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Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Systems: The Standard’s Final Fine Purpose-built 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 I've reviewed. I picked five out of two categories—Dual-band vs. Tri-band—and will include similar alternatives.

We're talking about canned Wi-Fi 6 systems here. 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 7 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.

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. I'd even say it's the best time to invest in a Wi-Fi 6 mesh. The standard is mature, and its price has been 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, and last updated it on March 26, 2024, with likely the final best-five lists.

The Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is one of the most comprehensive purpose-built Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems.
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 top five lists

There are two top-five lists, one of Dual-band hardware and the other, Tri-band, listed in the rating order starting with the most recommended. The numbers are the ranking.

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, in a wired home, mesh type delivers the best bang for your buck.

A Dual-band mesh system with wired backhauling makes more sense than a Tri-band alternative.

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


The Asus ZenWiFi XD6 AX5400 Dual band Mesh WiFi 6 System 11TP Link Deco X55 Pro WiFi6 Mesh SystemLinksys Velop Micro 6 Mesh System includes three hardware unitsTP Link Deco X4300 Pro is a 3 PackNetgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Mini Package Content
NameAsus ZenWiFi XD6's RatingTP-Link Deco X55 Pro's RatingLinksys Velop Micro 6 Mesh's RatingTP-Link Deco X4300 Pro's RatingNetgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Mini's Rating
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1. ZenWiFi XD6: A sensible system that has (almost) everything

The Asus ZenWiFi XD6 AX5400 Dual-band Mesh WiFi System
Best Five Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems: 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. This mesh system has no Multi-Gig port, and that's the only thing disappointing about it.

Note: There are many more Dual-band options with Asus's AiMesh. Find your best combo in this post.

Alternatively, you can also consider the following:

Asus ZenWiFi XD6's Rating

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

Pros

Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance

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

Compact design

Presynced hardware, 160Mhz support

Cons

No Multi-Gig or Link aggregation

No USB port


2. TP-Link Deco X55 Pro: A low-cost real Multi-Gig experience (for a wired home)

TP-Link Deco X55 Pro WiFi6 Mesh System Box Content
Best Five Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems: The TP-Link Deco X55 Pro is the first mid-tier Wi-Fi 6 canned mesh that goes full Multi-Gig.

The TP-Link Deco X55 Pro is the latest Wi-Fi 6 canned mesh system released at a time when the Wi-Fi standard is being phased out. However, it's also the first low-cost entry-level system equipped to deliver a real Multi-Gig experience, making it an excellent buy for a wired home.

TP-Link Deco X55 Pro's Rating

8.3 out of 10
TP Link Deco X55 Pro WiFi6 Mesh System
Performance
8.5 out of 10
Features
7.5 out of 10
Design and Setup
8 out of 10
Value
9 out of 10

Pros

Reliable Wi-Fi coverage; top mid-tier performer via wired backhauling; dual 2.5GBASE-T ports

Ease to use; helpful mobile app with a standard set of network settings and features

Simple, practical design

Cons

Middling Wi-Fi specs with modest performance via wireless backhauling

Requires an account with TP-Link to work; limited Wi-Fi and network customization

No USB; not wall-mountable


3. Linksys Velop Micro 6 Mesh: Representing a new consumer-friendly mesh approach

Linksys Velop Micro 6 Mesh System being tested
Best Five Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems: The Linksys Velop Micro 6 Mesh System includes a router and two wireless satellites.

Released in 2024, the Linksys Velop Micro 6 Mesh came out when the world was slowly moving to Wi-Fi 7, so it's a dated mesh system. However, it's also a completely fresh one as it represents Linksys's new consumer-first hardware approach.

Linksys Velop Micro 6 Mesh's Rating

8 out of 10
Linksys Velop Micro 6 Mesh System includes three hardware units
Performance
8 out of 10
Design Features
9 out of 10
Ease of Use
8 out of 10
Value
7 out of 10

Pros

Aesthetically pleasant design; 2.5Gbps WAN port

Reliable and fast-to-specs performance with a decent set of networking and features

Pain-free, plug-n-play approach; web user interface and mobile app can work without linking to Linksys's optional vendor-assisted management

Run cool and quiet; low power consumption

Cons

Dated Wi-Fi standard; modest specs; only one Multi-Gig port on the router

No network port on the satellite, no USB port; different power adapters for the router and satellite; no WPA support for legacy clients

No setting backup and restore; the firmware is a bit buggy (at launch)


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

TP-Link Deco X4300 Pro 3 Pack with Box
Best Five Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems: The TP-Link Deco X4300 Pro includes 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—it is an early 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:

TP-Link Deco X4300 Pro's Rating

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

Pros

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

Cons

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;


5. Netgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Mini: A reliable business mesh for the home

Netgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Mini Router Ports
Best Five Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems: 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 Netgear's Nighthawk home routers. This mesh doesn't have top-notch specs, but it is a viable and reliable option for a wired home (or office).

Alternatives:

  • The more expensive and higher-tier SXK80 or any other Wi-Fi 6 Orbi Pro | Buy now!

Netgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Mini's Rating

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

Pros

Reliable Wi-Fi at comparatively affordable pricing

Lots of Wi-Fi settings, responsive web user interface

Esthetically pleasing

Mounting accessories included

Wired backhaul support

Cons

No 160MHz bandwidth, modest specs

Slow throughput speeds on the Satellite unit

The insight subscription trial starts without user consent

Could be more affordable

No USB port


Best Five Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems: For homes 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 and two 5GHz bands. In a wireless setup, one of the latter can work as the dedicated backhaul, enabling the system to reduce signal loss.

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

A Tri-band system is necessary for a large home or even a medium one with thick walls where you can't run network cables. Still, all hardware mentioned below performs best via wired backhauling.


Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 out ofAmpliFi Alien Mesh OpenOrbi RBK752 LabelLinksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 11TP Link Deco X5700
NameAsus ZenWiFi Pro XT12's RatingAmpliFi Alien Mesh Kit's Rating Netgear Orbi RBK750 Series' RatingLinksys Velop MX12600's RatingTP-Link Deco X5700's Rating
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1. Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12: The ultimate Wi-Fi 6 purpose-built mesh system

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Box Content
Best Five Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems: 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

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 the following alternatives:

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12's Rating

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

Pros

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

Dual Multi-Gig ports with multi-Gigabit 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

Cons

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

Buggy Dual-WAN, not wall-mountable


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

AmpliFi Alien Mesh Kit
Best Five Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems: The Alien Kit is quite unique.

The AmpliFi Alien Kit includes an Alien router and an Alien MeshPoint, which are 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:

AmpliFi Alien Mesh Kit's Rating

8.5 out of 10
AmpliFi Alien Mesh Open
Performance
8.5 out of 10
Features
8 out of 10
Design and Setup
9.5 out of 10
Value
8 out of 10

Pros

Dead-easy to set up and manage

Excellent Wi-Fi coverage

Fast performance, wired backhaul supported

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

Useful VPN and ad-blocking features

Cool hardware design

Cons

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

No dedicated backhaul band

Expensive


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

Orbi RBK 752
Best Five Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems: The Netgear Orbi AX4200 is possibly even more rounded than how its hardware looks.

You can think of the Orbi RBK752 as a 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.

Alternatives:

Netgear Orbi RBK750 Series' Rating

8.5 out of 10
Orbi RBK752 Label
Performance
8.5 out of 10
Features
8 out of 10
Ease of Use
8.5 out of 10
Value
9 out of 10

Pros

Reliable Wi-Fi with extensive coverage

Relatively affordable

Practical, well-designed mobile app

Support WAN 2Gbps Link Aggregation

Full web interface with all standard settings and features

Cons

No 160MHz channel support, limited Wi-Fi customization

Incompatible 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


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

Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 1
Best Five Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems: The Linksys Velop AX4200 includes three identical mesh routers.

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 | Buy now!

Linksys Velop MX12600's Rating

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

Pros

Reliable Wi-Fi with excellent coverage

Helpful mobile app, full web interface

Fast NAS speeds when hosting external drives

Comparatively affordable

Cons

No support for 160MHz channel bandwidth

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

Spartan Wi-Fi settings, modest feature set

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

No setting backup/restore


TP-Link Deco X5700 Ports
Best Five Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems: The TP-Link Deco X5700 is available in a 2-pack.

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:

TP-Link Deco X5700's Rating

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

Pros

Excellent Wi-Fi performance and coverage

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

User-friendly, comparatively affordable

Good-looking

Cons

Spartan Wi-Fi customization, network settings, and features

Only one Multi-Gig port per hardware unit

App and login account required -- privacy risks

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

No USB or additional Gigabit network ports


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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842 thoughts on “Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Systems: The Standard’s Final Fine Purpose-built Collection”

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  1. Hi Dong, I really appreciate the effort you put into providing such well reasoned recommendations.

    Would you recommend one of your Wifi 6 Mesh setups over something like a Linksys Velop Pro 6E Mesh System or TP-Link Deco AX5000 Mesh System? I ask because those are Consumer Reports top picks and I’m still traumatized from my early adopter attempt at mesh systems from the first Google Wifi days with constant disconnect/reconnects.

    I’m upgrading my single access point setup with a Ubiquity UAP-AC-LR. It’s never been perfectly reliable with internet connection or covered as far as I would prefer. It’s being used as the Access Point connected to my ATT Fiber router rather than using that for wifi. I’m setup for wired backhaul for up to 3 spots (assuming they work with distance), but I fear that positioning could cause things to bounce from node to node in the house. I also have a back house that I could extend to for a tenant if I so desired.

    Reply
    • I don’t comment on stuff you read elsewhere, Luke.

      generally if you use UniFi APs, you should use an UniFi controller (router) like the UDM-SE. But your current AP is old and should be replaced anyway. Considering you have fiber and wiring, check out one of these (and their alternatives).

      Reply
  2. Love your posts, so informative.
    I have a 3,000 sqft home, 2 stories plus an unfinished basement. I probably only need 2 mesh nodes but the Asus XD5 set was a great price and only available in a 3-pack. Using wired backhaul all cables and ISP connections are a home run in south end of basement.
    I will install 1 node on the north end of 2nd floor.
    Another node on south end of 1st floor.
    Rather than run WAN and LAN cables to the first floor and making that the primary router I was considering using the extra XD5 in the basement as the primary router to simplify my wiring. Do you think that will cause a problem (too close together) since it is directly below the node on the first floor? I don’t suppose it is possible to turn of the wifi on the primary router? So, should I use 2 or all 3 nodes, thanks.

    Reply
    • Since you have wired backhauling, Andrew, it’s probably OK to use all three as you described. A floor generally blocks a lot of signals anyway.

      Reply
  3. Thanks for all the info you put on this site! You are my sole info source for researching a mesh system to buy. I was about to buy an eero system before reading!

    I have a wired 5300 sq ft home, “500Mps” from the service provider.

    Should I go with deco x55 pro, x4300 pro, x75, or x200 (or another model entirely)?

    With my wired backhauling and speed combo, will 2.5Gbps ports, tri vs dual bands, or 6 vs 6e make a difference?

    Reply
      • thanks. i narrowed down to those deco models based on your posts.

        with my internet speed, would I notice a difference in…
        a) 2.5Gbps vs 1 Gbps ports for backhaul (im guessing no?)
        b) tri-band vs dual band (depends on # of devices?)
        c) 6 vs 6e (yes?)

        i think the answers to those questions should help me hone in on the solution i need.

        Reply
          • i went with the deco xe75.

            my problem is each unit has 3 ports and i need to use up all the ports to hook up my modem and 2 satellites to my main hub unit. i have a device that requires a wired ethernet connection at a location next to the hub, but i have no ports to connect it. is there some kind of device you would suggest for this situation?

          • I’m currently trying to decide on the best mesh system for my situation. I am wanting to put a mesh system in a log cabin. The cabin is approximately 1400 sqft, it has reg drywall for the internal walls, but there is a stone fireplace in the living rm, and I will also have a TV on the rear deck which you would have to go through very thick wooden walls. Please forgive me for my ignorance and possibly asking the wrong questions. I am in the infant stages of learning this stuff, and I’m just trying not to buy the wrong thing. I will have 500 Mbps internet speed. I will have the first router hardwired, and the other node or two would be wireless. I am wanting to run 4 TVs streaming Youtube TV or Netflix etc. I will also have a few smart cameras, smart doorbell, lights and a Nest thermostat that will be connected…not to mention people’s cell phones, laptops, ipads etc that would be connected. This will be an AirBnB, so I would like to have the least amount of hiccups as possible. Would you recommend something like the TP-link AXE11000, Netgear Orbi 960 or the ASUS ZenWiFi Pro ET12. Or would it just be better getting a great Tri-Band Router like the TP-Link Archer AXE11000? My major concerns are movies/TV freezing up, the blockage of signal because of the large stone fireplace and going through the thick wood walls to reach the TV on the rear deck. Thank you in advance for any and all advice.

          • Thank you very much for the advice. It seems like the asus XT12 would be a great choice. Would the asus ROG rapture GT6 work as well…it looks like the performance is very close. One last thing…can either of these work with a 3rd node? Thanks again

      • Unless I’ve missed it in other reviews, you are the only person to point out privacy issues in managing a home network via a 3rd party. Maybe some don’t think this a a big deal, but as a former prosecutor, I am well aware that anyone can break into anything if so motivated, but it would be foolish to intentionally and figuratively leave a door open with cash on the table.

        Until I found your site, I was all set to go with the TP Link XE75 3 pack to replace a rented Spectrum router, with fiber coming soon to our neighborhood from other providers.

        To avoid 3rd party management, the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 seems to be an alternative, albeit more pricey especially as I would have to purchase an additional node as this only comes as a 2-pack. Two dumb questions:

        1. When hardwiring between the two units, can the ethernet cable go to a switch first, then to the second unit, or must the two units be directly linked (I have hardwired most things in house).

        2. I need 3 units so as the ET12 only has two, you have mentioned a few Asus routers to use, but in one table, you recommended using the only the ET12. So this would mean purchasing two 2-packs – am I missing something?

        While you’ve responded to many that you don’t advise on anyone’s given situation, I’ve included what I’m doing for reference. At 67 yrs old and not very technically literate, I am simply trying to improve my abysmal WiFi in a 100 yr old 3 story 5400 sq ft house with plaster walls backed by both metal (expanded sheet and mesh) and wood lath. (I’ve hard wired, using switches all TVs and desktops (iOS and windows) at various locations. Thank you.

        Reply
  4. Thanks Dong for the many articles. I have combed through a number of your articles but I still am unable to reach a decisive conclusion on this.

    I’m wondering what is the best mesh set-up for a mixed wireless and wired backhaul. Currently, i have a 3x node setup, using Covr AX1800 dual band. Router to Satellite 1 is wired backhaul, Satellite 2 to Satellite 1 is wireless backhaul. I’m having frequent internet dropping off issues on my Satellite 2.

    Looking to upgrade my mesh set up, but cannot decide if dual band is the way to go, or tri-band, in this mixed wireless/wired backhaul setup. And if tri-band is the way, do i go with linksys velop for the dynamic backhaul, or asus aimesh for the dedicated backhaul that can be opened up (does that mean it will no longer be dedicated backhaul between my Sat 1 and 2?).

    Reply
  5. Thanks for the amazing review Dong.

    I’m weighing up the
    $280 AUD = TP-Link Deco X55 Pro AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 2-pack
    $400 AUD = ASUS ZenWiFi XD6 Wi-Fi 6 2-pack

    will be using wired backhaul, and my internet speed is 100 down/50 up Mbps. Not a large house.

    Do you think it’s worth paying $120 more for the added security of the ASUS?
    I’ve heard reports of TP-Link Deco leaking personal information if you don’t sign up/pay for the added security.

    Reply
    • The TP-Link requires a login account so definitely not good for privacy, John. Asus is the only one you can use independently from the vendor, unless you chose not to use it that way. Other than that, both are great for your needs, and the Deco can handle full Gigabit and more. Read their reviews for more.

      Reply
  6. Hi Dong, I am planning my long overdue Wi-Fi 6 upgrade, and would love your advice please. I am about to purchase a Asus RT-AX88U Pro to setup as my main router (to be flashed with Merlin), which will be placed in the basement, next to my ATT gigabit fiber gateway.
    Basement is 1,500 sq ft, Main floor 2,000, Top floor 2,000.
    I have the house completely wired up with CAT 5e, terminating in the basement to a Netgear 16-port gigabit switch (no multigig yet). We have 25 wired devices not including backhauls, and about roughly 60 wireless devices. I chose the AX88U Pro for performance, not because of the load (90% of the time we use 200 Mbps or less on our ATT Gigabit) but rather for the sheer volume of total devices on the network. I want efficiency and stability (no dropped connections).
    We have WiFi 5 access points (2 on main and 1 on top floor). I want to go WiFi 6 mesh, so obviously I am limited to Asus products, but I’m struggling to find the best option. Since I will be using wired backhaul, a 2.5Gbps port would be great, since the AX88U Pro does have both 1 for WAN and 1 for LAN. Other requirements:
    -I assume dual-band options are preferred, due to my wired setup?
    -Multi-gig for all backhaul connections
    -Advanced QoS feature set
    -Ability to handle 20 or so simultaneous connections per node
    -Wireless range/coverage over speed
    -Ability to handle 100Mbps on wireless anywhere in house
    -Link aggregation is a nice-to-have
    -3 nodes for around $350 total (used/refurb ok)
    The secondary challenge I have is on the main floor, and placement of nodes. The reason I have 2 APs now is the wired connections are at the furthest points at the front and rear of the house, creating some rooms with very poor performance when only 1 node was running. With the upgrade to WiFi 6, this issue may improve slightly, but probably not enough to run 1 node. Assuming I need 2 nodes, this may open up options for less expensive models, since they would technically only need to support 1,000 sq ft each. My only concern would be the ability to handle 20 or so simultaneous connections.
    Originally it looked like the ROG Rapture GT-6 was the answer, but at $225 per node that blows by $350 budget (and it also seems a bit overkill for my needs). The ZenWifi XD6 comes very close to my budget at $130/device, but doesn’t have link aggregation or multi-gig support. Is there something in the middle budget-wise that has mutli-gig? Or would I be better off just buying three XD6 devices now and upgrading those in the future to Wi-Fi 7 nodes (that will most likely have what I need by then)? Thanks in advance for your wisdom!

    Reply
    • I don’t think you can get Multi-Gig wired backhauling with that budget, Dino. So the XD6 seems a good fit. Good luck!

      Reply
      • Thanks for the validation! A few more follow-up questions please:

        1. What will I really gain with multi-gig? Is it just an overall healthier/less congested network, given my 85+ devices? I understand about future-proofing, but I won’t be upgrading to any faster plans with ATT in the next 5 years. So just wondering what other benefits I’m overlooking.

        2. What is the least expensive Asus option that has multi-gig… ROG Rapture GT6?

        3. I know you have mentioned avoiding Tri-band solutions for wired homes – is there any exception where I should consider this in my setup?

        4. Given my main floor has about 2,000 sq ft and 7 rooms (standard walls), do you think it’s possible 1 XD6 node can cover the entire floor, if it’s placed in the back corner of the entire floor?

        Reply
          • Thanks, I have decided to defer upgrading to multi-gig for at least 3 more years.

            I thought mesh was the way to go, but after reading several of your mesh articles, now I am not so sure it will benefit me vs. using standalone APs as I have now. The APs are installed at least 50 feet from each other, and with walls, there is very little overlap for interference. Thoughts on this?

  7. I am curious what you would recommend someone to do if they have this use case:

    Large property (8k sq ft)
    not pre-wired in any way and owner doesn’t want to run cables. (moca out)
    Thick concrete walls between rooms (weakens wifi significantly)

    They have thought about doing Asus UT9 x 6, and a Synology setup (2x rt6600ax and 5x WRX560).

    Reply
  8. Need some advice!

    I have a Nest WIFI Pro (2 stations) and I feel like its not giving me what I need.

    I am stuck between the TP Link XE75 Pro, TP Link X95 and the Netgear SXK80 (On Offer when I can buy it from)

    I want to ditch the Nest WIFI badly as the performance is not worth the money.

    Which would you consider a better options. SXK alone has multi SSID which would be great for home, but im worried about the lack of customisation.

    Reply
  9. Hi Doug

    Excellent read.
    Wanting your opinion on a few products

    Currently got 3 eero pro 6e and struggling in areas of my property which is currently expanding into home assistant so I’m needing to ditch the shite!

    I’m looking at synology, asus or tplink

    What do you recommend in terms of reliability and product quality?

    I know I’m going to need a mesh setup so consist of a few of the products so obviously costs will come into it.

    Doesn’t have to be 6e but ideally at least WiFi 6

    Reply
    • Anything is better than the eero, Dave. However, don’t use Wi-Fi 6E (unless it’s quad-band or with wired backhauling). I can’t recommend anythign with the info you provided, though. Check out this post first. You likely will figure things out yourself.

      Reply
  10. Hi Dong,

    I am wondering if you can chip in with some help on two options I’m considering (by no means a technical user)

    Asus XT9 (two units) at £367 or Netgear RBK763S (three units) at £499

    setup: circa 2500sq ft, two floor, 6bed house with quite thick 90s brick walls. 1Gigabit connection wired into the ISP hub (Virgin, UK) in modem mode, I am currently using a cheapish huawei mesh system (AX3) consisting of 5 satellites (also AX3): one near the ISP (corner of house, downstairs), two downstairs and two upstairs. No option for a wired connection between routers as im renting.

    The thick walls must be a drag (hence the need for 5 units to cover all rooms and the cameras in the garden).

    I care mostly about coverage, stability, and lagless switch between satellites.

    Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    • It’s impossible to tell, Flippo, but chances are you’d need 3 or more units, no matter which you’d end up with. I’d go with the Asus since it’s much more flexible and give you more control. But only you would know. This post might help.

      Reply
      • Thanks Dong.

        I have read the post in the link. Thinking I will go with the Asus XT9 two pack and then will add an additional XD4 node to the mesh (hoping I can get it within(ish) Line of Sight to the XT9 node to use the 160Mhz dedicated band). This should come at the same price as the orbi 763, which is really tops for what I’m willing to spend

        Let me know in case i am doing something wrong!

        Thanks a million for the help, this site is excellent!

        Reply
          • Thanks Dong.

            I put an order in earlier today in the amazon spring sale and went with the XD5 – given your link I dont presume its any different as Im assuming your suggestion is about sticking to Triple Band?

            At this stage im going to check with the two and if really needed perhaps try get a standalone XT8, although that will make it overall quite more pricey than the Orbi 763 (570 vs 500£) – still worth the extra £ in your opinion?

            Thanks again for being so quick in your replies!

          • Yes, if you don’t have wiring then Tri-band (Wi-Fi 6) is the way to go. Else, get dual-band hardware. In case you want to know more, here’s the post on Dual-band vs Tri-band, etc. Generally, it’s not a good idea to mix Dual-band and Tri-band in a single system, though that works to a degree.

  11. 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!!!

    Reply
    • 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!

      Reply
  12. 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?

    Reply
  13. 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!

    Reply
  14. 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
    Ben

    Reply
      • 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?

        Thanks
        Ben

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
          • 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
            Ben

          • 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!!!!

  15. 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!)

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
  16. 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

    Reply
      • 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.

        Thanks

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
  17. 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.

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

      Reply
  18. 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!

    Reply
  19. 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.

    Reply
  20. 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.

    Reply
  21. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  22. 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!

    Reply
  23. 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?

    Reply
    • 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. 🙂

      Reply
  24. 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?

    Reply
  25. 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.

    Thanks,
    David

    Reply
  26. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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?

        Reply
  27. 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) ?

    Reply
  28. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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?

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
          • 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.

  29. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
          • 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.

  30. 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!

    Reply
          • 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?

            Thanks!

      • 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.

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
  31. 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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.?

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
  32. 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?

    Reply
  33. 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!

    Sincerely
    Ben

    Reply
  34. 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.

    Reply
  35. 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!

    Reply
  36. 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!

    Reply
  37. 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?

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

    Any help is appreciated,

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

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

    Reply
  40. Hi Dong,

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

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

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

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

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • A couple of things, Myles:

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

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

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

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

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

          Reply