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TP-Link Archer BE900 Quick Take (vs Archer BE800): There’s No Rush

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This is a quick take to address the requests (and questions) I've gotten since the review of the Archer BE800.

Folks have been wondering why I didn't evaluate the Archer BE900 instead. "It's the king of Wi-Fi routers right now," they say.

Is it, though?

TP Link BE900 Wi Fi 7 Router
The TP-Link BE900 shares the same physical design as the Archer BE800.

TP-Link Archer BE900: The old-school 5GHz band-splitting practice

On the surface of it, the BE900 seems big, or "ultimate," as some might call it. The amount of bandwidth insinuated by "BE24000" in its name is just too tantalizing to ignore.

In reality, it's just an old-school Quad-band router.

I lamented long and hard separately on Dual-band vs. Tri-band vs Quad-band, but the gist is the following:

To have an "additional" band, the hardware has its 5GHz frequency split in half to support two 5GHz radio broadcasters, each occupying a different part of the band. Consequently, while the router has an additional 5GHz radio, its 5GHz is more constricted -- there are fewer options on each upper and lower part of the frequency to create an ideal channel at any given time.

And considering the Wi-Fi 7 support, things can get even more complicated.

But first, let's check out the Archer BE900's hardware specifications compared to the "lower-tier" BE800 and the previous Wi-Fi 6E Archer AXE300.

TP-Link Archer BE900 vs BE800 vs Archer AXE300: Hardware specifications

Archer BE900 WiFi 7 Router Archer BE800 WiFi 7 Router TP Link Archer AXE300
ModelArcher BE900Archer BE800Archer AXE300
Dimensions11.9 Γ— 10.3 Γ— 3.8 in
(302 Γ— 262.5 Γ— 96 mm)
11.9 Γ— 10.3 Γ— 3.8 in
(302 Γ— 262.5 Γ— 96 mm)
9.1 Γ— 9.1 Γ— 2.7 in
(232 Γ— 232 Γ— 68 mm)
Weightβ€Ž4.78 lbs (2.16 kg)β€Ž4.78 lbs (2.16 kg)3.75 lbs (1.7 kg)
Processing PowerUndisclosedUndisclosed2.0 GHz Quad-Core CPU,
1GB RAM, 256MB Flash
Wi-Fi StandardWi-Fi 7 (802.11be)Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be)Wi-Fi 6E (802.11AXE)
Wi-Fi BandwidthQuad-band BE24000Tri-band BE19000Quad-band AXE16000
1st Band 
(channel width)
4x4 2.4GHz BE: Up to 1376Mbps
(20/40MHz)
4x4 2.4GHz BE: Up to 1376Mbps
(20/40MHz)
4x4 2.4GHz AX: Up to 1148Mbps
(20/40MHz)
2nd Band
(channel width)
4x4 5GHz-1 BE: Up to 5760Mbps (20/40/80/160MHz)4x4 5GHz BE: Up to 5760Mbps (20/40/80/160MHz)4x4 5GHz-1 AX: Up to 4804Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
3rd Band
(channel width)
4x4 5GHz-2 BE: Up to 5760Mbps (20/40/80/160MHz)4x4 6GHz BE: Up to 11520Mbps (20/40/80/160/320MHz)4x4 5GHz-2 AX: Up to 4804Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
4th Band
(channel width)
4x4 6GHz BE: Up to 11520Mbps (20/40/80/160/320MHz)None4x4 6GHz AXE: Up to 4804Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
Backward Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax/axe Wi-Fi802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax/axe Wi-Fi802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
Wireless SecurityWPA / WPA2 / WPA3WPA / WPA2 / WPA3WPA / WPA2 / WPA3
Web User InterfaceYesYesYes
Mobile AppTP-Link Tether
(optional)
TP-Link Tether
(optional)
TP-Link Tether
(optional)
Operating RolesRouter (default) or Access PointRouter (default) or Access PointRouter (default) or Access Point
Mesh-ReadyYes
(EasyMesh
formerly OneMesh)
Yes
(EasyMesh
formerly OneMesh)
Yes
(EasyMesh
formerly OneMesh)
USB Port1x USB 3.0
1x USB 2.0
1x USB 3.01x USB 3.0
Gigabit Port1Γ— Gbps LANNone4x LAN 
Multi-Gig Port4Γ— 2.5 Gbps LAN
1Γ— 10 Gbps WAN/LAN
1Γ— 10 Gbps SFP+/RJ45 Combo WAN/LAN
4Γ— 2.5 Gbps LAN
1Γ— 10 Gbps WAN/LAN
1Γ— 10 Gbps SFP+/RJ45 Combo WAN/LAN
1x 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig LAN/LAN
1x 10Gbps Multi-Gig LAN/WAN
 1Γ— 10 Gbps Multi-Gig/SFP+ Combo WAN/LAN
Link AggregationLAN only
(LAN2 + LAN3)
LACP or Static
LAN only
(LAN2 + LAN3)
LACP or Static
LAN only
(LAN2 + LAN3)
LACP or Static
Dual-WAN SupportNoNoNo
Power Intake100-240V100-240V100-240V
Power Consumption
(per 24 hours)
TBDβ‰ˆ 565 Wh
(as tested)
β‰ˆ 465 Wh
(as tested)
Release DateMay 2023May 2023October 2022
Firmware
(at review)
Not yet reviewed1.0.2 Build 20230509 rel.67343(5553)1.0.3 Build 20220907
US MSRP$699.99$599.99$599.99
TP-Link Archer BE900 vs Archer BE800 vs Archer AXE300: Hardware specifications

TP-Link Archer BE900: Same same but slightly different

A couple of things to note from the table above.

First, the Archer BE900 is practically the BE800 plus an extra Gigabit LAN port, a new USB 2.0 port, and an additional band on the 5GHz. These half-bands make it more closely related to TP-Link's previous Quad-band router, the Archer AXE300.

Secondly, the Wi-Fi 7 routers have more theoretical bandwidth per band than the Wi-Fi 6E counterpart. That's thanks to the new standards support for higher QAM. Each band's total width (the base of its bandwidth) remains the same across standards.

In the case of the Archer BE900, two things to keep in mind:

  • While splitting the 5GHz band allows using portions of the band simultaneously to increase data flow, we have less space on each sub-band to work with (*).
  • Wi-Fi 7 supports multi-link operation (MLO) which allows using two bands (6GHz and 5GHz) in a single connection.

(*) To deliver fast speeds on the 5GHz band, the router needs to use a 160MHz-wide channel. The 5GHz frequency has a total width of 500MHz -- a bit more when including the UNII-4 portion, which the BE900 doesn't support. When split in half, each sub 5GHz band gets only 250MHz, barely enough to make a single 160MHz channel, if at all, due to the need for DFS channels. That's been the case since Wi-Fi 6.

Consequently, the situation will get very complicated, and chances are it won't pan out well. That's because, among other things, Wi-Fi 7 is not yet certified, and we only partially know how things are supposed to be.

TP-Link doesn't know everything about Wi-Fi 7 for sure, either. In many ways, the networking vendor released its somewhat-unfinished Wi-Fi 7 products last month to be the first on the market. The company expects to make them whole via firmware over time.

And while the company deserves the credit for being first, these new Wi-Fi 7 machines, for now, and for the most part, work similarly to the Wi-Fi 6E counterparts. (There are not yet any computer-based Wi-Fi 7 clients to truly experience the difference, if at all.)

For this reason, the Archer BE900, at the moment, is more of a beta Wi-Fi 7 product than the BE800, which is at least a straightforward Tri-band router. It likely won't deliver any extra in real-world usage to justify its cost of $100 more. Depending on the situation, it might not even work well at all.

Below is the quick rating of the BE800 for reference.

TP-Link Archer BE800's Rating

7.9 out of 10
TP Link Archer BE800 BE19000 Tri band Wi Fi 7 Router Side Angle
Performance
8.5 out of 10
Features
8 out of 10
Design and Setup
7 out of 10
Value
8 out of 10

Pros

Wi-Fi 7 support; plenty of Multi-Gig port; excellent overall performance; competitively priced

Robust web user interface; lots of network and Wi-Fi settings

Useful (optional) mobile app; EasyMesh-ready; interesting LED lighting

Cons

No option for 2.5Gbps WAN or Dual-WAN; limited EasyMesh hardware

Bulky design; HomeShield Pro costs extra and requires a login account; Tether app needed for LED light

Wi-Fi 7 is still in the early stage, with no computer-based clients

The takeaway

Generally, band splitting -- the practice behind Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 and Quad-band Wi-Fi 6E/7 broadcasters -- is generally an artificial way to create more bandwidth on paper. The higher numbers are perceived as "more" or "cutting-edge" and are great sale pitch.

In reality, the additional 5GHz band hardly plays a significant part in a standalone router. And as bandwidth needs grow, it won't work well as the backhaul in a mesh system, either -- you need to get your place wired. Wi-Fi 7, still under development at the time this post is published, likely won't change that.

If you're desperate to get a Wi-Fi 7 router today -- if so, why? -- the Archer BE800 is a much safer purchase than the Archer BE900. But neither is a full Wi-Fi 7 router. Not yet.

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15 thoughts on “TP-Link Archer BE900 Quick Take (vs Archer BE800): There’s No Rush”

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  1. Wow i just happened upon this site as my XT8’s packed it in and Asus (finally) refunded me. As I bought them on release I’ve got a nice sum to replace it with something and was thinking of just getting the BE800.
    Having so many issues with mesh and my google home devices that im thinking of just going back to a single router as I dont really need mesh with a more powerful router.
    In your opinion is the BE800 the router to get right now? I cant seem to find it in the UK yet. My other option was try the Asus ET8’s but they havent had a firmware update essentially since release….

    Just want to say the content on this site is very well written….actually so well written and methodical that I thought these were all AI written articles!! LOL until i saw you’re actually responding to people in the comments.

    Keep it up!

    Reply
    • I’d say AI steals content from sites like mine, Mar. AI can’t pull stuff out of thin air. I don’t do that kind of shenanigans. You’re at a 100% no-nonsense zone. πŸ™‚

      Reply
          • I think i can wait until end of year, was also looking into 6E after doing some more research on your site.

            Not really fully sold on Mesh kids after the XT8 and saw the guides around using Asus Routers and adding another one when I want to extend with AI Mesh 2.0. Might head down that route with an inexpensive 6E router that can do multi gb

  2. Good point, Brian. I’d blame the mainstream tech websites’ culture of glorifying tech for views and clicks for that. But not everyone is concerned, nor should they.

    Reply
  3. Why is anyone concerned about WiFi 7, there aren’t any real devices for it yet, there are barely any 6E devices. Furthermore, why are people still getting suckered into buying combo units? They’re always a compromise compared to a real router and real a access point(s). I’m currently using a TP-Link ER8411 that provides 2 x 10G ports along side 9 x 1G ports – each of the ports can be configured as WAN or LAN in pretty much any combination or multiples. That uplinks to a 24 port Netgear 10 port MS510TXUP that offers 6 x 10G ports and 4 2.5G ports as well as 295w of PoE++. From there I have 3 x Netgear WAX630x APs throughout my house and outdoor WAX610Ys for broadband connectivity outside (all my APs are wired, not in mesh mode, through they work really well in mesh mode).
    Now I get it, most won’t need 5 APs, but it’s that I can do that and can swap one or more out for newer tech without having to throw it all out that counts.
    I’m currently testing one of the inexpensive mini PCs with OPNsene on it. It has dual 2.5G ports, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD and cost like US$250. If I decide I like that I can just swap out the TP-Link router for it without messing with anything else.
    My point is, buying and all-in-one gets you a TV/VCR combo that limits you both at the time of purchase and down the road. Get a real router and a real AP and you’ll be much happier down the road. Yes, you’ll pay a little more, but you get what you pay for.

    Reply
  4. Dong, love your work. Getting a 3gbps connection this week. I can’t do wired backhaul in a London townhouse over 4 stories. Was thinking of Asus ROG Rapture GT AXE 16000 plus Asus XT12 pair. What do you think? could also wait for Deco BE85 or 95 pair, due in the UK by September apparently.

    Reply
    • That’s tough, Roman. Seriously, I’d recommend running a network cable. No wireless solution will deliver even close to Gigabit of sustained speed. But if you’re OK with sub-Gig, a 3-pack of the XT12 will do. The BE85 will, too, but Wi-Fi 7 is still in a very early stage… Good luck!

      Reply
    • Good old community fibre. Their router is a bodged GFRG300,

      They are using an ADTRAN 621X XGS-PON with 10 gbe out into GFRG300 SFP+ 10gbe connector, as there is no XGS-pon on the GFRG300, only GPON.

      The 2 units look a mess. The solution would’ve been a better XGS-PON ONT/router.

      But give CFL their credit the link speed is 10/gbe, we are just capped at 3.2/3.2

      If you live near London city airport you won’t even see a good wifi 6 speed either as we cannot use the DFS channels! But 650/700 isn’t too bad sat next to the GFRG300,

      You just won’t be seeing anything higher.

      Enjoy your service anyways

      Reply
  5. It may be worth mentioning that, at least on paper, one other difference in the 2 models seems to be support for witeguard vpn server. TP Link does not list it as a feature on the BE 800. This seems trivial on TPs part since there shouldn’t be any reason why both models shouldn’t support it. Maybe it was just left out on the specs page. Anyway to comfirm?

    Reply
  6. I cannot believe I’ve been living without your view on the world from your brutally honest (THANK YOU) take on IoT today + it’s arc into the real-world application(s).

    I’ve used Ubiquiti’s UniFi system for work (SMB) and am in the thick of a major renovation for our new home in UT (3 levels). Do you have a take on their new “Dream Wall” system?

    What would be an optimized network plan using UniFi throughout (should I consider hardwiring cameras to switch)?

    Also, I’m going to keep diving into your reviews & how-tos, but in case it’s not there: do you have an opinion on optimal setup/networking infra for LV structured cabling to ensure we’re ready to grow into the home’s networking/automation capacity vs a headache in the future (LV + HDMI/AVS “smurf tubing” to use tap when needed for future devices running via Thread, Matter, Z-Wave, ZigBee, etc + WiFi, when appropriate such as SAVANT/LUTRON KEYPADS etc etc )?

    Reply
    • I’m actually wrapping up the review of the UDM-SE, Cal. It’s basically the same as the Dream Wall in specs without a built-in Wi-Fi 6 access point, which is a good thing. Check back soon!

      I don’t comment on specific situations but generally, it’s a good practice to use “Smart” IoT devices that don’t connect directly to your Wi-Fi. So the IoT wireless standards you mentioned are great. More here.

      Reply

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