TP-Link Archer AX11000 Next-Gen Tri-Band Gaming Router Review

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It’s not a leap to suggest that a significant proportion of people don’t pay much consideration to their router when they’re using it. After all, it is essentially simply a box that broadcasts a Wi-Fi signal in certain ways. While not for everyone, TP-Link recommends the Archer AX11000 Next-Gen Tri-Band Gaming Router for those who are knowledgeable about wireless technology and/or dedicated gamers who want to ensure they’re receiving the finest connection possible when playing games online. From here on out, we’ll refer to it as the TP-Link AX11000 without qualification.

Despite the fact that the AX11000 is a follow-up model to the Archer C5400X, which utilized 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5), it has a similar appearance to the newer, Wi-Fi 6-equipped router we’ll be looking at here in this review. The AX11000 is intended to provide a top-of-the-stack router that is geared specifically at the gaming industry, and it comes with a price tag to match that goal.

Despite this, the AX11000 is still cheaper than flagship routers from companies like Netgear and Asus, with prices ranging between $405 and $430. And, because of its strong design, it certainly seems like it belongs in this company. Let’s take a closer look to see if this model is a good value for the money.

TP-Link Archer AX11000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router

TP-Link Archer AX11000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router

$309.95

AMAZON

Last updated on September 16, 2021 10:27 am

Design

It should come as no surprise that the AX11000 is housed in a big chassis due to the amount of power it provides. This is a horizontally oriented router made of an almost matte-black plastic that, due to its square form, takes up a significant amount of desktop space on the desktop. On top of that, it features a big brick of a power supply that takes up even more room, as well as a total of eight antennae, all of which are painted in the same color as the chassis.

Unlike other rivals and even inferior routers, all of the antennas are locked in place and cannot be fine-tuned by moving them about. Along with a huge number of holes on the top, there is an LED in the center position on the top of the router that is, luckily, controllable by turning it off.

The AX11000, with its black textured cabinet and red highlighted antennae, screams gaming router to me, and it’s easy to see why. With dimensions of 7.2 by 11.3 by 11.3 inches (HWD), it is significantly larger than the Asus RT-AC5300 gaming router (2.6 by 9.6 by 9.6 inches) and will demand a significant amount of dedicated desktop space.

It is equipped with eight non-adjustable high-performance detachable antennas and an LED indication that illuminates solid white when everything is operating well, solid red when the router loses Internet access and solid orange when Wi-Fi is deactivated. Overall, it has a pleasing appearance, but if there is one drawback to this wireless router, it is that it will take up a substantial amount of space wherever it is placed.

A plethora of I/O ports may be found on the back panel. There are eight gigabit LAN ports, a 2.5Gb WAN port, a reset button, a power jack, and a power switch located on this side of the case. The Type A USB 3.0 port and the Type C USB 3.0 port are located on the right side of the router. A 1.8GHz quad-core processor, 1 gigabit (GB) of RAM, and 512 megabytes (MB) of flash memory are housed within the device’s chassis.

The AX11000 is a tri-band router with 12 streams that can achieve (theoretical) data rates of up to 1,148 megabits per second (Mbps) on the 2.4 GHz band and up to 4,804 Mbps on each of the two 5 GHz bands. The AX11000 has a total of 12 streams and is capable of reaching data rates of up to 1,148 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and up to 4,804 Mbps on each of the two 5 GHz In addition, it uses the most up-to-date 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 technology, which includes OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access), 1024 QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation), Target Wake Time, WPA3 encryption, 4X4 MU-MIMO data streaming, beamforming, DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection), and support for 160MHz channel bandwidth.

Security & Features

The AX11000 is equipped with the kinds of capabilities that you would expect from a high-end gaming router from a company like TP-Link. This features bandwidth testing and Quality of Service settings, each of which has five presets and a sixth parameter that allows the user to tailor the priority of traffic for complete granular control over the network.

Security-wise, the AX11000 is adequate, but not exceptional when seen through the lens of a consumer router. It all starts with compatibility for the most recent wireless encryption technologies. The AX11000 is capable of supporting WPA3 while being backward-compatible with earlier standards in the process.

This is demonstrated in the picture above, and we appreciate the fact that it is included in the box without the need for a separate membership, and that it employs a security database that receives updates from Trend Micro, as shown in the screenshot above. Malicious Content Filter and an Intrusion Protection System are both included, and each may be adjusted independently of the other. Additionally, Parental Controls are available, which is to be expected with a router of this kind.

Performance

Our performance evaluation of the AX11000 began with a throughput test performed using our Netperf performance software. Our ‘Near’ test is performed at a distance of 8 feet, while our ‘Far’ test is performed on a separate level around 30 feet away. During our testing, we discovered that the AX11000 had a reasonable performance on the 5 GHz frequency and only slightly better performance on the 2.4 GHz frequency.

Network congestion testing revealed that the AX11000 performed better across Ethernet and 5 GHz connections, with 2.4 GHz performance being the weakest link in our test results. On our Overwatch gaming test, we achieved a good FRAPS score of 128.5 frames per second when connected over Ethernet and without any background movies.

Testing ConfigurationQoSFRAPS avgMax8k dropped framesPingplotter spikesLatency
Ethernetno128.5112n/a0241
Ethernet + 10 8k videosno88.13824.70%2261
Ethernet + 10 8k videosyes118.610325.10%3138
5 GHzno120109n/a0235
5 GHz + 10 8k videosno15.4037.50%2148
5 GHz + 10 8k videosyes129.310736.20%7137
2.4 GHzno124108n/a0161
2.4 GHz + 10 8k videosno62.12929.70%13168

When we added the 10 8K films to overload our 300 Mbps connection, the frame rate dropped significantly to 88.1 frames per second. When we turned on the Game Accelerator and set the Quality of Service for gaming to high, the game increased to 118.6 frames per second. While the frame rate in the game increased, we were disappointed by the high lost frame rate of 25.1 percent, which we felt was excessive for a high-end gaming router of this kind.

In our tests, we found that the router’s performance was better on 5 GHz and weaker on 2.4 GHz, where we saw a significant number of spikes on PingPlotter, indicating that it was not dealing with network congestion well. However, the framerate of 129.3 frames per second that we achieved on Overwatch with video streaming congestion while using the 5 GHz frequency is noteworthy since it is a higher score than the one we received when using the Ethernet connection. Also keep in mind that, despite the better frame rate, the PingPlotter spikes climbed to 7 and the number of missing video frames increased to 36.2 percent, both of which are greater than with a cable connection.

Specifications

WIRELESS
StandardsWi-Fi 6
IEEE 802.11ax/ac/n/a 5 GHz
IEEE 802.11ax/n/b/g 2.4 GHz
WiFi SpeedsAX11000
5 GHz: 4804 Mbps (802.11ax)
5 GHz: 4804 Mbps (802.11ax)
2.4 GHz: 1148 Mbps (802.11ax)
WiFi Range4 Bedroom Houses


8× Detachable 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

High-Power FEM
Improves transmission power to strengthen signal coverage

WiFi CapacityVery High

Tri-Band
Allocate devices to different bands for optimal performance


4×4 MU-MIMO
Simultaneously communicates with multiple MU-MIMO clients

OFDMA
Simultaneously communicates with multiple Wi-Fi 6 clients

Airtime Fairness
Improves network efficiency by limiting excessive occupation

DFS
Access an extra band to reduce congestion

12 Streams
Connect your devices to more bandwidth

Working ModesRouter Mode
Access Point Mode
HARDWARE
Processor1.8 GHz 64 Bit Quad-Core CPU
Ethernet Ports1× 2.5 Gbps WAN Port
8× Gigabit LAN Ports

Link Aggregation (802.3ad) available with 2× LAN ports

USB Support1× USB-C 3.0 Port
1× USB-A 3.0 Port

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

Supported Functions:
Apple Time Machine
FTP Server
Media Server
Samba Server

ButtonsWi-Fi On/Off Button
Power On/Off Button
LED On/Off Button
WPS Button
Reset Button
Power12 V ⎓ 5 A
SECURITY
WiFi EncryptionWPA
WPA2
WPA3
WPA/WPA2-Enterprise (802.1x)
Network SecuritySPI Firewall
Access Control
IP & MAC Binding
Application Layer Gateway

HomeCare™ Antivirus


Malicious 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
Game CenterGame Accelerator
Detects and optimizes gaming streams to keep latency as low as possible

Game Statistics
Check real-time latency, system utilization, and game duration on a redesigned dashboard to tweak every detail

Game Protector
Keep your accounts and system safe with HomeCare™ antivirus protection

Service KitsHomeCare™
Parental ControlsHomeCare™ Parental Controls


Custom 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 ServiceGame Accelerator QoS
QoS by Device

HomeCare™ QoS


QoS 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)11.3 × 11.3 × 7.2 in
(288 × 288 × 184 mm)
Package ContentsWi-Fi Router Archer AX11000
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, 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 PowerFCC:
<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

PROS

  • Easy to install
  • Lots of gamer-friendly settings
  • Numerous ports
  • Multi-gig WAN. Link aggregation
  • Lifetime malware protection
  • Solid parental controls

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Bulky

Verdict

When you consider that it costs just under $400, the TP-Link AX11000 Next-Gen Tri-Band Gaming Router does not qualify as a cheap router. However, it is extremely fast and packed with features that will help you take your online gaming to the next level.

Additionally, it includes eight gigabit LAN ports with link aggregation, USB C connection, and an additional 2.5 Gb WAN port for those who are fortunate enough to have access to a multi-gig switch or modem. Lifetime membership to the TP-Link HomeCare service is also included, which provides anti-virus protection, parental controls with content filtering, and device prioritizing.

The service is administered through a sleek gamer-themed dashboard that allows you to monitor latency and system resources. All of this contributes to the AX11000 being named our Editors’ Choice among high-end Wi-Fi 6 routers.

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