Now that more and more areas are being upgraded to Gigabit networking speeds, it’s time that your wireless setup joined the club. Sure, Wi-Fi 6 routers are consistently becoming more and more affordable. However, most of those aren’t truly made for high-performance gaming or bandwidth requirements that come with streaming. That’s where TP-Link’s latest Archer GX90 AX6600 Wi-Fi 6 router comes to play. With a slew of gaming-focused features, whole-home coverage, 2.5Gb/s wired networking, and more, this router is perfect for high-end setups of all sizes. So, without further ado, let’s take a closer look at the TP-Link Archer GX90 AX6600 Wi-Fi 6 router in our hands-on review.
Out of the box/design
I was honestly quite impressed with the design of the Archer GX90 I received for review out of the box. Normally, you have to sit and screw on each individual antenna for a Wi-Fi router, and when I saw that the GX90 had eight antennas, I wasn’t happy. But, that all changed when I realized that these antennas just push on to connect, which made a daunting task into something quite simple.
Outside of that, the overall build is fairly easy to understand. Of course, there are the eight massive antennas sticking off the top, giving it a gamer aesthetic, thanks to its red and black colorway. But the rest of the design is fairly minimal. On the back there is one 2.5Gb/s WAN Ethernet port and four Gigabit LAN Ethernet jacks. Along the right side of the unit is both a USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 port, allowing you to hook up printers or storage drives and convert traditional models to wirelessly accessible versions.
Setup is simple
Similar to other TP-Link routers on the market these days, you can configure this router either from the Tether app or a web interface. I did my initial setup via Tether, choosing the Wi-Fi name, password, and other options. After that was set up, I went to the web to start working on getting ports forwarded for my home server. While some forwarded just fine, there were a few that were hit or miss, and it seems to be related with TP-Link’s remote administration access function. This won’t be a problem for most, as it only shows up when running your own web server at home, but I thought it was worth mentioning just the same. Everything else was fine, though – ports other than 80/443 forwarded perfectly, Plex was accessible outside of my network, and the overall configuration was quite simple.
Near-Gigabit wireless networking
The Archer GX90 features AX6600 technology, which offers up to 6.6Gb/s total bandwidth available across the entire wireless network. The tri-band structure of this router offers a 4.8Gb/s Game Band that’s “exclusive for your gaming rigs,” though really that can be applied to just about any compatible wireless device.
You’ll find that it features high-power FEM 4T4R and beamforming antennas that can easily saturate a moderately sized house with blazing wireless speeds. While my previous Wi-Fi 6 router provided by AT&T struggles in my garage to keep up, and I often fall back to 5G connectivity out there, the Archer GX90 had no problem delivering 300Mb/s or faster wireless speeds on the clear opposite side of my house, which is quite impressive overall.
If you have a Wi-Fi 6 device that has the ability to leverage near-Gigabit wireless networking, then the Archer GX90 is set to deliver. I found that Wi-Fi 5 items like my MacBook Pro would reach speeds of around 600-700Mb/s while Wi-Fi 6-enabled computers were able to reach speeds of 800Mb/s or higher. This means that I could nearly leverage the entire bandwidth that AT&T provides me without having to plug in a single cable, which is absolutely mind-blowing to think about.
Being a gaming-focused router, there are some features to match the aesthetic. In the backend UI, you’ll find real-time latency, game duration, and network resource allocation functions that are both easy to access and configure. TP-Link also built a “game accelerator” function that can automatically detect when you start playing a game and optimize the stream to ensure that your experience always “stays immersive.”
The game accelerator essentially prioritizes the game your network through a sort of QOL list. This means other devices will, if needed, be slowed down to ensure your system has the amount of bandwidth it needs to service you with a lag-free experience all around. You can either enable or disable this feature as well, as if you have enough bandwidth that other devices don’t need to be throttled it can become more of a hindrance and hassle than help.
If you’re in the market for a high-end gaming router that delivers a plethora of features to your home’s networking setup, then the TP-Link Archer GX90 in our review is a great choice. It allows me to fully saturate my home’s 1GB/s network pipe from AT&T, all without hooking up a single cable. Plus, the gaming features could really be a key selling point for many.
However, if you run or maintain a homelab and frequently change what ports are being forwarded, or rely on port 80/443, then this might not be the best choice for your setup. Generally, after a while of just leaving things sitting those ports end up forwarding for me, but it’s not really predictable, so that’s worth noting for sure.
The TP-Link Archer GX90 AX6600 Wi-Fi router is a beast for sure, and great for those who have a high-end setup that demands the best wireless performance. I really enjoy the expanded wireless coverage that it provides over other Wi-Fi 6 routers that I’ve tested in the past, and the monitoring features are also great. All in all, the TP-Link Archer GX90 in our hands-on review is a fantastic router for most, and if you’ve been waiting to upgrade your wireless network, this would be a great option.
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