June 14, 2024


The Internet Generation

Got $70? That’s all this Wi-Fi 6 router costs


Ry Crist/CNET

We have formally entered the age of Wi-Fi six, with faster best speeds and connections that are a lot more able of dealing with plenty of units at once. You can want new Wi-Fi six gadgets in get to just take edge, and a new Wi-Fi six router in get to increase your community overall performance at residence — and TP-Url hopes to tempt you with the most low-cost Wi-Fi six router nonetheless.

It is really the TP-Url Archer AX10, a twin-band AX1500 router with complete assistance for new Wi-Fi six options like OFDMA, which will help it tackle multiple connections concurrently, and Target Wake Time, which will help preserve battery lifetime in units that routinely ping the router. Most exciting of all is the price tag. Most outlets have the AX10 mentioned for its retail price of $80, but Walmart’s at the moment providing it for just $70. There are earlier-gen, Wi-Fi five vary extenders that value a lot more than that.

We are keeping off on a complete overview of the AX10 till we can thoroughly check it out in our lab, and at the CNET Clever Home, but I was nevertheless in a position to set 1 up at residence for some original tests. Here is the rundown on that to start with perception.


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Uncomplicated structure

Clad in shiny black plastic and sporting a quartet of antennas in the again, the smallish TP-Url AX10 just isn’t anything at all much too flashy — even though I did enjoy the subtle “X” structure throughout the best of the device, which may possibly be a nod to 802.11ax, the specialized title for Wi-Fi six. 


You can come across four spare Ethernet jacks in the again, but no USB ports.

Ry Crist/CNET

At 10 inches vast and about an inch thick (save for the antennas, of training course), it just isn’t practically as major or as ostentatious-searching as some of the increased-finish Wi-Fi six routers I have tested to date. If you consider routers like those are a bit intense in appearance, then you may in all probability enjoy the unassuming structure in this article.

Turn the point close to, and you may come across four spare Ethernet jacks in the again, along with the WAN port. In contrast to the multi-gig WAN ports we’re starting up to see on fancier routers, this 1 caps your incoming wired speeds at 1Gbps, but that just isn’t a surprise at this price. For most, the absence of any USB ports is in all probability a a lot more noteworthy omission.

As for controls, you may set the router up and tweak its configurations in TP-Link’s Tether app, which features a fairly clean interface as significantly as router applications are anxious. You would not come across very many extravagant configurations to enjoy with, but you can generate guest networks, switch on a confined High-quality of Company motor, permit parental controls,and quickly update configurations like your community names and passwords. That’s a lot more than ample at this price.

Some early velocity tests

As said ahead of, we would not have complete velocity check details till we’re in a position to return to our check lab, the place we clock the best velocity of each individual router we overview in a controlled ecosystem. That didn’t stop me from testing the point out at residence, even though — the clear caveat becoming that speeds in my residence are confined by my AT&T fiber world-wide-web approach, which caps things at 300Mbps. 

I also operate my velocity tests on a Wi-Fi five laptop. Speeds would possible be a little increased when connecting to a Wi-Fi six device, which is anything else we will check out as soon as we can.

As a twin-band, AX1500 router, the Archer AX10 claims best speeds of 1,200Mbps on the 5GHz band and 300Mbps on the two.4GHz band. Those people company velocity claims are constantly primarily based on perfect, lab-primarily based tests that do not just take real-world variables like length, interference and obstructions into account, so your genuine best transfer speeds will be substantially lessen.

I am going to also be aware that 1,200Mbps is slower than the quickest Wi-Fi six speeds we have been in a position to strike in the lab, which clocked in at about 1,500Mbps late past calendar year. So you undoubtedly shouldn’t anticipate this router to drive speeds to the complete opportunity of 802.11ax.

The AX10 wasn’t persistently in a position to strike best speeds in my residence like fancier Wi-Fi six routers I have tested. Speeds also plummeted in my again toilet, the farthest space from the router.

Ry Crist/CNET

However, in my residence, it executed reliably well, and under no circumstances once dropped my link as I moved from space to space managing velocity tests about the training course of a couple of times of tests. Speeds ended up a little inconsistent, even though. In my dwelling space, the place the router sits, I clocked shut-vary wireless speeds on the 5GHz band that ranged from 189 to 330Mbps, primary to a remaining regular of 248Mbps. That’s not a bad selection, but it just isn’t as good as increased-finish routers like TP-Link’s own Archer AX6000 router, which averaged an outstanding 310Mbps in the very same space.

Once I factored in the rest of my residence, the AX10’s over-all regular velocity on the 5GHz band arrived in at 189Mbps. What definitely pulled that regular down ended up the speeds in my again toilet, the farthest space from the router. With a weak link at vary, the AX10 averaged speeds of 59Mbps in that space, including various tests that arrived in beneath 20Mbps. Intellect you, my shotgun-style residence just isn’t very major at all.

The two.4GHz band need to generally give you some extra vary (albeit with slower speeds), but that wasn’t the circumstance with the AX10. Again, my speeds dipped substantially in that again toilet, as you can evidently see in the graph over.


Ry Crist/CNET


The TP-Url Archer AX10 will improve your community with all of the new options that appear with Wi-Fi six, but it can’t strike the very same best speeds as fancier Wi-Fi six routers with a lot more oomph to them. That may possibly seem like a deal breaker, but your ISP approach already caps your world-wide-web speeds well beneath what Wi-Fi six is able of. If restricting the best speeds is what it took to get us a Wi-Fi six router for fewer than $one hundred, then so be it, I say.

Much more concerning is the inconsistency in speeds, and the inadequate overall performance at vary. I am withholding complete judgment on both of those counts till we can complete our complete spate of velocity tests, which involve tests at multiple spots and on multiple networks, as well as wireless file transfers to a local server in our lab. We’ll clearly know a lot more when we have that details — but for now, the AX10 seems to be like a deserving bargain select for folks in modest homes who want to improve their community with Wi-Fi six assistance for as little income as achievable.