As someone who owns a large 7-node mesh network, the biggest challenge is keeping the router discrete. While gaming routers are stylish in their own right and table-top routers also have their own charm, as someone who has had the pleasure of deploying corporate networks aimed at maximizing signal coverage while being as discrete as possible, this has been a scant market for regular consumers.
TP-Link addresses this market with their new Archer Air series of products offering both an ultra-thin WIFI router with the Archer Air R5 complimented by the physically similar Archer Air E5 wireless extender. Both of which are offered in an ultra-thin 8mm frame, appearing almost tablet-like, TP-Link’s new duo targets consumers interested in keeping a low-profile for their home network while still offering a high-performance solution.
In this article, we’ll cover the package content and physical aspect of the Archer Air R5 and Archer Air E5 with a follow-up article completing our review series for this product including detailed overview and testing.
Features & Specification
Archer Air R5
- Next-Gen Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Speed—2402 Mbps on 5 GHz and 574 Mbps on 2.4 GHz band ensure smoother streaming and faster downloads.1
- Smart Antennas – Uses intelligent algorithms to auto-detect your devices’ locations and adjust antennas’ direction for all-round stable signals.
- Ultra-Low Latency—Enables more responsive gaming and video chatting.
- TP-Link HomeShield – Enhanced security defends against the latest cyber threats.
- EasyMesh-Compatible – Works with EasyMesh-compatible routers to create a whole home seamless mesh network.3
- Flexible Installation – Easy to stick or mount on the wall with 3M adhesives and the attached plastic bracket.
Archer Air E5
- Faster Dual-Band AX3000 WiFi: Up to 3.0 Gbps (2402 Mbps + 574 Mbps) WiFi for faster browsing, streaming, and downloading, all at the same time.†
- Ultra-Thin and Minimalist Design: Has a compact size of 210×148×8 mm and is even thinner than a wall outlet. Better integrated with modern home interiors.
- Multiple Wall-Mounting Options: Designed to easily mount onto walls, coming with its own installation accessories. No need to purchase additional expensive mounts any more.**
- Smart Antennas: Use intelligent algorithms and different antenna arrays to ensure all-round stable signals even in duplex houses.
- Smart Roaming: Easily create an EasyMesh network for whole home WiFi coverage.§
- Easy Setup and Use: Set up and manage your Wi-Fi through the TP-Link Tether app from your phone.
Closer Look: TP-Link Archer R5 Router
Closer Look: TP-Link Archer E5 Extender
If the marketing didn’t get you, then physically seeing TP-Link’s Archer Air series products will be quite a surprise. The router and WIIF AP form factor has long been universally designed as either a table-top piece of device or an alien-like product. In enterprise and business applications, repeaters and access points have long been more subtle, preferring the white appliance color than anything else.
TP-Link’s adoption of this mantra blends will with the unique posiiton of the Archer Air series. Both the R5 and E5 share the same body dimensions and weight roughly so mounting them requires barely a screw but for more permanent fixtures, mounting tape is a secondary option if if your paint won’t chip off
At 8mm thin, the target goal here is flat surface applications facing your most populated area. When planning your network, its best to place your router in a central location for best radial coverage in 360*, meaning both horizontal, vertical and diagonal area are accounted for.
TP-Link suggets the Archer Air R5 and E5 combo for 3-flr. homes, but take note if your house is purely concrete slab, range will definitely vary. It is curious to see how mounting it on a concrete wall affects rear-side performance versus the open-air side. With the E5 being a purely wireless extender, aside from the USB cable, there’s not much in the way of wiring.
This is a bit different though for the TP-Link Archer Air R5 WIFI router which features pop-out RJ45 ports alongside the USB-C power port. The included flat cable will surely keep things discrete and some white plastic cable ducts will keep it clean. Those installing the R5 in a drywall have better routing options of just routing the cables through the material.
Talking about specs, the TP-Link Archer Air R5 supports both OneMesh and EasyMesh standards for mesh network integration. Its AX3000 rating is split up in 574Mbps for the 2.4Ghs band and 2402Mbps for the 5Ghz band. Its going to be fun to see how much this router can handle with multiple users hitting it simultaneously with heavy traffic.
We’ll find out all that and more in our full review coming in another article. For now, the TP-Link Archer Air series are impressive pieces of technology for the consumer and those looking for very subtle devices for the home network application and don’t have very specific high-performance requirement should be able to fit under the TP-Link Archer Air’s solutions.
The TP-Link Archer Air R5 and E5 are already available in the Philippines PHP6590 for the Archer R5 and the Archer Air E5 for PHP5990. You can grab a pair now at the official TP-Link flagship store in Lazada.
Check back soon for our full review.