Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Systems of 2020: The Real-Deal Collection

READ NOW:  Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers of 2020: Pick One for your Home!
AmpliFi Alien Kit
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The AmpliFi Alien Kit is one of the coolest Wi-Fi 6 mesh system.

You’ll find in this post the best Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems you can get right now.

It’s worth noting that even when you don’t have updated clients, Wi-Fi 6 is still superior to Wi-Fi 5 when you use multiple hardware units in a system. Thanks to the high bandwidth backhaul link, you can place the broadcasters farther out to get extensive coverage, and still have the fast speeds for your needs.

READ NOW:  Mixing Broadcasters: This Is How Your Home Wi-Fi System Is a Mesh

A mesh is only necessary for a large home. So those living in a medium home and needing only a standalone router, check out this list of best Wi-Fi 6 routers instead.

Dong’s note: This is a frequently updated post.

Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh Wi-Fi systems of 2020: The lists

There are not many Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems on the market, and this post indeed includes all those I’ve tested, in the reviewed order, latest on top. I’ll add (or remove) the options as more systems become available. So do bookmark this page.

Scroll down to the bottom to see how their performance stacked up. Or check out this post on Wi-Fi 6 competing pairs to see how some of them pan out as direct competitors.

READ NOW:  Home Wi-Fi 6 Solutions Compared: A Quick Take on Which to Get

These are mesh systems that have only a single broadcaster of each of the two frequencies (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.) As a result, in a wireless setup, the speed of the satellite unit’s 5 GHz band is generally only half that of the router unit, due to signal loss.

However, in a wired configuration, a dual-band mesh system will still give you consistent performance throughout. So, if you have run your home with network cables, this type of mesh will deliver the best bang for your buck.

3. Netgear Nighthawk MK63: The beginning of EasyMesh

Netgear MK63 AX1800 Mesh Wi Fi 6 System 16
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Netgear Nighthawk MK63 includes two types of hardware, one router and two satellites.

The Netgear Nighthawk MK63 is an entirely new type of Wi-Fi 6 mesh system. It’s the first on the market based on the EasyMesh initiative. As a result, in the future, you might be able to use future supported hardware from other networking vendors with it.

For now, it’s an excellent choice if you have a modest broadband connection or have wired your home with network cables. Similar to the case of the Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini below, you do need a switch if you want to link all of the MK63’s hardware units together using network cables.

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
  • Attracts and retains dirt and fingerprint easily
  • Finicky QoS, online protection require mobile app and not free
  • Not wall-mountable
READ NOW:  Netgear Nighthawk MK63 Review: A Modest but Reliable Performer

2. Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini: The first complete AiMesh set

Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini XD4 Mesh System 1
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The ZenWiFi AX Mini includes three identical-looking hardware units. Only one of them is a router, however.

The ZenWiFi AX Mini is more than just a miniature version of the ZenWiFi AX. It’s the first purpose-built AiMesh system that includes two distinct types of hardware, including a router and two satellites.

Most importantly, it’s the very first among its peers that features a fully functioning Guest networking feature, something that had been amiss from the get-go in Asus’s AiMesh ecosystem.

On the downside, this little mesh system is dual-band and has modest hardware specs. As a result, it’s not a great choice unless you have wired your home with network cables. In any case, though, it’s an excellent and more affordable alternative to the TP-Link Deco X60 below.

Note: Alternatively, you can also opt for a combo of a few dual-band Asus AiMesh routers to have a similar, likely better, wired mesh solution (minus the Guest network, for now).

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
READ NOW:  Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review: The First Complete AiMesh Set

Photo 61
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The TP-Link Deco X60 is a 3-pack dual-band 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 mesh system.

The TP-Link Deco X60 is quite slow when working as a wireless mesh system. However, if you have wired your home Gigabit Ethernet, it’ll work out very well, especially considering a relatively affordable price of less than $350 for a 3-pack.

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
READ NOW:  TP-Link Deco X60 Review: A Reliable but Slow Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System

Best tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh system: Expensive but convenient

These are mesh systems that include three internal Wi-Fi frequency bands within each of its hardware units. Specifically, they all have one 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz ones. In a wireless setup, one of the latter will work as a dedicated wireless backhaul.

The idea of the dedicated backhaul is one band takes care of the job that links the hardware units leaving the other two to work only for clients. As a result, even when it’s not possible to use network cables to connect the hardware units, you can still archive fast throughputs.

A tri-band system is a must for a home with a lot of thick walls or if you want to get the fastest possible speed and can’t run network cables. Most of these systems do support wired backhaul as an option, however.

5. Linksys MX10: The best Velop mesh to date

Linksys MX10 Hand
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Linksys MX10 Velop AX includes two massive routers, the biggest Velop hardware I’ve worked with.

The Linksys MX10 is a 2-pack system consisting of two Linksys MX5 Velp AX router. Frankly, it’s quite expensive considering what it has to offer.

However, it still has more features than the Arris SURFboard mAX below and, most importantly, it delivers in terms of performance. If you’ve had experience with a Velop system before, the Linksys MX10 is the best of its type.

Linksys MX10 Velop AX WiFi 6 Mesh System

8

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Easy of use

8.5/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • Reliable and relatively fast Wi-Fi performance
  • Helpful mobile app, full web interface
  • Effective backhaul that delivers Wi-Fi 6 throughout in a mesh setup
  • Fast NAS speeds when hosting an external drive

Cons

  • Expensive with comparatively low Wi-Fi specs
  • No support for 160MHz channel bandwidth
  • Mobile app and login account required for initial setup
  • Spartan Wi-Fi settings, modest feature set
  • No multi-gig network ports, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation
  • USB port awkwardly place, not mountable
READ NOW:  Linksys MX10 Review: The Best-to-Date Velop for a Price

4. Asus ZenWiFi AX: The best AiMesh system to date

Asus ZenWiFi AX Mesh System
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The ZenWiFi AX XT8 includes two identical routers.

The ZenWiFi AX XT8 is Asus’s first Wi-Fi 6 system built around the company’s popular AiMesh feature. Though not the fastest on the market, nor is it the one that gives you everything an Asus router has to offer, the XT8 has an excellent combo of performance, features, and cost.

If you’re looking for a system that can deliver your Gigabit-class internet connection in full and has a ton of useful features, including a free-for-life built-in online protection, without having a hole in your wallet afterward, the ZenWiFi AX is the one to get.

ASUS ZenWiFi AX Whole-Home Tri-Band Mesh WiFi 6 System (XT8)

8.9

Performance

8.5/10

Features

9.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast Wi-Fi performance and large coverage at a comparatively affordable cost
  • Improved and flexible AiMesh
  • Lots network settings and useful features, including free real-time online protection for life
  • Full 4x4 dedicated backhaul band with optional wired backhaul support
  • Multi-gig WAN port with Dual-WAN and WAN link aggregation

Cons

  • No 160MHz 4x4 support for Wi-Fi 6 clients, for now, in a wireless setup
  • No multi-gig LAN port or LAN link aggregation
  • Only four network ports on each hardware units
  • Guest networking, for now, remains at the router unit
  • Not enough instructions on network settings
READ NOW:  Asus ZenWiFi AX Review: The Best AiMesh System to Date

3. Netgear Orbi RBK852: The expensive Wi-Fi 6 mesh that delivers

Netgear Orbi AX6000
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Orbi Wi-Fi 6’s hardware units are almost identical.

The Orbi Wi-Fi 6 AX6000 (model RBK852) is not for everyone since it’s so expensive. But if you’re looking for a sure and easy way to blanket a large property with fast Wi-Fi that can deliver Gigabit-class Internet, it won’t disappoint.

Orbi WiFi 6 System AX6000 (RBK852)

8

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with large coverage
  • Full web interface with all common settings and features
  • Useful, well designed mobile app
  • 2.5Gbps multi-gig WAN ports
  • Support WAN 2Gbps Link Aggregation

Cons

  • High cost
  • No 160MHz channel support, limited Wi-Fi customization
  • Not compatible with Wi-Fi Orbi hardware
  • No multi-gig LAN port, intermittent lags
  • Bulky design
READ NOW:  Netgear Orbi AX6000 Review: Great Wi-Fi for a Hefty Price

2. Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Mesh Kit: An Odd Pair of Wi-Fi 6 Tango

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Kit
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The AmpliFi Alien Kit comes in a fancy box.

The AmpliFi Alien Kit includes an Alien router and an Alien MeshPoint. The pair is permanently synced. Consequently, this kit is great for a home that needs a 2-pack system. If you need more than that, you’ll have to get another Alien router.

Despite that odd hardware configuration, the expensive price, and other oddities, this mesh system has enough to make almost anyone happy.

AmpliFi Alien Router and MeshPoint

8.5

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

9.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Dead-easy to set up and manage
  • Excellent Wi-Fi coverage
  • Fast performance, wired backhaul supported
  • Users can manage backhaul link and virtual Wi-Fi networks
  • Useful VPN and ad-blocking feature
  • Cool hardware design

Cons

  • MeshPoint has only one LAN port, and only works with the one router of the same Alien Kit
  • No dedicated backhaul band
  • Expensive
READ NOW:  Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Mesh Kit Review: An Odd Pair of Wi-Fi Tango

1. ARRIS SURFboard mAX Pro: A fast but bare-bone wireless-only Wi-Fi 6 mesh system

Arris mAX Pro Mesh System
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The ARRIS mAX Pro is the first tri-band 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 mesh system.

The SURFboard mAX Pro is ARRIS’s very first Wi-Fi 6 offering, and it’s a mesh system, a quite souped-up one. The performance was excellent in my testing, and I also like the design. It’s a bit thin on the settings and features, however, so make sure Wi-Fi speed and coverage are all you care about before getting your own.

This mesh system is the only one here that doesn’t support wired backhaul, though that might change in via firmware update.

ARRIS Surfboard Max Pro Mesh Wi-Fi 6 AX11000 System

7.4

Performance

8.0/10

Features

5.0/10

Design and Setup

9.5/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • Gigabit-class Wi-Fi speeds
  • Dedicated backhaul; exceptional Wi-Fi coverage
  • Easy to use mobile app
  • Well-thought-out, compact, fan-less design

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No web interface, mobile app feels unfinished and severely lacks features and Wi-Fi settings
  • Each router has only four network ports and no multi-gig port
  • Not wall-mountable
READ NOW:  ARRIS SURFboard mAX Pro Review: Excellent Wi-Fi Stunted by Zero Multi-Gig Port and Scant Customization

Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh Wi-Fi systems of 2020: The performance

Find below the satellite mesh performance of the systems mentioned above. I tested all of them in a wireless setup with the satellite place 40 feet (12 m) away from the router unit.

I figured out the routers’ throughput speeds using 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 and 4×4 Wi-Fi 5 clients. For those of a satellite unit, I used a 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 client and a 3×3 Wi-Fi 5 client.

Best Wi Fi 6 Mesh Router Performance Chart
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

Note that I generally don’t test Wi-Fi 6 mesh satellites’ 2.4 GHz band because some systems don’t allow for separating the two Wi-Fi bands into two networks. That said, the numbers you see on the charts are likely those of the 5GHz one.

Best Wi Fi 6 Mesh Satellite Performance Chart
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

Also, I generally don’t test mesh systems in a wired setup since that can be redundant. Via wired backhaul, the performance of the satellite unit is usually the same as that of the router unit.

READ NOW:  Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers of 2020: Pick One for your Home!

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136 thoughts on “Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Systems of 2020: The Real-Deal Collection”

  1. Dong,

    Just found your page…love your reviews. I have a Q for you.

    I am a Google Fiber customer who is ready to drop the Google network box and get some sort of Wifi router to replace it with. I have a QNAP 2.5 GbE switch and I generally get more than my 1GbE Fiber connection coming in from the ISP.

    I live in s 2000 Sq foot split level home, all the IT gear is on one end (Fiber box, Network box, Media Center, Roku, TV, etc.). Really looking to future proof my self for WiFi 6 and I’d like a unit with at least one 2.5 GbE WAN port to get all I can from google, then feed into the QNAP and rest of my wired network.

    Do I really need a mesh set up? Most of the wifi usage is right there close to the equipment. I have a home studio on the other end of the house that could benefit from better Wifi, but it is not the main use case. What do you recommend?

    House is hard wired with CAT 6A as well.

    Thank you,

    -Jeffrey

    Reply
  2. Dong,
    I have ISP provided modem/router connecting to the main coax running into the house. From there the modem/router connects to a gigabit switch that then passes connectivity to each of the ethernet ports in my house (6) and all of this resides in an OnQ panel . In two separate rooms, I have old Apple routers connected to the ethernet ports creating a wifi network in my house. These are showing age and certainly have reliability issues. I’m wanting to replace the Apple routers to create a wifi mesh network. Your recommendations please?

    Reply
  3. Enjoy your post. I have a 4500 square foot home on 2 floors with an additional 2500 square feet in the basement. Unfortunately its cat 5 wired . Difficult to rewire. Looking to purchase a mesh system by the end of this year .My main use is streaming and various wifi units. We have 4 tv s streaming at any given point.
    Any advice without rewiring

    Reply
    • Do you know if it’s CAT5 or CAT5e, Joe? Generally, if the cable has four twisted pairs (8 wires) then it can deliver 1Gbps or faster which is better than any Wi-Fi. Even if it’s not and your Internet is 100 Mbps or slower, the existing wiring will work.

      Reply
  4. Hi Dong. Thank you for responding to readers queries and I hope you can answer mine.
    I am upgrading my WiFi router to a mesh router, preferably a WiFi 6 system. My household does not do gaming (not yet anyway) and with concrete walls between the rooms, connectivity is higher priority than speed.
    I would have gone in for the TPLink X60 but your comments about privacy risks got me very concerned and i am asking if these privacy risks are any different than any other mesh routers ?
    Second, I liked the TPx60 because of its affordability and its parental controls. If not the TPLink X60, what other option would you recommend. From another of your posts, it appears that the Asus Zen mini has watered down parental controls and the Nighthawk AX1800 has no parental controls at all – so those did not look like options to me.
    The other Wifi 6 mesh systems are way too expensive. That then leaves me going to a Wifi 5 mesh system. Is that a bad choice, if one is looking for an investment of 3-4 years ? Which system would you recommend ?
    Thanks – and I dont have technical know-how, so any feedback which is not very technical will be much appreciated.

    Thanks
    Colin

    Reply
  5. Hi Dong,
    My home is 1,900sq ft one level and built in 1937. I have plaster walls which makes wifi a challenge. I have about 60 wifi devices connected such as laptops, cell phones, 4K TVs, printer, roku and amazon 4k sticks. No gaming here, but a lot of devices and 4K tvs.
    Can you give me a couple options based on that information? I would prefer to have wifi 6 if it is affordable, but I will look into whatever you suggest.

    Reply
  6. Dong:

    Great review, was wondering if you have tested multiple game systems on a mesh system. I currently use Eero Pro’s at home, great system, no issues. Trying to set son up at college, 7 guys, house built in 1910 (refurbished). They have gigabyte speed into Arris SB8200 modem. Testing shows 940Mbs speed. Have tried two different Netgear routers (R7000 and XR500). It is 7 bedroom house, furthest bedroom would be 30 ft from modem/router. Netgear routers pump out 150-200Mb/s but drop down to 40-50 especially during gaming attempts. Looking at 4 Xbox, 7 laptops, 7 cell phones, 4-5 TV streaming as total load. Have you ever put any of the mesh networks to test for 3-4 game systems trying to talk to each other at same time? Any recommendations

    Reply
  7. Hi Dong! Just curious among all of these routers, which one does provide better support and updates(continuous)?

    Also, you mentioned on your review on Orbi that it has some hiccups in terms of performance. Has that been resolve/stable for now? Thanks.

    Reply
    • Asus ones have the most frequently updated firmware, Ken. As for “tech Support” I don’t know since I don’t need that. The Orbi works better now than when I first reviewed it but it’s still far from perfect. The biggest issue with Orbi in general is the lag when you connect to the satellite.

      Reply
  8. Hi Dong! Awesome website!
    I’m wrapped around the axle and I could use a bit of help.
    I’ve got a 3200 sq/ft home that’s old with thick walls and many elevation changes, including a finished basement. I’ve got two MoCA 2.5 devices at opposite ends of the house so I have wired backhaul. For MoCA do I want (need) a multigig port for the backhaul?
    I’d like Wifi 6 ideally and would prefer two endpoints. My internet is gigabit and I want things fast. 🙂

    Reply
    • If you’ve already got the adapters, this is easy to answer. I’m assuming you have at least 2 computers with multigig NICs, so you can plug them directly into the adapters, then run a throughput test with iperf3. (You spelled MoCA with a little “o” so I assume you can figure out iperf 😁)

      If the results consistently stay up near or over gigabit rates (let’s say over 800 Mbps?) then you know your MoCA pair is delivering real world performance that benefits from multigig.

      Reply
      • My laptop only has a gigabit adapter but I can consistently pull gigabit numbers:
        [ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
        [ 4] 0.00-10.00 sec 1.09 GBytes 934 Mbits/sec sender
        [ 4] 0.00-10.00 sec 1.09 GBytes 934 Mbits/sec receiver
        I’m using the goCoax MoCA 2.5 adapters.

        So with this being the case, should I seek out that multigig backhaul? And if so, which systems even have one?

        Reply
        • No, John. Like I said before, 1 Gbps is the cap speed so there’s no need to use multi-gig backhaul. It doesn’t hurt if you do but it won’t’ change anything. All MoCA adapters cap at 1 Gpbs by the way which is the speed of their network ports.

          Reply
          • Oh, duh! I was thinking about the coax speed, completely missed your point about the network port. Thanks and sorry about that!

  9. Would two ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 AX11000 Tri-Band 10 Gigabit WiFi Routers in Aimesh work with power line ethernet work well. advantages dis advantages.

    Reply
  10. I live in 5000 sq ft home, two floors, huge front yard. Tons of IoT devices, and atleast 3+ devices streaming HD videos at the same time. Some light gaming. But definitely tons of media streaming.

    I want to blanket the whole space with WiFi, fast wifi. Cost is not a factor.

    Would you recommend an Orbi system like the RBK852/853 or a couple of Asus ROG GT-AX11000?

    Reply
  11. Hi Dong, what a great reviews do you have!!! Thanks.
    I need an advice. I would like to get a mikrotik for a router job. So I am just looking the best wifi 6 mesh for my home. The house is about 5700sqft (inclusive the land area) , 2 stories. What do you suggest to do the job? For now i am thinking for triband, to have a wifi backhaul but i want it to support wired backhaul as well (just in case). Any suggestion?

    Reply
  12. Hello, I am looking for some advice and information please
    – Recently installed CAT-5/6 on the ceiling in every room connected to a network box with a 24-way patch panel
    – To complete the investment, I am looking to use equipment that is capable of delivering:
    a. Tri-Band
    b. Wi-Fi 6
    c. WPA3
    d. PoE Access Points (I want to avoid using cables for power and ethernet)
    – My internet provider has provided a router, which I am happy to replace
    – Can you suggest a list of equipment that will meet the above please. I have tried comparing products on the website but I cannot find any products that meets all the above specification
    – Rather annoyingly you have to search the product spec sheet – Why don’t suppliers indicate a-d above as standard information?
    – Your assistance would be very much appreciated
    Regards
    John

    Reply
      • Dong, thanks for the reply and with your comments, I now realise using wired negates the need for Tri-Band and Backhaul. The new AP from Netgear appears to tick the other boxes and with the addition of a PoE switch should fit the job – Here is a link to the AP https://amzn.to/3gncjBx

        Reply
    • John, I’m kind of curious about your requirements — would you mind talking a bit about why you’re looking for those specs? For example, you have a wired backhaul already (I’m jealous!) so why do you need tri-band? I thought the point of having a second 5GHz band was generally so that it could be used for wireless backhaul, but of course wired is always better. And as Dong wrote elsewhere, WiFi 6 is still basically a novelty tech at this point. Isn’t it actually still just a draft standard?

      That said, I’m surprised you’re having to “search the spec sheet” for these stats. If an AP is tri-band, it should say so prominently, because that’s an expensive feature to add. Likewise with PoE support, it’s becoming more common but it’s certainly not mainstream at this point. It’s a great fit for your setup, but you might want to think about something “enthusiast” grade like Ubiquity UniFi Pro or Mikrotik. And like Dong said, I still think you won’t find all 4 of those in a single product today.

      Reply
      • James B, you are absolutely correct and reading your first comment made me realise the error – so thank you!

        In answer to your second comment, the point is to future proof (as much possible based on cost) – I think I will achieve this with the new AP from Netgear with a PoE switch. The link to the AP spec id in my reply to Dong (Iam not advertising this – just posting for information)

        Any recommendations on a suitable switch would be appreciated. My thoughts are to aquire one from Netgear, just to ensure compatibility? – Regards John

        Reply
        • I’ll let Dong comment on the switch thing, but in my experience if your home network isn’t *super* complicated (i.e., you’re trying to manually juggle separate VLANs for different devices) you can use just about any unmanaged switch.

          The only caveat I’ve seen is super specific: I’m looking at an Orbi kit, and according to the Netgear forums, some people have seen strange behavior when their satellite talks to the router over a switch that supports “green ethernet”, which I gather is a pretty recent extension that reduces power consumption. I guess somehow that results in some clients being able to “see” out to the WAN but not being able to reach certain other LAN clients. As far as I know this is specific to Orbi.

          Reply
  13. Any news of whether TP-LINK will finally enable support for AES WPA2 in their products? iOS 14 now alerts users that their networking is using “weak security.” I have the Deco X60 and I now get this warning. After checking TP-LINK’s forums, it seems like their hardware technically supports AES, but only connects using insecure TKIP, unless you set your client to only connect using AES (not possible in iOS or stock Android). It seems like this flaw has existed in their hardware for a quite a while, and they do not have plans to change it anytime soon. Here are a few links to discussions in their forums:

    https://community.tp-link.com/en/home/forum/topic/215758
    https://community.tp-link.com/en/home/forum/topic/203940
    https://community.tp-link.com/us/home/forum/topic/201432

    Reply
  14. We have a three story house and we dont get connection on any floor except the floor our router is on. We are looking into mesh networks and this article is very helpful but im wondering which in your personal opinion if the best and fastest?

    Reply
  15. Hello Dong
    I think I now understand the importance of the third band in a mesh system for the backhaul so I am back to shopping for a RBK852 system or perhaps the Zen Wifi XT8 so thanks again for your previous advice and all of the great info on your site.
    One other question: At the location of the main router here in my study I have 7 pieces of hardware connected to the router via ethernet cable and a 4 port gigabit switch. Two WD NAS units, 1 printer, 2 PC’s, 1 security PVR, 1 powerline adapter. Does the switch slow things down? Are there better switches? Would it be better to look for a main router that has more LAN ports?

    Reply
  16. Thanks Dong.

    I meant that we go through about 1500 gb or more per month which is why we went with the unlimited data option.

    I also realize wired is faster and better than wireless. My question is would you go with a wired mesh system or a couple of wireless access points that are wired?

    Do you think putting the provided xfinity gateway in bridged mode still poses privacy issues?

    Again thanks for your quick and helpful replies. Hopefully these questions help others too which is I why went the comments under your post. 🙂

    Reply
  17. Hi Dong

    Thanks for putting together this great website. I’ve really enjoyed reading your articles.

    I have an Orbi AC3000 router and one satellite that I was using with wired backhaul since I have wired many rooms in my home with cat 6. I just signed up for the xfinity 1gbps plan with unlimited data which came with their XB7 AX gateway. I am debating getting an ax access point to use with my xfinity gateway or I might just use the Orbi in access point mode or I might disable the WiFi on the gateway and use the Orbi in mesh with wired backhaul.

    One thing I don’t like about the mesh systems is you typically can’t disable the wireless backhaul even if you are using wired backhaul. This eats up a lot of wireless bandwidth. Do you know of a mesh system that allows disabling of the wireless backhaul?

    On thing that happened the other day was I had a WiFi call on my iPhone start dropping out a bit when moving between an access point and the xfinity gateway and I would like to avoid that. It’s important that I’m able to roam through the house when on conference calls or when on a call using WiFi. That never used to happen when I was using the Orbi in mesh mode with wired backhaul.

    Would you go with a mesh and disable the wireless on the xfinity gateway or just add an ax access point and use the WiFi on the xfinity gateway? If I went with an access point, I would most likely sell my Orbi system.

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • You should replace your gateway with a modem, Sean. You’ll shed some $15 to $25 from your monthly bill. That’s not to mention your privacy. If you have wired your home, it’s not a good idea to use a tri-band mesh system which is generally made for a wireless setup. In your case, I’d recommend the Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini or any dual-band system that supports wired backhaul. Most new ones do.

      Reply
      • Thanks Dong for the quick response.

        Xfinity now has a new unlimited data option that only costs $25 per month and that includes XB7 AX Gateway. If I use my own modem, Xfinity charges $30 per month. I was trying to save $5 per month, but I’m open to any suggestions if you think it’s worth having my own modem and paying the extra money. My privacy is worth $5 per month. 🙂

        I wired my home myself after I had already purchased the Orbi system so that is why I now have the tri band Orbi.

        I think I understand what you are saying about the Mesh dual band. If go that route, one of the second bands is for both wireless backhaul and normal client traffic so if I was using wired there would be only clients using the second band.

        Do you think it makes more sense to go with a mesh system vs setting up some access points with a controller (Ubiquiti or TP Link)?

        Reply
      • It wouldn’t let me reply to the below response for some reason so I am replying to this one. Strange.

        For the last 4-5 months, we have consistently hit 1500 gb or more. THis is what prompted me to explore the unlimited data options which led me to the XB7 gatewah.

        Do you think wired mesh backhaul or wireless access points would be better?

        Reply
        • You can do that if you reply to the original or secondary comment, Sean. It’s nested only so many levels. Wired is always better than wireless. That’s a lot of data. You should think about how to reduce that ut in that case, yes, unlimited is necessary.

          Reply
  18. The best review website I’ve read so far! Very detailed! Although I didn’t see something that covers everything I need… Can you suggest?
    1. 3000 Sqft smart home. (50+ devices)
    2. Would like to not do a wired backhaul but open to it possibly. I’m thinking a try band solves this?
    3. I’ve got a 6 year old that I need parental controls (pause the internet for certain devices and internet filters)
    4. Prefer Wifi 6 for somewhat future proofing. I have a linksys router now with 2 extenders and it’s frustrating when I have to manually change “networks” to go from the garage to the patio.

    Reply
    • So clearly it’s not best enough, Bill. But thanks.:)

      1. Noted. That’s a nice home!
      2. Wired backhaul is the way to go. Tri-band helps but it can’t compete with wires.
      3. We have 4.5-year-old one. My wife literally gives her just an hour of screen time a week IF she behaves, and if she REALLY behaves, maybe 1.5 hours. That’s the real parental control (I take no credit) :). But if you just need internet pausing, almost any router can do that. Filtering is hit or miss since many websites are not correctly categorized, but again most routers have some function on that front, too. Also, you can do that on ANY router via OpenDNS. (I might write a post on this later.)
      4. Get a mesh system, extenders are generally no good. Wi-Fi 5 or 6 doesn’t matter much unless you have really faster Internet.
      https://dongknows.com/why-wi-fi-5-still-relevant-today/

      Reply
      • Thanks for the info! I am looking to upgrade our fiber internet from 100/100 to 500/500. I just want to make sure I have the correct hardware.

        Reply
  19. Our place isn’t that big but it’s long and narrow, with the ISP hookup at one end of the ground floor and clients all over 3 floors. With old, thick walls, reception has been rough, and there’s no good way to run cables without an amount of drilling that makes my wife uncomfortable. The electrical wiring is old enough that powerline has not worked out great (100/60 Mbit, ISP is 250Mbit).

    Because of the wireless-backhaul requirement, I think tri-band is a must, and looking at the tri-band kits in this list, I think I’ve talked myself into sticking with WiFi 5. It sounds like I can get a solid 3-piece (tri-band) WiFI 5 kit for less than any of the 2-piece (tri-band) WiFi 6 ones. Do I have a good grasp on the market of August 2020?

    Reply
  20. HI Dong,
    Excellent informative post – thank you. We 3000 sq. feet 2-story colonial. Three boys play games upstairs, I day trade downstairs. Which system (mesh or simple router) is better for my family’s needs, as both reliability and speeds are important? Many thanks for replying!

    Reply
  21. I went out and bought the orbi today but have 15 days to return. i was getting buffering on the 1 alien and wasn’t sure if it was because of just the 1 unit. i only have about 1500 square ft but kept getting buffering upstairs and downstairs, speeds were good. so far although only a few hours in everything seems to be running better haven’t come across any buffering as of yet so. could you explain why you would go with another alien as apposed to the orbi? price isn’t an issue just want no issues with my streaming live tv. paid $449 for the orbi and another alien would run me $379.

    Reply
  22. Hey i currently have a single amplifi alien and wanted to upgrade to either getting on one and use it as a satellite or get the orbi ax4200 (rbk752) which would you recommend? Using it for streaming,live tv, 3 gaming consoles, ring doorbell, thermostat etc. thanks

    Reply
  23. The Archer doesn’t work well at all right now. Think the device is dying 🙂 I get 100mbps standing right next to the router and 30 feet and 1 wall away, the signal is non existent.

    I am sure it worked much better some time ago. So yes, the archer wasn’t perfect but seemed to have coverage in most places – nothing close to top speeds.

    Reply
  24. Thank you, Dong. I see, I left out some information. I blame it on brain melt. Our house is around 2450 square feet. Think of looking down at our house like a box. It’s a square, front door is the top. Going clockwise, the bottom left corner is 1, top left is 2, top right is 3 and bottom right is 4. The modem and router are in downstairs room that’s corner 1. That’s where the cable service comes into the house. Writer is in the upstairs room in corner 1. Gamer 1 is in upstairs room in corner 4. I am furthest away in upstairs room corner 3. I cuss the most. We game on computers, not consoles. (I sneezed while playing a game on our console one day and it blipped out and never came back on! Told ya, strange things happen to tech around me!) I will go read what you have suggested and check out those two systems. I just wanted to give you a better picture of the setup.

    Reply
  25. Hi Dong, some excellent information on your site. Thanks for all the hard work and time.

    I’m still torn and hope you can help. I live in a 3200 SQ feet single floor condo in SG. It’s a 30 year old building and has solid walls. My current router is a single Archer C9 which is 5 years old and is making my 1GBps line go waste.

    Looking at three options :
    – one good powerful router that sits in the living room. Bed rooms are 1 or 2 walls and upto 50 feet away. Any router that can work?
    – A mesh router setup with one or two satellites. Ideally wireless. Anything that could work
    – mesh wireless but I invest in wired backhaul. Need it for the two most distant bedrooms I guess. Again a question on which routers – I saw your recommendation of a good WiFi 5 Triband being better than an entry 2 band WiFi 6 mesh.

    Thanks for your inputs.

    Reply
    • If the Archer C9 worked (kinda) right now, Karthik, then another better router will work. That’s all you need. But running cables is always the best. After that, you can try an Asus AiMesh system. Note though, no matter what you use, chances are you won’t get 1Gbps at the end device. More on that here.

      Reply
  26. It’s not a good thing to die in a dungeon because you lag, or, straight up, disconnect! I die enough by being horrible maimed, stabbed, bitten, burned, etc. Let me say, I don’t understand a lot of tech talk. Makes my head spin. All I know is there are two gamers in this house and one writer and we stream t.v., music, etc. The two gamers have cussed enough to gain the attention of the writer, who can’t concentrate because of all of the cussing. We need a new wi-fi system. There are no cables anywhere in this house and, after all the plumbing issues and sink hole and…well, we aren’t about to run any cables anywhere! For now we’re on 200 Mbps cable internet. We are considering changing to fiber at…well it says 1 Gig. We need to change our router anyway, as it just barely reaches my room. It’s downstairs, we’re upstairs.I saw the mesh system and that sounds nice. We tried extenders…didn’t work. Too many walls I think but I don’t know. What I’m asking in my sleep deprived state is, which mesh system should we try? I can guarantee the writer won’t be willing to spend $700, but I might convince her to dish out half that. I just want the most coverage and best speed. Fooling around with interfaces and such for ME would be a huge mistake. I might accidentally hack something, set off bombs or turn our computers into nuclear reactors! (Strange things happen when technology and I are in the same room!) Oh! It’s okay if it’s a gen 6. Might as well get it now than to argue with the writer again.

    Reply
    • I guess you’re one of the gamers Ainsley. For you guys’ situation, it’s quite tough to find out which will work for sure since I have no idea how big the place is or its layout. That said, this post might help. Then you cant try the Orbi AX6000 or the Asus ZenWiFi AX. Note though, a wireless mesh system is generally not good for gaming. So if possible connect the game console directly tot he router unit (not the satellite).

      Reply
  27. Just to confirm mutual understanding….your 2nd floor comment relates to 1st floor in UK speak, right? US 1st floor = Ground floor in the UK….Just checking 🙂

    Reply
    • You’re correct, Allan. I totally forgot about that. 🙂 Basically you want the broadcasters to be as close to the center of their areas of coverage as possible.

      Reply
  28. Super, thanks! Food for thought, especially the roof cabling…it’s a 2 story property but assume transmission from a mesh system goes (just as well) down as well as up 🙂

    Reply
    • Sure, Allan. And have fun! I actually love projects like that. They are very satisfying. Also, yes, just place the broadcasters on or near the floor of the 2nd floor and you’re fine.

      Reply
  29. Just found your site. Great reviews Dong!

    Here’s a challenge for you. I have a tricky problem in the fact that my house is reasonably long and has a few 2ft thick pretty much solid stone walls across its length (with doors, of course). The construction of the house is such that I cannot practically run LAN cable along its length. At least it’s too expensive to consider. My WAN comes in at one end of the house and I have a BT (British Telecom) a/b/c/ac Hub/Modem at that entry point (with 4x GB ports out). Broadband speed is only 30MB or so at the moment although 100Mb/300Mb fibre hopefully coming to the area over the next few years, or I’ll get a 5G modem when that’s available. I use 1200ac Ethernet over Power units to get from the WAN modem/hub to points though and to the far end of the house. At points in the house I have some 1200ac ethernet powerline units for wired devices (Raid Discs f/e), and a few Powerline WiFi units. As you can imagine the general network performance at the far end of the house is atrocious. The Ethernet over Power performance degrades, and so too as a consequence, general network performance, and so too the internet speed, of course. So what I’m thinking is would a mesh of, say 4 units, in sequence, say the ASUS Wifi 6 devices, make a difference? Would a mesh (of multiple devices in sequence) make the blindest bit of difference to the network speed across the house? Sorry for the length of the question, but your thoughts on this challenge would be greatly appreciated. BTW, does WiFi 6 have better penetration of things like walls than WiFi 4? That’ll be an important factor, of course.

    Reply
    • Those impenetrable stone walls! Glad you had doors on them, Allan! A couple of things to try here:

      First, check out this post.

      a. Running network cables outside your home (or on the roof). There’s work, but it should be much easier than running them inside since you just need to drill a couple of holes. This is what I’d do. Or
      b. Use a tri-band mesh system — this is a must, don’t even think of a dual-band one. Place the first broadcaster near a wall, on the other side, find the farthest place where you still get (almost) full bars connection from it, that’s where you place the 2nd broadcaster. Repeat that with the other walls.

      Considering your broadband speed, it doesn’t matter Wi-F 5 or 6. But 6 is generally better obviously, tier by tier. If budget is an issue, get a high-end Wi-Fi 5 set, and not a low-end Wi-Fi 6 one.

      Hope this helps

      Reply
  30. Dong,
    THANK YOU your review was awesome.
    I want the best WIFI 6 mesh system and I am guessing basing on info the ORBI AX6000 853 is the go to.

    I have XFINITY rental modem that I will replace also. What is the best modem to match up for XFINITY and ORBI Netgear CM1200 or CM100 or another brand?

    Reply
  31. Hi -> If you’ll choose between the 3, which one you’ll get and why? Thanks.

    Orbi Wifi 6 – ($699)

    Amplifi Alien – ($699)

    Linksys MX10 – ($600)

    Reply
  32. Looking at both the Orbi RBK852 (two units) and RBK853 (three units). My house is 3200 sq ft, plus another 1000 sq ft in the basement. Thinking about placing one unit in the main floor office (hardwired) and the satellite in the basement. Is the RBK853 (with the extra unit) overkill for my house?

    Reply
  33. Hi Dong, I’m looking to swap out my XT8, which has been very buggy since I purchased it 3 months ago. Would you recommend the arris pro or Orbi 6000? It is a 3500 sqft house and I would like to get Wi-Fi to a barn 100 ft off the back deck. Thanks!

    Reply
  34. Hi Mr. Dong.

    I saw the great article amd I would like to ask you a question because I trust your thought. What is the best Mesh router if I dont care how much it cost. Zenwifi ax xt8 or orbiRBR 850

    Reply
  35. Hi Dong, another great review. Thank you. I’m moving into a small house, 1300 square feet. One story. I want to set up WiFi 6 system right from the start. I want the WiFi to go out the sliding glass doors onto the patio in the back yard.

    Given these dimensions, would you go with a mesh (such as the Netgear Orbi AX600 or Asus Zen WiFI AX) or would you go with a WiFi 6 router (such as the Netgear Nighthawk AX-12 or the Asus RT-AX89X) with satellites? If I go with a mesh I will have to use wireless backhaul.

    Best,
    Brian

    Reply
  36. Hi Dong. Love your reviews and the excellent data you provide.
    But I was wondering if you keep those tables available somewhere for review separately? I’d like to just check the data of each routers performance as you update the lists ie: compare all the ac routers or ax routers against each other without having to scroll down the reviews to get to them?
    Keep up the great work, its very much appreciated.

    Reply
  37. Great reviews. You often mention how many 80 MHz channels are supported in router reviews. I’m curious if these mesh routers support all 6 channels or if they are locked into 1 or 2. Also,does each node need to be on its own channel or are they all on the same channel? They don’t seem to be configurable. Thanks

    Reply
    • Generally, you only get a total of four usable 80 MHz channel (or two 160 MHz channels), Andrew. More on that in this post. As for which they use, it depends on the environment, and they will pick that themselves. It doesn’t matter if they use the same one (and they might) considering they are far apart.

      Reply
  38. Hi, thank you for the excellent reviews. We currently have an Arris TG862G modem and Eero mesh router pulling down 282 Mbps.

    The current set up is I have the main router in the office on the 1st floor. I have one satillete in the family room on the 1st floor and the 2nd in the basement.

    I’m thinking about upgrading to the Motorola MB8600 and a Wifi 6 Mesh. I want to future proof myself, so I am leaning toward the Orbi RBK852, but having a tough time pulling the trigger due to the cost.

    Do you think it’s worth the cost difference compared to the Nighthawk MK62/63?

    Reply
  39. Great article and reviews, thank you.
    Question… Does the Asus ZenWifi accept additional nodes? How many nodes can the system support?
    Thx ahead

    Reply
  40. Hi Dong —

    Thanks for this great article. I am hopeful you’ll be able to help me with my issue.

    I currently have a D-Link COVR 2202 mesh WiFi system (link at bottom of this post) in my two-floor, long-but-narrow condo. I have had it since early April. Initially, it was perfect — one router, one mesh point. However, I changed ISPs in early May (50Mbps to Gig) and therefore the location of the main router had to change. (Phone jack versus Coax jack location.) Shortly after setting everything up with my new ISP, including a new modem (Motorola DOCSIS 3.1 MB8600), the problem started: every few hours the router drops the internet signal. My WiFi network is still active, but there’s no internet access. It’s not the modem – I still have full internet from my ISP, but the router (and mobile / web apps) SAYS there is no internet. Turning it off, waiting a few seconds, and turning it back on fixes the problem, but not permanently.

    D-Link support said it is caused by other routers in the area and recommended I move the modem and router. I did. Three times, to three separate rooms, at three different height levels, all to no avail. The problem still occurs. There are no more locations in my condo to which I can move the modem and router. Their support team has not been able to give me any other recommendations or solutions to this issue, despite numerous attempts. Needless to say, I’m incredibly frustrated with the product.

    All that background leads me to my question for you: would you recommend a WiFi 6 mesh network to solve my issue? Hardwiring my condominium is prohibitively expensive and time-consuming, and I’m in need of 99.999% uptime due to both my wife and me working from home – video conferences, presentations, connecting to work servers via remote login, multiple devices, etc.

    If you believe a WiFi 6 mesh network would be appropriate, which one would you recommend? I was particularly interested in the Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Mesh kit, as I know I only need one router and one mesh point and don’t need any additional LAN ports on the mesh point. My only issue is it not having a dedicated backhaul band – is that a big problem? My COVR is tri-band. If not a WiFi 6 mesh, what would you recommend?

    Any and all advice would be appreciated. Thanks so much in advance!

    Cheers,
    Matt

    D-Link COVR-2202: https://us.dlink.com/en/products/covr-2202-ac2200-tri-band-whole-home-mesh-wi-fi-system

    Reply
    • If the mesh worked before, it should work now, Matt. My guess it’s something to do with the DNS setting of the router unit of the mesh. That said, you can try upgrading the system’s firmware to the latest and then resetting it and setting it up from the beginning. Or you can change the DNS server setting to something else. More on this in this post. And no, I don’t think you need to get a Wi-Fi 6 system just yet.

      Reply
  41. Hi Dong,
    Thanks for the reviews, i came across your website searching for the perfect mesh system. This is all new to me and we are moving into a new house. My only problem is from my research i cant seem to find a system that will work with At&T. Can you suggest a good mesh system that will work best with at&t fiber internet. Money not being an issue also do you have any suggestion of how one might set it up. TIA.

    Reply
  42. Hi Dong,

    Great site. I’ve spent a lot of time reading your reviews and articles since discovering a day or two ago. Thank you!

    I’m looking to upgrade/replace my existing router/network (Airport/TimeCapsule and NetGear EX7300 range extender).

    I’ve got a long, open L-shaped ranch house (about 2500 sq ft) and I’d like to extend wifi coverage to some of my outdoor areas: garage and freestanding barn, which is downhill about 50 feet from the main house. The interior of the house is partially wired with a ~50 ft run from my gateway and main router to an office–could use for wired backhaul.

    I currently have about 30 devices in my growing network (computers, phones, tablets, Firestick, AppleTV, Arlo cameras/lights, Sonos devices, RachIO irrigation, Samsung SmartThings, and IOT light switches. A couple of the Arlo cameras are at the far limit of the system’s range. So I’m thinking of adding a second Arlo basestation to my IOT set up.

    After reading your reviews, I’m leaning toward an Asus setup–I like the flexibility that the AIMesh concept brings. I have security concerns about TP-Link (similar reservations about Eero and Google), and it seems that some of the Netgear Orbi solutions don’t support 30+ devices very well. I’m not a hardcore geek, however, I do work in IT (enterprise software) and I like getting into the details occasionally.

    Three questions, related to IOT mostly:

    1. If the majority my devices are IOT devices like light switches, that should be always connected (although I’m currently having issues with this) but don’t require much bandwidth, how important is it to choose a router/mesh setup that claims to support a large number of connected devices?

    2. Do you recommend connecting the IOT devices to a separate WiFi network/VLAN from the computers, to secure and separate my valuable devices/data from the IoT devices which may be more vulnerable to hacking?

    3. My current inclination is to start with one of the high-end Asus routers, which I think can cover most of my main house, and then add additional Asus routers using AIMesh after I see how the first router performs. What do you think?

    4. I think I could do powerline ethernet to the barn if I want/need to put a wired connection down there. Thoughts about that?

    Apologies for the long post. Feel free to direct me to other relevant threads if I have missed them. Thanks in advance!

    Best,

    Stephan

    Reply
    • Glad you’re here, Stephan. You might want to check out this post.

      1. It’s not important. Any routers can handle those things, just make sure you use a large IP address pool (that post above talks about that.)
      2. No. That’s partly because doing so might cause them not to work the way you want. I use all of mine in the same main network. However, do use a router with built-in protection. (All Asus routers have that, some TP-Link routers, too).
      3. That’s a good hunch.
      4. Powerline is OK, though it can be very slow or unreliable. More on that here. I’d recommend running network cables (CAT5e or better).

      Reply
  43. Appreciate the feedback! (Yes am using cable, a Arris TM1602A was provided)

    I actually put 3 RT-AX92U’s on order but am now considering running Ethernet cables between devices to create a wired backhaul. A few quick questions:
    1) Given I’m getting max ~400mb from the ISP should I only run Cat 5e or upgrade to Cat 6 cables?
    2) What would be your router/satellite recommendation for this setup (again, a $600 total budget)
    3) Trying to minimize the number of lines I need to run between the subfloor.
    So, 3a) Can I a single line from the main router half way under the house and add a switch and then run independent lines to each satellite?
    3b) Better off running independent lines from the main router to each satellite
    3c) Daisy-chaining from satellite #2 to satellite #3

    (alternatively I can just stick with the RT-AX92U’s and then add in wired backhaul when I get the motivation)

    Reply
    • 1. It doesn’t matter, Magoo. More on that here.
      2. Since you have three identical routers, just pick one of them.
      3. Either is fine and will deliver the same result, so pick the one that saves you the most time.

      Reply
  44. Hi Dong,
    Your advice, please. I live in a ranch adequately served by existing WiFi router placed next to the DSL MODEM.

    While I doubt WiFi 6 really benefits me due to the slowish DSL service, nevertheless I’m interested in a WiFi 6 mesh because of a detached building 100′ behind the house. FWIW, I connected it to the house with two Cat 5e cables (underground within PVC, one for regular network traffic and the other cable for the security system). Anyway, I put a WiFi router in that building (but with DHCP disabled, e.g. IP addresses assigned by the primary router). So basically, it’s working as a switch for the two computers and printer, but with WiFi for my phone service (needed because the building is all metal and effectively a Faraday Cage so getting any bars is iffy). Problem is the hand off from one router’s radio to the other when I go back and forth between the house and the building.

    So what I’m wondering is, can I use a WiFi mesh, instead, to address the handoff issue and have just the one WiFi? What I am thinking is for a WiFi 6 mesh router to replace the existing WiFi router, and then add the second WiFi mesh node within the building (connecting it to a switch that would replace the secondary router), Basically, by using the Cat 5e as a backhaul it connects to main WiFi 6 mesh router (thus replacing the existing WiFi router in the building). I think this solves the issue of switching off from one router radio to another nicely. Your thoughts?

    Last thing, I’m really interested in a 3-pack or even a 4-pack system because the WiFi router by the MODEM is very close to the back bedrooms (it’s in the garage which shares a wall with the bedrooms) and with a second node in the house, I could put it in the living room (also wired with Cat 5e) where I already have a 4-port Gigabit switch for the laptop computer and NAS. I’m thinking adding a node there would put it within 10′ of where we spend a lot of time browsing using an iPad or a 2nd laptop using WiFi. The 4th node would go in the building to spread the WiFi love more effectively. Thoughts?

    Anyway, I was considering a Netgear Nighthawk Whole Home Mesh WiFi 6 System, 3-Pack – but – I’ve read this system tests fine in the lab but isn’t that great in the real world when moving around – that would stink since moving around is the problem I’m seeking to resolve. Anyway, researching further led me to your website, where I was super impressed by your work. Bottom line? I’m quite willing to buy something other than the Netgear system based on your recommendation. Note, I’d happily backhaul all the nodes because I have Cat 5e running everywhere so I don’t plan to congest the backhaul using radio.

    Reply
  45. Hey Dong,
    Thank you so much for your in-depth reviews – you have saved us all countless hours! I was wondering if you had any insider info on when the TP-Link Deco X90 will finally launch in the U.S? Everything I have read says it was supposed to be April 2020 but we are already at the end if May and I can’t seem to find it anywhere. I’m looking to upgrade from my Velop system I purchased in 2017 since we have several WiFi 6 devices in our home already and 500mbps internet (may upgrade to Cox Gigablast if I can get a good deal). I have Cat6 cables in five rooms in the home we recently moved to so I was considering the X60 since I will be able to use wired backhaul….I have also considered Ubiquiti access points although I am really just a bit beyond novice with networking so I’m not sure I’m up to the task of configuring one of those. I have pretty high hopes for the X90 since it will be the best of the three – do you think it is worth waiting for or should I just settle for the X60? Thanks for your input and again for all your awesome reviews!

    Reply
    • Sure, John. I’m not sure, and neither is my rep at TP-Link. If you have wired backhaul, go with the X60, it’ll work out great.

      Reply
  46. Great article!
    Love your advice on my setup.

    Just upgraded isp and testing 350mb at the modem.
    Need a 3 piece system due to L-shaped house.

    Wireless required from router to #1 satellite. (about 25’)
    Then a 50’ Ethernet cable from #1 satellite to satellite #2.
    LAN connection from satellite #2 to my main workstation. (Fastest speed here is primary goal)

    ~$600 usd budget. No existing hardware. ~40 networked devices. Mesh desired. Minimal WiFi 6 devices but would like to future proof. Need strong WiFi from satellites as well. No other features required.

    Reply
  47. Dong, always enjoy your articles! You mention that you test with 4×4 Wi-Fi 5 clients. Can you tell me what clients are 4×4? Cell phones I think are 2×2, along with laptops. I think the MacBook is a 3×3, but that seems to be the exception.
    Thanks,
    John K.

    Reply
  48. Hello, I have one story above ground and one story below. 5ghz band is terrible extending to basement below ground it seems. I have old mesh system now, and i setup one pod halfway down the steps (there is a landing) and then one pod at each end of house upstairs and all seems to work with that config…not very fast but functioning fine. I want to upgrade from the old Google AC1200 mesh to new Wifi 6 Mesh. I don’t really need Ghz speeds around the house, but would prefer to have very solid 300mhz + speeds throughout. I will setup the main router in my office upstairs on one end of house and use ethernet from my main PC. Everything else can be wireless. I also think the latest Orbi three pack at US $1000 is ridiculous! I am not wired and need to rely on great connection between pods wireless.(I thinkj I need three due to placing one halfway down steps to basement) I am ok up to about US $450 or so…Recommendations?

    Reply
  49. Dong,

    Looking more into this, I think the most cost effective way to handle this would be to have a dual band router covering the house and run a network cable out to the outdoor living space. I did not know this was an option to connect other hardware to the router without having to manually switch WiFi networks (this is my current situation).

    Thank you for the suggestion! Now I am off to decide between ASUS RT-AX3000 and TPLink AX50, as well as finding some kind of hardware for the node out back. Do all range extenders require me to manually change to a new WiFi connection?

    B

    Reply
  50. Good afternoon!

    I appreciate the time you took to review these mesh systems, the detail and data you present are very useful.

    I am upgrading from a nearly 10 year old Arris surfboard router. I would like to purchase a WiFi 6 router system after researching it. I would like to request your opinion on which system would work well for my set up.

    I have a 1700 sqft ranch home with a detached garage ~50-75 feet away from the back of the house that I would like Wifi in for music/movies/gaming outdoor in this converted living space. There is also an outdoor living space in between the 2.

    I keep thinking the 3 router system would work best for this so I can set one up in the detached garage, but I cannot decide between TP-Link Deco x60, Asus ZenWiFi, or another system entirely. I certainly don’t think I need the very expensive set ups considering we are only paying for 100 Mbps.

    Thank you ahead for any advice you can offer!
    B

    Reply
    • If you can run network cables, BT, just get a 3-pack dual-band system. If not, get a tri-band one. Try a 2-pack first (one at the main house, the other at the outdoor living space), if that doesn’t work, you’ll need a 3-pack, one unit at each place. But you should read this post (and those from the links within.)

      Reply
  51. My gut is telling me I should skip both of these and go with the upcoming AX86U, but from my research, it seems like the price is going to be a bit higher since it has a MSRP of 1999 Chinese yuan or the equivalent of 280 USD.

    I know theres no performance metric for this upcoming unit, but I would make a logical guess that it performs similarly to the AX88U in both wifi5/wifi6 5G metrics.

    Just questioning to my self if its worth the price hike… Maybe I should have kept my AX58U I had but I was kinda let down by the WIFI 5 performance and 2×2 limitation which impacts my old mac. I guess its the same for the GT-AC2900 in 160mhz mode as it also limits bandwidth down to 2×2 like performance.

    Reply
  52. Hey dong. I know you didn’t review it exactly.. but I scored an ARRIS AX7800 wifi6 MESH router for $199.99 from a walmart clearance.. The problem is.. bought a GT-AC2900 (86u rebrand) for 169.99 the week prior and I’m not sure what to keep. The AC2900 has 160mhz channel support at the cost of overall range (pseudo wifi6 performance) The Arris only supports 80mhz or so..

    Basically these two routers (GT-AC2900 and ARRIS 7800) perform well but I’m not sure if I should keep the 7800 since the backhaul is adding lag and randomly drops performance at times. The GT-2900 is a GREAT router, but I do have an AX200 desktop and would prefer to go AX right now but theres nothing with 4×4 enabled hardware (Range benefits) except a much more expensive AX88u or nighthawk AX8 (which is on sale for 299 for Best buy members.. I had tried AX3000 and while a good router it lacks range/speed for my wifi5 clients in my front room.

    I’m just so confused what to do atm.. I know the Arris 7800 sells for around 500, but its very barebones. On the contrary the GT2900 is basically an 86u, and only supports wifi5 but very good range..

    Reply
  53. Hi Dong. The reviews you are making are amazing and the best. Congratulations
    I need your advice.
    I think it is time to upgrade my current wired and wireless system.
    I already have several components with wifi 6 (computers and phones) but really the big problem is the coverage and this is why I need to take ta decisión.

    Actual System in a 4500 sq ft divided in three floors:
    1. First floor: Modem with optical service in bridge mode (200Mbps) wired to Time Capsule
    2. Thrid floor: Wired from Time Capsule to first Airport;
    3. Second floor: Wireless from Time capsule to second Airport.
    I can make a wiring to the second floor but it is an important building work

    I have thought of the following solution
    1. First Floor: Modem with optical service in bridge mode (200Mbps) wired to Asus RT-AX89X
    2. Third floor: Wired with CAT6 from Asus RT-AX89X to Aimesh AX XT8
    3. Second floor: Wireless from Aimesh AX XT8 (third floor) to Aimesh AX XT8 (second floor). In this case, I will use one band for wireless conection between AX Xt8

    What is your opinion?
    Regards, Jose

    Reply
    • That will work really well, Jose. Considering you have wired backhaul, you can even go with less expensive routers, like the RT-AX3000. But if you want to go with tri-band routers, I’d recommend using the GT-AX11000 in the place of the RT-AX89X.

      Reply
  54. Thank you dong for your extensive reviews I came across your website a couple of days ago and boy oh boy i went into a deep hole .. i was upgrading my parents house setup which is almost 10 years old . I did extensive research and decided to get them the eero pro 3 pack 9 my father had a budget of 5004 approx and they live in a big house then I cam across the new orbi AX4200 I really want to hear your thoughts on it

    Reply
    • Glad you’re here, Fouad. I can’t say much about the Orbi AX4200 since it’s not out yet (and there are NDAs and embargoes) but there are many other *much* better solutions than the Eero. But if you want to learn about the Orbi AX4200, chances are it’s going to be similar to the Orbi AX6000. Also, if you consider yourself an advanced user, take a look at Asus’s AiMesh, too. You’ll have lots of options.

      Reply

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