TP-Link Archer C5400X Review (Page 1 of 5)

By: Jonathan Kwan (Hardware/Software) and Aaron Lai (Software)
September 20, 2019

"One day, I will stand up in front of this room and teach a class at this university," I joked with my friend back when we were both in our second year of undergraduate studies in 2010. We both laughed at this idea, knowing full well it is a pretty unlikely reality. As fate would have had it, I recently received an opportunity to teach a course at the University of Calgary this semester. Who knew such an impossibility would happen within the same decade of me making that joke? Teaching a class at the university has always been my dream, and I am more than grateful to be able to be in the position I am today. The funniest part is this is not even an entry level class. I am teaching is a fourth year electrical engineering class in computer networking, which is not only something I am interested in, but also closely related to my research specialty. What makes computer networking so interesting? I would say the sheer novelty of seeing a packet making it from my house here in Canada to a town as far as Australia with each node only knowing the next hop in the route. The way internet backbone equipment handles traffic to the performance of local wireless access points in modern times is also mind boggling. In fact, consumer wireless routers have come from boxes that could barely crack a megabit per second in real life to modern equipment faster than wired networks of yesteryear is downright impressive. Take a look at the TP-Link Archer C5400X, for example. With a 1.8GHz 64-bit quad-core CPU, three co-processors, 1GB RAM, triple bands for a combined 5334 Mbps theoretical bandwidth, and built-in antivirus protection, just how amazing is it? Read on to find out!

Our review unit of the TP-Link Archer C5400X Wi-Fi router came in a large company-branded corrugated cardboard box from the company's Canadian headquarters in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. It is quite rare we get things shipped from within Canada, but here we are. Everything arrived in excellent condition to us here in Calgary, Alberta for our review today using the UPS Standard service.

Like the overwhelming majority of products we get here at APH Networks for review, TP-Link sent us their router in its retail packaging. The predominantly black box accentuates the gaming theme, which you can see in our photo above. In the middle, you will find a three-quarters view of the TP-Link Archer C5400X router occupying some prime real estate. The product description, "AC5400 MU-MIMO Tri-Band Gaming Router", is printed above the Archer C5400X model tag. Along the bottom is an array of five icons providing some highlights of this product, which is its tri-band operation, 1.8GHz 64-bit quad core CPU, RangeBoost, MU-MIMO, Link Aggregation, and Dynamic Optimization. TP-Link's logo is placed at the top left corner, while the slogan "Dominate the Competition" fills in the remainder of the space on top. The remaining sides of the box has more feature highlights and specifications.

Before we move on, let us take a look at the specifications of the TP-Link Archer C5400X, as obtained from the manufacturer's website:

Processor: 1.8GHz quad-core CPU and three co-processors
Standards and Protocols: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, 802.3ab
Ports: 1x GE WAN, 8x GE LAN, 2x USB3.0
Button: 1x Power, 1x Wi-Fi On/Off, 1x WPS, 1x Reset, 1x LED On/Off
LED Panel: 1x LED with multiple state
Weight: 3.3lb (with antennas), 2.65lb (without antennas); 1.5kg (with antennas), 1.2kg(without antennas)
Dimensions (WxDxH): 11.3 X 11.3X 7.2 in. (with antennas), 9.5X9.5X2.2 in. (without antennas); 288X288X184mm (with antennas), 240.6X240.6X55.4mm (without antennas)
Antenna: 8 external and detachable antennas
Chipset: MU-MIMO, Beamforming, Airtime Fairness, RangeBoost, NitroQAM

Frequency: 1000Mbps @ 2.4GHz, 2167Mbps @ 5GHz, 2167Mbps @ 5GHz

Management: Tether App - Andriod 4.1 or higher, iOS 8 or higher
System Tools: Time Settings, Diagnostics, Fw OTA Upgrade, Config backup/restore, administration, Syslog, Statistics, LED Control
Basic Function: Network Map (Internet Status/Client List/Speedtest), Internet Settings, Wireless Settings, USB Sharing Settings (USB Storage Sharing/FTP Server/Print Server/Media Server), HomeCare (Parental Control/Antivirus/QoS), Guest Network Settings, TP-Link Cloud Settings, Multiple Languages
Protocols: IPv4, IPv6
Advanced Functions: Working Mode (Router Mode or AP Mode), Wireless Schedule, Time Machine, TP-Link DDNS, Parental Controls/Antivirus/QoS, IPv6, VPN Server (OpenVPN and PPTP Servers), NAT Forwarding (DMZ/UPnP...), Link aggregation (WAN/LAN), Airtime Fairness, SmartConnect, Portal Authentication for Guest Wi-Fi

Antivirus: Malicious Content Filter, Intrusion Prevention System, Infected Device Quarantine
Access Control: Device-based whitelist/blacklist
Wi-Fi Security: Open, WEP, WPA-PSK
Firewall Features: Open, WEP, WPA-PSK

Certification: FCC, CE, DFS, VCCI, JRF, JPA, RoHS
Environment: Operating Temperature: 0℃~40℃ (32℉ ~104℉)
Storage Temperature: -40℃~70℃ (-40℉ ~158℉)
Operating Humidity: 10%~90% non-condensing
Storage Humidity: 5%~90% non-condensing
Power Supply: 100-240V 50/60Hz

A cardboard tray slides out of the side of the thin cardboard cover of the TP-Link Archer C5400X's retail package. I am a fan of the environmentally friendly packaging, especially considering my disdain for squeaky foam brackets that I have thankfully not seen in a long time, haha. Out of the box, you will receive the following:

- TP-Link Archer C5400X Wi-Fi Router
- Color Quick Installation Guide
- Multi-Language Quick Installation Guide
- GNU General Public License Notice
- Power Adapter and Cable
- Ethernet Cable

Page Index
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Configuration and User Interface
4. Performance Tests
5. Conclusion