Before you get tired of hearing about Wi-Fi 6 and 6E, TP-Link has announced a new line of “world first” Wi-Fi 7 routers based on the upcoming IEEE specification. The company is revamping its entire product line, including its main Archer router line, its Deco products for home networking, and even its commercial products.
Wi-Fi 7, technically known as 802.11BE, is the successor to the upcoming Wi-Fi 6 and 6E with significant improvements such as faster speeds and lower latency, and it enables devices to connect to both spectrums (5GHz and 6GHz simultaneously) at once using multi-link operation (MLO). As with previous generations, it will support backward compatibility with Wi-Fi 6, 5 and older devices, but will require you to purchase a new device to take advantage of Wi-Fi 7’s higher capacity 320MHz channel (Wi-Fi 6E supports channels as wide as 160MHz).
The first new TP-Link router is the $699.99 flagship quad-band Archer BE900, which looks a bit like an external hard drive with LED lights and a touch screen. The front screen can be swiped to display the clock, weather and wireless stats, and there’s a grid of LEDs that show emojis like a wink. Other features include support for OpenVPN and a private IoT network for smart devices.
The BE900 can support wireless speeds of up to 24Gbps, which is less than the theoretical 40Gbps+ speed of Wi-Fi 7, but still more than twice the speed of the company’s previous Archer Wi-Fi 6E router. There aren’t many devices that can take advantage of Wi-Fi 7 yet, but the BE900 still supports the new 6GHz-capable phones or laptops you might buy this year.
Older devices can also take advantage of Archer’s dual 5GHz bands, which can support 6Gbps speeds at the same time, and Archer can also handle 10Gbps Internet service if your ISP offers it. the BE900 offers a 10Gb SFP+ fiber WAN combo option, plus an additional 10Gb WAN port, and they can also be used as a LAN . You can also get four additional 2.5G Ethernet ports to set up a fast wired network for yourself. the BE900 will be available for pre-order starting December 31 and will ship in the first quarter of 2023.
TP-Link has also released a less powerful version with a new Archer design. The tri-band BE800 has a wireless speed of 19 Gbps, still supports a 10 Gigabit Internet interface, has LED lights, but lacks touchscreen functionality. Then there’s the BE550, which drops to a maximum wireless speed of 9.3Gbps and only has a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port. Each of these models has EasyMesh capabilities and is poised to create a broader impact home network.
Archer GE800 Wi-Fi 7 Gaming Router
Gaming-oriented people may be more interested in the new tri-band Archer GE800 gaming router, which has an application-driven gaming panel that helps prioritize gaming traffic over all other traffic on the network. It supports Wi-Fi 7 speeds of up to 19Gbps, has two 10Gb Ethernet ports, as well as two 2.5Gb, and four gigabit ports. All this in a very visceral-looking dual-tower antenna design with multi-colored LEDs. TP-Link has not yet given pricing and is expected to launch in the first or second quarter of 2023.
Earlier this year, TP-Link made Wi-Fi 6E really affordable with the Deco XE75 – but now, with its new Wi-Fi 7 version, the company has increased the entry cost of the two-piece set by $700. The new Deco BE85 tri-band mesh router system features 22Gbps Wi-Fi 7 speeds with two 10G ports and starts at $999.99 for the two-piece set. There will also be a Deco BE65 with 11Gbps speeds, which is expected to be available later in Q1 or Q2 2023, but no pricing has been provided.
The Decos still looks like an air purifier.
The higher-end quad-band version (BE95) will sell for $1,199.99 and sports speeds of up to 33Gbps on four frequencies, although the company says that speed is based on “physical rates derived from the IEEE standard 802.11 specifications” and won’t guarantee that speed – but that doesn’t stop the company from claiming it has “the industry’s fastest mesh” system. Like the new Archer, the Deco BE95 and BE85 will be available for pre-order on Dec. 31 and will ship in the first quarter of 2023.
TP-Link is betting big on Wi-Fi 7 in this new lineup, even putting yet-to-be-finalized technology in its new enterprise-oriented Omada access point and a new cellular 5G router. Since these devices arrived before the final Wi-Fi 7 specification was released, it’s unclear if they will need to be updated once the specification is finalized.