It’d make sense if you think you can just cut the Archer AX50‘s performance in half to figure out that of the Archer AX10. But you’d be so wrong.
Indeed. The AX10, an AX1500 router, proved to be a strong performer in my testing, rivaling the AX50 as well as other AX3000 routers. But with a price tag of just around $80, this router is one for the budget-minded. And that means it’s important to set the right expectation.
So, here’s the lowdown: If you just need a dependable Wi-Fi 6 router to share a typical broadband connection in a small household, the TP-Link Archer AX10 fits the bill exceptionally well. Are you looking for even slightly more than that? Check out other more expensive options, instead.
TP-Link Archer AX10: A Frill-Free Wi-Fi 6 router
The AX10 looks almost the same as its cousin, the AX50. From the front and the sides. You can’t tell the two apart until you notice the AX50’s little Intel logo on top. On the inside, though, the two can’t be any more different.
No USB port, or 160 MHz channel support
The AX50 uses an Intel Wi-Fi chip, while the AX10 uses Broadcom’s BCM6750 1.5Ghz Triple-Core CPU, similar to the one used in the Asus RT-AX58U.
But among all these mid-tier Wi-Fi 6 routers, the AX10 is the only one that doesn’t support the 160 MHz channel width. As a result, it has the lowest ceiling Wi-Fi bandwidth, capping at just 1.2 Gbps when working with a 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 client.
The router also the only one without a USB port — you can’t make a mini NAS server out of it.
TP-Link AX1500 router ‘s hardware specification
The AX10 also shares the same web interface (and the optional TP-Link Teather mobile app), but its features are now more subdued.
Specifically, the QoS now requires you to test and enter the Internet speeds manually. What’s more, it can only prioritize the Internet for specific clients, and not by applications.
As a result, if you want to, say, have good Wi-Fi calling on your phone, you’ll need to put that particular handset on the priority list first. If you could make VoIP as the priority, any phone that connects to the router would automatically enjoy the benefits.
The Parental Control feature is also overly simple compared to that of the AX50. You can only filter the web by specific keywords and that’s it.
And finally, the router AX10 doesn’t include AntiVirus, a valuable feature that protects the entire network from malware and online threats in real-time.
TP-Link Archer AX10: Detail photos
Similar setup process, network settings
Other than the differences above, the Archer AX10 has the same setup process and network settings as other routers in TP-Link’s Archer family.
Thanks to the web interface, you can set it up the way you do any other standard routers by pointing a browser on a connected computer to its default IP address, which is 192.168.0.1, or tplinkwifi.net.
After the first initializing of the router, you’ll note that the interface allows for a lot of common settings required for a robust home network, including Dynamic DNS, port-forwarding, IP reservation, and so on. The router can also work as a VPN server.
As for Wi-Fi settings, you can do almost anything you want. From using Smart Connect to naming the two band as two separate networks, to changing other parameters. Or you can just keep them all at the default (Auto) settings.
TP-Link Archer AX10: Excellent performance for the specs
Again, the Archer AX10 doesn’t have much to impress in terms of features. But it’s always the performance that counts. And the router sure delivered on this front, for its modest hardware, in my trial.
Like its other siblings, including the Archer AX50 and Archer AX3000, the AX10 doesn’t have a multi-gig port. So, according to the way I test routers, its performance will cap at 1 Gbps, no matter what.
In effect, that means the fact the router can’t do 160 MHz won’t matter much — its ceiling 1.2 Gbps Wi-Fi 6 bandwidth is about as fast as its LAN ports, anyway.
And the test results showed just that. My 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients got the sustained speed of some 730 Mbps and more than 630 Mbps at the short and long distances, respectively. The latter was faster than that of the Walmart-exclusive Archer AX3000.
In tests with Wi-Fi 5 clients, the AX10 did quite well, too. At a close distance, my 4×4 client averaged some 650 Mbps, and at 40 feet (12 m) away, my 3×3 client registered almost 580 Mbps. Again, one of the two was faster than the higher-end Archer AX3000.
On the 2.4 GHz, which I consider a “backup” band since it’s extremely slow (compared to any standard’s specs) where I live, the Archer AX10 did like any other router, averaging some 110 Mbp for the close range and more than 50 Mbps for the long-range.
Note that this band of the AX10 uses Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n) while that of most others on the charts is of Wi-Fi 6. But that’s only to say, the changes in Wi-Fi standard has little effect on this band’s performance.
The AX10 passed my three-day stress test with no issue. It had the same coverage as the AX50, meaning if you have a home of around 1800 ft² (167 m²), place it in the middle and you’re set.
The TP-Link Archer AX10 is one of the most affordable routers on the market. Period. It brings the cost of Wi-Fi 6 to below that of many Wi-Fi 5 routers. But it’s not a cheap router. Instead, among those I’ve worked with, it’s one of the most dependable.
The fact the AX10 is a stripped-down router with limited features means it won’t work for everyone. But for the majority of users who just need a frill-free Wi-Fi machine to share their typical Internet connection in a typically modest home, this is an excellent buy.
The thing is, even if my assessment above is wrong, which it’s not, for the price, this router sure is a low risk, to say the least.