TP-Link Archer AX73 Review: High-performance is now affordable

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 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi 6 up to 574Mbps (40Mhz 2X2)
Wireless 5Ghz Wi-Fi 6 up to 4804Mbps (160Mhz 4X4)
WiFi Features OFDMA, MU-MIMO, Beamforming, WPA3, OneMesh
CPU Broadcom BCM6750 1.5Ghz Triple-Core
Ethernet Ports 1x Gigabit WAN port + 4x Gigabit LAN port
USB 1x 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, I’m having a lost of thought between Asus RT-AX55 which I have considered earlier on against TP-Link AX73, which of these would be most ideal for 300mbps unifi for 2 stories building & ~ 10 devices connected at a time? Do I require a mesh as well?

Hi, I’m currently subscribed to 30 Mbps wifi plan by unifi, is it worth upgrading to this Ax73 router? Because I’m living in a 1500+ sq ft condo, and the wifi in two of my room is really bad so I was planning whether to upgrade to this router for better coverage. Currently my stock router provided by unifi is the netis router and it is located at the living room.

Oh thank you so much for the reply, if changing this router it will definitely increase the coverage right? Maybe I’ll change the router later when I subscribed to higher plan hehe😁

I’m using 30mpbs too but since I have NAS and process images off the NAS, the performance is significantly better compared to stock ISP router. (do note I’m using wifi 6 on PC).

Signal is so good even outside at porch still using 5Ghz signal with no performance loss.

Hi! Been following you since 3G modem days in Lowyat Forum. Had one major issue with wifi this time and I need your opinion on this. My office is 3 storey shop lot with small amount workers around 30+ staff. Most of them is relying to Wifi connection to do their work. We have been upgrading our fiber speed and now thankfully we got max 800Mbps Unifi. The problem is the provided free Deco M4 is not sufficient enough to give desired speed that we need. Often times during meeting session and online class we had intermittent issue due to… Read more »

I’m currently subscribing Unifi 800Mbps plan but still using the TM provided TPLink AC1200 router. In my current setup, my AC1200 is placed at my living hall on the ground floor where my modem and the fiber termination at. i can’t get a good 5Ghz signal on the 1st floor bedrooms but quite OK for 2.4Ghz but the speed is not really there. BTW, my house is a double storey terrace around 2000sqft. I’m planning to upgrade my router but unable to decide which one, be it AX73 or RT-AX82U. if the main router can’t really get me a good… Read more »

The ax73 ax5400 only has a max data rate of 144Mbit on the 2.4ghz band but maxes out at 1733Mbit for the 5ghz. The Neatgear Nighthawk does 216Mbit on the 2.4ghz range and 1733Mbit on the 5ghz. The TPlink Archer VR1600V base model supplied by my ISP does 300Mbit on the 2.4ghz band.
If you have older computers and phones stick with the older router for your 2.4ghz and only configure your ax73 as an access point with the smart connect disabled and only 5ghz enabled.
I used inSSIDer to debug this.

Article mentioned AX73 can do OneMesh with tp extender RE605X ? currently i used RE605x to onemesh with tp AX73. It is found that 5GHz LED light on extender is off, some more the connection to 5GHz to router during setup up via either tether app or web duirng setup extender also fail. How to solve this problem?

After channel change to 36 – 44 (just pick any number?), Can oneMesh be used? Or have to used in separate SSID (mean no use oneMesh)??

Hi, my house is 2storey house (25’x80’), I’m taking 300mbps speed from unifi. For current router (free from unifi) I can’t get stable WiFi connection from my bedroom (on second floor) and also kitchen.
Should I take Archer X73 or deco M4 (2units) better?

The costing will be double up, it’s same like buying two units deco x20..

Hello, Would like to know if AX73 will be a big upgrade from Archer C7? I currently using C7 as main router and the provided router from Unifi as access point btw is a 2 storey house and the AP is directly above the C7 (2nd floor). I planing to get an AX73 and use the C7 as AP. Will this setup work? Or would you recommend using the Onemesh instead? Btw awesome review! Thank you.

Ohh okay, So I should just get the Deco X20 than. Thank you.

Hi. Currently I’m using Tenda AC18 (AC1900) and saw this WIFI router on sale at shopee with good price at my budget. Do you think it is worth upgrade to this WIFI router AX73? FYI, 3 storey house with another WIFI router as AP on 2nd floor, no WIFI 6 devices maybe future. Hope to hear from you. Thanks in advance.

I bought already AX73. Shd I tick OFDMA? Not sure why when doing speedtest on my iphone 11 managed to get around 200 to 300mbps as im using 500mbps from unifi. Any idea? Or best setting i need to do on the router?

does this router offers unified wifi ssid (2.4/5ghz) like the deco mesh?

Was only able to get around 450Mbps connecting with 5Ghz 80 Mhz (Ch44 ) with my Iphone 12 Pro Max when standing directly beside the router . Any possible solution to get the full 800Mbps Unifi speed? Thanks in advance

Hi, after read your review I bought the AX73. I have a 500mbps fiber, maxis’ Koan WiFi6 router able to provide me download speed up to 500mbps on Note 10+, and on 2x PC with TP Link TX50E. I wired the AX73 with hard LAN connection to WLAN port. But I only able to get less than 100mbps on both note 10+ and the 2x PC with TX50E. not NOT able to get higher speed even the AX73 is on foot away from me. I played around with setting on AX73 such as: – changed some setting on the 5GHz… Read more »

My SETUP: Maxis’ Koan connect to Modem.
Maxis’ Koan LAN port connect to a a gigabit switch (DGS-1016A) to distribute to whole place.

The new AX73 connect to DGS-1016A at another floor. Fail to get more than 100mbps download speed.

Previously I tried to connect another Maxis’ Koan (yes, there are 2 units of same Koan WiFi6 in the same network) to a LAN from DGS-1016A and it worked with download speed up to 500mbps.

But not the case with AX73.

Hi, I exchanged the AX73 with new unit and now all working fine.
Thanks for your help. 🙂

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