Tenda AC15 Wireless Router Detailed Features
Although the AC15 is not a serviceable unit, it’s still fairly easy to crack open. Behind the router, there are two easily accessible Philips screws that hold the Tenda AC15 together. Asides from removing them, you will still need to pry open the casing, for which there is a small insertion along one of the sides of the router as if Tenda expected you to open it.I used a small flat head screw driver to unlock the plastic tabs located around the edges. Inside we find a small PC board with all the components, as the antennas are external. There are no metal plates, or ballasts inside to add weight to the unit, but that shouldn’t matter as the Tenda AC15 is supposed to be set on the included stand.
A general view of the internals reveal that there is no vents on the front side of the AC15 as this is were the back of the PCB is facing. However, at the back, there seem to be plenty of small openings that allow air to flow more than adequately inside the router. This is important, as we observed that other AC1900 Broadcom chipsets do tend to run warmer than previous ones such as those found in AC1200 routers. Curiously the antennas are directly connected to the back of the board and not soldered, which is probably a cost saving feature as the antennas will not be replaceable as with more expensive options.
The first thing that stands out from looking at the front is that almost all the components inside the router are covered by a single heatsink. Along the top are the three input ports consisting the WPS, WiFi on/off and reset buttons witch are soldered to the motherboard. The antennas are also located at the top, isolated from the PCB, making only a very slight contribution to the weight of the router itself. Back at the bottom, squeezed between the heatsink and the RJ45 Ethernet ports we find the isolation and impedance matching pulse transformers that keep the Ethernet signal noise free. There are no shielding devices located inside the Tenda AC15 with the exception of the aluminum heatsinks themselves.
While the chipset and overall architecture are sourced from Broadcom, the board found inside the Tenda AC15 differs slightly from the reference board by moving some of the inputs to the top of the unit. Unfortunately it would be almost impossible to get the aluminum heatsinks off without destroying them, and most of the time, damaging the board itself. For this reason we will not be looking at a detailed layout of the PCB itself. Usually, we would also go into deeper discussion of the overall architecture of the chip found inside, which is were technology gets interesting. But unfortunately, Broadcom is pretty strict with the technology inside their chips. For now we will skip to our testing methodology.