The TP-Link Archer AX3200 is somewhat of a rare find. That’s because, in the US, it’s available first exclusively at Costco, which requires a membership. And it proved in my testing to be a great find, too, for certain users.
Being a product for an exclusive retailer, the Archer AX3200 is a bit quirky. It has muted hardware and doesn’t include features available in other TP-Link routers.
Ther router is set to be available at other outlets after a while.
Here’s the lowdown: If you need reliable Wi-Fi and not much else, this tri-band router delivers! It’s an excellent Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster for the sub-$200 price tag.
But if you’re looking to get the most out of your network, consider a general retail version, like the Archer AX50 or Archer AX6000, instead. Or any one of these current top Wi-Fi 6 routers.
Table of Contents
TP-Link Archer AX3200: A modest tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router
The Archer AX3200 is a bit of a sad tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router. In many ways, it reminds me of the Walmart-exclusive Archer AX3000.
However, it looks totally different, coming with six non-removable antennas and a housing made of thick and hardened plastic.
Still, overall, the Archer AX3200 looks like a typical router. The only thing noteworthy about its design is the color-changing status light at its “nose.”
TP-Link Archer AX3200: Hardware specifications
|Full Name||TP-Link Archer AX3200 |
Wi-Fi 6 Tri-Band Router
|Dimensions||10.91 x 7.32 x 1.26 in |
(277.11.2 x 185.92 x 32 mm)
|Weight||1.9 lbs (.86 kg)|
|Processor||1.5GHz Quad Core|
|Wi-Fi Technology||Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX3200|
|5GHz-1 Wi-Fi Specs||2×2 AX: Up to 1201 Mbps|
Channel Width: 20/40/80MHz
|5GHz-2 Wi-Fi Specs||2×2 AX: Up 1440 Mbps|
Channel Width: 20/40/80MHz
|2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs||2×2 AX: Up to 574 Mbps|
Channel Width: 20/40MHz
|Backward Compatibility||802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi|
|Wireless Security||WPA / WPA2 / WPA3|
|Mobile App||TP-Link Tether|
|Web User Interface||Yes|
|USB Port||1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0|
|Gigabit Port||3x LAN, 1x WAN|
|Multi-Gig Port||1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN|
Very modest specs
Indeed, the Archer AX3200’s total advertised bandwidth caps at just 3200 Mbps of all three bands. That’s lower than the existing theoretical 4800Mbps of a single 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 band.
In fact, many Wi-Fi 5 routers have more impressive numbers. The Asus RT-AC88U, for example, is an AC3100 router. Or the TP-Link Archer C5400X has a total bandwidth of 5400Mbps.
The Archer AX3200 has the lowest Wi-Fi 6 specs as can be. Each of its 5GHz bands is features 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 specs. But without the support for the 160MHz channel width, each caps at 1200Mbps at best. The real-world speeds will be significantly lower.
So even on paper, this router has nothing to call mom and dad about. It’s a tri-band router that has less bandwidth than many dual-band counterparts. That brings us to something quite interesting about its network ports.
The Archer AX3200 comes with three Gigabit LAN ports, which is usual. What makes it different is the fact it comes with two LAN/WAN ports. One is a Gigabit, and the other is a multi-gig port of up to 2.5Gbps.
These are LAN/WAN because you can only use one as a WAN port. Pick one to use like that, and the other will now work as a LAN port.
Due to the low Wi-Fi specs, though, the multi-gig speed port will not make any difference. The router also has a USB 3.0 port, but its modest hardware power fails to deliver fast NAS performance when hosting a portable drive. More below.
Standard setup process
The Archer AX3200 shares the same web interface as other TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 routers, including the top-tier tri-band Archer AX11000. As a result, you’ll enjoy the standard setup process.
The router comes with a little card that contains its default Wi-Fi information, which you can use to connect a device to it for the initial setup. Alternatively, you can also use a computer connected to one of its LAN ports.
Now launch a browse navigate it to the router’s default IP address, which is 192.1680.1 (or tplinkwifi.net), and the rest is self-explanatory. There’s a wizard that will walk you through the rest of the process, including designating one of the two LAN/WAN ports, as mentioned above, as the WAN port.
Important note: Out of the box, the router uses the 2.5Gbps port as its WAN. So, if you connect a computer to this port, you’ll have a problem setting it up. So, use one of its Gigabit LAN ports for the setup process instead.
TP-Link Archer AX3200: Detail photos
Responsive interface with common settings, neutered features
After the setup process, you’ll be able to use the router via its familiar web interface, similar to that of the AX50 or the Archer X6000. There’s a menu on the left side that opens up different sections on the right part of the webpage.
You’ll note missing, however, is the Antivirus online protection feature, which is part of TP-Link’s Home Care. This entire section is not there. There are Parental Control and QoS, nonetheless, but both are neutered.
Specifically, Parental Control is a simple keyword blocker that you can program based on a schedule. So you can block certain client(s) from a certain website based on keywords (such as “Facebook” or “youtube”), and that’s it.
It worked in my testing, but if you want real Parental Control, you’ll have to spend a long time figuring out the keywords and programing them in.
Similarly, you can turn on prioritization for some connected clients and then hope that works out. I tried it out, but it didn’t seem to make any difference. A real QoS feature should allow you to prioritize based on application types.
Other than that, the Archer AX3200 comes with a standard set of settings. You can set up Dynamic DNS, port-forwarding, IP reservations, etc., with it. There’s also a VPN option.
Apart from the interface, you can also use the TP-Link Tether app for the job. In this case, you’ll need to sign in with a TP-Link ID account, which can cause privacy issues. In return, you’ll be able to manage the home network from anywhere in the world without the need to configure Dynamic DNS.
Interestingly, the Archer AX3200 is the first Wi-Fi 6 router from TP-Link that supports TP-Link’s OneMesh approach.
First announced in early 2019, OneMesh is a way for you to scale Wi-Fi coverage by using certain TP-Link extenders. Since then, there’ve been very few viable options for OneMesh, both on the router and extender fronts.
As a result, it’s been a much less successful approach than the alternative, namely Asus’s AiMesh, Netgear’s Orbi, or Linksys’s Velop. Considering that OneMesh extenders are always of meager hardware specs, I decided to forgo testing this feature of the AX3200.
TP-Link Archer AX3200: Excellent performance, for the specs
Considering the router’s hardware specs, it did well in my testing as a tri-band router. Interestingly, it worked better with Wi-Fi 5 clients than it did with my 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 ones.
Respectable Wi-Fi thoughts
With a 2.5Gbps network port, the Archer AX3200 can deliver the top speed of its Wi-Fi band. And in my testing, my 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients indeed could connect at 1.2Gbps and had a sustained speed of more than 850Mbps at a close range of <10 feet (3m) away. Farther out, it averaged some 700Mbps.
It’s safe to say the Wi-Fi connection is the bottleneck, considering I used the 2.5Gbps port to connect the router to the test server, per my test methodology. So, compared with other multi-gig-read routers, the Archer AX3200 was the slowest. But its Wi-Fi 6 performance was decent overall.
The router did even better with Wi-Fi 5 clients. My 4×4 Wi-Fi test machine managed to have a negotiated speed of 1.7Gbps and registered almost 870Mbps of sustained throughput at a close range. At 40 feet (12 m) away, my 3×3 clients averaged almost 770Mbps.
On the 2.4GHz band, the Archer AX3200 did similar to the most recent router, averaging between 100Mbps and 180Mbps — enough to deliver a modest Internet connection in full.
In all, Wi-Fi-wise, the Archer AX3200 is a great alternative to the AX50. For detail on the comparison, check out my post on the matchup between the two.
Reliable, decent coverage
The Archer 3200 had about the same Wi-Fi coverage as the Archer AX50 or the Asus RT-AX58U. If you live in a house of 1800 ft² (167 m²) or smaller, this router will likely take care of that when placed at the center.
Note that the Wi-Fi range depends greatly on the environment, so your mileage will vary, but Archer 3200 proved solid performance. It passed my 3-day stress test with no issues at all.
So-so NAS speed
I had high hopes for this tri-band router’s NAS performance when hosting an external drive, considering its 2.5Gbps port. It didn’t turn out t be the case. I tested it with a couple of high-end portable drives and consistently got sub-Gigabit performance.
Specifically, via a 2.5Gbps wired connection, the router averaged a sustained write speed of less than 40MB/s. It did better in reading, but still, it was just slightly higher than 65MB/s. These numbers remained the same when I used a Gigabit connection.
So, yes, you can use this router as a mini NAS server — it even supports Time Machine backup — but if you truly want a network storage service you can count on, get a dedicated NAS instead.
TP-Link Archer AX3200's Rating
Reliable Wi-Fi performance, with decent throughput speeds
Tri-band with 2.5Gbps network port
Standard web interface
Modest hardware specs
No 160MHz channel width
Slow NAS performance when hosting a portable drive
Simple QoS and Parental Control
The TP-Link Archer AX3200 is a “high-end” router for a household with low-end Wi-Fi needs. It’s a tri-band router with the same (if not less) bandwidth than many dual-band ones and a stripped-down feature set.
But for a sub-$200 price tag, it’s an excellent router for those who need a reliable performer and not much else. If you’re that kind of user, get it, and you won’t regret our decision.
But, still, for more options in terms of performance and features, it’s a good idea also to check out this list of top Wi-Fi 6 routers.
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25 thoughts on “TP-Link Archer AX3200 Review: An Excellent Buy for a Modest Network”
Hi Dong. Thanks for your review. I also noted the comparison you did with AX50. Isn’t capacity another key consideration in houses these days? I rarely see that mentioned in specs or reviews. I have lots of clients (30+) and expect to add some more. But in terms of speed, I think my needs are modest. Streaming few 4K streams conformably in parallel while attending to other IoT clients’ requests, might be all I need. So would you think AX3200 to be a better fit than AX50? I thought being tri-band and quad-core should translate to more capacity than AX50.
Actually I got the AX3200 and was disappointed that it lacks few things I desired:
(1) port blocking: i run a pi-hole on a raspberry and want to block some IoT devices that hardcode their DNS servers. This was possible on my old Netgear R6700
(2) Traffic meter: i do like to see what I am consuming. Also knowing which client is consuming how much is also good.
The bandwidth is actually a bit complicated, Sameer. More in this post. As for what you can do with the router’s interface, TP-Link is not the best, I’d go with Asus, Ubiquiti, or (maybe) Netgear (though don’t since this company has taken a crazy path) instead. Or go with professional hardware or third-party firmware.
While reseaching I kept being redirected to reviews for the AX-6000 and so I figured it sounded pretty good. Then I got home and decided to have one last look at reviews and realized the error. Eventually I found your review, one of the only which actually reviewed the 3200. I actually purchased from Best Buy at a slightly higher price (+ $80) seemed to be regularly found at Costco. This review got me thinking, it’s a bit more than it’s worth and Id really like something better.
If I could ask your advice, to save further headaches- maybe you could recommended a router based on some general info. Without too much backlog, this has been about the 6th router I’ve picked up in the last couple years. Each one has worked for a few months before becoming unbearably useless. They drop signal, won’t stay connected to network devises, start getting really low signal strength, can’t be connected to even though the network ID is saying strong signal. I live in a densely packed urban area with dozens, if not hundreds of networks in the immediate area. I heard a triband router might be a solution. I’m looking for something that can have many devices active on the network: personal communication devices, desktop workstation, printers, laptops, 4K televisions, game consoles, smart home gadgets (lights, real time sensors, thermostats, home security, assorted appliances), hi-res audio streaming consoles, video streaming devices, etc. Not all these things are always being used simultaneously but there’s some combination that will always need to be connecting. I’d like it to be compatible with Wifi-6 and WPA3. Something that is highly secure and grants access to easily monitor the network and keeps records of device connections, usage and accurately detailed logs for each. I’d like if it cost under $500.
I know, I might be asking for a bit too much but can you recommended any such routers?
I’m currently researching different ISP’s as well. Regardless, I’d prefer to start the new service with a fresh router just due to all the issues faced these last couple years.
Thanks in advance! It would really help a great deal.
Hi Nick. It’s very hard to know which one is the best for your needs since that depends a lot on the environment. I can tell you, though, that WP3 is not that more secure than WP2 in MOST cases, most importantly, they are just a matter of firmware, and NOTHING is absolutely secure. This is just an example of how you set your criteria wrong in the first place. I’d say you should start with this post. After that, pick one of these.
I loved your review and actually learned something. Without being very technical but wanting a router that works well, what would you suggest. I have a 2700sf house, 2 story, with router located in the basement furnace room. I know it’s a bad location but it’s the only way right now. Which router would be best suited under $300?
It’s impossible to tell, Paul. You might need to run a cable out of out the basement from the modem and put the router somewhere else, or get a 2-pack mesh. I’d start with this post.
I just got internet service from Century Link Fiber Optic they supply the Modem/router I run speed test only getting 39 mbps download I will like to buy my own compatible router with Fiber Optic will the TP-Link Archer AX3200 work with Century Link ? Once I connect the new router to the ONT box, do I need to change the set up on the router ?
That depends on the ONT, David. If you can plug a computer into that ONT and get Intenet, then no, but if it quires another device (like a “modem”) then you will need that first. Or you can use the current gateway in the bridge mode. More here.
Did they change the AX3200 specs and/or add the 160Mhz channel or am I not understanding how this works? Looking at their spec sheet I noticed these 2 statements: 1)5 GHz-2: 11ax HE160 MCS11:-53dBm and 2) Use of Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), and features including OFDMA, MU-MIMO, 1024-QAM, and HT160 require clients to also support the corresponding features. 1024-QAM is only available on 5 GHz-1 band and 2.4 GHz band.
Only TP-Link can answer the question, Rob. The specs I got are from TP-Link. Make sure you’re looking at the same router, though.
5 GHz-2 is HE160 but locked to 64-QAM, hence you know why its speed looks weird:
2402 Mbps / 1.25 / 1.3333 ≈ 1440 Mbps
Thanks for the info! I’m having a lot of connection issues with my Netgear RAX35 in my 1100sqft condo so I was looking at this or the Asus AX3000 to replace it with a more reliable/stronger signal to the bedrooms. Between the Asus AX3000 or this TP-Link AX3200, is there one you would recommend since both are in the $180ish range?
The Asus will work out much better, Mayank. But it is still in the budget realm, so don’t expect the world. For that budget, I’d recommend a higher-end Wi-Fi 5 router. https://dongknows.com/best-wi-fi-5-routers/
Thank you for reviewing this router. I am on the fence if I should buy the TP-Link AX3200 or the AX11000. I live in a 2,700 Sqft home, and I have some dead spots. My router is over eight years old, and it is time to upgrade. We are also working from home due to Covid, and kids are doing virtual school. So I wanted to know which one of the two routers would be better for my current situation or if there is no real difference? I know the AX1100 is $130 more expensive than the AX3200. So, I would appreciate your suggestion.
I’m pretty sure the AX11000 will not be that much better in terms of range (or performance, which depends on your existing clients), Marco. But it’s hard to say. That said, check out this post on routers. I think you’ll figure out which to get yourself after.
I just tried the RBK50 and Deco x60 coming from a Netgear R7000, and I’m shocked that my 10 year old Netgear still gives me better range on a single unit that either of the others. How do you think this new Archer AX3200 would fare?
That’s normal, Zach. The range is associated with the band and doesn’t change much as you move up the standards. The Archer AX3200 will deliver a similar range.
Am I going to get much better range out of the ASUS RT-AX86U, or will it be very similar to the R7000 for wifi 5 devices?
Read the post I mentioned earlier, Zack. The two use the same 5GHz band.
1440mbps means the radio is nerfed to 3×3 256QAM or 4×4 64QAM… but you claim it connects at 1.2… weird.
There are only 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients, JS, which connect at 1.2Gbps (80MHz) or 2.4Gbps (160MHz). More here.
Thanks so much for the review. I was looking to “borrow” a router from Costco because of their return policy. I am using a TP-Link AX3000 from Target, which I finally found the correct non-DFS channel and bandwidth to give me low pings (45 ms compared to my usual 90 ms in every other channel/bandwidth). DFS kept kicking me out. I was looking at the AX3200 from Costco, but without the 160 Hz it will be a no-go. I guess I will go for the TP-Link AX11000 for now.
Thanks again sir!
Sure, Adam. 🙂
Thanks for the review, great as always. Isn’t this the Archer AX20 in a different case?
That one is REALLY slow, Sam. Don’t bother!