TP-Link Archer C5400X Review (Page 2 of 5)

Page 2 - Physical Look - Hardware

The TP-Link Archer C5400X is a downright massive full featured and full power Wi-Fi gaming router. The gaming theme can be seen throughout; where it is loaded with sharply angled lines and red accents for more visual complexity stereotypical of the PC and console gaming world. The entire enclosure is made out of plastic with ventilation holes on top, while a multi-color LED-backlit TP-Link logo is located dead center for additional visual flare. The LED-backlit TP-Link logo doubles as a status LED. Its dimensions are 240.6mm in width, 240.6mm in depth, and 55.4mm in height with no antenna installed -- this router is simply large. Add on the eight antennas, and we push these measurements up to 288mm by 288mm by 184mm. The TP-Link Archer C5400X weighs 2.65lbs without antennas and 3.3 lb with antennas.

The TP-Link Archer C5400X lays flat on your desk rather than aligned vertically to save space like many modern routers. In fact, it makes no attempt to save space at all. It is equipped with eight dual band detachable antennas for some epic multi-user multiple-input and multiple-output wireless communication. As you can see in our photo above, two USB 3.0 ports are located on the right, while three buttons for toggling WPS, Wi-Fi, and the LED on or off are located in front. Inside, the router is powered by a Broadcom BCM4366 system-on-a-chip with a powerful 1.8GHz quad-core CPU, three co-processors, and 1GB of memory.

Turning the TP-Link Archer C5400X around, we can take a closer look at the dual band antennas attached to the router along with a very generous array of ports and switches. These include eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, one Gigabit uplink port, reset button, power on/off button, and a 12V DC power input. Eight antennas can be snapped into place all around the router, but their positions are fixed, meaning their aim cannot be adjusted.

Why eight antennas, you may ask? The use of multiple antennas for communications has been the foundation of many modern wireless technologies; ranging from short range unlicensed bands such as Wi-Fi to long range licensed bands like LTE cell phone networks. The fundamental principle lies in the fact that multiple antennas allow the designer to enhance performance using beamforming and diversity techniques. Beamforming, in the simplest explanation, allows power to be directed towards a certain direction. Diversity exploits multipath -- where the same signal can arrive via different paths due to reflection and refraction in the propagation channel -- to enhance the received signal quality. Multi-user MIMO, otherwise called MU-MIMO, lets multiple antennas from multiple users to communicate with multiple antennas on base station. Obviously, the more antennas on the access point the better, but we are bound by the laws of diminishing returns.

The power supply is an external brick manufactured by Huntkey. The HKA06012050-7G is a 12V power supply specified for up to 5A of current. This means it can deliver a maximum of 60W. As far as efficiency is concerned, it is "VI" rated. To skip over all the nitty gritty compliance details of this technical specification, the basic gist of it is it has to be at least 87.5% efficient in given conditions and consumes less than 0.50W in no-load mode.

The TP-Link Archer C5400X is advertised as an AC5300 router. This means it operates at 1000Mbps on the 2.4GHz band via one 40MHz channel with four streams, while two 80MHz channels with four streams each on the 5GHz band provides 2167Mbps for a total of 4334Mbps theoretical throughput. We will evaluate the performance of this router in just a moment.

Ventilation openings can be seen at the bottom of the TP-Link Archer C5400X. Four integrated plastic feet with rubber bottoms provide about half a centimeter of additional clearance between the router and your table. Four mounting holes inside the feet lets you wall-mount your router should you prefer that; this is a great option in my opinion. Meanwhile, a label at the bottom shows information like the serial number, default SSIDs, and Wi-Fi password. Of course, you are free to change your wireless network name and encryption key in the web configuration interface, but this will get you going right off the bat if you are the type to stick with default settings.

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