TP-Link Archer AX73 AX5400 Review

TP-Link Archer AX73 AX5400
Source: TP-Link.com

Our Verdict

4.4
4.4/5

If you’re looking for a higher-performance router because you’ve signed up for a fast internet plan or moved into a medium or large-sized home, check out the AX73. It’s a great router for plans up to 800 Mbps that comes with a really wide range.

While the AX73 isn’t perfect, there are quite a few things about it that are worth getting excited about. Packed with features and performance, this thing has the potential to be one of the best routers right now. But does it live up to that potential?

Pros

Cons

Performance

4.4
4.4/5

Features

4.6
4.6/5

Design

4.4
4.4/5

Setup

4.8
4.8/5

Value

4.5
4.5/5

Recomended for:

Welcome along to our extensive review of the TP-Link Archer AX73 AX5400. We’re just going to refer to it as the AX73 from here on in!

To bring you the most accurate review we possibly could, we put the AX73 through its paces with a series of intense tests. These tests have mapped out how fast it is, how wide the range is and how good the features are.

Now that we’ve spent some time with the AX73, we’re ready to tell you all about it and give you a balanced opinion. The bottom line is that it’s very good, but there are a couple of areas we feel it could have performed better in considering the price.

Realistically, the AX73 will be a great router for a lot of people out there. But there may well be routers that are better suited to you. So read on, and you’ll be able to decide whether this could be your next router or not.

Specifications

BrandTP-Link
ModelDeco AX73 AX5400
Max Tested Wi-Fi Speed827.85 Mbps
Approximate Range100-110ft
Wireless StandardWi-Fi 6
Bands2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
WAN Port1x Gigabit
LAN Port4x Gigabit
USB Port1x USB 3.0
QoSYes
Parental ControlsYes
Guest NetworkYes
OFDMAYes
Dimensions10.7 × 5.8 × 1.9 in
Weight734g
WarrantyLimited lifetime

TP-Link Archer AX73 Overview

TP Link AX73 overview

If you’re looking for a really quick router with a wide range, the TP-Link Archer AX73 could be well worth a look. It packs a real punch with its performance which justifies its price, which is a little on the high side.

On top of that, you’ll get a whole bunch of cool features. For example, the AX73 is Mesh ready thanks to TP-Link’s OneMesh technology. While the range itself is strong in itself (100-110ft according to our tests), you can extend it seamlessly. More on that later.

Our speed tests show that the AX73 will manage a pretty awesome top speed of 827.85 Mbps from 5ft away. This means it outperforms some more expensive routers. Not bad at all.

So is there any reason you wouldn’t buy an AX73? Is it the perfect router for you? These are the kinds of questions that need to be answered. But we’re sure you’ll be able to by the time you get to the end of this article.

By the way, before you buy your AX73 just remember that it is not a modem-router combo. So if you have cable internet, you’ll need to pick up a modem as well. Here are a few of the best ones for your consideration.

Performance: 4.4

The AX73 is in the upper bracket when it comes to router prices, and that’s because it considers itself to be a performance router. But does its speed justify that? The short answer is yes.

We came to that decision by putting it to the test ourselves. On the 5 GHz band from 5ft away, we managed a top speed of 827.85 Mbps on a Wi-Fi 6 device. That makes it quite a bit quicker than the more expensive ASUS RT-AX86U which managed 784.09 Mbps in the same test.

What does 827.85 Mbps look like? Well, when we put 800 Mbps to the test, we found that it would be more than enough for a workplace of 10-20 people, let alone a family home. You’ll just need to make sure you have the internet plan to match this kind of speed. 

Interestingly, things aren’t quite so fast on the 2.4 GHz band. When we ran the same test from 5ft away on this band with a Wi-Fi 5 device instead of a Wi-Fi 6 one, the AX73 only managed a speed of 44.79 Mbps.

That’s a lot slower than the less expensive Archer AX50. This router managed a speed of 106.85 Mbps, quite a bit over double the AX73. Furthermore, the ASUS RT-AX86U outperforms the AX73. It managed 101.02 Mbps in the same test.

TP-Link AX73 vs ASUS RT-AX86U vs TP-Link AX50

For this reason, we recommend the AX73 mainly to those who have Wi-Fi 6 devices that support a 5 GHz band and internet plans of up to 800 Mbps. These are generally newer devices, such as the iPhone 11 and later or the Apple Silicon Macs.

But there’s more to it than that. The 2.4 GHz band is the one with the wider range, so at first glance it may look like it doesn’t bode well for devices further away from the router. However, the AX73 managed to salvage things with its range.

We found that it could hold a signal as far as 100-110ft, which is really impressive. That’s enough range for a medium to large-sized home, and it’s about as good as it gets for router range without extension. 

Plus, if you want to go further, you can boost the AX73’s range seamlessly thanks to its Mesh readiness. Let’s go into that in a bit more detail.

Features: 4.6

The AX73 is packed with great features that help to justify its price. Here’s a breakdown of a few of them.

OneMesh

Mesh seems to be the future, and increasingly more so the present. It allows users to extend the range of their home network without the need for additional network names. As a result, you’d be able to move around your home from satellite to satellite without ever dropping connection.

We recommend Mesh to anyone with a home of over 300 sq. ft in size. But with the AX73, it’ll be good to know that the option is there should you find that the 100-110ft range doesn’t quite cover every corner of your home (or you find yourself upgrading in size!)

Tether app

Controlling your AX73 home network couldn’t be easier thanks to the app that runs it all, Tether. You can use this to adjust any of the Wi-Fi settings including QoS and parental controls.

Plus, you can use it to set up your router in the first place. We’ll go into the setup process a little more shortly but believe us when we say, it’s easy! Furthermore, if you want to add Mesh satellites, you can easily do this through the Tether app as well.

QoS

One of those features that can be controlled through the Tether app is QoS, short for Quality of Service. In the case of the AX73, this allows you to select a handful of devices to be prioritized by the network, resulting in faster speeds and lower latency for a select period of time. 

Considering the fact that it’s possible to connect up to 200 devices to this router, QoS can be really important if you need to override most of them to get something done. Whether it be a large file download or an intense gaming session, QoS can come in really handy.

We found the QoS feature on the AX73 to be pretty good. It enables you to really customize what you want to do with your preferences and as a result, have as much control over the network as possible.

HomeProtect

TP-Link’s HomeProtect feature is pretty awesome and you get it free for life when you buy an AX73. It consists of very strong parental controls and antivirus software, helping you to protect your network and the people using it.

If you’re not familiar with parental controls, allow us to explain. Parental controls allow you to control which devices on your network can access which types of content. So if you have young children in the home, you can make sure their devices are unable to access any malicious or inappropriate content.

HomeProtect antivirus is powered by Avira, one of the best in the game for router virus protection. They’re continually updating their HomeCare supply to be able to fight off all the latest threats. Plus, they can deliver comprehensive reports so that you can know what’s going on.

Connect up to 200 devices

This one kind of speaks for itself. The AX73 allows you to connect up to 200 devices at any one time. That’s more than we’ve seen on any of the dozens of routers we’ve been testing!

There are a few cool bits of Wi-Fi technology that support this: beamforming, MU-MIMO, and OFDMA. That might seem like jargon, and that’s because it is. But let’s take a quick look at what that all means.

MU-MIMO and OFDMA often go hand in hand because of the overall result of what they do, even though they do it in very different ways. They effectively help improve the performance on multiple connected devices plus boost the number of devices that can be connected.

The way MU-MIMO achieves this is by using the beams of the router to seek out the devices whereas OFDMA assigns subsets of carriers to the individual devices. That’s pretty neat stuff, and it’s relatively new technology that comes alongside the invention of Wi-Fi 6.

Then there’s beamforming. This one actually combines the router’s beams to assist it in seeking out devices on the network, boosting range and performance.

Limited lifetime warranty

One of our favorite things about TP-Link is the fact that a lot of their routers come with a warranty for life, the AX73 included. That means when you buy an AX73, you’ll be covered for any faults for as long as you own it.

We don’t know of any other router manufacturer that extends this kind of support. The closest joint-second is two years. So, TP-Link must really be confident in the reliability of their routers!

Design: 4.4

The TP-Link Archer AX73 has most of the ports you will need unless you have a ridiculously fast internet plan and not many devices to use it with.

TP-Link AX73 front

Off the bat, there are 4 regular Gigabit LAN ports. This means you can plug in as many as four devices for wired connections using Ethernet cables. This has the benefit of faster speeds that Wi-Fi is unable to reach (even with a Wi-Fi router as quick as this).

Disappointingly, however, there is no multi-gig port on the AX73. This is something we would’ve liked to have seen in a high-performance router such as this.

TP-Link AX73 Back

A multi-gig port is a LAN port that allows for connections faster than 1 Gigabit, usually 2.5 Gig. So if you have an internet plan of 2000 Mbps or so and you want to harness most of it with one device, you’re going to need to look for another router.

The AX73 does come with a USB port and it’s not just any USB port, it’s USB 3.0! That gives you a little extra power if you need to plug in external hardware (such as a printer) or charge a device.

TP-Link AX73 above

It’s also a very cool-looking router. You can tell this is one of TP-Link’s flagship devices as they have really tried to make it look impressive, which it does. Plus, it’s not too big and nice and light so you won’t have any issues with it getting in the way or being difficult to transport.

Setup: 4.8

As a result of the Tether app, setting up your AX73 will be a walk in the park. We found the whole process to only take a couple of minutes and because it guides you through everything, even the least tech-savvy of readers should be able to work it out quickly.

Just plug your router into the mains and into the internet wall outlet using the cables that come in the router box and turn it on. While it’s booting up, download the Tether app and run it with your Bluetooth switched on.

Tether will automatically detect your router and guide you through how to set it up, which is effectively just the touch of a button.

If you don’t have a smartphone, don’t worry. You can get around this by entering “192.168.1.1” into your browser. 

Value: 4.5

The AX73 is a little on the high side, price-wise. But that’s because it’s a high-performance router. So when we compare its performance and features to some other similarly-priced routers, we can tell that it actually offers some of the best value for money in its class.

Take a look at the ASUS RT-AX86U, for example. This router is more expensive than the AX73 yet the AX73 outperforms it when looking at pure top speed. Our download speed test clocked a top speed of 827.85 Mbps for the AX73 compared to the 784.09 Mbps of the ASUS offering.

In terms of features, the ASUS and TP-Link models are pretty much neck and neck. Plus, you get more warranty with the AX73. The only thing the ASUS model really wins on is its performance with Wi-Fi 5 devices.

That’s just one example of how good the value for the AX73 is. It’d get even better marks if its 2.4 GHz band was a bit quicker!

All routers max speed - Tested by networkshardware.com TP-Link AX73

Opinions From Across the Web

Here’s the part where we take a look at what some of the other pundits have been saying about the AX73. This helps us deliver the most balanced overall opinion to our readers as possible!

Across the web, the AX73 has very strong reviews all around. A lot of critics have been heaping praise on it for its high performance, especially when compared to some even more expensive routers.

Reviewers are loving the fact that it comes loaded with excellent parental controls and QoS plus premium security. On top of that, everyone’s excited about how easy it is to add Mesh satellites to your network thanks to the inclusion of OneMesh technology.

In fact, the only real criticisms we have read about the AX73 are the fact that the 2.4 GHz band performance is a little slow and there is no multi-gig port. We’ve covered these two points in our review and we agree. But the bottom line is that the AX73 is a very good router indeed.

Other Router Options to Consider

We’ve been heaping the praise on the AX73 but it is a high-performance router and not a lot of people will need that. If you have an internet plan of 800 Mbps and/or a small-medium-sized home, you might want to save some money by going for a cheaper option.

Here’s a look at some of the alternatives you should check out.

TP-Link Archer AX50
Source: TP-Link.com

TP-Link Archer AX50

Earlier on, we mentioned how the more affordable younger sibling of the AX73, the AX50, actually had better performance on the 2.4 GHz band than the AX73. While its top speed is lower and the features aren’t as packed, this is a great router to consider.

So for those with a slightly lower internet plan or a slightly smaller

TP-Link Archer AX21 AX1800
Source: TP-Link.com

TP-Link Archer AX21

If you want to save even more money, you could always go for the AX21. Again, this has slightly slower performance, slightly less range, and slightly worse features than the AX50 but it is a fantastic budget router.

The AX21 still beats a lot of routers for performance than some that are more expensive than it so just because it’s cheap, it doesn’t mean it should be ruled out altogether by any means.

ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8) AX6600 White
Source: Asus.com

ASUS ZenWiFi AX AX6600

We’ve been mentioning OneMesh a lot in our AX73 review. But realistically, it’s not the most powerful way to get Mesh Wi-Fi. So if you do have a home of 3000 sq. ft. or more, you’ll probably be better off going for a proper Mesh system. 

We actually called the ASUS ZenWiFi AX AX6600 our favorite Mesh system right now, and that’s really saying something considering how much high quality there is out there. It might not be the perfect Mesh system for you, but it’s a great place to start looking.

Bottom Line

One of TP-Link’s most powerful routers, the AX73, does not disappoint. With fantastically fast download speeds on the 5 GHz band and the chance to connect up to 200 devices, this is a router that will satisfy a lot of different types of people.

It really is a perfect device for those with internet plans of up to 800 Mbps and medium-large homes. If you don’t find yourself falling into that category then it might still be good for you, but other routers should also be considered.

Make sure you look at our other recommendations either way. It will give you extra peace of mind that you’re making the right decision, at least!

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