TP-Link is going straight to Wi-Fi 7 with its latest generation of routers

TP-Link is going straight to Wi-Fi 7 with its latest generation of routers

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The company’s latest collection of routers includes the newly designed Archer BE900 quad-band router for $700 and an upcoming GE800 gaming router.

The new Archer BE900 has a touchscreen and LED lights that can display stats and fun things like emoji.
Image: TP-Link

Before you can even get tired of hearing about Wi-Fi 6 and 6E, TP-Link is announcing a slew of new “world’s first” Wi-Fi 7 routers based on the upcoming IEEE specification. The company is revamping its whole product line, including its main Archer router line, home mesh Deco products, and even its business products.

Wi-Fi 7, known technically as 802.11BE, is the upcoming successor to Wi-Fi 6 and 6E with obvious improvements like faster speeds and reduced latency, and it can enable a device to connect to two spectrums at a time (5Ghz and 6Ghz simultaneously) using Multi-Link Operation (MLO). Like previous generations, it will support backward compatibility for Wi-Fi 6, 5, and older devices but will need you to purchase new devices to take advantage of Wi-Fi 7’s higher-capacity 320MHz channels (Wi-Fi 6E supports channels as wide as 160MHz).

I guess I’d prefer my router to wink at me than to be wincing in pain.

I guess I’d prefer my router to wink at me than to be wincing in pain.

I guess I’d prefer my router to wink at me than to be wincing in pain.
Image: TP-Link

The first of the new TP-Link routers is the $699.99 flagship quad-band Archer BE900, which looks kind of like a Western Digital hard drive with LED lights and a touchscreen. The front can be swiped to show a clock, weather, and wireless stats, and there’s a grid of LEDs that can display things like a winking emoji. Other features include OpenVPN support and a private IoT network for smart devices.

The BE900 can support wireless speeds of up to 24Gbps, which is less than Wi-Fi 7’s theoretical 40Gbps plus speeds but is still more than double 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 your new 6GHz-capable phone or laptop you might have picked up this year.

TP-Link’s BE900 offers a whole lot of connectivity.

TP-Link’s BE900 offers a whole lot of connectivity.

TP-Link’s BE900 offers a whole lot of connectivity.
Image: TP-Link

Older devices can also take advantage of the Archer’s dual 5GHz bands that can both support 6Gbps speeds, and if your ISP offers it, the Archer can handle 10Gbps internet service as well. The BE900 offers a combo 10Gb SFP+Fiber WAN option plus an additional 10Gb WAN port, and they can also be used as LAN. You also get another four 2.5G ethernet ports to build yourself a fast wired network. The BE900 will be available for preorder starting December 31st and will ship in the first quarter of 2023.

TP-Link is also releasing less feature-packed versions with the new Archer design. The first is the tri-band BE800 with 19Gbps wireless speeds. It still supports 10Gb internet service and has LED lights but lacks touchscreen features. Then there’s the BE550, which drops the max wireless speeds to 9.3Gbps and has only 2.5Gbps ethernet ports. Each one of these models is EasyMesh-capable and ready to create a wider-reaching home network.

The Archer GE800 Wi-Fi 7 Gaming router.

The Archer GE800 Wi-Fi 7 Gaming router.

The Archer GE800 Wi-Fi 7 Gaming router.
Image: TP Link

Gamer-oriented folks may be more interested in the new tri-band Archer GE800 Gaming router, which has an app-powered Game Panel that can help prioritize gaming traffic above all else on the network. It supports up to 19Gbps Wi-Fi 7 speeds and has two 10Gb ethernet ports, along with two 2.5Gb, and four more gigabit ones. All this in a very nexus-y-looking dual-tower antenna design with multi-colored LED lights. No pricing is given yet, and it’s expected to come in either Q1 or Q2 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 is increasing the cost of entry by $700 for a two-pack. The new Deco BE85 tri-band mesh router system sports 22Gbps Wi-Fi 7 speeds and has two 10G ports and starts at $999.99 for a two-pack. There will also be a Deco BE65 with 11Gbps speeds slated for later in Q1 or Q2 2023, but no price has been provided yet.

The Decos still look like air purifiers.

The Decos still look like air purifiers.

The Decos still look like air purifiers.
Image: TP-Link

A higher-end quad-band version (BE95) will be available for $1,199.99 that sports up to 33Gbps across four frequencies, though the company states the speed is based on “physical rates derived from IEEE Standard 802.11 specifications” and will not guarantee the speeds — but that’s not stopping the company from claiming it has “the industry’s fastest mesh” system as stated in a livestream today. Like the new Archer, the Deco BE95 and BE85 will be available for preorder starting December 31st and will ship in the first quarter of 2023.

TP-Link is betting big on Wi-Fi 7 with this all-new lineup, even putting the yet-to-be-finalized tech in its new enterprise-oriented Omada access points and a new cellular 5G router. With these devices arriving before the final Wi-Fi 7 specification is released, it’s unclear if they may need to be updated once things are finalized. We reached out to TP-link for comment but did not hear back ahead of publication. But if you’re a fearless early adopter, you only need to wait until early 2023 to have a taste of TP-Link’s fresh set.

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Umar Shakir

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