Home » TP-Link Archer AX20 WiFi 6 Review: the sweet spot

TP-Link Archer AX20 WiFi 6 Review: the sweet spot

You probably heard of TP-Link and probably used a Wi-Fi network from a TP-Link product before. Well, this is not a surprise considering TP-Link is the largest WLAN equipment manufacturer in the world. They’re known for making really good products while undercutting conventional brands.

This year, TP-Link is returning its attention to the midrange by releasing the brand new Archer AX20 wireless router with Wi-Fi 6 AX1800 support. At RM289, it’s even cheaper than some Wireless AC routers in the market which make it a no-brainer purchase. 

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest Wi-Fi technology that’s already being supported by most flagship devices and expect all new devices released in 2021 to support Wi-Fi 6. My favorite part of Wi-Fi 6 is up to 40% Wi-Fi speed improvement compared to Wireless AC.

That’s not all because Wi-Fi 6 also promise to deliver better Wi-Fi speed when more devices are connected to the network. Wi-Fi 6 routers will use some smart resource allocation mechanism known as OFDMA to improve the efficiency of the available bandwidth which will resullt in better overall performance.

Despite the most benefit can only be realised on Wi-Fi 6 devices, Wireless AC devices will benefit significantly as well. The Archer AX20 uses independent wireless front-end module otherwise known as amplifier from Skyworks to amplify the signal. 

Hardware and Specs

Powering the TP-Link Archer AX20 is a Broadcom BCM6755 1.5Ghz Quad Core CPU. It can support a theoretical maximum link speed up to 1201Mbps on the 5Ghz channel  and 574Mbps on the 2.4Ghz channel. TP-Link also included support for the latest WPA3 Wi-Fi security standard on the Archer AX20.

Wireless 2.4GhzWi-Fi 6 up to 574Mbps (40Mhz 2X2)
Wireless 5GhzWi-Fi 6 up to 1201Mbps (80Mhz 2X2)
WiFi FeaturesOFDMA, MU-MIMO, Beamforming, WPA3
CPUBroadcom BCM6755 1.5Ghz Quad-Core
Ethernet Ports1x Gigabit WAN port + 4x Gigabit LAN port
 USB1x USB 2.0 port

There are several status indicator at the front of the router to show you the current status of your Internet connection. The Internet LED is multi-color and will be changed to orange if Internet connection is not working.

Behind the Archer AX20, it has 4 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and a single Gigabit Ethernet WAN port. There’s also a single USB port which can be used for USB file sharing on your Wi-Fi network. It’s possible to connect a USB external hard drive and access it wirelessly on other devices.

The bottom of the router is fill with vents for cooling. It is possible to wall mount the Archer AX20 but you need to purchase your own screws. The default Wi-Fi name (SSID) and password is labeled at the sticker underneath the router as well.

Inside the box, it comes with the router, a CAT5E Gigabit LAN cable, power adapter and some instruction manuals. TP-Link also included a card to remind users to update the driver of your WiFi adapter at your devices to make sure they work better with Wi-Fi 6 technology.

I also performed a simple teardown to evaluate the build quality of the Archer AX20. I am not an expert but it does seem fairly well built with a decent sized proper heatsink to improve cooling of this router. Those 4 non-removable antennas are directly connected to the PCB as well.

Easy Setup Procedure

The setup process of the Archer AX20 is a farily straight forward process. You can either use a PC or use the mobile app to setup the router. But, if you are a Unifi or Maxis customer, make sure you use the web interface to perform the setup in order to select the VLAN profile.

For most Malaysians, I recommend connecting the Archer AX20 directly to the modem provided by your service provider and use the PPPOE setup process for the best performance. The PPPOE username and password can be obtained from your Internet service provider.

If you use TM Unifi, make sure you select the Unifi VLAN profile on the initial setup. The TM Unifi HyppTV box can be connected to the LAN1 port on this router once you selected the correct ISP profile. I found the setup guide video provided by TP-Link to be pretty helpful. The same is required for Maxis customers.

Wi-Fi Performance Testing

I will be testing the Archer AX20 using my laptop with Wi-Fi 6 support powered by Intel AX200 Wi-Fi adapter. I will be testing it in 2 spots and compare the results against other Wi-Fi 6 routers you can buy in the market right now.

On a short distance, it exceeded 800Mbps easily which is not a surprise considering this router is Wi-Fi 6 capable.

On the long distance test, the speed is reduced but it is still within a good margin compared to many other Wi-Fi 6 routers I have tested.

TP-Link also planning to add their OneMesh feature on the Archer AX20 in the future. Having OneMesh will let you to link it with another OneMesh compatible device to form a mesh WiFi network. We weren’t sure when TP-Link will enable this feature for the Archer AX20.

Firmware and Features

TP-Link firmware is easy to operate and very user-friendly. It has all the standard features that you will normally need on a home wireless router. Everything is clearly labeled and easy to understand on the interface.

I recommend enabling the smart connect feature which will enhance the user experience when using this router. This will combine both 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz into a similar name and the router will automatically decide which one is the best for you based on signal conditions.

The Archer AX20 also supported the WPA3 encryption which promise even better security for your Wi-Fi network. However, I don’t recommend enabling this now as most devices in the market still do not support WPA3, I do notice it may cause some issues with some older devices. It is still great for future proofing your router.

You will want to download the TP-Link Tether app to use with this router. The app will let you to see currently connected devices and view their current usage. It is also able to perform some advanced configurations using just the app which is quite handy. Those LED indicators on the router can be disabled on the app as well.

TP-Link Archer AX20 also let you to link it to a TP-Link account which will let you to access the settings of your router even when you are outside not connected to the Wi-Fi. I think this is a great feature to manage your home network remotely.

For those living in Malaysia using TM-Unifi or Maxis, remember to make sure you selected their respective profile in this page. This is because both Unifi and Maxis uses VLAN, without the proper profile selected, the router cannot connect to the Internet connection.

Closing Thoughts

TP-Link Archer AX20 met the 3 most important aspects of a good wireless router. The speed is excellent, the coverage is strong and the stability is great. At this price point, there’s nothing that perform just as good as this Archer AX20. This will probably be my best budget mid-range router that I will recommend in 2020.

Comparing against the Archer AX10 and Archer AX50, the Archer AX20 is easily my favourite pick. It offers a slightly stronger and faster Wi-Fi connection than the Archer AX10 thanks to the use of individual Wi-Fi FEM (TP-Link so-called amplifier). While the AX50 performs better than the AX20 in 160Mhz situation, under 80Mhz scenario, the AX20 performs similar if not better than the AX50.

TP-Link Archer AX20

9.2

Tubi Rating

Good Stuff

  • WPA3 security support
  • Strong Wi-Fi coverage
  • Good Wi-Fi performance

Bad Stuff

  • OneMesh not available yet
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KZZ

Hi Alvyn, Is there a big difference between AX20 vs Ax10 in terms of quality of coverage?

John C

Hi, in terms of heat is AX20 cooler than AX50?

John C

Thanks Alvyn. I read you said that after firmware update the AX50 is cooler now, but still not as cool as AX20 I suppose?

Stew

Hi, can I know by comparison, Asus rtac58u, rtac59u, and this which is better. Since price wise thy are almost the same?

Last edited 1 month ago by Stew
Rodney Yeo

What is the RAM size?

Amit Kumar

Does AX20 have heating problems?

Wilson

Hi, Alvyn,

Just wanna clarify. I have 1000 Mbps Internet and about 10 wireless devices in my home. Some are fairly new (1-3 years old). However, none of these support Wifi 6. Performance wise, will my wireless devices benefit from AX20? What about in comparison with AC2300 or AC2600? Thanks

John Bentley

Hi ALvyn

Can i get 2 Ax20 and connect them wirelessly like a mesh network?

Ammar

Does older devices ac devices gets any better coverage range and faster speeds?

Ammar

Thank you

Mars

Hi Alvyn, want to know if this router have apps for smartphones, to control & block users directly from smartphone.? and what do you think about huawei ax3 router compare to this router?

Ayam

Hi blacktubi, I recently subscribed to unifi 100mbps and was given DIR-842 for router. If I change to AX20 will it give me any difference in term of speed, range and reliability? Apart from future proof for WiFi 6.

Lkf

If my device does not have WiFi 6, can I still use the 5ghz WiFi

Lkf

Alvyn, many thanks for your prompt response

goatbpg

Hi, for better wifi coverage, should I get Deco E4 or AX20 ?

Alpacino

Agree with u. I did purchased deco m4 2piece (not e4) to increase coverage but I personally think its not that good. Should have bought a better router with the price Ive paid for the decos. Now gonna get ax20.

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