TP-Link Archer GE800 Review


Outside, space. The stars twinkle. A peaceful planet hangs in darkness. A Star Destroyer flies across the camera’s field of view, accompanied by orchestral music. The shuttle of the evil Sith Lord Ray Tracingus roars past, enters the destroyer’s bay, and lands, folding its wings. Wi-Fi reception on board the heavily armed warship improves significantly.

Yes, TP-Link’s latest and greatest Wi-Fi 7 router, the Archer GE800, could be called characteristic shape, and if you display it alongside a few TIE fighter models and a CR-90 corvette or two, it might blend in, or at least make people wonder what part of the expanded universe it came from.

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The box is huge and emblazoned with the words “dominate the competition” — a slogan most likely aimed at gamers, unless there’s some online event we don’t know about. And while the Wi-Fi World Cup may be nippy, we suspect there may be a number of performance-enhancing plugins involved.

GE800 Specifications

Router TP-Link Archer GE800

(Photo source: Future)

Wireless Standard: Wifi 7
Maximum speeds (declared): 2.4GHz: 1376Mbps; 5GHz: 5760Mbps; 6GHz: 11520Mbps
MU-MIMO method: Yes
Ethernet ports: 1x 10Gbps, 4x 2.5Gbps
PALE: 10Gbps
Editor: Quad Core, 2.2GHz
USB: 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0
Dimensions: ‎29.2 x 20.7 x 22.4 cm
Libra: 2.21kg
Price: 600 dollars | 600 pounds

The first challenge is removing it from its plastic packaging, which fits snugly into the corners and flats of your router. It comes fully assembled, with no antennas to screw on, but you’ll have to lay it on your desk before placing it in a cabinet or on a shelf to admire its majestic size. In terms of footprint, it’s the size of a miniature laptop, but a laptop that floats six inches in the air. There’s even an busy cooling fan between the wings—it really does feel like a laptop.

Included in the box is an Ethernet cable and a SIM tool for the phone — for pressing the recessed reset button — as well as a power supply with a three-pin US-style plug that connects to the power supply via a cloverleaf connector — be careful in your region if you need to replace the cable, as cloverleaf connectors are less common than kettle cables. One of the 10Gbps Ethernet ports is for connecting to the WAN, but there’s also an SFP+ port for direct fibre connections (the one on the review model is filled with an easily removable rubber cap), and you can even combine the two ports for unprecedented amounts of internet. Setup involves connecting to a Wi-Fi hotspot using the password (or QR code) printed on the bottom, and using the phone app or the web interface to create passwords and go through a few straightforward questions. It’s a very quick and basic process.

Assuming the Ethernet ports are on the back, this is one of the few routers that’s deeper than it is wide, and since you want the front and back of the device to be accessible — there are buttons for WPS, Wi-Fi off, and more on the front, and a USB port and on/off switch next to the Ethernet on the back — it’s better to install it sideways so it’s not hanging over the edge of a shelf and so you can appreciate the RGB lighting.

Oh yes. The scourge of colored lighting that made desktop computer cases look like Fourth of July celebrations and laptops display manufacturer logos on our laps has taken root in this router, with multicolored LEDs hidden in vertical antenna plates and behind grilles that now, to return to the previous tortured Star Wars metaphor, look like engines.

You can turn it off. There is a dedicated button. Use it.

The Archer GE800 certainly isn’t inexpensive, but it’s certainly rapid, and while the benefits of Wi-Fi 7 are best felt on a network with a particularly broad connection to the wider internet and multiple separate devices to share those megabits, a router like this is an improvement for anyone still struggling with Wi-Fi 5. One of the Ethernet ports is a “gaming port” that will prioritise your traffic if you’re connecting your gaming PC to it, but really, with a router operating at this level, network congestion should be the least of your worries. There’s also automatic QoS on board, which claims to detect and optimise gaming traffic without you having to do anything – although you can change that – and Homeshield security. You even get access to the Gamers Private Network VPN service.

Buy if…

You have a lot of Internet and like to share: If you have at least a gigabit internet connection and multiple devices to share it between, the GE800 will be well worth the money.

Do you like the Star Wars vibe: Guys, seriously, this looks like Kylo Ren’s shuttle.

Don’t buy if…

Looking for a router-based value proposition: Where else can you get 90% of the performance for half the price.

The published wireless bandwidth figures are as huge as the box it’s in, offering a whopping 11.5 gigabytes of usable 6GHz bandwidth and more than a gigabyte of longer-range 2.4GHz bandwidth, which will be useful for that relative who hasn’t updated their phone since 2010 (it’s backward compatible, of course) and for when your fridge downloads a firmware update. You won’t get everything at once, even if you’re streaming data to a networked SSD array, but it can be shared across multiple devices without experiencing any slowdowns or lags. Some of that comes from using the latest version of the Wi-Fi specification, and some of it comes from using the Qualcomm chipset that we’d still be calling a flagship smartphone.

In testing, the GE800 achieves a near-perfect result, with no weird peaks or dips. Every network gets faster as we move up the GHz scale, and there is a noticeable drop in transmission speed as the client device is moved away from the server and walls and the floor are placed between them. Everything is exactly as Force predicted.

It may be huge and costly (though it’s not really the most costly router on the market), but there’s no arguing with the results. If your wallet and shelves can handle it, and you have a rapid internet connection that you want to spread across multiple Wi-Fi 7-capable devices — or think you might in the near future — then the TP-Link Archer GE800 has a solution for you.

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