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

READ NOW:  Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers of 2020: Pick One for Your Home! [Updated]
Orbi RBK 752 Top
The top of the latest Netgear Orbi RBK752 looks as sleek as how promising the mesh system is.

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

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

READ NOW:  Mesh Wi-Fi System Explained: How to Best Use Multiple Broadcasters

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

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

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

There 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. 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.

Fans of Amazon eero take note: Neither of the new eero 6 mesh Wi-Fi systems made it to this list.

READ NOW:  eero Pro 6 vs. eero 6: How to Get the Most out of Your Amazon Wi-Fi

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

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

3. Netgear Nighthawk MK63: The beginning of EasyMesh

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

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

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

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

8

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.0/10

Design and Setup

8.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

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

Cons

  • Modest Wi-Fi specs, no dedicated backhaul
  • Limited number of ports, switch required for wired backhaul configuration
  • Lacks basic Wi-Fi settings, no 160 MHz channel width
  • No multi-gig port, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation
  • Finicky QoS, online protection require mobile app and not free
  • Not wall-mountable
READ NOW:  Netgear Nighthawk MK63 Review: A Modest but Reliable Performer

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

Asus XD4 Mesh
The ZenWiFi AX Mini includes three identical-looking hardware units. Only one of them is a router, however.

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

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

On the downside, this little mesh system is dual-band and has modest hardware specs. In any case, though, it’s an excellent and more affordable choice compared to the TP-Link Deco X60 below.

Note: Alternatively, you can also opt for a combo of a few dual-band Asus AiMesh routers to have a similar, likely better, wired mesh solution (minus the Guest network, for now). You can also use a single AiMesh router (like an RT-AX8xU), and a ZenWiFi AX Mini set as nodes.

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

8.1

Performance

8.0/10

Features

8.5/10

Design and Setup

7.5/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

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

Cons

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

Mesh system
The TP-Link Deco X60 is a 3-pack dual-band 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 mesh system.

The TP-Link Deco X60 is quite slow when working as a wireless mesh system. 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
READ NOW:  TP-Link Deco X60 Review: A Reliable but Slow Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System

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

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

The idea of the dedicated backhaul is one band takes care of the job that links the hardware units leaving the other two to work only for clients. As a result, even when it’s impossible to use network cables to connect the hardware units, you can still archive fast throughputs.

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

6. Netgear Orbi AX4000 (RBK742): Possibly the most rounded Orbi to date

Orbi RBK 752

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.

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 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
READ NOW:  Netgear Orbi AX4000 (RBK752) Review: A Well-Balanced Wi-Fi 6 Mesh

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

Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 1

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 is also works great with wired backhaul, too, thanks to the fact it uses Linksys’s dynamic backhaul band technology — you’ll be able to use all three bands for clients in this case.

Thanks to the reliable performance, relatively fast speeds, and, most importantly, the 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
READ NOW:  Linksys Velop MX4200 Review: A Well-Priced Velop for a Large Home

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

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

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

Note: Alternatively, you can also opt for a combo of a few tri-band Asus AiMesh routers to have a similar wireless mesh solution, with possibly more features. You can also combine a tri-band router, such as the GT-AX11000, and a set of this ZenWiFi AX working as nodes.

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

8.9

Performance

8.5/10

Features

9.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

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

Cons

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

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

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
READ NOW:  Netgear Orbi AX6000 (RBK852) Review: Great Wi-Fi for a Hefty Price

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

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

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

AmpliFi Alien Router and MeshPoint

8.5

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

9.5/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

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

Cons

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

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

The SURFboard mAX Pro is ARRIS’s first Wi-Fi 6 offering, and it’s a mesh system, a quite souped-up one. Despite that, it barely made this list due to the high cost and scant feature set.

Thankfully, mAX Pro’s performance was excellent in my testing, and I also like the design. Since its launch, ARRIS has also released firmware updates and a new mobile app to improve its stability and add more features.

This mesh system is the only one on this list that doesn’t support wired backhaul, though that might change via future firmware updates. Still, make sure you only consider it when looking for a full wireless mesh.

ARRIS Surfboard Max Pro Mesh Wi-Fi 6 AX11000 System

7.4

Performance

8.0/10

Features

5.0/10

Design and Setup

9.5/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

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

Cons

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

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

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

Best Mesh Router Performance Chart

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

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

Best Mesh Satellite Performance Chart

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

READ NOW:  Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers of 2020: Pick One for Your Home! [Updated]

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

  1. Thank you for your excellent reviews. I live in a 3 story house (3500 sf) with 400Mbps internet service. I currently use an Asus RT-AC1900P router that is centrally located and does a pretty good job, but it doesn’t provide enough service to the edges of my house. I want to increase my wireless coverage and improve the speeds I get. I have a wired (Cat5e) hookup on each floor that I can use. I was thinking a mesh system with 2 or 3 units. Which mesh system would you recommend? I do plan to use a wired backhaul to the router. I was going to buy the Eero pro 6 before I came to your site, now I think something else would be better. I appreciate your help. My friend who does IT work suggested the TP Link x60, but it seems to perform on the lower end.

    Reply
  2. I have been reading your reviews and am trying to decide between a couple options. I have a longer ranch style house and need a mesh system. I have a 100′ CAT5e cable between the office and the living room with an unmanaged gigabit switch at each end. I am looking for a two router system because I really don’t have a need for a third device. I have basic cable internet service with 300 mbps, but I want to get something that could work for 3-5yrs, so looking for something with 802.11 AX. I am thinking I may want a tri-band system in case my Ethernet cable is too slow or potentially to re-assign the second 5gHz radio, but that’s not critical. We mostly stream movies and music but have a 20-30 connected devices around the house.

    I really want the Asus XT8 but the price is ~$450 and I haven’t seen any discounts.
    I am also looking at the Linksys Velop AX4200 (2 pack) from Costco for $230 or the TP-Link Deco X60 (2 pack) from amazon for $260.

    Are there any other options I should consider and what would your recommendation be?

    Reply
  3. Hello Dong,

    Wonderful site and extremely informative. I am looking for advice. My current configuration: I have an appr. 2000 sq. ft split level house with FiOS Quantum 1GB service (FiOS Quantum Gateway G1100 wireless router). This router is located in my home office at the back of the lower level of the house. My main home office pc connects to it via ethernet cable, and I do a lot of online gaming on it. Among the other devices in my house, the other main one I am concerned with is my Xbox Series X. It is located in my living room (middle of the main level). It is connected to a Verizon MoCA adapter (several rooms in my house are wired with coax). It usually gets decent performance – between 300-500 Mbps with no packet loss and “under 60 ms latency” (as per Xbox’s network test). However, games lag and disconnect from Xbox Live periodically, which is very frustrating. When that happens and I troubleshoot, it says the NAT is moderate. I found though that running the test a couple of times then clears it back to open. For the Xbox (and pc gaming as well), do you think I would be better served by replacing the Verizon Quantum Gateway G1100 router with a gaming router like the Asus GT-AX11000 and an AIMesh satellite by the Xbox (wiring it to the satellite so that it uses the dedicated backhaul)? If so, can you recommend a good pairing? I would prefer not getting two GT-AX11000s- one is expensive enough 🙂 Or maybe just replace my current router with one better optimized for gaming and continue to use the MoCA bridge for the Xbox? Or do you suspect my issues are unrelated to my hardware? Thanks for your advice!

    Reply
      • Thank you for the quick reply with the links. You’ve certainly provided ample information to research this. Question regarding the Verizon Gateway G1100- do you recommend replacing it because it is a poor product or because of the monthly fee? In my case, Verizon isn’t charging me a monthly fee (they would if I wanted to upgrade it to a Wi-Fi 6 option).

        Reply
          • Thank you- I am sorry to keep taking up your time. My Xbox issues seem to result from the coax service periodically dropping for several seconds. Do you think using an Asus GT-AX11000 as the main router, and a cheaper Asus AIMesh as a satellite by the Xbox for the dedicated backhaul is a good structure (rather than my current local MoCA bridge by the Xbox)?

  4. Hello Dong,

    Given my basic construction 2 floor 2500sqft set up I thought replacing my old airport extremes & time capsule would be simple, apparently it’s not 😐

    So far I have tried:
    – eero 6 (not pro). The app is good, but the connection drops connected game consoles and cell pretty regularly (even when wired??). Would wiring the sattalites help? (couldn’t see how it would with the wired devices)
    – orbi 6 – the connection seems great, but the app is.. well: lame. To do what i would have thought were basic features like name/group devices and schedule times (parental control) you have to purchase a 3rd party Circle device and pay $5 a month. Tech support did say that soon (eta??) they will release a firmware update will let you do this without purchasing a Circle, but you will still need to pay Circle $5 a month to have these features that other companies include with their apps.

    I can wire the satellites and even use some of the existing extremes/capsules if you think it best. Which wifi 6 router 3 mesh system would you recommend for solid connection, good range and integrated (free) app features like being able to name, group and set schedules for connected devices?

    Thanks!!

    – D

    Reply
      • Thanks for your lightning fast reply & I’m on the same page with you: web interface vs. mobile app is preferred here too 🙂

        – your review said that the ZenWifi has: ‘Stripped-down, borderline useless QoS and Parental Control features’ … (which I do want)
        … but the blurb on Amazon ad page says that Zen has full blown parental controls

        That might be because it seems like ur review link to buy the Zens might be the older model? … Are these the newer rev: https://amzn.to/2JdLOna (and still the preferred choice)? Or would u go with the TP-Link Deco X60 which are about the same price as the Zens on sale at costco right now).

        (Would need affiliate links to the right ones too please.)

        – thx

        Reply
        • Parental Control is a matter of software, and that can change via updates. Considering the XD4’s processing power, you can’t expect much from it. Also, seriously, Parental Control is overrated. One can easily overcome it via the change of the MAC address. Kids who don’t know what a MAC is probably don’t need to be controlled much. You can go with either one, but the Asus gives me a lot more options, including using a different (more feature-rich) router as the main one. More here.

          Reply
  5. Dong, my question is to how to wire some equiemts using switches with mesh wifi system? What is the topology I can use.

    My current setup have 2 routers and 1 switch.
    My modem and my main router at first floor. I hard wired to basement where 1 non managed switch is connected.From the basement switch, another access point router for wireless access and the rest ports are wire connected to my computer ,game console printer etc.

    If I would like to upgrade to dual band wifi mesh, how do I setup so that the switch can still be utilized for wired connection of my other equipments.

    Reply
    • You can go with one of the dual-band mesh in this post (the Asus XD4 will work out great!). Here’s the diagram:

      Modem -> router -> (switch) -> (mesh node) -> (more switch) -> mesh node.

      Stuff in () is optional. For more, check out this post.

      Reply
  6. Hi Dong
    Thanks for the great review. I wanted to get your advice. I have an older home thats fully wired for cat 5 (unfortunately!). I have few wifi dead spots in my home. I was thinking of getting the tri-band or dual-band mesh with wifi6 – the Asus XT8 or TP-Link Deco X60 – but didnt know if I should use wired backhaul using my cat 5 cable (given its 100Mbps limitation) or go with tri-band use wireless backhaul.

    My current comcast is 100Mbps but I plan to increase it to 300Mbps or 500Mbps. I was hoping to make the right decision with the mesh setup so I can take advantage of the increase in speed. I want to get more bandwidth & speed given the family school and work from home demands.
    Any advice? Appreciate your help!

    Reply
      • Unfortunately the house is wired with older CAT5 cables (wish it was CAT5e!). I didnt know about about keeping the CAT5 “cables shot” to get 1 Gpbs – do you have an article on that? Otherwise I will read you article about rewiring the ends with cat5e bits – hopefully that increase the speed.

        Thank you Dong!!

        p.s. also looking at good parental control – hopefully the Asus has it, so I can put time limits on the kids use of some websites like youtube or instagram

        Reply
        • I think you meant if the CAT5 cables run short enough, you may get 1Gbps. My ethernet wired PC running windows 10 shows Link speeds of 100Mbps only.

          Alternative, I presume you meant rewiring both ends of the CAT5 cable with CAT5e Jacks. I didnt realize that would help!
          Thanks Dong!

          Reply
          • Yes, if you keep a CAT5 cable short, there’s a chance it can deliver 1Gbps. Using the CAT5e end bits helps, though that’s not a sure thing. It’s worth trying, though. Make sure you use a Gigabit switch (router) and your computer has a 1Gbps NIC (and not a 100Mbps one).

        • Yes, CAT5 can deliver 1Gbps in my experience. But this depends on the actual cable. Give it a try. If not, well, 100Mbps is not too bad. Still better (more stable) than Wi-Fi. 🙂

          Reply
  7. Hey Dong,

    I’ve got a wired large house (over 3 floors) and wanted to upgrade to WiFi 6. I’m look for the best performance and signal reliability, and ideally with some good parent control features and ad blocking. Given all of that – any system you would recommend (price is not as much an issue).

    Love the sit e- keep up the same work

    Thanks!

    Reply
  8. Dong, thanks for all the great reviews. They helped me with deciding with which system to go with. I am thinking of the Orbi RBK854 system, as it is not available yet I was thinking of getting the RBK853 with an RBS850. I have over 5000 Sq Ft house that is spread on 3 levels and I currently have the RBK44-100NAS in a daisy chain setting. Question is can I only backwire 2 of the satellites or even the router to 1 satellite as I cannot add wiring for the others?

    Reply
  9. Dong I’m curious as to why you gave the Amplify Alien an 8.5 rating and the Orbi RBK852 an 8.0 rating when they both are the same price ($699USD) and the Orbi offers much more. The Orbi’s satellite has 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports and the Amplify Alien’s mesh point has only one. The Orbi also has a 2.5G WAN port and the Amplify Alien only has only a 1Gig WAN port. The 3rd band on the Amplify Alien is for Wifi5 and the 3rd band on the Orbi covers Wifi6 and wireless backhaul. In order to even match the amount of ports the Orbi has the Alien Amplify customer would have to buy two separate routers which will end up costing a lot more than the Orbi. Confused here why the Orbi is getting such a low rating when it has better options out of the box.

    Reply
    • The Alien delivers an overall more exciting experience for the money, Henry. It’s also more flexible. For example, when you use wired backhaul, its all three bands are available for clients. In the case of the Orbi, you still lose a band for the backhaul and the router unit can never work as a satellite. By the way, 8.0 is not such a low rating. That’s on the same level as the Alien, which gets 8.5.

      Reply
  10. Hey Dong,

    Appreciate all the effort you’ve put into these reviews. You’ve gained a new reader in me! I’m a novice when it comes to all of this, so I was hoping you could advise.

    Live in a 3700+ sq. ft, 3-story house with FIOS. Paying for 1GB service. Router sits in the office on the ground floor (we also have a basement that is primarily below ground). Wife’s computer currently the only thing hard-wired to it. Everything else is wireless. Nothing too crazy in the house – cut the cord on cable a few yrs ago and generally rely on iptv subscriptions for tv viewing. Multiple Fire sticks (looking to get an Nvidia Shield or equal in the near future for the family room), laptops, tablets, phones, gaming system. Generally using a VPN for the most part.

    Just looking for the best WiFi 6 mesh system to cover the entire house and provide great speeds for streaming, video conferencing, basic internet use. I don’t think I’m interested in creating a wired system throughout the house, so I need to consider a completely wireless system. Will admit I’m not always on top of my security, so perhaps a system with good security features as well? Not a deal breaker though.

    Ran a speed test on my family room Fire stick and only getting a pathetic 50mbps down/28 up. The garage separates the family room and the aforementioned office where the router resides, so thick masonry walls blocking from the router to the primary room where the family hangs out.

    A month ago, I was really excited for the release of the eero 6 Pro until I recently came across your review of it. Will definitely heed your advice to stay away from that one. But which system should I go with? I don’t have an issue spending in the $500-600+ range if it gives me what I’m looking for.

    Thanks in advance for your time!

    Reply
      • Thanks Dong,

        So if I’m still leaning towards the wireless route, would you say that the performance of the satellite should be prioritized when choosing the system? If this assumption is true, I’m thinking between the Asus XT8 and the Orbi RBK853 (based on the chart you provided). Even though the satellite performances of the Ubiquiti and the ARRIS appear to be excellent, I’ve eliminated those 2 for other reasons.

        Which would you pick between the Asus XT8 and the Orbi RBK853? Additionally, would the Orbi RBK753 still be a good option for my situation or too inferior compared to the other 2 that I’m considering?

        Reply
  11. I use two lan wired Ruckus Wireless R510s, & a Ruckus ICX7150-POE-12-port switch, in a Lennar Smart Home. Router is Linksys EA4500 with OpenWrt and SQM installed. This system fires through concrete block walls for another 50 feet outside the home. All of this equipment can be purchased cheaply on ebay, but in our case it came with the home. There’s no point using anything else!

    Reply
  12. Hi Dong. Great info here. I am glad I stumbled across this site. I have a 2 story 3000 sq ft house with a screen in porch. I have Gig-speed coming into the house with cat 5 cable. There are probably 25 devices connected all the times. We stream tv via 2 firesticks and 1 Nividia Shield TV. The kids also connect to xbox. My kida also do remote learning with myself and my wife work quite a bit at home so there is always video streaming. I was thinking about a wifi 6 mesh system with the router connected downstairs to the Nividia Shield and Xbox with one satellite in our bedroom upstairs for the 4k firestick and wife working and another in the office across the house for me and the kids to work and stream videos. What system do you think would work best for us.

    Reply
  13. Hi Dong, I have been looking at reviews and advice for a while and you are by far the best. I’m retired and have used a single Asus Rt-AC68R/U for 10 years and added a node of the same model. I get a lot of disconnects and reconnects with the node. With that said, I wish to upgrade to Wifi 6 as I have a few devices that are compatible.

    I have a two story 3,200 SF house with about 12 devices wirelessly connected and no hardwire (router not near any equipment). I have looked at the Asus AX6100 aimesh setup but learned something from you about it not being truly wifi 6 on 5ghz.

    I’m not a gamer, but like coverage, speed and stability. I have a budget but don’t need to go cheap or overly expensive; would you please help me made a decision?

    Thank you,

    Tom

    Reply
      • Thank you Dong, do you suggest two Ax-92U’s or only one? If two, will I lose the WIFI 6 functionality as I read in another of your articles?

        Sincerely,

        Tom

        Reply
          • Hi again Dong, I am 30 miles from the airport. I will definitely do a mesh system, but don’t want to lose the WIFI 6 with the triband AX-92U’s, if I understood your earlier your review of the AX92U when you mentioned the 2nd 5Ghz doesn’t provide true WIFI 6 when in mesh mode, if I understood you correctly. The combo pack for the 92U is $329 on Amazon right now.

            Also, I read your review of the AX86U and this looks like per your review to be the best router on the market. Would you suggest it for me?

          • Hi Doug, and thank you James B, I only need clarification on one last thing;
            I’m not very smart at this only what I read just want to make sure I understand before my purchase. With the AX92U, I would have one dedicated 5g from the main router to the same 5g on the node and the other 5g band would be dedicated to my devices and lastly, would my WIFI 6 devices get true WIFI 6 or WIFI 5? I only ask, because I understood Dong’s review of the AX92u that it was was “not a true WIFI 6” as a mesh but only as a stand alone router. Does me no good to upgrade and not upgrade.
            Thanks so much for all of your help and patience with me.

    • Have you investigated what it would take to set up a wired backhaul between nodes? I haven’t used them myself but I’ve heard great things about MoCA — it’s like Powerline over coax, except it’s actually good. If you happen to have an unused run of coax that terminates near your router, you could wire up two AX92Us. Then, you get great coverage, plus you could split your 5GHz clients and have dedicated bands for WiFi 6 vs 5-and-under.

      I’ve been happy with the wireless-backhaul performance on my AX92Us, but nothing beats a hard line.

      Reply
  14. Hi Dong,

    This site has been a revelation for me, and I’d love your input on how to solve my connection issues.

    I recently moved into a new condo. It is only 1,800 sq ft, but there are some unique things I’m fighting with for a solid WiFi signal: multi-level unit (duplex down), exposed brick walls and 18 total units in my building. My modem (MR8600) is in the basement. I came in with an Asus RT-AC68U, but could not get a signal at all parts of my home. I upgraded to a Asus RT-AX6000, but am still struggling to get a strong signal throughout the home. I am thinking that a mesh system is best for me. I tried connecting my two Asus routers (on different floors) via AiMesh, but was getting slow speeds and a forced connection to the (extra slow — 6mbps) 2.4ghz spectrum in certain areas. Perhaps this is an issue connecting the AC and AX routers.

    For my signal issues in a not-massive home, would I be better off with a mesh system or a single strong router paired with powerline adapters to cover the dead areas? If I go mesh, I am trying to decide between the ZenWifi XT8, Orbi (not sure which WiFi 6 would be best), or the new Eero Pro. And should I be looking for 2 or 3 units in such a configuration?

    Reply
    • Hi, Ryan.

      1. Powerline is not a good idea in a condo. You should think of running a single network cable connecting the first AiMesh router and the 2nd one. This is by far the best option.
      2. Walls are always problematic and the 2.4Ghz is always better at penetrating them. If you choose to use a wireless setup, get a tri-band system (the XT8 or the Orbi AX6000 is a good one) and try placing the hardware unit near each other when there are wall(s) in between. I think you only need two units.

      Reply
  15. Hi Dong…

    Input currently from Frontier FIOS gateway…500MBPS currently but would like to be future proof as possible.

    Large home…built sturdily…9,800 sq% on 1st floor…exterior walls concrete block…interior walls 5/8″ sheetrock with fiberglass fill for sound…double ceiling to music studio above…also wish access to exterior pool control panel.

    All rooms covered by Cat 5 jacks (22) via switch in downstairs laundry.

    Will be eliminating ARRIS modem router provided by Frontierso will need modem soon…only system I see with modem included in base uitin base unit is the new EERO Mesh Pro…otherwise I will need to purchase separate modem also…have approx 20 devices running currently…what would you reecommend for best performance/coverage/speed? Thank you!

    Reply
    • A couple of things, Richard:

      1. Always get a separate modem. It’s much easier and more flexible when you need to repair, upgrade, etc.
      2. I’d stay away from the Eero.
      3. Get a dual-band system that supports wired backhaul. Or a nice router and a bunch of access points.
      4. I’d recommend a combo of one RT-AX86U router and a set of ZenWiFi XD4 as nodes in a wired AiMesh setup.

      Reply
  16. Dong – you’re a pro and looking for advice. I’ve got a large home, but have wired connections in basement and first level (but not second level). I’m looking to upgrade to Wifi 6. I’m currently using the Ubiquiti Dream Machine with extra access points…

    Any advice? I’ve got about 100 devices connected at any one time…. I was thinking about getting 3 of the AX86U and then using AirMesh…

    I’m fairly handy, but ultimately just want the best in reliability (my A1 by far!) so my kids don’t keep bugging me about it. Ubiquiti has treated me well but don’t think they’ve got anyhting WiFi 6 related… Any thoughts? Thanks!

    Reply
    • I’d recommend you keep using the current setup for a few more years, Byron. But you can get a few RT-AX86U and use them with wired backhaul when possible.

      Reply
  17. Hi Dong, I wish I found your site before trying out Aimesh. I found that mixing Asus AX and AC routers in a mesh was very buggy always dropping signals (RT-AX88u and RT-AC86U using wireless backhaul). We have a 2700sf home with 3 levels. I was hoping to use a mesh system and after reading your articles, Tri-band is the way to go for a wireless backhaul setup. Would you recommend the Zenwifi AX-XT8 or 2x GT-AX11000. We have over 60+ devices that currently connect via wifi and I have a family of gamers. I know the latter is pricier but would it be a better option then Zenwifi which was built as a mesh system from the ground up. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Better late than never, Arnold. You might not need a mesh for your home (it’s relatively small). So, get a single unit of the GT-AX11000, (or the RT-AX92U) place it in at as close to the center of the house as possible to see if that works out. Then if need be, get another to extend the coverage. If you’re sure you need a 2-pack, the ZenwiFi AX works, too.

      Reply
  18. Hi Dong,

    My house has wired backhaul and looking for a 3-pack mesh system. In this case does tri-band mesh system’s dedicated band will be used for devices instead of for access points? Otherwise should I go with Deco x60/ZenWiFi AX Mini? Thanks!

    Reply
  19. Hi Dong,
    I’ve read and learned quite a bit on here, but can’t find any info on Eero as far as what you think. Why haven’t you reviewed any of their mesh systems, or have I just missed it?

    Reply
  20. Dong,
    Thanks for all the informative articles you write. Even after reading its hard to decide what is right for your application because there’s so many options. I’m trying to cover ~4000 sqft, 3 floors. Rooms wired with cat5e. Looking to put the modem/router/switch down in basement where provider cable enters and all cat5e cables are run from that location. What would be best equipment for what I’m trying to do.
    1) If I plan on putting some poe devices in home, should main network switch be poe capable. Or would I put the poe switch closer to devices?
    2) Wired backhaul mesh system for coverage; access points or a backhaul capable mesh? I think I’m confusing the two.
    3)Coverage of 4000 sqft, 2-3 satellites depending on their coverage area, what would be the best option for this?
    4) Regarding if you wanted to run a vpn encryption on your network, are their any router options that are really efficient performance wise to be able to handle the encryption and also maintain good performance/speeds.

    Reply
    • I think you didn’t read enough or didn’t pay enough attention, Miles. 🙂

      1. More on PoE here. Some PoE device comes with an injector, but the PoE switch can be placed anywhere.
      2. More on mesh here. You’ll learn about what an access point is.
      3. Since you have wired backhaul, just get a dual-band on this list. If you choose AiMesh, you can get a bunch of dual-band router or a router with features you like, and a set of the XD4 as nodes.
      4. Most, if not all routers you see on my website have a VPN server option. More on VPN here.

      By the way, this post will be helpful, too. You might want to start with it to have a general understanding of what a router does.

      Take some time and read those posts, you’ll figure out things by yourself which is MUCH better than me telling you what to do. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  21. Thinking about an Orbi AX mesh for my Orange router. Do I need to turn off DHCP on the Orange router and let the mesh distribute IP addresses? many thanks in advance.

    Reply
      • Hi Dong

        Thanks. At the moment I have my ISP router connected to a 6 point wired network throughout the house. In one of the points I have a VPN router and in 2 others I have routers as access points with DHCP turned off. Going forward when we move house I won’t have a wired network and hence my interest in a mesh system. At this moment in time I don’t believe it will be necessary to have the VPN throughout the house, it is used predominantly for the TV. I assume if the mesh was run off the VPN the speed throughout the house will be drastically diminished

        Reply
          • Further to my enquiry, Dong, do you know of a Gateway that I could configure to replace my Orange router (whilst still being a customer) to act as the source router for the mesh network. I would need one that allows a VOIP connection. Or is that asking too much ? If that were the case, I could have 2 routers instead of three (VPN router for TV purposes). I can’t imagine Orange (France) would allow their router to be internally configured for VPN to allow access to content from a different country.

          • In Germany, there is a law as of 2016 requiring ISPs to provide credentials / configuration information to use your own modem, but in practice there is exactly one modem that can work on my ISP, sold by a single supplier. It retails for 160 EUR and can’t be updated from the LAN side, and the ISP will not push updates from the WAN side, so you have to mail it back to the vendor (and of course pay a fee) to get them to apply any updates. How do you know if it even needs an update? Watch the news, I guess.

            As far as I know, the EU’s official position on net neutrality includes a clause about “terminal equipment” so in theory every EU country “should” implement something similar, but I think Germany was the first to actually put it into law. That means France very likely is going to be on a case-by-case basis. (I found a “state of the internet” report from ARCEP in 2018 but it didn’t mention routers or modems specifically.)

            Peter: have you asked your ISP if they offer the option of renting a standalone modem instead of a gateway? Alternately, have you checked if your gateway can be configured in Bridge Mode? (I think Dong has an article here on Bridge Mode, maybe?)

          • HI Dong

            Assuming I cannot change my ISP modem/router from one of the Orange routers as we have VOIP via the box – (not Comcast), is there any benefit from a Wifi 6 mesh system when the Orange router is only Wifi 5? thanks

          • Peter, Dong can give his own opinion, but as a data point: I’m stuck with my ISP-provided router (see above), but I did upgrade a WiFi-6 capable mesh system anyway.

            I don’t get the benefits of a higher-end *router*, specifically — things like a smarter firewall, VPN support, finer-grained access or parental controls — because router features happen on the “edge” device, the thing that sits between your home network and the public internet.

            But, after turning off the ISP router’s WiFi connection, I do still get benefits from a mesh of *access points*: the performance of the wireless connection for each client is better, and the mesh nodes communicate with each other to facilitate hand-off when a client moves around the house. I was frustrated with the way my old network handled this, and that’s why I upgraded. You have to ask yourself, what doesn’t work with your current setup, and what can you fix by installing a mesh system in AP mode?

        • Peter, if you’re using the VPN mostly for the TV, have you looked into Smart DNS? I use Unlocator now (and before that, Unblock-Us) and it mostly works for most of what I want to do. I know that doesn’t sound like a glowing recommendation, but it’s a *lot* easier than VPNing your whole network, or running two parallel networks. If your device allows you to configure your network settings (everything but Roku and Chromecast, in my experience), you just change the DNS server and you’re done.

          In case you go this route, I run a custom DHCP server on my network so that it can hand out the smart DNS for Roku and Chromecast, and the default DNS for everything else. This causes some headaches too, but I still think it’s simpler than the VPN, the Smart DNS architecture has some other advantages — for example, traffic that wouldn’t have been geo-blocked (say, a TV service that is available in your region, app updates, general web browsing) isn’t messed with and connects directly.

          Reply
          • Hi James

            Thanks for your reply. Just for extra clarity ( I don’t know if it makes any difference to your recommendation ), My TV source is a UK SKY digibox plugged into the VPN router to enable me the same facilities as though I were still in the UK.

          • Peter, the various Smart DNS services work by intercepting DNS lookup, so that when your hardware asks for “some-service.sky.co.uk” it responds with an IP that the Smart DNS provider owns, instead of the actual IP for Sky’s streaming service. The smart DNS has a proxy running at this IP, which forwards your request to Sky via a node in the UK, just like a VPN. The difference is that it only does this forwarding for specific domain names, and all other DNS queries resolve as they normally would.

            What this means is that the smart DNS provider has to individually add support for specific services, not only for a single service (like, say, Disney+) but also for individual devices, because my Roku might access Disney via “roku.disney.com” but my LG TV might access it through “lg.disney.com”. This is a simplified example, but it illustrates why I said that smart DNS has “mostly” worked for me — it’s pretty common to support Service A on Device B, and Service C on Device D, but you can’t use Device D for Service A, if that makes sense.

            I wrote all of that, then I went to check about Sky specifically, and I was kind of surprised to find that the smart DNS I use now (Unlocator) doesn’t support Sky at all, and the one I left (Unblock-US) supports Sky Go but only in browser or on iOS. I couldn’t find any smart DNS providers that specifically say they support the “digibox”. So: maybe you do need the VPN :-/

          • Hi James, many thanks for your diligence researching a response to my query. So assuming then I need the VPN for my SKY setup, am I correct in assuming for the best speed for the house connections, I connect from my ISP router to the WAN ports of both VPN router and Mesh router and let them do what they will and if I can, turn off DHCP to the ISP router?

          • Dong has a good article on VPN setup, so I’d start there.

            That said, if you’re very lucky, your ISP may allow you to have two public addresses, in which case your VPN router and “real” router could have their own public IPs — both routers’ WAN ports would connect to the LAN ports on the ISP gateway. This is pretty uncommon, though, so in that case you’d probably want your ISP router / modem to run in bridge mode, then your “real” router WAN connected to port 1 on the ISP router, then the VPN router WAN connected to port 1 of the “real” router. If the VPN can operate that way (through “double NAT”) then you’ll get full speed for all your other devices, and your VPN devices will work as before.

  22. Dong,

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

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

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

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

    House is hard wired with CAT 6A as well.

    Thank you,

    -Jeffrey

    Reply
      • Dong,

        Thank you very much for the quick feedback. Really appreciate all your posts out here. you really put some great information out here for people looking to make the right tech decision.

        Looking at the link; it also sounds like I should opt for a tri-band model & something with the multi-Gig ports, like you mentioned.

        Do you have a fav on that list?

        Thank you Dong.

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

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

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

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

    Thanks
    Colin

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

    Reply
  27. Dong:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply
  37. Thanks Dong.

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

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

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

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

    Reply
  38. Hi Dong

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks in advance.

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

      Reply
      • Thanks Dong for the quick response.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks for your inputs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      First, check out this post.

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

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

      Hope this helps

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

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

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

    Orbi Wifi 6 – ($699)

    Amplifi Alien – ($699)

    Linksys MX10 – ($600)

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

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

    Reply
  55. Hi Mr. Dong.

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

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

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

    Best,
    Brian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply
  61. Hi Dong —

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Cheers,
    Matt

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

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

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

    Reply
  63. Hi Dong,

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

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

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

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

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

    Three questions, related to IOT mostly:

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

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

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

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

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

    Best,

    Stephan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply
  70. Dong,

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

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

    B

    Reply
  71. Good afternoon!

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

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

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

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

    Thank you ahead for any advice you can offer!
    B

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    What is your opinion?
    Regards, Jose

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

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

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

      Reply

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