The organization of a home Wi-Fi network, in many cases, can “limp.” The owners of large apartments in which the router is incorrectly installed, which is also not very powerful, are unlikely to be satisfied with the quality of coverage and network operation. But by placing one powerful router in the center of such a room, you can significantly improve the experience with all your home gadgets. In today’s review, we will look at the capabilities and speed performance of TP-Link Archer AX73 with Wi-Fi 6 support.
Package Contents: TP-Link Archer AX73
The delivery of routers rarely depends on their positioning in the line and cost. The Archer AX73 will be delivered to the buyer in a standard box for the manufacturer, which will contain a short Ethernet cable and a power supply.
Design and Usability
If routers of the initial price category are often deprived of an interesting design, then the situation is slightly different with more expensive devices. Here, manufacturers pay more attention to the appearance of the product. This also applies to the Archer AX73. And if its shape is familiar for this category of gadgets, then the design will already help distinguish it from several competitors.
The top case has received an angular scale-style pattern. You can see the inverted Wi-Fi logo (but this is a subjective assumption, perhaps the original idea was different). Most of the entire surface is matt. There is also a noticeable glossy “extension” there. There is no practical benefit from it, and design is subjective, but someone should like this appearance. Keep in mind that the glossy surface is very easily damaged, and to maintain the device in its original form, you need to be very careful with it.
Also, the body is large. With dimensions of 272.5 × 147.2 × 49.2 mm, it will most likely need more space than the previous router. Again, this is a common feature for many Wi-Fi 6 routers.
Antennas add visual volume. There are six of them in total: four are fixed on the rear end and a couple more on the sides. But the good news is that they are not very high and will not interfere if the router is installed somewhere where there was “extra” activity of children or pets. Also, their direction can be changed, if necessary.
There are seven operation indicators on the front panel. They have a soft green color, and under normal conditions, they do not have a “night light” effect. And if for some reason, the diodes still interfere, then they can be easily turned off.
Almost all communications and controls are located behind the antennas. Among them are buttons to turn off indicators, activate WPS, turn off Wi-Fi, and a reset button to factory settings recessed in the case. There are also 4 LAN and one WAN port, a power button, and a power jack. The router also has a USB port, but it is located on the right side.
On the bottom of the body, there are four legs with a rubberized surface. They may not stick to the surface very much, but they will not leave traces if they accidentally touched the router and slipped over some “delicate” furniture. Additionally, there are mounts for installing the router on the wall. At the same time, there are also many noticeable cooling slots located in the pattern already familiar from the top panel.
In general, from the appearance of the Archer AX73, it is easy to understand that this is not a basic router. The impressive angular body shape and six antennas hint at exactly this. And if it were not for the manufacturer’s beloved gloss, it would not be easy to find significant remarks on the gadget’s appearance.
Functionality: TP-Link Archer AX73
And an appearance, in this case, is still not deceiving. The novelty was well equipped with various features. And first of all, these are speed indicators. TP-Link Archer AX73, of course, received the Wi-Fi 6 standard with the declared speed in the 2.4 GHz range up to 574 Mbps and in 5 GHz – up to 4804. Together with this, the router is equipped with a FEM module, supports Beamforming technologies, Airtime Fairness, 4T4R, OFDMA, DFS, 4×4 MU-MIMO, 1024-QAM, and HE160. All of this should ensure better performance for a large number of clients and faster network performance. For example, the manufacturer cites a simultaneous session of watching a stream in 8K resolution, downloading files and online games.
Of the pleasant bonuses, the router is immediately offered to enable Smart Connect, in which there will be only one network for clients, but the router itself will select the range for them. The feature is not new anymore, but often it is not present in the initial setting. This option is immediately offered. But not for guest networks. For them, both ranges are shown separately. The ability to restrict “temporary” clients to the main network and each other has not disappeared. And if necessary, you can set a work schedule for Wi-Fi to work.
The mentioned USB 3.0 port can be used to connect storage devices. There are options for using it. This is either file storage (FTP or Samba server, multimedia) or Time Machine for creating backups of Apple computers. But the question remains why printers and cellular modems are not supported.
The HomeShield function is presented here in a rather unusual way. It includes network security, parental control, and optimization of the local network. But for some reason, in Archer AX73, all this is controlled only through a smartphone, and some functions are available through a paid subscription system. Its cost is $ 6 / month or $ 55 / year. It is worth noting that many other routers can provide, for example, usage statistics or set time frames for children without any subscriptions. Here, at not the lowest price of the router itself, a relatively expensive subscription is required for all its capabilities. Just compare the list of basic and premium features:
True, the usual tab with security settings is still there. Their set is standard. There is support for VPN and access to the router through the TP-Link Cloud.
Although access to the router through a smartphone provides HomeShield settings otherwise, it did not receive all the features of the administrative panel.
Well, it would be strange if such a router did not have support for the proprietary OneMesh technology. The list of routers that support it is growing quickly enough, and if the user nevertheless decides to build a network of two or more separate routers and not a set, then with the Archer AX73, there is such an opportunity.
The system settings also look quite typical for TP-Link. The only noticeable exception was the setting of automatic check and installation of updates, which I have not seen before from the manufacturer’s devices I have visited.
TP-Link Archer AX73 in action
Actually, it is the aforementioned auto-update that is immediately shown when configuring the router. But at the start of the work, no other changes happened, where there was also a menu in which the basic parameters for creating a local network and connecting to the Internet are set in several steps. This is still a very convenient way to configure users who are not very familiar with network devices.
After a cursory check of all the necessary parameters, you can start checking the speed indicators. The test range remained unchanged – a two-room apartment with gigabit access and ASUS Expertbook B9 and ROG Zephyrus S17 laptops were used for measurements.
By connecting the provider’s cable to the computer, it was possible to get a download speed of 945 Mbit / s and a download speed of 907. As expected, the values practically did not change through the router – 936/906 Mbit / s. Having got rid of the wire, in the 2.4 GHz band in front of the router, the speed was 181/141 Mbit / s, which is very much, and at the farthest point of the apartment – 48/65. At 5 GHz, the download speed was somehow inferior to the impact, but the figures were still good – 518/834 and 348/551 Mbps.
Measurements of the transmission speed within the network are no less indicative. To do this, one of the clients was connected to the router with a wire, and the second remained connected to Wi-Fi. In such conditions, near the device in the 2.4 GHz band, clients exchanged data on average at a speed of 165 Mbps (the maximum was 220). In the far part of the apartment, there are 48 left (although at the peak, the figure reached 80 Mbit / s).
It was more interesting to see the indicators of the 5 GHz range. In the closest position to the router, the connection speed between clients averaged 831 Mbps (with a maximum of 927), while at the farthest point of the apartment, it turned out 452 (and 536 at its peak). At the moment, this is one of the fastest routers that have visited our editorial office.
If wires connected both clients, the speed between them, as usual, was limited only by the port capabilities.
After the tests, the router worked normally for several days. Its performance was perfectly sufficient for all everyday tasks. Such a router is unlikely to be very puzzled in an ordinary apartment, where there are not many clients and not very large dimensions. Yes, and it was impossible to find any scenario in which one could feel the difficulties in operating a local network or with an Internet connection.
Nice design; set of features, support for OneMesh; Wi-Fi 6 AX5400; performance
Some features are only available with a paid subscription; USB for mass storage only.
Conclusion: Should you buy TP-Link Archer AX73?
ISPs in big cities are increasingly offering gigabit Internet connectivity options. The transition to such a tariff may immediately lead to the desire to update the router because previous solutions cannot always provide at least a third of this speed. Many users will not need TP-Link Archer AX73 to the fullest, but those who need high speed and connection within the network will certainly be happy with such a device. But the need to pay by subscription for all available functions and without this, not the cheapest router seems to be a strange condition of the manufacturer.
TP-Link Archer AX73: Complete Specifications
|A type||Wireless router (router)|
|Maximum connection speed, Mbps||4804 (5GHz) + 574 (2.4GHz)|
|Multiple SSID support||+|
|Connection interface (LAN port)||4×10 / 100/1000 Ethernet|
|Input (WAN port)||1×10 / 100/1000 Ethernet|
|VPN (virtual networks) support||+|
|Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)||+|
|Antenna type (internal / external)||external|
|Number of antennas||6|
|MU-MIMO / MIMO support||+ / +|
|Dimensions, mm||272.5 x 147.2 x 49.2|
|Advanced encryption modes||WPA, WPA2, WPA3, WPA / WPA2|
|Power (PoE / Adapter)||–|
|Other||OFDMA, Airtime Fairness, DFS|