When we reviewed the first generation TL-WR1043ND back in 2010 we gave it a Silver Award. It would become one of the most popular TP-Link routers, perhaps even the most popular one. It was very affordable and packed a lot of power, including gigabit network ports, and you could install dd-wrt and other open source firmware on it. It made the TL-WR1043ND very popular among the real router enthusiasts who enjoy managing every single aspect of their home network. With the second iteration of the TL-WR1043ND, TP-Link made sure not to change the formula too much.
The design of the new router fits perfectly within the current product line-up. It's very similar to other TP-Link routers of the last 1.5 years, which means a shiny black enclosure with LEDs in front and all of the buttons and connectors in the back. These consist of four LAN ports, one WAN port, one USB 2.0 port, a power button, a WPS button and a WiFi button. The three antennas are light-grey, they can be replaced and can have a gain of 5 dBi.
The TL-WR1043ND is a single-band router and doesn't support the 5GHz frequency. It has a theoretical maximum speed of 300 Mbps. With an average price of about £41 it's not an expensive router. However, for not a lot more you can buy the dual-band TL-WDR3600 and TL-WDR4300 routers. Those therefore would seem to be a wiser choice, unless you don't have any 5 GHz-compatible devices. In that case the TL-WR1043ND is more suitable because of its more powerful 2.4GHz signal. In theory, at least, we'll see later whether that's also true in practice.
Currently there is no support for dd-wrt, that will be added at a later point. You can read the rest of this preview on hardware.info. (opens in new tab)