Category Archives: review

Cheapest AC Router – TP-Link Archer C7

As an IT geek, it is very annoying when your friends or family members are complaining that your home’s WiFi is slow. Recently I invited a couple of friends for a home party, everyone asks for the WiFi’s password. Although I don’t really so keen to let everyone knows my password, but I had no choice but to share it in the end. So the next thing I have to worry is to change my password. Because I had 4 wireless IP cameras that connected to my old TP-Link TD-W8960N router, so here comes the real problem.

Some of the wireless IP cameras installed on the ceiling of the roof is not easy to change the wireless settings. Overall I had a D-Link DCS-932L, 2 x D-Link DCS-5020L, 2 x Xiao mi IP cameras installed on the roof. It is extremely difficult to change the wireless setting in XiaoMi IP camera. The only and working solution is to take them down from the roof (at least 1 hour for me), do a hard-reset on the these cameras, and then redo again all the installation steps before I put them back on the top of ceiling.

For any D-Link IP cameras that connected to your router wireless, you can followed these steps to change the wireless setting (But make sure you entered the new WiFi password correctly or else I can guarantee that you are screwed!)

Old router unable to handle network loads

The worst part of the old TD-W8960N router is that it mainly designed to handle less than 5 wireless connections and is a very old model for Streamyx connection. I had a friend bought the similar model few years back, we were both the same issues, experiencing slowness every few hours and the router had to reboot daily. Sometimes the administrator page has to reload for few times before I can see any text.

Personally I am not blaming TP-Link on that old model. It was working fine (really) 5 years ago. The model basically designed for telephone internet and not fiber optic. I don’t even had a smart phone that can be connected via WiFI when I bought that old router. Most of us don’t have IP cameras or tablet devices. That’s why I never had the problem until last year.

Neighbors

The nightmare starts when my neighbor installed fiber internet, and he had changed his original Unifi router to a ASUS router. I am not 100% sure what model is that, but I was suspecting it could be ASUS RT-N14UHP or RT-N12HP because I can’t detect his 5Ghz wireless signal and my review testing later proved that I could be right. I had to reboot my old router almost daily, the old router could no longer able to handle my network loads. Because I had more than 15 devices connected to it at a single time!

My Problems

There are a few problems here, so I listed them down,

  1. Lack of Guess WiFi
  2. Slow processing power
  3. Unable to handle > 10 devices
  4. Neighbor WiFi interfere my wireless signal
  5. Have to reboot daily

 

TP-Link Archer C7

I decided to buy TP-Link Archer C7 in the end. Overall this is not a high-end router that suitable for business usage, but it was fairly enough for my home use. As I told you earlier, I had more than 20 wireless devices connected to a router, so this model is good enough to handle all the network loads. And the best part of it is very cheap if compare to other AC router that sold by other brands. I bought it from Lazada.com.my OOKAS with a voucher code. Overall this seller (OOKAS) has a good rating and is able to ship the product quickly than the rest of its competitors. I am not afford to buy high-end router such as TP-Link AC3200 or ASUS one, so I guess it is good that I settle down with Archer C7 that just cost me RM360.

Before made the final decision, I actually done a couple of researches on their Archer C7 TP-Link emulator page in order to figure out what kind of features it have and things that it can do. Anyone who interested on it must be extra careful especially the hardware version. Currently there are V1 and V2. Some of the sellers are selling V1 at V2 price. Overall Archer C7 version 2 can be flashed with third-party firmware. Regardless if you are an IT expert or not please go for version 2 because version 1 is obsoleted.

It comes with 5GHz band, which means it support AC signal. Recently the word “AC” is very popular, but no one really understand why it is important now. In theory, on the 5GHz band and using beamforming, 802.11ac should have the same or better range than 802.11n (without beamforming). The 5GHz band, thanks to less penetration power, doesn’t have quite the same range as 2.4GHz (802.11b/g). But that’s the trade-off we have to make: There simply isn’t enough spectral bandwidth in the massively overused 2.4GHz band to allow for 802.11ac’s gigabit-level speeds. As long as your router is well-positioned, or you have multiple routers, it shouldn’t matter a huge amount.

Good Hardware & Fast Response

The Archer C7 has very fast response. It comes with Qualcomm Atheros QCA9558 (720 MHz) precessor. The processor is good enough to handle high wireless network loads. Moreover I can load the administrator page very quickly compare to my old router. Archer C7 won a few major awards, winning the price-per-performance review test. It support gigabit LAN network, embedded with 4 LAN ports & 2 USB Ports.

1

Easy to setup Unifi and Maxis

If you buy the Archer C7 Malaysia version 2 from OOKAS, it automatically comes with a Malaysia Archer C7 firmware. So it is tremendously easy to setup these local fiber internet by filling up the username & password.

2

Dual Band Selections

If you never had any devices that able to support 5GHz connection, you can just turn it off. Archer C7 let you to runs dual band concurrently. By selecting a dual band you can see 2 SSIDs (2.4Ghz and 5.0Ghz) connections on your phone (if your phone support both bands)

3

Guest Network for your friends or customers

If you are setting up Archer C7 for your small business, it is safe to turn on the guest network. The best of this feature is that any guest that connected to your router would be isolated as a separate network from any active connected devices. So this is important so your guest would have least chance to hack your phone or connected to any public shared drives. You can also setup dual band for your guest network, which means you would see 4 wireless SSIDs if you enable all of them. Moreover, you can setup a bandwidth control for your guests by putting a maximum download or upload limit.

4

Dynamic DNS

It is a standard for most of the TP-Link router have this feature, so nothing I need to explain further here.

1110

Access Control Management & Parental Control

One of the best thing you can do is the access control management page. This page allowed you to set rules for controlling certain IP addresses or certain MAC addresses. You can set either block these as per schedule, or only applied and restrict them to access certain web sites. If you knows the port very well, the rules that you set can be so detailed until port level.

98

Advanced Security

This is a feature to control any attackers outside your LAN from making DDOS attack on your router. Your router can be set to ignored ping packet from WAN port so attacker will thought the IP address that you are using now doesn’t belong to anyone.

7

USB Ports

You can plug in an external hard disk to the Archer C7 USB port so to make it looks like a file sharing system.

5

Conclusion

Overall I am very satisfied with TP-Link Archer C7 router. I can’t believe that I paid RM360+ for so much features on this router. The router performance is very stable, and uptime can reached months without even a single reboot. Although the AC signal hardly penetrate some of my upstairs rooms, but it automatically replaced with the 2.4GHz wireless signal without any problem. So this is a must buy product.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Product Review: Karcher SC1.020 (A real test)

It has been a long time I was aiming to have a steam cleaner for my home. Due to short of money, so I can’t really break the bank last year because each steam cleaner could cost more than MYR 1000+ for it’s latest model.

There are a couple of choices in the market right now, includes H2O 5 in 1 steam mop, Black Decker steam mop, or Philips one. But none of them can solve my problem entirely because these products are mainly for mopping the floor. But if you want to clean the kitchen grease like I did then they are all totally incompatible.

After searching around the entire online supermarket, I decided to buy the Karcher SC1.020 steam cleaner from GD E-Store at Lazada.com.my. Actually this is the first experience I buy something from this seller, but the it’s Lazada’s 5/5 rating system convince me to do it without any doubt.

This Karcher SC1.020 steam cleaner sold around RM700-800 last year, but the price drop drastically due to a new model launched by Karcher itself somewhere around early of this year. So I managed to settle down with this SC1.020 at price RM588.10 with some Lazada voucher code helps. This product mainly manufactured in China, but for a pure Germany build you can get at around RM800. And I strongly believed that their qualities are definitely better than the China one. There are a lot of sellers are selling the same product at very different price, some of them can reached more than Rm1000+, so, please take note and do your research before placed a wrong order!w

I was so surprised with the shipping time, after I placed my order at Lazada at the afternoon on 6 of March 2016, and then I received that item around 8th on the same month. The product received was in superb good condition, and the seller (GD E-Store) even send a WhatsApp confirmation to me to make sure I received that on correct timeline. This is the first time I encounter such a responsible seller from Lazada.com.my.

Bulky, Noisy, but designed for heavy duty

Most of the Karcher product is made for heavy duty usage, the SC 1.020 is also classified into the same category. You can fill up 1 liter of water (maximum level) into the steam pot. It sounds like 1 liter of water isn’t enough to do cleaning, but in facts it can last 25-30 minutes on and off usage.

If you bought a few Karcher products, you would noticed that most of the Karcher product are very noisy. The Karcher’s water pump machine, most of the vacuum models, and this SC 1.020 steam cleaner too. So it is not recommended to use this while your grandmother or babies are sleeping.

Accessories

IMG_20160308_201150.jpg

It comes with 2 extension sticks, 2 big wheels and 1 small wheel (that you have to install yourself), point jet nozzle, floor nozzle (default), hand nozzle and a round brush.

Boiling Time Test 3

It took around 7-8 minutes to boil 1 liter of water, during this period I can do some preparation so I won’t waste my time just standing there and wait for the light to go off. I see a lot of frustration at Amazon.com review that they were waiting too long for the boiling process, but I strongly believed that the problem is not on the first time boiling, but the second time when you want to reload the water again.

You can’t open the boiler opener when it contains hot pressure, but you want to reload the water as soon as possible in order to continue your work. So I have to wait for a few minute to drain all the pressure out from the nozzle before the opener release the security lock.

Safety Test

There are 2 important safety features on this SC 1.020 model. The first one is the boiler safety valve and the second one is the safety pin at the nozzle. The SC 1.020 mainly designed to use high pressure mixing with the hot water in order to produce 3.2 bar pressure hot steam, so it is very dangerous if someone open the boiler valve straight away. So this safety valve is a must have for a high pressure steam cleaner.

The safety pin on the nozzle is to prevent someone accidentally press on the nozzle pin. I have to admit I injured my middle finger on the first try because I forgot to switch the pin the locked mode instead.

Wiring Test

The length of the cord wire is pretty long from my point of view. Because it needs electricity to create the high pressure steam, there is no way Karcher can design it to be cordless for now. So if you are cleaning a big area, you have to make sure you have electricity switches all around or else you have to buy a super long wire extension.

Review Test

Floor Mopping5
After review, I can be 100% sure this is the best product for floor mopping, with just 1 liter of water is very good enough to clean more than 500 square feet of flooring before reloading. The only problem with floor mopping is that it comes with white cloth, probably it will turns to chocolate flavor in third time when you use it. but so far I am quite satisfied with the result of mopping the floor.

Bathroom cleaning3.png
In the YouTube demonstration, it showed that the SC 1.020 can clean the dirt between the basin and water tap easily, but my test showed that it isn’t true at all, about 50% cleaner than I predicted at the first place. Below are the photos before and after i use the steam cleaner on the dirt spot.


Kitchen grease cleaning3.5.png
I give a 3.5/5.0 rating on cleaning the grease because this model it looks like design for this, but in the end I conclude it is not entirely designed for cleaning grease. I was trying it’s limit but it can’t really do the job perfectly. The SC 1.020 steam cleaner is able to help to remove the soft grease that stick on my hood pyramid but not hard grease. The hard grease will stick on the round brush, hence make it harder to clean the rest. And the only solution is to clean the round brush again with kitchen tissue before proceed my test. I believe that this is the limitation of using a steam cleaner without any chemical. And I believe after this test, it proved that steam or hot water (100 Celsius) can never clean hard grease. So we probably need something more than the 100 Celsius or use chemical.

So I decided to combo it with Mr Muscle. Means I spray Mr Muscle on the hood pyramid first, and soak it for few minutes, before I remove the hard grease with the SC 1.020 steam cleaner. It the result looks much more better than the first try.

This is not the first time I clean the kitchen hood pyramid, the last time I spent 90 minutes on it. But with SC 1.020 steam cleaner I am able to shorten to time to 40 minutes. So I conclude that this SC 1.020 steam cleaner speed up 55.6% of my time, so it is a good buy still.

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Cushion cleaning
Not available – short of time to do this test.

Clean up

It is pretty easy to clean up the SC 1.020 steam cleaner. What I did was turning off the plug, pressing the nozzle in order to release the pressure inside the boiler, so that I can turn the boiler valve anti-clockwise when the valve released by the safety pin. The only worry is  to make sure you turn the boiler horizontally when draining away the hot water so that your hand won’t get burned by the steam.

Spare Parts

I noticed that it is pretty difficult to look for SC 1.020 spare parts in Malaysia, in Malaysia they only sell the white cloth in retail shop. For any addition spare parts probably have to get from at Karcher Malaysia HQ. But what I noticed is there are tons of SC 1.020 steam cleaner accessories in the Amazon.com includes different type of hand brush and other standard accessories.