The TP-Link Archer AX3200 is somewhat of a rare find. That’s because, in the U.S., it’s available 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.
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.
TP-Link Archer AX3200 Wi-Fi 6 Tri-Band Router
- Reliable Wi-Fi performance, with decent throughput speeds
- Tri-band with 2.5Gbps network port
- Standard web interface
- Modest hardware specs
- No Antivirus
- No 160MHz channel width
- Slow NAS performance when hosting a portable drive
- Simple QoS and Parental Control
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
Very modest specs
Indeed, the Archer AX3200’s total advertised bandwidth, of all three bands, caps at just 3200 Mbps. That’s lower than the existing theoretical 4800Mbps of a single 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 band.
The Archer AX3200 has the lowest Wi-Fi 6 specs as can be. Each of its 5GHz band 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 port, 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. Make sure you use a Gigabit LAN port for the setup computer 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, which is 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 a 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 delivered in my testing, as a tri-band router. Interestingly, it worked better with Wi-Fi 5 clients than it did 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 the 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 that of 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 to a 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 consistent got sub-Gigabit performance.
Specifically, via a 2.5Gbps wired connection, the router averaged a sustained write speed of just 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.
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 to also check out this list of top Wi-Fi 6 routers.