It’s a bit of an irony to call the TP-Link Archer AX6000 well-rounded, but that’s true. The router has a lot to offer.
With eight Gigabit LAN ports and a sub-$300 price tag, the Archer AX6000 intends to compete against the Asus RT-AX88U. And in my testing, it proved to be a formidable contender, with excellent performance and a good set of useful features.
Just like its rival, though, the Archer AX6000 is far from perfect. Without a multi-gig LAN port, it can’t deliver real Wi-Fi 6 speeds locally. It’s also super bulky and not mesh-ready, at least for now.
But for the price, the Archer AX6000 has everything covered. It’s an excellent standalone router for those living in a medium home with a high-speed Internet connection.
TP-Link Archer AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Router$269.99
- Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance
- 2.5 Gbps WAN port with eight Gigabit LAN port
- 160 MHz channel bandwidth support
- Excellent QoS and Parental Control features
- Robust full web user interface, helpful mobile app
- USB-C ready, wall-mountable
- No multi-gig LAN port
- Bulky design
- Not mesh-ready
- Certain functions of the interface could use some improvement
- Mobile app require a login account
The TP-Link Archer AX6000 reminds of the Archer C5400X in more ways than one, though it’s more subdued coming in brown instead of bright red. But compared to the budget-minded Archer AX3000, it’s still hugely impressive, no matter which way you look at it.
Massive squarish design, wall-mountable
And you won’t need to look very hard. The Archer AX6000 is a massive 10.3-inch (26.1 cm) wide square box that stands 2.4-inch (6 cm) tall. It’s also quite heavy at 3.5-lbs (1.6 kg).
The design is unusual. I’m not sure how to take it. There are eight non-removable antennas coming up from the four corners. You can swivel them 90 degrees up or down.
When folded down, they blend in with the router’s sides, adding about an inch to its girth.
So the Archer AX6000 is a large square when in operation. But when you fold down its antennas to, presumably, keep it less bulky, it’ll become an even larger square.
And as if you needed to be reminded of how particular the router’s shape is, on its top, there’s a small rectangle LED status light right in the middle that holds the TP-Link’s logo.
On the underside, the Archer AX6000 has four little feet for it to stay put on a surface, but it also comes with holes for wall-mounting.
Multi-gig WAN port, eight Gigabit LAN, USB-C
Looking from one side, you’ll note the router’s eight Gigabit LAN ports and a 2.5 Gbps WAN port. The latter means the router is ready for multi-gig Internet, something the RT-AX88U doesn’t offer.
Unfortunately, though, like the case of the Asus RT-AX88U, there’s no multi-gig LAN port, so the fastest local speed you’ll get from it is likely 1Gbps.
Likely because if you have a server that supports Link Aggregation, you’ll get faster speed than that. Indeed, the router allows you to combine its LAN 2 and LAN3 ports into a 2 Gbps connection.
On another side, the Archer AX6000 has two USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) ports. One is a regular USB-A, and the other is the first USB-C I’ve seen in a Wi-Fi 6 router. You can use either of these USB ports to host a storage device.
Despite the completely different designs, the TP-Link Archer has a lot in common with the Asus RT-AX88U in terms of specs.
One thing is for sure; the Asus is superior thanks to the fact it’s mesh-ready. The Archer AX6000 can only work as a single standalone router, for now.
The Archer AX6000 shares the same web interface as previous TP-Link routers, including the Archer 5400X and Archer 3000. As a result, it has a similar setup process and feature set.
Standard setup, responsive interface
Thanks to the web interface, setting up the Archer AX6000 is just like that of any advanced router.
Point a browser on a connected computer to 192.168.0.1 (or tplinkwifi.net) and log in with the default admin password, and the rest is self-explanatory. You can find out in detail via this interface emulator.
You’ll also learn from the interface how the Archer AX6000 offers all standards network settings and a lot of common features, such as Dynamic DNS, VPN server, Guest networking, IP reservation, port forwarding, and so on.
It’s worth noting that the way the Archer’s AX6000’s interface works is not as intuitive as that of the Asus counterpart. For example, if you want to add a client to the IP reservation list, you can’t just select a connected client. Instead, you’ll have to enter its MAC address manually, which is a pain.
To make up for that, the Archer AX6000 has a decent amount of Wi-Fi customization. You can change in-depth settings for each of its two bands, and combine them into a single SSID via Smart Connect. Also, you can make a band work inclusively with a certain Wi-Fi standard.
In all, if you have worked with a router that has a web interface before, you’ll have no problem getting the router up and running. If you haven’t, well, here’s the post for you to get started.
Alternatively, you can also use the TP-Link Tether app. Note, though the app requires an account with TP-Link to work, and has limited aces to the router’s setting.
Powerful HomeCare feature suite
What’s most noteworthy about the Archer AX6000’s features is the HomeCare suite that includes Parental Controls, AntiVirus, and QoS. I tried them all out and was quite happy with the experience.
Excellent Parental Controls
This feature of the Archer AX6000 gives you almost all that you’d need in web-filtering. You can block one or group of computers, from categories of sites based on age or any individual site.
You can also set up time limits for Internet access, or manually pause the connection at any time.
The only thing missing is the fact you can’t schedule the filtering. For example, you can’t allow John to access Facebook at certain hours, and block him for the rest of the day.
The Archer AX6000’s QoS features allow for prioritizing the Internet by the types of content or connected device. You can quickly pick a type to prioritize just it, or you can choose to Customize and use the sliders to adjust the bandwidth for multiple types.
However, there are only four types of content to choose from, including Gaming, Streaming, Surfing, and Chatting, and it’s not clear which of those includes real-time audio and video communication. So if you work from home and want to make sure you get the best connection, it’s a better idea to prioritize your device (or devices) instead.
Another thing is there’s no way to turn off QoS. But it seems if you choose “Standard”, that would mean QoS is now no longer in effect.
The Antivirus feature is very similar to that of the Asus RT-AX88U but more simplistic. There are three distinct protection categories — Malicious Content Filter, Intrusion Prevention System, and Infected Device Quarantine — and all you can do is turn them on or off.
Nonetheless, it proved to be effective in my trial. Band websites were indeed automatically blocked, in my testing, with a warning.
The Archer AX6000 did well in my testing. My 2×2 test clients were able to connect to it at 2.4 Gbps. Without a multi-gig LAN port, though, the router can’t beat those that do in my testing methodology. But it was still quite impressive.
Fast Wi-Fi speeds
At a close range of shorter than 10 feet (3 m), my Wi-Fi 6 client was able to sustain at 911 Mbps. When I move to more than 40 feet (12 m) away, it now averaged some 850 Mbps. Both were a hair faster than that of the RT-AX88U.
It’s worth noting that I tested the RT-AX88U almost a year ago, so it’s a bit unfair since the Archer AX6000 had the latest firmware for this review. Nonetheless, both routers’ Wi-Fi seemed to max out the Gigabit connection to my test server.
Wi-Fi 5 clients enjoyed a similar performance. At a close distance, my 4×4 client capped at 850 Mbps. And at 40 feet away, my 3×3 device registered 730 Mbps. This time around, though, the TP-Link was a tad slower than the Asus counterpart.
The Archer AX6000 did well on the 2.4 GHz “backup” band, too, registering some 192 Mbps and 102 Mbps for close and long ranges, respectively.
The router also passed my three-days stress test with no disconnection. I also used it as my main router and was generally happy with it.
It’s impossible to measure a router’s coverage precisely, but if you live in a home of around 1800 ft² (167 m²), the Archer AX6000 can cover it with fast Wi-Fi speed throughput when placed in the middle.
Decent NAS performance
The TP-Link Archer did quite well as a mini NAS server when hosting a portable drive, considering it has no multi-gig LAN port.
I used the Micron X8 to test this function, and via a Gigabit network connection, the router registered the sustained copy speeds of more than 80 MB/s for writing and over 112 MB/s for reading.
Other than file sharing, the router also supports Time Machine backup and media streaming. With this type of performance, you can expect a decent network storage experience out of it. Just make sure you get a fast external drive.
By the way, the router USB-C port delivered the same speed as its USB-A one. But the support for USB-C does mean you have more options in terms of which storage device to use with the router.
For the cost, the TP-Link Archer AX6000 is an excellent buy. It’s a reliable router that’s capable of delivering full Gigabit Internet to a few clients at the same time.
The router’s Home Care feature suite will also come in handy for those needing security, web-filtering, and especially internet prioritization. It’s an excellent investment for those working from home.
But if your home is large, or if you want even more features, also consider the Asus RT-AX88U.