The TP-Link Archer AX90 AX6600 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 router is, for the most part, the souped-up version of the tri-band Archer AX3200. That said, this review is also an Archer AX90 vs. Archer AX3200 matchup.
Indeed, the two have so much in common, despite their somewhat distinctive Wi-Fi specs. So, I’d recommend that you check out my take on the latter first.
The clear advantage of the AX90 is that it can measure up to even top-tier tri-band routers, like the Netgear RAX200 or the Asus GT-AX11000, when hosting just a few clients. And currently, at some $330, it’s indeed more reasonably priced.
To cut to the chase: If you’re looking for a well-performing Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router that won’t break your bank or give you all the bells and whistles, the TP-Link Archer AX90 is an excellent buy. Go for it!
Extra note: You’ll likely get the same experience if you go with the Archer AX3200, minus the top 5GHz performance. So the AX90 is only a better choice — worthy of its extra cost — if you need to get more out of Wi-Fi 6.
Table of Contents
TP-Link Archer AX90: A high-end tri-band router for the budget-minded
Like the Archer AX3200, the new Archer AX90 is a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router. It also has two different 5GHz bands.
However, the router’s 5GHz-2 is a 4×4 band that caps at 4804Mbps — currently the highest of Wi-Fi 6. That, plus the 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig port, means it’ll be able to deliver the same performance as an AX11000 router in many cases.
And this 5GHz-2 band is almost the only thing that sets the AX90 and the AX3200 apart.
TP-Link Archer AX90 vs. Archer AX3200: Same same but different
Indeed, you cannot look at the Archer AX90 without thinking of the Archer AX3200.
The two seem almost the same. Design-wise, enlarge the latter by a few percentages and add two additional non-removable antennas, and you’ll get the former.
The hardware specifications tables below will show their similarities and differences in detail.
Archer AX90 vs. Archer AX3200: Hardware specifications
|Full Name||TP-Link Archer AX90|
AX6600 Wi-Fi 6
|TP-Link Archer AX3200|
Wi-Fi 6 Tri-Band Router
|Model||Archer AX90||Archer AX3200|
|Dimensions||12.2 × 8.1 × 6.8 in|
(311 × 207 × 174 mm)
|10.91 x 7.32 x 1.26 in |
(277.11.2 x 185.92 x 32 mm)
|Weight||2 lbs (920 g)||1.9 lbs (860 g)|
|Processor||1.5 GHz Quad-Core CPU||1.5GHz Quad-Core CPU|
|Wi-Fi Technology||Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 AX6600||Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 AX3200|
|5GHz-1 Wi-Fi Specs||2×2 AX: Up to 1201Mbps|
Channel Width: 20/40/80MHz
|2×2 AX: Up to 1201Mbps|
Channel Width: 20/40/80MHz
|5GHz-2 Wi-Fi Specs||4×4 AX: Up to 4804 Mbps|
Channel Width: 20/40/80/160MHz
|2×2 AX: Up 1440 Mbps|
Channel Width: 20/40/80MHz
|2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs||2×2 2.4 GHz: 574Mbps|
Channel Width: 20/40MHz
|2×2 AX: Up to 574 Mbps|
Channel Width: 20/40MHz
|Backward Compatibility||802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi||802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi|
|Wireless Security||WPA / WPA2 / WPA3||WPA / WPA2 / WPA3|
|Mobile App||TP-Link Tether||TP-Link Tether|
|Web User Interface||Yes||Yes|
|Mesh-Ready||Yes (OneMesh)||Yes (OneMesh)|
|USB Port||1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0||1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0|
|Gigabit Port||3x LAN, 1x LAN/WAN||3x LAN, 1x LAN/WAN|
|Multi-Gig Port||1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN||1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN|
Archer AX90: Detail photos
The AX90 looks very similar to its older cousins.
Archer AX90 vs. Archer AX3200: The same feature set, web interface, and setup process
Like its older cousin, the Archer AX90 comes with a 2.5Gbps port. By default, this port is the router’s WAN port. During the setup process, though, you’ll get a chance to keep it that way or use the Gigabit WAN port as such.
You should only pick the Multi-Gig port as a WAN if you have a Gig+ or faster Internet connection. When not working as a WAN, either of the two ports will function as another LAN.
No matter what port you use as the WAN, the Archer AX90 shares the same setup process as all other Wi-Fi 6 TP-Link standalone routers, the same for any standard router with a web interface. The label on its underside contains all the necessary information.
Specially, you first connect its WAN port to the Internet source and hook a computer to it, either via a LAN port or the default Wi-Fi. Then point a browser to its default IP address, 192.168.0.1 or tplinkwifi.net, and the rest is self-explanatory.
The AX90 has almost the same features and network settings as the AX3200 (as well as many other TP-Link routers.) To avoid repeating myself, here’s the recap:
Responsive interface with commons settings
The router comes with a standard set of network settings found in all routers. These include the support for Dynamic DNS (with the option to use TP-Link’s free server), port forwarding, IP reservation, and so on.
The AX90 can also work as a VPN server, supporting either OpenVPN or PPTP protocols.
The AX90 is another Wi-Fi 6 router that supports OneMesh. You can use a supported TP-Link extender with it to create somewhat of a patch-up mesh system.
TP-Link Tether mobile app
You can also use the Tether mobile app to manage the router, apart from the local web interface. In this case, though, you’ll need to log in with an account with TP-Link and “bind” the router with it. Consequently, this can lead to privacy risks.
HomeShield requires mobile app
The AX90 will not give you extra features, including QoS, Parental Control, Online Protection, via the local web interface. They are part of a suite called HomeShield, formerly known as HomeCare — TP-Link has been quite indecisive on the naming in the past couple of years.
In any case, to use HomeShield, you need to opt for the mobile app — it’s a privacy trade-off. What’s more, you can only enjoy these features fully if you upgrade to the HomeShield Pro version, which requires a $6 monthly fee.
This subscription approach is by far the most uncool thing about using TP-Link’s latest routers. Those from Asus, Netgear, or Linksys tend to give you some or all of these features without an account requirement, much less additional costs.
TP-Link Archer AX90’s Performance: A formidable contender
So it would be best if you didn’t count on the Archer AX90 to deliver outstanding features. That’s the bad news. The good news is you sure can count on its performance.
Indeed, the tri-band router did well in my testing. It supported well the 160MHz channel width and delivered excellent throughput speeds. It’s better than the Archer AX3200 in terms of performance.
Fast Wi-Fi speeds
In the way I do my testing, the router had the sustained speed to a 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 client of faster than 1300Mbps at a close range. At 40 feet (12 meters) away, it still averaged close to 1300Mbps, which is the fastest I’ve seen.
(I used the AX90’s 2.5Gbps port as a LAN for the testing.)
It’s important to note that the numbers were those of the 4×4 5GHz-2 band. The AX90’s 2×2 5GHz-1 band registered just 713Mbps and 493Mbps in close and long ranges.
(The point is other tri-band routers, like the Netgear RAX200 or Asus GT-AX11000, deliver the same performance on both of their 5Ghz bands. So while the AX90’s numbers seem impressive on the chart, in real-world usage, it sure is behind the top-tier Wi-Fi 6 machines when hosting multiple clients.)
The Archer AX90 did well with Wi-Fi 5 clients, too. At a close range, my 4×4 Wi-Fi test machine had a sustained speed of faster than 900Mbps, and at 40 feet away, my 3×3 client registered almost 770Mbps.
On the 2.4GHz band, the Archer A90 performed about the same as most Wi-Fi 6 routers, topping at some 195Mbps at a close range. Farther out, it was about 110Mbps.
The Archer AX90 did better than the Archer AX3200 in terms of coverage in my trial. When placed in the middle, it could handle some 2000 ft² (186 m²) of residential space.
Note that the Wi-Fi range changes greatly depending on the environment, so your mileage sure will vary, even by a great deal. The Archer AX90 also passed my 3-day stress test with no issues. It proved to be reasonably reliable.
OK NAS performance
The Archer AX90 didn’t fare much better than its older cousin when hosting an external drive.
I used the My Passport SSD with it, and even via a 2.5Gbps wired connection, the speed wasn’t earth-shattering at all, topping at just around 90MB/s at best.
That wasn’t exactly terrible. But compared to other routers with a Multi-Gig port, the AX90 was clearly below the average.
That said, if you want to do some casual data sharing and network backup — the router does support Time Machine — it might work out. For anything more, though, you should get a NAS server instead.
TP-Link Archer AX90's Rating
Reliable and fast Wi-Fi performance, excellent range
Tri-band, 160MHz, and a 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig port
Standard web interface with optional mobile app
Slow 5GHz-1 band
Mobile app, login account, and a monthly subscription are required for advanced features
Relatively slow NAS performance when hosting a portable drive
The TP-Link Archer AX90 AX6600 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 router is far from a perfect Wi-Fi 6 machine. But it does give you the taste of a much more expensive counterpart without digging a hole in your wallet. And that’s enough for me to recommend it.
If you’re looking for a reliable and fast router for a medium or even a large home, this one is a safe buy as long as you don’t expect a lot more than Wi-Fi coverage out of it without paying more. Here’s a quick hint: Don’t use the mobile app!
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43 thoughts on “TP-Link Archer AX90 Review: A Worthy Upgrade, Mostly (vs Archer AX3200)”
I’m curious about the AX80.
Can you tell me if it is possible to multi-wan this router, have like 2 ISP working at the same time, or like a backup connection?
Nope. This feature, if available at the time of testing, will be mentioned in the hardware specifications section of any router review.
Thanks for your detailed reviews! It was a great help.
In my country the Archer AXE-75 was just released for a price of slightly higher than the AX90. Which would you recommend?
I only write about stuff in the U.S — Wi-Fi hardware can vary a great deal from one region to another due to regulations. But generally, you should get the former if your home is wired and the latter if you want to go fully wireless. Here’s the review of the XE75.
Hi Dong, I purchased this router as an emergency replacement for an ageing Linksys EA9500 that is getting flaky. I might have spent the extra for a 6E router but there aren’t any for sale in the UK yet. So far the AX90 looks good. It delivers the nominal 1Gbps I get from my internet connection well over cabled connections, and I’m getting 600Mbps to my WiFi 5 phone, which is the best I’ve ever had. I have a lot of Smart Home devices, most of which use 2.4 GHz WiFi, these are all coexisting happily although a lot of reconfiguration was required, this is a function of the dodgy Smart Life app, not the router.
Overall very happy so far.
Excellent! Thanks for sharing your experience, Gordon! Cheers!
I am confused to choice one; ax90, ax6000, ax86u. In the office over 10pc, a lot of devices and phones, with 250mbps symmetric internet. We need stable internet and file transfer, which one suitable for us?
Go with the Asus, Niku.
I love your reviews, I would like to ask which one of this are one of the best among three. I live in 2 stories home with 2700sqft + home. I am looking for a greater speed, better latency, wider coverage, and stable connection etc. Also which one has more air vent, so that it won’t over heat.
1. Tp-link AX90
2. TP-link AX73 (AX5400) or
3. Asus AX82U (AX5400)
I am considering to upgrade from TP-Link AC2600 router though.
You have to figure that out itself, Ryan. This post will help. But if you ask me what I’d get out of the three, I’d go with the Asus.
And presumably the Asus AX86U would be even better?
Thank you for your review.
Currently I am considering between these two routers, so it would be great if you can give me a tips on which is better.
Archer AX90 for about 190.90 usd
Asus RT-AX86U for about 222.38 usd
I mainly use PC via cable, but in the future 2 3 years from now I would be using it for a 3 story house.
I want the one that has better coverage, better lan speed via cable, and stable network.
It would be great if you can give me your guidance on this.
Definitely go with the Asus, Hieu.
Thank you, I will go with the Asus then!
I just check and found out that the Asus has 2 version, one the the old model and one is the new model with the name RT-AX86U (A).
Can you tell me what is the difference between the two?
No difference that I’m aware of, Hieu. The A version is likely made for Asia.
Thank you for your reply.
Yes I was just wondering since the weight and dimension of both items are different.
Amazon Japan said the A version is the new one, rolling out in March, while the old one rolling out in August last year.
I’m attaching both link to the product, so if you can check them out it would be appreciated.
The old one
The new one
There is a difference of about 40 usd between two models, so I want to make sure which one is which.
The two links are the same, Hieu. But I’m. Or familiar with the Japanese market. Remember, though, that you should buy router made for your region. Different parts of the world have different regulations and requirements for wireless communication.
Why is the Asus so much better? The AX90 has better speed at 40 ft range, and many people are complaining that the AX86U’s speed drops quickly at range.
I’m looking for a wifi 6 router with excellent wifi 5 and 6 performance, even at some distance. I don’t care about antivirus and other software gimmicks.
Use one, and you’ll know one way or the other yourself, Al.
I went with your advice and bought the AX86U a few months ago.
I’ve never had so much trouble with a router before. I have mainly windows/linux laptops, xbox one, ps4 and ps5. At no point will all of these work fine at the same time. If I change a wifi setting in the router, then at least one of these devices works extremely slow (like 2-5 times slower). I’ve tried every setting, including Merlin.
Also the Asus Web UI is buggy as hell, being it the official FW or Merlin.
I should have gone with the TP Link. It’s cheaper, has better reception at range and probably less hassle than with this Asus crap.
I didn’t give you any advice on anything, Al. If anything, you just got yourself a real-world experience. By the way, things could have been the same or even worse had you gone with the TP-Link, or any router for that matter. It seems you’re the type of user who knows just enough to be dangerous. 🙂 Also, please watch your language.
Do you have plans to review the AX73? Looks like it could be a pretty good value router.
Prolly not, Samuel. It’s just a minor variant of those I’ve reviewed.
Hello Dong, thanks for the detailed review and I ended up purchasing this. Should be arriving soon, I’m just wondering what’s your opinion if I paired this router to the RE605X? I know you haven’t reviewed the RE605X, even your theory on how it would behave should at least give me the decision to purchase the RE605X or not. Since the AX90 is a tri-band router, how would the RE605X perform if to be paired with AX90? Your opinion would be greatly appreciated 👍🏼👍🏼
It’ll work, Semangka. Expect it to be similar to the Asus RP-56 in terms of performance.
Hi Dong – would it be possible to test the two 5Ghz bands simultaneously? Using both bands together is why most people buy a tri-band router: however, it’s important to know whether network performance is throttled by the router’s CPU when both are saturated.
I did that in a few reviews, Jon. In most cases, when you use just two clients, each will get the top speed of each band. After a few times, I decided it wouldn’t yield any extra meaningful information so I dropped the test, for now. But you can read more on tri-band vs. dual-band in this post.
We went for Archer AX90 and I wanted to ask for your recommendation on which range extender (OneMesh Technology) would work best with it in the 2 story house?
I don’t recommend any, Vaida. If you follow the OneMesh link in the review, you’ll know why.
Thank you for your review, Dong. I’m in the market for a wireless router. I temporarily picked up the Asus RT-AX58U on a recommendation from someone at the store.
Here are a few routers I’m considering at the moment:
– Asus AX58U AX3000
– Asus AX82U AX5400
– TP-Link Tri Band AX3200
– Netgear Nighthawk AX6 AX4300
Is there one router on this list that stands above the rest? Is there another router you would recommend? Does one have greater speed, better latency, etc. Is AX better than AC?
Get the RT-AX82U, Paul. Here’s my review on it.
Awesome!! Thanks, Dong. I’ll go check it out. Many thanks!
I just realized that both the RT-58U and RT-AX82U don’t seem to have an easy on/off toggle for Wifi. Is there one that has an on/off toggle for wifi that you would recommend? Thanks!
You can do that in the Wireless -> Professional tab of the router’s interface, Paul. That’s easy enough.
Thank you, as usual, for your informative review of the Archer AX90. I have had this router for about three weeks now and my experience mirrors yours. I’m pleased with its performance and reliability and wish it had the additional features of an Asus. I started with two Asus routers and had less than stellar results for both. Here’s my review I posted to amazon.ca:
This review encompasses two Asus routers, the AX58U and AC5300. For a better understanding, it must include the AX58U. Our home has 5 Alexa smart speakers and a Roku connected 24/7. We have at least 22 wifi devices not including those that aren’t being used anymore. Our home is 2,000 sq. ft.
I purchased the AX58U from another retailer and was quite excited to be finally getting an Asus router. While it was easy to set up, it didn’t meet expectations. Here are the issues I encountered:
– the 5.0 GHz network stopped showing up on a list of availagle networks even though I hadn’t hidden it. Re-setting the router didn’t help.
– I had to re-boot the router for 5 consecutive days to get it to work. Each re-boot took at least 3 efforts before it successfully connected to the internet.
– the router seemed to have difficulty handling about 10 devices connected at the same time even though it’s Wifi6 and rated for 2,000 sq. ft.
– it couldn’t handle my son’s part-time, casual, on-line gaming.
I decided to return the router and get a router with a faster speed and could handle more devices at the same time. That’s why I bought the RT5300 from amazon.
Again, I was looking forward to getting an Asus router. I felt somewhat bad for, maybe, overloading the “little” AX58U. The reviews for the RT5300 were/are amazing for the most part and stepping back to Wifi5 wasn’t a concern as it was supposedly just as fast and could handle more devices.
The RT5300 is a huge router. I’ve never seen a bigger router. My son and I were quite excited to set it up and get going. My son was excited to see how it could handle his gaming. I was confident about everything else based on the reviews I read on the internet and on amazon.
Unfortunately, we could not get the router set up. We spent almost an hour trying to connect the RT5300 to the internet but it wouldn’t connect. I sent a detailed email to Asus support and, amazingly, they responded the next day. By that time, I had done more reading on the internet and discovered there issues not only with the RT5300 but with Asus routers, in general, and Asus customer support.
One person had his RT5300 die after 24 hours. Another person’s died after 6 months and a third person’s went belly-up shortly after the warranty expired. Moreover, Asus’s customer support appears to be awful across its product offerings. I’m amazed that Asus has received the highest customer satisfaction ratings on PC Mag for 9 consecutive years. That’s an amazing accomplishment with poor customer support.
Anecdotally, Asus’s routers seem to have issues about 15% – 20% of the time. Unfortunately for me, I’m one of the unlucky ones in the 15% – 20%. I was quite excited to ge joining the other 80% 85% who are loving their Asus router and enjoying all the features. I was looking forward to utilizing all those features and enjoying the benefits. It’s not going to happen now and probably never will. I returned both routers and I echo the words of everybody who say, “buy at your own risk” I’ve never encountered a router that wouldn’t connect to the internet brand new, out-of-the-box. My previous router was a REFURBISHED Linksys that ran without issue for over 5 years.
It seems to me that Asus is resting on its laurels. They do not seem to be doing anything to try to improve their customer support. Sooner or later, this is going to catch up to them. I won’t be considering any Asus products in the future as a result of this experience, not even their computers.
As for my router story, I bought a TP-Link Archer AX90 from amazon for a great price. It’s still on sale for $300. I’ve only had it operational for 5 days. I’ll post my feedback on that router under that product in a few weeks to give the router a good run.
To all those considering an Asus router, beware and buy at your own risk. If you run into any issues shortly after you buy it, return it ASAP. Don’t bother with customer support.
After reading many articles on your site, Dong, I was really looking forward to having an Asus. It’s very disappointing that it didn’t work out for me. If you have any thoughts or feedback, I’d appreciate it. I wish my luck with Asus is as good as yours seems to be. You definitely had me convinced about Asus but it will take a lot now to get me to go back.
Keep up the great work, Dong. I’m glad things have worked out for you in America. I look forward to reading more of your articles in the future. Thank you.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Ron. And yes, Asus is known to be buggy. It’s definitely not for anyone who needs tech support. Just don’t mess around too much unless you really know what you’re doing. Networking — tech in general — is a complicated matter.
Archer AX90 or Archer AX6000 which you suggest? I’ve read both of your reviews, they seem so similar in specs.
I’d go with either, Darcy. It’s a matter of dual-band vs tri-band.