The TP-Link Archer AX6000 ($349.99), one of a handful of early Wi-Fi 6 routers to hit our labs, is a massive device equipped with the latest 802.11ax technology and numerous connectivity options, including eight gigabit LAN ports, a multi-gigabit WAN port, and two USB ports. It’s easy to install and can be managed from a phone using the TP-Link Tether mobile app, but the web console offers more advanced controls. The Archer AX6000 delivers solid throughput and file-transfer performance, but it’s not quite as fast as the Netgear Nighthawk RAX120 and it currently lacks support for WPA3 encryption, which means it’s not yet Wi-Fi 6 certified.
Plenty of Ports
At 2.4 by 10.3 by 10.3 inches (HWD), the Archer AX6000 is one of the largest routers we’ve come across. It uses a black textured enclosure with eight non-removable foldable antennas and a square LED indicator on the top that glows solid blue when everything is working normally, pulses blue during startup and firmware upgrades, glows solid orange when it is connected to the internet but wireless is disabled, and glows solid red when there is no internet connection. Connectivity ports are plentiful. The rear panel contains eight gigabit LAN ports, a 2.5-gigabit WAN port, a power port and power button, and a reset button. The left side holds a USB 3.0 Type A port and a USB 3.0 Type C port, and there are WPS, LED On/Off, and Wi-Fi On/Off buttons on the front edge of the router.
The Archer AX6000 is powered by a 1.8GHz quad-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 128MB of flash memory. It’s a dual-band eight-stream router (four streams on each band) that utilizes the latest 802.11ax tech with 1024 QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) to achieve maximum theoretical data rates of up to 1,148Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 4,804Mbps on the 5GHz band. It also supports 160MHz channel width, automatic band-steering, MU-MIMO data streaming, and direct-to-client signal beamforming, but it does not yet support the new WPA3 encryption protocol, which is required for Wi-Fi 6 certification.
Wi-Fi 6 (or 802.11ax) builds upon the Wi-Fi 5 (or 802.11ac) standard, which has been around since late in 2013. The new version promises faster throughput performance, increased client capacity to accommodate the burgeoning smart home market, and increased battery life for connected mobile devices.
The AX6000 can be managed using the TP-Link Tether mobile app for iOS and Android devices, but you’ll need the comprehensive web console to access and configure advanced options such as DHCP Server, NAT Forwarding, VPN Server, and IPv6 settings. The web console is the same one used to manage the Archer A6 and other TP-Link routers. It opens to a screen that contains a network map that shows wired- and wireless-connected clients and has a Speedtest button for measuring internet upload and download speeds. The top of the screen has Quick Setup, Basic, and Advanced tabs, and over on the left is the menu bar.
Basic settings allow you to configure internet settings, name and create passwords for each radio band, configure USB sharing settings, and create a guest network. Here you can also access TP-Link’s Home Care settings, where you can use Parental Controls to create user profiles and assign Child, Pre-Teen, Teen, and Adult content filters, and configure activity-specific QoS settings with presets for Gaming, Surfing, Streaming, Chatting, Standard, and Custom.
Home Care also offers Trend Micro-powered anti-malware settings that allow you to configure malicious content filters, enable the Intrusion Prevention System, and quarantine infected devices.
In addition to the above-mentioned Advanced settings, you can also switch between Router and Access Point mode, configure wireless…