TP-Link Archer A20 (AC4000 MU-MIMO Tri-Band WiFi Router) Review

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The TP-Link Archer A20 ($199.99) is a tri-band router that offers good throughput, extensive parental controls, and three years of free Trend Micro network security. It’s simple to set up and maintain using a web console or a mobile app, and it has exceptional file-transfer performance, making it a great choice for downloading and moving huge files. With our Editors’ Choice, the D-Link DIR-2680, you’ll receive faster overall throughput performance and an extra two years of network protection.

TP-Link AC4000 Tri-Band WiFi Router (Archer A20) -MU-MIMO, VPN Server, 1.8GHz CPU, Gigabit Ports, Beamforming, Link Aggregation

TP-Link AC4000 Tri-Band WiFi Router (Archer...

$146.11

AMAZON

Last updated on September 16, 2021 2:03 am

Features

The Archer A20 isn’t particularly innovative in terms of design. In fact, it resembles the Archer C3200 router, which we examined in 2015. Six non-removable external antennas fold out from the top of the router in the black textured container, which measures 1.5 by 7.9 by 7.9 inches (HWD). Power, Ethernet, internet, all three radio bands, two USB ports, and WPS activity are all indicated by little LED lights on the front edge.

Wi-Fi (on/off), WPS, and LED (on/off) buttons are also located along the front edge. Four Gigabit LAN ports, two of which enable link aggregation, a WAN port, a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, a reset button, a power button, and a power jack are all found on the back panel.

The Broadcom 1.8GHz quad-core processor and 512MB of RAM power the Archer A20. It’s an AC4000 router with maximum 2.4GHz signal rates of 750Mbps and 1,625Mbps on each of the two 5GHz radio bands. It enables MU-MIMO simultaneous data streaming, direct-to-client signal beamforming, and SmartConnect thanks to Wave 2 802.11ac technology (automatic band steering).

The Archer A20 can be installed and operated from a PC using a web console, or from a mobile device using the TP-Link Tether app for iOS or Android, just as the TP-Link Archer C5400X gaming router. The online console opens to a network map that shows the number of wired and wireless clients connected, as well as the router’s IP address and Speedtest results.

Setup and Management

Getting the Archer A20 up and running is a breeze. While you may do it from your PC using the online interface, the TP-Link Tether app for iOS and Android is definitely the most user-friendly way to do it. After you’ve connected everything to your router and switched it on, all you have to do now is download and launch the Tether app to get things going. The software will walk you through a few steps that will allow you to name your network, set a password, and select which WiFi bands you want to use.

The Tether app functions as a simplified version of the web interface to manage your various settings once it’s been set up. The app doesn’t have the same level of flexibility as the web interface, but it does let you check for firmware updates, reset the router, see a list of connected devices and which bands they’re utilizing, and even do speed tests. You can also use the app to enable guest networks and link the router to voice control and automation services like Amazon’s Alexa and IFTTT (If This Then That).

Performance

The Archer A20 has a theoretical total throughput of 4,000 Mbps, divided into 750 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,650 Mbps on each of the two 5GHz bands. Those speeds, on the other hand, are significantly above what you’re likely to get with your actual internet connection in a regular residential setting. Despite this, the Archer A20 manages to maintain a strong connection to my devices over long distances thanks to a mix of useful features. There was one vexing exception, which is more a symptom of my apartment’s layout than a router flaw, but I’ll get to it later.

The Archer A20’s main selling point is that it’s a tri-band router, meaning it broadcasts its wifi signal over one 2.4GHz and two 5GHz bands. The 2.4GHz frequency typically has a larger range but slower speeds, whereas the 5GHz band has a higher throughput but a shorter range.

Specifications

StandardsWi-Fi 5
IEEE 802.11ac/n/a 5 GHz
IEEE 802.11n/b/g 2.4 GHz
WiFi SpeedsAC4000
5 GHz: 1625 Mbps (802.11ac)
5 GHz: 1625 Mbps (802.11ac)
2.4 GHz: 750 Mbps (802.11n)
WiFi Range4 Bedroom Houses6× Fixed High-Performance Antennas
Multiple antennas form a signal-boosting array to cover more directions and large areas

Beamforming
Concentrates wireless signal strength towards clients to expand WiFi range
WiFi CapacityHighTri-Band
Allocate devices to different bands for optimal performance

3×3 MU-MIMO
Simultaneously communicates with multiple MU-MIMO clients

Airtime Fairness
Improves network efficiency by limiting excessive occupation
Working ModesRouter Mode
Access Point Mode
HARDWARE
Processor1.8 GHz Dual-Core CPU
Ethernet Ports1× Gigabit WAN Port
4× Gigabit LAN Ports

Link Aggregation (802.3ad) available with 2× LAN ports
USB Support1× USB 3.0 Port
1× USB 2.0 Port

Supported Partition Formats:
NTFS, exFAT, HFS+, FAT32

Supported Functions:
Apple Time Machine
FTP Server
Media Server
ButtonsWi-Fi On/Off Button
Power On/Off Button
LED On/Off Button
WPS Button
Reset Button
Power12 V ⎓ 5 A
SECURITY
WiFi EncryptionWEP
WPA
WPA2
WPA/WPA2-Enterprise (802.1x)
Network SecuritySPI Firewall
Access Control
IP & MAC Binding
Application Layer Gateway

HomeCare™ AntivirusMalicious Site Checker
Port Intrusion Prevention
Infected Device Isolation
Notification and Log
Guest Network1× 5 GHz Guest Network
1× 2.4 GHz Guest Network
VPN ServerOpenVPN
PPTP
SOFTWARE
ProtocolsIPv4
IPv6
Service KitsHomeCare™
Parental ControlsHomeCare™ Parental ControlsCustom Profiles
Content Filtering
App Block
URL Filtering
Time Limit
Time Schedule (Bedtime)
Log Insight
Monthly Report
WAN TypesDynamic IP
Static IP
PPPoE
PPTP
L2TP
Quality of ServiceQoS by Device

HomeCare™ QoSQoS by Application
Cloud ServiceAuto Firmware Upgrade
OTA Firmware Upgrade
TP-Link ID
DDNS
NAT ForwardingPort Forwarding
Port Triggering
DMZ
UPnP
IPTVIGMP Proxy
IGMP Snooping
Bridge
Tag VLAN
DHCPAddress Reservation
DHCP Client List
Server
DDNSTP-Link
NO-IP
DynDNS
ManagementTether App
Webpage
PHYSICAL
Dimensions (W×D×H)7.9 × 7.9 × 1.5 in
(200.7 × 200.7 × 38.1 mm)
Package ContentsWi-Fi Router Archer A20
Power Adapter
RJ45 Ethernet Cable
Quick Installation Guide
OTHER
System RequirementsInternet Explorer 11+, Firefox 12.0+, Chrome 20.0+, Safari 4.0+, or other JavaScript-enabled browser

Cable or DSL Modem (if needed)

Subscription with an internet service provider (for internet access)
CertificationsFCC, CE, RoHS
EnvironmentOperating Temperature: 0℃~40℃ (32℉ ~104℉)
Storage Temperature: -40℃~70℃ (-40℉ ~158℉)
Operating Humidity: 10%~90% non-condensing
Storage Humidity: 5%~90% non-condensing
TEST DATA
WiFi Transmission PowerCE:
<20dBm(2.4GHz)
<23dBm(5.15GHz~5.35GHz)
<30dBm(5.47GHz~5.725GHz)
FCC:
<30dBm(2.4GHz & 5.15GHz~5.25GHz & 5.725GHz~5.825GHz)
<24dBm(5.25GHz-5.35GHz & 5.47GHz-5.725 GHz)
WiFi Reception Sensitivity5 GHz_1:
11a 6Mbps:-96dBm, 11a 54Mbps:-78dBm
11ac VHT20_MCS0:-95dBm, 11ac VHT20_MCS11:-65dBm
11ac VHT40_MCS0:-93dBm, 11ac VHT40_MCS11:-62dBm
11ac VHT80_MCS0:-90dBm, 11ac VHT80_MCS11:-59dBm
11ac VHT160_MCS0:-87dBm, 11ac VHT160_MCS11:-54dBm
11ax HE20_MCS0:-94dBm, 11ax HE20_MCS11:-62Bm
11ax HE40_MCS0:-91dBm, 11ax HE40_MCS11:-59dBm
11ax HE80_MCS0:-88dBm, 11ax HE80_MCS11:-57dBm
11ax HE160_MCS0:-84dBm, 11ax HE160_MCS11:-54dBm
5 GHz_2:
11a 6Mbps:-96dBm, 11a 54Mbps:-78dBm
11ac VHT20_MCS0:-95dBm, 11ac VHT20_MCS11:-65dBm
11ac VHT40_MCS0:-93dBm, 11ac VHT40_MCS11:-62dBm
11ac VHT80_MCS0:-90dBm, 11ac VHT80_MCS11:-59dBm
11ac VHT160_MCS0:-87dBm, 11ac VHT160_MCS11:-54dBm
11ax HE20_MCS0:-94dBm, 11ax HE20_MCS11:-62Bm
11ax HE40_MCS0:-91dBm, 11ax HE40_MCS11:-59dBm
11ax HE80_MCS0:-88dBm, 11ax HE80_MCS11:-57dBm
11ax HE160_MCS0:-84dBm, 11ax HE160_MCS11:-54dBm
2.4 GHz:
11g 6Mbps:-97dBm, 11a 54Mbps:-79dBm
11n HT20_MCS0:-97dBm, 11n HT20_MCS7:-78dBm
11n HT40_MCS0:-95dBm, 11n HT40_MCS7:-75dBm
11ac VHT20_MCS0:-96dBm, 11ac VHT20_MCS11:-67dBm
11ac VHT40_MCS0:-94dBm, 11ac VHT40_MCS11:-64dBm
11ax HE20_MCS0:-96dBm, 11ax HE20_MCS11:-64dBm
11ax HE40_MCS0:-93dBm, 11ax HE40_MCS11:-61dBm

Verdict

Aside from the obstacles posed by my bedroom’s location, there were no visible snags during my test time. If you have a similar issue with your home layout and some additional cash, a mesh network solution like Google WiFi, Netgear Orbi, or TP-own Link’s Deco series may be worth considering.

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