The TP-Link Archer AX21 is a great choice to upgrade your home network to Wi-Fi 6 and enjoy faster Wi-Fi speeds and extra security with the built-in VPN client and server. It’s also easy to set up with the TP-Link Tether app for Android and iOS. It’s a nice-looking unit with a good feature set and a bargain at less than $100.
|✅ Easy setup||❌ No advanced features|
|✅ Built-in VPN client/server||❌ Won’t max-out Gigabit connection|
|✅ Strong signal range||❌ Capped input speed|
- TP-Link Archer AX21 Specifications
- See Also
- Manufacturer Links
The TP-Link Archer AX21 hits the mark with a hassle-free setup experience and superior range compared to the previous model Archer AX20. The newer Archer AX21 outperforms its price-bracket competitors with faster Wi-Fi 6 speeds and an extensive feature set for under $100.
The Archer AX21 is best suited to small and medium-sized homes and apartments and users who use streaming services, social media, WFH, and other general use.
The Archer AX21 is easy to set up with TP-Link’s free app Tether for Android and iOS devices, rather than messing around with IP addresses. You can have the Archer setup in under 10 minutes, even if you’re a novice. The Tether app also allows you to remotely connect and manage your router from anywhere in the world. You can monitor each device connected to your router and remove unauthorized users.
The AX21 is Amazon Certified for Humans, meaning you can integrate your Smart Home devices using Alexa. It also uses the latest WPA3, 192-bit encryption technology for device connections.
Speed and Range
The Archer AX21 offers dual-band Wi-Fi 6 on 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrums and transfer speeds of up to 1.8Gbps, which for a budget router is quite good. It features four high-gain antennas with Beamforming to extend coverage inside your home and OFDMA technology to connect more devices to the network. Beamforming focuses on signal strength/range at the cost of speed, which is a compromise worth taking.
In testing, I found the Archer AX21 range was considerably higher than routers in this price bracket and the previous Archer AX20 model. Stability and signal strength are also exceptional compared to the AX21’s peers. Ethernet ports on the AX21 are all Gigabit, including the blue WAN uplink port.
The Archer AX21 has a built-in VPN client and server that uses OpenVPN, PPTP, or L2TP/IPsec protocols. When acting as a VPN client, you can set up a connection to a VPN service provider like ExpressVPN, NordVPN, or IPVanish VPN and secure your connected devices.
As a VPN server, the Archer AX21 can negotiate external WAN connections from remote devices to access your home network resources. For example, if you’re in New York and your home network is in Chicago, you can connect directly to the Archers VPN server to access your home network.
The Archer AX21 is best suited for:
- Small to medium homes and apartments
- Home offices
- WFH (Work from home)
TP-Link Archer AX21 Specifications
|Quality of Service||QoS by Device|
|Processor||1 GHz Dual-Core CPU|
|Power||12 V ⎓ 1.5 A|
For a budget router, the Archer AX21 is the best of its class and a good choice for small to medium homes or apartments. It has good speed, excellent range, and extra security with the built-in VPN feature. The Archer AX21, in my view, is the best budget Wi-Fi 6 router on the market.
- Auto-Connect & Login with OpenVPN
- Set up OpenVPN on macOS
- Set up OpenVPN on Windows 11 with ExpressVPN
- Connect VPN using PPTP on Windows 11