Thursday, January 21st, 2021

Dual-band Mesh Rivals: Asus XD4 vs. Netgear MK63 vs. TP-Link X60

Asus XD4 Mesh
The Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) is has the most features and settings among the three.

This post aims to help you make a quick decision between three similar Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems, including:

  • Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini (model XD4)
  • Netgear Nighthawk Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (model MK63)
  • TP-Link Deco X60 WiFi 6 AX3000 Whole-Home Mesh Wi-Fi System (model X60)

These three are mid-tier mesh systems for the budget-minded.

They are not exactly affordable, but sure cost significantly less than the higher-end alternatives. All come with a 3-pack — you have more options in terms of hardware placement and possibly better coverage.

The three support wired backhaul, meaning you can use network cables to link the hardware units, which is the recommended setup.

There are a lot of differences between these three. First, the Asus and Netgear share almost the same specs and are more affordable than the TP-Link. But their hardware is a bit inferior.

Netgear MK63 AX1800 Mesh Wi Fi 6 System 6
The Netgear Nighthawk Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (MK63) is the first EasyMesh system on the market.

While all three are dual-band 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 systems, the TP-Link has the support for the venerable 160 MHz channel width and, therefore, can theoretically deliver double the bandwidth compared to the two. (That proved to be not the case in my testing, though.)

The TP-Link also comes with three identical routers, each having two network ports, making it a great fit for a daisy-chain wired backhaul setup.

The ZenWiFi AX Mini and Netgear Nighthawk MK63 each include a router and two satellites with two and one Gigabit network ports, respectively. As a result, it’s a bit harder to wired them all together.

In return, the Asus comes with a lot more features — including the support for Asus AiMesh — and settings than the TP-Link. It also doesn’t require a login account with its vendor, while the Deco X60 does. The Netgear is somewhere in middle on this front.

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The Netgear is also unique since it’s the first that uses EasyMesh, meaning in the future you’ll likely be able to use other EasyMesh hardware (from any vendor) with it.

TP Link X60 Back
The TP-Link Deco X60 includes three identical hardware units with each having two Gigabit network ports.

I tested these mesh system in a wireless setup. As a result, you’ll note that their satellite always had a much slower speed than the router. In a wired backhaul setup, you can expect the satellite to deliver the same performance as the router as seen in the charts below.

dual band mesh Asus vs Netgear vs TP Link

Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) AiMesh Wi-Fi 6 System

8.1

Performance

8.0/10

Features

8.5/10

Design and Setup

7.5/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Reliable performance
  • Improved AiMesh feature
  • Guest networking works throughout the system
  • Useful network settings and feature

Cons

  • No dedicated backhaul band or 160MHz channel width support
  • No multi-gig port, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation
  • Stripped-down, borderline useless QoS and Parental Control features
  • Limited number of network ports, switch needed for a complete wired backhaul setup
  • Non-pre-synced hardware, not wall-mountable

Netgear Nighthawk Mesh Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 System (MK63)

8

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.0/10

Design and Setup

8.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Reliable performance, excellent coverage
  • Affordable
  • First EasyMesh system
  • Wired backhaul support
  • Compact design, easy to use

Cons

  • Modest Wi-Fi specs, no dedicated backhaul
  • Limited number of ports, switch required for wired backhaul configuration
  • Lacks basic Wi-Fi settings, no 160 MHz channel width
  • No multi-gig port, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation
  • Finicky QoS, online protection require mobile app and not free
  • Not wall-mountable

TP-Link Deco X60 AX3000 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System

7.8

Performance

7.0/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Reliable Wi-Fi performance, good coverage
  • Super user-friendly, comparatively affordable
  • Wired backhaul support, can work as in AP mode as a system
  • Useful QoS, Antivirus, and Parental Control features
  • Eye-catching design

Cons

  • Slow as a wireless mesh, no real-world 160 MHz channel width support
  • Requires an account with TP-Link to work
  • No dedicated backhaul band
  • Zero Wi-Fi customization
  • Limited web interface, no USB port

First off, you should consider any of these mid-range dual-band mesh systems only if you find yourself in one of the following:

That’s because none of them has a dedicated backhaul band. As a result, you’ll get quite slow Wi-Fi speeds in a wireless setup due to signal loss.

With that out of the way, it’s now the question of privacy, features, performance, and ease of use.

The Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini is a better answer on the first three. The Netgear Nighthawk MK63 is the middle of the road. And if you’re looking to daisy-chain hardware unit via network cables, the TP-Link Deco X60 is the only choice.

Personally, I’d pick the Asus out of the three if that’s the only router in a network. It has everything one would need in terms of features.

However, if you’re gonna use them in the access point mode, such as when you need to keep your existing router or ISP-provided gateway, then the features are no longer relevant. In that case, the TP-Link is the best choice thanks to its extra LAN ports.

Looking to compare other Wi-Fi solution? Check them all out here.

32 thoughts on “Dual-band Mesh Rivals: Asus XD4 vs. Netgear MK63 vs. TP-Link X60”

  1. Hi!
    Thanks for your interesting reviews and the work you put in to it.

    I am in need for a mesh system for two floors. 140m^2 an central placement of the nodes . I need just two units. My wife have her Office upstairs and we have possibility to use wired backhaul.
    It would be best to have Ethernet port to use wire to my wifes Office computer but there is no must in it. Perhaps a dual band would be a good choice?
    I am no need for the best and most expensive mesh buy want a reliable and easy to install and run mesh. I think I got through almost all of your reviews but still need some help to choose or recommendation anyway.
    We have a 250/250 fiber network.
    The ones below are in my pricerange now with discounts.

    I been looking at:
    TP M4 (to simple and out)
    TP-Link M5
    TP-Link X20 pretty new
    Netgear Nighthawk MK62
    Asus XD4
    Asus CT8 (XT8 are more expensive and out of the pricerange).
    Any other suggestion or recommendations?

    Are any of them the better choice?

    Reply
      • Thanks for the answer.
        Live in Sweden Scandinavia and here the new XD4 with two nodes (2 part total and not the 3 package) are sold for 240€ (290 $ US).
        TP-link X20 (3-package) cost 190€ (230 $) and Asus CT8 (2-package) cost the same and also the Nighthawk MK62.
        The XD4 looked promising but I hesitated because I didn’t find any reviews on it until I found your page. Sounds like they have made a really great product.

        I was looking at the more expensive ones like Asus XT8 but they didn’t drop in price and cost 360€ (Almost 440 $ here).

        We have the fiber box in directly when you come in to our house in a special electric cabinett. The good thing is there are double internet outlet in every room so I just Connect to the fiber box and put the router in the middle of the house. We have less internetspeed on the upper floor so we looped the a wire from the router back to the electric cabinett which there are connection to every room. From there we have we use a cable to my wifes computer upstairs but we have really bad wi-fi there why we look at a mesh.

        I really don’t understand why they don’t have at least one more network port?
        But if I understand it right you can use a cable to a unmanage switch from the XD4 router to a switch and then from the switch to some gear like a computer and a other from the switch to the node upstairs.

        If I understand you right you gone through a LOT of mesh and this is the best one for the buck because of it have it all (unless you pay 100-150$ more).

        What is the best alternative in the next pricerange?

        Reply
          • You are really awesome!
            Gone through even more of you reviews and wow it is many and so full of information.
            Can I ask a last question in this mesh thread?

            I been looking and prices on different mesh and routers cause that is also a thing to take in consideration. Been looking at the XD4 and they are my first choice. Anyway I just got a discount for some Routers and especially the RT-AX3000 / RT-AX58U that 2 of them Will cost almost same as XD4 with (2-package). It is only 35$ (28€) in difference?
            Is it a better choice to buy two RT-AX3000 / RT-AX58U and use one as router and other as a node as the use aimesh?

            Really got stuck in this problem and I have a Razer Sila 3000 Router which had worked good but the lack of Wi-Fi on the upper floor (some spots) and to bad.

  2. In general it seems as though you recommend the XD4 over the MK63. I was able to find the MK63 for $199 vs $299 for the XD4. Just wanted to confirm that you would recommend the MK63 over the XD4 at this price?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  3. I have a Gigabit connection. I have to use my provider’s MODEM. I have ethernet cables running from a separate patch panel to all floors of my house (3 cables – 3 floors). I am looking at good parental control. What is your recommendation? I am thinking of ASUS or TP Link.

    Reply
  4. For the same price right now (BF sales), I can get either a pair of ASUS CT8 or 3 MK63. Which would you choose?
    – 120mbit internet
    – 100% wired backend, 24 port switch (almost everything that can be wired is)
    – only a couple of wifi6 clients so far, dozens of wifi5 and some 4s
    – 2400sqft home (but want to reach into a larger yard)
    – coming from an RT-AC68u on merlin firmware that leaves quite a few deadspots
    – VPN and dynamicDNS are important to me

    The Nighthawk setup seems to be better value as I get wifi6 and an extra node (although I can recycle my 68u as a third as well). The triband on the asus would go unused with my wired backend.
    The only thing that holds me back from netgear is my familiarity with ASUS firmware and setup.

    Reply
  5. Dong, I am not tech savvy. I’m thinking of installing a TP Link Deco X60 for my home and one nearby outbuilding. My only internet connection is through a Verizon Jetpack. Any reason why this wouldn’t work? Thank you.

    Reply
    • It depends on how far the units are from each other and what you have in the middle (walls etc.), Don. If they are like 40 feet away with one wall in between or up to some 75 feet away with the light of sight, that should work.

      Reply
  6. Hi Dong,
    I want to change my access points (I have an ORBI rbk40 working as an AP).
    It has been working quite well until we had to tele-work (with videoconferencing) on the subject of COVID, at home. The main problem is that between the router and the satellite are the bathrooms. So the signal is not stable, due to the brick walls. I have thought of cabling (rj45 cat7) between the living room and a bedroom (the one in the middle, I have 3 bedrooms), putting a mesh system of 2 units, the main one in the living room (TV, NAS etc.) and the satellite in the bedroom.
    I need a very competent WIFI, do you think one of your review( XD4 vs. Netgear MK63 vs. TP-Link X60), will be enough or will I need something better?

    Reply
    • Likely, Miguel, none will help with the bathroom. Thick walls around it can block even most of the signals. If you can run cable, though, I’d recommend the XD4. If not you must use a tri-band mesh.

      Reply
      • Thanks Dong for your quick answer.
        In the end, I run cable, and as there are some sales at the moment, I’m thinking of a couple of RT-AX86u or Zenwifi XT8. This way I could connect to the node by cable and might improve WIFI speed too. Now I would use them as Point Access but I may change in near future(Changin my ISP router to bridge mode)
        I like the look of Zenwifi routers for the living room, but I reckon ax86u are better routers(Link aggregation for example).
        Which one would you choose?

        Reply
      • Hi Dong, I finally bought the XD4 (at good price) and ran cable between the router and the node and now I have the speed limit contracted to my ISP (600 Mb) in most of the house.
        Finally the problems I had with WIFI for years were solved.
        Thanks a lot.

        Reply
        • The best solution i think … my XD4s should arrive today, i’ll install them as satellites with my RT-AX86U to have better control options from my main router

          Reply
      • Hi dong, I’m very happy with the XD4 router you recommended me, but I couldn’t get the 5ghz wifi to work at 80mhz, only at 40mhz. It’s strange because from channel 100 it’s completely free in the place where I live, can you think of why?

        Reply
  7. You say that a person should use these routers if their broadband connection is 200 Mbps or slower and with a home that is wired with network cables.

    In my case I have a broadband connection of 200 Mbps however my plan is to have the router connected with a network cable but the satellite unit(s) with WiFi only. My house is a 1970’s colonial house that is ~2000 sq ft and lots of interior walls and a basement. Which mesh system would you recommend?

    Reply
      • You are right, my bad, I missed the “or”. I also just noticed you replied to another person where you recommend using the ZenWifi AC tri-band if you are planning on using WiFi only for the satellites. So would the ZenWifi AC be a better choice than the ZenWifi Ax mini for my application? Would the order of preference of all 4 of these systems be in this order: ZenWifi AC, ZenWifi Ax mini, Netgear MK63, and lastly the TP-Link X60?

        BTW, I really enjoy reading all of your reviews, keep up the good work!

        Reply
        • If you have wired backhaul, Joe, then get a dual-band set, if you plan to have a wireless setup, then get a tri-band set. Of the one you mentioned, only the ZenWiFi AC is tri-band.

          Reply
  8. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for all these nice reviews! Really helpfull, since I’m planning to upgrade the wifi at my home.

    My modem is located in the fuse box which is located in the garage. So to get full coverage in my house I’m thinking about putting a router in the fuse box, and in addition put nodes in my living room, on first floor and on second floor.

    What do you believe makes most sense?

    Buy 2 x 2-pack XD4 and put the router in the fuse box and use the 3 other XD4 ones as nodes. Or buy a RT-AX86U as primary router and in addition buy a 3-pack XD4 as nodes in the different rooms?

    Thanks!

    Regards,
    Raymond

    Reply
    • It’ll work better if you run network cables, or at least one cable from the modem to another place where you place the router. But your choices of hardware will work, of those the latter is better. If you go full wireless though, I’d recommend tri-band system, like the ZenWiFi AX or AC.

      Reply
      • Hi Dong,

        Thanks for this quick reply. I forgot to mention that there are network cables running to every room.

        I also thought of placing the router more centrally (instead of in the fuse box). However my patch panel, Synology and some other devices are in the fuse box, therefore I guess I’m limited in putting my router in the fuse box.

        Regards,
        Raymond

        Reply
  9. Thanks for this quick review, i’d like to see performances with all units connected with cables.
    I already bet on the Asus to complete my Asys 86U router, but Asus mini are still not available in Europe 🙁 … waiting since June annoncement

    Reply

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