TP-Link was founded in 1996 by two brothers, Zhao Jianjun (赵建军 Zhào Jiànjūn) and Zhao Jiaxing (赵佳兴 Zhào Jiāxīng), to produce and market a network card they had developed. The company name was based on the concept of "twisted pair link" invented by Alexander Graham Bell, a kind of cabling that reduces electromagnetic interference, hence the "TP" in the company name.
TP-Link began its first international expansion in 2005. In 2007, the company moved into its new 100,000-square-meter 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.