TP-Link was founded in 1996 by two brothers, Zhào Jiànjūn (赵建军) and Zhào Jiāxīng (赵佳兴), with a network card they had developed. The company name was based on the concept of "twisted pair link", a kind of electromagnetic cabling, hence the "TP" in the company's name.
TP-Link sells through multiple sales channels globally, including traditional retailers, online retailers, wholesale distributors, direct market resellers ("DMRs"), value-added resellers ("VARs") and broadband service providers. Its main competition includes companies such as Netgear, Buffalo, Belkin, Linksys, D-Link and Asus.
TP-Link began its first international expansion in 2005. In 2007, the company moved into its new 100,000 square metres headquarters and facilities at Shenzhen's Hi-Tech Industry Park. TP-LINK USA was established in 2008.
In September 2016, TP-Link unveiled a new logo and slogan, "Reliably Smart"; the new logo is meant to portray the company as being a "lifestyle"-oriented brand as it expands into smart home products.
TP-Link products include wireless routers, ADSL, range extenders, routers, switches, IP cameras, powerline adapters, print servers, media converters, wireless adapters and power banks. TP-Link additionally manufactured the OnHub router for Google.
TP-Link is one of the few major wireless networking companies to manufacture its products in-house as opposed to outsourcing to original design manufacturers (ODMs). The company says this control over components and the supply chain is a key competitive differentiator.