TP-Link Archer AX73 Review: Strong signal and solid performance

It’s 2021 and the pandemic is still here. This means we’re still working from home until things get better. Having a reliable and fast WiFi connection is crucial for work productivity. Thus, that brings us to the new TP-Link Archer AX73, a high-performance AX5400 wireless router now available in Malaysia.

The Archer AX73 is a high-performance WiFi 6 router. It can support total WiFi link speed up to 5400Mbps with dual-band configuration. In fact, the router supported the 160Mhz mode which means the 5Ghz WiFi network can get really fast if you have a 160Mhz supported WiFi adapter.

What’s so good about the Archer AX73 is the price. It is available for sale at just RM399 in Malaysia with a 3 years one-to-one exchange hardware warranty and after sales support from TP-Link Malaysia.

Table of Contents

The first thing that you’ll notice from the Archer AX73 is the 6 antennas. These antennas are real and not just for show. We’ve taken apart router and identified that 4 antennas are used for the 5Ghz network and 2 antennas are used for the 2.4Ghz network.

The reason why there are 6 antennas is because the Archer AX73 uses an individual antenna for each transmit channel rather than combining both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz into a single antenna. Rather than using a dual-band antenna, each antennas on the router are optimized for their desired frequency, resulting in better performance without compromises. 

The Archer AX73 also runs really cool and stable in our test. It’s because TP-Link used a much larger heatsink and added more ventilation. This is why the Archer AX73 is so big and heavy! In fact, it barely heats up even on prolonged stress test and certainly much cooler than the infamous Archer AX50.

Hardware and Specs

Wireless 2.4GhzWi-Fi 6 up to 574Mbps (40Mhz 2X2)
Wireless 5GhzWi-Fi 6 up to 4804Mbps (160Mhz 4X4)
WiFi FeaturesOFDMA, MU-MIMO, Beamforming, WPA3, OneMesh
CPUBroadcom BCM6750 1.5Ghz Triple-Core
Ethernet Ports1x Gigabit WAN port + 4x Gigabit LAN port
USB1x USB 3.0 port

The Archer AX73 is powered by a fast Broadcom 1.5Ghz Triple-Core CPU and comes with 512MB RAM. TP-Link says this router can actually support up to 200 devices connected simultaneously. While I don’t have 200 devices to test, the router do work realiably in my home with close to 50 devices connected to it.

Connectivity wise, the router comes with 4 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and a single Gigabit Ethernet WAN port. It also comes with a USB 3.0 port which can be used for file sharing and printer sharing to devices connected to the wireless router. The LED status indicator on the router can be disabled if needed.

Unboxing Archer AX73

The box of Archer AX73 for Malaysia market comes labeled with support for TM Unifi, Maxis Fibre and TIME Fibre.

Each antenna on router and accessories are individually wrapped. The cardboard box also provide sufficient protection during shipping. It comes with a CAT5E Gigabit Ethernet LAN cable and a 12V power adapter.

It is possible to wall-mount the wireless router with 2 mounting holes behind the product. The default WiFi name and password is also labeled on the back of the router. Similar to the top, the entire bottom of the product is full of ventilation holes for enhanced cooling performance.

Quick Teardown

I also did a simple teardown for the Archer AX73. Since I am not a hardware enginee, I won’t comment much about this. WiFi related components are shielded and there’s a decent sized heatsink to cool down the router. This explains why this router barely heats up.

Wi-Fi Performance

With the beefy specifications, let’s see if that actually transfer into actual performance in our benchmark test. I will be using a laptop with the Intel AX200 wireless adapter and an iPhone to test the 5Ghz Wi-Fi 6 performance of TP-Link Archer AX73. I will be skipping the 2.4Ghz result as it is probably irrelevant these days given how congested is the 2.4Ghz channel.

At short distance to the router, my iPhone can achieve over 800Mbps on the 5Ghz Wi-Fi network. This is not surprising considering most Wi-Fi 6 routers, even the budget models like Archer AX10 can deliver such performance. What we really want to know is the long range signal coverage and performance. 

The 5Ghz signal on the Archer AX73 is really strong! The 5Ghz coverage and performance is faster and stronger than every single AX3000 wireless router that we’ve tested on this site. The performance is also stable and consistently replicable througout our review.

Security wise, it can support the latest WPA3 security right out of the box. However, I do not recommend using WPA3 as older WiFi devices may face compatibility issues. Considering a router last many years, you can consider enabling it few more years in the future as older devices are phased out from your home.

Firmware and Features

TP-Link maintain their philosophy of not overly bloating the firmware with features and I think it works here. Reliability is the keyword here as I find the Archer AX73 firmware is very well optimized. During my test, I do not face any issues with the router. The firmware always responded fast consistently.

The web interface is simple to operate and certainly very easy to setup the router. It can support TM Unifi, Maxis Fibre and all ISPs in Malaysia. For most users, it will involve connecting the router to the modem and use the setup wizard on the interface. The VLAN profile must be selected for TM Unifi or Maxis Fibre users in Malaysia.

TP-Link Tether app offers a quick overview of your home network condition such as connected devices and network speed. The app is well designed and really responsive in our test. It is securely linked to TP-Link cloud and authenticated with your personal TP-Link account. TP-Link HomeShield security feature is only accessible on the app as well.

TP-Link HomeShield Security

TP-Link HomeShield is their new commercial grade firewall replacing the previous HomeCare feature. It can protect your devices from accessing a malicious website containing a virus or malware with an advanced antivirus firewall. This feature is now powered by Avira Antivirus database.

It also added protection for smart home and IoT devices. Considering these devices rarely receive firmware updates, having extra protection is certainly helpful. TP-Link claims it can protect an insecure device from being used as a loophole to launch attacks on your home network. We have no way of verifying these claims.

HomeShield Parental Control

TP-Link new HomeShield parental control is also much smarter than before.  It can perform content filtering by category and usage time limitation. The categories are more comprehensive covering more websites than before. Based on our testing on some known sites, it is certainly more effective than HomeCare and other similar systems that we have tested on other brands.

What’s so great about the new parental control is the ability to display usage charts and web history. It will show the top browsed website and attempts to access a blocked website by each user. If a page is blocked by the parental control feature, the user can request for access in which the admin can approve it via the TP-Link Tether app.

However, the upgraded HomeShield feature is not fully free. The Free tier only comes with the basic firewall without the advanced malicious content filtering feature. It also does not provide the comprehensive reporting of the parental control feature. More details available on TP-Link website here.

TP-Link HomeShield feature is a really robust parental control. While TP-Link provide a 30 days free trial of the Pro tier, it will cost RM24.90 per month after the trial has ended. I am fine with a subscription based business model but I find the price is too much.

OneMesh Capability

For those staying in a bigger home, it’s possible to link the Archer AX73 with a OneMesh extender. The OneMesh extender will then work together with the Archer AX73 resulting in a stronger WiFi coverage with true mesh WiFi features like seamless roaming and band steering unlike a traditional WiFi extender. 

For the Archer AX73, I will only recommend linking it with a WiFi 6 OneMesh extender such as the RE505X and RE605X. Unfortunately, TP-Link does not allow router to router OneMesh currently. You also cannot link the Archer AX73 to a Deco Mesh WiFi system directly as they are based on a different technology.

Closing Thoughts

At RM399, the Archer AX73 offers really good performance even when comparing to some other routers that cost twice as much. It offers really good 5Ghz WiFi coverage and very fast WiFi speed on the 5Ghz channel with 160Mhz. Coupled with a fast 1.5Ghz Triple-Core CPU, it is a really good product from TP-Link.

TP-Link software is also smarter than before with a robust class-leading parental control feature. TP-Link is committed to provide more security to smart home and IoT devices with the new HomeSuite security suite. WPA3 security is also supported right out of the box.

TP-Link Archer AX73

9.2

Tubi Rating

pros

  • Premium performance at affordable price
  • Robust HomeShield parental control solution
  • Stable and reliable software
  • Good security

CONS

  • Advanced HomeShield features require a subscription
  • Limited OneMesh support 
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Hi there. Good day to you. I would like to seek your advice. I am living in a double storey house (20×70 ft) with 4 bedrooms namely 3 upstairs and 1 downstairs. I am currently using the UNIFI Home 500mbps package and the TP-LINK AX5400 DUAL BAND GIGABIT WIFI 6 ROUTER (ARCHER AX73). Most of the time there will about 10 to 15 gadgets logged onto the router. The modem and router are located upstairs. My family members and I stream online movies and dramas and play PS5 games a lot. I noticed that I can get download speeds of… Read more »

Thanks for the tip. How about adding the TPLink RE705X extender? It’s a cheaper option. Will it help? Thanks.

How about replacing the AX73 with a MESH NETWORK using DECOs? Sorry for asking so many questions. I am still weighing my options. Want to be sure before investing in something that can hopefully solve my problems.

Need your opinion. Which of the above 3 suggestions would you go for? Adding another AX73 router as mesh node, add the RE705X extender or switch to the Deco X80 twin pack?

Hi, I have just bought the AX73 router today. However I have noticed that the 2.4Ghz antenna at the side is slightly loose which means when I flipped my finger over it it will shake, unlike the other antennas which are very firm and steady. I supposed this won’t affect the usage right? Thank you.

Hi Blacktubi,

Could you compare TP-Link Archer AX73 and Archer AX55? AX73 is 30euro expensive then AX55.

Hey Blacktubi! I’m still at a lost of whether I should or should not enable OFDMA and MU-MIMO on my TP-Link AX73 in 2023. On my 5GHz band, I have a mix of WiFi 5 and WiFi 6 devices, but most of them are on WiFi 6. There are mixed opinions online, but it seems that OFDMA only works well if there are lots of devices connected (>60) and ALL devices are WiFi 6. MU-MIMO on the other hand seems to be a technology that is half-baked and not particularly useful for average households if I’m not mistaken. What is… Read more »

Alright. Could I also say the same for Airtime Fairness and Target Wake Time (TWT)? I’m guessing you do not enable both of them either.

By the way, is there other certain router settings I should enable/disable or alter the parameters to obtain optimal performance/ best practice?

I love these posts and comments. In my home project I made a wired Mesh backhaul with the AX73 as the main router and the AX72. The backhaul worked perfectly, matching my RE505X and RE605X repeaters, where I managed to mesh the entire house

Hello! Quick question: If I’m already using an M9 Plus, is the Ax73 considered as an upgrade? Paired with a 705x. Btw really love your reviews and insights man!

Boss Blacktubi!!!! New unifi router DIR-X3000Z (come free with new unifi user) wifi-6 mesh haha… i wonder if u will ever get ur hands on it and review? 😛 (currently im using AX73, probably better router but just curious!)

Hi sir. Would you compare this TP-Link Archer AX73 or AX72 versus the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 AX5400 router? Looks like the specs is somewhat similar, but price-wise, the D-Link AX5400 is mostly cheaper. Seems like a bargain or not? I rarely see you are reviewing any D-Link router here thou…

Hey Blacktubi.

I got an ax73 and overall is pretty good upgrade to my last router but i noticed some issues about the 160mhz coverage, my device is approximately 8ft away (only 1 wall) and the signal drops (-70db) and the stability is kind compromised especially when using some bandwidth, there’s any to no interference (at least that I know) and even changing channels it does not get better. QoS is disabled, just OFDMA and Mu-MIMo is activated.

Just got my free upgrade from UniFi 500 Mbps to 800 Mbps. My TP Link AC3150 can only achieve 550 Mbps WiFi. Bought a TP Link AXE75 as the shop said that can do what I want (800 Mbps WiFi connecting to a late 2021 Mac). However I have been unable to do so. TP Link support suggests changing the channel to 160 MHz but it still remains at around 500 Mbps. Where did I go wrong?

Hi Blacktubi,

Could you compare TP-Link Archer AX73 and Asus RT-AX86U Pro?
My internet is 1Gbps, AX73 is $120 and AX86U Pro is $240. I will use it for my small office for 4 people(software development). I feel that AX86 Pro is better but I’m not sure because price is twice as AX73. What do you think about it?

Thanks,

Thanks for your answer. Is there twice performance gain like cost difference? I mean, which router you would buy if you were in my situation?

Hey Blacktubi, do you think the TP-Link Archer AX73 is still worth getting at RM399 now in October 2023 for 500Mbps internet? There seems to be updated versions like the AX75 and AX75E which look the same but offer tri-band, with the AX75E also having WiFi 6E, would it be worth to consider these two? Or perhaps there is another router you can recommend with equivalent or better performance and value of the AX73?

Thank You.

Hi Blacktubi, Bought this router after reading your review year ago. But just recently facing a problem with this router after the Unifi free speed upgrade program, as previously I’m only on a 30mbps package which using lan is not of any issue. But right after getting the upgraded speed of 500mbps, the LAN port for this ax73 max out at 90++Mbps. Is TP-Link capping the speed for this router, mine was the v1.0 with latest firmware. Trying setting the 1000mbps full duplex and still unable to solve the problems. Mind to share your experiences on this. Hope to hear… Read more »

Hi JeHon, as you had mentioned that you were previously on a 30Mbps package. Are you sure you had been upgraded to the 500 Mbps package? If i recall correctly, every eligible user will be upgraded to the next direct tier of package. (I.e. 30Mbps user will be upgraded to 100, 100 to 300, 300 to 500 mbps and etc.).

I think JeHon did not give you the whole scenario. My Unifi should be the same upgrading process as his i.e. from original 30Mbps plan > turbocharged to 300Mbps > 500Mbps.
Turbocharged 10X free upgrade was during the 2018 Pakatan-ruled govt’s incentive and now just Oct 2023 received my one-step-up upgrade from the current unity govt.

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