The TP-Link Archer A20 ($199.99) is a tri-band router that combines solid throughput performance with robust parental controls and three years of free network security powered by Trend Micro. It’s easy to install and manage using a web console or a mobile app, and it delivers outstanding file-transfer performance, making it an excellent choice for downloading and moving large blocks of data. That said, you’ll get faster overall throughput performance and an extra two years of network protection with our Editors’ Choice, the D-Link DIR-2680.
Solid Feature Set
The Archer A20 doesn’t offer anything new in terms of design. In fact, it looks identical to the Archer C3200 router that we reviewed back in 2015. The black textured enclosure measures 1.5 by 7.9 by 7.9 inches (HWD) and uses six nonremovable external antennas that fold out from the top of the router. There are nine small LED indicators on the front edge for power, Ethernet, internet, all three radio bands, two USB ports, and WPS activity. Also along the front edge are Wi-Fi (on/off), WPS, and LED (on/off) buttons. The rear panel holds four gigabit LAN ports, two of which support link aggregation, a WAN port, a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, a reset button, a power button, and a power jack.
The Archer A20 is powered by a Broadcom 1.8GHz quad-core processor and 512MB of RAM. It’s an AC4000 router that can reach maximum signal rates of 750Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio band and 1,625Mbps on each of the two 5GHz radio bands. It uses Wave 2 802.11ac technology which supports MU-MIMO simultaneous data streaming, direct-to-client signal beamforming, and SmartConnect (automatic band steering).
As with the TP-Link Archer C5400X gaming router, the Archer A20 can be installed and managed from a PC using a web console or from a mobile device using the TP-Link Tether app for iOS or Android. The web console opens to a network map that displays the number of connected wired and wireless clients, Speedtest results, and the router’s IP address.
Up top are tabs for Quick Setup (the same setup used when you first install the router), Basic (basic settings), and Advanced (advanced settings), and off to the left is a detailed menu for basic and advanced settings. Basic tabs include Internet, Wireless, USB Sharing, Home Care, Guest Network, and TP-Link Cloud, and Advanced tabs add Network, Operation Mode (Router or AP), Parental Controls, QoS, Security, NAT Forwarding, IPv6, VPN Server, and System Tools (Diagnostics, LED control, firmware updates, system logs, and traffic monitoring). There’s also a tab for Smart Life Assistant, which lets you configure the router to work with Alexa voice commands and interact with other smart devices that support IFTTT (If This Then That) applets.
The Archer A20 comes with a free three-year subscription to TP-Link’s HomeCare platform, which offers powerful Trend Micro network security, Quality of Service (QoS), and age-filtered parental controls. By way of comparison, D-Link’s DIR-2680 gives you five years of McAfee-powered security and parental controls.
HomeCare uses Trend Micro’s Malicious Content Filter and an Intrusion Prevention System to keep your network and your connected clients safe from viruses and other malware, and it will quarantine devices that have been infected. QoS settings let you give network priority to clients and applications using Standard, Gaming, Surfing, Streaming, Chatting, and Custom presets, and the parental controls offer Child, Pre-Teen, Teen, and Adult presets that will prevent access to sites that offer gambling, sexual content, and other adult-oriented content. You can also use these controls to block access to social media, gaming, pay-to-surf, and file-sharing sites, and to monitor web…