The Archer A6 vs. A7 – Finding the best Wi-Fi Router for your Needs

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TP Link Vs Netgear

Choosing the right Wi-Fi router for your office or residence is a crucial aspect when considering your particular online needs. Archer A6 and A7 both represent great options in this market – with the former featuring a more recent Qualcomm chipset than the latter. 

Choosing a suitable Wi-Fi router requires you to look at a number of elements such as the various speeds available at both long and short range. Issues such as the chipset in use can also play a big role in determining performance levels. These aspects are not easy to decipher with one glance, so you’re going to need to take time to look at the information provided with the specifications of a certain model. The Archer series has produced a line of reliable routers for those in need of an affordable option featuring quality service. Archer A6 and A7 are both excellent options when considering these needs. This review is intended to dive into deeper detail regarding these two Wi-Fi routers, as a means of helping you make a well-informed decision when choosing between the two.

What are the Differences between the Archer A6 and A7?

Model
Archer A6
Archer A7
MU-MIMO & Beamforming
Yes
No
Chipset
Qualcomm QCA9886
Qualcomm QCA9880
Speed (Long range)
421 Mbps – Download speed

499 Mbps – Upload speed

331 – Download speed

309 – Upload speed

Antenna
5 (4 external and 1 internal)
3 (fixed)

Archer A6 vs. A7 – How do they compare?

Capacity 

The first issue to be taken into consideration is the capacity of the routers involved. Both the Archer A6 and A7 come well equipped to cater for this need. A6 integrates the use of a more modern chipset in Qualcomm QCA9886, giving it the additional ability to boast MU-MIMO and Beamforming features – this gives it a wider range than most of the available options in the market. It’s capable of supporting a dual-band wireless AC reaching up to AC1200 and features four external antennas in its design.

Archer A7, on the other hand, beats the A6 when it comes to the potential range enjoyed under certain circumstances. This is because this router is capable of implementing a stronger AC1750 client with its operations, an aspect that is not available with many price-friendly routers in the market. A7 also comes with fewer antennas, featuring just three fixed options. It should also be noted that integration of the new chipset with the A6 makes it a better option when working with an AC1200 client, due to the Beamforming and MU-MIMO abilities included with its features.

Positioning in Relation to Signal Strength

One aspect that not many people take into consideration is the placement of your router once acquired. Though both the Archer A6 and A7 have great signal range in average sized rooms or apartments (between 100 – 1000 square feet), its location can also play a role in how efficient the signal will be. Unfortunately, due to its design, it’s impossible to mount these devices onto a wall or other vertical surfaces. As such, you will need a flat surface area that allows adequate room for the antennas to bounce around any information processed. Trying to hide the router, like keeping it in a cabinet, for example, may not be a good idea when looking to enjoy strong and clear signals. You will need to identify suitable spaces such as the top of a table, shelf, or cabinet. Finding a flat surface that is based above most things in your apartment, such as the highest shelf in a room is also a recommendable strategy when looking to boost your signal’s strength with these routers.

Fixed Antennas

Another element that should be noted when dealing with the Archer A6 and A7 is the nature of their antennas. Antennas are responsible for sending wireless signals across the area involved, so their presence is a crucial part of a router’s design. Though antennas in both the A6 and A7 accommodate 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bandwidths which are fairly suitable for residential needs, the nature of their installation means that they cannot be modified. The fact that they can’t be detached means that you can’t upgrade this sector when looking to increase the strength of your signal. If you want to enhance your bandwidth in this manner, you’re just going to have to acquire another option in the market. However, this is not a big issue as most people opting for this router will probably not be thinking of implementing strange or unique alterations to their device.

TP-Link Tether App and Other Support Systems 

TP-Link Tether App is a mobile application that can be connected to your Wi-Fi router. The app serves as a mobile interface and lets you gain access to some settings on the A6 and A7 from a remote location. This can be a great help when you want to make a simple change or need to look up some information – such as how many people are connected to your network. It can be easily downloaded onto your phone and setting it up is a straightforward process. Even first-time users will have an easy time when connecting it to their router. This mobile-friendly feature is available for both Android and iOS devices.

It should be noted that one cannot expect the app to simplify every matter concerned with management of your router settings. As such, the app will not be as powerful as accessing the control hub itself. However, if you simply want to see who has logged on to your Wi-Fi or observe the strength of the signal, then these are things that can be easily accomplished with the induction of this mobile assistant. It’s available with both Archer A6 and A7.

Range and Capacity 

Archer A6 and A7 both exhibit impressive ranges for their prices. External antennas available with these devices are designed to boost the strength of the signal, allowing you to enjoy a stronger connection in the process. The presence of 2.4 Ghz and 5 GHz channels ensures you can handle different types of workloads when online. Archer A6 boasts a stronger capacity when it comes to speeds and range, and also features an internal antenna with its collection. The 2.4 GHz channel is capable of performing at speeds of 450 Mbps, while its 5 GHz can reach up to 1300 Mbps. A6 supports both IPv4 and IPv6, making it suitable for devices using older internet protocols in the market. A7, on the other hand, only offers IPv6 capabilities as it has been designed to move with the times.

Using Ookla’s speed test and a computer with an AC1200 card, Archer A6 exhibited a download speed of 421 Mbps and an upload speed of 499 Mbps at long range. A short-range test provided a download speed of 480 Mbps and an upload speed of 501 Mbps. Archer A7, on the other hand, was a little behind in both categories. This device offered a download speed of 331 Mbps and an upload speed of 309 Mbps at long-range distances. Short-range distance tests revealed a download speed of 413 Mbps and an upload speed of 474 Mbps. AC1200 wireless cards were used in the tests because this is the option that is available with most devices in the current market. As mentioned earlier, Archer A7 is also compatible with AC1750 cards, for those who would like to expand the total range enjoyed.

Structure and Design 

At a glance, it can be argued that Archer A6 and A7 have very similar physical features when it comes to their appearance. The slim design incorporated with both models was integrated to make it easily fit into various spaces, as well as accommodate the antennas jutting from their body. At a closer look, it can be argued that A7 features a slightly thicker body than A6, allowing for a somewhat more stable base. A6, however, exhibits slicker contours with its design – giving a more aesthetic appearance. A7 also comes with an additional USB 2.0 port located at the back of the device, something that is not available with A6. This feature allows you to share files with others on your home network using a physical portable hard drive. The wide surface area of the A6 and A7 base ensures that they cannot be easily tipped over mistakenly.

The Archer A6 vs. A7 – A Comparison Overview

The Archer A6

TP-Link AC1200 Gigabit Smart WiFi Router - 5GHz Gigabit Dual Band MU-MIMO Wireless Internet Router, Supports Beamforming, Guest WiFi and AP mode, Long Range Coverage by 4 Antennas(Archer A6), Black
  • JD Power Award ---Highest in customer satisfaction for wireless routers 2017 and 2019
  • Dual band router upgrades to 1200 Mbps high speed internet (300mbps for 2.4GHz + 900Mbps for 5GHz),...

Archer A6 is a great solution for those looking for affordable Wi-Fi routers without sacrificing the quality entailed. It is derived from the TP-Link line of products, which is a brand name often connected to high standards. The option comes with dual-wireless bandwidth, which supports up to AC1200, making it compatible with a majority of devices in the current market. It also comes equipped with four antennas to boost its range and potential speeds, as well as Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports to increase options available to the user. One aspect about the distribution of this product is that it’s mainly available online, unlike other options from the TP-Link line. This is ironic considering the purpose of such a purchase.

Another noteworthy element of Archer A6 is that it supports Beamforming and MU-MIMO features on its 5 GHz channel, which is not an option you’re likely to find with other Wi-Fi routers in the same price range. It should be noted, however, that these features are not compatible with some devices – thus it’s not activated automatically with the setup.

Pros 

  • Great quality at an affordable price
  • MU-MIMO and Beamforming capacity
  • Guest Wi-Fi

Cons 

  • No USB port
  • It’s compatible with wireless cards above AC1200, such as the AC1750

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The Archer A7

TP-Link AC1750 Smart WiFi Router - Dual Band Gigabit Wireless Internet Routers for Home, Works with Alexa, Parental Control&QoS(Archer A7) (Renewed)
  • Wireless internet router works with Alexa, compatible with all Wi-Fi devices, 802.11ac and older
  • Dual band router upgrades to 1750 Mbps high speed internet(450Mbps for 2.4GHz + 1300Mbps for 5GHz),...

Archer A7 is an excellent choice for users looking to expand the range and speed of their routers. The main reason behind this is its capacity to support AC wireless up to AC1750. Most routers in the market, including Archer A6, are usually limited to AC1200. However, if you have a device that is compatible with a higher router, then getting the Archer A7 might be the best solution for your needs. This dual-band gigabit router features concurrent connections that greatly enhance the user’s browsing experience. The device consists of 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz channels, allowing it to comfortably support heavy workloads, such as online gaming and HD video streaming.

Pros 

  • Includes a USB 2.0 Port
  • Can support AC wireless up to AC1750
  • Prioritizes applications or devices where needed for better performance

Cons 

  • Offers slower speeds when using an AC1200 wireless card
  • Doesn’t come with a touch- screen display

 

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Conclusion

All in all, though both routers offer great value for money, Archer A6 is arguably slightly ahead of the Archer A7 when seeking affordable routers. Implementation of the new Qualcomm QCA9886 chipset enables it to offer Beamforming and MU-MIMO, which is a rare feature for routers in this price range. If you’re looking to integrate a more powerful card with your system such as the AC1750, however, you might want to consider the A7.

Verdict: So which is better? The Archer A6 or A7

Archer A6 takes the lead when it comes to choosing a reliable router for your home. This is because A6 offers faster speeds at both long and short range when using the more popular AC1200 wireless cards found with most devices in the market. Its online availability also serves as a plus when it comes to buying this router. These virtual platforms remove the stress of having to make physical trips in order to get what you want.

FAQs

Is the Archer A6 compatible with an AC1750 wireless card?

No. If you’re looking for such a feature you will need to get the Archer A7 or other compatible options in this line.

Do a higher number of antennas indicate greater signal strength?

Not always. The features of the antenna will need to be scrutinized to determine such an aspect.

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