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

Matthew N. Henry


Ry Crist/CNET

We’ve officially entered the age of Wi-Fi 6, with more rapidly leading speeds and connections that are much more able of handling heaps of products at when. You are going to require new Wi-Fi 6 gadgets in purchase to consider advantage, and a new Wi-Fi 6 router in purchase to raise your community efficiency at property — and TP-Url hopes to tempt you with the most cheap Wi-Fi 6 router nevertheless.

It really is the TP-Url Archer AX10, a twin-band AX1500 router with total help for new Wi-Fi 6 options like OFDMA, which will help it tackle various connections concurrently, and Goal Wake Time, which will help preserve battery lifestyle in products that routinely ping the router. Most intriguing of all is the price tag. Most shops have the AX10 stated for its retail price of $80, but Walmart’s at present providing it for just $70. There are former-gen, Wi-Fi five vary extenders that charge much more than that.

We are holding off on a total critique of the AX10 until we can thoroughly exam it out in our lab, and at the CNET Intelligent Home, but I was nevertheless capable to set 1 up at property for some initial assessments. Here’s the rundown on that 1st perception.

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Basic style and design

Clad in glossy black plastic and sporting a quartet of antennas in the back again, the smallish TP-Url AX10 is just not something way too flashy — nevertheless I did recognize the subtle “X” style and design throughout the leading of the system, which may be a nod to 802.11ax, the specialized title for Wi-Fi 6. 


You are going to find 4 spare Ethernet jacks in the back again, but no USB ports.

Ry Crist/CNET

At ten inches broad and about an inch thick (preserve for the antennas, of class), it is just not virtually as major or as ostentatious-searching as some of the better-conclusion Wi-Fi 6 routers I’ve tested to date. If you imagine routers like all those are a bit aggressive in appearance, then you can almost certainly recognize the unassuming style and design below.

Flip the issue all over, and you can find 4 spare Ethernet jacks in the back again, alongside with the WAN port. As opposed to the multi-gig WAN ports we’re beginning to see on fancier routers, this 1 caps your incoming wired speeds at 1Gbps, but that is just not a shock at this price. For most, the deficiency of any USB ports is almost certainly a much more noteworthy omission.

As for controls, you can set the router up and tweak its options in TP-Link’s Tether application, which delivers a really clear interface as much as router applications are involved. You will never find incredibly quite a few extravagant options to participate in with, but you can build guest networks, flip on a constrained High-quality of Provider engine, enable parental controls,and easily update options like your community names and passwords. That is much more than more than enough at this price.

Some early speed assessments

As explained ahead of, we will never have total speed exam facts until we’re capable to return to our exam lab, exactly where we clock the leading speed of each and every router we critique in a managed setting. That failed to prevent me from testing the issue out at property, nevertheless — the obvious caveat becoming that speeds in my property are constrained by my AT&T fiber net program, which caps issues at 300Mbps. 

I also operate my speed assessments on a Wi-Fi five laptop computer. Speeds would probable be a very little better when connecting to a Wi-Fi 6 system, which is anything else we’ll exam out as soon as we can.

As a twin-band, AX1500 router, the Archer AX10 statements leading speeds of 1,200Mbps on the 5GHz band and 300Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. Those producer speed statements are usually based on ideal, lab-based assessments that never consider genuine-entire world variables like length, interference and obstructions into account, so your actual leading transfer speeds will be substantially decrease.

I’ll also take note that 1,200Mbps is slower than the swiftest Wi-Fi 6 speeds we’ve been capable to hit in the lab, which clocked in at about 1,500Mbps late very last year. So you unquestionably shouldn’t anticipate this router to drive speeds to the total likely of 802.11ax.

The AX10 wasn’t continuously capable to hit leading speeds in my property like fancier Wi-Fi 6 routers I’ve tested. Speeds also plummeted in my back again bathroom, the farthest space from the router.

Ry Crist/CNET

Still, in my property, it carried out reliably perfectly, and never ever when dropped my relationship as I moved from space to space functioning speed assessments around the class of a several days of assessments. Speeds have been a very little inconsistent, nevertheless. In my dwelling space, exactly where the router sits, I clocked close-vary wireless speeds on the 5GHz band that ranged from 189 to 330Mbps, top to a final typical of 248Mbps. That is not a lousy selection, but it is just not as superior as better-conclusion routers like TP-Link’s have Archer AX6000 router, which averaged an outstanding 310Mbps in the very same space.

As soon as I factored in the rest of my property, the AX10’s in general typical speed on the 5GHz band came in at 189Mbps. What actually pulled that typical down have been the speeds in my back again bathroom, the farthest space from the router. With a weak relationship at vary, the AX10 averaged speeds of 59Mbps in that space, together with a number of assessments that came in beneath 20Mbps. Mind you, my shotgun-style household is just not incredibly major at all.

The 2.4GHz band must normally give you some supplemental vary (albeit with slower speeds), but that wasn’t the situation with the AX10. Again, my speeds dipped substantially in that back again bathroom, as you can obviously see in the graph previously mentioned.


Ry Crist/CNET


The TP-Url Archer AX10 will up grade your community with all of the new options that arrive with Wi-Fi 6, but it can’t hit the very same leading speeds as fancier Wi-Fi 6 routers with much more oomph to them. That may sound like a offer breaker, but your ISP program already caps your net speeds perfectly beneath what Wi-Fi 6 is able of. If limiting the leading speeds is what it took to get us a Wi-Fi 6 router for less than $100, then so be it, I say.

More regarding is the inconsistency in speeds, and the weak efficiency at vary. I am withholding total judgment on both equally counts until we can complete our total spate of speed assessments, which require assessments at various places and on various networks, as perfectly as wireless file transfers to a local server in our lab. We are going to certainly know much more when we have that facts — but for now, the AX10 seems like a deserving discount decide on for folks in little homes who want to up grade their community with Wi-Fi 6 help for as very little cash as doable.

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