Today we present you the TP-Link Archer A20 review, because why not? Seriously speaking, if you’re looking for a congestion killer with solid performance and reasonably priced, it doesn’t get much better than this TP-Link router.
Retailing for significantly less than two hundred bucks, the Archer A20 AC4000 comes with a ton of features, and solid performance for congested networks, which means it offers very fast file transfer performance and solid throughput, not to mention a rich suite of built-in network security tools and comprehensive parental controls. But let’s not anticipate.
Before we proceed with the tech-specs, keep in mind that the 6 (!) antennae are designed to literally obliterate Wi-Fi dead spots, and while we’re at it, check out this article on the best Wi-Fi router for long-range, especially if you’re on a tight budget.
Also, before you go on a shopping spree, make sure you know the difference between 2.4 ghz and 5 ghz Wi-Fi.
Let’s begin with the tech specs.
(750 Mbps + 1,650 Mbps + 1,650 Mbps)
2.4 GHz, 5 GHz-1, 5 GHz-2
1.8 GHz 64-bit quad-core CPU
512 MB RAM
One USB-A 3.0
One USB-A 2.0
MU-MIMO, Smart Connect, RangeBoost, Link Aggregation, Quality of Service, Antivirus, Parental Controls
What is it
To make a long and boring story short and sweet, the TP-Link Archer A20 is the last router you’ll ever have to buy for your smart home. The thing is, home networks are becoming increasingly congested, due to the proliferation of smart stuff (appliances, speakers, appliances, sex dolls, you name it), and the TP-Link Archer A20 is the final solution to any congestion problem.
Speaking of congestion, if you add into the mix smartphones, gaming consoles, streaming players, tablets, laptops etc. you’ll start to understand why TP-Link put 6 antennae on this router. So, this is basically a tri-band router that offers robust parental controls, solid throughput and no less than 3 years of free network security courtesy of Trend Micro.
The router is fairly easy to setup and install via its mobile app or using a web console, and it’s an excellent choice for both fast file transfer performance and downloading stuff/moving large blocks of data.
Design and Features
In terms of design, TP-Link didn’t try very hard to convince you that this is not a router but something from outer space. As in, the Archer A20 looks very much like its siblings, sharing the same design TP-Link used in several previous routers.
Everything is shrouded in black plastic, and the outer shell of the router features several breathing holes across the top and bottom, designed to dissipate heat.
Design-wise, the router looks unassuming and pretty much unremarkable, but you’ll definitely notice the six antennas, 3 on each side, which would make it pretty hard to miss. Also, the router is relatively compact, measuring 7.9 x 7.9 x 1.5 inches (200 x 200 x 39 mm), except from the antennas, which measure 4.5 inches (114 mm) when extended.
The front of the router is home to the regular batch of system lights, which indicate the status of each Wi-Fi band, connected USB devices and your internet connection. You’ll also discover a WPS button that will help you with connecting wireless devices nice and easy, a button to put the router in “sleep” (night) mode (lights off), and a toggle for killing the Wi-Fi signal (on/off).
As usual with high-performance routers, the Archer A20 sports 4 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports around the rear, 1 USB-A 3.0 port, plus 1 USB-A 2.0 port, as well as a power switch and a reset button. We’re glad to discover the USB 3.0 port, which is great for connecting media drives for easy access across your home network from all devices, and truth be told, this is something you don’t always find on affordable routers.
If you’re a technology fiend, you’ll definitely love this section, because here you will understand what your money will buy you, and if it’s worth the trouble: the Archer A20 runs on a Broadcom 1.8GHz quad-core CPU and 512MB of RAM.
Since this is an AC4000 router, it means it can reach maximum signal rates of 750Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio band and 1,625Mbps on each of the two 5GHz radio bands (tri-band baby!). The router uses Wave 2 802.11ac tech, which means MU-MIMO simultaneous data streaming, direct-to-client signal beamforming, and SmartConnect (automatic band steering) support.
Needless to say, we have zero complaints in terms of “value for money”, i.e. this is an impressive router considering the price asked.
Setup and Management
Most importantly, this advanced router is fairly easy to set up, even for non tech-savvy users. Setting it up is a simple process, especially if you download and install TP-Link’s Tether app for iOS and Android smartphones. You can also use the web interface if you’re an advanced user.
The app makes the installation process a child’s play, being one of the most user-friendly ways to sort things up. All you have to do is to plug all your devices/cables into your router, turn it on, download and open the app and get things started. The app will guide you through the process step by step, and you’ll have to pick your network name, assign a password, and choose which WiFi bands you want to use.
With the setup process taken care of, the app will allow you to tinker with various settings, as it acts as a more simplified and user-friendly version of the web interface. The app also allows you to quickly check for firmware updates, see a list of devices connected to your router, reset the router by remote, and see which bands are in use.
Moreover, the Tether app becomes very useful when it comes to turning on guest networks and connecting your router to cool services like Amazon’s Alexa and IFTTT (If This Then That) for voice control and automation.
However, the web interface offers a more robust set of customization options, including turning on and adjusting the built-in Antivirus powered by Trend Micro, Quality of Service (QoS) to prioritize traffic and parental controls.
Basically, the web interface allows you an “in-depth” immersion into your router’s settings, but for most people, this is esoteric stuff, as in you’ll never have to touch things like granular DNS and MAC settings in the web interface.
But, if you’re trying to enable features like Smart Connect, which dynamically switches your devices between 5GHz and 2.4GHz to maintain the best connection and combines the 3 WiFi bands under one SSID, the only way to go is via web interface.
Due to its solid hardware, the router will meet and exceed basically anyone’s expectations for home use. The TP-Link Archer A20 has a total output of 4,000 Mbps, which is split between 750 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,650 Mbps on each of the 2x 5GHz bands.
Basically, these speeds are overkill compared to what you’re likely to encounter in virtually any real-life scenario, that if you’re a typical home-user and not a hacker, crypto-bug or whatever.
If you’re looking for a solid AC4000 MU-MIMO Tri-Band WiFi Router, the Archer A20 comes highly recommended.
- Easy setup
- Consistent speeds
- Excellent traffic handling
- Solid performance
- Antivirus included
- Alexa voice control
- Kind of bulky with antennas extended