TP-Link Archer AX6000 – 802.11ax router review

TP-Link Archer AX6000 – 802.11ax router review

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@Micael Samuelsson

The specification of TP-Link Archer AX6000 is impressive

TP-Link Archer AX6000 is the first router of a well-known brand that supports the 802.11ax standard – at the same time it is of course compliant with a / b / g / n and ac standards. The manufacturer boasts two bands of wireless connections, supported by 1024QAM technology, allowing speeds up to 4804 Mb / s in the 5 GHz band and 1148 Mb / s in the 2.4 GHz band. According to the declarations, 4 802.11ac streams (1733 Mb / s) and 4 802.11ax streams (4804 Mb / s) fall into the 5 GHz band. The 2.4 GHz band consists of 4 channels of 802.11n (600 Mb / s) and 4 channels of 802.11ax (1148 Mb / s). You have to admit that it makes an impression.

 

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The specification highlights the MU-MIMO 8×8 technology, OFDMA technology that allows you to assign channels to more devices and a much better range than in the case of Wi-Fi 5. This is to be obtained thanks to the interference-reducing BSS color signal reception, as well as Beamforming and Rangeboost technology.

 

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Looking at the above information you are surely wondering “why do I need all this?” My answer: TP-Link Archer AX6000 promises to be interesting in environments where many devices are connected to the Internet. Really, TP-Link Archer AX6000 offers 4 times more capacity compared to ac routers.

The heart of the device is a 4-core processor clocked at 1.8 GHz, 1 GB of RAM and 128 MB of memory for data. Unfortunately, you cannot upload your own software here.

Construction, build quality

TP-Link Archer AX6000 is one of the routers that resemble a space vehicle from science-fiction movies, rather than an accessory that allows you to connect to the network. The square shape itself may not cause the “wow” effect, but after the extension of eight external antennas, this situation changes. The router measures 261.2 × 261.2 × 60.2 mm and quite a lot of space should be reserved for it.

On the bottom of the housing, there are mounting points that allow you to hang the equipment on the wall or … upside down, under one of the tops. Why not? In a small apartment where coverage will not be a priority, this is not a silly solution.

On the housing you can find USB-A 3.0 and USB-C 3.0 ports, which can be connected to external hard drives or USB flash drives. For what? To share data on the network. There are also dedicated buttons to turn on Wi-Fi, activate the WPS function, as well as turn on and off the LED signaling the readiness of the equipment, placed on its top part.

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Configuration? It will generally be simple

TP-Link has already got me used to the fact that the configuration process of its routers is very friendly and it is no different in this case. Condition? Standard network infrastructure. The horror of those who are not very familiar with networks and will have to connect the router to the ONT terminal from Orange. In most cases everything should go smoothly and the router will automatically find the best way to properly configure the connection. You can use both the browser configurator and the TP-Link Tether app, in which, unfortunately, you must first register.

There are a lot of setting options. IPTV, DHCP, DNS, NAT, VPN, LAN, IPv6 – to choose from. Parental control options are exemplary, allowing for individual connection configuration for each device, combining them into groups and assigning detailed permissions. Time limit per session, hours of use, filters assigned to age groups – in a word: everything responsible (and possessive) parents like best). Once again, the enormous possibilities of controlling many devices at once are revealed.

 

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QoS options can also be set for each device and for each activity separately. Here you can define priorities for devices with more “weight”, but also for specific activities (eg video transmission in the case of a TV). Personalization is at least good. Of course, guest networks can also be created with limited access.

The last thing worth mentioning in my opinion is the built-in antivirus provided by Trend Micro, which can of course be turned off. By default, the SPI firewall remains active. VPN can be configured via PPTP or OpenVPN.

TP-Link Archer AX6000 performance

Can the owners of devices operating under older technologies benefit from the Wi-Fi 6 standard? Yes, TP-Link Archer AX6000 also works with such devices, sometimes providing up to 2-3 times faster transfers compared to many cheaper 802.11ac routers. I use Neostrada Orange in the 600 Mb / s option, although the real maximum transfer is approx. 300 Mb / s, due to infrastructure limitations. Differences in relation to Funbox 3.0 at a short distance were visible already at a distance of several meters and increased with increasing distance from the router. The much lower delay on the TP-Link router made the biggest impression on me. This is not a coincidence – the tests were repeated several times.

At a distance 2 times greater than the router, the connection speed did not decrease in the case of the TP-Link router – in the case of Funbox 3.0 it decreased to approx. 250 Mb / s.

By the way, there is nothing to prevent the equipment from seamlessly switching the connected electronics between 2.4 and 5 GHz networks, depending on the range, quality and speed of the connection. If you go out of the 5 GHz range with your smartphone, you will be automatically connected to 2.4 GHz and later return to the 5 GHz network. There were three smartphones, two desktops, a laptop, a TV and a Nintendo Switch console working in the home network – without major disruptions. You must know, however, that I have a relatively small apartment (42 sq m). I looked at tests from around the world and noticed that the equipment was praised for providing good signal coverage even in a large home of approx. 170 sq m.

As part of the file transfer test from a flash drive plugged into a USB 3.0 port on the network, I was able to copy mixed data (video files, movies and music) with a write speed of about 78 MB / s and a reading speed of 77 MB / s.

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Summary

TP-Link Archer AX6000 is equipment created for people consciously spending nearly PLN 1,300 on a router. How many of you will make use of eight (!) Gigabit LAN ports or a 2.5 gigabit WAN link? Exactly. The TP-Link router is something worth buying with your specific needs in mind. Signal strength is excellent here and connections are stable. Technologies like the supported Wi-Fi 6 standard, MU-MIMO 8×8, OFDMA or Band Steering will show their claw especially in an environment where several or even a dozen different devices use the network.

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Is this a router that I would recommend for home? Yes, as long as you are able to spend. You will probably not use its potential in any way, but you will be satisfied with it. In my opinion, attention to TP-Link Archer AX6000 should be drawn to small companies or institutions that want to transfer files in 8K resolution, operate AR / VR devices more efficiently or improve the management of highly crowded networks. Here, however, a small note: you will not upload your own software on board the Archer AX6000, which for some may be a significant drawback.

Strengths:

+ Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
+ very easy configuration
+ tons of network settings
+ 8 Ethernet ports
+ MU-MIMO and Beamforming
+ stable work
+ USB-C and USB-A ports for sharing data from drives in the network
+ 2.5 gigabit WAN
+ HomeCare package with antivirus
+ parental control options

Weaknesses:

– the mobile app requires an account
– Gigabit LAN ports only
– no dual WAN
– no possibility to upload other software
– quite large dimensions

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