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Best Purpose-built Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Systems: The Standard’s Penultimate Collection

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You’ll find in this post the purpose-built Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems to bring home with confidence — those I consider the best among the many reviewed. I picked five out of two categories and will include similar alternatives.

We’re talking about canned Wi-Fi 6 systems in this post. Check out the Related Post box below for the hardware of other Wi-Fi standards or DIY mesh approaches.

As the world is moving to newer Wi-Fi standards, chances are there won’t be any noticeable Wi-Fi 6 mesh options on the horizon. Those listed here are likely the final best mesh systems of Wi-Fi 6.

As far as I know, the ROG Rapture GT6 is the only noteworthy Wi-Fi 6 canned mesh option on the near horizon and it might be the last of the standard I’d review.

Unless you want to get the latest and greatest — a losing game in buying tech — these mesh systems won’t become irrelevant for the foreseeable future. It’s the best time to invest in a Wi-Fi 6 mesh. The standard is matured with its price lowered to a sensible level.

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

Dong’s note: I first published this frequently revised post on May 13, 2020, when Wi-Fi 6 was a novelty. With Wi-Fi 6E being more and more readily available and Wi-Fi 7 on the horizon, it’s safe to say you’ll find fewer and fewer new Wi-Fi 6 mesh options. This update, published on January 23, 2023, is likely the last.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Pair includes two Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Routers
The Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is one of the most comprehensive purpose-built Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems.

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

All hardware is listed here in reversed chronological order with the latest reviews on top — the number in front of their name is just numerical. There are two top-five lists, one of Dual-band hardware and the other, Tri-band.

You’ll find in the drawer below these mesh systems compared in performance and their quick shopping links. Or use the tables of content to jump to your favorite hardware.

The jump-to-conclusion drawer

Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems: Quick links and performance charts

Generally, you should read the entire post. But if you’re in a hurry, this portion of the content will help.

Quick links

Each link below will take you to the Amazon store, where you can purchase the hardware or its in-depth no-nonsense review.

Performance charts

Below are the performance numbers of all hardware mentioned in this post.

Best Wi Fi 6 Mesh Router Long Range Performance 1Best Wi Fi 6 Mesh Router Short Range Performance
Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh routers’ performance

Three things to keep in mind:

  • All systems were tested with the satellite unit connected via wireless backhauling. (In the wired backhauling setup, the performance of the satellite is generally the same as that of the router unit.)
  • The 2.4GHz performance is only available in systems that allow for naming this band as a separate SSID.
  • The 5GHz performance of Tri-band hardware is the collective best of the two bands.
Best Wi Fi 6 Mesh Satellite Long Range Performance 1Best Wi Fi 6 Mesh Satellite Close Range Performance 1
Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh satellites’ performance

Fans of the Amazon eero or Google Nest Wifi take note: Neither of them made it to these two lists, not even close. Unlike the hype and aggressive marketing, in my book, they are by far the worst networking hardware for any home — you shouldn’t use them even if they are free.

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

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

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

Note, though, if you have modest broadband — one that has a download speed of 200Mbps or slower — a dual-band system will work out well, no matter how you plan to use it.

5. Asus ZenWifi XD5: Low-cost, compact, and effective

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

Asus ZenWifi XD5 Box Content
The Asus ZenWifi XD5 includes three identical Dual-band routers.

The ZenWifi XD5 is what the previous XD4 wanted to be. This new low-cost mesh works well in a wireless setup but has the most to offer when you link the hardware using network cables.

Alternatively, you can also con the followingsider:

Asus ZenWiFi XD5's Rating

8.3 out of 10
Asus ZenWifi XD5 Box
8.5 out of 10
8.5 out of 10
Design and Setup
8 out of 10
8 out of 10


Supporting 160MHz channel width; reliable performance with fast performance (for the specs)

Excellent set of network and Wi-Fi settings and features

No vendor account or add-on subscription is required; Guest networking works throughout the system

Compact design; wall-mount-ready


No Wi-Fi 6E, multi-gig port, Dual-WAN, or Link Aggregation

Stripped-down QoS and AiProtection features

Only two network ports per unit

4. TP-Link Deco X4300 Pro: A sensible Dual-band mesh for a (wired) home.

TP Link Deco X4300 Pro 3 Pack with Box
The TP-Link Deco X4300 Pro comes in a 3withcludes three identical routers.

The Deco X4300 Pro replaces the Deco X60. While there’s nothing “pro” about it — this is a simple canned system with limited customizability –early an upgrade to the previous Deco.

In testing, the new system proved reliable and fast enough for Gigabit broadband — thanks to its 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig port — and its affordable pricing didn’t hurt.

Alternatives: The Deco X60 or any other Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 Deco system.

TP-Link Deco X4300 Pro's Rating

8 out of 10
TP Link Deco X4300 Pro is a 3 Pack
8.5 out of 10
6.5 out of 10
Design and Setup
8.5 out of 10
8.5 out of 10


Reliable and fast Wi-Fi performance, excellent coverage

User-friendly with pre-synced hardware, competitively priced

Wired backhaul support, can work in AP mode as a system

Eye-catching design


Requires an account with TP-Link to work

Only one Multi-Gig port

Zero Wi-Fi customization, limited network customizations, Parental Controls, and online protection require add-on subscriptions

Limited web interface, no USB port;

3. ZenWiFi XD6: The XD5’s upgrade

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

If you have a wired home and Gigabit-class Internet, the Dual-band Asus ZenWiFi XD6 is an excellent buy. It’s an upgrade to the XD5 above.

This new mesh system has no Multi-Gig port, and that’s the only thing disappointing about it.

Picking the best AiMesh combo: The real-world experience

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

Asus ZenWiFi XD6's Rating

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


Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance

AiMesh 2.0 fully supported

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

Compact design

Presynced hardware, 160Mhz support


No Multi-Gig or Link aggregation

No USB port

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

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

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

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

Alternatives: The more expensive and higher-tier SXK80 or any other Wi-Fi 6 Orbi Pro

Netgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Mini's Rating

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


Reliable Wi-Fi at comparatively affordable pricing

Lots of Wi-Fi settings, responsive web user interface

Esthetically pleasing

Mounting accessories included

Wired backhaul support


No 160MHz bandwidth, modest specs

Slow throughput speeds on the Satellite unit

The insight subscription trial starts without user consent

Could be more affordable

No USB port

1. Netgear Nighthawk MK63: The beginning of EasyMesh

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

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

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

Wi-Fi EasyMesh in brief

Wi-Fi EasyMesh is Wi-Fi Alliance’s certification program, first announced in early 2020, that aims to simplify the building of mesh systems.

The idea is that any Wi-Fi EasyMesh-certified hardware from any vendor will work together to form a seamless Wi-Fi system.

The new program hasn’t caught on. By late 2022, only Netgear has released its supposedly Wi-Fi EasyMesh-compliant mesh systems– the MK63 and MK83. And in August 2022, TP-Link said it would join the cause by transitioning its OneMesh over.

Generally, we need the supported hardware of at least two vendors to know the idea of Wi-Fi EasyMesh as a universal mesh approach is real. But even then, things can get complicated in terms of liability or tech support.

Specifically, if a mixed hardware Wi-Fi EasyMesh system is not working as expected, it’s hard to know which hardware vendor is at fault, and consumers might be stuck between two networking companies pointing fingers at each other.

For more reasons than one, users tend to use mesh hardware from the same vendor, and Wi-Fi EasyMesh has so far been a nice idea with little impact. But the concept has no downside — it doesn’t prevent users from keeping hardware of the same vendor — and its adoption might increase over time.

By itself, the MK63 is an excellent choice if you have modest broadband or have wired your home with network cables. With the latest pricing, it’s easily one of the most affordable canned mesh options. And it generally works as intended.

Alternatives: There’s none among Netgear hardware. The higher-tier hardware, MK83, proved to be much less reliable in my testing despite costing a lot more.

Netgear MK63 Nighthawk's Rating

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


Reliable performance, excellent coverage


First EasyMesh system

Wired backhaul support

Compact design


Modest Wi-Fi specs, no dedicated backhaul band

and limited number of ports; switch required for wired backhaul configuration

Lacks basic Wi-Fi settings, no 160 MHz channel width

No multi-gig port, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation

Finicky QoS, online protection, require a mobile app and is not free

Not wall-mountable

Best Five Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh system: For home without wiring

These are mesh systems that include three internal Wi-Fi frequency bands within each of its hardware units.

Specifically, they all have one 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz ones. In a wireless setup, one of the latter can work as the backhaul, enabling the system to overcome the potential signal loss.

Dual-band vs Tri-band vs Quad-band: What’s the deal?

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

A Tri-band system is a must for a large home or even a medium one with thick walls, and you want to get the fastest possible Wi-Fi speeds without running network cables. However, all of those mentioned here still perform best via wired backhauling.

5. Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12: The ultimate Wi-Fi 6 purpose-built mesh system

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

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Box Content
The Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is available as a 2-pack that includes two identical mesh routers

The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is the souped-up version of the XT8 below. As the latest in Asus’s ZenWiFi family, it has everything to deliver top performance in a fully wireless or wired setup.

In the former, the support for UNII-4 guarantees the top wireless backhaul speed thanks to the new 5.9GHz portion. And in the latter, you can daisy-chain the units via a 2.5Gbps wired backhaul.

Without this 5.9GHz portion, existing 160MHz channels on the 5GHz frequency band need to include at least one of the DFS sub-channels.

DFS shares airspace with radar signals, which have priority. Using DFS for Wi-Fi, therefore, can cause intermittent disconnections.

UNII4: Why the 5.9GHz portion is exciting

The use of the 5.9GHz only removes the need for these potentially problematic sub-channels in delivering Wi-Fi 6’s top performance via the 160MHz channel width.

If you live in a large home with Gigabit or faster Internet, the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is a sure bet.

Alternative: The ZenWifi Pro XT12 represents a lot of Tri-band Asus hardware. Basically, you can pick any combo of Tri-band Asus Wi-Fi 6 routers and have similar mesh systems. However, among Asus’s canned mesh option, you can also consider:

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12's Rating

9 out of 10
Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 out of Box
9 out of 10
10 out of 10
Ease of Use
8 out of 10
9 out of 10


Excellent Wi-Fi performance and coverage, UNII-4 support

Dual Multi-Gig pots with Multi-Gig wired backhaul, flexible port configurations

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

AiMesh 2.0 full support, helpful mobile app, no login account required

Cool design with pretty lighting


No 5Gbps or 10Gbps Multi-Gig, bulky, no USB, only four network ports

Buggy Dual-WAN, not wall-mountable

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

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

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

Alternatives: Deco X90 or any other Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 Deco systems.

TP-Link Deco X5700's Rating

8 out of 10
TP Link Deco X5700 Box
8 out of 10
7 out of 10
Design and Setup
8.5 out of 10
8.5 out of 10


Excellent Wi-Fi performance and coverage

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

User-friendly, comparatively affordable



Spartan Wi-Fi customization, network settings, and features

Only one Multi-Gig port per hardware unit

App and login account required — privacy risks

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

No USB or additional Gigabit network ports

3. Netgear Orbi RBK750 series (RBK752): The best bang for the back Wi-Fi 6 Orbi set

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

You can think of the Orbi RBK752 as modest Wi-Fi 6 Orbi, and it indeed has modest hardware specs. But in real-world usage, it’s basically as good as any other higher-end Wi-Fi 6 Orbi set. So the affordable pricing only makes sense.

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


Netgear Orbi RBK750 Series Rating

8.5 out of 10
Orbi RBK752 Label
8.5 out of 10
8 out of 10
Ease of Use
8.5 out of 10
9 out of 10


Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with extensive coverage

Relatively affordable

Practical, well-designed mobile app

Support WAN 2Gbps Link Aggregation

Full web interface with all standard settings and features


No 160MHz channel support, limited Wi-Fi customization

Not compatible with Wi-Fi 5 Orbi hardware

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

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

2. Linksys Velop MX4200: A well-priced mesh for a large home

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

Similar to the Orbi RBK750 series above, the Linksys Velop AX4200 is not the top-tier Wi-Fi 6 system. Still, it will deliver a similar experience to that of more expensive Linksys hardware.

Alternative: The more expensive and higher-end MX10 or any other Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 Velop set.

Linksys Velop MX4200's Rating

8.3 out of 10
Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 11
8 out of 10
8 out of 10
Ease of Use
8.5 out of 10
8.5 out of 10


Reliable Wi-Fi with excellent coverage

Helpful mobile app, full web interface

Fast NAS speeds when hosting external drives

Comparatively affordable


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

1. Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Mesh Kit: An excellent pair of Wi-Fi 6 tango

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

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

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

Despite that odd hardware configuration, the high price, and other oddities, this mesh system has enough to make almost anyone happy, whether they go entirely wireless or wired backhaul.

Alternative: You can get two or more standalone AmpliFi Alien routers

AmpliFi Alien Mesh Kit's Rating

8.5 out of 10
AmpliFi Alien Kit
8.5 out of 10
8 out of 10
Design and Setup
9.5 out of 10
8 out of 10


Dead-easy to set up and manage

Excellent Wi-Fi coverage

Fast performance, wired backhaul supported

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

Useful VPN and ad-blocking features

Cool hardware design


MeshPoint has only one LAN port and only works with one router of the same Alien Kit

No dedicated backhaul band


Quick tips on getting a mesh

If you want to learn more about how to pick the best Wi-Fi system, check out this comprehensive post on the topic. But here are a few quick tips:

  • Any mesh system will do if you don’t care about the speed. Otherwise:
    • For the best-performing setup, wired backhauling is a must. In this case, you only need a Dual-WAN Wi-Fi 6 (or Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E) hardware.
    • In a fully wireless setup, it’s best to use Tri-band hardware with a dedicated backhaul band.
  • Multi-Gig backhaul is a must if you want a Gigabit or faster network.

Like a router, a mesh system is the foundation of your home network. Even the fanciest gadget is useless if your Wi-Fi network is not doing well. So invest where it matters.

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803 thoughts on “Best Purpose-built Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Systems: The Standard’s Penultimate Collection”

  1. Amazing work Dong. Really excellent and thorough information. It has been extremely helpful and helps me narrow down what I need to look for in new wifi systems.

    If I can ask a small question/recommendation. I am currently looking to setup a new WiFi system for my folks home. The goal is to be as “plug and play” as possible with little hands on.
    They have a large, 2 story home. I figured the coverage would be around 6000-7000 square feet, including a small bit outside.

    That said, wired backend would be ideal. It may or not be possible. I still need to find out if that is a possibility.
    That said, I was thinking of going with the Asus12 system, as I believe it works with wired and wireless backend? The idea being is, if I cannot get wired at the moment, but maybe am able to down the road. Thinking long term.
    Also, can I add additional “nodes” to that system if i went full wireless (backend as well)

    Or is there another recommendation?
    Thank you again! Amazing work!!!

    • All home Wi-Fi solutions are plug-and-play, Jason, in the sense that once you’ve set it up properly, chances are there’s nothing you will need to do.

      I assumed you meant the ZenWifi Pro XT12 or ET12. If so, this post compares the two and will answer all the questions you might have about them. As for additional nodes, this post on AiMesh will cover even more questions. Give them (and related posts) a good read! You’re on the right track.

      Good luck!

  2. Thank you for compiling this. In your chart/table of the Satellite performance, if I’m not mistaken, I think you have pasted the same Router table for the “Short range” results?

    Is there a table with the short range results with wireless backhaul for the Satellites?

  3. Thanks for these excellent lists, Dong. Furthermore, I took your advice and upgraded to the Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 from the eero Pro 6, and it’s been a world of difference: No more buffering, faster speeds, and increased stability.

    As much as I like the latest and greatest in consumer tech, I’m very happy with the XT12 and likely will skip at least the first batch of WiFi 7 routers. We’ll see if I’ll be able to hold out until WiFi 8… haha.

    Thanks again and take care!

  4. Hi Dong,

    Thank you for all your in depth reviews and articles – they are a great help to a novice like me.

    I need to upgrade my current WiFi mesh, for 2 main reasons: I have 5G internet, because there is no fibre available in my area (Ireland).

    I currently have a HUAWEI CPE 2 pro router (supplied with mobile carrier) acting as a gateway (i think – or access point???) hardwired to a mesh of deco x20’s. It has been fine for the last 18 months, but I have recently purchased sky glass, with 3 streaming pucks, meaning that there are 4 TVs continuously streaming, on top of phones and tablets etc., so need to upgrade.

    I think that my problem is 2-fold. There are trees between my house and the 5G mast (would be visible from the house if trees weren’t there) and the CPE pro2 doesn’t have external antenna ports, so I can’t install an external antenna to improve reception, plus I only have a dual band mesh, with no option of a wired back haul, so I want to upgrade to tri-band wireless mesh, to handle all the streaming.

    I have looked into WiFi 6e and even WiFi 7, but I think it is overkill for what I need and not worth the investment yet.

    If the deco x80-5g was a tri-band router, I would have already purchased it, along with a mesh of x95’s and an external antenna. But surely it defeats the point of having a tri-band mesh, if the router is only dual band?

    I have just started researching 5G SIM card gateways, with external antenna ports that I could wire to a mesh of x95’s, but it’s like a foreign language to me!

    I would like to stay with deco, because I can use some of the existing x20’s to expand the WiFi into the garage and garden and keep the tri-band mesh in the house.

    Any advice would be greatly received.

    Thanks very much

      • Thanks for the speedy response.

        I agree, at first I was only looking at a 5g SIM card router with external antennas, so I can improve the internet speed, but I thought I may as well upgrade to a tri-band mesh at the same time.

        The deco x80-5g would be the best fit, because it can just become part of the mesh, as apposed to using another one as a gateway.

        Maybe I should just get the x80-5g and an external antenna first, to see if that stops the pausing during the tv’s streaming, by increasing the internet speed.

        I’m sure it will help massively, but if it doesn’t solve the issue completely, would it be pointless to then invest in a tri-band mesh, connected to the dual band x80-5g router?


        • Yes, Ben, you can try the new Deco.

          Still, in my experience, cellular Internet can be limited in bandwidth — specifically for streaming since vendors tend to restrict this type of bandwidth. In other words, you might get fast speed when doing a speed test or general web surfing, etc., but when you stream, you’ll get a different “speed”.

          Generally, if you get from 25 to 50 Mbps in an Internet speed test, that means your Internet speed (and Wi-Fi) is fast enough for streaming on that particular device at that particular time — faster Wi-Fi won’t make any difference. More in this post.

          Getting a faster Wi-Fi system never hurts, but if you think it will for sure improve your streaming experience, you might be disappointed.

          • That’s great, thanks for your help.

            I think I will invest in the x80-5g and an external antenna first (some more research to do on external antennas!!!) and go from there.

            Sorry to ask again, but in terms of the WiFi performance, would it then be pointless to invest in a tri-band mesh connected to the dual band x80-5g at a later date?

            If I could wait, I would wait until a tri-band 5g SIM card router was released and invest in it, with a tri-band mesh, but I need to do something urgently, because the tvs are pausing regularly, particularly during peak times.

            Thanks again

          • That’s correct — it’s pointless and potentially problematic. You should use mesh hardware with the same (or similar) specs. For your case, you should get a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 satellite to use with the X80. You’ll get the best local speed if you use a network cable to link them, but even wireless, they should be fast enough for streaming as long as you arrange the hardware properly — more here. As I said, streaming actually requires a relatively low ceiling bandwidth, around 25Mbps for 4K — or 250Mbps if you have 10 simultaneous streaming devices.

          • Thanks for your help.

            I will invest in the x80-5g and an external antenna and integrate it into my current mesh of x20’s and go from there.

            Happy New Year!!!!

  5. Hi Dong, I read you comments about smart plugs fouling a network. I’m having problems and looking for the best way out. Currently an AC86U with 4 nodes (mix of wifi 5 routers) in a mesh with wired backhaul. I have around 100 devices regularly connected and get regular lockups. Options I’m considering (although mostly blind feel rather than your sort of knowledgeable decision making). I’m interested in your thoughts.

    1. Turn off AiMesh and put all the nodes in AP mode using the same SSIDs. That should take AiMesh out of the equation?
    2. Turn on the guest 2.4 network and move all my smart devices onto that. That should free up conflict on 2.4/5 networks?
    3. Replace the main router with a Wifi 6 model and at some compatible nodes. That would eliminate hardware processing as the issue, but would be pretty expensive.
    4. Do something clever to create a second network for smart devices and take them away from the main network (although I’ve no idea how to do this yet so will be reading your site avidly if this is where I have to go!)

    • Hi Steve,

      There’s no such thing as “smart” plug 🙂 — more in this post, you should read it. To answer your questions:

      1. Yes, but there’s no point in doing that, and it’ll work.
      2. Nope, more on the Guest network in this post but the guest SSID is just a virtual portion of the same band — it uses the same bandwidth and settings of the main SSID.
      3. Nope.
      4. Yes, you can use multiple Double-NAT setups in your case and somehow divide up the smart devices among the routers.

      • Thanks for the reply and happy new year to you. I’ve read the double NAT article and have a couple of questions.

        1. if I isolate all of the ”smart” kit including the echo devices into the second NAT will I still be able to communicate with them from my phone, tablet etc on the other NAT or is that only achieved by security additions?

        2. Secondly, how does AiMesh handle the second NAT is is accessible from all mesh nodes?

        3. One final thing I didn’t ask previously is whether flipping to Merlin would give me any benefit as I know it has a lot more configuration options.

        • 1. That depends on the actual device. Some might work some might not. Most won’t work for the initial setup process.
          2. It doesn’t. You can’t have a single AiMesh (or any mesh) in a double NAT; you can only have separate mesh systems on top of each other.
          3. It won’t work with what you need, but it’ll give you more advanced options and maybe more stability — more on Merlin in this post.

  6. Hi Dong

    Would you be able to recommend a tri band mesh system that can be purchased in the UK via Amazon direct? I need tri band due to wireless backhaul only. I was looking at the XE75 but as you state in the 6E section of best mesh, 6E is shorter range. It might matter in a 3 story house.

    Thank you

      • ZenWifi XT8 available but not XT9. 🙁

        How much worse in coverage/range would the 6E based XE75 be to the XT8? As for bandwidth, I won’t ever need anything above 1Gbps. Fibre connection is likely going to be max 500 Mbps anyway.


        • I’d say about 10%, but that varies by location. The issue is without a dedicated backhaul band, the XE75 will have less than half the speed of the backhaul band, whichever it is, at the satellite unit, and that will be slow considering its middling specs. You can open the XT8‘s backhaul band for clients, and even then, it’s still fast since it’s a 4×4 band. Please read the reviews of them for more.

  7. I was looking at your reviews for 2022 WiFi 6 routers. Comparing the Velop mx4200 and Asus XT8 … Has the ability to use wired backhaul improved enough for the xt8? I have an earlier Velop but would like more features including parental controls.

    • Yes, it has, David. But if you have wiring, it’s better to use Dual-band or Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E hardware instead.

  8. Hello!

    I was wondering if maybe you could suggest a mesh system that would suit my situation the best. The house is two stories high and about 2500 sqft but the issue is that on both floors the cable is on the edge of the house and there is no way of bringing it closer to the middle.

    The idea I had was to have the main router hub on the first floor and have 2 satellite hubs, one connected through cable on the second floor on the edge of the house, and another on the second floor closer to the middle but connected via WIFI.

    Would you think that the second satellite is useless and only one on the second floor would be sufficient? I wanted to go for the Tri-band Mesh solution but you have noted that in some cases these systems do not work well when connected with cable and I kinda need to connect one with cable and the other one via WIFI.

    Any help would be appreciated! Cheers!

  9. I read this article very carefully. This is an essential and informative article on buying new branding and affordable price routers. Thanks for sharing this great article with us.

  10. Hello Dong

    I’m currently using a Taotronics mesh (2 devices) that I bought in January, per specification it only handles up to 500 Mbps connection. I recently upgraded my connection to 1gigbit and was looking to upgrade to a mesh that handles 1 gig connection using wireless backhaul between the units. I tried the Tp-Link XE75 which uses Wifi 6E, however I didn’t see much of an improvement, I actually saw lost connection and thought it could be because the XE75 used a dedicated 6Ghz bandwidth for backhaul between the units so I only had 2 bands for the devices Vs thr Tri band being shared on the Taotronics. I am currently considering the XT8 and the Amplifi Alien and wanted your opinion in which to choose (Let’s set the price difference aside). I saw reviews that the Amplifi Alien has higher speeds at longer distances Vs the XT8, however I like that the XT8 has a 2.5 gig input so it can accommodate if I wanted to increase the speed in the future. Let me know what you think.

  11. Hi Dong,
    I get you don’t like eero because of privacy concerns. But you can say the same concerns about any internet provider or phone plan provider as well. How about just using VPN on all devices?
    Also, the important point is firmware updates. Eero first gen (release date in 2016) is still getting security/firmware updates. Do you know about any other manufacturer that gives security/firmware updates for 7+ years?

    • Internet providers and ISP has no reason to spy on you, Alex. Yes, technically, they can, but it’s ultimately a waste of their resources. One of the reasons is that they have no idea who uses the connection; they only know who pays for the connection and how much traffic is going through. This is why there are legal requirements before an ISP, or a phone company turns over the record of a service account — it costs them extra to do so. And they are all in the business of making money.

      If you use a ISP-provided gateway, however, that’s now a different story — the data connection is no much more targeted at no additional cost — everyone logs in and identify themselves each time they get connected. At the very least, every device registers itself to the router via the MAC address, etc.

      VPN has little to do with security or privacy; you only trade one source of risk for another, which might or might not be safer. More in this post. And even if you use a VPN, your traffic still goes through your ISP — it only costs the ISP even more to snoop on you if they need to.

      ALL popular networking vendors have certain old devices, not all, that they have supported for years. Pick any networking vendor, and you will find at least one of its products that’s been supported for a very long time.

      Forced auto firmware update is no good. You don’t want that. What if you want to skip a version? Or if you want to use an older version? Auto firmware update is just a way the vendor exerts their complete control on your router and, by extension, you. Most other vendors leave auto firmware updates as an OPTION (you can turn that on or off.) Also, constant new firmware updates could mean that the hardware is BAD or designed to do evil things.

      Online privacy and security are a matter of degree — more here.

  12. Dong, thanks again for another great update. I have been using a three pack of RBK752 (RBR750 and 2 x RBS750) for a while now and it has been good. Please, for the uninformed (me), can you explain the importance of the 160Mhz channel? Mine does not support it but the Deco X5700 does. I am completely wireless and will likely never be wired. I am wondering if changing to the X5700 will get me anything compared to my three pack RBK752 series. Thank you!

  13. Hi Dong,

    Thank you for this helpful wonderful analysis. Let me know your best recommendation for the following:

    4,000 sq foot house, 3 levels (basement, first floor, second floor). I currently subscribe to 1 gig speed fiber internet (1,000 speed upload and download) and I have just finished running Cat 7 wires to the office, master bedroom, and living room locations. I will eventually run a wire to the basement as well once I build a movie room down there.

    I am interested in a mesh system with only 2 units to start with, utilizing only wired backhauls for my current gig speeds, but will likely subscribe to faster speeds once they are eventually offered.

    I liked your review of what the Asus RT-AX86U is capable of but some of the trend micro data sharing/privacy was a bit concerning too me. What do you think some of the best options I should consider are?

    • I’d recommend the ET2 in your case, Dan, if you really want to get full Gigabit out of your broadband. I generally address the privacy issue in each review. Make sure you read before asking other questions — that’s one of the rules. 🙂

  14. Seems very detailed analysis. It will be very helpful if you can start a league table to summarise the finding at the end.
    I’m looking to buy a mash for the 3-bed house (medium size). I ultimately end up with TP-Link Deco X90 or NETGEAR WiFi 6 Orbi RBK752.
    TP-Link Deco X90 (2 unit)is available for £349
    and NETGEAR WiFi 6 Orbi RBK752 (2 units) is for £320

    which one you would prefer? or any other alternative you recommend?

  15. Hi Dong,

    Just read this thread and a few others. What’s your recommendation for a wireless mesh system to over a split level home (350sqm) for an internet connection that’s only 50mbps? I’ve been looking at the asus xd4 and eero 6 plus.


  16. Hello Dong,

    I literally came across your site this morning. My situation is as follows:

    I just moved into my new construction home last week. I am not ready to make anything wired so I would like to stick with wireless for the majority of the gadgets in my house. I do game a lot on my PS5 and I pay for Fiber 1000 with AT&T. The PS5 is wired into the AT&T modem and is in my game room which is upstairs. My wife’s office is downstairs on the opposite side of the house from my game room where the AT&T modem is located so therefore the AT&T modem’s wifi signal is non existent. When I do a speed test on the AT&T modem my speeds are faster than when I do a speedtest to the router that I bought. My new home is 2218 sq ft.

    I currently have the Netgear Nighthawk MK63S mesh system in my home and I am not satisfied with the performance. One of the satellite modems is in my wife’s office and I can maybe get 100 down and 50 up. Am I over reacting on the speeds or can I do better? Also, I don’t believe that the hand off between the satellites is a seamless transition.

    • Welcome aboard, Rashad! This is the place where you can figure things out yourself. That said, you should start with this post to get on the same page with everyone on the terms — chances are you don’t have any “modem” at home. After that, this post on mesh systems will help. Make sure you follow related links, too, if you have more questions.

      • Okay, so the AT&T equipment that I have is the gateway. I am confident that I have a mesh system with the Netgear Nighthawk MK63S. I previously had a Netgear Nighthawk RAX43 that I replaced with the MK63S. I now believe that I could have put the RAX43 in AP mode and could have had similar or better speeds and reliable WiFi. I am unsure of this because I was too hasty to try it out. The AT&T gateway just wasn’t performing in the spot of my house that I wanted it to perform but it has better WiFi speeds than my MK63S. The coverage isn’t as great though. The speeds on the RAX43 was better than the gateway and the MK63S. I was wondering if the single router in AP mode would do the trick of getting coverage and consistent speeds in the part of the house that is struggling for coverage or if the MK63S is better for this job? Or perhaps a different mesh system would be better. Another thing I thought about, the MK63S comes with a router and two satellite hubs. Do I have to use both of them or can I get away with using one? Would only using one improve speeds and prevent a daisy-chain topology?

  17. Hi Dong,
    Thanks for your effort in making these posts and also taking the time to reply to most of the comments
    what are your views on the new TP-Link Deco AXE5300 (Wi-Fi 6E Tri-Band Whole-Home Mesh Wi-Fi System) ?

  18. Thanks, Dong. I did that. I also set the channel bandwidth to suggested recommendations and updated the wifi channels. It has been better since this. I should be getting 200mbps. In the back bedroom, I get around 95-100. I have an RP-AX56 on the way. Going to see where the ideal placement will be, and I will also wire it.

    • I bet you use an Internet speed test app. It’s generally inaccurate. But chances are your device is connected to the 2.4GHz band. Make sure you separate the bands and use the 5GHz for the testing. Also, make sure your CAT cable can deliver Gigabit and not 100Mbps, which is a common case of faulty CAT5e wiring.

      • Thanks again! I am using an app to test the speed. When you say separate the bands, does that occur on the device, or router?

        Also, how can I test the Ethernet lines? I have a gigabit switch at the start of the lines, which the ISP said was necessary to improve performance. Maybe that means that they are gigabit?

        • On the router, Torrey. Turn off SmartConnect and use the name of each band with a different name. If you test with the 5GHz or 6GHz and still get consistent lower than 100Mbps then chances are it’s your wiring or switch. To test a wired connection, you can get a test kit or follow this post.

          • Thank you.

            Another question. In your opinion, considering that my house is wired, is a Unifi system worth a look?

            Dream Machine Pro -> POE Switch Two AP’s, third AP for outdoors.

          • Yes, Torrey. UniFi is totally different but it’ll work really well. It’s more of a business solution, though, so it might require a bit of in-depth networking know-how. The UDM is the compact version of the UDM Pro, which is more suitable for home use and it has similar architecture.

  19. Hi Dong! Wonderful to read your articles and get educated! Thanks so much. I was hoping to get your advice on what you thought was more wise: using the Asus ZenWiFi CT8 or XT8, or AiMesh (we don’t have a wired setup or any AiMesh routers).

    I’m in an older two-story flat, each floor measuring 700sq ft, with reinforced concrete and brick walls. Our connection is 500Mbps but have only seen speeds of 75 using wifi since we use a very old AirPort we need to replace. It’s located close to the modem and only wiring in a corner room in the flat. We have a few dead zones where the wifi signal can’t reach across two rooms and the upper floor. I’m hoping to change this. Since we don’t have a wired system, we can’t use a wired backhaul unfortunately (I just learnt what that means from your articles!). I’m leaning towards the XT8 after reading your articles, and also because I’m not located in the States and need to check for dual voltage 120V/220V, so it might be easier to use an existing system made for this market. That said, I’m worried that the signal won’t be strong enough for the thick walls and another floor, and wondering if a bespoke AiMesh setup might perform better. Thanks for your advice in advance.

    What’s your favourite bean this year – mocha java?

    • All ZenWiFi routers use AiMesh, Nic, just like Asus standalone routers. If your current AirPort can cover the place (though slow), then a single new router will do. That said you can start with the GT-AX11000 or RT-AX92U. If need be you can add another unit to extend the coverage. But yes, thick concrete walls are problematic and the only way to truly overcome that is through network cables.

      Products I’ve reviewed are generally 120/240V, if not, I’ll call that out in the review, like this one. But I’d recommend against buying a US router to use in Hong Kong or elsewhere since the regulations might be different. More in this post on dBm.

      • Thanks Dong! Great heads up on the regulations – likely saving me from a huge headache. The AirPort can’t cover a room on the same floor as the AirPort after the signal meets two walls, so we likely will need to replace it. In this case, would you suggest the ZenWifi system XT8 over purchasing new routers? The price seems comparable.

          • Dong,

            I am attempting to add an Asus RP AX56 to my aimesh system. Note that both of my nodes are wired. My network will only add the RP when it is wired directly into one of the nodes. When I disconnect and attempt to move it to a dead spot, it loses signal. Any thoughts? Thank you.

  20. Hi Dong,

    We have a 3-story house and currently use an Orbi RBK50 (main floor) with 2 satellites (one upstairs, one basement), but subscribe to 1000mbps speed. Seems that this actually supports up to 400mbps and we want to upgrade our router. I am between the ASUS XT8 with two nodes + router and the Orbi RBK852 with two nodes + router. We do a lot of streaming, have a ton of connected devices, and WFH, but no gaming. Which one of these two would you suggest or is there another you’d recommend?

    Thank you!

          • Hey Dong, can’t do the wired network, but added the XT8s and getting like 300mbps faster than before, which is great. Still nowhere near 1000mbps even when my phone is right next to router.Any ideas on how to improve? I didn’t separate the 5ghz from the 2.4 etc because we have lots of family that need to connect easily without any confusion. Does that make a difference?

          • It only makes a difference if you need to make sure you use the 5GHz instead of the 2.4GHz. Also, there’s no Wi-Fi device (phone/laptop, etc.) that can do 1000Mbps of sustained speed. More in this post.

          • So what’s the actual purpose of having 1gb internet speed if devices can’t reach those levels?


      • Dong,

        I have been following your site for a few weeks now, and I must say, your insight is splendid.

        I currently have ASUS ET8 (I am still within the return window). I have both nodes wired. My second floor (home is about 3000sq ft) still experiences some wifi signal issues and overall slowness. Would I be better off with the XT8? Note that my whole home is wired with CAT5e.

        • Thanks, Torrey. No, since you have your home wired, the ET8 is the better fit — either it or the ET12. Make sure you set the backhaul to wired. Use the web interface then AiMesh -> System Settings -> turn Ethernet Backhaul Mode to On.

  21. Hi Dong,

    What a real eye-openers your articles here are! I learned a LOT, big thanks!

    I am considering a new Wifi 6 set to replace my wifi 5 Velop 3-set (AC660, WHW0303). 3 nodes was a bit overkill, so I expect I can do with 2 nodes now. The balcony/terrace is hard to cover as there are well isolated (signal-wise) metal window frames in between. But with a node in the windowsill, there is no problem anymore.

    My situation:
    125 m3 apartment (single level)
    All nodes wired
    1 GB Fiber internet and routed IPTV
    Fritzbox 7590 modem-router (ISP) Like to keep this as my router, so the new mesh set wil be in AP mode.
    Mixed wireless and wired network with 3 TP-Link SG108E and SG105E switches

    I am considering Asus ZenWifi.
    You say a XD6 will do in wired situations, but I can buy the XT8 set for the same price (€339,- both for 2 nodes). Is there a reason to still choose the XD6 set then?
    I see some differences in the 2×2 and 4×4 in different bands, something to consider here?

    Linksys advised me to wire the primary Velop directly to my modem-router, connect a (dedicated) switch to the other port on the same Velop and connect the other secondary Velops directly to this switch. No other networkconnections were allowed to this same switch for best results, according to Linksys.
    This can still be done with the Asus’ but is this still needed? Or can I connect the seconday node to whatever switch as long as it is connected in the same network as the primary node is?

    Since I will be using the set in AP mode; any advantages in choosing a (“real”) AP, instead of a router set which I use in AP mode?
    The Ubiquity Unify mesh AP’s seem interesting too, especially because the support PoE as well.

    Any other recommendations for my situation (other sets?) are welcome to of course.

    Thanks again, I will definately be following your site and posts!

    • I can’t do specific consulting, Henk. Keep in mind that I’m in the States and have no idea how things are on your end. That said, you should:

      1. Check out this post on double NAT vs single NAT, it applies to your situation.
      2. If your home is wired, there’s no reason to get the XT8. Why? Here’s the review.
      3. If you must use the current gateway, maybe get a couple of access points instead.

      By the way, what Linksys advised you is laughable — it’s like saying a road with just one car is best for traffic so keep it that way. But more on AiMesh in this post.

      • Thanks for the reply Dong! Highly appreciated.
        I didn’t mean to ask for a specific consulting, just trying to make answering as easy as possible for you but giving the best details I could think of. 🙂

        I did look for access points and read your articles, but I cannot find any AP that comes anywhere near the price of the XT8 (+/- $382) when maintaining the same specs.
        Could I go wrong with the XT8 in AP mode?

        I read the XT8 review and get that there is no NEED to get this set in wired situations, but thing is that the price for this XT8 is the same as the XD6. Why wouldn’t I get the XT8 then? Especially with the latest firmware that opens up all three bands.

        By the way: any way to support your work or buy you a beer? By PayPal i.e.?

        • Yes, you can use the XT8 in AP modes — individually or as a mesh — I described the latter in this post on the ET8. The XT8, in my experience, has had an issue with wired backhaul, likely because it was made mainly for a fully wireless home. But with the latest firmware that seems to have been worked out. And you’re right, considering the specs, the XT8 might be the best APs you can get.

          The support info is at the bottom or lower part of each page, Henk. Thanks for the thought.

  22. I would like to know, how the coverage range of only a single mesh router(no satellite) compares to other ‘non-mesh’ routers, like the TP Link AX-90 or GX-90 for example. The later have bigger and more antennas, is this of benefit comparing with a small mesh router?

  23. Hello Dong,
    Searched the website for hours and found your website to be informative and efficient. Thank you for taking time to make this site happen.

    May I ask; I understand you said a dual band will work just fine for homes with modest internet speed (I am in Australia so internet speeds are embarrassing!) but; I have alot of home smart devices (lights, cameras, air con, tv, sensors, solar, computers, 2 kids on gaming stations, etc)
    I will be upgrading to mesh after surviving with telco modem/wifi router at one end of house and 4 year old netgear wifi extender further up which JUST covers to out back verandah and downstairs (just but erratic). Both dual band but must switch networks as I walk around house.

    Will i see ANY extra improvements with the tri band over a dual band?

    I believe a newer mesh setup will resolve a lot of issues I have and I would be prepared to spend extra money IF there are ANY benefits with tri-band rather than dual.

    I can get a asus xd4 3 pack for $280 USD or asus xt8 2 pack for $430.

    I like the idea of being able to use the xt8 to plug in a network drive but would not pay the extra cost just for this if there is absolutely no other benefit!


  24. Dong, I just installed the Asus XT8. Setup was beyond easy and I updated the firmware as well. I noticed a checkbox in the Advanced Settings/Wireless/5 GHz-2 area labeled ‘enable 160MHz’. Would this indicate that Asus has now added 160MHz band support? See attached.

  25. Hi Dong, I’ve recently discovered your website, it’s great! Keep up the good work.

    May I clarify my plan please based on my understanding of your articles?

    Current set up in my home is CAT 6 ethernet, with Apple AirPort Extreme plus 3 x Apple Airport Express (a primitive backhaul mesh…?). My home is a 100 year old UK brick house, with 9 inch walls, total area 2,000 square feet. The ground floor has been extended recently with quite a few steel girders (ie not good for wifi signal). I have 2 broadcasters (AirPort Extreme plus an Express) on this ground floor and one each on the 2 floors above. I could possible survive with a single broadcaster for the two upper floors but 4 provides great performance.

    There’s nothing wrong with the performance per se but I am aware Apple equipment is old, not updated very often and ought to be upgraded at some point. Agree, or is this more urgent??

    My real question is this: from your reviews above I intend to go for the Asus XD6. The standard package is for 2 broadcasters and I want to see if this seems OK vs my current set up of 4.

    I see in your article above you say “Thanks to the high bandwidth backhaul link, you can place the broadcasters farther out to get more extensive coverage without losing too much speed in the process.”, so am hoping that two will work OK.

    Right now in the UK I can only buy the XD6 in pairs so it could be quite expensive to buy 4 x units (unless you can recommend an alternative Asus product as a range extender).

    Hope this makes sense and open to any suggestions or comments you might have. Once again I appreciate the info in your site!

  26. Hi Dong,

    Great information and articles. I live in Hong Kong where the walls are thick concrete and even though the space is small, i’m having trouble with a proper wireless mesh system. I’ve gone overboard with an GT-AX11000 as the main router and an AC86U as mesh node but the speeds are still quite slow in other rooms. Would you suggest getting the AX6100 as a node or switching the system completely to a pair of XT8??

    Thanks in advance!

  27. Hi Dong!
    I know your an expert can you help me. I have an Asus Zenwifi XT8. My internet connection is 500Mbps. How come when I do speed test on my routers built in speedtest I get 500Mbps but when I test using my Iphone 13 and laptop I only get 300-350Mbps using 5ghz wifi. I am not using any node just the main router to test speeds. Is there something wrong with my settings?

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

    Any help is appreciated,

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

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

  30. Hi Dong,

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

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

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

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

    Thank you!

    • A couple of things, Myles:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    2. Asus zenwifi XT8 (3or4sets)

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

    Thank you


  33. Hi Dong!

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

  34. Hi Dong,

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

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

  35. Hi Dong,

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

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

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

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

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

    I am a little confused.


  36. Hi, Dong.

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

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

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

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

    Please help!

    • A couple of things, Jenny.

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

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

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

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

        Would you please help me further? Thanks!

        • Jenny,

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

    • A couple of things, Justin:

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

      Good luck!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Dong,

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

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


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

          • Thanks Dong,

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

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


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

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

  39. Hi Dong,

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

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

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

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


  40. Hi Dong,

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

  42. Hi Dong,

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

  48. Hi Dong,

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

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

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

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

    Thanks in advance.

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

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

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

  50. Dong,

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks in advance!

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

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

      That will work well.

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks in advance,


  52. Hey Dong

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

        Good luck!

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


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

  53. Hi Dong,

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

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

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

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

    Appreciate any insight! Thank you!

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

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

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

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

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

    Thank you for your time and assistance.

      • Hi Dong,

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

        Much appreciate you taking the time to help me out 😃

        Have a good day!

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

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

            Once again, thanks for you time and advice.