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TP-Link Archer AX50 (AX3000) Dual Band Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Router Review

A rare example of the router, the TP-Link Archer AX50 ( TP-Link Archer AX3000 ) ($149.99) is a moderately priced device that strikes a balance between high-end performance and low-cost functionality. It has the most up-to-date Wi-Fi 6 technology and offered consistently fast throughput speeds in our tests. It also includes a few capabilities that are normally only available on more costly versions, such as link aggregation, lifelong parental controls, and anti-malware software, as well as a USB connection. Although its file-transfer performance might be improved, this does not prevent it from earning our Editors’ Choice award for cheap Wi-Fi 6 routers.

When it comes to Wi-Fi 6, the TP-Link Archer AX50 (TP-Link Archer AX3000) delivers a lot for a reasonable price, even though you may pay far less elsewhere.

In addition to the usual advantages of Wi-Fi 6 home networking equipment – faster and more reliable wireless connections, lower latency – the Archer AX50 supports HE160 technology, which means that phones, laptops, and tablets with a 160MHz bandwidth can expect maximum speeds of 2.4Gbps when connected to the Archer AX50.

There are some other enhancements as well, such as built-in TrendMicro security software and performance tweaks that enable more devices to connect to the router at the same time. Just keep in mind that his computer does not come with a built-in modem and will need to be utilized in combination with one.

Design

The Archer AX50 is very identical in appearance to the Archer AX10, which we reviewed earlier this year. With a two-tone glossy and matte black finish, textured grilles, four adjustable antennae, and six tiny LED indicators, it stands out from the crowd.

The device is 1.5 by 10.2 by 5.3 inches (HWD) and includes four gigabit LAN ports on the rear, as well as a WAN port, a USB 3.0 port, power buttons, and a power jack, a reset button, and a Wi-Fi/WPS button. It is available in black and silver colors. AX50 supports link aggregation, which is an excellent feature for a router in this price range considering that none of the ports is multi-gigabit.

The AX50 is a dual-band AX3000 router that can achieve maximum (theoretical) speeds of up to 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 2,402Mbps on the 5GHz band. It is capable of attaining maximum (theoretical) speeds of up to 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 2,402Mbps on the 5GHz band.

With a dual-core CPU and the newest Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) technology, including OFDMA packet transmissions, MU-MIMO simultaneous data streaming, direct-to-client beamforming, and Smart Connect, it can handle even the most demanding wireless networks (band steering). It does not, however, enable WPA3 encryption or channel bandwidth more than 160MHz.

Similar to TP-Archer Link’s AX11000 gaming router and Deco X20 mesh system, the Archer X50 comes pre-installed with the company’s HomeCare suite of anti-malware, parental control, and traffic prioritization software. You may apply Malicious Content Filters and quarantine infected clients while also viewing security warnings with the anti-malware software.

The QoS settings include presets for gaming, streaming video, and music streaming, surfing, and chatting that makes it simple to assign bandwidth priority. Children, pre-teens, teens, and adults may use Homecare’s Parental Controls because they are divided into presets that feature age-appropriate website filters that block access to adult websites such as those that provide gambling, social networking, gaming, chat rooms, and other adult material. Also included is the ability to see browsing history and establish access schedules and time restrictions for each individual client.

Performance

Despite the fact that more and more phones and laptops are becoming accessible with Wi-Fi 6 antennae, the standard is still considered to be in its early stages. Most of the gadgets in your house are likely to have Wi-Fi 5 radios, which is a good thing.

My tests were conducted using the Speed Pro Android app and two client devices, one with Wi-Fi 5 radios and the other with Wi-Fi 6 radios (a Huawei Mate 10 Pro and a RealMe X50 Pro), in which I recorded a number of results taken at various locations throughout my two-up two-down house in south London, at various times of day – the results presented below are averages of the measurements taken at various locations throughout the house at various times of the day.

Unfortunately, I did not have a device that was HE160-compatible on hand to test whether or not you could actually obtain 2402Mbps. It appears that the fastest link speeds I measured were 1201Mbps. This suggests that with the proper equipment, 2402Mbps should be possible in the real world and not simply a theoretical maximum under laboratory settings.

The TP-Link Archer AX50 has a feature set that is similar to that of the other draft-stage WiFi 6 routers released around the same time, so expect the new TWT (Target Wake Time) feature, which will work well with low-power devices (the devices are only “waked up” when they are required), as well as the highly praised OFDMA technology.

When it comes to WiFi 6, Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) is one of the best technologies to emerge. Its role is to divide channel bandwidth into smaller sub-carriers (or resource units – the wider the channel width, the more resource units, and they can be of different sizes), which are then assigned to individual devices in your network, resulting in lower latency and a greater range of available bandwidth (with the WiFi 5).

No matter whether you’re using the TP-Link Tether mobile app or the online console to set up your AX50, the process is straightforward. I utilized Tether, and I began by installing the program and generating a TP-Link ID, which I then shared with others. Later, I chose Router from a drop-down menu in the top right corner of the My Devices page and followed the on-screen directions to turn off my modem, connect the router to my modem, and switch everything back on.

When all of the LEDs were solid, I hit Next and used the Wi-Fi settings on my phone to connect to the router’s SSID. Once connected, I tapped Finish. I returned to the app and touched the I’m Connected button after entering the password found on the Wi-Fi Info card. The software detected the router right away, and I was able to input a new router password right away. I chose my connection type (Dynamic IP), gave both radio bands names, and established new Wi-Fi passwords for my network. The installation was completed after a short firmware update was performed.

Specifications TP-Link Archer AX3000

WIRELESS
StandardsWi-Fi 6
IEEE 802.11ax/ac/n/a 5 GHz
IEEE 802.11ax/n/b/g 2.4 GHz
WiFi SpeedsAX3000
5 GHz: 2402 Mbps (802.11ax)
2.4 GHz: 574 Mbps (802.11ax)
WiFi Range3 Bedroom Houses4× 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

High-Power FEM
Improves transmission power to strengthen signal coverage
WiFi CapacityHighDual-Band
Allocate devices to different bands for optimal performance

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

4 Streams
Connect your devices to more bandwidth
Working ModesRouter Mode
Access Point Mode
HARDWARE
ProcessorDual-Core CPU
Ethernet Ports1× Gigabit WAN Port
4× Gigabit LAN Ports
USB Support1× USB 3.0 Port

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

Supported Functions:
Apple Time Machine
FTP Server
Media Server
ButtonsWi-Fi/WPS Button
Power On/Off Button
LED On/Off Button
Reset Button
Power12 V ⎓ 2 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 ForwardingVirtual Servers
Port 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)10.2 × 5.3 × 1.5 in
(260.2 x 135.0 x 38.6 mm)
Package ContentsWi-Fi Router Archer AX50
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~5.825GHz)
WiFi Reception Sensitivity5 GHz:
11a 6Mbps:-97dBm, 11a 54Mbps:-79dBm
11ac VHT20_MCS0:-96dBm, 11ac VHT20_MCS11:-66dBm
11ac VHT40_MCS0:-94dBm, 11ac VHT40_MCS11:-63dBm
11ac VHT80_MCS0:-91dBm, 11ac VHT80_MCS11:-60dBm
11ac VHT160_MCS0:-88dBm, 11ac VHT160_MCS11:-55dBm
11ax HE20_MCS0:-95dBm, 11ax HE20_MCS11:-63dBm
11ax HE40_MCS0:-92dBm, 11ax HE40_MCS11:-60dBm
11ax HE80_MCS0:-89dBm, 11ax HE80_MCS11:-58dBm
11ax HE160_MCS0:-85dBm, 11ax HE160_MCS11:-55dBm
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

A lot of helpful features are included in the TP-Link Archer AX50, making it an excellent value for money. It offers fast wireless speeds, decent range, and reliability, as well as an array of handy functions. This is an important factor for Wi-Fi petrolheads on a tight budget because it supports devices with a 160MHz bandwidth.

In addition, while coverage is typically good, the Archer AX50 is not suitable for large homes – you’ll need something extra to enhance the signal, and/or you’ll need to invest in a network switch if you want to increase coverage.

In the meanwhile, if you’re looking for a standalone Wi-Fi 6 router and coverage isn’t an immediate concern, the TP-Link Archer AX50 is an inexpensive, dependable, and strong option.

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