TP-Link Archer AX75 review | PCMag

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The TP-Link Archer AX75 ($199.99) offers solid Wi-Fi 6 throughput performance and wide signal coverage without breaking the bank. This router does not offer multi-gig network ports, but it does offer three radio bands and can be used to create a seamless mesh network. The AX75 comes with TP-Link’s HomeShield network security and parental control software, but you’ll have to pay to access advanced features. It’s a decent value for a general audience WIFI routerbut its sibling, Wi-Fi 6E Archer AX75, is an even better value if you want to future-proof your network. Meanwhile, gamers will get better performance and more features for just $50 more with the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400.


A modern update of a classic black box

The Archer AX75 and AXE75 both use the same textured black case as last year Archer AX73. It has six non-removable adjustable antennas and measures 1.9 x 5.8 x 10.7 inches (HWD). Seven LED indicators let you see router status at a glance, including power; 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio band activity; internet activity; Ethernet activity; USB activity; and WPS activity. The only way to distinguish the AX75 from the AXE75 is the lack of Wi-Fi 6E badges; the AX75 does not support this cutting-edge 6 GHz Wi-Fi spectrum.

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(Credit: TP-Link)

The rear panel houses the power jack, four 1GbE LAN ports, and one 1GbE WAN port. Physical controls include a reset button; LED on/off, WPS and Wi-Fi buttons; and a power button. A single USB 3.0 port is located on the left side of the router. This router does not come equipped with multi-gig network connections and does not currently support link aggregation, although the company says this advanced feature, which enables speeds above 1 Gbps using two Ethernet cables, will arrive in a future firmware update.

Under the hood is a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, 512MB of memory, and 802.11ax circuitry, which supports the latest WiFi 6 technology, including OFDMA transmissions, MU-MIMO data simulcast, direct-to-client beamforming, 160 MHz channel bandwidth, dynamic frequency selection (DFS), and WPA3 encryption. It’s a AX5400 tri-band router capable of theoretical data rates of up to 574 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and up to 2,402 Mbps on each of the two 5 GHz bands.

The rear ports of the TP-Link Archer AX75

(Credit: TP-Link)

The AX75 comes with a free HomeShield Basic plan that gives you network security scans and parental controls that let you block internet access for individual users, apply age-based filtering and to see how long a user has been online with a list of most-frequently visited sites. For $5.99 per month or $54.99 per year, the HomeShield Pro plan provides more robust parental controls that let you set time limits and create time rewards that give your kids extra time on Internet as a reward for completing tasks. Additional security features include malicious content filters, denial of service protection, and network security reporting.

You can manage the AX75 with the TP-Link Tether mobile app or through the web console. Both are user-friendly, but the web console offers more advanced settings than the app, such as NAT shipping and DHCP server settings. On the other hand, you will need the app to access HomeShield QoS, parental controls, and network security settings.

The Tether app opens to a home screen that has a map of the network at the top showing the name of the router, its internet status, and the number of connected clients. Tap the router icon to view the device’s firmware version, IP address, and model number. Tap the Clients icon to view devices currently connected to the router.

A series of screenshots of the Tether mobile app

(Credit: PCMag)

Below the map, you can see the names of the main and guest Wi-Fi SSIDs. Tap any band to change the SSID and password and to activate Smart Connect, which uses a single SSID for all three bands. At the very bottom of the home screen are buttons labeled Home, Customers, Security, Family, and Tools. The Home button takes you back to the home screen wherever you are in the app, while the Clients button takes you back to a screen with a list of connected, wired and wireless devices. Tap a client to view their IP and MAC addresses, enable parental controls, enable QoS, and block internet access.

A series of screenshots of the Tether mobile app

(Credit: PCMag)

Tap the Security button to perform a network scan and view scan details. If you’re on the Pro plan, you can also block access to malicious websites, enable intrusion prevention to identify potential threats, and protect your IoT devices from hackers. Tap the Family button to access Parental Controls, where you can create profiles, block websites, assign age-based filters, and set bedtime and rest time rules.

The Tools button takes you to a screen where you can configure Wi-Fi settings, analyze channel selection, create a guest network, configure the Internet connection and IPTV/VLANs settings and create a OneMesh network. This screen also gives you options to configure device notifications, share Wi-Fi credentials, and update firmware.


AX75 review: easy setup, respectable performance

Whether you choose to install the Archer AX75 using the TP-Link Tether app or with the web console, either method is quick and easy. I chose the latter and started by turning off my modem and connecting the AX75 to it using the included LAN cable. I turned on the modem and the router, opened a web browser on my desktop computer, which was connected to the router, and typed 192.168.0.1 in the address bar. This opened the TP-Link web console, which prompted me to create an administrator password, select my time zone, select a connection type (dynamic, static, PPPoE, L2TP or PPTP) and enter a MAC address (I chose the default). I disabled Smart Connect, which allows the router to select the best radio band, created a Wi-Fi password, and waited a few seconds for the router to perform an internet connection test. After a 3 minute firmware update, the router was ready for testing.

The AX75 earned respectable scores in our throughput benchmarks. Its 126Mbps score on the 2.4GHz proximity test was identical to the score we got from the Synology RT6600ax router, and a bit faster than the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 AX5400 (121Mbps). The Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 leads with a score of 128 Mbps. In the 30-foot test, the AX75 managed 52 Mbps, beating the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 (44 Mbps) and the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 AX5400 (42 Mbps), but not the Synology RT6600ax (60 Mbps).

In 5 GHz throughput tests, the AX75’s 811 Mbps score was faster than the Synology RT6600ax (791 Mbps), but not the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 or the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 AX5400 (846 Mbps). and 830 Mbps, respectively). At a distance of 30 feet, the AX75’s 273 Mbps score was the slowest of the bunch; the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 took top honors with 424 Mbps, the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 AX5400 delivered 400 Mbps, and the Synology RT6600ax delivered 301 Mbps.

To test file transfer performance, we moved a 1.5 GB folder containing photos, videos, music, and office document files between a USB 3.0 drive and a desktop computer, both connected to the router. This gives us write and read speed results. The AX75’s 42MB/s write speed was slightly faster than the Synology RT6600ax (39MB/s), but significantly slower than the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 (69MB/s). ). The Linksys Hydra Pro 6 AX5400 came second with a score of 55 Mbps. In the playback test, the AX75 managed 44 Mbps, again beating the Synology RT6600ax (40 Mbps) but not the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 AX5400 (57 Mbps) or the far-leading Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 (85 Mbps ).

Finally, we use a Ekahau Sidekick Wi-Fi diagnostic device and Ekahau’s Survey mobile app for testing wireless signal strength and generating heatmaps that illustrate the router’s 2.4GHz and 5GHz signal strength throughout our test house. (Note: Ekahau is owned by Ziff Davis, publisher of PCMag.com.). The circle on the map represents the location of the router and the colors represent the signal strength. Dark green areas indicate the strongest signal and lighter yellow areas indicate a weaker signal. Gray areas indicate no measurable signal reception.

An Ekahau heatmap of signal coverage for the TP-Link Archer AX75

2.4 GHz signal strength of TP-Link Archer AX75 (Credit: PCMag)

An Ekahau heatmap of signal coverage for the TP-Link Archer AX75

2.4 GHz signal strength of TP-Link Archer AX75 (Credit: PCMag)

As the maps show, the Archer AX75 broadcast strong 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals well throughout our test home, but both radio signals became slightly weaker in the far corners of the garage.


Verdict: Solid throughput, extended signal coverage

You don’t get high-speed Ethernet ports with the TP-Link Archer AX75, and you’ll need to subscribe to a HomeShield Pro plan to take advantage of some of its more advanced parental controls and network security features, but what you do get solid Wi-Fi 6 speed with wide signal coverage for less than $200. The AX75 is easy to install and configure, and offers a user-friendly mobile app, and you can use it as a base station for a mesh network that uses TP-Link OneMesh compatible devices as nodes.

That said, our Editors’ Choice winner for mid-range Wi-Fi 6 routers, the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400, offers better overall performance and offers several gaming-friendly optimization features, as well as a lifetime free parental controls and network security software. . It’s only $50 more. Meanwhile, if you’d rather keep your network budget under $200 and future-proof your Wi-Fi at the same time, the Archer AXE75 is nearly identical to the AX75, but adds support for the industry-leading 6 GHz band. .

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