Thursday, September 16th 2021

TP-Link Launches Archer GX90 With Dedicated Wi-Fi Band for Gaming

If you're a fan of the spider/octopus router design that we've seen from several companies since 802.11ax/Wi-Fi 6 was introduced, then the new TP-Link Archer GX90 might be for you. Jokes aside, this router takes a different approach to the usual tri-band routers, by dedicating the 4x4 5 GHz radio for gaming, while leaving the other 5 GHz radio for your family to share.

The Archer GX90 is sold as an AX6600 router and it appears to be based on the same hardware as TP-Link's Archer AX90, just in a more gamer focused package. TP-Link has incorporated what they call a Game Accelerator, Game Statistics and Game Protector, with the Game Accelerator being limited to less than 50 games at the moment, of which some appear to be specific to the Chinese market. The Game Statistics feature is actually a real time latency monitor, that also shows how long you've been playing a specific game for and the router load, whereas Game Protector appears to simply be some router based antivirus and parental control software.
The dedicated gaming Wi-Fi radio is relying on the DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection) bands, which may or may not be allowed where you live. The short explanation here is that the DFS bands are usually shared with things like weather radar and thus must switch to a different frequency band if weather radar signals are detected. This can be done in either an active or a passive way, with the latter simply meaning the router will switch off that radio, whereas active mode switches to a frequency which is not being shared with the weather radar. Judging by the FCC certification pictures, the Archer GX90 uses active DFS band switching, which is a good thing. What DFS did for Wi-Fi, was to open up a wide range of additional frequencies, which means you're less likely to have interference with neighbours in high-density areas and enabled more 160 MHz wide channels.

TP-Link is making the most out of this by offering, as mentioned, a 4x4 configuration for the higher band 5 GHz radio with a theoretical throughput of 4804 Mbps, using a combination of a 160 MHz wide channel and 1024-QAM. This jargon most likely doesn't make sense to most people, but the simple explanation is that it's ways to increase the bandwidth of a Wi-Fi signal without adding more channels and antennas. Keep in mind that your devices aren't likely to use more than a 2x2 radio and many devices still don't support more than 80 MHz Wi-Fi channels and 256-QAM, which means you're not likely to see the kind of speed this router can deliver, unless you're connecting two of them and use the other one as a Wi-Fi bridge for your wired devices.

Hardware wise, we're looking at a quad core ARM Cortex-A7 SoC from Broadcom, which isn't exactly cutting edge, with an integrated 2x2 Wi-Fi radio for the second 5 GHz band and the 2.4 GHz. You also get a single 2.5 Gbps LAN/WAN port, one Gigabit LAN/WAN port and three Gigabit LAN ports, one USB 3.0 port and one USB 2.0 port. The Archer GX90 is also compatible with TP-Link's OneMesh, for those of you that wants to use this as part of a Wi-Fi mesh setup. Price wise, you're looking at an MSRP of $249.99, which is quite reasonable for what's on offer.
Source: TP-Link
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17 Comments on TP-Link Launches Archer GX90 With Dedicated Wi-Fi Band for Gaming

#1
AnarchoPrimitiv
It doesn't same "PC gaming" until it has that played out, cliché trope of the red and black color scheme
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#2
TheLostSwede
AnarchoPrimitivIt doesn't same "PC gaming" until it has that played out, cliché trope of the red and black color scheme
It's quite U-G-L-Y imho.
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#3
watzupken
I am not sure if I am missing out anything, but from what I read here, there is nothing very gaming specific other than what the marketing claims. Gaming is mostly about latency, and if you want lowest possible latency, wire is still the best way to go. And latency is really very dependent on the ISP in my opinion.
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#5
TheLostSwede
watzupkenI am not sure if I am missing out anything, but from what I read here, there is nothing very gaming specific other than what the marketing claims. Gaming is mostly about latency, and if you want lowest possible latency, wire is still the best way to go. And latency is really very dependent on the ISP in my opinion.
I guess they're just making it easier for "most people" to set their router up and give the best possible wireless bandwidth to "gaming" devices.
But yes, gaming routers is mostly just marketing and this router is just an uglier design of their Archer AX90 with some additional software.
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#6
zlobby
TheLostSwedeI guess they're just making it easier for "most people" to set their router up and give the best possible wireless bandwidth to "gaming" devices.
But yes, gaming routers is mostly just marketing and this router is just an uglier design of their Archer AX90 with some additional software.
It's not a problem of 'bandwidth'. It's a matter of QoS. Online games don't need huge bandwidth per se.
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#7
TheLostSwede
zlobbyIt's not a problem of 'bandwidth'. It's a matter of QoS. Online games don't need huge bandwidth per se.
Well, this is being sold based on bandwidth...
QoS can be an issue, sure, but it really depends on what other users are doing on the local network at the same time. I guess that's why they have their real time monitoring software on the router.
But as already pointed out, wired is the way to go for gaming.
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#8
Solid State Soul ( SSS )
Gaming routers are such a BS, you dont need an ultra speed router that looked it came to earth from planet Cybertron after it was destroyed and landed here as a meteor from space lol.
I used to game on a laymen below average TP-LINK W8961N router, and it works just fine, you dont even need 1GBPS speed to play online, most modern games require minimum of stable 512kb to play so there you go, dont let marketing fool you
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#9
zlobby
TheLostSwedeWell, this is being sold based on bandwidth...
QoS can be an issue, sure, but it really depends on what other users are doing on the local network at the same time. I guess that's why they have their real time monitoring software on the router.
But as already pointed out, wired is the way to go for gaming.
Now... I'm really, really trying to hold my rage here and be as polite as possible. *deep breaths*

So, basically, everything is QoS! When two or more packets are queued for the same interface, it's amoooreee... no it's QoS! Bandwidth is a product of QoS (apart from other things).
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#10
TheLostSwede
zlobbyNow... I'm really, really trying to hold my rage here and be as polite as possible. *deep breaths*

So, basically, everything is QoS! When two or more packets are queued for the same interface, it's amoooreee... no it's QoS! Bandwidth is a product of QoS (apart from other things).
Uhm, everything is Quality of Service? Maybe not...
What did we do before QoS was a thing on routers?
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#11
dirtyferret
TheLostSwedeWhat did we do before QoS was a thing on routers?
Same thing we do when QoS is a thing on our routers?
Solid State Soul ( SSS )Gaming routers are such a BS, you dont need an ultra speed router that looked it came to earth from planet Cybertron after it was destroyed and landed here as a meteor from space lol.
Very true, you just need two or more of the following to make your gaming better by way of wi-fi
1. RGB
2. the acronym "FTW" on the product
3. the words "Killer" on the product
4. a custom "gaming" reskin version of old firmware that will be updated just once and only once! (bonus points for using FTW and or Killer in the firmware reskin)
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#12
TheLostSwede
dirtyferretSame thing we do when QoS is a thing on our routers?
My point was that QoS is a fairly new addition to routers and everything worked more or less fine before we got QoS. Yes, it's a quality of life feature for sure, but it's not the end of world if you don't have it.
dirtyferret4. a custom "gaming" (bonus points for using FTW and or Killer) reskin version of old firmware that will be updated just once and only once
My biggest concern with TP-Link is support and firmware updates. They seem to ever issue three firmwares for each one of their products and then they make a new revision and drop the old one like a hot steaming turd...
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#13
dirtyferret
TheLostSwedeMy point was that QoS is a fairly new addition to routers and everything worked more or less fine before we got QoS. Yes, it's a quality of life feature for sure, but it's not the end of world if you don't have it.
agreed, many features on some of these routers are nice QOL features but not necessarily needed especially when you have no clients that support those features.
TheLostSwedeMy biggest concern with TP-Link is support and firmware updates. They seem to ever issue three firmwares for each one of their products and then they make a new revision and drop the old one like a hot steaming turd...
pretty much TP-Link in a nutshell although their products are fine and people can definitely do much worse than TP-Link (I personally have nothing against them and recommend some of their products)
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#14
zlobby
TheLostSwedeUhm, everything is Quality of Service? Maybe not...
What did we do before QoS was a thing on routers?
Simple answer - hard blocking aka collisions, losses and re-transmissions.
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#15
TheLostSwede
dirtyferretpretty much TP-Link in a nutshell although their products are fine and people can definitely do much worse than TP-Link (I personally have nothing against them and recommend some of their products)
I used to think they were ok, but I won't be buying or recommending them any more, as I've now had multiple products that they simply stopped supporting, just because there was a new hardware revision where they changed something minor in most cases. I think it's bad form and the FCC really needs to take them to court, just as they did with Asus and D-Link.
zlobbySimple answer - hard blocking aka collisions, losses and re-transmissions.
QoS isn't the only way around this though. I do agree it's a slick way to solve the problem and I use QoS, but it's really not the end of the world. I also think you're mixing up Ethernet hubs and switches here, as back when we had hubs, real data collisions happened and there were losses and re-transmissions, not so much today. Looking at my switch that logs CRC error packets, I seem to have had all of five of them, across multiple devices.
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#16
zlobby
TheLostSwedeI used to think they were ok, but I won't be buying or recommending them any more, as I've now had multiple products that they simply stopped supporting, just because there was a new hardware revision where they changed something minor in most cases. I think it's bad form and the FCC really needs to take them to court, just as they did with Asus and D-Link.


QoS isn't the only way around this though. I do agree it's a slick way to solve the problem and I use QoS, but it's really not the end of the world. I also think you're mixing up Ethernet hubs and switches here, as back when we had hubs, real data collisions happened and there were losses and re-transmissions, not so much today. Looking at my switch that logs CRC error packets, I seem to have had all of five of them, across multiple devices.
I do not. Collisions ocurr in every medium.

What you are mistaking it for here are the old topologies with tokens and plain L1-hubs.

Whenever 2 or more packets are to be sent simultaneously over the same interface, e.g. one is your headshot click and one is your mom's Amazon check-out click, if there is no QoS, a 50/50 chance exists for one of them being dropped/delayed. Now, I think we have all seen ragequits because of guys, claiming that their in-game action didn't go through?
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#17
Operandi
dirtyferretagreed, many features on some of these routers are nice QOL features but not necessarily needed especially when you have no clients that support those features.


pretty much TP-Link in a nutshell although their products are fine and people can definitely do much worse than TP-Link (I personally have nothing against them and recommend some of their products)
All of these high-end consumer routers are pretty non-nonsensical in my opinion. Yeah the have powerful radios, some advanced features, and decent throughput but having only on access point for you wi-fi and physical cable is never ideal and these all seem to fall of the support list pretty quick. For anyone serious about getting good networking in their home they should be looking at something like a UBNT Dreammachine and an AP or two, a bit more expensive but it will perform way better, be supported far longer, and you'll have an upgradeable network you can expand and upgrade as needed.
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