A router known for its unbelievable features and technologies, a well-known router from TP-Link called Archer A9. Does it support MU-MIMO and Beamforming? What about Alexa compatibility? Is it the best router under 100 bucks? Is this the best router for Xfinity? Let’s find out!
Tp-Link Archer A9 is one of the popular models from Tp-Link. It is because of its features and advanced technologies for under 100 bucks. For an in-depth review, I’ve taken some of the crucial factors out of the box. The factors, such as design, range & coverage, performance, connectivity, and software.
Before I walk you through these features, let me introduce three of the main features that Tp-Link Archer A9 carries:
- First, its MU-MIMO technology support,
- Second, its compatibility with Amazon Alexa,
- And third, Beamforming technology.
Pros, Cons & Verdict: TP-Link Archer A9
Pros & Cons of Tp-Link Archer A9
What I like:
- It’s very affordable
- Smart connect, MU-MIMO, Beamforming, and airtime fairness
- The TP-Link Tether app
- Its Design
- Compatible with IFTTT and Alexa
- WPA3 security encryption
What I don’t:
- Its preset time controls
- Port forwarding
Verdict: My thought on Archer A9
For the money, I’d say it TP-Link Archer A9 is the best router you have. It is the best router for a household with an average number of devices. However, I won’t suggest it for people with heavy networking tasks, and they might need something more robust.
Review: TP-Link Archer A9 AC1900 Dual-band Wireless Router
Design: The overall design of Tp-Link Archer A9
The design of the router is simple or, say, quite basic. It comes in gloss black color with typical-looking three external antennas in the back. Apart from those antennas, the back panel also houses the power On/Off button, WPS button, and reset button. Its front has some indicator lights to show the status of the router.
When it comes to the physical appearance, the router has a tiny Tp-Link branding on it. Moreover, the router looks smaller than other routers or the discontinued Tp-Link Archer ‘C’ series. Talking about its dimensions, it measures (9.6×6.4×1.3) inches (long x wide x thick). As a result, you don’t need much space for the router on the table.
The external antennas we talked about are adjustable; you can swivel them. For example, you can swivel 90 degrees from front to back while 180 degrees from side to side. However, there is an additional antenna as well, which is onboard and invisible from the outside. Moreover, you’ll see vent holes located on the top with venting recesses that cover and hide the venting.
As far as the router placement is concerned, you have both options: place it on a desk and hang it on a wall. If you wish to hang the router on a wall, you’ll find two mounting holes on the back of the router.
The overall design of the router seems purposeful. For example, the venting recesses do two jobs: first, they hide the venting, and second, they cover the router to look more arrogant and aesthetic. I also like the adjustability of those antennas, and it helps to improve the Wi-Fi range of the router by swiveling them into specific directions.
Wireless Connectivity: Frequency bands and Speeds
The Tp-Link Archer A9 utilizes dual frequency bands: the 5GHz band and 2.4GHz band. The 5GHz band can deliver up to 1300Mbps, while the 2.4GHz band max out speeds at 600Mbps. Therefore, you get around 1.9Gbps as a total of maximum Wi-Fi speeds.
MU-MIMO: Multiple devices & Multiple streams at once
The Archer A9 supports an advanced technology called (3×3) MU-MIMO (Multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output). The number (1×1, 2×2, 3×3) refers to simultaneous streams at a time. So in the case of MU-MIMO (3×3), the router can handle three streams simultaneously. Most expensive routers offer more streams, such as 8×8 and 10×10.
Verdict: Multiple devices
Keeping the price in mind, The Archer A9’s performance over multiple devices is acceptable. Though, unfortunately, most wireless routers in this price range don’t offer MU-MIMO technology. Therefore, buying TP-Link Archer A9 for multiple devices will be a smart decision.
Note: In my testing, I was using my Phone, my gaming console, laptop, and a couple of smart home devices at once without any lag. However, I could experience noticeable lag when I connected more devices, such as two streaming devices and two more laptops.
Airtime Fairness & Smart Connect: Other noticeable technologies of Archer A9
The Tp-Link Archer A9 has two other useful technologies: Smart connect and Airtime Fairness. To switch the bands automatically between the connected devices, the Archer A9 utilizes Smart Connect Technology. Besides, it keeps the network smooth by preventing the slower devices that dominate the network.
However, this process can be done manually because sometimes Smart Connect assigns the devices to band automatically for no reason. So, unfortunately, I don’t consider Smart Connect feature that useful. However, It’s okay for people with no technical knowledge.
Wired Connectivity: Wired connection on Archer A9?
The Archer A9 has five Gigabit Ethernet ports: one WAN (internet) port and four LAN ports. You can connect your laptop, gaming console, or other LAN-enabled devices to these ports.
Moreover, you have a USB 2.0 port on the router for connecting an external hard drive. Also, it supports FTP and media server functions.
Performance: All you need to know about Archer A9′ performance
The network performance of the router is very impressive for the price. I can’t ignore the fact that I was getting amazing speeds for my 400Mbps internet plan—The 5GHz band was around 360Mbps, while the 2.4GHz band was touching 80Mbps.
However, it is fair to say that speeds were fluctuating with distances. For example, the location with the most obstacles in my house, I was getting up to 130Mbps on the 5GHz band and around 35Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.
For an optimum distance and location, Archer A9’s network performance is up to the mark. However, you might experience slow Wi-Fi in dead zones. In my case, it was my garage, a guest room, and a backyard. Apart from them, everywhere, the signal remained smooth, reliable, and strong.
Note: I advise you to use Wi-Fi repeaters or extenders in order to tackle the dead zones of your house. Or pick a more powerful router accordingly.
Range & Coverage: TP-Link Archer A9’s Range and Coverage
As with all routers, the range that the router brands claim has nothing to do with the real world. Therefore, Tp-Link Archer A9 follows the same. The range of the Archer A9 that Tp-Link claims is around 2,500 square feet; though, it looks good in the spec sheet.
However, some factors do exist and impact the range. It includes obstructions, wall thickness, devices working on the 2.4GHz band, ISP, and many others.
Not 2,500 square feet, but I don’t have a problem saying that the TP-Link Archer A9 was working perfectly in my 2,000 square feet home.
Software: What about the Tether App of TP-Link?
Tether app is a very impressive network management app. Its user interface is quite simple and easy to walk through, and it takes only a few steps to set up your networks using the app. Besides, you can create a guest network within seconds. So homes with frequent guest visits know the importance of guest networks. If you’re one of them, you’ll love the tether app.
You’ve different options to choose from for internet security encryptions—From WEP to the latest WPA3 encryption (after firmware updates, you can get WPA3). Besides the encryptions, you have options to set up parental controls.
The TP-Link Archer A9 is compatible with IFTTT and Amazon Alexa, and it should be an advanced feature for a router that comes under 100 dollars. With voice commands (for example, Alexa, ask Tp-Link to enable/disable guest network), you’ll have complete control over the router.
Another important use of the Tether app is to show the data of each connected device with the assigned band. Moreover, there is an option notifying you when a new device comes into existence, and you also get time-to-time firmware update notifications.
Specifications: Supported Features & Technologies Of Archer A9
1. Wireless Specs: All about Tp-Links Archer A9’s Wireless Capacity
Wireless Standards: What Wireless standard does Archer A9 support?
The Archer A9 offers Wi-Fi 5 or wireless ‘AC’ standard. As a dual-band router, its 5GHz band handles IEEE 802.11ac/n/a, while the 2.4GHz band IEEE 802.11n/b/g.
Wi-Fi Speeds: How fast is Tp-Link Archer A9?
Since the Archer A9 boasts dual-band functionality, it offers combined maximum Wi-Fi speeds of up to 1.9Gbps. The 5GHz band achieves up to 1300Mbps@802.11ac, while its 2.4GHz band delivers 600Mbps using the wireless 802.11n standard.
Wi-Fi Range: Range & Coverage
Tp-Link Archer A9 has four high-performance fixed Antennas—three external and one internal. These high-gain Antennas are designed to work with Beamforming technology in order to cover more directions.
Wi-Fi Capacity: Bands and Modes
When it comes to Wi-Fi capacity, Archer A9 has two working frequency bands: 5GHz and 2.4Ghz. Remember, the more the bands, the better the performance. Both bands are designed to communicate with MU-MIMO technology in order to handle multiple devices at once.
Working Modes: Different ways to use Archer A9
The Archer A9 has two working modes: Access Point mode and Router Mode. You can use its access point mode to extend the Wi-Fi range.
2. Hardware Specs: All about Tp-Link Archer A9’s hardware
Processor: How powerful CPU does the Archer A9 have?
The Archer A9 is equipped with a single-core CPU. In addition, it utilizes a Qualcomm QCN5502 chipset with 128MB of RAM.
Ports: Different ports you’ll find on Archer A9?
On the back panel of the Archer A9, you’ll find four Gigabit LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port. Next to these five LAN ports, you have one USB 2.0 port.
The USB port lets you connect any USB-enabled flash drive and supports NTFS & FAT32 Partition Formats. Moreover, the USB port supports three functions: FTP Server, Samba Server, and Media Server. You’ll find these functions inside the USB settings of the router.
Buttons: The Physical buttons of Archer A9?
The Archer A9 has three typical buttons: WPS, Power On/Off button, and a Reset button. To power up the device, it comes with a power adapter with a power rating of 12V ⎓ 1.5A.
3. Security Specs: What about Archer A9’s security?
Wi-Fi Encryption: Does Archer A9 support the latest Wi-Fi Encryption?
The Archer A9 has four Wi-Fi security encryption protocols. It includes WEP, WPA, WPA2, and (802.1x) WPA/WPA2-Enterprise. However, unfortunately, The TP-Link Archer A9 doesn’t support the latest WPA3 encryption.
Review Update: With the latest firmware update, you’ll be able to use the latest WPA3 encryption.
Network Security: Does Archer A9 supports the SPI Firewall security?
The Archer A9 is SPI firewall supported. Also, it supports Access Control, IP & MAC Binding, and Application Layer Gateway. Moreover, its Guest network has both frequency bands available. However, you’re allowed to create one guest network on the 5GHz band and one on the 2.4GHz band.
In addition to the network security, the Archer A9 can be used as a VPN server, and it supports OpenVPN and PPTP.
4. Software Specs: The Tether App Of Archer A9
Internet Protocols: Does Archer A9 supports more secured internet protocol IPv6?
The TP-Link Archer A9 supports both IPv4 and IPv6 internet protocols. There is no doubt that IPv6 version 6 is an advanced protocol, and it offers more features and supports an infinite number of addresses. So it’s very impressive that the router includes it.
Parental Controls: Has Archer A9 parental controls?
The Archer A9 has advanced parental settings and controls; it includes URL Filtering and Time Controls. You’ll need to click the Basic tab and then Parental Controls or Advanced to access parental controls.
Wi-Fi Types: Archer A9 supports Dynamic IP?
Yes, TP-Link Archer A9 supports several WAN types, such as Dynamic IP, Static IP, L2TP, PPTP, and PPPoE. When it comes to the question, you can assign dynamic IP addresses using PPPoE and DHCP.
Cloud Service: OTA updates on the Archer A9?
The TP-Link Archer A9 gets OTA firmware updates time-to-time. Moreover, it has DDNS and TP-Link ID options available as a Cloud Service.
NAT Forwarding: Port Forwarding and Triggering On Archer A9?
The Archer A9 is a great router for NAT forwarding. It can be done using several methods, such as Port forwarding, Port Triggering, UPnP, and of course, DMZ.
IPTV: How to configure IPTV on Archer A9?
IPTV stands for the abbreviation of Internet Protocol Television. Like NAT forwarding, it also has several different modes for you, including IGMP proxy, TAG VLAN, Bridge, and IGMP Snooping.
In order to configure the IPTV function using different modes, go through this article. https://www.tp-link.com/us/support/faq/1538/
DHCP: What options does your Archer A9 offer for DHCP?
DHCP is like a network server that automatically assigns IP addresses to clients. Therefore, DHCP is an essential function for a router. On Archer A9, you have three different options for DHCP, such as Address Reservation, DHCP client list, and Server.
DDNS: Dynamic DNS on the Archer A9?
The DDNS function carries three service providers, such as DynDNS, No-IP, and TP-Link. The function is simple to access, go Advanced tab, click network, and select Dynamic DNS.
Management & Setup: TP-Link Tether App
The management and setup of the router can be done with ease using the Tp-Link Tether App. Also, you have web-based management allowing you to access the router’s firmware using your favorite browser. If you’re interested in seeing its user interface, take a look at its web emulator. https://emulator.tp-link.com/a9v6/index.html
5. Physical Specs: What do you get inside the box of Archer A9?
Dimension: The dimensions of TP-Link Archer A9?
The Tp-Link Archer A9 measures (243.5×186.5×32.7)mm or (9.6×7.3×1.3)in.
Box: What else do you get with the Archer A9 router?
When it comes to package contents, it includes a Power Adapter, an RJ45 Ethernet Cable, a quick installation guide, and of course, the router itself.
Conclusion: My Final Verdict on TP-Link Archer A9
With so many advanced features and technologies, I’d give the router first position on my list. From small to medium homes, the TP-Link A9 will be the best pick for you.
Who is it for?
Everyone with a limited number of devices can have the TP-Link Archer A9. However, if you want the router for a large home and serious gaming, I’d suggest you look for a more powerful router.