Routers are important devices that distribute the internet from our service provider to the devices we use and manage our local network. However, these devices also have different models for different tasks.
For example, if a small number of devices are to be served, a cost-effective, small and low-power router is sufficient. In the case of a large family, using a router with WI-FI 6 support can be beneficial in terms of reducing stuttering and slowdowns.
However, if you are a gamer who is into competitive games, and if you are a publisher, the requirements are a little higher and the number of devices that appeal to you begins to decrease. Fast Ethernet sockets and the most up-to-date wireless network technologies that can handle this high data flow are inevitable.
Gamer-oriented routers are being released to meet these needs. Today we will take a closer look at one of these products, the TP-Link Archer GX90, and the features that set it apart from an average router.
When opening the box, we first see the phrase “6.6 Gigabit warp speeds” among the prominent features. That’s a little too optimistic a marketing term. Because in reality, it is not possible to experience a connection at those speeds with a single device.
Just below, we see a statement about the range of the router. It is stated that it can be used for a 3-4 bedroom house. We’ll look at that in our range test, too.
Next, we see the Game Accelerator feature, hardware features such as a 4-core processor and 2.5 Gigabit ethernet port.
When we get rid of the outer box, there is an inner cover and there are 6 usage suggestions on it, which we can call a tip.
The router itself is laid out here and is well protected with foam around it. When I took it out of the bag, the first thing that caught my attention was the high number of antenna ports in the corner.
The other is plenty of holes for passive cooling on both the top and bottom. The adapter out of the box can provide up to 50W of power. This shows us the necessity of good cooling of the device. Of course, the fact that the adapter can provide 50W of power does not mean that the device will always draw this amount of power. These figures are determined by considering the worst-case scenarios. In other words, we can say that it can reach these power values in peak use.
Next, we see 8 antennas lined up under the router. These red and black antennas are what give the router a classic gaming equipment feel. The interface of the Tether mobile application and the browser-based web interface also have this color theme.
It is very easy to attach and remove the antennas. When you press a little, they click into place immediately, you don’t need to turn them. However, these are fixed antennas, they cannot move in any direction and cannot be folded.
GX90 in terms of shape and features Tp-Link Archer AX6000reminded me of the model. It’s like they took that router and overhauled it, optimizing its internal and external features for the needs of the players and released as a new model. Of course, that’s not a bad thing because the AX6000 was a pretty good device.
The only notification light on the device is at the top, as on the AX6000. This triangular LED light, which can be lit in different colors, informs you about your network status and can be controlled by software, that is, it can be turned off when not desired.
On the side, 2 USB ports, 3.0 and 2.0 version, welcome us. By plugging your storage devices here, you can easily share files on all devices connected to the network.
The number of LAN slots is 5 pcs. We can only use two of them as WAN. In terms of speed, only one of them is 2.5 Gigabit, the others are Gigabit sockets. By placing multiple sockets, users could also be offered the opportunity to establish a high-speed wired network.
The only advantage we can see of this 2.5 Gbps slot in its current form is to connect the ethernet cable carrying over 2.5 Gbps high speed fiber internet from your service provider here and distribute this high speed internet to your home network. Unfortunately, such fast internet in Turkey can only be offered at very limited points and at very high prices.
TP-Link for setup, Tether mobile app suggests. As soon as you power up your router, several Wi-Fi networks start broadcasting and their default password is written on the label at the bottom. When you connect to them and open the Tether application, your router model is automatically detected and you can perform the installation steps.
After the installation is complete, we recommend that you use the web interface, which you can connect to by typing 192.168.0.1 in the browser address line, in order to make advanced settings and manage your network more effectively.
The first thing that draws attention in the web interface is the “Game Center” section. TP-Link has gathered the features related to gaming under this tab. When you click here, the instrument panel welcomes you. From here you can see a summary of your network traffic, router performance information, connected USB devices, and networked clients.
What the game accelerator just below does is put QoS in game mode. In other words, the network traffic of the games is given priority on the network. This also helps to reduce it if you are experiencing lag problems. But if you’re the only user on your local network and you’re not running other internet-heavy apps in the background while gaming, know that this feature won’t magically reduce latency.
Under the list here, you can see the download and upload speeds and latency of the clients.
Although the tabs under it are not directly related to the games, they are things that can be useful in troubleshooting the problems you may encounter in the games.
Wireless Network Features
This router can broadcast 3 wireless networks, so it’s a tri-band router anyway. One of these networks offers 2.4 Ghz and 574 megabits per second speed, the other two are e 5 GHz networks.
The first 5 Ghz network can connect up to an impressive 4804 megabits per second, the second up to 1201 megabits per second. The keyword here is “to”. Since the sum of all these makes about 6.6 Gbps, we already see this phrase on the box. However, it is not enough for your router to support these speeds, the device you use to connect to the network must also support these speeds.
For example, the Intel AX210-based internal Wi-Fi adapters on the motherboard of our desktop computers that we used in our test allowed a maximum of 1200 megabit connections on a 5 Ghz network. For higher speeds, you need a wireless network adapter that supports these speeds.
Difference Between 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz
If you have watched our router and network products reviews on our channel, you know that 2.4 Ghz networks are slower in terms of speed, but at 2.4 Ghz frequency, signals are more successful at breaking through thick walls than 5 Ghz.
My advice to you is that if you are not using an old device that can only see 2.4 GHz networks and 5 GHz networks cover your entire home, you should turn off 2.4 GHz networks and use only 5 GHz.
If you are not sure, you can also combine all frequencies under a single network by checking the box called Smart Link by Tp-Link. In this way, the most suitable band for the device you are using will be used with it.
We also did our range test with the smart link turned on. We gradually moved away from the GX90, which we put at one end of our office, and measured the signal quality and connection speed with the help of an application we installed on our WI-FI6 supported Samsung Galaxy S21FE phone. Even when we went from one end of the 300 square meter office to the other, the connection did not break and a minimum connection speed of 907 Mbps was maintained.
The TP-Link GX90 is a good router if you’re looking for a router with multiple antennas that will allow you to experience Wi-Fi 6 with wide coverage and very fast speeds. The software features offered for gamers are also found in other high-end routers such as the brand’s AX6000. The difference of GX90 is that it offers these features in a single category with the name of “game acceleration” in a more accessible way, and its web interface and mobile application have a black & red theme.
The single 2.5 Gigabit ethernet slot makes sense when you use it as a WAN. For example, you can provide high-speed internet to your computer or many Wi-Fi 6 supported devices in your home with the 5 Ghz Wi-Fi 6 network, which allows up to 2.5 Gigabit internet from your service provider and up to 4.8 Gbps connections. We are also expecting a gaming router from TP-Link with multiple 2.5 Gigabit slots, which we can also use as a 2.5 Gigabit switch.