TP-Link Archer GX-90 AX6600 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router Review

Online gamers usually depend on a fast system equipped with high-end hardware to gain a competitive edge. But the benefits of a state-of-the-art PC can be negated if your network isn’t up to snuff. Enter the TP-Link Archer GX-90 ($249.99). This tri-band wireless router uses Wi-Fi 6 technology to deliver the fast speed needed for online gaming. Equipped with a high-speed WAN/LAN port and a powerful processor, the GX-90 offers an elegant user interface that allows you to optimize your connections, check latency in real time and protect your network against attacks. malicious. It’s a solid performer and a great choice for gamers who need multi-gig connectivity, but you’ll get slightly better performance with our Editors’ Choice gaming router, the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400.


The design: black and red all over

The GX-90’s textured black cabinet with red accents bears a striking resemblance to the TP-Link AX11000 router we reviewed in 2020, but at 2.0 by 8.3 by 8.3 inches (HWD), it doesn’t It’s not as bulky as the 7.2 on 2020. 11.3 x 11.3 inch AX11000. The GX-90 uses eight detachable antennas, but they are not adjustable.

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An LED indicator on the top of the router lights solid white when everything is working properly, turns solid red when the router has lost internet connectivity, flashes red when Wi-Fi is off and there is no internet connection, and blinks orange when Wi-Fi is off but the router is connected to the internet.

The front of the router has a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button and controls for disabling Wi-Fi. Two USB ports (one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0) are located on the right side of the cabinet. On the back are three gigabit LAN ports, one gigabit LAN/WAN port, and one 2.5 GbE LAN/WAN port. These connectors are connected by a reset button, the power port and the power button.

Ports TP-Link Archer GX-90

The GX90 is an AX6600 tri-band router, which means it can achieve maximum data rates of up to 574 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, up to 1,201 Mbps on any of the 5 bands GHz and up to 4804 Mbps on the second 5 GHz band. , for a total of 6,600 Mbps. The second 5 GHz band is designed to be used as a dedicated channel to support critical gaming traffic.

The router is powered by a 1.5 GHz quad-core processor and supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 technologies. These include 1024 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM), Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), 160 MHz channel bandwidth, target wake-up time, MU-MIMO data streaming, beamforming and WPA3 encryption. Plus, you can create a seamless OneMesh entire home network when you pair it with compatible TP-Link OneMesh routers and range extenders.

The GX-90 can be managed using TP-Link’s Tether mobile app or a web console. Both are easy to use and offer a sleek gaming-themed UI, but the Web Console gives you more granular controls. It also offers a handy gaming dashboard that lets you view things like network performance, connected USB devices, and connected clients, all from a single screen.

TP-Link router software showing Game Center settings page

The home screen opens to a map of the network with buttons at the top labeled Network Map, Game Center, Internet, Wireless, and Advanced. The network map displays Internet status information (IP address, connection type) and allows you to view and edit router information such as wireless and guest network settings. Here you can also view client usage information and configure OneMesh settings.

TP-Link router software showing parental control settings page

Tap the Game Center button to open the Game Dashboard, where you can enable Game Accelerator to prioritize the bandwidth of your gaming PC or other devices. Here you can also configure Game Protector settings, which uses TP-Link’s HomeCare antivirus software and age-based parental controls to keep your network and client devices safe. This is also where you can view network traffic and performance statistics, configure port forwarding and VPN server settings, and run game diagnostics (network ping analysis).

The Internet button opens a screen where you can select a LAN port and connection type. Meanwhile, the Wireless button takes you to a screen where you can change your Wi-Fi SSID and password; enable Target Wake Time, Smart Connect and OFDMA options; and configure a guest network. Use the Advanced button to configure NAT forwarding and QoS settings, view system logs, and update router firmware.


The GX-90 Web Console: Simple Setup

As with parameter adjustments, the GX-90 can be installed using the mobile app or via a web browser on a connected desktop computer. I chose the latter.

I started the setup by turning off my modem, connecting it to the GX-90 router using the included LAN cable, and turning on the modem and router. I opened a browser and entered http://tplinkwifi.net in the address bar, which launched the TP-Link web console and asked me to create an administrator password.

To complete the initial setup, I configured my time zone, selected my LAN port and Internet connection type (Dynamic IP), and disabled Smart Connect to control all three bands separately. After a quick internet connection test and firmware update, the router installation was complete.


GX-90 Review: Solid Wi-Fi 6 speeds

The GX-90 performed admirably in our throughput performance tests. Its proximity test score of 120 Mbps (same room) was faster than the Linksys MR9600 (111 Mbps) and only 2 Mbps slower than the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 (122 Mbps). The Asus ROG Strix GS-AX6000 took top honors with a score of 128 Mbps. In the 30-foot test, the GX-90 scored 46 Mbps, beating the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX6000 (44 Mbps), Linksys MR9600 (38 Mbps), and Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 (38 Mbps).

We then moved on to testing on the 5 GHz band. The GX-90 delivered 840 Mbps on the 5 GHz proximity test, matching the Linksys MR9600 and just 6 Mbps behind the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX6000. The Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 leads with a score of 865 Mbps. In the 30-foot 5 GHz test, the GX-90’s 339 Mbps score topped the Linksys MR9600 (228 Mbps) and Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 (230 Mbps), but couldn’t keep up with the Asus ROG Strix GS -AX6000. (At 424 Mbps, the Asus topped this area in this test.)

To test wireless signal strength, we use an Ekahau Sidekick Wi-Fi diagnostic device and Ekahau’s Survey mobile app to generate heatmaps that show the 2.4GHz and 5GHz signal strength of the GX- 90 throughout our test house. (Ekahau is owned by Ziff Davis, the parent company of PCMag).

The circle on the map represents the location of the router and the colors represent signal strength, with darker greens indicating the strongest signal. Yellows indicate a weaker signal.

TP-Link Archer GX-90 2.4GHz Signal Strength Board

TP-Link Archer GX-90 5GHz Signal Strength Board

TP-Link Archer GX-90 2.4 GHz (top) and 5 GHz (bottom) signal strength maps

As shown on the maps, the GX-990 did a good job delivering relatively strong 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals throughout the house. As is usually the case with routers, both signals became slightly weaker in the farthest corners of the house.

We test a router’s read and write file transfer performance by timing the time it takes to move a 1.5 GB folder containing photos, videos, music, and office document files between a USB 3.0 drive connected to the router and a desktop computer. pc. The GX90’s score of 70 Mbps on the write test was a bit faster than the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX6000 (69 Mbps), but not as fast as the Linksys MR9600 and Netgear Nighthawk XR1000, both of which achieved 73Mbps.

The GX-90’s score of 68 Mbps on the read test was the slowest of the bunch. The Linksys MR9600 scored 70 Mbps, the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 scored 76 Mbps, and the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX6000 hit a fast 85 Mbps.


A tri-band gaming champion

If you’re looking to take your online gaming to the next level, the TP-Link GX-90 AX6600 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router can help you get there. Armed with Wi-Fi 6 circuitry, three high-speed radio bands, and a multi-gig LAN/WAN port, the GX-90 delivered strong throughput scores in our benchmarks and didn’t fail. had no issues delivering strong Wi-Fi signals throughout our test. residence.

The router offers a sleek gaming console that lets you monitor router LAN and CPU activity, optimize your network for gaming, and protect your network from malicious attacks. It also comes with plenty of non-gaming essentials, including strong parental controls. Still, if you don’t need multi-gig connectivity for wired connections, you’ll get slightly better wireless performance for the same price with our Editors’ Pick, the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX6000.

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Harry D. Gonzalez