Monday, December 6, 2021 • Welcome to the 💯 No-Nonsense Zone! 🎁 Happy Holidays! 🎉

Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Systems of 2021: You Won’t Go Wrong with These!

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

It’s worth noting that even if you have mostly Wi-Fi 5 or legacy clients, Wi-Fi 6 is still an excellent investment in terms of mesh range.

Thanks to the high bandwidth backhaul link, you can place the broadcasters farther out to get more extensive coverage without losing too much speed in the process.

A mesh is only necessary for a large home — more on that in this primer post about Wi-Fi systems in general. So those living in a medium or small home needing only a standalone router, check out this list of best Wi-Fi 6 routers instead.

Dong’s note: I last updated this frequently revised post on October 13, 2021.

The Orbi AX4600 RBK 752 Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System
The top of the latest Netgear Orbi RBK752 looks as sleek as how promising the mesh system is.
See also  Mesh Wi-Fi System Explained: How to Best Use Multiple Broadcasters

Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh Wi-Fi systems of 2021: The lists

There is now a good selection of Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems on the market, and this post includes only those I consider the best among the many I’ve tested.

You’ll see them here in the reviewed order, latest on top — the number in front of their name is just numerical. 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 these direct comparisons to see how some of them pan out as competitors.

A note to fans of the Amazon eero: Neither of the new eero 6 mesh Wi-Fi systems made it to these two lists. Not even close.

Why did I make two lists instead of just one? Well, read on and find out yourself.

See also  eero Pro 6 vs eero 6: How to Get the Most out of Your Amazon Wi-Fi

These mesh systems 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 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.

A dual-band mesh system with wired backhauls makes more sense than using a tri-band alternative. Tri-band mesh hardware is generally tuned for wireless use cases and might have issues using network cables as backhaul.

Note, though, if you have a modest broadband connection — one that has a download speed of 100Mbps or lower — a dual-band system will work out just fine, no matter how you plan to use it.

6. ZenWiFi XD6: The XT8’s wired alternative

(In case you didn’t read the intro: This is the latest member on this list — the number is only numerical, not the ranking.)

The Asus ZenWiFi XD6 AX5400 Dual-band Mesh WiFi System
The Asus ZenWiFi XD6 comes in two identical routers, neither has a Multi-Gig port.

If you have a wired home, the Dual-band Asus ZenWiFi XD6 is an excellent buy, especially compared to the Tri-band XT8 below.

This new mesh system has no Multi-Gig port, and that’s the only thing disappointing about it. But it’ll work out great for anyone with a sub-Gigabit Internet connection. It’s a sizable upgrade to the XD4 mentioned below.

See also  Picking the Best Asus AiMesh Router Combos: The Real-World Experience

Note: Alternatively, there are many more Dual-band options with Asus’s AiMesh. Find your best combo in this post.

Asus ZenWiFi XD6's Rating

8.9 out of 10
The Asus ZenWiFi XD6 AX5400 Dual band Mesh WiFi 6 System 11
Performance
9/10
Features
9.5/10
Design and Setup
9/10
Value
8/10

Pros

Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance

AiMesh 2.0 fully supported

Lots of network settings and useful features, including free real-time online protection for life

Compact design

Presynced hardware, 160Mhz support

Cons

No Multi-Gig or Link aggregation

No USB port

See also  ZenWiFi XD6 review (vs ZenWiFi XT8): An Excellent (Wired) Mesh Alternative

5. ZenWiFi ET8: Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E is the new dual-band

Asus ZenWiFi ET8 Tri band Wi Fi 6E Mesh System
The Asus ZenWiFi ET8 Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E is more of a dual-band system, in a good way.

If you want a future-proof mesh for a wired home, the ZenWiFi ET8 would be it.

This is one of the first Wi-Fi 6E purpose-built systems on the market, and as such, it has no band for dedicated backhaul. On top of that, the new 6GHz band’s range is short and therefore doesn’t work well as backhaul anyway.

But if you have gotten your home wired or can run a network cable to link the two hardware units, this set will give you excellent performance, especially if you have many 6GHz clients and a ton of useful features.

Asus ZenWiFi ET8's Rating

8 out of 10
Asus ZenWiFi ET8 Tri band Wi Fi 6E Mesh System 1
Performance
8/10
Features
9.5/10
Ease of Use
8/10
Value
6.5/10

Pros

Reliable and extensive coverage with possible fast Wi-Fi performance in certain setups

Wi-Fi 6E ready, Multi-Gig WAN, and Dual-WAN support

Excellent as a standalone router

Tons of useful features and settings, flexible Wi-Fi customization

AiMesh 2.0 support

Competitive pricing

Cons

Comparatively slow performance in most use cases

Modest 5GHz band specs

Short 6GHz range

No Link Aggregation or Multi-Gig LAN port

Only four network ports on each hardware unit

See also  Asus ZenWiFi ET8 Review: A Worthy Mesh for a Wired (or Airy) Home

4. Netgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Mini: A reliable business mesh for a home

Netgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Mini Router Ports
The Netgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Mini has plenty of ports on each hardware unit.

The SXK30 Orbi Pro Mini is designed for an office, but it’ll work fine with a wired home.

That’s because its local web interface resembles that of Netgear’s Nighthawk home routers. This mesh doesn’t have top-notch specs, but it sure is a viable and reliable option if you have a wired home (or office.)

Netgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Mini's Rating

7.9 out of 10
Netgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Mini Package Content
Performance
6.5/10
Features
9/10
Ease of Use
8.5/10
Value
7.5/10

Pros

Reliable Wi-Fi at comparatively affordable pricing

Lots of Wi-Fi settings, responsive web user interface

Esthetically pleasing

Mounting accessories included

Wired backhaul support

Cons

No 160MHz bandwidth, modest specs

Slow throughput speeds on the Satellite unit

Insight trial starts without user consent

Could be more affordable

No USB port

See also  Netgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Mini Review: Reliable but Wired Backhaul Is a Must

3. Netgear Nighthawk MK63: The beginning of EasyMesh

Netgear MK63 AX1800 Mesh Wi Fi 6 System 16
Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System: The Netgear Nighthawk MK63.

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, you might be able to use it with supported hardware from other networking vendors in the future.

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 MK63 Nighthawk's Rating

8 out of 10
Netgear MK63 AX1800 Mesh Wi Fi 6 System 3
Performance
8/10
Features
7.5/10
Design and Setup
8/10
Value
8.5/10

Pros

Reliable performance, excellent coverage

Affordable

First EasyMesh system

Wired backhaul support

Compact design

Cons

Modest Wi-Fi specs, no dedicated backhaul band

and 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 a mobile app and is not free

Not wall-mountable

See also  Netgear MK63 Nighthawk Mesh Review: A Modest but Reliable (Wired) Mesh

2. Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini: Representing the plenty of dual-band AiMesh options

Asus XD4 Mesh
Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System: The ZenWiFi AX Mini XD4.

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. In any case, though, it’s an excellent and more affordable choice compared to the TP-Link Deco X60 below.

See also  Picking the Best Asus AiMesh Router Combos: The Real-World Experience

Note: Alternatively, there are many more Dual-band options with Asus’s AiMesh. Find your best combo in this post.

Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini XD4's Rating

8.1 out of 10
Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini XD4 Mesh System 12
Performance
8/10
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

See also  Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review: The First Complete AiMesh Set

(In case you didn’t read the intro: This is the oldest member on this list — the number is only numerical, not the ranking.)

TP Link Deco X60
Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System: The TP-Link Deco X60.

The TP-Link Deco X60 is quite slow when working as a wireless mesh system. It also doesn’t have a lot of settings or features.

However, if you have wired your home Gigabit Ethernet, it’ll work out very well, for a price of less than $350 for a 3-pack.

TP-Link Deco X60's Rating

7.8 out of 10
TP Link X60 Top
Performance
7/10
Features
7.5/10
Design and Setup
8.5/10
Value
8/10

Pros

Reliable Wi-Fi performance, good coverage

Super user-friendly, comparatively affordable

Wired backhaul support, can work 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

See also  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 for those without wiring

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

The dedicated backhaul’s idea 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 impossible to use network cables to connect the hardware units, you can still achieve fast throughputs.

A tri-band system is a must for a large home or even a medium one with thick walls, and you want to get the fastest possible Wi-Fi speeds without running network cables.

7. ARRIS SURFboard mAX AC6600: An easy, reliable, but feature-poor canned mesh

(In case you didn’t read the intro: This is the latest member on this list — the number is only numerical, not the ranking.)

ARRIS SURFboard mAX AX6600
Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System: The ARRIS SURboard mAX AX6000.

The SURFboard mAX AX6000 is a minor improvement of the higher-tier mAX Pro that used to be part of this post — it’s more reliable right out of the box and is less expensive.

Still, it’s a spartan tri-band mesh system that lacks even the most basic network settings. There’s no wired backhaul support, either. And you need to use a mobile app for the setup and ongoing management.

In return, it’s relatively easy to use and reliable. The performance was also quite good in my testing.

ARRIS SURFboard mAX AX6600's Rating

7.4 out of 10
ARRIS SURFboard mAX AX6600 Box
Performance
8/10
Features
6/10
Design and Setup
8/10
Value
7.5/10

Pros

Fast Wi-Fi speeds, large coverage

Effective dedicated wireless backhaul band

Reliable performance

Compact, fan-less design

Cons

Zero customization and feature

Fluctuating Wi-Fi 6 speeds

Poor Parental Control feature, terrible setup process

App and vendor account required to work

No wired backhaul, only two network ports per unit, no Multi-Gig

No local web user interface

See also  ARRIS SURFboard mAX AX6600 Review: Nice but Not Worth the Wait

6. Deco X5700: TP-Link’s best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh system to date

TP Link Deco X5700 Ports
Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System: The TP-Link Deco X5700.

The TP-Link Deco X5700 has almost everything to be an excellent wireless mesh system. Among other things, it’s the only one in this list that supports the venerable 160MHz channel bandwidth and has a multi-gig port. It’s fast!

Though far from perfect, this new Deco is an easy recommendation for those needing a plug-an-play Wi-Fi solution that delivers performance. You’ll like the speed no matter how you plan to use it, wirelessly or via a wired backhaul.

TP-Link Deco X5700's Rating

8 out of 10
TP Link Deco X5700 Box
Performance
8/10
Features
7/10
Design and Setup
8.5/10
Value
8.5/10

Pros

Excellent Wi-Fi performance and coverage

Tri-band with multi-gig port and 160MHz channel width support

User-friendly, comparatively affordable

Good-looking

Cons

Spartan Wi-Fi customization, network settings, and features

Only one Multi-Gig port per hardware unit

App and login account required — privacy risks

HomeShield Pro requires a monthly subscription, limited web interface, impractical design

No USB or additional Gigabit network ports

See also  Deco X5700 AX5700 Review: TP-Link's Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Effort to Date

5. Netgear Orbi AX4200 (RBK752): Possibly the most rounded Orbi to date

Orbi RBK 752
Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System: The Netgear Orbi AX4200 is possibly even more rounded than how round its hardware looks.

You can think of the Orbi RBK752 as the soft “replacement” of the RBK852 below. No, it’s not all better, but it sure is a lot more affordable.

In fact, if you live in a big home with a sub-Gigabit connection and are looking for a fully wireless solution, this one is an excellent canned system to get.

Keep in mind, though, that all Netgear Orbi mesh variants are made to work wirelessly. Even though you can use wired backhaul with them, one of two 5GHz bands is permanently the dedicated backhaul band and is never available for clients to connect to.

Netgear Orbi AX4200 (RBK752)'s Rating

8.5 out of 10
Orbi RBK752 Label
Performance
8.5/10
Features
8/10
Design and Setup
8.5/10
Value
9/10

Pros

Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with extensive coverage

Relatively affordable

Practical, well designed mobile app

Support WAN 2Gbps Link Aggregation

Full web interface with all standard settings and features

Cons

No 160MHz channel support, limited Wi-Fi customization

Not compatible with Wi-Fi 5 Orbi hardware

Few LAN ports; No Multi-Gig, Dual-WAN, or LAN Link Aggregation, or USB port

The fast 5GHz band only works as backhaul, even in a wired setup

See also  Netgear Orbi AX4200 (RBK752) Review (vs RBK852): A Better-Balanced Mesh

4. Linksys MX12600: A totally well-priced mesh for a large home

Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 1
Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System: The Linksys Velop AX4200.

Available at around $500 for a pack of three identical hardware units, the Linksys Velop MX4200 Tri-Band AX4200 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (model MX12600) is an excellent buy when you live in a large home and need an easy, full wireless sub-Gigabit system.

The new mesh also works great with wired backhaul, thanks to the fact it uses Linksys’s dynamic backhaul band technology — its all three wireless bands are now available for clients to connect.

With reliable performance, relatively fast speeds, and, most importantly, reasonable pricing, the MX12600 has taken the place of the MX10 on this list. It’s the new best Velop to date. Get it, and chances are you won’t regret the decision.

Linksys Velop MX4200's Rating

8.3 out of 10
Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 11
Performance
8/10
Features
8/10
Ease of Use
8.5/10
Value
8.5/10

Pros

Reliable Wi-Fi with excellent coverage

Helpful mobile app, full web interface

Fast NAS speeds when hosting external drives

Comparatively affordable

Cons

No support for 160MHz channel bandwidth

Mobile app (and login account) required for initial mesh setup

Spartan Wi-Fi settings, modest feature set

No multi-gig network ports, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation

No setting backup/restore

See also  Linksys Velop MX4200 Review: A Well-Priced Velop for a Large Home

3. Asus ZenWiFi AX: Representing the plenty of tri-band AiMesh options

Asus ZenWiFi AX Mesh System
Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System: The Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8.

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 (almost) 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.

Like all AiMesh hardware, the XT8 works both with wired and wireless backhauls.

See also  Picking the Best Asus AiMesh Router Combos: The Real-World Experience

Note: Alternatively, there are many more Tri-band options with Asus’s AiMesh. Find your best combo in this post.

Asus ZenWiFi XT8's Rating

8.9 out of 10
ZenWiFi AX
Performance
8.5/10
Features
9.5/10
Design and Setup
8.5/10
Value
9/10

Pros

Fast Wi-Fi performance and large coverage at a comparatively affordable cost

Improved and flexible AiMesh

Lots of network settings and useful features, including free real-time online protection for life

Full 4×4 dedicated backhaul band with optional wired backhaul support

Multi-gig WAN port with Dual-WAN and WAN link aggregation

Cons

No 160MHz 4×4 support for Wi-Fi 6 clients, in a dedicated wireless backhaul setup

No multi-gig LAN port or LAN link aggregation

Only four network ports on each hardware unit

Firmware can be buggy

Storage performance (when hosting an external drive) could be better

See also  Asus ZenWiFi AX Review: The Best AiMesh System to Date

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

Netgear Orbi AX6000
Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System: The Netgear Orbi AX6000.

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 Wi-Fi 6 System AX6000 (RBK852) 's Rating

8 out of 10
Orbi RBK852 New
Performance
8.5/10
Features
8/10
Design and Setup
8.5/10
Value
7/10

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

See also  Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6 Review: Excellent Wi-Fi for a Hefty Price

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

(In case you didn’t read the intro: This is the oldest member on this list. Again, the number is only numerical, not the ranking.)

AmpliFi Alien Kit
Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System: The Alien Kit

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 high price, and other oddities, this mesh system has enough to make almost anyone happy, no matter if they go fully wireless or wired backhaul.

AmpliFi Alien Mesh Kit's Rating

8.5 out of 10
AmpliFi Alien Kit
Performance
8.5/10
Features
8/10
Design and Setup
9.5/10
Value
8/10

Pros

Dead-easy to set up and manage

Excellent Wi-Fi coverage

Fast performance, wired backhaul supported

Users can manage the backhaul link and virtual Wi-Fi networks

Useful VPN and ad-blocking features

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

See also  Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Mesh Kit Review: An Odd Pair of Wi-Fi Tango

Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh Wi-Fi systems of 2021: The performance

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

Best Wi Fi Mesh Router Performance Chart

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

I generally don’t test Wi-Fi 6 mesh satellites’ 2.4 GHz band because it’s not always possible to separate the two Wi-Fi bands into two networks. That said, the numbers you see on the charts are likely those of the 5GHz band.

Best Wi Fi Mesh Satellite Performance Chart

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

That said, all satellite units on this chart are connected to their primary router via a wireless connection, at 40 feet (12 m) away within the line of sight.

See also  Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers
☕ Appreciate the content? Buy Dong a Ko-fi!
🔥 Itching to Shop? Check out Amazon's Hot Deals! (•) 🔥

698 thoughts on “Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Systems of 2021: You Won’t Go Wrong with These!”

  1. I have been reading through your articles and they are really well done. I haven’t been able to find what you recommend for my particular situation. I have a 3 level house 1200sq/ft per floor with the following system. Gigabit fibre internet. Netgear r7000 as a router in basement.
    R7000 wired to main on main floor as an AP.
    R7000 on 2nd story connected via powerline to main floor, not able to get Ethernet cable upstairs.
    Everything works just fine but I can only get 350mbps on any floor. Paying for gigabit internet and only getting 35% of my speed via wifi is a bit of a bummer.
    With Black Friday I am thinking to redo my system while stuff is on sale. Hoping to go wifi 6 for future proofing.
    With a mixed backhaul situation I can’t figure out which mesh system to go with or maybe I shouldn’t do mesh at all?

    Any help is appreciated,

    Reply
      • This is what I am looking at doing in my house. I need 3 units, 1 on each floor and I can only get a wire from the basement to the main floor. The 2nd floor unit will have to connect wirelessly to the main floor rather then using the powerline. I am looking at Asus aimesh to do the work. An rtax82u as the main router and an Xd6 pair as ap’s. I just haven’t been able to figure out if this combo is going to work with the main xd6 being hardwired to the ax82u but then it running wirelessly to the second xd6 upstairs?

        Reply
  2. Hi Dong,
    Thanks for you site and all quality articles and reviews.
    I set up a new Orbi RBK752 last week (after several tries because Orbi app on iPhone kept saying cannot connect to the router). I have good coverage everywhere (router downstairs, 1 satellite upstairs) and the wifi speed is good but I have a hard time to connect as admin to the router reliably. I have “block new devices” on so I have to access orbilogin (192.168.1.1) to allow devices. Many times I have to power cycle the router to connect to it. Also the Orbi app on iPhone disconnects often. All devices keep connection with good speed even when I have app/admin connection issues. And I’m using wireless backhaul.
    Wondering if this is a known issue for Orbi 752 (and probably for other Orbi variants).
    Thanks Dong

    Reply
  3. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for the article and it’s great! I used to have an Orbi RBK53S which was amazing and never had an issue for 2-3 years. We had an extension on our home and decided to make the house a lot ‘smarter’ (ridiculous amount of devices added – heating controls, camera’s, lights (indoor and outdoor), underfloor heating, 8x Alexa’s, 8x smart TV’s, Sky Q with 4 mini Q’s (3 wired to a mesh satellite due to range issues/deadspot in the house), 6 phones, 5 laptops, network laser printer, 3x tablets, Playstation, Nintendo etc.)!

    When we did this, we noticed lots of WiFi drop outs and our ISP (BT) offered their router and satellites for free (BT SmartHub2 + 5 satellites). However, we still see lots of drop outs on a regular basis. My ISP tell me that I have a lot of smart home items which are permanently connected and need a concurrent connection and/or there’s some form of signal interference (they can’t tell us what it could be), which is why we experience drop outs. Is this true and is this a factor to consider when looking for a mesh WiFI system? I think it’s more to do with their speed (40mbps) as we’re very rural, the brick walls we have throughout the house which cause the slower WiFi speeds and 7 people all vying for connection!

    I’ve noticed that on manufacturers websites, they talk about concurrent connections, but some aren’t clear what they exactly mean. I assume it’s the amount of devices connected to a single hub/satellite at any one point. I understand IP addresses can handle which ever range you give to them e.g. x.x.x.256 means 256 devices, but not necessarily all at the same time.

    I’d like to get another mesh system that can handle this and hoping you can recommend something. I have a soft spot for the Orbi as it was faultless for a long time and thinking of the Orbi RBK853 because of the concurrent devices or would the RBK753 or RBK53S be enough?

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • A couple of things, Myles:

      1. You need to take some time on this. There’s no easy answer. If you expect me (or anyone) to help you with an “easy solution,” there’s no such thing. I can only point you in the right direction. Make sure you READ the posts linked in this reply.
      2. Your issue can be either on the internet or Wi-Fi sides or both. And Internet and Wi-Fi are two different things, you can’t blame one for the other. If an Internet issue, which is likely since you have slow broadband, you need to reduce the number of the “smart” devices — despite the name, it’s not “smart” on the user’s part to use most of them.
      3. If it’s a Wi-Fi issue, which is also likely in your case since you since canned a solution from the provider: First, check out this post on how to use a mesh system — make sure you set up yours correctly, and then this one on troubleshooting.

      Again, only somebody who’s been to your place can figure things out. And you’re already there. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Hi,
    Based on your review and others, I just bought the XD6 as I have a wired home. Unfortunately, I’ve spent the first 3 days troubleshooting as I am unable to get a wired backhaul consistently. Even at the limit of the two nodes wired together directly by a single line and re-adding the node, I can only see ethernet as the backhaul initially for about 30 seconds, and then it always reverts to a 5GHz backhaul. I’ve contacted ASUS tech support, which has been disappointing to say the least. I feel like there has to be a trick of some sort. I’ve upgraded firmware, I’ve tried setting the priority to the wired backhaul – everything ASUS support suggested. They are stumped. I just cannot get a wired backhaul consistently – even if the system is as simple as just the router and satellite connected with a wire. Any tricks? I want this thing to work badly, but right now I’m ready to send it back.
    Sean

    Reply
      • Hi Dong,
        Yes, I checked the cables. They’re brand new and work between other devices. The fact that I see a wired backhaul connection and then it goes away consistently in a similar amount of time clearly suggests a software problem, not hardware. It would be arbitrary if it were a spotty cable. I haven’t timed it but the ethernet backhaul shows and then reverts to 5GHz very consistently. That’s not a cable. So not something you’ve seen or heard of? I only ask because I thought you mentioned in your coverage of this router somewhere that you had some issues of some kind initially and was hoping it was the same thing.
        Sean

        Reply
        • I should also add as further proof there’s an issue: a configuration connecting a laptop by hardline to the satellite which is then wired to the router is able to see the laptop as hardwired in the ASUS app/webpage but not the satellite that it is passing through. The satellite still only briefly holds an ethernet status and then reverts to 5GHz, while the laptop remains ethernet status and has the fiber speed to prove it. I don’t know what could show a problem more clearly than that.
          Sean

          Reply
        • I don’t have that issue on mine at all. I’ve used a pair since the review — I use the RT-AX89X as the primary router, though. Try swapping the units to see if that helps. But it’s odd.

          Reply
          • Problem solved: The prior mesh routers I’ve used all had a router device and different satellites. Regardless of how many LAN ports each had, ONLY the router had a WAN port. Thus, it was intuitive to me to connect the satellite to the wall using LAN port, not the WAN. This was my error. Rereading the instructions, I finally found that the satellite is supposed to be connected at the WAN port to the wall for wired backhaul. I just wanted to admit my error in case it helps anyone else and remove all blame I had been pointing at ASUS. This was user error, although I would maintain both their software and support team should have caught my error and neither did and sent a lot of confusing signals instead like the temporary display of wired backhaul. Thanks for your thoughts, nonetheless, Dong!

          • Great! I guess you skipped the part where I said I had assumed you wired them together correctly in the previous reply. Get a “pay attention” lesson out of this. 🙂

          • In the instructions I got, it only mentions wired back haul as an FAQ, not part of the main setup or in the setup app, so I didn’t see this at first. It’s really annoying wired back haul is assumed to be such a minor use case. I maintain what I did was logical for many people given how lots of mesh systems work. It would be easy for ASUS to make the wired back haul option part of the main setup instructions and build better checking into the software. I don’t think the average person using a mesh router should have to know this much about networking. All of networking is horrifically far from easy at this point. I’ve wasted hundreds of hours on it and I’ve got a PhD. That’s business opportunity I hope someone takes.

          • Asus’s instructions are generally not up to snuff. But the “pay attention” lesson I mentioned was me speaking from experience. That’s partly why I always try to be as specific as possible here — I mentioned the WAN port very clearly in multiple places, such as this one. The point is we’re all imperfect as individuals. And networking (IT in general) is even more complicated than you imagine — what you see is never what you get. 🙂

  5. Hi Dong, thank you for the reviews you made, it is very good articles about networking.
    So here is my story:
    I am currently using Amplifi HD. It served me well until i found decrease performance on the devices connected to the sattelite.
    I have 2 Amplifi HD router wired backhaul and 3 satellite, i actually have one more sattelite which is broken (the magnetic bowl is suddenly broken / fell apart in 2020).
    I want to change my Mesh home, which one do you think is better:
    1. Several Ai-mesh router wired + wireless backhaul (rt-ax82U, ax92u)
    When i already set it up, will their wireless connection (between router) be steady and worry free (no need to re setup again if i need to reboot it?)
    Because my Amplifi HD is never messed up with this, i just need to reboot it or replug it maybe once a month.

    2. Asus zenwifi XT8 (3or4sets)

    I never had asus aimesh / mesh router before. So this question is for both the rt-ax and xt8:
    For the wireless backhaul, is it possible to choose specific 5Ghz for the wireless backhaul instead of AUTO?
    I’m asking this because i have velop too, and you can’t modifiy it, it is just Auto and we can’t even see it if it is a 2.4 or 5Ghz. I am so dissapointed with the Velop settings (via apps and web)

    Thank you

    Ivan.

    Reply
  6. Hi Dong!

    Thanks for the in depth write up. I currently have the Linksys MX4200 mesh system. I chose to ignore the reviews on Amazon, which had bitten me. I have a home office, the office being my attic, basically, with no easy way of getting a hardwired network upstairs without some major (and expensive) whole house networking. The problem I have, is that this Linksys Velop system crashes at least twice a day. Once when I boot my workstation at the beginning of the day, and again at some point in the middle of the day. None of the system logs indicate any issues, which is certainly not true, as the status light turns red. I’m just kind of at a loss. I work in IT so I need stability in my network, and the only way I can think to do that without a spend another good chunk of change on a different mesh system and gamble, or spend even more money to have a hardline network installed that isn’t just ethernet cables hiding under carpets. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Reply
  7. Hi Dong,

    I just saw the press release for the new Orbi AXE11000 WiFi Mesh System (RBKE963).

    Looks like it’ll ship 10/29/21. Do you know if you’ll be getting a review unit, or do you already have one. Crazy price, but it does seem you typically review the Orbi models pretty well and netgear is taking another stab at the 6e mesh world.

    Reply
  8. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for the great article. Hope you can give me some advice. I am planning to buy a Deco X60 to serve my house using wired backhaul. I just bought the house, and here is the situation:

    – The rooms are all pre-wired for Ethernet with jacks in each rooms, but the other ends of the Ethernet wires are just all hanging loosely right now in one bundle in the basement, with all their ends spliced together.
    – The only exception is the Ethernet wire that goes into my office. It’s connected to the ONT (Verizon FIOS in the US) in the basement right now.
    – My current Wifi router is then plugged into the Ethernet port in my office and serves as the only access point right now.

    How can I convert this into a mesh setup using the X60? I understand I will have to connect the unconnected Ethernet wires in the basement to something. But how would that work?

    1) Can I connect the Ethernet wires to a switch in the basement, plug the ONT wire into the same switch as well, and place the main unit of the X60 in the office then? Can Internet access and the backhaul go over the same Ethernet port?

    2) Or do I need to plug the ONT into the main unit of the X60 in the basement, and then plug the second Ethernet port of the main unit into the switch to then connect to the satellites?

    I am a little confused.

    Thanks

    Reply
  9. Hi, Dong.

    Your site is such a blessing, thank you for all you do!

    I have 800 Mbps internet from Xfinity. My house is only 1800 square feet but has a lot of walls (including an ad-on living room with a door between it and the rest of the house). I’ve tried a single router but it won’t reach to the other side and drops the signal.

    So, I purchased an Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8. I’m really struggling with it.

    Even 10 feet from the router I’m fluctuating between 400-600. It took 5 calls to customer service to get the router to connect to the node. If the node is further than 25-30 feet away it drops the connection. But even that close the speeds are ~150 ish.

    Please help!

    Reply
    • A couple of things, Jenny.

      1. Read this post on testing, make sure you pay attention.
      2. You can never get the full Internet speed. More here.
      3. Re-set your system, upgrade it to the latest firmware and try again.

      Also, make sure you understand what you are doing, don’t have crazy expectations without knowing what’s really going on. As long as the speed is fast enough for what you need, the number doesn’t mean much.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the links — I’ll read them.

        I understand you can’t get full speed — my expectations aren’t unreasonable. That isn’t enough to do what I need — streaming is buffering, 4K isn’t playing, internet is dropping. So the number may not mean much but numbers that low aren’t normal.

        Would you please help me further? Thanks!

        Reply
        • Jenny,

          Curious, how close are the two units to each other, and are they connected via hardwire or are they using a wireless backhaul? In the past, with my Orbi, I had an issue that when two units were to close to each other they would basically trip over each other trying to handle things. When I moved them further apart things went way better. Not saying this is your problem, just trying to offer some experiences.

          From the two units, the one that you are struggling with, is it the remote side or the one connected to the modem?

          With either of the above. Consider turning off the remote unit and seeing what happens to the signal.

          -Peter

          Reply
        • You need to read them first, Jenny. They will answer you questions. That’s the whole point of my previous reply.

          You seem to focus on what you want to happen — understandably. But you should instead have some interest in what happen and why. Else, nobody can help.

          Again, read those posts with an open mind, at least you know what’s happening. That’s all I can offer anyway. Check your Internet connection, too.

          Reply
  10. Hey Dong.
    I’ve been doing some research on your website, which has been extremely helpful, so thank you!
    I’m in a 2,800 sqft home with lots of walls separating rooms and areas where my signal needs to reach. I currently have an older router located downstairs that is for the entire house and doesn’t do a very good job. I have lots of lag in my streaming and in my zoom and discord calls.
    I’m looking for a system that can be powerful enough to run my 30+ smart home devices (Kasa), 4-6 cell phones, 3 laptops, 2 firesticks and cover the entire house well. It seems as though a backhauled wiring mesh system will be the right solution for me, I’m just not sure which one. I currently have a 100gbs connection but plan on bumping up to 200gbs. I don’t game and I mainly just stream, host smart home devices and broadcast live video through zoom and discord. I looked through your reviews, but would also love your opinion, based on what I shared, of which mesh system you think may be right for me. Like I said, I’m able to run network cables and do a backhaul system with 2 or 3 satellites (I believe is what you call them). Any help would be great. Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • A couple of things, Justin:

      1. Don’t use too many “smart home” devices. They are all bad for your network, but that varies from one type/brand to another, but the fewer are always better.
      2. Your Internet is slow considering the number of devices. Just do the math. You might want to use QoS.
      3. Since you already wired your, you can go with any dual-band combo on this AiMesh list. I’d pick the XD4, XD6 or a combo of a few dual-band routers.
      4. Separate the 5GHz band from the 2.4GHz band. Use the latter for most of your smart home devices.

      Good luck!

      Reply
      • Thanks for the quick reply! I’ll definitely check out your recommendations. Majority of my smart home devices are light switches and a couple light bulbs. They’re all TP Link Kasa products. Plus, we have 3 Alexa devices. We won’t be adding many more switches to the house.

        Reply
      • Dong,
        I took a look at your recommendations and did some reading on your articles about AiMesh. I have just a couple questions before I pull the trigger:
        1. If I get the XD6 or XD4 do I also need to have a modem to connect them to, or can I directly connect my coaxial cable internet into the router and then connect the WAN network to the satellite? I guess I’m a little confused on that part. I’m a beginner in Wi-Fi systems with a small amount of knowledge in wiring.
        If so, which modem would you recommend to run the XD6 or XD4 as a mesh system?

        2. Would you recommend against something more plug and play like the Orbi for my situation? I’m willing to take on something more advanced if it means more reliable and stable internet, but I also don’t need to get super technical with advanced features. I like the idea of splitting up my smart devices to the 2.4 band and keep my other devices on the 5ghz band. And also the QoS sounds like what I need for making sure my streaming and broadcasting runs smoothly and has priority over everything else while it’s happening.
        Thanks!

        Reply
          • Any of those in that list will work fine? Are there any certain specs I should be aware of when purchasing for the ASUS ZenWiFi XD6? Thanks.

          • Would the ARRIS Surfboard SB8200 work as well? Do all of these carry or support WiFi 6, or does that only pertain to the router? I think I’m going to upgrade to 400mbps from the 100 that I currently have. Still sub-gigabit, but should be plenty for what I need.
            Any other advice before I pull the trigger? Thanks.

          • The ARRIS Surfboard SB8200 is a modem, Justin. All mentioned here are routers + extra broadcasters — more here. Please read the linked posts before asking any more questions. 🙂

          • Sorry if there was some confusion. I was talking about, modems. You said I need a modem to host the routers. And that’s what I was referring to. I’ve been reading a bunch of your other articles and have an understanding now of how everything works together.

            So my question would be, would the ARRIS Surfboard SB8200 be a fine modem for my application to host the XD6 routers for the AiMesh? Or should I stick to the S33 or G36? I plan to connect both XD6 routers from the modem.

          • If you read the modem link in the previous reply — the router portion –, Justin, that would have answered your questions. Please make sure you read before asking.

      • Dong,

        Isn’t the greatest point of WiFi 6 that it is supposed to cover more devices because of IoT?

        In my configuration, now implemented with the Asus RT-AX86U’s that you recommended, I have ~60 different devices including laptops, phones, tablets, smart locks, blinds, cameras, light switches, and more. Asus appears to be handling these quite well, whereas the Orbi fell apart (went berserk is more like it).

        -Peter

        Reply
        • Not really, Peter. Many IoT devices don’t even support the 5GHz band, but just the 2.4GHz. But ultimately it’s about how the router manages its bandwidth. Glad the RT-AX86U works out. 🙂

          Reply
          • Thanks Dong,

            Which reminds me to read more of yours and other sites regarding the splitting out of 2.4 and 5 bands with separate SSID’s. Need to understand how these get bridged for access between the two, though I am not sure the benefits are as strong when the router my be smarter at load balancing when it has both bands available.

            FYI, could not find the pure RT-AX86U as they were sold out everywhere, so I had to pay extra for a painted red “ GUNDAM ZAKU II EDITION”. How the change of colour to red and some extra graphics in the router admin page is worth another $60 Canadian I do not know.

            -Peter

          • Sure, Peter. And I hear you! I guess it’s worth it for a few, all living outside of Canada. Where you are, folks have more things to find life colorful. 🙂

  11. Thank you for doing extensive testing. I currently have the Netgear Orbi RBR 852 system and it’s now become super unreliable. Supposedly its a firmware issue that’s causing the router portion to randomly reboot itself or just drop connections. I was able to get a replacement router and its just as bad to the point I went back to my old Linksys EA9500 router till they put out an update. Would there be a better reccomendation for a 3 story roughly 3,000 sqft home? I have gig speeds, and had the router in my living room and the mesh point in my office via a wired connection.

    Reply
  12. Hi Dong,

    I’m so glad I found your site! After reading everything, trying to figure out what to do I’m about to pull my hair out, so I hope you can give me your opinion. I’m building a house that’s 3000sqft. It will be 1 story. I will have 400mbps download service and will probably upgrade to the 1 gig service.

    I want a wifi mesh that will be in my office. I want to go wired to the router with my Xbox, Playstation and PC. Then wifi for the iPhone’s, iPad’s & AppleTV/Roku’s with the fastest speeds for wifi.

    I own the cable modem(Motorola MB8600) and was thinking about going with the Netgear Orbi RBK852, but I really like how the Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien looks!

    Am I going overboard with either of those 2 mesh wifi’s or is there a better option for what I want to do?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  13. Hi Dong,

    I have an Orbi RBR-53 setup with two satellites (wired backhauls), but am so tired of all the issues with it. The latest being that it is blocking machines & devices sporadically, and then letting them back on. This even with Access Control turned off. All this happening when I have three people in the home trying to run Teams meetings. There are plenty of IoT devices so it is likely time to implement WiFi6. Given how much of a pain it is to deal not only with the quality issues of the Orbi, but also with the lack of stability from Netgear, I simply will not buy another Netgear device. Good at first, but not a long term solution from my experience.

    Here is my question for you in two parts (noting that Netgear is not in the option list).

    1. Which brand do you find to be the most stable and reliable over the long term?

    2. Which provides the best security and ease of management (sort of like the old Apple saying of “it just works”)?

    -Peter

    Reply
      • Agreed on the “it just works” front. I have been reading your posts on the ASUS routers with AIMesh. The RT-AX88U or RT-AX86U are currently my primary picks.

        Reply
        • Either will work well, Peter. I’d go with the latter being the primary router. After that, you can pick any dual-band on this list. With wired backhauls, you have lots of options.

          Reply
          • I started counting my devices and realized that I am close to 60 at this time and plan to add more (smart home). They are a mix of wired and wireless but wireless is the obvious concern given how many IoT devices like going wireless. This raises a couple of questions.

            1. Is it the primary router that needs to handle the device count?

            2. What impact does that have in the selection of the primary and secondary routers?

  14. I have AT&T Fiber Internet with their Wifi 6 BWG320-505 modem/router. I have to use their router so I just want to add 2-3 Wifi 6 satellite Access Points. Which brand/model do you recommend for wifi 6 access points that can be added as the best solution in this situation?

    Reply
  15. Hi Dong,

    I’ve been looking at your reviews and guides, but wanted to get your opinion, if possible, if I need a good single router or a two piece mesh.

    I’ll be moving into a house that is about 2200sq ft above ground (two floors), but a ~600 sq ft finished basement as well. I plan on having my Xbox in the basement connected via ethernet and the router would probably be in the basement nearby. This would be on the furthest left side of the house.
    The master bedroom is on the top/2nd floor on the furthest right side of the house.
    Would a good solo router be able to cover this? Walls and floor should all be standard wood and drywall, 2010 era house. There is an office on the main/1st floor that I would have my work and personal laptop connected via Wi-Fi, this is essentially right above the finished part of the basement. The only concern outside of that is making sure I have a decent Wi-Fi connection on my phone on the 2nd floor. There may be a smart TV or internet TV device as well at some point. I do plan on adding some smart devices throughout the house eventually, but nothing major.

    Reply
  16. Do any of these systems have a full home firewall like we’re used to in classic home routers? Port forwarding, VPN support, reserved IP assignment around the DHCP? DDNS service? Etc.

    I’m looking for a high end router that happens to have wifi6 mesh – not the other way around. (I’m looking to replace my aging RT-AC68U at the same time as moving to mesh wifi for all of the smart phones and tablets in the house.) Wired backhaul.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Most of them do, Chris. Check out the individual reviews for more. But if you want to be safe, get an Asus — you’ll find similar features as your current one and can even port the existing settings over. Note: no (home) router has a “full home firewall.” For that, you need an add-on device, like the Firewalla. Even then, it’s not “full”.

      Reply
  17. I have 3 Asus XT8 units in my home (one router, two nodes, wireless 5-2 Mhz backhaul), and think your assessment of this system is quite spot on, particularly when you state that the “Firmware can be buggy”. My AiMesh system “generally” works ok, but only after a number of tweaks and issues.

    I am running the latest firmware (43181), which is the subject of numerous troubleshooting threads on another WiFi forum (I won’t mention which one), with no apparent end in sight for curing the noted issues. In fact, the workaround Asus technical support gave (starting some months ago) is to downgrade the firmware to the latest stable vision (42095).

    In my case, the latest glitch I have experienced is that I can access my router’s Web GUI from my wired W10 desktop computer as administrator, but when I try to do so from my wireless W10 laptop, I get an “invalid username or password” error message every time. Since the laptop doesn’t have an ethernet port, I’m waiting for delivery of a ethernet-to-usb adapter to see if I can “backdoor” into the router GUI. Obviously, if anyone has solved this type of issue, I’m “all ears” as what it was (wink, wink), as Asus doesn’t seem to have a community support forum for this model to which one can turn.

    In any event, while the ZenWiFi XT8 hardware does seem to perform as advertised, any potential user should assess whether the current state of firmware will provide service at the level they expect without the need for unnecessary troubleshooting efforts.

    Reply
    • Yeah, Thomas, I’d recommend against upgrading a major firmware release right when it’s available. Instead, wait for a subsequent minor release. But you can downgrade the firmware, too. Thanks for sharing your experience!

      Reply
  18. Hey Dong, what’s your favorite mesh system for a wired home? 3000sq. ft smart home with lots of Ethernet ports, ATT 1gig fiber, 50+ devices. Looking for speed, stability, and simplicity.

    Reply
  19. This was said of the TP-Link Deco X5700:

    “Among other things, it’s the only one in this list that supports the venerable 160MHz channel bandwidth and has a multi-gig port”

    I believe that the Asus ZenWiFi AX also has these features.

    Really appreciate reading your router reviews, especially the head-to-head test reports.

    Thanks!

    Reply
      • I see, you weren’t talking about just using a 160MHz. channel width, but a client-facing radio with 160MHz. channel width. Now I understand. By the way, I’m using ethernet backhaul, and have the 5GHz-2 radio set to client-facing. Very fast, but I’ve had to disable the 160MHz. channel width for stability and more uniform speed. Seems that the usefulness of the wider channel width depends on your area.

        Reply
        • You got that totally correct, Roger. The 160MHz is cool and problematic at the same time. That’s the reason for Wi-Fi 6E, which is far from perfect, too. It’s best to go with the 80MHz on Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 5.

          Reply
  20. Hello Dong, I am looking to upgrade my Netgear R7000, to get better coverage in my 2700 sqft house plus some backyard coverage. Cable modem is pushing 300+Mbps from Spectrum.. I was think about the Tp-Link Ax5700 since this is $280 @ costco for a 2 pack. Is this a good choice? In order to help with security I have kept all my IOT devices (thermostat, solar controller, google homes, etc..) on the guest wifi network, and only allowed the wired devices and a the non-guest wifi to have access the other devices like my Synology NAS units. Is this possibly to determine which devices get access to the intranet versus the guest network with the TP-Link?

    I also have Cat 5e wired everywhere throughout the house so I can use this a wired backhaul.

    Reply
      • Hello Dong, I am looking for a mesh network solution that will handle wifi calling in my 5000 sq ft 2 story house. I currently have a home made ”mesh” network set up using 2 Linksys WRT1900AC in bridge mode wired to the main router Nighthawk R8000 via a Netgear JGS524PE. All are operating on dedicated channels. I have no issues with the wifi but because cell service is poor we use the network for wifi calling which drops connection during calls periodically. I want to upgrade all this to a mesh gigabit system than can handle the wifi calling packets better. Do you have any guidance on how best to improve this network such that it can handle the wifi calling better? I wanted to avoid a cellular booster but understand the difficulty handling the wifi calling packets. Thanks.

        Reply
  21. Hi Dong,

    I really like your articles and reviews which I’ve spent the last couple of weeks reading through.

    I’m not sure if you can help but worth a try.

    I live in a 2floor house with a basic setup of fibre Internet(200mbps) on my isps router which is downstairs. Just use wireless as can’t really hardwire here.

    Basically upstairs one of the rooms only gets about 20mbps and drops outs.
    Annoying thing about is the upstairs is on a landing and if I move about 3 metres away from the room on the landing, I can get full 200mbps speed on WiFi.
    I really want full speed if I can.
    I’m thimking a mesh system would do the job, would I need to go for something powerful like the Asus XT8 or would that be overkill?
    Only 2 of us in the house for general things like Netflix and ps5.

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • I’d go with the XT8, Mike, or another tri-band system, 3m are quite a distance, by the way, not to mention there might be other obstacles (like walls, etc.)

      Reply
  22. Hi, Dong. You mention early in the article: “A mesh is only necessary for a large home. So those living in a medium or small home and needing only a standalone router”

    Do you have a ballpark square footage on what you would define as “Medium”? Our home is about 2600 sqft, two stories, 93 ft from end to end. The mechanical closet where the router would be placed is almost directly center in the house on the first floor. Should a single router be ok? P.S., will also be installing CAT6 ports through the house. The wireless is for guests and when we are on our wifi devices. Thank you very much.

    Reply
  23. Dong,

    I’ve learned a ton from your site, thanks for this. I haven’t seen my exact situation, but would like your take if possible. We are currently in a 2-story rental (~2500 sqft), and hardwiring our devices is not an option. We have a gigabit fiber internet connection which comes into the downstairs kitchen (no other option) and I would love to be able to take advantage of gigabit speeds on my multiple PC’s upstairs (which are connected to each-other via ethernet, but ethernet does not extend downstairs). Powerline ethernet is not an option.

    So currently my set-up is as follows:
    Downstairs Kitchen: Gigabit fiber runs to ASUS RT-AX86U in router mode. Synology RT1900ac in AP mode connecting to ASUS LAN port. The ASUS wi-fi is only connected to upstairs WiFi NIC (below) locked to AX -160MHz. The Synology handles connections to all other wireless devices in house.

    Upstairs: Windows 10 machine with Gigabyte GC-WBAX210 WiFi NIC. The Gigabyte WiFi NIC is in bridge mode to Intel Gigabit wired NIC. The Intel NIC is connected via an unmanaged switch to all of my upstairs PCs.

    The ASUS and Gigabyte NIC connection together is an absolute beast, and I get nearly full gigabit internet throughput on that connection. The problem is that this solution is fairly kludgy, and Windows loses its mind fairly frequently and the wireless connection will disconnect requiring either a manual reconnection or reboot to fix.

    Would love to figure out a solution where I could have two routers (or some other devices) that can serve as a wireless bridge between the upstairs and downstairs, and I could take the Windows bridging out of the equation and be much more stable. Near-gigabit throughput would be a must. Wasn’t sure if a “mesh” would be the best solution with the upstairs switch just plugged-in to the satellite NIC or if there is a better solution you might recommend.

    Thanks in advance!
    John

    Reply
    • That’s very resourceful of you, John. But yes, the current situation is a bit like a bandage. Here’s what I’d recommend.

      1. Get a 2-pack RT-AX92U as your main AiMesh mesh system. Use one unit as the place of the RT-AX86U and the 2nd unit upstairs, you now can retire the Wi-Fi card on your desktop.
      2. Use the RT-AX86U in the place of the Synology now, either in the AP mode or the wired AiMesh node.

      That will work well.

      Reply
  24. Hi Dong,
    Thanks for this amazing resource, I’ve been using to get to grips with mesh networking and it’s be invaluable!

    I have two questions that I couldn’t find the answer for, and would be really grateful for you help!

    For my setup, we’re thinking about sticking with our ISP router (Sky UK) as it works better with their streaming boxes (they only connect to non-Sky WiFi on 2.4Ghz CHANNEL (!), even if you use same SSID) and then were wanting to have the bulk of the WiFi (with a different SSID) delivered via a mesh system due to the brickwork in the house causing problematic signal. We have a well wired setup for backhaul in the house.

    I was looking at the XD4 and wondered if there is much benefit, when forced to use it in AP mode, over an old-fashioned ‘network with multiple wireless access points’?

    Also, do you know if there is DHCP option 61 support on the XD4 or any of the other suitable Wifi 6 mesh systems as that could allow us to ditch the ISP router (and use wired connection for the streaming boxes), it doesn’t seem to be mentioned well on their manufacturer website. Sky really does like to make it difficult for customers to use 3rd party equipment!

    Thanks in advance,

    Rich

    Reply
  25. Hey Dong

    I’ve been following this article for a while and I’m to the point where my current system keeps failing me so it’s time to change it for something new.

    I currently have the Netgear Orbi RBK852 bought when they first came out through best buy. At first they worked amazing but in the last year I’ve had non stop issues with the router flashing white and rebooting itself. I’ve never troubleshooted something more in my life to no avail. On any given day I have around 80-90 devices connected with over 10 cameras, 7 of the internet connected Comcast boxes and 2 baby monitors. My house runs 2 gig internet off the netgear cm1150v modem. My house does not have wiring throughout so using the mesh gave me the best case scenario in coverage for all the devices. I just can’t figure out why the orbi daily reboots itself. It’s cumbersome when I have the cameras and baby stuff that loose connection.

    Now back to your article. Like mentioned I have the rbk852. I ordered the new zenwifi et8 WiFi6e that should be coming in this week but I also see that you have the alien mesh pretty high in your review so I’m not 100% on the et8. I also wouldn’t mind doing one of your recommended setups using the gt-ax1100 either with an additional ax1100 or with another aimesh device. What would you recommend in a house with so many connected devices but also gives me great speeds.

    Reply
    • I don’t have a specific recommendation for you, James, since there are many things I don’t know about your home. For example, you have to 2Gbps Internet and use that modem, so you use Link Aggregation? If not, your speed caps at 1Gbps. And you use Comcast for phone service, too? (Don’t answer those questions, they are just examples of what I don’t know.)

      The thing is, I don’t intend to provide personal consultation here. I only point folks in the right direction. So, I’d recommend you check out these posts to make sure you understand the bandwidth, QoS, etc. In any case, those IP cameras and connected Comcast boxes (whatever they are) can put a terrible load on your network. That plus the large number of devices mean running cables is a must. You can’t do that, you’ll never have a reliable network.

      Reply
    • Most reviews seem to concentrate on lightning speeds, gaming and computer graphics. Technology fascinates me and I find myself reading countless blogs, but not much actually sinks in longer than 15 minutes. So I find myself after unsuccessfully attempting to contact Netgear and other outlets, reaching out to you on behalf of the other half of tech wantabes who keep throwing money at problems that probably are an easy no brainer.
      As I retire at 60, I found myself trying to stay young buying every wifi enabled device I came across. I’m not a gamer or even have a computer anymore. A few iPads and iPhones seem to tackle my problems for now. I do stream all TV and movies usually by Ethernet via Amazon FireCube and my EZVIZ cameras are also Ethernet connected. Amazon Prime seems to alway be fine but if i watch movies via apps such as CinemaHD, I seem to watch the buffering spin. Although there are FireTVs in every room, usually only one is being used.
      I need to upgrade from my Orbi RBR50 w/ satellite which has all but given up trying to keep up with all my devices in my 2 person 2500sqf 2 story home. It’s becoming a biweekly event to unplug and reset the router and many devices. I just can’t physically keep doing it! I have Cox’s 300mps plan and not sure if an extra $70 would help with the gigabyte plan. Cox seems to have weekly issues and disruptions that seem to add to the problem.
      What would you suggest for 2 story home with over 100 wifi devices devices electrical plugs, light switches, 5 amazon echos, lights bulbs and led strips. I know there are a million variables with the house structure and types of devices. I just get lost looking at each model’s device capacity. The cost doesn’t seem to reflect that capacity. Now that we are bombarded with new cheap wifi enabled devices, what’s a guy to do?! I’ve been keeping up with your reviews and if an easy answer would be to purchase one of the top 2 on your favorites list, I’d feel justified with the cost. It seems whenever I buy something, someone is there to tell me I overkilled the problem or I should have bought this or that. So yes I’m trying to relieve myself of the blame!!! But truly, any helpful suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

      Reply
      • 100 devices are a lot, Vincent. And those pesky IoTs you mentioned can be a pain since they have very rigid Wi-Fi settings/support.

        In your case, you need a system that allows you to separate 2.4GHz and 5GHz (as two networks). You might want to use most of the IoTs on the 2.4GHz band. Check out this post to learn more or when you have connection issues.

        That said, get a pair of the Asus RT-AX92U.

        Most important: Don’t go with cheap and don’t fall for “lighting speeds” — any article that uses that term for Wi-Fi is likely bullshit.

        Good luck!

        Reply
        • Sorry for jumping in here but I just wanted to let you know that I’ve tried almost all of the Asus mesh systems that Dong has recommended on here and the RT-AX92 was by far the best. I had 4 of them and a main router that I don’t recall but it was one of the big Asus gaming routers. I have been following Dong for a while now and rely on his opinion. I messed up and returned them because the parental controls didn’t work fast enough for me. I know I shouldn’t base my choice on parental controls (thanks Dong for the advice) and will probably purchase them again as they were the best that I’ve used so far. I have a large house and a shop that’s pretty far from the house is why I had 4 units plus the router. I also had them set up as access points and got amazing speed in my shop. Again, sorry for jumping in on your thread and thanks for all you do, Dong.

          Jeremy

          Reply
          • Thanks for the insight. I definitely had connection issues with non separate 2.4. I really didn’t think a bunch of light switches and plugs would even be an issue since they’re only used once or twice a day. But I’m really at a crossroad and ready to give up! I’m getting too old for this and most of my younger friends don’t have a single device besides their PlayStation and Netflix! I’m usually the one that has to go fix their wifi issues.

  26. Hi Dong,

    Really appreciate your insight and the time you spend on your review – they are beyond helpful!

    We’ve been using the original Google Wifi (2016) in our home, but I’m going to pass that along to my brother from his first home.

    Looking to replace it with a wifi 6 mesh system, but very conflicted with all the options. Our home is about 4500 sq ft spread across 2 floors.

    Which system(s) would you recommend? I was thinking between the Linksys Velop AX4200 (can get a 2 pack here in Canada) or the Zenwifi XT8 2 pack. Do you think 2 units would be enough given the 2 floor configuration of the home, or is 3 neccessary?

    Appreciate any insight! Thank you!

    Reply
    • This depends on how you place the units, Jason — more here. But generally, if the 3-pack Google delivers just enough coverage then you might need another 3-pack. But I’d go with a 2-pack of either that you mentioned, you can always add another unit later.

      Reply
  27. Hi Dong,
    Thank you for the very informative and helpful write-up.

    My home is a 3-floor setup with each floor about 1,200 square feet. I am NOT cabled up and am currently using a 3-Pack TP Link Deco X60 with a unit on each floor. After reading your article, I realized that the X60 is not ideal without a cabled setup and I am indeed experiencing poor WiFi performance and connection. I get decent speeds with the main unit but on the satellites, I am getting between 50 to 150mbps download speed and between 0.1 to 50mbps upload speed. My internet plan is 1gbps.

    After reading through your write-up, it looks like I should be looking at a Triband system since I am not cabled up. The Netgear Orbi RBK852 seems to be the best performer, however, that looks like a 2-Pack setup which may not be suitable for my 3-floor configuration.

    What do you reckon is my best options based on your list of Triband systems?

    Thank you for your time and assistance.

    Reply
      • Hi Dong,

        Thank you so much for your recommendations, I do understand that running cables is the best option but that is not possible for me at this time. I will definitely look into those 3 options that you suggested.

        Much appreciate you taking the time to help me out 😃

        Have a good day!

        Reply
          • Sorry to trouble you again, Dong. I’ve checked out the 3 alternatives that you mentioned and it appears that only the
            the Linksy Velop MX4200 comes in a 3-Pack.

            I’m impressed by your reviews of the Asus RT-AX92U and ZenWiFi AX but they are 2-Pack systems — will this pose a problem since my home is a 3-floor layout?

            Once again, thanks for you time and advice.

      • Hi Dong,

        Thanks for your help on this, I’ve decided to wire up my Deco X60 but the performance is inconsistent and upload speeds are very low – between 0.5 to 7mbps even though download speeds can hit over 600mbps.

        I’ve decided to ditch the DECO X60.

        Based on a wired backhaul, will you still recommend the ZenWiFi AX it is there any other mesh system that you’d recommend?

        Thanks for your time and help 😃

        Reply
  28. Hey Dong,

    So I’ve been looking into getting my first mesh system, and your site has really helped me out a lot! However, I’m conflicted as to whether I get a dual-band mesh or a tri-band. My home is about 6000 sq ft, with three floors, and about 2000 sq ft per floor. My modem/router is on the first floor, and my basement has wired Ethernet, but my second floor does not. Would it be better for me to save with dual band or go for tri band to compensate for the lack of Ethernet on my second floor?

    Reply
      • Thanks for the advice. I looked at getting a 3 pack of these, and they’re a bit too expensive for me. Do you have any alternatives?

        Reply
          • Well, I was mainly going for wifi 6, as my network is gradually filling up with wifi 6 devices. I looked at the linksys velop ax4200, and I think I like it. It’s within my budget and the 8100 sq ft range is something I like, as I want a bit of wifi out in my front/back yards. In your opinion, do you think it’s a good pick?

  29. Thanks for all the great information here.

    Do any of these systems support powering the satellites over POE when using a wired backhaul? I have a good location to place a satellite unit and could easily run cable to it for a wired backhaul, but I’d have to install a receptacle there to power the unit. I haven’t found mention one way or another on manufacturer datasheets which presumably means it’s not supported.

    Reply
  30. Hi Dong,
    A few dates ago, i asked for your advice about which mesh system would be the best (don’t worry about price) for a 3-floor house (1077 sq-feet each), with 1Gb network, and wired backhaul.
    You answer was:

    Asus GT AX11000 + 2 Asus RT A92U

    I have 2 questions:

    1. Would it be better to use 3 GT AX11000 instead, or it is a waste of money ? (The satellites must cover ⅓ of the house each, exactly the same volume as the main router)

    2. (As i don’t really like too much the sthetic of AX11000… )… the performance of 3 units of Asus ZenWiFi XT8 would be significantly lower than the first option?

    Thanks a lot for you support.

    Reply
    • 1. My take is yes, though I’ve never done that myself.
      2. You can use three RT-AX-92U units. The XT8 is not designed for wired backhaul, it’ll work but a new firmware might mess things up. That has happened, but doesn’t mean it’ll happen again.

      Reply
      • Ok. I’ll go with 3x AX11000 then…
        I have noticed that this router has no wall mount. Is it possible to connect it vertically with some self-made system, or would it affect to the performance (heat…)

        Thanks a lot Dong.

        Reply
        • Yes, you can mount it however you want, if you can, Juan. Note, though, that its antennas can be quite a pain to handle. But that doesn’t affect the performance.

          Reply
  31. Great review. I need some advice.. so basically we have a 2000 sqft home and all our walls are concrete thick brick walls.. so i will run a console Ethernet cable inside the walls.. so what is the best mesh system will be great for me so it can kill all d dead zone and can cove all d places and go signal through the brick wall. my speed is around 200 Mbps. Also I have a nas media server. which I need to connect with Ethernet. SO I think I need to buy Ethernet switch as well. Thanks

    Reply
  32. Hi Dong:
    Almost a half year has passed since your last post. Is the RT-AX86U still the unit of choice for a wired (backhaul) gigabit network in a large home (two floors of 2700 sq ft)?
    Thanks! You run an exceptionally good website!
    – Hub

    Reply
      • I plan on implementing a mesh using two RT-AX86U with wired backhaul. Is there an outdoor mesh device that is compatible with the ASUS setup?
        Thank you.
        – Hub

        Reply
          • Hi Dong:

            I created a mesh with two RT-AX86U units and it works great. Is there a WiFi strength meter app that you recommend?
            The next thing I need is a 24-port switch. I don’t think I need anything fancy, just fast. I would like QOS and am not sure if I would encounter the need for pass-through capability in the future. So I suppose that suggests a managed switch (not full router) – is that the case? Any suggestions?
            My RT-AX86U is plugged into a 4-port fiber (Bell-Fibe) router. Once I get a switch, should I plug it into the fiber router (at the top end of the network) or into the RT-AX86U, or should the RT-AX86U be plugged into the switch? Do you have a post discussing different topologies?
            – Thanks!

  33. Dong,
    Thanks for your informative articles and reviews. One question I have not seen you address concerns interchangeability of equipment, not Wifi5 and Wifi6, but different firms that may use proprietary firmware which complicates building a mesh network. Obviously sticking with one firm’s equipment is better, but is it necessary in all cases?
    For example, I bought an Orbi6 RBR750 router and satellite that I connected to my Verizon Fios Quantum Gateway in series with CAT6 cables in router mode because I was informed by Verizon (contradicting their online instructions to set it up in AP) that the Verizon router’s firmware would block the Orbi in any other arrangement. (We needed to keep the Verizon router for the coax connection to the TV box to watch BBC news).
    I have CAT6 cables running from the ONT (gig service) to the Orbi Router and from the Orbi to the Fios Router. Also from the Orbi Router I have a CAT6 cable to another floor which had poor wifi. (The Orbi satellite is deployed to another room that had poor wifi, but it is not hard wired.)
    But there was a problem when I tried to connect a Verizon WCB6200 extender to that CAT6 cable from the Orbi router. I managed to reset it to show up as working in the Orbi Netgear interface, but it was broadcasting the old Verizon wifi which is shutoff on the Verizon router. We run wifi only through the Orbi6 system. Can such conflicts be fixed or must I use only Orbi satellites (a more costly solution since I already have the Verizon extender), and if so, why? Is the problem firmware or inability to reset the extender to a new (non-Verizon) network?
    Cynthia

    Reply
    • Hi Cynthia.

      First, you shouldn’t use Orbi if you have a wired backhaul — that’s when you use a network cable to connect hardware units. More here.
      Second, in your case, you’re dealing with Double-NAT. You need to EITHER turn your Verizon gateway into the Bridge mode OR use your router/mesh in the AP mode. More here.

      Reply
      • Dong,
        Thanks very much for your advice, but I’m a bit confused even after reading the “more here” links and seek to clarify three points.

        First as you write, “In the AP mode, the router — or a mesh system — will work only to extend the network and nothing else. You will not be able to take advantage of its other settings and features. In other words, your network only has the features and settings of the existing gateway (or router).” Since the Orbi is more powerful than the FIOS G1100, even the Verizon technicians said it should be the main router from the ONT. (I only have two options: router & AP, nothings says bridge on the Netgear interface). I could keep the Orbi as the main gateway router and then connect the cable from its LAN to the G1100 in its LAN instead of WAN connector, if that would be better. But I don’t want to make the inferior G1100 the gateway.

        Second, after reading the double NAT article, I wonder why your diagram has different mobile phones connected to different NATs. Why limit wifi this way? I want one seamless wifi broadcasting propelled by all units. So I don’t see why double NAT is better than the series network I set up.

        Third, you say: “you shouldn’t use Orbi if you have a wired backhaul.” But then what are the Orbi Lan connections on the router for? It gives good hardwire connection to my Macbook pro and other units. Meanwhile the Orbi satellite on another floor is not hard wired to the router but reports poor Backhaul status on the Netgear web interface. So I don’t understand.

        Thank you again.
        Cynthia

        Reply
        • Cynthia,

          You need to be open-minded and read the whole thing. If you’re looking to validate what you already believe or want to believe, you’ll be confused. So, let me do some reading of my own posts for you:

          1. This section of this post on Mesh Brands will explain why you shouldn’t use the Orbi if you have wired your home. I actually mentioned this one way or another in EVERY Orbi review.
          2. This section of this post on networking basic will explain to you about router/modem/gateway etc. There’s a diagram on setting up a network (you must read the first section
          first).
          3. This section of the double NAT article explains the issues with Double NAT.

          So, you need to REALLY read and pay attention if you want to understand. That genarlly applies to everything.

          Reply
          • Ouch! Points taken.
            For the record, on #1, I used the Orbi because I was UNABLE to rewire my home (and selected it before discovering your site). I could run only one CAT6 from the ONT in the basement to the Orbi Router on 2nd floor and one cable from the Orbi Router down to the 1st floor replacing a Coax cable. I was going to connect that new line to an extender, but decided against it after reading your articles on interference.

            All other needs (family computers, etc) have to be met wirelessly, which is unfortunate since, as you note, wireless mesh setup is generally not good for real-time video/audio conferencing.
            Thank you, anyway.

        • Cynthia,

          I think you setup your network the correct way without double nat but may have misconfigured your G1100 router.

          Cabling setup

          — ONT > CAT6 > Orbi Router (WAN) > Orbi Router (LAN1) > CAT6 > G1100 (LAN1) > G1100 (COAX) > STB

          — Orbi Router (LAN2) > CAT6 > Extender 6200 (LAN1)

          You’ll need to change some settings on your FIOS G1100 router before setting up your 6200 extender:

          On G1100:

          My Network > Network Connections > Network (Home/Office) > Settings.

          – Change default gateway from 192.168.1.1 to 192.168.1.X or whatever your subnet is set to on the Orbi Router so the GS1100 becomes a lan device and not a gateway ie. 192.168.1.253 (Just make sure to exclude these IPs from your DHCP range on the Orbit router)
          – Disable the DHCP server
          – Disable wifi on G1100.
          – Connect LAN from your Orbi router to the G1100’S LAN Existing coax needs to be connected to the G1100 coax port.

          On the 6200:

          You need to first disable Verizon’s remote management features TR-069, TR-111, TR-181, specifically TR-069, on the 6200 and then set up your desired WiFi network / SSID / pass / static IP etc manually to that of the subnet you are using on the Orbi router ie. 192.168.1.254 if your subnet was 192.168.1.1/24

          Do not manually resync the extender with the fios router otherwise you will lose your manual settings.

          You can use the same SSIDs as your Orbi router but select separate WiFi channels.

          Finally, reboot your STBs.

          Hope this helps.

          Reply
  34. Dong, thanks a lot for your support and share your amazing knowledge with us.
    I would need your help to choose best mesh system wifi 6 for my house (3 floors- 1075 sq-feet each). 1Gb connection, wired backhaul. (Dońt worry about budget)

    Options ( 3 units config):
    – Orbi 853
    – Orbi 753
    – Asus GT-AX11000
    – Asus RT AX 92 U
    – Asus Zen Wifi XT8
    – Alien 6
    – Deco x90

    Reply
      • And why not 3 GT-AX11000 instead ?

        Although i don’t like much the aspect of this device, it seems to be one of the best in performance. Isn’t it ?

        Reply
  35. Thanks so much for your articles, Dong. They have been super informative, and incredibly helpful.

    I have a two story, 2500 sq ft square home. We currently have 200 down, but I upped it to 400 down just recently and I wanted to get a system where I can utilize that 400 all over my house. We have a modem with a wireless router plugged into it. I wanted to get a fast mesh system to replace the modem with.

    I was looking at getting an eero pro 6, but you don’t seem to think highly of them. Looking at your numbers, the tp-link 6500 looked like it had the fastest speeds. Was I seeing that right?

    What would you recommend for reliable 400 down around our medium size house?

    And thanks again for the great resource.

    Reply
      • Thanks for fast reply, Dong.

        My house is not wired. After reading that article you recommended, it looks like a tri-band mesh with a dedicated wireless back haul would be my best option (please correct me if I said that wrong:). The tp-link, or the orbi, look like two of the best options. Do you have another you would recommend over those?

        Or just run wires? 🙂

        Reply
  36. Hey Dong – You’re the man for all that you do. Quick question (as I watch a Costco sale end tonight while I am just learning about all this!) – We are closing on a 4 story + rooftop townhome this week.

    We will have 1GB fiber internet, with wired ethernet ports throughout the home. What would you recommend for a system both on pure performance, as well as maybe a good value option?

    Reply
  37. We currently have a cable modem/router combo that needs to be replaced, due to it being hit by lightning. I want to replace it with a separate modem and a separate router.

    We have 250 Mbps internet through our cable company
    I currently work from home and I have to access quite a few of my client’s servers from my work server via my desktop, with our current setup everything lags and sometimes the system freezes and disconnects. My desktop is not wifi capable so it is connected via an ethernet cable. My son and husband do a lot of video streaming and online gaming. Therefore, we need something that will allow all of us to be able to access the internet at the same time without it affecting our connections.

    Our house is about 2500 Sq ft and we’ve always had issues with the wifi signal reaching throughout the entire house even with the modem/router being centrally located.

    Can you please recommend a cable modem and a mesh wifi router system that you think would help with our needs and current connectivity issues?

    Thank you 😊!

    Reply
      • Hi Dong,

        I have an Orbi 752 3 pack costco kit waiting to get installed. My hesitation is that I have Wyze cams, Ring system and an August door lock. The August lock ‘only’ uses 2.4ghz. The house is 2000sqft. Do you think setting up the Orbi 752 will be a headache? I’ve read it’s hard to separate the signal to get 2.4ghz. I’m on a 3.0 modem and netgear router I bought in 2018, currently getting 230mbs wifi speed on the 5ghz side. 2.4 side is around 80mb. Comcast service is 400mbs.

        Reply
          • Installed the Orbi 753 Costco kit. Works like a charm with a combo of 19 connected devices with most being. 2.4ghz.

            Was worried the 2.4 devices would have a hard time but nope. Both satellites running and I’m getting. 430mbs throughout a 2000sqft house including front of garage.

  38. Hi Dong,

    First off, you have an amazing site, and really like the work you do. Your articles are very thorough, detailed, and very informative.

    My sister is moving next week to a new house, and she has always had WIFI issues in all her houses, her place will be close to 3500sq ft, with three floors(including the ground floor, and the basement). I was looking into getting either the AX92U(two pack) or the ORBI8(752) 3 pack(one for each floor).

    Basically her family use is as following:
    she has 4 kids who will be attending zoom/google classes online, there will be tons of streaming going on, on all the floors. They do play games online on PS4 or the PC but occasionally.

    The backhaul will be all wireless, there won’t be any wired connections.

    So which one of these would fit her need the best?

    ASUS AX6100 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (RT-AX92U) – 2 Pack
    NETGEAR Orbi 8-Stream Tri-Band AX4200 Whole Home Mesh WiFi 6 System (RBK753S-100CNS) – 3 Pack

    Reply
  39. Hello Dong,

    I discovered your site today and have taken a trip down the Wifi6 mesh router rabbit hole over the past few hours! Your reviews are great, well written, easy to understand, and thorough. I currently use an older model eero and it’s not my favorite. I now have frequent connectivity issues (they seem to get worse with each eero update) and I’m concerned about privacy issues given who owns them now.

    I’d like to replace my eero and basically have two requirements (wishes!) when it comes to the replacement:

    1. No account required for setup/use
    2. Wired backhaul support

    As thorough as your reviews are, I’m not always clear if an account is required (like eero and Netgear/Orbi) to set up and use the router. Which Wifi6 mesh routers meet the above two requirements (if any)?

    Thank you for your time and help and for this great resource that you provide.

    -Rob

    Reply
  40. Hi Dong,
    I’ve read a bunch of your articles now and they are very insightful but I still haven’t found an answer to my problem. I have U-Verse 1gb up/down internet and want to connect hardwire ethernet to my gaming systems upstairs of my house but my house lacks ethernet cabling to the upper levels. Which mesh system would meet my internet speed for a hardwire connection. I don’t care about using wifi. Thank you for any help you can give me!

    Reply
  41. Hi Dong,

    Thank you for your wonderful and helpful articles! I recently purchased the Netgear Orbi RBK852 wi-fi 6 mesh router & satellite, but it no longer supports WPA2/WPA3 mixed mode (used to it seems), so my new wi-fi 6 devices (that support WPA3) can’t use WPA3, due to the many “older” devices in my home (e.g. Ring, Ecobee, etc.) that only support WPA2 flavors. Also, Apple recommends that security should be “set to WPA2/WPA3 Transitional for compatibility with older devices”. Offhand, do you know which Wi-Fi 6 mesh networks support WPA2/WPA3 mixed mode? This is very important for security and interoperability. I’m looking into it too, but thought I’d ask the expert… Thank you sir!

    Reply
    • WPA3 is a matter of firmware so it can change as you might have noticed. I’d just use WPA2. There’s little difference between the two in real-world secucrity.

      Reply
  42. Hi Dong,

    First of all, I just wanted to thank you for this incredible resource and font of knowledge you’ve provided.

    We recently moved house and the ISP-provided router just isn’t able to cover the house effectively, so I’d concluded that a mesh wi-fi solution would be the best option.
    Running dedicated wired backhaul isn’t an option due to cost/hassle etc, so I’d initially figured a Powerline/mesh system would be best but after a little bit of Googling a lot of what I read said they didn’t perform any better than pure wireless mesh solutions.

    Most of the articles I saw online from general tech news/review sites seemed to talk up the Google Nest Wi-Fi as the best around but thankfully I found your site before pulling the trigger. Having read up more on here, I realise now that the Nest solution is a little lacking, without either Wi-Fi 6 or tri-band support.
    Obviously the ideal option would be a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh system but living in the UK, we don’t seem to have the same options as in the US and those that are available are priced a lot higher over here.

    So I guess what I wanted to ask most of all was which would you say is more important for a purly wi-fi-based mesh system, Wi-Fi 6 support or tri-band support for dedicated wireless backhaul?

    Many thanks.

    Reply
    • This depends on our place, Iain, specifically the distances between broadcasters and the number of walls, etc. This post will explain more. As for your questions, I’d say tri-band is more important than Wi-Fi standard, but Wi-Fi 6 is the norm now, so if you go with Wi-Fi 5 hardware, the support (new firmware, etc.) will likely not be as up to snuff. Also, if you have a modest broadband connection, a dual-band system will likely work out well, too.

      Good call on the Google Nest, by the way. Similar to the eero, this type of mesh has some serious privacy issues.

      Reply
  43. Hi Dong!
    Just wanted to check if you could update the part about Asus XT8.
    Currently, it already allows to include 5G-2 band under the same SSID (it is called Tri-band smart connect) and is not required as wireless backhaul. For that, however, the wired backhaul setting is required. It also includes now 160 MHz available for the client devices (also on the Tri-band smart connect setting).
    Guest network SSID can now be also broadcasted by the AI mesh nodes (not only the router itself as it used to be in the past).

    Reply
  44. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for the detailed write up. Can you please share which of the wifi 6 mesh systems you reviewed allow for configuring multiple SSIDs (one for 2.4 ghz and one for 5 ghz)? I have a few smart-home accessories which only connect via the 2.4 ghz band, and if I’m not able to select which band I want to connect through (via my iPhone) then I will have a hard time with setup for these devices. Thanks!

    Reply
    • You can do that with all Asus systems, Dillon. But if a device can only use the 2.4GHz it’s really doesn’t matter if you also name the 5GHz the same — the device can’t “see” the 5Ghz anyway.

      Reply
      • I’ve been running the Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini system successfully over the past month or so and discovered recently a couple of “Smart bulbs” wouldn’t reconnect after a brief power outage knocked them offline. I attempted several times to manually re-establish the connection for these 2.4GHz devices but they just wouldn’t connect to my WiFi network. In order to overcome, I adjusted the Guest network to 2.4GHz only and, voila, they both connected quickly and without issue. I’m going to leave the Guest network in this state in case I need to connect future 2.4GHz only devices. Once successfully paired with the Guest Network, I was able to return the device (iPhone/iPad) to my main WiFi network (5GHz/2.4GHz) and the smart bulbs remained connected (although they might still be connected to the active Guest network).

        I share this anecdote as it might provide a path for others struggling with initial connections of their 2.4GHz-only smart devices.

        Reply
      • Hi dong! Thank you for your great reviews. I have a question cuz I don’t really understand how mesh systems work.. I have a 5g router than I use in my media room which is pretty insulated and have thick walls so I don’t get the speeds (450mb and up) that it does. I do find that if I move my router to the living room, the speed is much faster there but simply won’t reach my media room. What can I do? Can I use one of the above mentioned wifi 6 routers as just a satellite? If so, which is the best? Looking forward to your reply. Thanks!

        Reply
  45. Hi Dong!

    Thank you for this excellent write up and all tg I advice you are willing to share. I especially enjoy your take on the Eero systems.

    However I find myself very unsure of what system I’d like to install. I have a single story home, around 1600 sqft, however all of the walls are plaster on tongue in groove.

    This leads to significant signal loss from the router by time you get to opposite sides of the house. I have been leaning towards a triband for the wireless backhaul capabilities, however that’s as far as I have gotten.

    I appreciate any thoughts you may have on the matter.

    Reply
  46. Hi Dong,
    I think I have a simple question compared to some. I have a two story house, 2800 sqft. I uesed to run airport extremes and now have the Orbi RBR50 router with two satellites. The downstairs is wired with CAT which connects the router plus one. Then I added one upstairs to push the signal. I’ve been consistently getting 450 mbps download and 45 mbps upload wherever I test. I also stream tv and everything in house. My problem is this ORBI, although fast, seems to have disconnect issues. Im always resetting the main router. What would you recommend as a no hassle but fast setup. Doesn’t have to be cheap. Just want a good option. I read your review but still a little unsure about Tri-band or dual-band. I know new ones are coming out now like the MK83 from netgear

    Reply
  47. Dong,
    Thank you for yet another great article and all the detailed reviews of the systems involved. Plus insights from other posts including “Double NAT vs. Single NAT: How to Best Handle an (ISP-Provided) Gateway”.
    We have a three story townhouse and are planning on adding a mesh system to replace the poor wifi we get out of the gigabit fiber service’s gateway and tv boxes as APs. The new router would be set up as an AP attached to the gateway in our first floor office (not the best location but where our service comes in) with satellites on the upper floors. Due to our construction there will be a floor plus a wall or maybe two depending on placement between the units. Since our wired network is via MoCa we are looking at tri-band systems since our wired network would not be the best for a wired backhaul (per you other posts) and would also cause some poor unit placements.
    All that being said, we are looking at the Netgear Orbi AX4200 (RBK743) three pack as a top candidate or its bigger cousin the Orbi AX6000 two pack as a more expensive option. Are we headed in the best direction here or should we be looking at other options? Like the Asus ZenWiFi AX for example. Since the Orbi AX4200 3 pack is currently only $429 at Costco right now, it is pretty tempting from a price factor. But price may not be the best determining factor in this case.
    Thanks for any thoughts or insight.

    Reply
  48. Hey Dong,

    Awesome write-up. I am just looking for some advice at this point.

    Some backstory: I have Centurylink, service is not terrible but my “up to 1Gb” typically gets me to about 700-800 down and 900-1000 up. I’m not a know it all, by any means but I tend to know what to do to get my router to work. That just means that I do know how to adjust my bands and how to fac. reset my router. My home is ~4500 sq feet, it’s 2 floors. We live on the first floor, mostly. For a long time I lived with a Nighthawk R8000 (Netgear) which worked well, but I decided to move up to a C5400 (TP Link) because the Netgear had a faulty 5G band (would not speed test at more than 2mbps, within 10ft. on 5G – 2). I also wanted a router with built in security and only TP Link and Asus offered free security afaik. Anyway, in November of 2018, I got the TP Link. It had nothing but issues from Day 1. I kept getting promised of software/firmware updates that would fix the little glitches, which mainly consisted of constant router reboots and disappearing 5G networks. I split my Wifi into 3 networks as a habit from the Netgear’s faulty 5G 2 (because whenever it determined the 5G 2 was the best band to use, that device would max out at a whopping 2mbps download). Anyway, eventually what would happen is that the 2.4G would drop every device and it would not be able to reconnect until I power cycled the router. This is a really ugly issue but only happened every month or 2 apart so I lived with it for a while. I thought a firmware update would come and fix it. Their advice was of course, to fac reset so this is what I did. I would also try a bunch of different configurations to see if one would hit the sweet spot. Nothing worked. By now the device did receive 1 update, but it didn’t fix the issue (it did fix the rebooting). I ended up swapping the device in March of 2019 through Amazon because by now, TP Link was telling me that the router was EoL and not expecting anymore updates. It was also outside of the warranty period (because apparently even though I’d purchased it in 2018 and assumed 1 year, that wasn’t so!- this soured me on TP Link bigtime) Thankfully, although it was outside of the return period, Amazon swapped it. This router seemed a lot better. I did not encounter any of the reboots I had with the previous one, nor any dropouts on the 5G bands….at least not right away. By the end of 2019, this started happening again. By this time I’d switched from Comcast to Centurylink Fiber, which has no cap and offered up to 1GBps. There was an addition fly added to my ointment in that the router did not like the Centurylink connection. For some reason it would not reconnect after they refreshed the ip address, which in turn caused my entire network to go down. Again, I did my due diligence and again, fac. reset and set up fresh, not from any backed up info. This did not help. I called and validated the info and Centurylink was like, dyanamic IP, you’re good! I thought maybe I had to change to PPoE and Vlan per what I was seeing online, but no, dynamic IP was fine. My issues with the 2.4G got worse and worse so I “reinforced” by network by buying a cheap Tenda MW6 mesh system and bridged it. I then just turned off the 2.4G on the TP Link. This is what I lived with for a long time until the disconnections (due to IP changes by Centurylink) became too much. I was also getting some oddities like not being able to surf certain sites. Nothing fixed this, not turning off the Malware protection/Firewall, etc, not power cycling. I was over more factory resetting so I angrily removed it from the network and just set up the Centurylink router (C3000z). My only issues since then are the Tenda flipping out now and again slowing things down for my cameras and the C3000z being just garbage compared to any of my previous routers for speed. That being said, I need to upgrade my network. I run well over 70 devices, maybe even more than 100. My home is semi-smart, in that almost all of my light switches are wifi, there are many wifi plugs, many wifi bulbs, wifi robot vacs on each floor, many wifi indoor and outdoor cameras, wifi TVs and soundbars in each of 5 bedrooms and 2 family rooms, an Echo Show and Google/Nest Speakers in every room, kitchen and family room(s), lots of phones and tablets and at least 3-4 laptops (using wifi).
    The Tenda definitely can’t keep up. The only reason it survives right now is that it offloads sleeping devices asap. I was trying to hold out for Wifi 6E but I need to pull the trigger a bit sooner. The only 2 devices I see here that I’d be interested in are the Asus XT8 or the TP Link X5700. You know my history with TP Link, and “Pro” Homecare I’m not going to do. I also can’t find it for sale anywhere but Costco. The XT8 looks and sounds great, but I’ve read some scary things from people who say it doesn’t work well.

    Here are my facts, at this point I just want something that works.

    I need something consistent.
    I need something that can do 200 devices without a sweat.
    I want/need a mesh system.
    I want Wifi 6 (future-proofing!).
    I would prefer a Tri-band setup.
    I would prefer something that can get at LEAST 700 down and 1000 up (https://www.speedtest.net/result/11155925000).
    I would prefer wired backhaul capable but if something can do good numbers with wireless backhaul, I’m good with that.
    I would prefer FREE built in security.

    Can you please recommend something?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  49. Hi Dong,

    I’ve been poring through your posts and appreciate the detailed explanations of your rationale. Since you are so kind as to offer your thoughts on specific situations, I’d love for you to weigh in.

    We have a vacation home that is about 3000 sqft on two levels with an anemic single Wi-Fi router that doesn’t reach from the middle of the house to the far downstairs bedroom. We often have 12 people in the house many of whom are videoconferencing or gaming. Our service is Gigabit AT&T UVerse. There are no LAN cables in the walls and my co-owners are loathe to invest in such. We also need to have a super simple, robust system that guests can use when we rent the place out. So a premium for a lack of fuss factor is OK.

    My interpretation of your post is that a 2-unit tri-band mesh would be a reasonable solution. We don’t need ports on the routers or USB or anything other than solid Wi-Fi. As such, I was leaning toward the ASUS XT8 or the Netgear Orbi systems that you identified, in order to get wireless backhaul. The Asus is harder to find, and more expensive, so I am thinking that the Netgear is a pretty decent option, but would appreciate your consideration.

    Reply
    • No wireless system is good for gaming, David. The Orbi is definitely not good for that — it has high latency. Your best bet is the Asus, either the XT8 or the RT-AX92U. You might need three units.

      Reply
      • Thanks Dong! Great point about the latency. I’ll try and track down an XT8 set. Given the size and layout of the house, I’m hopeful that 2 units will suffice.

        Reply
  50. Hi Dong,

    Great reviews and input. I am moving to a new home soon, 2 stories plus basement, over 3000 sqft. Some rooms will be pre-wired for internet. Hoping to make it a fairly smart home with lots of different devices running on wifi at once. Seems like the Asus is a favorite pick of yours. Is there a specific model that I should go with? I was thinking about the TP-Link Archer AX6000 before reading your reviews above. Does it make sense to get the TP-Link Archer AX6000 and connect the Asus to it? Just learning about all this network stuff now so I am sorry if that is a dumb question haha!

    Reply
  51. Hello sir,

    I would love to have a mesh wifi 6 setup with 3 tri band client connections and using a cat6 dedicated network cable for router and nodes as my backhaul. With having the hardwire in all the nodes this should free up the third band for client use I would think or at least want! Is there anything out like that or coming soon that you are aware of? I currently use a R9000 router with VHT160 (80+80MHz) channel width on 5GHz band. This router is running DDWRT since those are not standard factory settings… works amazing with newer hardware like my Note 20 Ultra and other newer devices, except not the PS5. I read somewhere it supports up to 80MHz not 160. It can see the 5GHz network and it tries to connect but won’t. I would like to have a VHT160 and a VHT80 on two 5GHz bands that way I can connect all my devices to 5GHz 80 or 160. I don’t need a 2.4GHz band if I could get away with two 5GHz bands. But that isn’t an option normally. Any suggestions on current mesh systems that would fit my request? Also if it matters or other care to know I use Google Fiber with 1GB up/down speed so achieving super high wireless speeds is a goal of mine, also have a large house so was at least looking at 1 router with 2 nodes.

    Thank you for your post and your help,
    Cody

    Reply
      • Thanks for the quick response! I read your review on that model and thought it to be very interesting. I like the fact I can use a wired backhaul connection for the nodes connecting to the router and keep all three bands. I am not certain about having one of the bands as Wifi 4 and another Wifi 5. I wonder why not all these bands are Wifi 6. Is that not yet possible or is there a newer model coming out later this year that will do away with the slower band and maybe at least do Wifi 5 and 6 bands only or all Wifi 6? If that was the case then I think I am sold. And not having Mult-Gig ports could be a deal breaker also, since I do have a NAS storage device on my network also. Please keep me posted on any newer updates or products that you think would fit my network requirements. Thanks again for your help and great work on the reviews!

        Cody

        Reply
        • I know you already talked about the model ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8) but would this be a better fit for what I am looking for? Do you know if there are any recent updates to firmware on this model that would be even more beneficial? Would like to know your thoughts on this model and the other you recommends, unless there are others that are even better!

          Reply
  52. Hi Dong,

    Great website – thanks for explaining this important area in our lives where the majority of use know very little.

    I guess it is best to backhaul with Cat5/6 cable, but is there much negative to using 500Mbps TP Link Powerlink connectors and using your electrical system to create the channel?

    I use these today to run multiple wifi points (not mesh) and it seems to work fine (hate wifi repeaters), but I want to replace with mesh (as getting sick of having to manually changing SSIDs as you move around). Running new cables is not easy in an old solid wall house, so powerline is great if no real negative for the speeds I use.

    House is solid bungalow, apprx 200 square metres and external building. We only get moderate speeds in UK rural area and have moderate requirements. Will get a 3 unit mesh (2 in house and 1 in outbuilding) and use powerline to connect.

    Many thanks
    Steve

    Reply
  53. Dear Dong,

    First of all, I’m appreciating the effort and support you are doing to provide the useful and best information to help us during our choice.
    Actually i have an issue with my 5g signal inside my house which is almost 3000 ft. I’m living in Kuwait and I should get 1G internet from Zain but the the reality I’m getting only 120 M with unstable signal. I’m using only wireless network to control the smart home, ipads and tv with Huawei cpe router and nest wifi (router and one point). We are straggling with the internet speed on both routers and the covering areas as well since there are rooms not covered with internet. So i bought Huawei antenna but i am still facing issues with speed and it keep disconnecting. My plan is to buy the fastest main 5g router with sim slot but I’m not sure which one I should chose (Netgear M5, Huawei CPE 2 or htc router) which need to collect the best signal for 5g since the provider is confirming that my area is covered with 5g signal. Then i will replace the 2 nest with three pack of netgear AX4200 or alien router with two points. Moreover, my plan was to buy either netgear AX 110000 or Asus GT 11000 to be connected with CAT8 wire to PS5. Actually I keep reading your surveys but I’m not sure what is the best solution for me keeping on mine that I need to buy the best routers whatever the cost is.
    I’m looking for support to advise me what is the best and fastest 5g router with sim slot to be my focal point for the remaining routers. Also what is the fastest mesh routers i need to buy and what is the best gaming router need to be connected to my PS5.

    Reply
      • Dear Dong,

        Appreciated your answer. But can you tell me what is the best 5g router with sim slot. From that router i will connect either netgear or asus 11000. After that i need best mesh connection either by using netgear ax6000 2 units or asus ax92. So please i need specific recommendations as i’m not expert on that.
        1- 5g router with sim card (cpe 2 or netgear m5 or htc).
        2- gaming router ( netgear ax 11000 or asus gt11000.
        3- Extenders Mesh with units ( netgear ax 6000 or asus airmesh ax92).
        You can give me the best plan and i will follow it as i need the best routers in the market for long term with best performance as i’m disappointed from my current situation and i need expert advice.

        Reply
        • Ask assembly_fixing on Instagram he can help you with your 5G signal issues, first thing to do is check where is the nearest Cell Tower, and then move your 5G router near the window closest to the cell tower. I personally tried 5G Zain, STC and Ooredoo searching for the best signal and stability, so I think for wireless technology such as 5G you will need to try the best placement for your modem for the best result.

          I tried Netgear M5, HUAWEI CPE pro 2 and Nokia 5G gateway 3.1, each one of them has a caveat, CPE 2 have more stable and advanced software (not that great).

          Reply
  54. Hi Dong,
    Thank you for your article. I currently have a Google wifi mesh setup, which works well in my home. However, I’m looking to move away from Google due to privacy concerns, but I don’t want to give anything up as far as security is concerned. I’ve been looking at the ASUS ZenWifi AX Mini and the Netgear Nighhawk MK63, but I wanted to see what your thoughts are for a suitable replacement for Google wifi mesh.
    Thank You!

    Reply
    • Go with Asus, K. If the Google Wifi has worked well, it will be even better. But and it’ll be MUCH better if you can use wired backhaul.

      Reply
  55. Before I ordered a Eeros 6 Pro Pack, I reviewed your article above.

    Here is my issue – you may want to get a piece of paper out and map this out – we have three structures on our property that I want to service with one internet connection. Two of the structures are homes and the other is my shop.

    In the middle is a two story home (our short term vacation rental) with the garage on the right side. I mention this because the router / modem will be installed there. About 55 to 65 feet to the right of this house is my shop. Then about 10 to 15 feet to the left of the two story home is our home – a two story (single story with a loft) home / cabin.

    Currently both homes have separate internet service and I want to eliminate the one into our home. With this information should I go ahead and get the Eeros system or should I look at another?

    If you send me an email I can send you visual pictures of the property.

    Reply