TP-Link is known for its value-for-money offerings and for the knack for finding the sweet spot between price, utility, and features. Does it get the balance right in Archer A20 as well? Is this tri-band router suitable for everyone? How does it fare in gaming? We shall find out everything in this detailed review of the TP-Link Archer A20.
First, how does it differ from its predecessor?
TP-Link overhauls the entire hardware unit. TP Link Archer A20 router goes for a Broadcom chipset with a powerful processing unit and higher working memory to accommodate improved throughput capacity and an additional 5GHz band. TP-Link also squeezes two USB ports, which were missing in the previous version, i.e., Archer A10.
- TP-Link Archer A20 Specs
- TP-Link Archer A20 Review
- Frequently Asked Questions
TP-Link Archer A20 Specs
|Wireless Standard||Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)|
|Speeds||750 Mbps (2.4GHz) + 1625 Mbps (5GHz) + 1625 Mbps (5GHz)|
|Range/Coverage||Up to 3000 Sq Ft|
|Processor||1.8GHz Broadcom BCM4908 (Quad-Core)|
|Voice Assistant||Amazon Alexa|
TP-Link Archer A20 Review
Overview of How I tested the router:
TP-Link Archer A20 Tri-Band Router is Suitable for:
- Large duplex homes
- Automated homes with smart gadgets
- SOHO setups
- 30-40 devices on a network
Pros & Cons of TP-Link Archer A20:
- Tri-Band at an affordable price
- Link Aggregation support
- HomeCare Security protection
- Works with Amazon Alexa
- MU-MIMO & Beamforming
- Smart Connect feature
- Non-Adjustable antennas
TP-Link Archer A20 Speeds & Performance
Here comes one of the most critical aspects of the TP Link AC4000 review.
Unlike the TP-Link Archer A7, the A20 operates simultaneously on tri-bands. So, it gets a higher throughput capacity and handles more devices with ease courtesy of an additional 5GHz band. Learn more in my tri-band vs dual-band comparison.
That said, A20 promises 750Mbps on 2.4GHz, and 1625 Mbps each on its dual 5GHz channels. The aggregated speed of 4Gbps and multiple data streams bring a lot of potential to your internet connection.
With the 1 Gig plan from AT&T Fiber, the speeds were astonishing.
In the proximity test, my iPhone 11 Pro max connected to the 5GHz band clocked over 820 Mbps of download speed. The upload speed reaches close to 490 Mbps within 5ft of the router.
Also Read: What are good download and upload speeds?
Over an Ethernet line, I observed my PC hitting download speeds of 900 Mbps easily. The upload speeds remained well above 500 Mbps. This was pretty impressive for a Wi-Fi 5 device. The legacy devices connecting to the 2.4GHz band raked over 250 Mbps downloads and 5Mbps uploads.
WiFi Coverage & Connectivity
The TP-Link Archer A20 range extends over 3000 Sq Ft. It is an excellent choice for larger multiplex homes with smart home gadgets. Credit to the 6-range boosting high-powered antennas encircling the device, it caters to large surface areas.
On top of the range boosters, the antennas are reinforced with Beamforming, a technology which detects usage and focuses signals towards the devices. The laptop sharing the wireless bandwidth could run multiple streams of YouTube videos in HD without hindrances.
With MU-MIMO support, devices get reduced waiting time for data transmission. This allows close to 40 devices to share the network and access high speeds quickly.
TP Link Archer A20 router comes with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Connect all your primary devices to the Ethernet port. TV desktops, laptops, and gaming consoles will have access to the stability of wired internet.
One of the biggest advantages of Archer A20 is the inclusion of 2 USB ports, 1 USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0. Connect your printer to the USB 2.0 port and the NAS device to the USB 3.0 slot for fast data transfers. The test read and write speeds from our hard disk to laptop were comfortably above 50 MB/s, which makes this an excellent fit for office use.
Service Package Suitability
TP-Link AC4000 Tri-Band WiFi router can handle up to 1 Gigabit package. A Gigabit plan will be overkill if you live in a household with less than 10-15 devices. The 300-500 Mbps plans of Verizon. Cox, Xfinity would be sufficient. Choose the right plan according to usage and preferences.
Note: If you plan to go for Gig internet, pair Archer A20 with one of the top gigabit modems for higher speeds and throughput. And if you choose to subscribe to a low-tier service package, I’d recommend the Motorola MB7621 & Netgear CM500 (check reviews and decide accordingly!)
Household with gaming enthusiasts, Twitch streamers, content creators, office setups, or smart homes; If you fall under any of these categories, go for a 1Gbps connection with Google Fiber, AT&T, Verizon FiOS, or Xfinity.
Still confused? Read my comparison between Google Fiber and AT&T Fiber.
TP-Link AC4000 Tri-Band WiFi router review is incomplete without discussing security features. Apart from the standard setup of the WPA2 encryption, SPI firewall, and access controls, TP-Link AC4000 offers commercial-grade protection with TP-Link HomeCare.
You’ll have access to a detailed set of notifications and reports with protection from Malicious sites and Port Intrusion. The router also checks for external infected devices and isolates them from the network.
If you live in a household with kids, you could hardly go wrong with detailed parental controls. Create dedicated profiles for your kids, map the devices to the profile, and set up access rules and content filters for the profiles. You’ll be able to schedule their internet access, block applications, and access a detailed report of their internet activity.
TP-Link Archer A20 Setup
Irrespective of your choice of model, the TP-Link web portal, or the Tether App, the Archer A20 setup is quick and straightforward. The interface is user-intuitive for the newbies to pick up and get used to the network management in no time.
Tether app allows you to prioritize the bandwidth for your devices. You can choose the type of activity, gaming & streaming, and assign bandwidth proportionally to these activity groups. Once you add smart home devices to the application, you can automate them with triggers.
Hardware & Internals
TP-Link uses a Broadcom-based 64-bit processor clocking at 1.8GHz. It also has three co-processors to help the router handle the data loads. The 512MB operating memory and 128MB flash storage come into play when the smart home devices are attached to your router.
We tested the performance with the gaming sessions on PS4. Wired to the router, I ran a few weekly sessions with Assassin’s Creed and The Witcher in medium-high graphics settings. The performances were seamless.
We tested music streaming, surfing, and video calling with no hassles. The router was connected to our camera throughout the week, which hardly affected the overall performance. At any point, at least 20 devices were hogging down the internet; the Archer A20 could handle it pretty well.
Design & Connectivity
TP-Link uses one of its trademarks, yet a unique square design for this router. A vented black chassis comes with grooves to accommodate the 6 folding antennas. You’ll find all the LED indicators on the front and three antennas on either side in a unit measuring 7.9 x 7.9 x 1.5 inches in dimension and weighing slightly over 2 pounds.
On the rear side, TP-Link finds room for 4 Ethernet ports, 1 WAN port, and 2 USB ports along the standard button setup. The vents on the bottom side ensure the high-speed processor doesn’t heat up during the data-heavy sessions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, Archer A20 is one of the best routers in the TP-Link portfolio of products. A tri-band operation with 4Gbps aggregate speeds and excellent NAS performance makes it a great value-for-money router for gigabit connections.
Credit to the 6 high-performance antennas and beamforming technology, TP-Link AC4000 can extend its signal up to 3000 sq ft. If you get the placement right, you’ll be able to cover the front yard/backyard and duplex homes with minimum hassles.
Its throughput capacity of 4000 Mbps and support to MU-MIMO makes it capable of catering to up to 40 devices, including automated smart home gadgets. The additional 5GHz bandwidth and smart connect feature substantially impact the load between multiple bands.
The Archer A20 does not support a mesh network. It is not compatible with the One Mesh technology offered by TP-Link. While you can couple an extender with this router, you’ll not be able to exploit the seamless connectivity and easy management.
No, Archer A20 wireless router doesn’t support OpenWRT, nor does it support DD-WRT. The earlier versions of the Archer models, A5, A6, A7, C5, C6, C7, C8, and C9, are the routers that work with OpenWRT or DD-WRT.
TP-Link Archer A20 delivered excellent throughput and stable performance for an entire week. For a non-gaming router, the performances were impressive. If you have a mixed bunch of legacy and modern smart gadgets, you’ll be able to put the smart connect feature to good use.
You can deploy the Link Aggregation features if you want additional bandwidth for wired devices. The wired connectivity and solid NAS performances were the standout features that make it an all-around performer for homes and offices.
TP-Link Archer A20 Review $107
TP-Link AC4000 Review Summary
TP-Link Archer A20 is a splendid tri-band router on budget. It offers 4Gbps of speed capacity and runs on Wi-Fi 5 standard. It offers excellent coverage and comes with good features. Here are my overall ratings:
- Speeds & Throughput: 4.3/5
- Wi-Fi Coverage: 4.4/5
- Security Standards: 4.0/5
- Ports & Connectivity: 4.2/5
- Installation & Management: 4.5/5
- Price to Performance: 4.5/5