Even though the TP-Link Archer AX21 is one of the cheapest Wi-Fi 6 routers that TP-Link manufactures, most people who use it are unaware of this fact. In terms of features, the Archer AX21 includes all of the most crucial ones you’d want in a WI-FI 6 router, such as fast AX1800 speeds, a simple parental control system, and quality of service settings. With a small number of devices and no expectation of covering a large area, the Archer AX21 will have no difficulty keeping up with even gigabit connections, however Wi-Fi 5 performance will be a little lacking.
It is just under six inches deep when the antennas are included, making the Archer AX21 a very small router. Because not everyone likes to see their wireless router, it’s a relief to be able to tuck your Archer AX21 away in a small space with ease. The router still has four gigabit ethernet ports for LAN connections as well as a USB port. You may also use this router as the hub of a mesh network that includes extenders that are compatible with OneMesh.
The TP-Link Archer AX21 router is available in most of the same locations that TP-Link routers are sold, including Amazon. It is normally priced at $100, however, it is frequently available on sale for $90. This is one of the most affordable Wi-Fi 6 routers available, and it replaced TP-Archer Link’s AX1800 router with a more attractive appearance and OneMesh compatibility, among other features. Since its initial release, which occurred in the second part of 2020, the device has undergone a number of firmware upgrades, the most recent of which included the addition of scheduling to the parental controls.
Because the TP-Link AX21 is a draft-stage WiFi 6 router (as is the vast majority of other WIFI 6 routers), it has a number of intriguing new capabilities, the most notable of which being OFDMA (or orthogonal frequency division multiple access). Through the use of Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access technology, network efficiency and performance may be improved by splitting the available channel bandwidth into smaller resource units, according to the manufacturer. Units of varying sizes are assigned for improved connection with numerous clients – this technology will show substantial improvement, especially when dealing with tiny data packets – and are available in a variety of colors.
One more WiFi 5 technology that has been ported is MU-MIMO, which functions the same way as MU-MIMO: it allows you to serve multiple devices at the same time. However, the adoption rate is still low, despite the fact that manufacturers have been preaching about a large scale implementation with most (if not all) WiFi adapters for years now (unless you get a flagship device, you won’t get it, yes, not even with a flagship device).
This feature is still available, and it will assist in directing the signal towards suitable clients, reducing the impact of interference on the signal and increasing the throughput. on the signal and improving the throughput Finally, it’s worth mentioning the OneMesh, which was created as a response to the rising popularity of Asus’ AiMesh and has evolved into a more mature product over time, with new devices being added to the compatibility list on a regular basis.
2.4GHz (20MHz) results (two tests):
|Location||Living room (router)||Front room||Bathroom|
|Galaxy S20+||98.9 Mbps|
|LG G8 (Wi-Fi 5)||90.2 Mbps|
|iPhone 11 Pro||89.6 Mbps|
However, although the design is essential, the functioning of the gadget and all of the benefits it may bring are much more vital. When it comes to the TP-Link Archer AX21, there are several beneficial features to take advantage of. Let’s start with the concept of connection.
In this case, the TP-Link Archer AX21 is a dual-band router, which means it can operate on both 5GHz and 2.4GHz frequency bands at the same time. Internet speeds may reach a maximum of 1.8Gbps, which is the fastest available at the moment. The 5GHz spectrum has a data rate of 1200 Mbps, whereas the 2.4GHz band has a speed of just 574 Mbps.
5GHz (80MHz @5.8GHz) results (two tests):
|Location||Living room (router)||Front room||Bathroom|
|Galaxy S20+||543 Mbps|
|LG G8 (Wi-Fi 5)||446 Mbps|
|iPhone 11 Pro||522 Mbps|
This router has the capability of supporting more than 40 devices connected to it at the same time. It further claims that, despite the fact that a large number of devices are linked, you will see no apparent degradation in stability or performance. This is made feasible by the innovative OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology that has been integrated into the unit. Therefore, every single member of your family and friends will be able to join at the same time, and you will not notice any degradation in speed, stability, or WiFi coverage as a result of this.
To ensure that your networks are safe and secure, the Archer AX21 employs cutting-edge WPA3 encryption to ensure that your networks are protected. This also makes it simpler for you to connect your Internet of Things devices to your WiFi network.
Everything this router has to offer is ideal for a luxurious lifestyle that includes continuous 4K streaming throughout the day, gaming without interruptions or problems that would create stress, and complete compatibility with the vast majority of devices you may already own.
When compared to predecessors of this sort of technology, the Archer AX21 WiFi 6 is said to provide three times the speed, four times the connection capacity, and saves the power of the devices that are connected. A router that costs less than $100 will serve you well, but it will fall short of these features.
IEEE 802.11ax/ac/n/a 5 GHz
IEEE 802.11ax/n/b/g 2.4 GHz
5 GHz: 1201 Mbps (802.11ax)
2.4 GHz: 574 Mbps (802.11ax)
|WiFi Range||3 Bedroom Houses4× Fixed High-Performance Antennas|
Multiple antennas form a signal-boosting array to cover more directions and large areas
Concentrates wireless signal strength towards clients to expand WiFi range
Improves transmission power to strengthen signal coverage
Allocate devices to different bands for optimal performance
Simultaneously communicates with multiple Wi-Fi 6 clients
Improves network efficiency by limiting excessive occupation
Connect your devices to more bandwidth
|Working Modes||Router Mode|
Access Point Mode
|Processor||1.5 GHz Quad-Core CPU|
|Ethernet Ports||1× Gigabit WAN Port|
4× Gigabit LAN Ports
|USB Support||1× USB 2.0 Port|
Supported Partition Formats:
NTFS, exFAT, HFS+, FAT32
Apple Time Machine
Power On/Off Button
LED On/Off Button
|Power||12 V ⎓ 1.5 A|
|Network Security||SPI Firewall|
IP & MAC Binding
Application Layer Gateway
|Guest Network||1× 5 GHz Guest Network|
1× 2.4 GHz Guest Network
Without replacing your existing devices or buying a whole new WiFi ecosystem, OneMesh™ helps you create a more flexible network that covers your entire home with TP-Link OneMesh™ products.
|Parental Controls||URL Filtering|
|WAN Types||Dynamic IP|
|Quality of Service||QoS by Device|
|Cloud Service||Auto Firmware Upgrade|
OTA Firmware Upgrade
|NAT Forwarding||Port Forwarding|
DHCP Client List
|Dimensions (W×D×H)||10.2 × 5.3 ×1.5 in|
(260.2 × 135.0 × 38.6 mm)
|Package Contents||Wi-Fi Router Archer AX21|
RJ45 Ethernet Cable
Quick Installation Guide
Cable or DSL Modem (if needed)
Subscription with an internet service provider (for internet access)
|Certifications||FCC, CE, RoHS|
|Environment||Operating Temperature: 0℃~40℃ (32℉ ~104℉)|
Storage Temperature: -40℃~70℃ (-40℉ ~158℉)
Operating Humidity: 10%~90% non-condensing
Storage Humidity: 5%~90% non-condensing
|WiFi Transmission Power||CE:|
<23dBm(5.15 GHz~5.25 GHz)
<30dBm(2.4 GHz & 5.15 GHz~5.825 GHz)
|WiFi Reception Sensitivity||5 GHz:|
The TP-Link Archer AX21 is, without a question, one of the best cheap Wi-Fi 6 routers on the market at this time. This router offers a decent balance of speed and functionality, making it an excellent pick for anybody seeking to get the most out of Wi-Fi 6 devices without spending too much money on capabilities they’ll never use.
The company also managed to undercut several of its closest competitors even before any discounts were applied to the purchase price. In order to create a low-cost router, you must cut a few corners. The Archer AX21 has the appearance of TP-Link having taken all the necessary shortcuts without sacrificing any of the most critical features.
|1||TP-Link WiFi 6 Router AX1800 Smart WiFi Router (Archer AX21) – Dual Band Gigabit Router, Works with Alexa - A Certified for Humans Device||Amazon.com|
Given its present pricing, the TP-Link Archer AX21 is an appealing option for a large number of consumers who wish to upgrade their existing router while also experimenting with WiFi 6 technology. The wireless performance was good, especially near the server, although it did have a faster fall after 15 feet than other AX1800 routers — at the same time, I found that the throughput was adequate even at 45 feet, independent of the type of client that was attached (WiFi 5 or WiFi 6).
The number of functions that you can access through the app and the web-based interface is not awful, but it does feel like a step backward, especially since the Parental Controls portion has been removed and the newer subscription-based tool is not available (still not really a fan of paying for it, since I do think people are willing to pay a bit more for the complete package to be built into the router).
If you’re upgrading from an older router, the TP-Link AX21 is an excellent choice. However, you should also consider the best WiFi 5 models available, which are still quite relevant, especially if you don’t have any WiFi 6 clients in your house.