TP-LINK Archer A9 Review

TP-LINK Archer A9 Review

TP-LINK is the worlds number one brand for consumer grade network devices. They have a selection of products that can all create a fast and stable Wi-Fi connection for your entire home. From routers and modems all the way to extenders and wireless access points. And of course there’s something for all budgets as well. Such as the TP-LINK Archer A9, which is their most popular mid-range router. And here’s my review about it!

Technical Specification

  • Dimension (without antennas): 24.3×16.1×3.3 cm / 9.6×6.4×1.3″
  • Network standards: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
  • Wi-Fi bands: 2.4 & 5.0 GHz
  • Signal rate: 1300 Mbps at 5 GHz + 600 Mbps at 2.4 GHz
  • Ethernet ports: 1x Gigabit WAN, 4x Gigabit LAN
  • USB 2.0 port
  • 3x external antennas + 1 internal antenna
  • Wireless encryption: 128 bit
  • Security features: 64/128 bit WEP, WPA2, WPA3
  • MU-MIMO
  • Works with Alexa
  • Compatible OS: MacOS, Windows, Linux
  • Setup interface: Browser, Phone app

In The Box

  • TP-LINK Archer A9 router
  • Ethernet cable
  • Power cable

Design

The TP-LINK Archer A9 is a very modern looking router. It has a unique design with a lot of sharp edges. And it’s entirely made out of black plastic. The only part that I don’t like is that the surface has a glossy finish, which just loves to display dust particles. Then again a textured surface most probably wouldn’t look as sleek.

TP-LINK Archer A9 Design

The router has an overall dimension of x, which does not include the length of the 3 antennas. None of the 3 antennas are removable. Overall it’s an average sized router that you can fit anywhere in your home. And it looks good enough to keep it visible as well. Plus there are all of the LED indicator lights at the front. And that includes indicators for the LAN ports as well.

TP-LINK Archer A9 Ports

In total there are 4 LAN, 1 WAN and 1 USB 2.0 ports. I’m not sure why they didn’t use a USB 3.0 port but it won’t really make a difference. It can be used to connect a printer or share files over Wi-Fi. Also both the LAN and WAN ports support a connection speed of up to 1000 Mbps. All of the ports can be found at the back of the router.

Setting It Up

Modern routers are incredibly easy to set up and the TP-LINK Archer A9 is no different. First you thing you need to already have is a modem. This is usually provided by your internet provider. Then connect the router to the modem with an ethernet cable. The cable has to be inserted into the blue “Internet” (WAN) port on the router. Next plug it into a power outlet and you should see the indicator lights light up on the front. The first 4 lights will all turn green, which can take a couple of minutes.

Next up you can start configuring the router. This can be done both via your computer and also your phone. The phone setup is the easiest. All you need to do is download and install the Tether app onto your phone, which is available on both iOS and Android. The app will guide you through all of the steps to get it configured. You will also be able to access all of the information as well.

Or you can also use your computer. Which means that you’ll first need to search up the Wi-Fi name from the wireless network list and connect to it. The router will come with a Wi-Fi info card that has all of the initial passwords and names written onto it. You’ll be using this with the phone app as process as well. And once you are connected, you are supposed to open up an internet browser and type “tplinkwifi.net” into the search bar. That will open up the A9 quick setup page and it will also guide you through all of the steps as well. Overall the entire process is quick and easy.

Performance

The Archer A9 is rated as an AC1900 router. Which means that it can handle up to 1900 Mbps of bandwidth. Now that’s a combined amount between the two wireless bands. It divides into 1300 Mbps for 5 GHz and 600 Mbps for 2.4 GHz. Which is generally more than enough for any household.

You can connect the less demanding devices, such as your TV and printer, to 2.4 GHz and leave the more demanding devices, like computers and consoles, connected to 5 GHz. And since this is a newer router, you can expect it to perform better than most other AC1900 routers as well. It has newer hardware, which includes 128 MB of RAM and a Qualcomm QCN5502 Quad Core chipset. And because of that, it’s also better at handling lots of Wi-Fi connections and keeping the network stable.

And most importantly it’s pretty accurate in terms of speed as well. The maximum internet speed that this router can handle is 1000 Mbps. This is capped by the interface of the WAN port. Now the exact internet speed that your devices will receive depends on the distance. As in how far your devices will be from the router. The closer you are the faster speed you will obviously notice. And based on our experience, you can expect to see the promised internet speed when you are close to it.

The Archer A9 can cover up to 2000 square ft / 185 square meters of area. Which is more than perfect for apartments and medium sized homes. It can handle bigger houses as well but you may get some weak and blind corners. It will depend on where you position it and how many obstacles it will have to get through. The 3 external + 1 internal antenna solution is pretty impressive though.

Features

Unlike the A7 version, the Archer A9 does support MU-MIMO. MU-MIMO basically makes network transfer and communication much more efficient. It creates a more balanced connection between your multiple devices and the router. Which means that you are able to get much higher internet speed when you are using multiple devices simultaneously.

Besides that, the Archer A7 also supports Amazon Alexa. Which is what the “A” stands for. You can basically use Alexa to control the router with voice commands. It’s actually a pretty unique feature and while I don’t find it that useful, I’m sure that some smart home owners can appreciate it.

And finally the encryption, which is generally pretty standard with options for WPA and WPA2. WPA2 being the most popular security protocol. But this router actually has WPA3 as well, which is an improved version of WPA2. This is actually the only under $100 router that has it. So this is definitely something to consider if you are working from home for example.

Conclusion

Overall the TP-LINK Archer A9 is a very good router. It has more than decent wireless coverage and really good performance. Especially considering the price. In addition to that, this mid-range router has plenty of unique features. Such as support for voice control with Alexa and the new WPA3 security protocol.