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TP-Link Archer AX73 Review (vs Archer AX50): A Medium Home’s Wi-Fi 6 Choice

TP-Link seems to try to fill in all the slots of Wi-Fi 6, case in point, the TP-Link Archer AX73. This dual-band AX5400 router is an incremental improvement from the Archer AX50 (AX3000) while a tad below the Archer AX6000.

And it proved to be just that in my testing. It’s somewhat of a mundane option if not for its relatively new look. In all, this is a typical Wi-Fi 6 router, which is not necessarily a bad thing.

And here’s the good: With the current sub-$200 cost, the TP-Link Archer AX73 makes an excellent buy for those needing a Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster for a medium home without digging a hole in their wallet.

Like most of its peers, this router is far from perfect, as you’ll see in the review, but it’s definitely worth the cost.

TP Link Archer AX73 Wi Fi 6 Router out of the box
The TP-Link Archer AX73 Wi-Fi 6 router looks a bit different with a shiny island on top.

TP-Link Archer AX73's Rating

8 out of 10
TP Link Archer AX73 Wi Fi 6 Router is relatively light
Performance
8/10
Features
7.5/10
Ease of Use
8/10
Value
8.5/10

Pros

Fast Wi-Fi with an excellent range

160MHz Channel width support

Comparatively affordable

Standard web interface with lots of useful settings

Wall-mountable

Cons

Fluctuating Wi-Fi speeds

Mobile app and login account required for advanced features

Mobile app not reliable

Write performance for network storage when hosting a portable drive could be better

The Archer AX73 is the fifth dual-band router I’ve reviewed from TP-Link, and it manages to be different from the rest thanks to a relatively new look. It now has a sizeable shiny island — or maybe a peninsula — on top. That’s just a matter of style.

Another new design touch is the USB 3.0 port on the side instead of on the back. The router also comes with six eternal antennas, compared to four of the AX50 and eight of the AX6000.

These littles poles are not removable, but you can swivel them half a sphere around.

On the inside, the Archer AX73 sure is an upgrade to the Archer AX50.

Specifically, the Archer AX73’s 5GHz is a 4×4 band that supports the 160MHz channel width.

As a result, it has double the bandwidth of the AX50. With existing 2×2 clients, you can get up to 2.4Gbps out of it. In reality, though, the router’s speed will cap at Gigabit at most since it has no Multi-Gig port.

Full NameTP-Link Archer AX73
AX5400 Dual-band
Wi-Fi 6 Router
TP-Link Archer AX50 
AX3000 Dual-Band 
Wi-Fi 6 Router
ModelArcher AX73Archer AX50
Dimensions10.7 × 5.8 × 1.9 in
(272.5 × 147.2 × 49.2 mm)
10.2 × 5.3 × 1.5 in 
(260.2 x 135.0 x 38.6 mm)
Weight1.61 lbs (734 g)1.24 lbs (560 g)
Processor1.5 GHz Triple-Core CPU,
512MB RAM, 16MB Flash
Intel AnyWAN GRX350 SoC,
256MB RAM, 16MB Flash
Wi-Fi TechnologyDual-band AX5400Dual-band AX3000
5GHz Wi-Fi Specs4×4 AX: Up to 4804Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
2×2 AX: Up to 2402Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs2×2 2.4 GHz: 574Mbps
(20/40MHz)
2×2 2.4 GHz: 574Mbps
(20/40MHz)
Backward Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Wireless SecurityWPA / WPA2 / WPA364/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2, 
WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK
Mobile AppTP-Link TetherTP-Link Tether
Web User InterfaceYesYes
Bridge ModeNoNo
AP ModeYesYes
Mesh-ReadyYes (OneMesh)No
USB Port1x USB 3.01x USB 3.0
Gigabit Port4x LAN, 1x WAN4x LAN, 1x WAN
Multi-Gig PortNoneNone
Link AggregationYes (LAN1+LAN2)No
U.S MSRP$199.99$149.99
Hardware specifications: TP-Link Archer AX73 vs Archer AX50.

Archer AX73: Detail photos

The Archer AX73 looks like a typical Wi-Fi 6 router, though different from most thanks to its top.

TP Link Archer AX73 Wi Fi 6 Router comes in a nice retail box
The TP-Link Archer AX73 Wi-Fi 6 Router’s retail box

TP Link Archer AX73 Wi Fi 6 Routers antennas
The TP-Link Archer AX73 has six non-removable antennas.

TP Link Archer AX73 Wi Fi 6 Router is quite compact
The TP-Link Archer AX73 AX5400 router is relatively compact and light.

TP Link Archer AX73 Wi Fi 6 Router has the usual number of network ports
The router has the standard network ports, including four Gigabit LANs and one Gigabit WAN (blue).

TP Link Archer AX73 Wi Fi 6 Routers USB port is on its side
Its USB 3.0 port is on the side.

TP Link Archer AX73 Wi Fi 6 Routers underside
Here’s the TP-Link Archer AX73 AX5400 router’s underside. Note how it’s wall-mount ready.

TP Link Archer AX73 Wi Fi 6 Router has a nice face
Overall, the TP-Link Archer AX73 AX5400 is a good-looking router.

TP Link Archer AX73 Wi Fi 6 Router iclude a standard adapter and a network cable
Out of the box, the route includes a standard power adapter and a network cable.

Archer AX73: The familiar general experience

The TP-Link Archer AX73 deliver the same experience as previous TP-Link router in setup, settings, and feature.

Mobile app and login account required for some features

This router has a standard web user interface. However, if you want to use any of its extra features, including QoS, Parental Controls, and security — all are part of the HomeShield suite — you’ll have to opt for a TP-Link ID account and the Tether mobile app.

(The included version of HomeShield has limited functionality. You’ll need to pay a $6/month subscription fee to unlock all features via HomeShield Pro.)

In other words, it’s part of a new privacy-concerning trend that Linksys and Netgear have been practicing. That’s because associating your router with a vendor’s account means the vendor can generally keep tabs on your Internet traffic and all that implies.

TP Link Archer AX73 HomeShield
The Archer AX73’s HomeShield suite requires the mobile app and a login account with TP-Link.

You can opt out of this mobile app altogether, but that all means you’ll not be able to access some of the router’s valuable features.

By the way, I tried this app out briefly for a few days, and it didn’t work flawlessly. There were times the router appeared offline within the app, although it was working fine. So maybe it’s a good idea to skip the app at all.

Excellent web interface with commons settings

I always prefer the web interface, and that of the ARcher AX73 was consistently excellent in my trial.

You can reach this interface, by default, via the router’s IP address, which is 192.168.0.1 (or tplinkwifi.net). If you have worked with any router’s interface before, everything about this interface is self-explanatory.

Within it, you’ll find a standard set of network settings, including Dynamic DNS (with the option to use TP-Link’s free server), port forwarding, IP reservation, and so on.

The router can also work as a VPN server (either OpenVPN or PPTP). Its USB 3.0 can host an external drive for network-attached-storage-related features, including file sharing and the ability to work as a Time Capsule alternative.

Flexible Wi-Fi setting, mesh-ready

The Archer AX73, like most TP-Link routers, has a lot to offer in Wi-Fi settings.

You can customize the two bands to the max, including making them work in a certain Wi-Fi standard, channel, and channel width. You can also use them as a single network (SmartConnect) or two separate ones.

TP Link Archer AX73 Wi Fi Settings
The TP-Link Archer AX73 AX5400 router is quite generous in Wi-Fi Settings.

The router comes with a Guest network for each band, and for these, you can customize their password and network isolation.

Finally, like a handful of other TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 routers, the Archer AX73 supports OneMesh, where it’ll work with a supported extender to scale up the Wi-Fi coverage.

OneMesh is a bit underwhelming, in my opinion, and generally doesn’t have good performance. But it sure is a convenient option for those needing to cover a dead zone.

See also  Best Home Mesh Brands in Brief: AiMesh, Deco, eero, Orbi, Velop, and More

Overall, the TP-Link Archer AX73 did well in my testing.

However, note that its 5GHz band’s performance fluctuated a lot when working in the 160MHz channel. It was more stable when I changed this setting to Auto or 80MHz.

Interestingly, in either setting (80MHz or 160MHz), the router delivered about the same performance. That was likely because the router doesn’t have a Multi-Gig LAN port — in my testing, its Gigabit port was the ceiling speed.

Good Wi-Fi throughputs

Considering the Archer AX73’s hardware specs, I didn’t expect to be blown away, but the router did decently well. My 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 client registered almost 900Mbps at a close range of 10 feet (3m). At 40 feet (12m) away, it now averaged almost 800Mbps.

TP Link Archer AX73 Wi Fi 6 Performance

My 4×4 Wi-Fi 5 client also did quite well at the close range, registering the sustained speed of some 715Mbps. However, at 40 feet away, my 3×3 device averaged just over 250Mbps. That was a considerable reduction, and I repeated this test many times.

TP Link Archer AX73 Wi Fi 5 Performance

On the 2.4GHz band, the Archer AX73 performed similarly. It did pretty well at close range, but farther away, you’d have to take quite a bit of discount in sustained Wi-Fi rates.

TP Link Archer AX73 Wi Fi 2 4GHz Performance

So, in all, for the cost, I’d say the Archer AX73 performed as expected. And it had a good range, too, similar to that of the Archer AX3200.

It’s hard to determine the range because that depends on the environment. However, the router, placed at the center, could handle a home of about 2000 ft² (186 m²) in my trial.

I tested the router for over a week, and at first, it passed my 3-day stress test with no disconnection. I experienced a disconnection during the extended testing on the 4th day, which I resolved via a manual restart.

It’s worth noting that the router has a function where your cat makes it restart by itself every day, week, or month. If you set that up, chances are you won’t experience the unexpected disconnection.

Decent NAS performance

The Archer AX73 wasn’t the fastest among Gigabit routers with a network-attached-storage (NAS) feature I’ve tested, but, interestingly, it was faster than the Archer AX90, which has a Multi-Gig LAN port.

TP Link Archer AX73 NAS Performance

When hosting a My Passport SSD via a wired Gigabit connection, it had sustained copy speeds of over 90MB/s for reading and almost 60MB/s for writing.

At these speeds, you can expect a decent experience in network data sharing. For Time Machine backup, though, the write speed might be a bit too slow, especially if you have more than one Mac.

Conclusion

The TP-Link Archer AX73 AX5400 Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router is another viable option for those needing a relatively affordable broadcaster for a small or medium home.

As long as you don’t need the feature that requires the login account and mobile app to work, this router will serve you well. Get it.

See also  Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers of 2021: Take One, or Two, Home Today!
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46 thoughts on “TP-Link Archer AX73 Review (vs Archer AX50): A Medium Home’s Wi-Fi 6 Choice”

  1. Hi Dong, my family has been using a bundled router from our ISP that was rebranded to fit in their company logo, it is a Technicolor TG389AC (AC1600) router and we’ve been getting rather stable wifi. Both my wifi 6 clients are consistently getting 300-500Mbps for both download and upload speeds on Speedtest.net (1Gbps fiber-optic plan). After reading about the benefits of wifi6, we have decided to get a wifi 6 router, preferably one that has at least a 160MHz bandwidth and the most value.
    I managed to find a new AX73 for USD88 but have some reservations after reading your reviews as the speeds I stated above for my current router are from about 35ft.
    We live in a small apartment about 700-750sq ft.
    Considering the price I found it at and the apartment size, would you recommend it?

    Reply
  2. Hi, this router is performing worst then my old router. after 1 hour +/- the wifi speed is dropping 50%, the only fix is to restart it, and many times is not working. super disappointed

    Reply
  3. Hi Dong! I do not understand the very low results over long distances (blue bar). Does this mean the router has a bad range? I am trying to decide between AX73 vs AX58U vs AX68U – I am looking for fast but also stable and reliable hardware. What would you choose? Take care!

    Reply
    • That means the router either has a short range, or low bandwidth for the Wi-Fi standard being used at that range. Most often it’s the latter. I’d go with the AX68U, Kam. I’ve used a few as standalone routers, as well as a mesh nodes, since the review and it’s been excellent.

      Reply
  4. Hi, Jeff here.
    My family and I are interested in buying the AX73 but we’re wondering if there are any better alternatives out there that we could buy for around the same price? If you could list 1 or 2 that’d be a really big help. Thank you Dong.

    Reply
      • Noted, if you were to choose between the AX73 and the Asus AX3000 which would you choose? We’re also looking at the AX3000 but we’re unsure because the AiMesh system works off of another Asus router (as I understand it) and we’re unable to afford buying another asus router at the moment. Is it ok to supplement the Asus Ax3000 with decos? Or is there anything we can do to compensate for not having another Asus router for the AiMesh

        Reply
  5. This site is amazing, direct and pratical, i wonder why did it took me so
    long to find this site since i’m always after router reviews of all kinds. and i have to applaud you for not going after the same copy and paste/reading basic specs kinda of review but a complete review that requires much more effort. with that being said, i saw some interesting numbers there, the AX73 has some good numbers on NAS with 92 MB/s on read but only 58 on write. so here it is my first question, did you connected the ssd/HD directly on the usb port right? so can you get better speeds with a NAS station connected in the usb port? for example a (Synology DiskStation DS420+) which is a pretty top-notch nas station.
    if yes the USB 3.2 gen 1 theoretically can reach a 1,2 Gigabytes/s of bandwith so get at least half of this with a nas station should be totally possible or the cpu/ram of the router AX73 bootlnecks it? by the way in other review you
    mentioned how VR is very demanding and showed some numbers that scared me a little bit, does a VR connected to the pc uses video streaming the same way apps like steam link does? can you use multiple steam link (the smartphone app) clients or VRs to stress the router? since this is a more real-case scenario for me than trying to use the 1Gbit/s on every
    LAN port at the same time to stress the cpu but this test would be good to see too. Last but no least, bandwith doesn’t seem to tell the whole story, since in steam link i can get up to 100 Mbit/s on 60 FPS, but i can’t get 90 fps or 120 fps without horrible stutters even if lower the bandwith to 5 Mbit/s (and i tested every scenario possible). with me having a wifi 5 router and client, maybe a Wifi 6 can help me with that since lower latency and stability seems to be a improvement here aswell. English is not my first language so pardon me so if there is anything wrong let me know.
    Best Regards from Brasil.

    Reply
    • Hi Bruno, here’s how I test the NAS feature of a router. The server’s speed is limited by its 1Gbps port, so some routers with a Multi-Gig port can deliver faster router-based NAS copy speed but that doesn’t mean they are better than a real (Synology) NAS server. And no, you don’t want to connect your computer to a NAS server using its USB port.

      Happy to have you. Stay around, and you’ll find answers to all of your questions. By the way, your English is excellent! 🙂

      Reply
      • Thank you for responding and having the patience to go through my immense comment lol. there’s two things i was not very clear about because i didn’t know. so the nas is connect in the rj45 port not the usb 3.0 ? if yes, why is that? doesn’t the usb 3.0 have more speed than the rj45 port? and finally i would like to see stress tests with multiple clients if you think that’s not useful i would like to know why. if you just don’t to, thats okay too.

        Reply
        • USB has a different protocol from networking, Bruno — we’re talking apples and oranges. USB is for direct-attached storage (DAS). This post will explain more. As for the bandwidth, this depends on your setup, but if you connect a NAS server to a network using a single 1Gbps connection, then 1000Mbps (at best) is the ceiling bandwidth.

          Reply
          • i was actually talking about in connecting the Synology NAS in the usb port of the router, if the router can deliver over 1gbps through link aggregation, is there a reason it wouldn’t do the same with single usb port?

          • Read the post I linked in the earlier reply, Bruno. Please don’t keep asking if you don’t read. And no, you can’t use a NAS server like that. It’s a NAS server for a reason.

  6. Hi Dong ,

    For reliabity and stability of wifi network performance, better choose tp link ax73 or asus ax3000 for long term investment?

    Thanks before,
    Octa

    Reply
  7. Hi dong ,My home has 10 mobile devices , 2 laptops and a TV. and raspberry pi for home automation. Because based on your review archer ax 50 score higher than the latest archer ax 73

    Which one you recommend archer ax 73 or archer ax 50,

    Reply
  8. I am in a dilemma at choosing between Asus ax56u and TPLink ax73. i have seen mixed reviews about both however there is no certain winner as far as i know. I am looking to use in a medium sized home with good wall penetration and stable wifi connection. Which one would you recommend?

    Reply
    • The two are similar on the front you mentioned. But I’d go with the TP-Link considering it’s higher specs.

      Reply
  9. Hi Dong,

    Currently in my 3 floor house I am using an older Netgear R7000 with some Niveo NWA300 wired access points. I have a lot of smart home devices (40+ Lutron Caseta switches, Ring doorbells & cameras, Sonos speakers etc).

    The access points occasionally lose internet connection despite being wired, so I assume it’s due to the R7000.

    I’ll still probably use the wired APs but with a new wifi router.

    I can get the Archer AX73 for $180 (CDN) on sale vs your other recommendation Asus AX86U for $330.

    Technically cost doesn’t matter so much but reliability is important.
    Better to pay more for the AX86U?

    Reply
  10. Hi Dong, great site. I have a very simple question – AX92u or AX86u? I’m looking for a scalable (future mesh capable), reliable, solid performing router.

    Appreciate your help.

    Reply
  11. I’m thinking of getting a new router for my two storey household (about 3000-4000 sq ft coverage) which will be supplemented by decos, but I’m unaware of whether I should be getting the Archer AX50 or the Archer AX73. For comparison I am also looking at the RT-AX56U, Archer AX20, Archer AX50, Archer A10 and Archer AX73, but have singled it down to the Archer AX73 and AX50. What are your thoughts?

    Reply
  12. Hi Dong,

    Would you choose the TP-Link Archer AX73 over the ASUS RT-AX58U if they priced the same?

    Thank you very much

    Reply
  13. Thank you for the review. Given the price is about the same, would you recommend this router or the TP-Link AX3200? (Working from home in a 1BR apartment so range is less of a concern over speed/reliability)

    Reply
  14. Hi Dong. I just recently upgraded my old router to this AX73. I have finished setting it up at my home, however I encountered a problem. All my phones in my household cannot detect the router’s 5 Ghz band. However my PCs (with TPLink T2U plus adapter) can find the 5 ghz band. Can you help me shed some light about what settings that I can try to change in the router? My phone is a modern one pixel 4, although it does not support wifi 6. Is it because of that?

    Reply

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