Mini review of low cost TP-Link W9970 VDSL2 modem/router
TP-Link appears to have a little gem hidden away in its broadband hardware link-up, the TP-Link W9970 modem/router may only have single band 802.11n wireless support, but at £33 to £44 it is one of the cheapest devices we know that supports VDSL2 (and ADSL2+) and includes support for G.INP and vectoring.
The availability of a low cost modem/router is important as in March 2016 Openreach stops supplying its ECI or Huawei and providing replacement ones for ones that break. For the bulk of the market this change is irrelevant as BT, Sky, TalkTalk and PlusNet already use all-in-one devices.
So rather than our old 3,000 to 4,000 word length reviews we will try and round up this little device in a couple of hundred. For those with an existing ECI modem and looking for something with a Broadcom chipset with G.INP and vectoring support the W9970 is ideal, and its firmware supports a bridge mode, so once you turn the wireless off you effectively have a direct replacement for an existing VDSL2 modem. In full modem/router mode the firmware and feature set is the fairly standard TP-Link feature set and unlike some provider supplied hardware (e.g. BT HomeHub) you can configure it to respond to Internet pings and thus will work with our Broadband Quality Monitor. You also get to see the VDSL2 connection statistics with more detail available via telnet.
The wireless is not going to set any speed records, but seems to have the usual sort of range and speeds for a basic 2.4 GHz device, for those using the W9970 in modem mode the antenna will only detach if you open up the case and remove the fly leads and apply some judicious use of pliers will allow the antenna to be removed.
Stability is important and in the week of running the modem both in full router mode and bridge mode it has been stable with no flapping of the VDSL2 side and this is on a line that does have some issues and the bigger brother the W9980 (which is not a Broadcom chipset) would lose sync perhaps once every 48 hours. The W9970 also seems to sync up and authenticate in a shorter timeframe.