are available and with the digitalization, nowadays, wireless routers have become a must for the family. The cost of broadband is getting cheaper and faster. Many families have broadband of more than 100 megabytes, and the speed of Internet access has greatly increased. On the other hand, the popularity of smart TV/boxes has also made many home users choose to use the wireless network to watch TV and video. In addition, smartphones, tablets, and laptops all need access to the Internet. It can be said that all aspects of our daily lives are inseparable from the network.

However, with the continuous development of Internet technology, our requirements for network quality are getting higher and higher. For example, many new TVs now has reached an astonishing 4K to 8K resolution. And to enjoy the real 4K content, you need at least 30MB of bandwidth. On the other hand, although the bandwidth of many households now possesses internet connection of up to or more than 100 megabytes, the location of the router one of the main reason for the attenuation of WiFI signal. The distance factor plus the occlusion of the walls plays a very important role to cause severe strength reduction of the wireless signals. That’s is why we usually watch a normal 1080P video online on a smart TV even that supports 4K res.

However, if you don’t have a big mansion and looking for a budget router for your small home or office to supersede your old one; there are a lot of options available in the market and one of them is Tenda AC5 AC1200. We had received this router a couple of weeks ago for review. Tenda is one of the veteran Chinese company which manufactures products for home networking including business networking, switch, broadband CPE, gateway, powerlines, mobile broadband, IP camera etc.  If you are not familiar with routers you probably wouldn’t have heard about Tenda as like other brands such as Netgear, Asus, D-link etc. Nonetheless, it doesn’t mean their products are not good; the reality is they are. Tenda is in the enterprise network products manufacturer along with sophisticated networking tools but at low prices.

So, after using the router for more than 3 weeks, here is our review on Tenda AC5 AC1200 router, so that you can also know whether you should buy it or not.

The price of Tenda AC5 AC1200 router on Amazon is ₹ 1,969. 

Note: It is a router without a modem facility.

Unboxing of Tenda AC5 AC1200

tenda AC5 AC1200 router review

The packaging of the Tenda AC5 AC1200 router is in a quite big box with a black and orange colour to appeal any eyeballs. When we opened it, the router along with 4 antennas (un-detachable), power supply, Ethernet cable and manual were there on the cardboard. The big size of the box is because the antenna’s of the router are pre-fixed or assembled, that means, if you are new to all this you will not face any problem of screwing things. Just take out the router and charger, and start working with it.

Tenda AC5 AC1200 Desing:

The Tenda AC5 AC1200 is a complete blackish plastic router with a simple, compact and elegant look. It has total 4 antennas two at the rear side of the router and one each on the left and right side (near to the rear side). We can move the antennas so that the router can easily be placed even in tight spaces/corners of the home. The weight of the router also very light because of the polycarbonate material that used to make its body.

Tenda AC5 AC1200 router review and test

Tenda AC5 AC1200 router has four ethernet ports reside at the backside out of which one is for WAN input and rest to give output. Apart from the ports, the power input port, Wifi on/off and WPS+Rest buttons are also placed on the back strip. The reset / WPS button, which is the abbreviation for WiFi Protected Setup makes easier to connect devices.

Tenda AC5 AC1200 router review and port

On the front, we can see the notification LEDs, which are lit with discreet blue light but can be turned off on the application page, which is a plus point for Tenda AC5 AC1200.

Tenda AC5 AC1200 router review LED light

There are two hanging holes on the bottom side of the Tenda AC5 AC1200 router those allow us to wall mount it using brackets. However, there are no silicone or rubber feet for the device which could create a sliding movement for a router if it placed on a tilted surface. Another thing in which the router lagging behind is no availability of USB, which should be quite basic in 2019.

Tenda AC5 AC1200 router review and test 1

Manufacturers also consider the heat dissipation of this router very well. The side and bottom of the body designed with a mesh structure, which greatly improves the ventilation and heat dissipation.

How to setup Tenda AC5 AC1200

How to setup Tenda AC5 AC1200

The setup of Tenda Ac5 is a piece of cake because there is no need to install any kind of driver or software using CD/DVD disk.

1. Take your Ethernet cable which is coming from your modem to offer an internet connection.

2. Then plug-in that wire to the blue colour WAN port of the router

3. Take another LAN cable plug one end in your computer and another end to any of the router’s yellow colour port.

4. Connect the power supply to the router.

5. Now check, at the front of the Tenda AC5; SYS light is blinking, WLAN light is on or blinking, the yellow LAN port in which you have inserted the ethernet from PC is also ON.

6. Open your browser and point to default IP address 192.168.0.1 to access the admin dashboard.

7.  The login panel will open and enter the default login username and password for Tenda router i.e admin and admin.

Login Tenda rotuer admin panle

8. Click on Wifi Settings and setup WiFi password and name.

Tenda main page router

Tenda AC5 AC1200 Specifications

  • Colour Black
  • Item Weight 739 g
  • Product Dimensions 4.8 x 24.2 x 36.5 cm
  • Item model number AC5
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ac Wave 2.0 technology
  • Connectivity Type 2.4 and 5 GHz radio frequency
  • 3 LAN ports and 1 WAN port (100MB/s)
  • 1 GHz CPU
  • Beamforming technology
  • Remote Management and Tenda App to manage router directly from a smartphone
  • Mu- MIMMO
  • Packaging of the router includes A5 AC1200 Smart Dual-Band WiFi Router, Power Adapter, Quick Installation Guide and Ethernet Cable


 

Tenda AC5 AC1200 Web interface and App

The web management interface of the Tenda AC5 AC1200 router is really very refreshing. Smooth navigation system to access various options, not like complicated interfaces of routers. And it has to be especially when the router is meant to target home or small offices users those don’t have much knowledge of technical stuff. Anyone can easily comprehend the way to operate the router using the web & app.

Personally, I found everything easy, and the home screen operated with intuitive, pushable pictograms, which I liked specifically. Here, will take you through all the major configuration options provided by the Tenda for the router.

Let’s start from the WiFI settings, where all the options are given at one place those we need to configure Wireless communication.  You can disable the WPS to improve the security of WiFi. The Beamforming+ is also there which detects the position of connected devices over WiFi and locked the signals of the router to that direction rather beaming them equally to all sides.  Furthermore, wireless repeaters, Channel & Bandwidth, Anti-interference like options are also there that are commendable in such low price router.

Wifi settings

The router supports two network bands 2.4 GHz and 5GHz both can be enabled simultaneously. With a model number A5, this router also has a label AC1200  which means the device is C WiFi standard compatible. This ensures that it is capable of transmitting large amounts of data at 5 GHz, while 1200 stands for, it complying bandwidth measured under laboratory conditions. The theoretical peak transmission at 5GHz is between 433 Mbps – 1.7 Gbps and 300 Mbps at 2.4 GHz.

Which is better, 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz?

The band which you want to use depends upon the requirement and other devices support. However, almost all devices support the 2.5 GHz, that not true for 5Ghz because of lots of old devices still around in our homes and offices dwelling on 2.4GHz.
2.4 GHz

Pros: Larger coverage area, better at successfully penetrating solid objects.
Cons: Lower data rate, more susceptible to interference and usually has more devices using this frequency.

5 Ghz

Pros: Higher data rate, less susceptible to interference and usually has fewer devices using this frequency.
Cons: Smaller coverage area, less successful at penetrating solid objects.

Now, which one should you choose:

If your requirement is fast speed and high bandwidth then 5GHz is usually a better choice than 2.4 GHz. Also, if you have a lot of wireless devices around those are running on 2.4GHz then use 5GHZ to minimize the interference or intermittent connectivity issues.

If you want to cover a large area or long signal range from your router then 2.4 GHz is a better choice.

Set or disable band of tenda AC5 AC1200 review router

Another crucial option which guardians of any child are looking for in routers is Parental Control. Tends A5 allows to limit the internet connection for some particular time for each device connected to the router. Furthermore, adult websites or harmful content disperse webpages can be blocked so that children could not get access to them.

Parental control

The VPN server can be configured to securely connect to devices behind the router firewall remotely.

VPN Tenda AC5 AC1200 router review

On the Advanced and System Settings tabs, we get quite a lot of repertoire, from filtering MAC addresses to creating dynamic DNS or static routing almost everything that a home user can expect from a budget router.

Advanced settings router   Tenda AC5 AC1200 settings

Tenda AC5 AC1200 App

You do not need to access your computer to change some settings of the router, since, the Tenda offers smartphone which has brought everything on fingertips. Also, no need to bother with web or IP addresses if you want to adjust something, and even if you are not at home. We can also access the ‘security check” feature from the app along with WiFi optimization option, so it’s worth downloading it to the mobile devices. So, overall, the app is snappy and easy to use, and available for Android + iOS smartphones.

Tenda AC5 AC1200 App router

Tenda AC5 AC1200 Performance

We tested the Tenda AC5 AC1200 router in different scenarios using PC (Windows 10), Laptop (Windows 10) and Android smartphone (OnePlus 5).

On the 2.4 GHz, the router offered a maximum internet download speed of 27 Mbps while the test system and router were both in the same room; it increased to around 29 Mbps on 5GHz. Whereas in both the cases the upload speed was around 12.4 MB/sec

Real life file transfer test: If you have NAS or shared drives then on the local intranet the max speed we got was 12 MB/sec over WiFi while the average was 9MB/s.

tend router speed test local

To test the range of the Router we used Wifi Analyzer App and OnePlus smartphone. When both smartphone and router were in the same room the router range, needless to say, was significant strong. On 2.4GHz it was around -38dB and for 5GHz – 45dB.

Wifi range of Tenda A% AC1200 router

As we reached outside the room and closed the door, the signal strength of Tenda AC5 AC1200 router dropped to -65dB on 2.4GHz and -78dB on 5GHz.

Tenda AC5 AC1200 router review range

Graphical chart of the above figures.

Tenda A5 AC1200 router evaluation

So, in our test what we found this Tenda AC5 AC1200 router is a good solution if you have a small house/office and looking for some low price router with some latest features and easy to use web interface, and app.

Tenda A5 AC1200 router review verdict:

Tenda’s mid-range AC5 AC1200 could be considered as the best solution to full fill the daily demands of the home users in a low price category section. However, for companies or pro users, it could not work because of their high network demands and speed of WiFi that I think is a bottleneck for this hardware. Also, at such low price, we should not demand or expect much from Tenda at all; and this is the only reason why Tena was unable to integrate Gigabit ports and a USB port in AC5. So, if you have high range and speed requirements then you can go for other premium routers of Tenda or any other brand.

So, it delighted us with many features, has a cool smartphone application that provides remote management for the router, dual Wifi Band and of course option to disable the annoyingly blinking blue LEDs; all in a price of ₹ 1,995 and that is the only point which makes it a value for money product.

Pros:

  • App Control
  • Dual Band (2GHz+5GHz)
  • Numerous features, user-friendly web interface + parental control.
  • Budget Price
  • Easy to manage

Cons:

  • No USB port
  • 8.9/10
    Features - 8.9/10
  • 8/10
    Design - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Coverage - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Performance - 7/10
  • 8.5/10
    Pricing - 8.5/10
  • 8.5/10
    Value for Money - 8.5/10
8/10

Summary

It delighted us with many features, has a cool smartphone application that provides remote management for the router, dual Wifi Band and of course option to disable the annoyingly blinking blue LEDs; all in a price of ₹ 1,995 and that is the only point which makes it a value for money product.

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User Review
5 (1 vote)

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