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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 September 9, 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.

In fact, 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.

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 AXE6600 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System

$529.99
8

Performance

8.0/10

Features

9.5/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

Value

6.5/10

Pros

  • Reliable and large 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 customzation
  • 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 port 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 Wi-Fi 6 Mini AX1800 Mesh System

$299.99
7.9

Performance

6.5/10

Features

9.0/10

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

8

Performance

8.0/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

8.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

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

Cons

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

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

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

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

8.1

Performance

8.0/10

Features

8.5/10

Design and Setup

7.5/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

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

Cons

  • No dedicated backhaul band or 160MHz channel width support
  • No multi-gig port, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation
  • Stripped-down, borderline useless QoS and Parental Control features
  • Limited number of network ports, switch needed for a complete wired backhaul setup
  • Non-pre-synced hardware, not wall-mountable
See also  Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review: The First Complete AiMesh Set

TP Link Deco X60
Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System: The TP-Link Deco X60m

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 AX3000 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi System

7.8

Performance

7.0/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

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

Cons

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

Most of these systems support wired backhaul as an option — I’ll note those that don’t — but all of them are made primarily for those needing a wireless backhaul mesh setup.

8. Netgear Nighthawk MK83: A bit subdued but reliable for a large sub-Gigabit home

Netgear MK83 Nighthawk Tri Band Whole Home Mesh Wi Fi System
Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System: The Netgear MK83 Nighthawk.

The Nighthawk MK83 is Netgear’s tri-band alternative to the MK63 above. Like the networking vendor’s Orbi, it comes with two 5GHz bands and dedicates one as the wireless backhaul.

As a result, the MK83 works best in a fully wireless setup. And as such, it proved to be a reliable solution in my testing.

Unfortunately, it has relatively subdued throughput speeds and a somewhat neutered feature set. And the dust-magnet shiny casing can be annoying. Still, it can be a decent buy for a large home.

Netgear MK83 Nighthawk Tri-Band Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System

$399.99
7.1

Performance

7.0/10

Features

7.0/10

Design and Setup

7.5/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • Large coverage with reliable signals
  • Full web interface with optional mobile app
  • Dedicated backhaul band with optional wired backhau
  • Simple settings, pre-synced hardware

Cons

  • Modest Wi-Fi specs, slow performance
  • Lacks Wi-Fi settings, no 160 MHz channel width
  • Mobile app and Netgear account coercion, no remote web management
  • No multi-gig port, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation
  • Online protection require mobile app and not free
  • Dirt magnet, not wall-mountable hardware
See also  Netgear MK83 Review (vs MK63): A Somewhat Tawdry Tri-band Alternative

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

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 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System (Model W121)

0.00
7.4

Performance

8.0/10

Features

6.0/10

Design and Setup

8.0/10

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 AX5700 Tri-Band Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System

8

Performance

8.0/10

Features

7.0/10

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
  • 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 Whole Home Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (RBK752)

$379.99
8.5

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with large coverage
  • Relatively affordable
  • Useful, well designed mobile app
  • Support WAN 2Gbps Link Aggregation
  • Full web interface with all common 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: A Well-Balanced Wi-Fi 6 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 Tri-Band AX4200 Whole Home Mesh Router WiFi 6 System (MX12600)

8.3

Performance

8.0/10

Features

8.0/10

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.

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

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

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

8.9

Performance

8.5/10

Features

9.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

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

Cons

  • No 160MHz 4x4 support for Wi-Fi 6 clients, in a dedicated wireless backhaul setup
  • No multi-gig LAN port or LAN link aggregation
  • Only four network ports on each hardware units
  • Firmware can be buggy
  • Storage performance (when hosting an external drive) could be better
See also  Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 AX6600 Review: The Best Wireless AiMesh Set 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 WiFi 6 System AX6000 (RBK852)

8

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

7.0/10

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 AX6000 (RBK852) Review: Great Wi-Fi for a Hefty Price

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

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 Router and MeshPoint

8.5

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

9.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

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

Cons

  • MeshPoint has only one LAN port, and only works with the one router of the same Alien Kit
  • No dedicated backhaul band
  • Expensive
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

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 Satellites Performance

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.

See also  Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers of 2021: Take One, or Two, Home Today!
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625 thoughts on “Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Systems of 2021: You Won’t Go Wrong with These!”

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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.

  10. 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
  11. 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.

  12. 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?

  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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!

  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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.

  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. 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
  39. 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
      • Captain Dong,

        3500 sq. ft. bungalow – will eventually be fed by starlink satelite setup. Very rural area. Smart devices in the main house – ecobee for heating and cooling, nest for the door, washer, dryer, dishwasher, security cameras in the future. No cat cables in the walls on main residence.

        Another structute going up about 150 ft away – another 2000 sq ft. Can hardwire during build if beneficial.

        Is the Asus a good pick for the main house which is primary focus and do you think i can reach the secondary structure to continue the internet signal?

        Reply
  40. Thanks Dong for the very informative article. I have been using the old airport extreme (with express extension) and I think it is time to upgrade 😉 For a 3000 sqft home connected through ethernet cables(TP-LINK GIGABIT switch), I think TP-LINK XC60 would be good for my needs. I am not sure if this is the correct forum but will I be able to reuse my airport extreme & express with one of the routers and use them for harddrive backup & airplay? They are in perfectly working condition.

    Reply
  41. Many thanks for this informative review. I purchased an Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 combo bundle and I’ve been very happy with the setup and performance of these units using wireless backhaul and the latest official Asus firmware (sadly, Merlin hasn’t come out with firmware for this model).

    The only hiccup I have experienced has been related to my house itself – it’s not super large but is oddly shaped to some degree, and it incorporates some non-standard materials in various areas. As a result, one area of the house seems to be a dead spot that doesn’t appreciably improve with relocation of either the router or node. I was thinking of adding a single XT4 unit to the mix until I read your review, and then started thinking about adding another XT8 in the “dead” area. I’m hoping that would take care of my issue.

    Reply
  42. Hey Dong,

    I currently have a Netgear CM700 modem and the original Google wifi mesh router. I am moving into a 900 sq ft apartment where wifi is included but only up to 100mbps download. I can go to 200mbps or 400mbps and pay separately (starting at $44/mo). I rely on fast internet since I am working full time from home and have many smart home connected devices.

    I am thinking that I should get the 200mbps wifi plan and just pay for the faster speeds which also led me tho think I should upgrade to a wifi 6 router. However, if I could get speeds consistently close to the 100mbps plan I could save a lot of money not having to pay for internet.

    I would really appreciate your thoughts / advice on how I should handle the situation.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  43. I came across this as I am researching upgrading to a Wi-Fi 6 Mesh router. I am using the Amplifi HD mesh with 2 satellites to provide whole home coverage and some coverage to my outdoor patio/pool area. Would you recommend I stay with Amplifi and go with 2 Alien routers / Alien Mesh system or go with the Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 2 pack or 3 pack? I do have rock on the exterior of the home which limits my current outdoor connectivity. Thank you and really appreciate your thorough reviews!

    Reply
    • Wi-Fi 6 won’t help with that rock, Mike. For that you need to run a network cable around it. The AmpliFi HD you’re using is quite good, by the way, for a dual-band system. If it’s kinda works out maybe a better 3-pack will do. But seems like you’re looking for a specific recommendation. I can’t do that — I’ve never been to your place. That said, if you’re serious about improving your Wi-Fi, check out this post and the related one, you’ll be able to figure it out youself.

      Reply
  44. Hi Dong, thanks for all the great info. I took your advice and bought the Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini. I also bought an RT-AX89X for my main router in my large 2 story home which is 4600 square feet. We pay for the fast internet and I have around 100 wifi and hardwired devices. I also bought a RT-AX88U for my shop which is 400′ from my home so I figured I could put that router out there set up as a node. I have everything wired with cat6. I also have a smaller “she shed” 100′ from my house that I also have a mini node set up in. My shop cat6 wire runs through the “she shed” and is a 295′ to the shop so I have it on a switch. My internet keeps dropping out constantly. Is it bad to have two routers? Do I have too many routers? Also, is it better to hook my shop cat6 into a switch or the AX Mini and then to the shop since it would be over 300′ from my house I have to do one or the other or it’s just too far away. Thanks for your time and hopefully this makes some sense 🙂 I have the RT-AX89X in the house with 2-AX minis. I have the main AX mini in the “she shed” and then the LAN from that running the cat6 to the shop to the RT-AX88U. I have a switch I could put in the shed rather than going through the mini if that’s a better solution. Thanks again.

    Reply
  45. Hello Dong, amazingly informative post, thanks for all of the work you put into it. Remarkable site overall.
    I have Gigabit Xfinity service with a MOTOROLA MB8611 DOCSIS 3.1 Cable Modem. Due to kids and smart devices, I have about 40 things on our network. I have a basement, first and second floor that all need service. My cable modem must sit on the first floor at the corner of the house, and our home is NOT wired, so I’m looking at tri-band WiFi 6 mesh.
    Would it be best to have a transmitter on each floor? (Basement, 1st and 2nd?) And if so, what 3-pack system would you recommend?
    I want to take advantage of our Gb service, WiFi-6 and be as future-proof as we can.

    Reply
      • Hi Dong,
        Thank you for your reply, and for the post you recommended. I had missed that, so thanks for making me aware. And yes, I do get that Gigabit service is the ceiling speed, and have realistic expectations for individual device speeds.
        I’m certainly intrigued by Asus AiMesh possibilities you have described, but think it may be too much for me (biologist) to wrap my head around in a timely way. 🙂
        At this point, I’m leaning toward an easier out-of-box solution – like AX4200 WiFi Mesh System (RBK753), unless there is another post or review I’ve missed reading and should consider.
        You are the best on the net, so thanks, Tim

        Reply
  46. Any ETA on a RBK353 review? AX1800 seems to be the budget king for Netgear. RBK353 priced competitively at about £270-£290 for three units. Also if we need six APs can we just use two sets at once?

    Reply
  47. I just upgraded my main router from AC88U to AX88U. I am trying to setup a AiMesh system in my 120square meters apartments (with lots of walls).

    Most of my devices are wifi 5, and my broadband connection is a 1gbps link.

    Currently 2 out of my 3 rooms in my apartment are getting poor or very poor (single digit speedtest) wifi performance and none of them have any ethernet ports.

    Do you recommend that I get a ZenWiFi AX Mini XD4 ? or something elseq

    Reply
  48. Hello Dong,
    Was just wondering if you know anything about the GRYPHON – Advance Security & Parental Control Smart Mesh WiFi System (up to 6000sqft) Whole Home Mesh Router, Hack Protection w/AI-Intrusion Detection & ESET Malware Protection, AC3000, Tri-Band – 2PK
    GRYPHON – Advance Security & Parental Control Smart Mesh WiFi System (up to 6000sqft) Whole Home Mesh Router, Hack Protection w/AI-Intrusion Detection & ESET Malware Protection, AC3000, Tri-Band – 2PK ???
    Any info on this product would be helpful if you know or have tested it? thanks again

    Reply
  49. Hi Doug,

    This was a great article, and it holds a lot of great information. I did have a question regarding I used to just plug in a router to my modem and call it a day. Since then I have moved towards a mesh network. I used the 1st gen Google Wifi pucks in leu of a router. I plugged google wifi puck into the modem via the WAN port, and I utilized the second puck as a mesh satellite in the office. I then hooked my desktop to the second port via ethernet for internet access.

    In the past few days, I have noticed that my internet is super slow. I pay for 1000 Mbps speed via comcast, and my internet speed test results were 4.2 Mbps down and 32.3 Mbps up. I had a technician come out today, and we concluded that the google wifi pucks are at fault for the poor connection. My question is what is the best system to implement for my usage. I have looked into the Amplifi HD, Netgear Orbi AX6000, and other options. I am aware that I won’t be able to achieve the advertised 1000 Mbps speed via wifi; however, I want to know what the best system out there would be for my needs.

    My house is a single floor and 2,200 sq. ft. The walls are made up of drywall. I figured this is important information for the recommendation. I appreciate the help!

    Reply
      • Hi Dong,

        Thank you for your reply. I noticed the typo in your name the moment I submitted the comment. I tried to edit it immediately; however, I was unable to do so. I appreciate the advise. Thank you!

        Reply
    • Isaac,

      I was in a similar boat as you. There are issues with the Google WiFi product brought about by a recent firmware update and more detail could be found within the related Reddit group. I wound up returning my 4-puck system and replaced with a TP-Link Deco X60 3 pack and have noticed marked improvement in speeds. I do have, however, all the X60 devices hardwired at spots around my house. Good luck!

      –Howie

      Reply
  50. Dong,

    Great article and very resourceful site! I’ve got a 5 node ASUS AiMesh 2.0 network that’s working fine. I need better network and client isolation on guest networks. I’ve looked at Merlin firmware with YazFi but YazFi doesn’t support mesh networks. I’d prefer a triband with multigig ports. Are you aware of any system that meets these requirements?

    Reply
    • What you have right now should give you all that you want. Maybe you just need to upgrade all nodes to the latest Asus firmware and use a main router that gives you a system-wide Guest network. More here.

      Reply
  51. Hi Dong, very helpful site you have. I currently have 4 pucks of the original Google WiFi (AC1200) with FIOS Gigabit internet for approx. 4,000 square feet. The heaviest bandwidth consumption devices are all wired (2 Shield TVs, Synology, iMac that serves as a Plex Server, PS5, etc.)

    I am looking to upgrade so that I can get better speeds on my iPhone (newest 12 Pro Max so as WiFi 6) and more importantly get better range outside my house, primarily on my patio. I was leaning towards the XT8 to upgrade to WiFi 6 and help out with the range. Would you recommend this or is there some other combo that you would recommend?

    Reply
  52. Hi Dong,
    I’ll add my thanks for your great site, so much better than all the others that just list specs…
    Now a general question – when you talk about adding a mesh satellite on backhauled cable, how is that different from adding an Access Point, like Netgear WAC124? Thanks for clarifying this!
    I’m upgrading my network to 1GB, so I need a new modem and router, probably go with Netgear CM1100 and AX86U. In the other end of the house, I have run ethernet and need some ports there and might as well have wifi. I thought that was what an AP is for.

    Reply
  53. HI Dong

    It would be great if you included a segment on the quality of support from the vendors for each of these systems. I’ve owned an rbk50 orbi for 4 years now. I am having all sorts of DNS problems now that I have enabled armor and circle on the router which are considered standard features. This is a now well documented on their support site and it seems that the only way to resolve this is to disable the circle feature. This seems pretty dumb considering that was one of the main reasons many purchase these products for. I am now looking for an alternative to my orbi but dont know at this point what else I should consider? Thx.

    Reply
    • It’s not possible for me to add that segment, Rob. Two reasons.

      1. I generally don’t need tech support. (Otherwise, I’d be a liar naming my website the way it is.)
      2. Vendors tend to give me a bit of special treatment.

      In short, there’s no way for me to gauge that. But you (and everybody else) are welcome to leave your comments.

      For your issue, though, it’s a bit unfair to blame Netgear. Clearly, for Circle to work, you must use a special DNS that belongs to the provider of Circle (which was once promoted by Disney), and if that provider messes up, things will be bad in your network — just because Disney is involved doesn’t mean there’s any magic.

      I think Circle (and similar DNS-based apps) are quite terrible and might make your network unsafe… And generally, I don’t recommend Parental Control (because seriously, there’s no real control, it’s all just a gimmick). All of these so-called protection features can be easily circumvented by changing a device’s DNS settings or MAC address. As you already know, it’s never easy being a parent.

      And in this regard, we just have to be real ones and set an example. I speak from experience. 🙂

      Reply
  54. Hello Dong,
    I hope you are well. I have the Frontier Fiber optics internet (500 speed) service. Hooked to the modem I have the Arris AM525 router and in the other half of the house I have a ‘slave’ Arris NVG468MQ router, which is joined by coax cable. I had a CAT 5 cable brought to the living room. Question: I would like to get a three-unit mesh with the main in the den, and one satellite in the living room and one in the bedroom. The den, where the modem is, has concrete and brick walls which is why I had the lines (coax and CAT5) put in to join the 3 areas. Is there an easy way to convert the coax going to the AM525 to a CAT5 fitting? Otherwise, I may try a mesh with the main in the den, a satellite in the living room (both of which have CAT5). I like your explanation of the backhaul. The remote unit in the bedroom with only a coax input is the Arris AM525. Thank you for any help you can provide? Thank you.

    Reply
    • Your setup seems a bit messed up, Mike — both the hardware units you (incorrectly) called “routers” are actually gateways per their model #. And that’s not right unless you have two different Internet plans? Either that or you weren’t clear on what you’re trying to say. I’d recommend this post so that we’re on the same page on the terminologies first.

      Reply
      • Hi Dong,
        Thank you for the prompt response. I read the primer you suggested. Especially the part about % wireless signal loss across my solid brick/lath & plaster walls that are between den (where ONT and the Frontier NVG468MQ are) and the living room; and the den and the main bedroom. I have great wifi internet speed (500 Mbps) IN the den where the Frontier ONT and NVG468MQ are and IN the main bedroom where I have the Arris AM525 (wifi extender), which is currently connected by coax cable to its MoCA port and the ‘Cable Line’ port on the back of the NVG468MQ. The rest of the house does not have high wifi speeds. I want to invest in a 3 unit MESH: the main unit in the den (if it will connect directly to the Frontier ONT); a second unit in the living room (internet RJ45 cable now available from den to living room); the 3rd to replace the AM525 in the bedroom. You are correct, I have Frontier Fiber Optic with the ONT behind my desk. A network cable goes from that unit into the ‘Broadband’ port on my Frontier NVG468MQ, described as a residential gateway. The NVG468MQ has one ‘Cable Line’ port and 4 LAN ports. Of the 4 LAN ports, 1 is to desktop; 2 is to a TP-Link Gigabit switch; 3 is the CAT5 to the living room; 4 is to my alarm. My original question was if there are plug-in coax-to-RJ45 converters to use the coax cable that now goes into the MoCA port of the Arris AM525 (a wifi extender) to an RJ45 which I am hoping could be plugged into the 3rd MESH unit. I would have to do the same on the den end of the coax, unless you know of MESH units that have MoCA ports. Even then, unless all MESH units have a MoCA port, the coax would need to be converted. Are simple adaptors available or must I have an RJ45 cable run from the main MESH unit to the main bedroom? I would like wired internet to individual MESH units and would like a MESH system with reliable wireless distance as the current NVG468MQ can barely reach to the backyard and garage, perhaps 30 yards (lath and plaster exterior walls). I am hoping I have described my situation better. Dong, thank you for your help.

        Reply
          • Thank you, Dong. With your suggestions for reading we are learning more.
            The current connection between my Frontier NVG468MQ and my AM525 is a coax cable. Do any of the MESH units use a MoCA (coax) connector?
            If not, can I somehow convert our current coax cable to use RJ45 ports on any new MESH units? Can the MESH units replace my NVG468MQ and connect to the Frontier ONT?
            Thank you. mike and margaret

          • Mike,

            1. MoCA is just a (cheat) way to turn a coax cable into a network cable. So, you can think of it as a network cable, meaning it will work anywhere a network cable is used. The speed is not as good as a network cable, though. MoCA is similar to Powerline which is more ubiquitous, but not as fast. It’s best to run a real network cable.

            2. Your setup is very odd because you connect one gateway to another. Generally, you only need one gateway (or modem) per home. That said, I can’t answer the question. Also connecting the hardware needs to be specific since there are different types of ports. Again, this post will help.

          • Hi Dong,
            Are there any mesh units that can accommodate a coax cable for internet access?
            Thank you.
            mike and margaret

  55. Hi Dong:

    Currently today I have the first Generation Google WIFI mesh with 6 pucks all hardwired together. The reason for many pucks is I have them hardwired in three separate buildings (4-story House, Garage & She Shed). My network is FIOS ONT-Google Router-1G switch – all Google Pucks.
    My question is the following – Which new Router manufacture/model# should I get to increase my 1G speeds from FIOS that will work with making some of the existing Google AP units? I don’t need high speeds in my garage or she shed just my house, so I was hoping to keep some of the old Google pucks I own for areas I’m not concerned with. Any recommendations to keep some of Google pucks or should I replace all of them and get a newer Router Mesh system that can use back-haul cable?

    Reply
    • None, Bill. The Google set CANNOT work in the AP mode so basically, you can’t use it with any other router unless you want a double NAT setup. On top of that even when wired, the Google hardware is slow. It’s important to note, though that having Gigabit broadband doesn’t mean you’ll get it an end-device, for various reasons. More here. So set your expectation straight. After that, I’d recommend a dual-band AiMesh set. Maybe an RT-AX86U + XD4 combo.

      Reply
  56. Dong, I like all your research on routers and mesh systems but I am somewhat technologically challenged. I currently use an older Netgear Nighthawk R7000 router in our 3200 sq ft home. Lately, my router has had to be rebooted every so often with 29 devices connected to it. My home is wired for ethernet however those connections are all in use. Sometimes the laptops and desktop work fine but the smart plugs and Alexa devices cannot find the IP address for the network. Too many devices for this router maybe? Would I be better off upgrading to a mesh system and if so what one would be best since I have no more freed up ethernet connection?

    Reply
      • I reviewed the links you sent and quite frankly some of it was a bit over my head. Nonetheless, I checked the IP pool and it was set from 2 to 254 so I did not touch it. My router is also set to auto-connect between the 2 bands 2.4 and 5ghz. It was also updated with the latest firmware several months ago and there are no new updates. I realize a mesh system is not an upgrade, just thought it would provide stronger signals thru-out the house. Your suggestion of a new router is probably the way to go and was wondering if a wifi 6 or 6e router is advisable since most of our connected devices are TV’s (5 years old), smart plugs, older laptop about 6 years old and one new one that I know can handle wifi 6 and two smart phones an apple 10 and a samsung s10..

        Reply
        • Just take your time and pay some attention, you’ll understand, Robert. It’s my experience that most of the time folks try to get what they want in the fast-food style instead of trying to understand how things are. Networking is complicated, but it’s predictable once you get a hang of it.

          You can ignore Wi-Fi 6E for now. (There’s only one currently sort of available anyway — you don’t have many options.) There’s no need for it at all and no real use for it at least another year or so. If your home is not wired, get a tri-band Asus router, you then can upgrade it to a wireless mesh system later, so get the RT-AX92U or GT-AX11000 (if you believe you need a mesh right away, get two units of those or the ZenWiFi XT8). If your home is wired, get a dual-band router, like the RT-AX86U, (again if you need a mesh right away, get two units, or the XD4.)

          Reply
  57. Hi Dong,
    Can you add (whenever you could test it) to the list of mesh Wifi 6 systems, the brand new Tp-link Deco x90 / x96 ?

    Reply
  58. I was just about to run out and pick up the ASUS ZenWiFi AX Whole-Home Tri-Band Mesh WiFi 6 System following this fantastic article. One comment stopped me in my tracks:
    “Guest networking, for now, remains at the router unit”

    Does this mean devices that I want on a Guest network only have to be within range of the gateway router device? If so, this is surprising and might be a deal breaker.

    Reply
  59. Dong,

    Here’s one for you… I recently replaced my Google WiFi system with the TP-Link Deco X-60 thanks to your review of this and all the other mesh systems. I have three of the “Deco nodes” and all are connected via backhauled wired ethernet. All has been going well but I just discovered a fourth ethernet point where I could place an additional node. My question is am I limited to another X-60 or could I use one of the Google WiFi “pucks” which I still possess? Any other strategies concerning how I might utilize that fourth point? Thanks.

    Reply
      • Thanks, Dong. Sadly- from what I’ve discovered- the Google WiFi devices can only be used as APs if a Google WiFi device also serves as the main router. If others know otherwise I’d appreciate learning more.

        Reply
        • I know Google hardware well, Howie. You can turn a single unit into an AP (bridge). Do that on each piece individually as though they are three products.

          Reply
          • Thanks, Dong. I may give it a shot.

            So that I’m clear, I would need to reset the two Deco X-60 nodes (the other X-60 is the router) and place them, as well as the Google WiFi puck, into AP (bridge) mode? Not sure how to do this with either the Decos or the Google WiFi puck but will research this potential.

            The Deco X-60 automatically detects the X-60 nodes to create the mesh network. Will it automatically detect them if they are in bridge mode or is there manual intervention required? Same with the Google WiFi puck which would become the third node within the system?

          • No, Howie. Leave the X60 alone. You plug one Google unit into the existing network using a network cable (that’s a network port on an X60 unit or a switch connected to an X60). Now set it up as an AP (Google calls it the “bridge” mode). Repeat with other Google units. For more on what an AP is check out this post. You need to get on the same page in terms of know what is what first.

  60. Dong Ngo,
    I would like your comments on a system I am getting ready to put in. I have a three level house. I have Xfinity XB3 all in one. I eliminated of all Xfinity TV because of cost. I am down to internet only and internet TV. We have 2 cell phones, a couple I-pads and two laptops. Laptops are hardwired. With Xfinity I have Internet from Xfinity and 1 phone line . My house is nicely wired with Ethernet. I think I am in good shape here.
    Here is what I want to do and I am sorry for the length of my message.

    1. I want to purchase a Netgear CM1150V Modem. I will position it in my basement. Internet cable, phone line, ac power and one Ethernet are right there in a perfect spot.
    2. I want to purchase the Netgear Nighthawk Mesh AX1800 MK63 set up with 3 points (main router + 2 satellites). I will be able to backhaul the connections and that is what I want you to check out.
    3. The Ethernet coming from the Modem will go about 20 feet directly into a sort of mechanical room in the basement. This area is where all the Ethernet Wires converge at my house. It will plug directly into the main Mesh Router. This Mesh Router will provide a wireless signal for my basement. I can position it in a nice unresticted area. The other Ethernet port on the main router will go into a Netgear CS108 Switch close by. Within 4 feet.
    4. From the CS108 Switch:
    a. One Ethernet on the CS108 switch will go directly into a laptop.
    b. One Ethernet on the CS108 switch will go to the 1st Satellite Router on the Middle Floor. This will provide Wireless signal on the Middle Floor.
    c. One Ethernet on the CS108 switch will go to the top floor and plug directly into a smaller CS105 switch sitting on my wife’s desk. I am putting this small switch here so I can have a few more hardwire ethernet options because the last Mesh Satellite Router only has the one port.
    5. From the CS105 Switch on my wife’s desk, one Ethernet will go to my wife’s laptop so it can be hardwired. Another Ethernet will go from the CS105 switch to the 2nd Nighthawk Mesh Satellite Satellite Router on the 3rd Floor.

    That’s pretty much it.

    I am in pretty good shape for Ethernet all over the house, but I only have one Ethernet that runs all the way from the basement mechanical room to my wife’s desk. So that wire has to go through the small switch so I can backhaul the last Satellite and still have a hardwire option to her computer.

    Ok Dong, that’s it. I am an older guy. Pretty handy and not bad with many things. Everyone tells me that it is a good thing that I ran all these Ethernet wires years ago when I was finishing my basement. It looks like they are becoming useful. I want a really good signal on each floor because we have a lot of people visit and we have internet TV. I cannot wait to get rid of Xfinity Equipment. I want to stay with all Netgear if I can. I am ok with what I am going to spend. It is in the $5-600 Range. All of this equipment is available on Amazon. Before I ordered I was checking around and saw your site. I read your review and liked what you had to say about the Nighthawk Mesh 3. But…I will only do multiple routers as access points via backhaul and that is one reason I like the Night Hawk Mesh system and its ability to backhaul. It is also a good looking product.

    Bob

    Reply
    • That looks fine, Bob. I’d go with the Asus ZenWiFi Mini XD4 (instead of the Netgear) though. Here’s the wiring diagram: Modem -> AiMesh Router -> switch -> AiMesh Nodes/devices/more swithes -> (optional even more switches) -> nodes/devices.

      Reply
  61. Since the Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Mesh Kit is #1, does that mean that you rank that one the best, even though its 8.5 rating is lower than the 8.9 rating for the Asus ZenWiFi AX at #3?

    Reply
  62. I’m interested in setting up a mesh WiFi. I’d like to have a satellite unit in an office with a PC connected via ethernet. I’d like the main unit either in another office on the same floor, or one floor down. Distance to the main would be 40-50 feet. Would the RBK852 or RT-AX92U have enough wireless backhaul to get relatively fast file transfer between the units for a PC backup? What would be the advantages to each unit?

    Thanks,
    David

    Reply
  63. Thanks Dong for taking the time to write this comprehensive article.
    My home is 4k square feet, FIOS router (which I will replace) is in the basement and have another main floor and top floor (where my gamer sits). Probably about 5-10 devices connected in house plus 3-4 smart TV’s. My house is hard wired ethernet throughout. Download/Upload speed of 915/926Mbps (just tested). Plan to plug in router in basement because that where the lines throughout the house run from. Also want guest network and parental controls :). Want to hard wire his PS5. Still leaning towards the XDR? Thank you very much.

    Reply
      • Keith

        I have a similar setup (a touch over 4K sq ft, 1Gbps FIOS coming into the basement, house is wired) and I’ve gone through quite a wireless transformation over the past 3 months. Thanks in large part to Dong’s suggestions, I went from a Linksys Velop and Netgear Orbi (tried both at different times) to an AiMesh. I currently have an AX88U as my main node and an AX3000 as a second node. For the most part, this setup has covered most of my house though I have an AX86U due to the high-praise across the Internet and because I could!

        That said, since my home is wired (and it seems yours is too), dual-band is plenty. Dong recommends this often and dual-band devices tend to be cheaper. (Though dual band routers can be expensive, of course.)

        The AiMesh routers work great too. I kind of wished I stuck with my older AC68U a few years back, I could have been AiMesh’d this entire time! Hindsight is a beautiful thing 🙂

        In fact, I forgot how good these ASUS routers are. For one thing, the support from Linksys and Netgear is hit or miss. Second, the ASUS routers don’t require an app and I prefer the browser based setup anyways. When switching to the ASUS AX88U, I was up within 5 minutes. I consider myself tech savvy but even if I wasn’t, this sort of setup is a huge win. Third, as pointed out by Dong on this website, the Merlin firmware is awesome and I think worth the switch.

        Reply
        • Thanks Syed. Appreciate you taking the time to provide your setup and advice as well. So if I’m hearing your right, you’d connect the AX88U or AX86U as primary and run the 3000 as your 2nd node? I’ve just started researching so I’m a bit of a newbie. Thoughts on 88 vs 86? Both seem great. Why the 3000 as 2nd? I realize that also supports WiFi 6 but I haven’t seen much research (this early on) on the best primary and 2nd mode combo. Thanks

          Reply
          • In theory, you would want the most powerful router as the main router and the rest as nodes. I chose the AX3000 simply to meet budget a budget I had created in my head! However, I found that coverage on my top floor and main floor isn’t what I’d like it to be. I have an AX86U on the way, no first hand experience just yet but you do a quick search (or check here) and the AX86U is highly touted. Depending on the AX86U’s performance as a secondary node, it would replace my AX3000 outright (ideal) OR I can move my AX3000 to the middle floor of my home.

            In terms of what is the best combo, I think that depends and there isn’t a specific combo, per se. Budget and placement/how-large-your-house-is will dictate more than anything. In an ideal world, I’d have either 3 AX88U or 3 AX86U (one on each floor) and just be done with it. (Of course the Internet being what it is, you will get different answers for this! I’m sure a lot of ASUS enthusiast have not even add WiFi6 nodes their network yet. So it really depends on what you’re after!)

            Here is the other thing to consider. Using my current setup (AX88U as the main and AX3000 as the second node), I could run this combination for years. When it comes time to upgrade my WiFi due to a new standard, for example, I can simply add to this mesh. Had I kept my AC68U, it could’ve been another node I could have leveraged. So consider this when building out your WiFi with the AiMesh, since there is a good amount of backwards compatibility and “expandability” down the road. (i.e. retiring nodes to secondary nodes, selling off older nodes, etc.)

            Finally, as I mentioned before (and great thanks to Dong for even writing about it) the Merlin firmware is awesome. I’m definitely a fan of it for the short time I’ve been using it and, for now, plan to buy ASUS routers that support this firmware.

  64. Hi Dong
    Came across all your articles and as the untrained tech support for our home really appreciate the content.

    My home is wired and can support Ethernet backhau. Currently using an AirPort Extreme – Airport Express combo with an added Netgear EX8000 from last year as home usage obviously increased. I got the Netgear extender as I was hesitant to replace all – ain’t broke don’t fix it mentality. However I am rethinking given it is a large home and of course the Apple products discontinued. I have Verizon Fios with a router but don’t use that for our wi-fi

    To my question – you seem to recommend the ASUS AX mini as a good solution for those that are wired. I also saw above that you indicated the Linksys MX12600 as another solid option. How do I decide between the two?

    Thank you

    Reply
      • Dong
        I went with the ASUS XD4 and installed last weekend. The ASUS Router app worked great with the install and review \ monitoring of the system. I could see all the connected devices by node, etc. Now the honeymoon appears to be over. The ASUS Router app will no longer connect even though my iPad or iPhone are connected to wifi on the ASUS mesh. I cannot connect from my laptop with the ASUS GUI either. Devices are dropping from wifi intermittently. I am getting heat from my family and not sure what to do.

        I have Verizon FIOS with a ISP router. I have the ASUS connected via ethernet and the ISP router in bridge mode. I am not much of a techie and trying to read through what I can find in order to figure things out. Not sure if there is a possible IP conflict (Version router and ASUS both 192.68.1.1) or some other setting. At this point, I can only access the FIOS router admin. I opened a ticket with ASUS and they sent me a fairly technical form (topology map, etc.).

        I will try to complete that form and follow up with ASUS but thought I would circle back in case there is something obvious that I am missing

        Thanks
        Tom

        Reply
        • Asus won’t be able to help you, Tom. Nobody can. That’s because it seems you’re a classic case of “knowing just enough to be dangerous.” :). You couldn’t help messing around with the settings, could you? Seriously, why did you change the IP of the XDR? It’s supposed to be 192.168.50.1 BY DEFAULT. Another thing is it seems your Fios gateway is NOT in bridge mode. That said, here’s what you should do.

          1. Reset the XD4, all units.
          2. Set it up from the beginning USING THE WEB INTERFACE.
          3. Don’t use the mobile app. You’re too dangerous for that. Tapping mindlessly will get you into trouble.

          Spend some time reading my posts on networking, especially this one on double NAT. They’ll help. Maybe THEN you can use the app again.

          Also, you’re NOT in trouble as in you need a time out or something like that. But you do need to figure things out and sometimes getting into trouble is the only way. You’re getting closer. In the meantime, learn to blame yourself! 🙂

          Reply
          • Dong
            My limited knowledge on display again as my post above indicating ASUS router IP was being modified was incorrect. It is indeed 192.168.50.1. However, all the devices that are hooked up to the wifi through the ASUS Mesh have the router IP indication of 192.168.1.1 and receiving IP addresses in the range from the FIOS gateway router 192.168.1.xxx as opposed to 192.168.50.xxx. No idea how my previous Apple Airport router system worked as I did not make any changes to gateway when moving to ASUS Mesh. Back to your posts on trying to figure out the gateway setup as I believe my challenges are there.
            Thanks

          • OK, Tom, it looks like you use your Asus in bridge mode and your gateway in normal mode. This post will help. You want to do the single NAT setup with the Fios gateway working as a bridge. If that’s not possible, go with the double NAT. The key here is that your XDR (the router unit of the XD4) must be used as a router (default) — don’t’ change its role.

  65. I am not trying to start a debate or a flamewar, but I would strongly adwise against buying Orbi. The featureset is almost below basic, and the stock firmware is unstable at best. When you pay this price for a router and an AP, you should expect it to work out of the box, but never the less, I spent several months trying to find out why my units got kicked off the wifi all the time. Turns out it was bad firmware, and a DHCP service so slow and unconfiguable that I had to configure static IPs.
    I didn’t want to throw my investment in the garbage, so luckily I found Voxel, who makes the Orbi somewhat usable with custom firmware.
    In other words: The hardware is powerfull, no doubt, but the firmware makes it next to useless. I regret my purchase.

    Reply
  66. Awesome information, thanks.

    I have a question.
    For Wifi6 to work in my mesh network, do all my mesh routers & nodes need to support Wifi 6?

    More details:
    My router doesn’t support Wifi6 but my nodes does.
    I have an AIMesh setup with a main router supporting 802.11ac (ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AC5300) and mesh nodes that supports 802.11ax (ASUS ZenWiFi XT8).

    Any insights appreciated.

    Reply
  67. Thank you for all of the Information you provide everyone…
    Most of the Mesh networks have rebooting issues…I currently have the Deco X60, and every day if not twice a day it reboots or disconnects and reconnects..
    Prior I had the velop AC2200 which did the same thing

    I have a 2500 square foot home with about 20 different wireless connections.

    What mesh system doesn’t have intermittent shutdown issues.. researching online seems to show they all do

    Reply
      • Great article! The only article that I’ve trusted, to be honest. I have a large home with 2 outbuildings that I have wired Eero’s in. I have 4 Eero’s total and could probably add another. Everything is wired so what would you suggest I get? I heard there is a new wifi6 available now as well? Is that true? Any help would be appreciated. The are so many to choose from. I’m not happy with Eero so I would like to stay away from them.

        Reply
          • Hi Dong, thanks for your reply. I’ve subscribed to your blog and appreciate all your knowledge. It’s very helpful. If I could just add that I do have pretty fast internet that is average speed of 940 Mbps. I have a lot of wifi devices as well. Do you still think I should go with the xd4? I can only find them selling in a 3 pack. Could I use 6 of them or would that be too much? I have a large home and my shop is pretty far from my house so I have another access point in between that and my house. I definitely think 6 would fit, just not sure if it would hurt having too many. Thanks for your time!

    • As a data point I’ve been running the same X60 system for a couple of weeks and have not experienced the noted reboot/disconnect issue (at least I hadn’t been using one of the ~50 connected devices if a reboot/disconnect had occurred).

      Reply
  68. Hi Dong, thank you so much for your reviews! Really helped me narrow down what I’d like. Here’s what I’m thinking, just wanted to run it by you if that’s ok:
    I’m considering upgrading the mesh network at my family’s home (planning to get something from the US – they are abroad). Last time I went I installed the tenda mw3 to help address complaints of WiFi dead zones, but now we’re getting an upgrade from a 15 mbps DSL to a 50 (possibly 75 mbps) fibre optic. Now, the house walls are all brick/concrete, so range is an important factor. It’s a decent sized house (I would guess somewhere around 6000-7000 sq ft), but due to the walls I had to install 4 nodes. Granted, the mw 3 are bottom of the line mesh nodes. So here are my thoughts and please do correct me if I’m wrong:
    1. A tri band system doesn’t make much sense for me (wired backhaul is not an option). A higher end dual band should work.
    2. A WiFi 6 mesh also doesn’t make sense at these speeds, a good WiFi 5 mesh should be sufficient at these speeds.
    I don’t want to spend money on features that won’t get used, so trying to optimise for cost/benefits. It seems like any decent WiFi 5 mesh might work but just want to hear your thoughts before I pull the trigger. Trying to stay away from eero and Google for privacy reasons. Another option is just to stick with what we have (performance is quite middling as we get 5 mbps on the satellites compared to 15-17 on the main one). The number of connected devices is going to be 20-30, with 10-20 additional ones whenever we have guests over

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  69. Hey Dong,

    Your review is VERY thorough and amazing! Thank you for putting in the time and effort to help us pick the best routers!

    I have a really long house (114Ft). I plan to hardwire the mesh network. My gateway is currently the one from the ISP and its located right in the middle of the house. I currently have 2 standalone old routers, but the wifi is spotty and I hate having to manually connect between networks. Which hardwired mesh network do you think would be best? I dont have a switch at the moment but can easily get one if needed. Thanks!

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  70. Hi Dong,

    Thanks so much for your excellent website – just discovered it and I’m basking in the thrill of finding that site on the internet which is just what you need! I’m looking forward to reading a number of your articles, but what brought me here is looking for a recommendation for a new mesh system. I’m in a 4700 sqft, 3-story rectangular home. One end of house has office on main floor and bedrooms above, other has basement TV, main floor living room entertainment center (4K TV) and bedroom above. Four people working at once during peak load (2 adults, 2 remote college students), none are gamers but heavy video streaming. We have Centurylink 940MB/s fiber in at, looking to replace current combo of the weak Zyxel C3000Z router from CL + an old Linksys range extender I had. House is cat 53 wired but no jack in main floor living room so would need wireless backhaul unless we get new jack installed. I have been looking at the Asus ZenWifi AX (XT8) and Netgear Orbi RBK752. Any impressions on which would be more suitable? Do you think getting the living room wired to enable wired backhaul would be a good investment? I don’t mind spending a bit more to future proof but wouldn’t consider us power-users in any sense. We plan to be in the house no more than ~6 more years then will be downsizing.

    Thanks so much for any advice you can provide, and keep up the good work – I’ll be recommending your site to friends and family.

    Cheers
    Mike

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