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Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers of 2021: Take One, or Two, Home Today!

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

You’ll find in this post the lists of “the best” Wi-Fi 6 routers.

This standard’s first router became available in early 2019, and since then, I’ve reviewed dozens of them. Obviously, only those I’d use for myself make it here — and I indeed have been using at least some.

That said, any routers you find here will likely work out well — it’s a matter of degrees depending on your situation. But do bookmark this post — I’ll update it as I review more. You might find that perfect one the next time around.

By the way, if you live in a big home and need a multi-hardware-unit solution, check out this list of the best Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems instead. Looking to upgrade to the all-new Wi-Fi 6E? This list includes all you can buy right now.

Dong’s note: I last updated this frequently revised post on September 16, 2021.

See also  Wi-Fi 6E Routers of 2021: Bask Your Home in 6GHz Signals Today

Before we get to the lists, let’s cut to the chase and jump right to why you’re here: The very best Wi-Fi 6 router, all things considered.

Contents

The best Wi-Fi 6 router to date: Asus RT-AX86U

The Asus RT-AX86U is an Excellent Gaming Router
While mundane-looking, the Asus RT-AX86U has enough to qualify as the best dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router.

It’s tough to call a router (or anything for that matter) the best because everyone has different needs and budgets. So take “the best” with a grain of salt.

But the RT-AX86U AX5700 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router indeed has almost everything one would want from a standalone Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster. It’s been that way since I first reviewed it in August 2020 and actually gotten better via firmware updates.

Here’s the list of what this router has to offers:

  • Fast Wi-Fi speeds, excellent coverage.
  • Multi-Gig wired connection support.
  • Tons of useful features including tier-2 gaming from Asus.
  • No login account required (like all Asus routers) means no privacy concern.
  • Excellent support for AiMesh 2.0 (with latest firmware). You can get multiple units or any other dual-band AiMesh routers to form a Wi-Fi system, preferably via wired backhauls.
  • Comparatively pricing.

ASUS RT-AX86's Rating

9 out of 10
Asus RT AX86U 12
Performance
9/10
Features
9.5/10
Ease of Use
8.5/10
Value
9/10

Pros

Fast performance, excellent range, reliable

Tons of helpful networking features and settings

Useful settings for online gaming

Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app

Multi-gig, WAN/LAN Link Aggregation support

Excellent NAS performance and features when hosting a storage device

Comparatively affordable

Cons

No support for WTFast Gamer VPN

Not wall-mountable

Gaming features turn Adaptive QoS off

The single Multi-gig port caps at 2.5 Gbps

See also  Asus RT-AX86U Review: Arguably the Best Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router to Date

But like all things, the RT-AX86U is not perfect. Far from it.

It’s not wall-mountable, nor does it have multiple Multi-Gig ports. It doesn’t support Multi-Gig wired backhaul (yet?) when working as a mesh satellite. And as a gaming router, it doesn’t have all game-related features collectively available in Asus routers.

Still, if you’re in a hurry and want a “safe” purchase, you won’t go wrong with this router. Just make sure you understand that when it comes to Wi-Fi, we can never get everything.

Or can we? Well, maybe one of those on the following lists will prove me wrong for your situation.

Best Wi-Fi 6 routers of 2021: The lists

These lists are in reviewed order, the latest on top. Consequently, the number in front of each product’s name is numerical and not the ranking.

There are a few lists for different home sizes, including small, medium, and large, determined by the number of users and not necessarily space — again, you need a mesh for a large home.

Looking to see the routers mentioned here stacked up against one another in real-world speeds? Scroll to the bottom for the performance section. Or check out these Wi-Fi 6 matchups to see how they pan out as direct rivals.


Best budget entry-level (AX1500) and mid-range (AX3000) Wi-Fi 6 routers for a small home

This list includes dual-band 2×2 routers that range from affordable to semi-affordable. They all have a bandwidth cap of 2.4 Gbps or lower when used with 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients — there are currently no faster devices.

These generally are routers for the budget-minded or those living in a small or medium home.

5. Asus GS-AX3000: And excellent entry-level gaming router

Asus ROG STRIX GS AX3000 Gaming Router
The Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX3000 comes with a cool color-changing Aura light on the front.

The GS-AX3000 is somewhat of a gaming version to the RT-AX3000 below, and as such, it’s an excellent option. This new router, part of Asus’s ROG STRIX series, has many gaming and non-gaming features for a small household.

In many ways, the GS-AX3000 replaces the Asus RT-AX3000, which used to be on this list.

Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX3000's Rating

8.8 out of 10
Asus ROG STRIX GS AX3000 Gaming Router 9
Performance
9/10
Features
9.5/10
Ease of Use
8/10
Value
8.5/10

Pros

Excellent performance

Feature-laden, including those for gamers

Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app

Comparatively affordable

Cons

No support for WTFast Gamer VPN

No Multi-Gig network port

Network storage performance, when hosting a portable drive, could be better

See also  Asus GS-AX3000 Review (vs RT-AX3000): An Solid Gaming Router

4. Netgear WAX204: A valuable router that thinks it’s an access point

Netgear WAX204 Wi Fi 6 AX1800 Dual Band Wireless Access Point is out of the box
The Netgear WAX204 Wi-Fi 6 AX1800 Dual Band Wireless Access Point is actually a Wi-Fi router.

The Netgear WAX204 sure is special. For one, Netgear calls it an Access Point, but in reality, it is a Wi-Fi 6 router — which encompasses an access point. And it’s a catch!

Indeed, with a sub-$100 price tag and solid performance, the WAX204 is an excellent buy for a small home with a sub-Gigabit broadband connection.

Netgear WAX204 Access Point's Rating

8.3 out of 10
Netgear WAX204 Wi Fi 6 AX1800 Dual Band Wireless Access Points right angle
Performance
8.5/10
Features
7/10
Ease of Use
8/10
Value
9.5/10

Pros

Affordable

Strong and reliable Wi-Fi coverage

Can work as a router or access point

Straightforward local web user interface

Useful Wi-Fi settings

Compact design, wall-mountable

Cons

Low-tier Wi-Fi specs

No Multi-Gig port

Limited Wi-Fi settings and features

No remote web-based management

No PoE support

See also  Netgear WAX204 Review: An Excellent Low-Cost Wi-Fi 6 Broadcaster

3. Asus RT-AX68U: An entry-level mesh-ready router

Asus RT-AX68U
The Asus RT-AX68U is a surprisingly excellent semi-budget router.

The Asus RT-AX68U is a bit odd. It’s the only 3×3 Wi-Fi 6 router I’ve tested. But it proved an excellent choice as a standalone router or a member of an AiMesh system.

Asus RT-AX68U's Rating

8.9 out of 10
Asus RT AX68U
Performance
8.5/10
Features
9.5/10
Ease of Use
8.5/10
Value
9/10

Pros

Fast performance, excellent range, reliable

Tons of helpful networking features and settings, including AiMesh 2.0

Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app

Excellent NAS performance and features when hosting a storage device

Comparatively affordable

Cons

No Multi-Gig ports or 160MHz channel width support

Not wall-mountable

See also  Asus RT-AX68U Review: An Entry-Level Wi-Fi 6 Router that Won't Disappoint

2. TP-Link Archer AX50: An excellent alternative worthy of the extra cost

Archer AX50 Left Angle
The TP-Link Archer AX50 is a typical-looking Wi-Fi router.

The TP-Link Archer AX50 ( not to be confused with the similarly specced Archer AX3000) is a dual-stream (2×2) mid-range Wi-Fi 6 router.

But since there are only 2×2 clients on the market, this router can still deliver the top Wi-Fi 6 speeds, especially considering it supports the 160 MHz channel width.

On top of that, the affordable pricing, plus an excellent set of features, make it a great deal.

TP-Link Archer AX50's Rating

8.4 out of 10
Archer AX50 Right Angle
Performance
8.5/10
Features
8.5/10
Ease of Use
8/10
Value
8.5/10

Pros

160 MHz channel support with fast and reliable performance for mid-tier router

Tons of useful networking and Wi-Fi settings

Useful features, including free real-time online protection.

Comparatively affordable

Compact design, wall-mountable

Cons

No multi-gig network port or Dual-WAN

HomeCare requires a mobile app and login account with TP-Link to work

Slow NAS performance when hosting a portable drive

Runs a bit warm

See also  TP-Link Archer AX50 Review: A Nice Surprise of a Wi-Fi 6 Router

1. Netgear RAX40: A safe Wi-Fi 6 choice for the semi budget-minded

Netgear RAX40 PORT
The RAX40 has the usual number of network ports and a USB 3.0 port for a storage device.

If you live in a small home, the Netgear RAX40 is an excellent choice. It’s a muted version of the more expensive RAX120 that can deliver 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 (2.4Gbps) in full. That said, for now, it’s as fast as any Wi-Fi 6 router can be, considering there are only 2×2 clients.

Among budget Wi-Fi 6 routers, the Netgear RAX40 is slightly faster (and more expensive) than the TP-Link AX50 above.

Netgear Nighthawk RAX40's Rating

8.3 out of 10
Netgear RAX40 PORT
Performance
8.5/10
Features
8/10
Design and Setup
8.5/10
Value
8/10

Pros

Affordable pricing, reliable performance

160 MHz channel width support

Good set of network features and settings

Responsive web user interface, useful mobile app

Wall-mountable

Cons

Fluctuating Wi-Fi speeds

Wi-Fi range could be better

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

Mobile app requires a login account with the vendor

See also  Netgear RAX40 Review: Wi-Fi 6 for the Budget Minded

Best just-right (AX5400) Wi-Fi 6 routers for a medium home with sub-Gigabit Internet

These are dual-band routers with a mix of high-end (4×4) 5 GHz bands and a subdued 2×2 2.4 GHz band. They also have no Multi-Gig network port and relatively modest processing power.

However, considering we tend to care more about the 5 GHz band and most homes only have Internet of 500 Mbps or slower, these are great deals since they deliver where it matters.

4. Asus GS-AX5400: An An excellent gaming router

Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX5400 Gaming Router
The GS-AX5400 is another excellent gaming router from Asus.

The GS-AX5400 is a better version of the GS-AX3000 above and an excellent alternative to the RT-AX82U below.

It’s the latest gaming router from Asus, and it proved to be a solid performer for any small or medium home. And like all Aus Wi-Fi 6 routers, it can also work as part of an AiMesh system.

Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX5400's Rating

8.8 out of 10
Asus ROG STRIX GS AX5400 Gaming Router 3
Performance
9.5/10
Features
9.5/10
Ease of Use
8/10
Value
8/10

Pros

Excellent overall performance

Complete AiMesh 2.0 support, including system-wide Guest network

Robust web interface, well-designed mobile app, no login account required

Lots of useful features including those for gamers

Cool Aura RBG lighting

Cons

No Multi-Gig port or Gamer VPN (WTFast)

Performance as a NAS server could be better

A bit boring

See also  Asus ROG STRIX GS-AX5400 Review (vs RT-AX82U): An Excellent Alternative

3. Netgear Nighthawk XR1000: A different type of (gaming) experience

Netgear Nighthawk XR1000
The Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 comes in an eye-catching design.

The XR1000 is Netgear’s latest entry into the realm of gaming routers, and it proved to be quite different from the rest.

Running a game-centric operating system, called DumaOS version 3.0, the new router has some unique features for gamers, as well as a ton of helpful features for regular users.

In return, it’s a bit too pricey for its hardware specs, which are identical to the Asus RT-AX82U below. Also, it can be a bit esoteric for general users.

Still, for those playing a particular set of online gaming, this is an excellent buy.

Netgear Nighthawk XR1000's Rating

7.9 out of 10
Netgear XR1000 15
Performance
8/10
Features
8.5/10
Ease of Use
7.5/10
Value
7.5/10

Pros

Sophisticated game-centric firmware

Fast Wi-Fi speeds and reliable performance

Robust web UI, beautiful hardware design

Useful mobile app, wall-mountable

Cons

Expensive but underpowered – items of the web interface can take a long time to fully load

Limited Wi-Fi settings

Mobile app can't manage any gaming features

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

Online protection and VPN require subscriptions

Buggy — firmware needs some serious updates, no mesh option

See also  Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 Review: A Unique (Gaming) Experience

2. Asus RT-AX82U: Possibly the coolest gaming router to date

Asus RT AX82U Front
The Asus RT-AX82U has a unique programmable front-facing Aura RGB lighting.

The Asus RT-AX82U is almost the same as the RT-AX86U above in terms of performance and features. “Almost” because it’s a lesser option with less processing power and no multi-gig network port.

In return, it’s the only router so far that comes with awesome-looking programmable front lighting — much cooler than that of the GS-AX5400 and GS-AX3000 above. On top of that, its excellent performance and relatively friendly price tag don’t hurt.

Asus RT-AX82U's Rating

9 out of 10
Asus RT AX82U 19
Performance
8.5/10
Features
9.5/10
Ease of Use
8.5/10
Value
9.5/10

Pros

Excellent performance

Beautiful design with tons of helpful networking, game-related features, and settings

Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app

Comparatively affordable

Cons

No support for WTFast Gamer VPN

No multi-gig network port

Network storage performance (when hosting a portable drive) could use some improvement

Not wall-mountable

See also  Asus RT-AX82U Gaming Router Review: A Fancy Little Wi-Fi 6 Performer

1. Netgear Nighthawk RAX50: The just-right Wi-Fi 6 router

Netgear RAX50 Router 18
The RAX50 is a compact and good-looking Wi-Fi 6 router.

I called the RAX50 a just-right router because it can offer the same 5 GHz performance as the higher-end, like the RAX120, yet much more affordable.

Among other things, it does so by giving you lesser specs in the 2.4 GHz band, of which the higher-tier generally doesn’t necessarily give you faster speeds anyway.

Netgear Nighthawk RAX50's Rating

8.5 out of 10
Netgear RAX50 Nighthawk AX5400 Router will get Get Smart Parental Controls
Performance
8.5/10
Features
8/10
Design and Setup
8.5/10
Value
9/10

Pros

Fast, reliable Wi-Fi performance

160 MHz channel width support

Excellent NAS performance when hosting a storage device

Responsive web user interface, useful mobile app with built-in online protection

A good set of network features and settings

Wall-mountable

Cons

A bit pricey

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

Limited Wi-Fi settings

Mobile app requires a login account with the vendor

See also  Netgear Nighthawk RAX50 Review: A Just-Right Wi-Fi 6 Router

Best high-end (AX6000) dual-band Wi-Fi 6 routers for a medium home with Gigabit-class broadband

This list includes 4×4 routers with a cap Wi-Fi bandwidth of 4.8 Gbps when used with Wi-Fi 6 clients. These Wi-Fi 6 routers are great for a medium or possibly large home with an average number of devices and a fast Internet connection.

Most of these routers come with a multi-gig network port, and they also tend to have lots of features and can all work as a viable mini NAS server when coupled with an external portable drive.

The TP Link AX6000 Router
There’s nothing round about the TP-Link AX6000.

The TP-Link AX6000 is anything but round. However, it does have a lot to offer, from reliable performance to a good feature set. Its main rival is the Asus RT-AX88U below, and the two are comparable in more ways than one.

If you live in a medium home and have a super-fast broadband connection, the TP-Link AX6000 can be an excellent fit.

TP-Link Archer AX6000's Rating

8.1 out of 10
TP Link Archer 6000 Box
Performance
8.5/10
Features
8/10
Design and Setup
7.5/10
Value
8.5/10

Pros

Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance

2.5 Gbps WAN port with eight Gigabit LAN port

160 MHz channel bandwidth support

Excellent QoS and Parental Control features

Robust full web user interface, helpful mobile app

USB-C ready, wall-mountable

Cons

No multi-gig LAN port

Bulky design

Not mesh-ready

Certain functions of the interface could use some improvement

Mobile app requires a login account

See also  TP-Link Archer AX6000 Review: A Well-Rounded Wi-Fi 6 Router

3. Asus RT-AX89X: Arguably the best Asus standalone Wi-Fi 6 router to date

The Asus RT AX89X Router Entennas Folded
The Asus RT-AX89X sure is a conversation starter.

The Asus RT-AX89X has the X (and not U) at the end of its name — I explained that in this post on Asus routers — for a good reason.

It’s the first on the market that features two 10Gbps network ports — one Multi-Gig and one SPF+. Additionally, it also has eight Gigabit LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port.

As a result, this latest Wi-Fi 6 router from Asus has the most diverse use of its network port, including a variety of Dual-WAN and Link Aggregation configurations.

The RT-AX89X also comes in a uniquely cool design, taking the shape of an octagon with eight collapsible antennae. In testing, it topped the charts in most categories.

Asus RT-AX89X's Rating

9 out of 10
Asus RT AX89X Folded
Performance
9.5/10
Features
9/10
Design and Setup
9/10
Value
8.5/10

Pros

Excellent Wi-Fi performance

Uniquely cool design with two 10Gbps network ports

Eight Gigabit network ports with Dual-WAN and Link Aggregation

Super-fast network-attached storage speed when coupled with an external drive

Tons of useful features, including free-for-life real-time online protection, and AiMesh

Cons

A bit buggy at launch, relatively expensive

Smart Connect setting not available at launch

Tweaking required to deliver top Wi-Fi 6 speeds

Bulky physical size with an internal fan

Web interface needs work

Not wall-mountable, no universal backup restoration

See also  Asus RT-AX89X Review: Most Wi-Fi Bases. Covered. And More!

2. Asus RT-AX88U: The much better clone of the Wi-Fi 5 version

The Asus RT AX88U Router
The RT-AX88U comes in a traditional design of a Wi-Fi router.

In many ways, the RT-AX88U is the Wi-Fi 6 version of the RT-AC88U, which is an excellent router. The two look almost identical and share many similar features, including the eight Gigabit LAN ports and the lack of a multi-gig port.

Asus RT-AX88U's Rating

8.4 out of 10
RT AX88U 2
Performance
8.5/10
Features
8.5/10
Design and Setup
8.5/10
Value
8/10

Pros

Fast Wi-Fi performance

Tons of useful features

Eight network ports with Dual-WAN and Link Aggregation

Universal setting backup and restoration

Fast network-attached storage speed when coupled with an external drive.

Merlin firmware support

Cons

No multi-gig network port

Buggy firmware (at review)

See also  Asus RT-AX88U Review: An Excellent Incremental Wi-Fi 6 Upgrade

1. Netgear RAX120: The best looking Wi-Fi 6 router with awesome NAS performance

Netgear RAX120
The Netgear RAX120 is an all-around excellent router.

Slightly cheaper than the RAX200, the RAX120 is a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router with a 5Gbps multi-gig port. So, apart from fast Wi-Fi speeds, it also delivers top network-attached storage performance when hosting an external drive. And like its cousin above, it, too, has a futuristic design.

Netgear Nighthawk RAX120's Rating

8.1 out of 10
Netgear AX12 Front
Performance
8.5/10
Features
7.5/10
Design and Setup
9/10
Value
7.5/10

Pros

Powerful hardware, fast performance

Beautiful design

Multi-Gig network port (5Gbps)

Well organized web user interface

Ultra-fast network storage performance

Cons

Expensive

No online protection, gaming, or mesh features

A bit bulky

See also  Netgear RAX120 Router Review: The Multi-Gig Age Is Here

Best high-end tri-band (AX11000) Wi-Fi 6 routers for a large home

These are currently the non-compromising Wi-Fi 6 routers on the market. They collectively have everything you’d want from a single router. While they have similar Wi-Fi coverage as the 4×4 dual-band routers above, they feature a double Wi-Fi bandwidth thanks to the additional 5 GHz band. If you have lots of devices or Gigabit Internet, one of these is a must.

5. Asus RT-AX92U: It’s so nice, I reviewed it twice

Asus RT-AX92U Tri-band router
The Asus RT-AX92U is one little cute tri-band router that packs a huge punch.

The Asus RT-AX92U didn’t make it to this list when I first reviewed it in early 2020. Now, with the latest firmware, it proved to be one of the best on the market. In fact, it’s a mini version of the much more expensive GT-AX11000 below.

If you live in a small home, it will make an excellent tri-band gaming router. Those in a large property can scale up the Wi-Fi coverage via AiMesh 2.0 by getting additional units.

ASUS RT-AX92U's Rating

8.5 out of 10
Asus RT AX92U Cuteness
Performance
8.5/10
Features
8.5/10
Ease of Use
8/10
Value
9/10

Pros

Compact design, tri-band specs

Good performance, large coverage

Excellent set of features, including online protection, WTFast VPN for gamers, and system-wide Guest network when working as a mesh

Link Aggregation and Dual-WAN support, wall-mountable

Comparatively affordable

Cons

Wi-Fi 6 available only on one of the 5GHz bands

No Multi-Gig port

See also  Asus RT-AX92U Review: A Cute and Effective Little Odd One Out of AiMesh

TP Link Archar AX11000
The TP-Link AX11000 is a massive router with eight removable antennas.

The TP-Link Archer AX11000 is not what TP-Link wants you to believe it is. It’s not a gaming router.

But you can play games with it, nonetheless, and most importantly, it delivers in Wi-Fi performance. It’s also a pretty cool-looking router to boot.

TP-Link Archer AX11000's Rating

8.4 out of 10
TP Link Archer AX11000 Router 18
Performance
8.5/10
Features
8/10
Design and Setup
9/10
Value
8/10

Pros

Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance

2.5 Gbps WAN port with eight Gigabit LAN ports

160 MHz channel bandwidth support

Excellent, Antivirus, QoS, and Parental Control features

Robust full web user interface, helpful mobile app

Eye-catching and convenient hardware design

USB-C ready, wall-mountable

Cons

Misleading gaming veneer, no actual gaming-specific features

No multi-gig LAN port, bulky design

Not mesh-ready

Artificial "Game" items make the interface unnecessarily confusing

Mobile app requires a login account

See also  TP-Link Archer AX11000 Review: Cool Looking yet Ridiculously Misleading

3. Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien: The one-of-a-kind Wi-Fi 6 router

AmpliFi Alien Front
The AmpliFi Alien comes with a sleek touch screen and a bright ring of status light.

The AmpliFi Alien is a bit weird. It’s the first tri-band router with two different 5GHz bands. As a result, its mesh capability is somewhat handicapped due to signal loss. Also, it has no multi-gig port.

But this router has some fantastic features, a functional mobile app, and excellent performance.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien's Rating

8.3 out of 10
AmpliFi Alien Router
Performance
8/10
Features
8/10
Design and Setup
9/10
Value
8/10

Pros

Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with excellent coverage

Sleek design, useful mobile app

Convenient Teleport VPN for mobile devices

Effective ad-blocking feature

Mesh-ready

Cons

Limited in conventional settings and features

Unconventional tri-band setup with no dedicated backhaul when used in a mesh setup

VPN doesn't support regular computers

No 160MHz channel support, multi-gig port, not wall-mountable

See also  Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Review: A Peculiarly Excellent Wi-Fi 6 Router

2. Netgear RAX200: An excellent tri-band router for a price

Netgear RAX200
The Netgear RAX200 shares the same futuristic design as the RAX120 above.

The awesome-looking RAX200 is a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router and proved one of the fastest in my testing. Its 2.5Gbps multi-gig port is also a bonus for those wanting to break the Gigabit barriers. It’s a great router if you can afford it.

Netgear Nighthawk RAX200's Rating

8 out of 10
Netgear RAX200
Performance
9/10
Features
7.5/10
Design and Setup
8.5/10
Value
7/10

Pros

Reliable and fast performance

Eye-catching design

Helpful mobile app, robust web UI

Multi-Gig support (2.5Gbps)

Cons

Comparatively super-expensive with nothing extra

Shallow Wi-Fi customization, spartan feature set

Comparatively low CPU clock speed

No 5Gbps or 10Gbps LAN port, not wall-mountable

See also  Netgear RAX200 Review: Cool-Looking, Super-Fast but Overpriced

1. Asus GT-AX11000: The ultimate gamer edition of a Wi-Fi 6 router

Asus GT AX11000 Router
The Asus GT-AX11000 is a massive Wi-Fi 6 router.

The GT-AX11000 is the first Wi-Fi 6 router for gamers, and it delivers. This tri-band router has so many features and settings, and you can spend hours figuring out and probably having fun doing it. Though sharing similar hardware specs as the Netgear RAX200, it has much friendlier pricing, which is always a bonus.

Asus GT-AX11000's Rating

8.3 out of 10
Asus AX11000 Top 1
Performance
8/10
Features
9.5/10
Design and Setup
8/10
Value
7.5/10

Pros

Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance with an excellent range

Lots of useful features for home users

Unique and effective settings for online gaming

Multi-Gig network port, Dual-WAN, Link Aggregation

Mesh ready

Cons

Expensive

Bulky design, loose antennas, non-wall-mountable

Fewer LAN ports than the previous model

Long boot-up time, buggy (at launch), fluctuating Wi-Fi throughputs

See also  Asus GT-AX11000 Wi-Fi 6 Router Review: A Pro Gamer's Delight

Best Wi-Fi 6 routers of 2021: The performance

When it comes to wireless performance, it’s always the 5GHz band that matters. That’s true for both Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5 routers.

Wi-Fi 6 routers: Performance with Wi-Fi 6 clients

I test Wi-Fi 6 routers using 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients, which are currently the fastest in the market. In best-case scenarios, they have ceiling speeds of 2.4Gbps. When faster 4×4 clients are available, chances are you’ll see significantly faster performances in Wi-Fi 6 routers.

Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers' 5GHz Wi Fi Performance

Wi-Fi 6 routers: performance with Wi-Fi 5 clients

I use two types of Wi-Fi 5 clients when testing routers. One is a 4×4 client (1733 Mbps) that works in the close-range test. For the long-range test, I use a 3×3 (1300 Mbps) client.

Best Wi-Fi Routera' 5GHz Wi Fi Performance

Wi-Fi 6 routers: Performance on the 2.4 GHz frequency band

Due to the ubiquitous usage, the 2.4GHz frequency band’s throughput tends to be slow and fluctuates greatly. For that reason, nowadays, this band is mostly for backup and backward compatibility purposes.

Best Wi-Fi Routers' 2.4GHz Performance

That said, I use 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients to test Wi-Fi 6 routers on this band.

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

  1. Hi there – I really enjoy reading your thorough reviews. I’m thinking of getting either a ZenWifi XT8 set of two, to use in a wired backhaul, OR a pair of AX86u and creating a mesh system with them, also with wired backhaul. Is there any advantage to the Zenwifi that appears to be sold to be used as a Mesh system versus getting two excellent Asus routers and using them in a Mesh?

    My house is 3,000sq ft and each unit would be separated by a thick wall, hence I’d do wired backhaul.

    Reply
  2. Hi,

    since one of my routers suddenly died, i need to do something. First here is my setup:
    Basement: Asus AC87 (now dead) and via LAN Internetaccess via Fritzbox
    1st Floor/Groundfloor: Asus AC87 and via Devolo Wireless Bridge
    2nd Floor: Devolo Wireless Bridge

    Since there is no wired connection in house i had to do this via wifi like so:
    Basement to ground floor (Asus to Asus) via 5 Ghz, ground floor Asus does 2,4 Ghz for tablet, mobile, etc and has wired connection to Devolo Bridge. This Bridge connects via 5 Ghz to 2nd floor Devolo Client.

    Situation: Everything worked until router died. My house does not have a huge floorarea (maybe 70m2), but on my porch wifi was very bad. Streaming to the ground floor AC87 (TV connected to it via LAN) and 2nd floor Devocol Client (TV attached via LAN) was good.

    What i’d like to get would be more bandwith to 2nd floor since a pc is connected (again via LAN) to the Devolo client. Nice to have would be better wifi on the porch. Should i be getting rid of the rest of the hardware and buy three routers? Would Mesh be a solution? The routers are more or less arranged in a single vertical column over the floors. Moneywise i would be able to spend a bit, but would to know if there are good solutions (like spending 1200€ on three AX11000 vs something else for hald and getting 90% of the performance….).

    Best regards,
    Andre

    Reply
  3. Hi Dong,
    I have 2 Asus routers
    RT-AX88u and RT-AX86u
    In your opinion, which one should be the main router for Aimesh? Why?
    The connection will be wired backhaul.

    Reply
  4. Hi Dong,

    I’m moving into a new house and got gigabit internet. My home is about 1300 sq ft so I doubt I’d need mesh but my router is on the 2nd floor. I was leaning towards the Asus AX11000 since I do heavy gaming and streaming and such. Is there a better alternative for around the 400-600 price range?

    Reply
  5. Hi Dong
    Are FritzBox routers not available in the USA or do you not like them?
    I really like there fast fail-over to mobile broadband if the fiber goes down. We have the FritzBox at work so I was considering one for home use and the German usually do a good job.
    Thanks
    Dom

    Reply
    • Hi Dom,

      I’m familiar with FritzBox – and no, it’s only available in the EU as far as I know. I helped a friend with one when we were in Bremen before the pandemic. The hardware is excellent, but for a large home, you will still need extra broadcasters. The cellular failover support (dual-WAN) is available in many routers.

      Reply
  6. Hi Dong,

    I have 1000/40 Mbps Cable internet service from XFinity cable. I use the XFi Hub as my main WiFi “Gateway” in my media room and I have two Netgear WiFi 6 AX1800 (model WAX204) Dual Band Wireless Access Points wired with CAT5e back to the XFi “Gateway” and set up as Access Points – over the garage and over in the far part of the house. It works very well. My overall WiFi download performance is around 300 Mbps when connected to the Access Points (AP) and 600-700 Mbps when connected to the XFi hub. Even when wired to the XFi hub via ethernet I still see only 700 Mbps. What would be the difference in performance if I used (2) ASUS AI Mesh routers and “Ethernet Backhaul Mode”? Could I still use my XFi Gateway as the main router and WiFi zone? Or would I need a third ASUS router as the main station and turn off WiFi on the XFi Gateway? Would the overall performance throughout the house/ garage potentially match the 700 Mbps top speed I am seeing when very close to the gateway?

    Reply
  7. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for the thorough reviews.

    I’m in the market to upgrade my current router set up. Currently I use two asus rt-ac68p routers in an aimesh set up. these work fairly decently, but there are a few dead spots in my house. being that these are old routers, it’s time for an upgrade for newer standards and better range and such.

    I like asus products and their simple expandability so I think I’ve narrowed it down to these 2 routers (probably):

    https://dongknows.com/asus-gt-ax11000-rog-rapture-gaming-router-review/

    or

    https://dongknows.com/asus-rt-ax89x-review/

    I think I’m leaning towards the ax11000 since it’s a tri-band router with a dedicated back haul for aimesh, if I need to eventually go that route with a new set up. my current aimesh set up is connected wirelessly, which is probably how a new set up would connect as well.

    I appreciate any of your thoughts!

    Thanks,

    Andrew

    Reply
  8. This list gets very overwhelming very quickly, and I’m hoping you can give me a few directions.

    I’ll be moving in october, and looking for something that will work for me. Living alone and I’ll be moving into a 2br 960sq ft apartment, but only 5 units around me (2 that share a wall). The two bedrooms are separated by the living room. I’ll most likely have either 50 or 100 mbps up, so nothing too fast, but a little bit of future-proofing wouldn’t be a bad thing in my mind. CPU will be hard-wired at least, and only using the net for gaming/streaming netflix and such/surfing.

    Any suggestions on what would be a good fit for me? I appreciate the help!

    Reply
  9. Recently bought the RT-AX86U. So far, still having random latency issues. Also, I didn’t realize the WTFast option wasn’t included when I first purchased. Is this something worth returning over or is the difference negligible? I am a competitive gamer so low ping matters a lot to me. If it does make a difference though, which true “gaming” router would be superior and still a bit budget friendly?

    Reply
  10. Hi Dong,

    I am looking to upgrade my internet and router setup. I am looking to go from Spectrum’s 400Mbps service to Verizon’s Gigabit service as I am moving apartments. After long research I believe I will be going with the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80). My girlfriend and I both work from home currently and have multiple devices that require internet/wifi; laptops, a desktop for gaming (looking to hardwire this with new setup), a few gaming consoles, a chromecast, smartTV, security cameras, etc… Would the router I selected be overkill, just the right amount or lacking in anyway? I would hate to spend so much money and it not be the right option. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you!

    Best,
    Michael

    Reply
  11. Hey Dong,
    Hope you are well. Really love your no fluff reviews.

    Anyway, I had a question for my brother’s house. He get’s gigabit+ speeds (1200mbps) from Xfinity and the house is 3500sqft. It’s a long split-level style house.

    The issue is that it’s in the woods, the cell signal sucks (Verizon & T-Mobile got 1-2 bars at best), walls are old kind of thick (built in late 1950s) that bounces signals (according to the tech wiring him up), and there is no coax anywhere in the house except one corner of the house and most computer equipment being on the other end. We cannot wire the house because that would be “damage” according to the landlord.

    We tried wiring ethernet by taping it to the ceiling or walls and the paint came off. We also tried on the ground and 2 of the family members tripped on it because of the open space plans.

    So the whole question is what routers or mesh routers make sense to utilize the gigabit+ speeds he is paying for. I know we won’t get the entire 1200mbps on the other side of the house but if we could the most bang for our buck, that would be wonderful. I saw quite a few options and saw a lot of your reviews but I am still having trouble making a decision. It came down to between Orbi AX4200 3-pack (Costco $399), TP-Link AX11000 (Costco $299), Asus ZenWifi XT8 2-pack (Amazon $450), Asus RT-AX82U 2 pack in a Mesh setup (Amazon $420), AmpliFi Alien (Best Buy $370), and Asus RT-AX92U (Best Buy $370).

    We are pretty bad making decisions like these and we don’t wanna experiment too much. We would really love your input. Thank you in advance.

    Reply
  12. I’m a full-time remote worker in a DevOps role. Just bought my first house–2200 sqft two-story. We currently have 150MB internet though strong chance we upgrade to 500MB in the new house, and possibly gigabit within 5 years. Looking to maximize my network. My wife doesn’t work in IT, but sometimes works from home. Our kiddo is a casual gamer. While we all do a bit of gaming, none of us are hard-core gamers.

    Since my office is separated from the living room by a central wall, (entertainment area on the living-room side of that wall), I’m tentatively planning to locate the router on one or the other side of that wall. I’d like to run ethernet to a dock for my work computer in the office, to the XBox (which we use for all our streaming as well), and a to-be-built NAS server (streaming, backups, and eventually security camera storage–it’ll also be in the office).

    That leaves four phones, three laptops, three rokus, and a currently-unknown amount of IoT home devices (at least one smart lock, possibly three security cameras until installing our wired system). The phones, laptops, and rokus will probably be distributed around the upstairs level a lot of the time. Since the house kind of straddles the small/medium line I’m not sure whether I can get by sufficiently with a stand-alone router or whether I should be looking at adding a mesh node.

    Between your site and Wirecutter’s reviews, I’m pretty sure I want either a TP-Link or an Asus. I’m not sure how many extra years of “good” quality I can expect for buying a more expensive device now. If I knew I’d be upgrading in 3 years regardless, I might keep it relatively cheap for now ($120-$150). If I won’t really need to upgrade for 5+ years I’d be willing to go up to about the ~$300 range. Wide range I know. I keep swirling around things like the TP-Link AX50/AX90 and the Asus RT-AX92U/RT-AX86U/RT-AX88U.

    Apologies for the flood of details. I really have been doing a ton of reading on your site this week, and I can’t thank you enough for all the info, but I’ve hit the decision-paralysis point of knowledge. I’d appreciate any thoughts or insights!

    Reply
  13. Hi Dong,
    Greetings from India!!!
    Your in-depth analysis and review of each and every device is commendable and it was a pleasure reading about each and every device out there. You have indeed done a fantastic work.
    I want to upgrade to wifi6 and have been hovering over the following routers for some time now…
    1. Netgear RAX10 – AX1800
    2. Netgear RAX20 – AX1800
    3. TpLink Archer AX50 – AX3000
    4. TpLink Archer AX73 – AX5400
    I would be grateful if I get some suggestion from you, and your guidance can help me select the right path in making the decision.
    Thanks and Regards
    DD

    Reply
  14. Hi Dong,

    Appreciate this helpful article! I’m trying to decide between the Asus RT-AX92U, RT-AX88U, or RT-AX86U routers. As of right now, I only need a single-router unit (don’t need mesh and if I ever do, I probably could run a wired backhaul). However, I want WiFi 6 for it’s improved support of more devices (I’ll have ~20 on my network…couple laptops, 1 smart TV, and the rest smart home devices).

    In some ways, the RT-AX92U seems like the best option because it’s tri-band vs. dual-band. So would you suggest the AX92U a better move or go with one of the other two and load Merlin onto it for its additional features (I use OpenVPN for work quite a bit and I’m sure it’d be nice to run at the router-level and stock AsusWRT firmware doesn’t run client/server VPN correct?)

    So just curious if going with a tri-band router is better than the additional features MerlinWRT firmware provides or if you’d go with the RT-AX88U or RT-AX86U and instead load Merlin?

    Thanks!

    Reply
      • Thanks so much Dong! Still torn between a dual and tri-band router. They’re pretty much the same price. However, I think I like the idea of loading on Merlin so I’m left with a decision between the RT-AX88U and RT-AX86U. Reading your reviews and doing some other research, it would seem that maybe the RT-AX86U is a bit better of a move, especially if I ever want or need a multi-gig port for WAN or a LAN (NAS) setup. If you had to choose between these two routers, would you lean towards the RT-AX86U? (I don’t need 8 gigabit LAN ports like in the 88U so that’s not a dealbreaker.

        Reply
        • I don’t have to, Kyle. I literally have them all, multiple units in fact. But any of them will do fine. Go with your guts.

          Reply
          • Going with the RT-AX86U since it takes up a little less counterspace haha. (Had to make the decision in some way!!) 😉

  15. Hello Dong.
    I bought an Asus RT-AX88u to be the main router for a wired aimesh network. Have I made a good choice? Is there a better option?
    Thank you

    Reply
  16. Hi Dong,
    Thanks for all the reviews and comparisons.

    I’m confused which to buy between Asus RT-92U and RT AX88.
    Any suggestions please?

    Reply
    • Check out the reviews, Robin. But generally, if you’re thinking of a single router or your home is wired, then the RT-AX88U is a good choice. If you’re thinking of upgrading to a WIRELESS AiMesh mesh system at a later time, the RT-AX92U is a better choice.

      Reply
      • For a limited time sale, I have both Asus RT-AX88U and RT-AX92U almost at the same price.
        I plan to use it mainly as a single router since my house is not big and only around 65 m2.
        What do you think is the better value for money?

        Reply
  17. Hi Dong, Thanks for all of the information you have up. I am looking to upgrade my wifi. I have 100 MB service from my provider (I could upgrade to 250 for another $24/month). My home is two floors and just under 3,000 sq ft. I have wired internet flowing to two different spots, both on different ends of the house, one upstairs and one downstairs (so no wired connections in the middle of the house). Because of this, I am looking for a two unit system, with each taking a wired connection. I have two dual band routers now that create two different networks. I understand that the mesh units create one network. Should I look for a two unit mesh system or buy two regular routers (if I do this, is there a way to use one as a bridge and only have one network)? Any other suggestions or recommendations? If we are just streaming TV, a bit of gaming and regular phone and internet surfing, is there any big benefit to increasing the service to 250 MB?

    Reply
  18. Hi Dong, just saw this article. Would you recommend an Asus RT-AX86U vs a single Asus Zenwifi XT8? My house doesn’t seem to have any dead zones with my current generic Wi-Fi 5 router provided by my ISP, so I think single will be ok. Looks wise the XT8 will blend in with the surroundings, but would I be losing in anything in choosing this over the RT-AX86U? Thanks!

    Reply
  19. Hi Dong,
    Love your website. I’m looking to upgrade, internet is 50/50 FIOS, no plans to change, it’s fine.
    Home is 2500 sq ft with SONOS throughout. SONOS signal drops frequently.
    My bathroom Sonos and iPhone looses wifi signal (no signal at all, then comes back) , so like ability to have another AP there. Won’t be bandwidth heavy, seeking reliability.
    I like security, so looking at WPA3 and producer, consumer and guest VLANS
    (a) create and administer music, video media, b) consume media, such as SONOS, roku and c) friends who need internet access as well as untrusted devices such as RING doorbell.) This is also a hedge against IOT being used as vector for breach, in addition to regular permissions on the NAS.
    I don’t trust IOT devices to be secure, so minimizing exposure to my critical files to a few trusted devices makes sense to me.
    Next, I have Synology NAS and like to have link aggregation so copy 4k Apple ProRes intermediate video files to my PC for editing is quick (wired connection)
    have new Apple iPhone 12, so AX band is nice to have. I’ll probably folow Apple best practices setting this up.
    Like total cost under $400. Total of 32 devices, wired and wireless. The bandwidth heavy devices (roku, laptops are gig ethernet).
    I like the Asus AIMesh concept, but open minded to other brands. I want them to keep up with security though. Like to see history of firmware updates to patch against security flaws.

    Reply
      • Based on your reviews, I did the click-thru to Amazon and bought the Asus RT-AX92U 2 Pack. I’ll put one unit in the master bedroom where I have a wired back haul (I totally forgot about) so should easily irradiate the bathroom in glorious Wi-Fi 6. 😉 Thanks for the ongoing current and accurate website. Frankly, you are better than the manufacturer’s own websites.

        Reply
  20. Greetings from Croatia (Europe) 🙂

    I stumbled upon Your website by accident, and all I can say is that I’m glad I found Your site. You’re doing an awesome job around here.

    My current setup: Archer MR200 as my main router (and main WiFi) and a Xiaomi Mi Router 3 AC1200 wired to my MR200. Xiaomi is acting as a AP with separate WiFi (couldn’t really get it to work like a “mesh” system).

    Why 4G? For the moment, a 4G router is my only door to the internet, but in future I am planning on getting a landline.

    I’m looking to get a new router. What I plan to do is get a router which will be connected to my current MR400 which is then connected to the internet.

    I’m in a family house but I’m using one floor only, which consists of:
    – one half of the floor: 3 bedrooms, 1 toilet, 2 small hallways between the rooms
    – second half of the floor: kitchen + living room combo, 1 toilet.
    Total surface: 92 m2.

    Some of the devices that are connected to my network:
    (A) Wired:
    – 1 PC
    – 1 raspberry pi 4 as a NAS server
    (B) WiFi:
    – 1 PC
    – 2 smartphones
    – 1 LG TV
    – 1 Nintendo Switch
    – 3 IP cameras (one is a baby monitor)
    – 3 smart bulbs
    – 1 smart hub (with other child devices connected via Zigbee).

    What I’m trying to accomplish here is faster and stable LOCAL network (wired and wifi) – regardless of the speed of my ISP.
    Stable already is – fast, not so really. I don’t need a multi gig ports or any high-end bonuses.

    So, my primary candidate is the TP-Link Archer AX73.

    But here are the prices of some routers available here in Europe.
    1. TP-Link Archer AX73 – 115€
    2. TP-Link Archer AX20 – 80€
    3. Asus RT-AX86U – 340€
    4. Asus RT-AX68U – 190€
    5. Asus RT-AX58U – 150€
    6. Asus RT-AX82U – 205€

    I’d like to get (for example) a Asus AX58U, but prices here in Europe for Asus routers are way higher than for the TP-Link ones.
    And I don’t know if a Asus RT-AX58U is any better than the (at least on paper) way more powerfull Archer AX73?
    Any suggestions?

    Reply
    • If you want to stay on the budget, O. I’d recommend the Asus AX58U or the RT-AX68U. Check their reviews for more, but they are way better than the TP-Link in more ways than one. You have to use one to know the difference, just looking at the specs won’t help much. But if you just care about Wi-Fi speeds and coverage, they are all similar. The Asus ones will give you a lot of options in terms of “mesh”, you can use the current ones as AP with them easily. More here.

      And welcome to the site. Glad to have you, too. 🙂

      Reply
      • Thank You for Your answer.

        I ended up getting a RT-AX86U – so far so good 🙂
        If it’s not too much trouble, I need just another little suggestion – I’m still using the router with my Archer MR200 – which is a 4G router, and my only connection to the Internet.

        Could You please recommend me a 4G dongle which I can use with my new RT-AX86U?

        I’d like to get rid of the TPLink router and use only the Asus.

        Reply
  21. Dong,

    Would a good AiMesh system be to use the Asus RT-AX86U as the main router then to hardwire XD4 to be used exclusively as access points? Will be for a 3000sqft double story home. If you have any better recommendations let me know. I’m sure that using additional Asus RT-AX86U units as APs would be the best but also a much more costly way of doing the job.

    Reply
  22. Hi Dong: Many Thanks for your always Great Great Insight, which you always have. I love your posts and articles and more than anything, I love that always try to answer every and all quesxtions to you. You Do An Excellent Job.

    Dong, I have one question, which I have tried to get answered, but haven´t really been able to find a definitiver answer.

    My question is this:

    You have very well explained here in this tread, how two 3-band routers, like for instance two Asus RT AX-11000´s use the 2´nd 5Ghz band as a socalled “Back-up” Band, to connect to each other and thus you therefore have the 1´st 5 Ghz Band and the 2.4 Ghz band to act as carriers, as if the two AX-11000´s were acting as two Dual Band Wifi 6 Routers connected to each other, so this is clear and obvious.

    What, to me at least is less clear, is when you try to connect two Dual Band Wifi 6 Routers, like for instance a set of Asus RT-AX-92u´s. Here you don´t have an extra 5 Ghz Band to carry the connection between the router and the node. I have therefore heard, that a set of RT-AX-92u´s are ONLY Wifi 6 routers, as long as the are used as single routers, but as soon as you pair them and thus become a mesh, they are no longer Wifi 6 routers, but “degrade” to becoming only a Wifi 5 router mesh. Is this true, Dong, because if it is, then the 92u can hardly call itself a Wifi 6 Mesh??? Is this so, Dong or do Wifi 6 mesh routers have a third non mentioned “Carrier Band”, so that both the 2.4 and 5 Ghz band, can be left alone to be what they were designatred to be, namely as a carrier signal to clients, with an uninterupted and dedicated Wifi 6 signal or how does that work, Dong?

    Have a Great Day.

    Sincerely Thomas.

    Reply
  23. Hey Dong,

    I’m moving into a 760sqft two-story apartment soon with gigabit internet, and I was wondering what my best option for ~$150 would be? My main heavy-hitter devices like my PC will be connected via ethernet, but I’m worried that the combo of apartment complex + the two story layout will make wireless a bit tougher. Is there anything that fits my budget or do I need to increase it?

    Thanks,

    Harben

    Reply
    • Have you any experience using Moca 2.5 adaptors as a wired backbone for mesh routers. Am I likely to get better performance with my two ASUS mesh routers(XT-8) if I connect with Moca over my CATV wires, or just wirelessly over the backbone. Assume installation of proper Cat 5e backbone too difficult at location.

      Reply
      • I haven’t tested that, Perry. But wired backhaul is not ideal for this set though it generally works and if so works better than wireless. Just make sure your MoCA line is good.

        Reply
        • Dong, thank you. I was able to get the GoCoax Moca 2.5 adaptors working as a wired backhaul for the Asus XT-8’s. It registers as a 1 GB ethernet connection. Performance is steady. I assume this would be applicable to other mesh systems as well. For houses wired for cable but lacking cat-5 cabling between rooms, this seems like a good solution (its cheaper and easier to use existing wiring, even paying $115 for the Moca adaptors).

          Reply
  24. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for your quick response. To recall, I currently have the GT-AX11000 and would like to set up a Mesh system. I want to keep with a tri-band router, use a wired backhaul and preferably a router that supports the 160 band. In your informative article on Mesh systems, I think that I have narrowed it down to these 3 options. Of all the Wi-Fi router’s in your article on mesh capable routers , I am looking at one the following, Asus’s tri-band trio, the GT-AX11000, RT-AX92U, and Gt-AXE11000. I don’t know that I want the latter, the Axe11000. I am leaning towards another AX11000, although I like the idea of future proofing with the AXE11000,but….. What would be your recommendation be? Your suggestion would help me pull the trigger and get on with this set up. Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • It’s an ISP-specific router/gateway so, no, I don’t, Lucka. But it seems rather gimmicky. I’d always use a retail, standard router.

      Reply
  25. Hello Dong,
    Thank you for such an extensive list. I currently have the Netgear Nighthawk X6 3200 Tri-Band router for a couple years now and the Nighthawk EX7700 wireless extender on my basement to connect PS4 hard wired for gaming and what not. I have network jacks on my living room, but I have been thinking on setting up network drops to other rooms as well. We have over 30 devices between smart home devices, and mobile devices and from time to time we experience connection issues especially with both me and my wife working from home and the kids taking virtual learning using mostly Microsoft Teams. For the most part our Wireless range gets all the way to about 10 feet around the perimeter of our home. Which of these from your list would you recommend for me to go about maximizing our network and productivity with so many devices? Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  26. Hi Dong,

    Been following your website for a while now and I’m finally ready to move to a wifi 6 system. I live in a 3 floor town house and my modem and router (asus ac66u) is on the first floor, so I get sporadic connection when I’m in my bedroom on the 3rd floor.

    My question is that would an upgrade to Asus AX86U provide better range to my 3rd floor? Speed isn’t a concern I can also use 2.4ghz, just need more reliable connection.

    Alternatively I can get zenwifi Xt8, and create a mesh but I’m wary of the firmware and additional software issues this creates. Let me know what you think, thanks.

    Reply
    • No, William, you can read more on how to pick a router in this post (and you should!) but the short of it is that is Wi-Fi range is more related to the band than the actual router. For your case, there are just too many walls in between. I’d recommend getting a 2-pack tri-band set if you want to use them wirelessly. If you have wired your home, a dual-band set will do. The XT8 will likely work out, but you can also get the CT8 or the Orbi or Linksys Velop mentioned in this post.

      Reply
      • Hi Dong,

        I ended up getting the XT8 however my experience with it was very poor. When using just one the router works fine albeit the 2.4ghz speed was fairly low even after optimization. When using as mesh the node will get good speed when placed on the 3rd floor using dedicated wireless backhaul, however the connection will just randomly drop for no reason. When placing the 2nd node on the 2nd floor (much closer to the main node) the system simply refuse to work.

        Also after testing this system, I realized even on mesh most of time the client device will not seamlessly switch to the best node and requires a manual wifi on off on device to do so. Based on this I’m wondering if I should try a different mesh system or just look to add a wifi repeater/extender instead.

        Reply
        • There’s no seamless handoff, William and that depends on many things. You night just need to turn off the use of DFS channels. More on that in this post. You need to read (and pay attention when you’re at it) to figure things out yourself. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution and nobody knows your house better than you.

          Reply
  27. Thanks for this rundown, Dong!

    My wife and I just moved from a one-level condo to a 2-story (plus basement) house, and now we’re regularly dropping network which is pretty rough for the whole “working from home” thing, especially since she’s frequently on video calls and can’t really afford to be reconnecting every 30 minutes. Sometimes both of our work laptops will be booted simultaneously, but it frequently happens to just one of us, and we haven’t noticed any issues with our mobile devices dropping. Trying to figure out whether this is a “replace the router” situation or if other troubleshooting is needed first.

    We’re using a 3.5-year old TP-Link Archer C7 (v2), so it doesn’t seem like the router itself should be outdated, but perhaps it’s just not optimal for a house over 3,000 sqft. And since the cable connection puts the router on the main floor within 5 feet of both our smart TV and the gas fireplace with its metal exhaust pipe (the only other option was in the basement), and with both of us working upstairs and regularly on the 5G band, it sure seems like any of range, bandwidth, or interference could be our culprit, especially since this was never as much of an issue at the smaller condo. Just updated the firmware last night and fixed a mismatched time zone issue as well, but that hasn’t resolved our problems yet. And while we do have several connected devices (3 total laptops, 2 smartphones, 1 tablet, 1 smart TV, 1 smart thermostat), this isn’t exactly a fully “smart” home that would need the most high-end internet setup, as far as I can tell.

    Assuming we just need a router better sized for our midsized home or to punch through that minor metal interference, it seems any of the TP-Link Archer AX3000, Asus RT-AX68U, and Netgear Nighthawk R7000 would suit our needs, but I’m curious if we should explore anything else before putting money into new equipment?

    Reply
      • Thanks for the recommendations!

        The current model does cover the whole house, and well into the yard, so I don’t think a mesh system is necessary for us, just something that will hopefully end our losing wi-fi multiple times during a workday. And the home is not wired, built back in 1987 and not much in the way of tech upgrades.

        Think it’s a decent chance that ax86u will end our intermittent disconnects, and would be a significant improvement over even the three I was looking at?

        Reply
  28. Hi Dong, I came across your site a few days ago and love the content, but I am still stuck in choosing a router/mesh that works for my home. Unfortunately, I bought the new eero 6 Pro three pack replacing my eero Pro (previous generation) and have realized, well, that they suck.

    My home is one floor and about 3000 sq. ft. The cable modem and eero 6 Pro gateway are located centrally in the house in a cabinet between the living room / media room. Unfortunately, that cabinet high up above the floor with 16’+ ceiling so changing the gateway’s position is a bit tricky. I do leave the cabinet doors open and have a computer fan on top of the eero gateway for cooling.

    3 bedrooms are on the left side of the house, and 2 rooms on the right side with the gateway being more or less center of the property. All the rooms (on both sides of the house) are separated from the main living area by a door which is usually closed. One node is in my office (furthest room from gateway about 30 feet) and the other node is in the laundry room (about 20 feet).

    Of course, I have terrible speeds in my office where I use an iMac 5k 2020, plus VOIP etc. And I also have a PS4 in my bedroom which suffers from a lot of lag. I’m realizing the iMac does not even support WiFi 6 and obviously, neither does the PS4. My house is a smart home so I have at least 40 devices connected (currently 44).

    Which mesh system or routers (to make my own mesh) do you recommend which will also be somewhat futureproof? I don’t think any of my WiFi clients will have WiFi 6 or 6E anytime soon unless the iPhone 13 has it or the PS5 which I intend to get.

    I’d really appreciate your insight. Thank you!

    Reply
      • Hi Dong! I hope you’re well. Thanks so much! I really appreciate your feedback. Your assumption is correct about wireless setup and I am using the star topology as recommended. I am hoping one of the systems you recommended will solve my issues, but if not, I may have someone come run CAT5 cables.

        Is there any reason why I shouldn’t get the Netgear Orbi AX6000 (RBK852) which seems to be faster per the specs besides price?

        And same question for Linksys, why not the MX5 or MX10 besides price?

        Thanks again! I’m going to pull the trigger today based on your final recommendation. I’ve been pulling my hair out trying to figure this out and I was super disappointed my brand new $5,000 iMac doesn’t even have WiFi 6! That’s Apple for ya…

        Reply
          • I ended up with the RBK852 and the speeds are night and day difference from the eero. It was shocking to say the least from less than 100Mbps to over 400Mbps.

            I am getting some latency in Chrome when loading websites however. Any recommendations for the best advanced wireless settings on the Orbi? Thanks again!

  29. Hello! I am moving to a new house, getting Fiber from Centruy Link.
    House is 2 stories 3,100 sq ft.

    They provide a modem and I just need to figure out what router would be best for fiber and the size.

    I know mesh are good for size, but not for the speed.

    Centurylink website does mention they install ONT outside or inside the home and it feeds off an ethernet handoff.

    Reply
  30. Hello Dong,

    I’ve always considered myself technology savvy but networking always scares me with all of the weird vendor-specific terms for the same thing and makes me wondering if routers from two different vendors would play well together. This takes me to my conundrum:

    Me and 3 other roommates (about 12-15 devices total) currently in a two-story 1500 sqft in a building with a lot of 2.4Gz routers from our neighbors clogging the channels. We have a TP-Link AX3000 that is barely enough to cover the two bedrooms on the second floor and gives an abysmal signal to the living room and my 1st-floor roommates. So I learned about cascading two routers and I originally planned on purchasing the Netgear RAX50-100NAR (refurbished from Walmart for $190) to be downstairs as the AP (the TP-Link would be the main router connected through WAN to the Modem and then from a LAN port in the TP-Link I would connect to the LAN port of the RAX50). Would this be a good setup?? I also found the Netgear AX4300 and AX6200 for around the same price on Costco and I wonder if those would be good alternatives to be the downstairs APs or even the main router (I would take any advice you could give me). Also, I’ve heard horrible things about Netgear’s firmware (I quite like TP-Links to be honest) so I don’t have to be married to any of those options.

    Thank you so much for all of the work you put into educating us about networking.

    Reply
    • I should also say that we have a 400Mbps speed, we live in an apartment in LA (so upwards of 15-20 SSIDs), and we have an in-apartment laundry room at the center of our first floor that makes it super hard for any signal to get from one side to the other (since the dryer an washing machine make a lot of interference with all of their metal). I was looking at the Asus suggestions you were making and it seems like the AX86U seems pretty hard to find right now… I feel like I would actually quite like their firmware (since I read in another forum that is based on OpenWRT). Could you perhaps offer something similar that would be around the $200ish price range??
      Thank you again!

      Reply
  31. Hi Dong,

    I’ve read a bunch of your articles and reviews, but I still can’t figure out if tri-band is something I need or whether the dual-band RT-AX68U would be fine for me.

    Situation: Family of 4, heavy internet users on gigabit fiber, lots of streaming, Roblox, iphones, zoom calls. I’m a developer, and so I do need to download sizeable files from time to time. We’re in a medium size (~1500 sqft), long apartment in SF. Given the interference of the city (I probably see 30 SSIDs in my network dropdown) and the shape of the apartment, I run a MOCA connection through the old cable lines from my main router to the back and I’ve set up a Ubiquiti AP back there. My main router (TPlink Archer A20 v1.0) is on the fritz, and I was thinking I could just get the RT-AX68U in front to handle that half of the apartment. The Archer is tri-band, though — is dropping to dual band a bad idea? It seems like, even at gigabit, the 5Ghz total throughput on a single band would be roughly sufficient, but I’m guessing it’s maybe more complicated than that with multiple connected devices of different speeds and quality, etc? Should I get something like the RT-AX92U instead, even with its weird wifi6 behavior?

    Thanks for all your writings, btw. I’ve learned a lot.

    Reply
  32. Hi Dong,

    Thanks again for your detailed analysis. I am getting fiber to my home and need to decide whether to use my own router (likely
    ASUS AX6100) vs. go with the path of least resistance and use the carrier’s option. The one they offer is a Calix GigaSpire gs2020e, and while I can’t find a whole lot of info about it on the web, at least not first-hand experiences, the specs don’t look too terrible.

    It’s a medium size house and we shouldn’t have a lot of coverage issues. What are your thoughts? We’re upgrading from satellite internet and an AirPort, so anything is an improvement 😛

    Reply
  33. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for the great article! Came across your site while looking for information on which device would be best to replace my Verizon FIOS Quantum Gateway with.

    I’m considering the Asus RT-AX86U and the Netgear RAX50. Do you have any thoughts are on what I can expect from either of those (or if you recommend something completely different)?

    My house is roughly 2000 sq ft covering two floors. My advertised internet speed is 1gig and I typically get in the neighborhood of 600mbps down / 850mpbs up from a desktop during high use periods.

    I have two Netgear GS110TP smart switches, and a Netgear GS108PEv3, 4 game systems (wired), 6 desktop pc’s and 3 printers (wired), 4 laptops (wi-fi), multiple wireless devices (phones, tablets, security system, doorbell, etc), 2 file servers, 1 multimedia server, 1 nas, and 1 vlan.

    Biggest concerns are throughput and reliability. I do some video conferencing but it is minimal. I am however often transferring files that range in size from 500mb to 4gb back and forth from desktops to servers.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.

    Reply
  34. Dong,
    Thank you for your advice. I have a very large home spread among a few buildings, and bought an ASUS XT8 set of WiFi 6 AiMesh routers and am very happy (almost). There is still one area (home office above the garage) that has occasional connectivity issues, mostly for a laptop connected to a work VPN. Phones and TV’s have adequate bandwidth most times. It is difficult, but I am running a Cat6a cable from the main node to that area soon.

    Question: Which of the following three options below makes most sense? (All assume the Cat6a is installed and works, and I am sticking with ASUS so any extension is AiMesh compatible)

    A. Live with current wireless connectivity, add a wired gigabit switch ($20) and plug in the laptop(s)

    B. Buy another XT8 as an AIMesh Node ($370) to boost wireless connectivity (I can plug the laptop into it too as it has ports)

    C. Buy an ASUS RP-AX56 Wireless Range Extender ($99 – backorder only at present). While that should work with wireless backhaul, I can also add the $20 wired gigabit switch, plug in the RP-AX56, and have wireless backhaul.

    I’m leaning hard towards Option C – seems I’ll be able to plug the laptop in and also improve WiFi access to that part of my house. I know there are other AiMesh routers too, but they seem as expensive as option B.

    Thanks again for your wonderful site!

    Reply
      • Thank you. The 2nd node XT8 is in a detached building so tri-band was the choice to get wireless backhaul – your review helped me figure that out and works well.

        For the proposed node in the problem area – there is no wire at present. I will be attempting to run a Cat6a soon but that is very involved due to the structure. I was just looking for thoughts regarding a third Asus product to work as an AiMesh node paired with the XT8s. It doesn’t seem you’ve yet done a review on the RP-AX56.

        Reply
        • Food for thought and might help with the purchase decision – When XT8s are wired you can enable ‘Ethernet Backhaul Mode’ which will release more wireless bandwidth for end devices to connect.

          Reply
  35. Hello Dong!
    First thanks for some amazing information, find your site today and for sure will visit from now on. But I’m kind lost with so many options.
    I live in a apartment (shaped a rectangle) with 1300 sqft, have a 500mb fiber internet (frontier) and the modem is at one side of the apartment and the main tv is at opposite side, my clients are 2 TVs for 4K content, and ps5 and two iPhones that are wifi6, besides that a printer and a tablet and old android phone, and 2 notebooks, my budget is at most 300, in the beginning I was thinking about the tp link ax50 change for ax6000 and after the asus ax86u and ax88u, but if you think other is better I’m open for any suggestions. Now I’m using the router from frontier and have connection and the main tv but sometimes have some slow speeds and watching 4K movies freezes
    Thanks!

    Reply
  36. Hi Dong, I recently started to read your column. I appreciate your brutal honesty. Costco has the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 RAX78 ax6200 on sale for $199, which seems like a good price. Unfortunately, I have found very little mentioned about it. Are you aware of that model or done any testing on it? Much appreciated.

    Reply
    • Hi Jeff. That model is has a lot of corners cut. It’ll work fine in most cases, but it’s in no way comparable to the RAX200. I’d not be too thrilled about Costco-exclusive deals. But you can always get it and return it later, Costco is pretty good with that.

      Reply
  37. Hi Dong,
    Hoping for a bit of advice.
    Broadband connection is 50mbps at best. Currently in a small single storey 150m house with router at one end with Ethernet ports by the router and another at the other end of the house.
    Building a 350m single storey and going to put in Ethernet.
    Trying to decide which wifi solution to get.
    Think asus either ax86u router and add to it later or asus ax zenwifi.
    4 in the house using tv, xbox, pc, laptop, phones.
    Only 1 wifi 6 client i know of.
    Am i foolish getting ax or should I get ac? Any advice gratefully received.
    Cheers,
    Luke

    Reply