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TP-Link Archer AX80 not recommended for Macbook iPad and iPhone

TLDR; Not recommended for an Apple device environment.

My Netgear RAX50 which I use as an access point is now two and half years old. I was evaluating alternatives and the Archer AX80 (aka AX6000 8-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router with 2.5G Port) was available for virtually half the price of what I paid for the RAX50. And on paper, better specs. But in less than 24 hours, the AX80 is getting returned. It appeared to have a fundamental flaw. Five minutes after a startup or a reboot, the throughput dropped by over 50% to my 2021 MacBook Pro.

On a 1000/50 NBN connection, my Macbook would get 700-800 Mbps on the Netflix Fast.com test, and a similar speed via Speedtest. This is via a 80MHz channel setting on 5Ghz 802.11ax. This is 5-15% faster than my RAX50 on a similar 802.11ax setting. Thinking all is well, I’d return to run the test again 5 to 10 minutes later only to find that the throughput dropped to 250-350 Mbps. Tried all the settings I could find on the router but the only way to get to the original speed was a reboot. And then again, 5-10 minutes later, the throughput speed would drop again.

This happened on both the MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro. However, an iPhone 14 Pro didn’t encounter this issue. I can only surmise that there is a bug in the router software in how it interacts with Apple’s wifi. Also note that it seems TP-Link routers in Australia are “EU” specifications and it does not have the UNII-3 channels: 149, 153, 157, 161, and 165. This was very disappointing as the DFS channels also didn’t work with the MacBook Pro. It seems this is a common problem with TP-Link routers and TP-Link omits details of available frequencies on the product’s specifications. Make of that what you will.