Friday, January 15th, 2021

Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers of 2021: Pick One for Your Home!

Asus RT AX82U Front
The Asus RT-AX82U is easily coolest-looking Wi-Fi 6 router so far.

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

Table of Contents Open

Since this standard’s first router became available in early 2019, I’ve reviewed a couple of dozens of them. Not all make it here, but only those I’d use for myself — and I indeed have been using at least some.

That said, any routers you find here will work well. It’s just a matter of degrees, and that depends 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.

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

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

Asus RT AX86U On Back
The Asus RT-AX86U has a bit of an underwhelming appearance.

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

It’s tough to call a router the best because everyone has different needs and budgets. But the RT-AX86U has almost everything one would want from a standalone Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster. So far.

These include fast Wi-Fi speeds, excellent coverage, multi-gig wired connection support, and many useful features, including those for online gaming. On top of that, using it won’t cause you to worry about your privacy, nor do you have to take a loan to get it.

And finally, the fact it can work as part of an excellent AiMesh system means it will last a long time, even when you move to a larger place.

ASUS RT-AX86U AX5700 Dual Band Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router

9

Performance

9.0/10

Features

9.5/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

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
  • Multi-gig port caps at only 2.5 Gbps
READ NOW:  Asus RT-AX86U Review: The Best Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router to Date

But like all things, the RT-AX86U is not perfect. It’s not wall-mountable, nor does it support tri-band. And as a gaming router, it doesn’t have all game-related features collectively available in others. Also, its current price of some $250, while reasonable, can still be out of reach for those on a budget.

So there will be a new router that will topple its place. In the meantime, find below the lists of those that are getting close. Depending on your needs and budget, any of them will make a good or excellent buy.

Best Wi-Fi 6 routers of 2021: The lists

These lists are in reviewed order, latest on top. (Specifically, the number in front of each product’s name is just numerical and not meant to be the ranking position.)

There are a few lists for different home sizes, including small, medium, and large. And by those, I mean mostly the number of users and not necessarily space. That’s because if you have a large home, you might want to look into mesh systems instead.

It’s worth noting that a single Wi-Fi 6 router has about the same coverage as a Wi-Fi 5 counterpart of the same performance tier but likely delivers better performance when used with Wi-Fi 6 clients.

Scroll to the bottom of each section for the performance charts to see how their numbers stack up. Or check out these Wi-Fi 6 matchups to see how they pan out as direct competitors.


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 Wi-Fi 6 clients. These generally are routers for the budget-minded or those living in a small or medium home.

TP Link Archers AX3200
The TP-Link Archer AX3200 looks like a typical Wi-Fi router with six non-removable antennas sticking up.

The TP-Link Archer AX3200 is a bit of a rare find since, in the U.S., it’s available at Costco exclusively. And it can also be an excellent find for a home with a modest Internet connection.

Despite being a tri-band router, the AX3200’s total bandwidth is just about that of most dual-band routers. However, thanks to its reliable performance and the friendly cost, it sure is an excellent buy.

TP-Link Archer AX3200 Wi-Fi 6 Tri-Band Router

8

Performance

8.0/10

Features

7.0/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Reliable Wi-Fi performance, with decent throughput speeds
  • Tri-band with 2.5Gbps network port
  • Affordable
  • Standard web interface

Cons

  • Modest hardware specs
  • No Antivirus
  • No 160MHz channel width
  • Slow NAS performance when hosting a portable drive
  • Simple QoS and Parental Control
READ NOW:  TP-Link Archer AX3200 Review: An Excellent Buy for a Modest Network
TP Link Archer AX10 in Hand
The Archer AX10 shares the same physical design as other TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 routers, including the AX50 below and the Archer AX3000.

At just around $80, the Archer AX10 is one of the most affordable Wi-Fi routers on the market. And for one that supports Wi-Fi 6, it’s ridiculously cheap.

But this is not a cheap router. If you’re looking for a frill-free Wi-Fi machine that can handle a small home, the Archer AX10 is an excellent choice.

TP-Link Archer AX10 AX1500 Wi-Fi 6 Router

$79.99
8.6

Performance

8.0/10

Features

8.5/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Value

9.5/10

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Excellent performance for the specs
  • Easy to set up and use

Cons

  • Subdued feature set, no USB port
  • No support for the 160 MHz channel bandwidth
READ NOW:  TP-Link Archer AX10 Review: An Underrated Budget Wi-Fi Machine

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) Wi-Fi 6 router, which makes a mid-range 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 Wi-Fi 6 AX3000 Smart WiFi Router

8.4

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.5/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

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
  • Valueable features, including free real-time online protection
  • Comparatively affordable
  • Compact design, wall-mountable

Cons

  • No multi-gig network port or Dual-WAN
  • HomeCare requires mobile app and login account with TP-Link to work
  • Slow NAS performance when hosting a portable drive
  • Runs a bit warm
READ NOW:  TP-Link Archer AX50 Review: A Nice Surprise of a Wi-Fi 6 Router

2. Asus RT-AX3000 (RT-AX58U): The best entry-level mesh-ready router

Asus RT AX3000 Hand
The Asus RT-AX3000 is the smallest Wi-Fi 6 router I’ve tested.

The RT-AX3000 (a.k.a RT-AX58U) is the Asus’s answer to the TP-Link 3000 and Netgear RAX40 below. It’s slightly more expensive than those two, but it has way more than enough to justify the cost.

The router did well in my testing. It has many useful features, including a capable QoS engine you can use to customize your Intenet for real-time voice/video conferencing quickly. In all, for a small home with a budget, the Asus RT-AX3000 is an excellent buy.

ASUS RT-AX3000 Dual Band Wi-Fi 6 Router

$179.99
8.5

Performance

8.5/10

Features

9.0/10

Design and Setup

8.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • 160 MHz channel support
  • Fast and reliable performance
  • Ton of useful features with excellent AiMesh support
  • Full web interface and well-design mobile app
  • Compact design, wall-mountable

Cons

  • No multi-gig port or Link Aggregation
  • Modest hardware specs
  • Relatively short Wi-Fi range
  • The Parental Control feature could use some improvement
READ NOW:  Asus RT-AX3000 and RT-AX58U Review: A Little Excellent AiMesh Pair

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’s capable of delivering 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 (2.4Gbps) in full. That said, for now, it’s as fast 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 AX4 4-Stream WiFi 6 Router (RAX40)

8.4

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

8.5/10

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 require a login account with vendor
READ NOW:  Netgear Nighthawk 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 band and 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 actually great deals since they deliver where it matters.

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

Netgear XR1000 12
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 DumaOS version 3.0, the new router has some unique features for gamers, as well as a ton of useful settings for regular users. In return, it’s a bit too pricey for its hardware specs, which are identical to the Asus RT-AX82U below.

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

Netgear XR1000 Nighthawk Pro Gaming 6-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router

$349.99
8

Performance

8.5/10

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 perfornace
  • Robust web UI, beautiful hardware design
  • Useful mobile app, wall-mountable

Cons

  • Expensive but under powered - items of 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
READ NOW:  Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 Review: A Unique (Gaming) Experience

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

Asus RT AX82U 22
The Asus RT-AX82U and its 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 an awesome looking programmable front lighting. On top of that its excellent performance and relatively friendly price tag don’t hurt.

Asus RT-AX82U AX5400 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router

9

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
READ NOW:  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.

Technically, the RAX50 doesn’t belong to this list because it’s an AX5400 router, nor does it belong to the list of the AX6000 routers below. Considering its relatively reasonable cost, I placed it here.

I called the RAX50 a just-right router because it can offer the same 5 GHz performance as those of 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 AX6 6-Stream WiFi 6 Router (RAX50)

8.5

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast, reliable Wi-Fi 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
  • 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 require a login account with vendor
READ NOW:  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 that have the 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 even a large home that has an average amount 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.

TP Link Archer AX6000 Router in Hand
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 Wi-Fi 6 Router

$269.99
8.1

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

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 require a login account
READ NOW:  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

Asus RT AX89X Hand
That’s my hand on the Asus RT-AX89X Wi-Fi 6 router.

The Asus RT-AX89X has the X (and not U) at the end of its name for a good reason. It’s the first on the market that features two 10Gbps network ports. 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 AX6000 Dual Band WiFi 6 Router

9

Performance

9.5/10

Features

9.0/10

Design and Setup

9.0/10

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 internal fan
  • Web interface needs work
  • Not wall-mountable, no universal backup restoration
READ NOW:  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

RT AX88U 12
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 a lot of similar features, including the eight Gigabit LAN ports, and the lack of a multi-gig port.

ASUS RT-AX88U AX6000 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router

$310.99
8.4

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

8.0/10

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)
READ NOW:  Asus RT-AX88U Review: A Router for True Gigabit Internet

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

Netgear AX12 Front
The Netgear RAX120 is an all-around excellent router.

Slightly cheaper than the RAX200, the RAX120 is a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router that 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 cool futuristic design.

NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12 12-Stream WiFi 6 Router (RAX120)

$384.77
8.1

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

9.0/10

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
READ NOW:  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 bunch.

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 AX6100 Tri-Band WiFi 6 Router

$219.98
8.5

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.5/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

Value

9.0/10

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

  • No Wi-Fi 6 when working as a wireless mesh
  • No Multi-Gig port
READ NOW:  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 quite a cool-looking router to boot.

TP-Link Archer AX11000 Next-Gen Tri-Band Gaming Router

8.4

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

9.0/10

Value

8.0/10

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 require a login account
READ NOW:  TP-Link Archer AX11000 Review: Excellent 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 cool features, useful mobile app, and excellent performance.

AmpliFi Alien Wifi 6 Router by Ubiquiti Labs

$688.00
8.3

Performance

8.0/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

9.0/10

Value

8.0/10

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
READ NOW:  Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Review: A Peculiarly Excellent Router

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

Netgear RAX200 Ports
The Netgear RAX200’s Multi-Gig port caps at 2.5Gbps.

The awesome-looking RAX200 is a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router and proved to be 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 AX12 12-Stream AX11000 Tri-Band WiFi 6 Router (RAX200)

$499.99
8

Performance

9.0/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

7.0/10

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
READ NOW:  Netgear RAX200 Review: Nice, Super-Fast but Overpriced

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

Asus AX11000 Top 1
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 to figure 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 ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Gaming Router

8.3

Performance

8.0/10

Features

9.5/10

Design and Setup

8.0/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance with 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 previous model
  • Long boot-up time, buggy (at launch), fluctuating Wi-Fi throughputs
READ NOW:  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 Router Perf Chart

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 clients (with the ceiling speed of 1733 Mbps) that works in the close-range test. For the long-range test, I use a 3×3 (1300 Mbps) clients.

Best Wi Fi 6 Router Wi Fi 5 Client Perf Chart

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 fluctuate a great deal. For that reason, nowadays, this band is mostly for backup and backward compatibility purposes.

Best Wi Fi 6 Router 2 4GHz Perf Chart

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

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

330 thoughts on “Best Wi-Fi 6 Routers of 2021: Pick One for Your Home!”

  1. Hi Dong

    great article, just moving broadband providers in the UK and can run my own Wi-Fi router.

    Only 3 of us in the house but multiple devices including gaming (xbox and be on wireless), online meetings and UHD streaming, typical UK 4 bed so 1600sqft type space.

    Which would you recommend? was thinking about the ASUS RT-AX88U (better than the 86 from the review) or one of the Netgear Nighthawks – RAX80 or above (RAX70 seems to be tri-band but not as high spec?). Both allow Mesh at a future date.

    Thanks Matt

    Reply
  2. Hi Dong,

    Tks for great reviews. I just bought an Asus RT-AX86U and its absolutely a great router. I have a small question, which Wifi 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz authentication method should I choose? I have chosen WPA2/WPA3-Personal currently. All my devices are connected perfectly. Should I just use WPA3-Personal? I am looking at great connectivity and great security. Tks

    Reply
    • The current one is good, Zhuge. Some devices might not support WPA3. In your case, WPA3 is used when a supported device connects to the router.

      Reply
  3. Hi Dong. I live in a 3 story 2200 sqft house and I tried both asus ax89x and ax92u. ax89x is an absolute beast, I get over 700 Mbps on my phone from my 1Gig internet. But my router is on the 3rd floor, and the 1st-floor signal is extremely slow.

    Switch to a pair of ax92u, one on the 3rd floor, one on the 1st floor, my phone can only get 300Mbps speed. And the 1st floor signal is much better by the mesh system.

    Which one should I choose? I really enjoy the ax89x though.

    Reply
  4. Hi Dong,

    I’m moving to a one bedroom apartment, less than 900 Sq Ft. I will have 1 gigabit internet speed. Can you please tell me which wifi 6 router you recommend? Netgear Nighthawk AX6600, Asus AX86, Asus AX88, or Netgear Orbi AX4200? Or is there a different router you recommend?

    Reply
  5. Thank you for the great information available on your website. However, I have to be honest and say that the more I read the less I am sure about what to buy.

    My network came with me to my new house. I brought an Asus RT ac86u and an Asus DSL 68u. However, this house is a big detached house and I now stream 4k videos via Plex around the house.

    With my new devices, I am keen to take advantage of WiFi 6.

    What I am currently trying to decide on is should I keep what I have and add an ax88u to mesh.

    Or would it best best to start fresh with:

    2 Asus ax88u in aimesh

    Or

    Zenwifi xt8

    Or

    2 Asus ac86u

    In each instance, one would be centrally located upstairs and another centrally located downstairs.

    They wouod all be directly wired to my gigabyte LAN for the backhaul, rather than wirelessly.

    I guess I am trying to ‘future proof’ as much as possible.

    Thank you for any advice you can give.

    Reply
  6. Hi Dong,

    I currently live in a 1400 sqt condo with 1GB fibre broadband. I have an outdated ASUS RT-AC87U router and have black out spots in my master bedroom (furthest away from router, going through lots of concrete and doors). The average WiFi speed around the house is around 300 Mbps.

    Should I upgrade my router to one of the ones listed here, or explore a WiFi mesh option to improve speeds and eliminate the black out spot in my master bedroom? (note: my master bedroom does not have a lan port so I can’t set up AP point).

    Thanks for your advice in advance.

    Reply
      • Thanks Dong. I’ve read through a lot of your other posts (AIMesh, how to set up wireless network etc.) and have learned a lot in the last day! I’ve come up with 3 options, which one would you recommend?

        Option 1. Buy a new Asus RT-AX88U as I don’t have the Asus RT-AX86U available in my region.

        Option 2. Buy 2 Asus RT-AX58U, set up with AIMesh and connect them via wired backhaul. The 2nd router will be placed in the living room which is separated from my master bedroom by only one bedroom.

        Option 3. Buy Asus ZenWifi AX Mini XD4 AX1800 3 pack. The main XD4 unit and the second XD4 connected via wired backhaul. The third unit placed in my master bedroom connected to the second XD4 in the living room via wireless backhaul.

        Reply
  7. This is the question I’ve been trying to explore and search but I can not find the data that would help me decide…

    Please, if you can help me understand based on my setup I would greatly appreciate helping me making the decision.

    I have a Synology 920+ set up with link aggregation to the Asus AC88U(4×4). Enabled on both ends.

    My computer is a 2019 16in MBP(3×3). It achieves up to 80MB/s transfer speeds to and from the NAS in the close range. My other MBP is 13in 2013 model and that one gets a clean 100MB/s uploads to the NAS.

    I understand that if I update to AX86U I am not able to use the AX standard, but the question is – would my NAS performance be positively impacted at all with the router swap to a more modern version.

    Beacause I could not find any tests with a dedicated NAS unit connected over LAN aggregation ports or similar Vs an HDD plugged to the Router where router is acting like a NAS I am asking these questions as finding conclusive numbers is really hard.

    Thank you and apologies if you have this covered and I was unable to unearth it. If you can share the link I will gladly do my own homework.

    Thank you,
    M.

    Reply
    • You’re all over the place, Martin, so it’s hard to answer your questions. Generally, the RT-AX86U will not change your NAS server’s performance but it will affect your MBPs’ Wi-Fi speeds. As for a router working as a Mini NAS server, check out this post for more.

      Reply
      • To be less scattered Vs transcendent and omnipresent… 😄

        My only point of concern is the Wifi transfer speeds to and from the Synology NAS unit. I’m trying to figure out the best option for my workflow at home. My current transfer speeds are avg 80MB/s on one machine or 100MB/s on the second. If these numbers will not be affected in a considerable way I’d reckon that there is no point in changing the router unit.

        If you need more info about what is in the NAS – it is populated by 2xExos x16 14TB + 2TB SSD, 8gb Ram, +1x1TB Cache.

        Router acting like a NAS with an attached HDD is not what I am after in terms of performance.

        The only lean idea I had to improve speeds of data transfer, besides pushing the WiFi – may be a pure wired connection via 2x QNAP QNA-UC5G1T – one attached to the router and one attached to the Mac. Even though the preference is maximizing Wifi performance.

        I hope I was more clear this time around.

        Sorry for being spaced out initially.

        Martin

        Reply
        • I doubt you consistently get 100MB/s on your MBPs via Wi-Fi that’s 800Mbps, something very hard to get out of a 3×3 Wi-Fi 5 connection (though not impossible).

          That said, that’s the speed between your laptop and the router and it’s generally slower than that between the router and the NAS (which is either 1Gbps or 2Gbps if you use LA).

          So I wouldn’t worry about it. There’s a chance your MBP might get faster Wi-Fi speeds when working with a Wi-Fi 5 router, though. But that depends on the version of the Wi-Fi card’s driver software.

          Reply
          • In retrospect the speed I mentioned is when I send bulky video files and images from a medium format camera that are 100MB+ in size get those speeds I mentioned. The router is within 15feet from the computer.

            I tried today with my smaller camera files and I paid attention more closely and it falls in the range of 70-80MB/s so you are very much correct that those speeds vary.

            I just need to add that connection on both MBP’s report is 1300Mbps not 800. The Mac that gives faster results is weirdly 2×2 and the slower is 3×3. Strange. 🤔
            Current router is Asus AC88U (WiFi5) running Merlin(384.19 or 386.1 b3) which is very close to my work table but far enough that pulling a direct cable is a trip hazard. I live in China and sometimes the way they pull cables from the ISP leaves things to be wished for.

            Thank you for your input so far – it has been helpful.

          • Sure, Martin. And yes I understand that 3×3 = 1300Mbps on paper. You’ll be lucky if you get half of that in sustained real-world speed. 🙂

  8. Hi dong. I know this is mostly about routers but can I get an opinion on a cable modem to match up with my ax86u? Looking at the mb8600 or the mb8611. Looks like the only difference is th four ports for link aggregation in the 8600 and the flat 2.5G on the 8611. Either you would recommend over the other?

    Reply
    • Get the modem that works for your Internet plan. It’s generally better to use one without Link Agregation that can deliver the same speed than one that’s with. LA can be completed.

      Reply
  9. Hi Dong, I just wanted to know do you worry about TP-Link’s slow roll outs of updates to their routers, and the fact they seemingly drop updates to after a couple of years?

    Reply
  10. Hi Dong,

    I am using a Tp-link AX10 located at 1st floor for a typical double Storey with 4 bedrooms. My mobile devices usually disconnect and experience very slow in WiFi speed at ground floor. Do you think all these issues will be resolved by getting a Asus AX86U? Also do u recommend using SmartConnect or having separate 2.4GHz and 5GHz? Thank you.

    Reply
  11. Any comments/opinions on a wired router system, where the wifi antennas are quite physically separate from router (gateway)?

    I‘d like to locate most of my network equipment in the basement, and the wiring closet down there is the absolute worst place for a wifi antenna.

    I’m building a new system for a large home which has been cat5e wired. (Mostly). Wired devices would include a synology NAS, smart TV, a security camera NVR, and two Ethernet drops for computers. The wiring closet has a UPS, and I’d like to keep the network up during power outages. (Except for that power hungry NVR!)

    I’m considering a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter (4?) and a couple of Unifi access points. Or possibly an EdgeRouter, Unifi Switch and Unifi access points. I’m open to any manufacturer though. Maybe one of these consumer mesh systems would do if I could disable the wifi on the main router.

    I don’t see Wifi 6 being that beneficial at the moment, but it would be good ready for that.

    Any opinions/recommendations appreciated. Maybe Dong could do an article on wired / wifi systems where the router and the antennas are in physically different devices?

    Reply
      • Hi Dong, I see you’ve compared Ubiquiti’s Dream Machine to their AmpliFi Alien, both are combination router / switch / wifi devices all in one. Maybe Ubiquiti could send you a Dream Machine Pro or USG, along with a wifi 6 access point, like the UniFi 6 lite. There are a lot of people that want to place their wifi antennas in a physically separate location from the other network devices. Doing a comparison review on that would be great.

        Reply
  12. I am using an Asus ZenWifi AX system and I noticed under the professional settings that OFDMA/802.11ax MU-MIMO is disabled by default.

    Is this something I should enable? Anybody know exactly what this does and if it is a good idea to have it on or not?

    Reply
  13. Hi Dong,
    I enjoy your site very much. You provide so much information which I probably never use but I do enjoy reading them. Anyways, I need advice on getting a new router. I live on Guam and our network plan is mediocre but expensive. I am currently on a 50 mbps plan might upgrade to 75 mbps in the future. I don’t game anymore, we use our internet mainly for streaming and have a few smart home devices. Which Wi-Fi 6 router do you recommend? Only Wi-Fi 6 devices we have are phones and our home is relatively small.
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
      • Hi Dong … I hope all is well with you and yours!

        Xfinity is dropping Norton AV/Malware protection as a free “perk” and instead of paying/subscribing to Norton or MacAfee I was wondering if the anti-malware protection included in the new Asus RT-AX86U would suffice? I’m planning to buy a new WiFi6 router soon, ideally that can be “meshed”. Any thoughts? Is this a bad idea?

        Any recommendation instead of the Asus RT-AX86U for a large one-level house?

        LOVE your detailed, clear reviews!

        Bruce

        Reply
        • Thanks, Bruce. We’re hanging in here. It’s been rather hectic. Hope things are good your end, too.

          Norton and AiProtection are two different things. I don’t use the former, I’d opt for Windows’s built-in Security suite instead. There’s nothing that can really protect you, it’s always on you. More in this post.

          Reply
  14. Thanks for your informative videos. I am torn between net gears rax200 triband and their rax 120 dual band. I don’t understand why the dual band says coverage is 3500 sq ft and the triband is 2500 sq ft. At this point in time I have the nighrhawk 10 9000R which has been a great router. Currently have gig speed with 30+ devices in a 4000 sq ft 2 story house. If I spend the extra for triband I don’t want to also have to purchase an extender. Thanks for everything, Mike O

    Reply
    • If the current router worked out well, Mike, either the RAX120 or RAX200 will improve the situation. I’d go with the former, though. It’s a bit of a surprise to me that the X10 could handle your house since it’s quite large, you must have a lot of open space.

      Reply
  15. Good afternoon Dong. I came here a few months ago and asked for a recommendation on a WiFi router and you mentioned the asus ax86u.

    I sadly had some other expenses come up that I had to handle before buying it and now I don’t see it on this recommendation list.

    Is there a router you recommend over the asus I mentioned now for around the $200-$250 price?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  16. Dong. Thanks for the writeup. Can I check when you did the RT-AX88U router benchmarking? Would it have changed with the new firmware updates?

    They aren’t selling the RT-AX86U where I am and will probably have to get the AX88U. But it seems wierd to pay more for a router and get less performance especially since they are using similar hardware.

    Reply
  17. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for putting together the one site that I feel I can trust for thoughtful recommendations instead of the obvious affiliate link click bait!

    I currently have a Netgear X10 R9000 AD7200 which is persnickety but has been a really great router for me. I currently run gigabit internet and will be upgrading at some point. I have an SB8200. I run a Synology NAS and use link aggregation for it. My house is filled with wifi enabled smart switches, plugs, and bulbs along with the usual Hue Hub. Apple TV 4K, Apple Home Pod, and my wife and I are both working from home with zoom conference calls. I block access to to all new devices, WAN, etc.

    Is there anything on the wifi 6 list that stands out to you as a good replacement for the R9000? Or is it wise to wait?

    Derek

    Reply
  18. I’m finding it difficult to find information on which router to buy for smart homes with lots of devices. I’ve tried several (both mesh and non-mesh) and but devices are always dropping which is super frustrating. I’m willing to spend a bit of money to solve this issue once and for all, but I’ve already invested in a few modestly priced solutions, like the OrbiRBR50, which haven’t worked, so I’m afraid to spend more money when most router reviews don’t mention anything about the number of smart home devices it can handle.

    To clarify, when I say a lot of devices, I’m currently up to about 60+ devices with a hope that I can double that. We’re usually streaming a lot on more than 2 or 3 at a time, but there are 18 Google Home speakers that are often all playing music in groups of 5-10. My house is 2500sq feet, but I would like it to reach the end of my back yard which is about 120 feet, or be able to put a satellite that can endure cold/wet weather in the gazebo. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  19. One of the items I don’t see often enough in reviews is the maximum throughputs by the manufacture for items like IPS, VPN, etc. Do you have sources for these?

    Reply
  20. Hi Dong,

    Thank you for the great review and all these amazing articles! You really give a real-world feel to these reviews and it’s very helpful to a consumer.
    I have a small place (2000 sq feet) that has walls with metal in it, and I’m on two stories that are more long and rectangular than square. I have near gigabit internet, but don’t have a router that takes advantage of it. My goal is to cover the entire place as well as a bit of the backyard (200 additional sq feet at one extremity). I’ll be connecting a NAS that has 2.5 GBE capability, and eventually upgrading to a 10GBE switch to take advantage of the CAT6 cabling that’s already in my home. I’m looking at triband systems, because I want to dedicate one 5ghz network to work computers (my wife and I work from home and use bandwidth-heavy applications such as MS Teams), the other 5ghz for our iphones (11 pro and 12 mini, both being wifi-6 clients), 2.4 ghz for smart devices (fridge, oven, Alexa, etc.), and wired connections for the apple tv and 2 desktop computers. I am leaning towards the GT-AX11000, but the thought had occurred to me to think about Mesh solutions or maybe even two RT-AX86U… I’ve read all your articles, but I’m looking for a nudge in one direction or another. What would you recommend?
    Thanks in advance!
    Andrew

    Reply
  21. Any love for the idea of testing a stand-alone router with separate AP:s as a more scalable and future proof system?
    Im thinking of installing OPNSense on a box and then chosing the best AP solution for my house.

    Reply
  22. Hi Dong,

    I just came across your site and wanted to say Thank you for your fantastic reviews and content – the Pinterest charts by GHz and Wifi5/6 client was particularly interesting.

    I was prepared to pay the equivalent of USD$933 for a Netgear Orbi RBK852 (and place the satellite directly above the room where my desk is (1st floor, 50ft from main router through 1 ceiling and 2 cavity walls) where I imagine it will be seldomly used BUT then I came across your site and would happily pay considerably less for an ASUS RT-AX88U based on your content/reviews.

    THE question I have for you is – which router (router software) would give me greater control of ensuring that only my desk wifi5 5Ghz client/adapter connects to the main router (or would I benefit from connecting to the satellite being in the room above me) only?

    I have immediate need for a mesh network per se however if I can operate the main Netgear router as the primary/standalone device because it delivers greater performance vs line of sight of the Asus… I would be prepared to pay more for the best hardware I can afford to deliver 1) the best performance at the distance I am sat at for working from home 2) Futureproofed for at least 3 years before having to consider upgrading again.

    The max I can get in my area is FTTC 350mb/20mb internet connection into a Linksys EA6350 router and 22 devices on 2.4GHz SSID (however only 11-15 at any one time), I recently purchased a TP Link Archer TU9H AC1900 USB Adapter for my desk which is line of sight 10 metres / 32 ft away in the same room as the Linksys and get between 90-175 MB download and 37 MB down on the one device connected to my 5 Ghz Wifi5 client/adapter.

    At peak times, there could be 11 Wifi5 clients connecting at 2.4Ghz and I have it setup that I am the only 5Ghz Wifi5 client but I am not getting the best speeds…

    Linksys EA6350 has device prioritization and I can pick and choose which clients go on which network/SSID. Also I think understand that MiMO techology surpasses this allowing the router to control bandwidth by data type/spatiality but am I being dumb when I assume it has the intelligence to serve its bandwidth over a single SSID and the router software decides whether to put that device on 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz? If so, which device would allow me to override this function?

    Last question, do you know of any AX adapters USB3.0/USB C?

    Thank you,

    Anoop.

    Reply
    • You have loaded questions, Anoop. There’s no software for controlling which band on the client-side, but you can do that by segmenting your network, i.e. having multiple networks. For example, you can turn on the 5GHz Guest network, make it intranet accessible, and use that only for whichever client etc. (More here). Check out this post for Wi-Fi 6 adapter (No USB yet, but you can probably make one.) There’s no user-accessible for MIMO (you can only turn it on or off). I’d recommend you start with this post (and related ones.)

      Reply
      • Thanks for answering them all though !!

        I ended up following your links and found there is now an Intel AX210NGW WiFi 6E Card an upgrade to the AX200NGW WiFi 6 Card.

        I’ve ordered 11 of them and they’re set to arrive from China the week before Christmas; hopefully by that time there should be a 6Ghz WiFi 6E router available to purchase.

        Reply
  23. Hi Dong, awesome reviews~

    I wanna ask if I can get the Netgear RAX50 for $200 or ASUS RT-AX82U for $250, what are your thoughts?

    My house isn’t multi level tho

    Reply
      • Thanks for the incredible response~

        I am currently using Synology RT2600ac and I’m loving the customization! I was thinking to upgrade to WiFi 6

        Would this be an upgrade worth going for?

        Reply
    • Dong,

      Thank you for this post…and all the other reviews you do for all the new HW that is coming out. Really helps us stay current and make the right buying decisions.

      I am looking for a WiFi 6 Router that has multi gig WAN and multi gig LAN ports. I live in a small home; so my current WiFi coverages is fine; I just want to upgrade to WiFi 6 technology to get the most out of my fiber connection into the house.

      Do I need to look for a device with 2 multi gig ports…or can I make 1 multi gig port work and give me the full speed of my connection (Using Google Fiber and getting ready for the 2GB upgrade they are rolling out).

      My house is wired; so if I need a wired backhaul; I can do that. Just not sure what router to get.

      Any advise you have would be welcomed.

      Thank you Dong,

      -JJ

      Reply
      • @Dong Ngo,

        Thanks for the quick reply. I am with you on whether or not I really need that kind of speed, I am really just trying to future proof myself as much as possible, and limit multiple HW purchases. I an in the market for a new Router, so I figured it would be best to get something that will support my WAN speed as much as possible inside the home network.

        Really appreciate the feedback and your site…you help all of us solve issues that we all face with HW and networking

        Thanks again,

        -JJ

        Reply
  24. Hi Dong and Happy Thanksgiving,
    Will make this short as possible. Am in need of a new router. We have a 7 yr old Netgear and we own our modem. Just my wife and me (6 devices) and occasional guests. Our home is 1917 sq. ft. Single level. Also, Ring doorbell, two security cameras (Wyze) and a 50 inch Samsung television. Will be purchasing an Echo Show, soon.
    Have read your articles and wish I understood everything you speak of. I was, apparently, born in the wrong generation for grasping technology quickly.
    We’re interested in security and are willing to spend, reasonably, to upgrade. I went to my local electronics store and received no help at all.
    What would you recommend for our home?

    Reply
  25. Dong – I’m moving into a 600+ Unit 2-bedroom, 1,100 sf apartment. Only can get cox so thinking of getting gigablast 940 up/ 940 down over premium 150/10 since I have a 4K tv and do lots of video conferencing. What router do you suggest? The rep at abt recommended the new eero pro 6 for $229. Thoughts?

    Reply
  26. Hi Dong,

    I have been using a Netgear AC1450 since 2013 and it’s finally dying and I can’t figure out what the best way to replace it would be. Due to the layout of my house and work flows going on I only really care about the ability for multiple simultaneous low-latency connections(virtualized work machines + kids gaming) and long range(terrible cable placement and want a connection to the backyard). Pure throughput is irrelevant because it is unlikely the cable connection to the house will ever be upgraded beyond it’s current 1 Gb/s speeds. Since I will most likely use the router for the foreseeable future I want a Wi-Fi 6 router for the better multi-device support/ future proofing.

    I was wondering what would you suggest knowing that the Ac1450 reaches about 80% of the distance I was hoping before I can no longer stream video.
    I like Netgear because of their reliability and their no-nonsense software, but it looks like I would need a RA120 which is about 100$ more than I was hoping to spend. Am I over compensating on the range behalf? Would the RA80/45 be plenty? I don’t really want to go to a cheaper mesh setup like the nighthawk mesh because most of the computers are in the same area so I am afraid of a cheap satellite causing a lag bottleneck especially (currently) with mainly wi-fi 5 devices. The TP-link Deco X90 looks promising range/ performance wise for much cheaper than the Orbi setup, but sadly it’s not out. Would a single Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien be enough or would you rather suggest the router plus mesh? I’ve been kind of avoiding mentioning Asus routers because I really don’t want to deal with buggy/inconsistent firmware, but you seem to suggest them a lot so I would be interested in if you think the RT86U or the RT88U would work well?

    Thanks!

    Reply
      • I think I got overzealous writing my question and thus mislead you, because I have already read that and didn’t find my answer there, lol. My bad.

        So telling you the layout of my house is pointless/ a fool’s errand, I understand. So, I was wondering if you know what kind of coverage the Netgear Ac1450 is supposed to have using today’s numbers, so I can buy the next tier up. The only documentation I can find just says extreme range. I have no idea what that means. Is it supposed to cover 2500 sq ft, 3500? I don’t know. All I know is that it has six internal antennas and their marketing materials say the range bar is completely filled.

        Also I never meant I would cheap out, but I will never have more than 1 gigabit speed and I don’t use a nas so I have little purpose for a $700 multi-gigabit capable router. In addition, it has been seven years so I probably just didn’t realize how much the tier pricing has changed. 7 years ago Iphones used to be 300, now they’re a thousand.

        Lastly I am confused about how the number of streams a router has will affect performance. Do I need as many streams as people concurrently using a virtual machine/gaming, so each person can have their own stable Mu-mimo channel? Do I need double for a fast enough signal for each person? Or is it all marketing?

        Thank you for taking the time to respond. It’s astonishing how few good review sites there are for one of the most important pieces of tech in everyone’s households.

        Reply
          • Those were quite informative, thank you for the help!

            Just a clarification question on the wifi range article. If I understand it correctly Wi-Fi pretty much has a set range for the standard that no commercial home router will surpass. If so, what is the difference between non-mesh routers that companies say are for small to medium houses vs large houses. Is it just the amount of devices/bandwidth they were designed for? Or did I misunderstand. Consequently does that mean that the best Wi-Fi router from ten years ago will have the same signal strength/range of the best Wi-Fi router today?

            Second followup question on the Wi-Fi basics article since it hasn’t been Wi-Fi 6. Has Mu-MiMo expanded past four devices in 6? I see some companies advertising 8 stream Mu-MiMo, is that 8 devices or just 4 devices with 2×2 connections?

            Lastly a question about mesh.(I promise this is my last question). Sadly I can’t do a wired backhaul, so of the tri-band mesh routers (that are available in a two pack) which one has the the most reliable/lowest latency backhaul setup for “gaming”, since you mentioned in the range article that is where mesh might suffer the most. Secondly if a device was situated between a satellite and the base, will it automatically connect to the base or is there a way to specify a preference, such as if the base was providing slower throughput but lower latency. I would hope it’s not a black box with no configurability, but i don’t have experience with mesh networks only range extenders.

            Again, thank you so much for your help and experience!

          • You seem to have skimped through them, Nathan. Else you’d have noted the link to the Wi-Fi 6 within the post. But here it is you’ll find MU-MIMO in there, and when you’re at it, here’s the post on Wi-Fi 6E. This post talk sabout bandwidth etc. There’s no Wi-Fi that can be great for gaming. But just get the best possible one. More on that here. Again, take your time. There’s no short answers to your questions. You have to understand things yourself. 🙂

          • Yep, I definitely missed that. I read it on mobile and skimmed to the relevant MiMo section and didn’t remember reading you address Wifi6 above. My bad. I was hoping that maybe you had some intuition on how much overhead from various mesh backends add to your ping or if you had compared ping of a local NAS for standardized testing or something, but yeah no wireless solution is perfect. That pretty much answers all my questions other than the question of range/what a modern equivalent would be of my old Netgear AC1450 in terms of range. But I can always just return my purchase if it is too limited.
            Thank you for all the help! and have a good day.

  27. Dong, I have read through the post and I wanted to know what you would suggest for my situation. I have a 2500 sf ranch with a basement. In the basement I have my modem and router to run my Control 4, receiver, and Sonos amp for my TV and speakers around my house. I have 4 kids using the internet, along with my wife and I. I was looking the RT- AX86U as an option because I have 207 mbps upstairs and 227 mbps downstairs on my Comcast modem router combo so it doesn’t seem like I lose a lot. I would like to replace that with my own modem and router, so I don’t pay rental fees. However you suggested to someone else the ZenWiFi AX or a 2-pack Asus RT-AX92U for a multiple level house. I was looking at the mesh routers originally but I don’t want to lose any speed because of the satellite router. So I was thinking maybe a really good single router is the best. I was hoping to send between $200-300, and $400 at the most. Please advise. Thanks

    Reply
  28. Hi Dong, thanks for the informative reviews. I currently live in a 3 story home that’s roughly 1500 square feet. I have an R7000 in a top floor bedroom corner – I know this is not ideal, but I don’t have the ability to move it to the center at this time. I am trying to get a stronger signal in the middle floor, and especially the basement. I have a 980~mbps down connection, and although my devices my not get this I’m trying to improve signal strength and connection speeds. If I were to jump into an RT-AX86U, do you think that will be sufficient? Or would you recommend a aimesh or other mesh system? Any recommendations are highly appreciated. Hardwiring unfortunately is not an option.

    Reply
  29. Hey Dong! I’m moving into an 1800 sq/ft, two story home with four bedrooms and I’m wondering if the Asus RT-AX86U would be a good option for me or if I should look into a mesh system. There is no Ethernet wiring throughout the house so it would have to be a tri band mesh I assume. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

    Reply
  30. HI,

    Thanks for the great reviews, especially the one on the latest EERO Pro 6. I think that I will be looking at an ASUS AX XT8 or Orbi 852 instead. Expensive, but looking for a bit of future proofing when I buy.

    I am looking to upgrade my ISP service, and have Verizon FIOS fiber to the house. However, the ONT is outside the house, and (because I also get cable TV from them), Verizon uses the cable interface out of the ONT. Which Verizon then cross connects (still on the outside the house) to the Cox cable coax that was there previously. So, no outdoor ethernet cable in place. Thoughts?

    I can’t find a balun that would let me utilize the existing coax run into the house, nor have any idea what the maximum throughput over cable would be.

    The existing service terminates via coax to an ActionTec device (supplied and purchased from Verizon). The Action Tec device is also my wireless network for the house. Wondering if I have to ditch the existing ActionTec device, buy a new one from Verizon, or if there is something else on the market.

    Thanks

    Reply
      • Thanks for the quick reply. The device is an ActionTec MI424EWR Rev 1. I actually bought this from Verizon, so its a “replace only if I have to” item.

        I would have commented “its paid for itself” in terms of avoiding rental payments, but more realistically its really a “its prevented them from taking more money from me…” thing.

        Reply
  31. Good Morning Dong,

    While I have read your list here, I am still struggling on what I should be going to. My house is 3 levels @ 3500 sq ft excluding a finished basement, the current airport extreme sits literally dead centre of the house in the basement rafters to provide the best coverage. The house is fully wired, but I don’t believe I need a MESH setup right now but want to leave options open. I couldn’t find a comparable review for the DIR-X5460, which I was considering. I had looked at Alien, but my privacy is important to me on the network. Do you have any thoughts on this router type?
    Thanks,
    Jim

    Reply
  32. Hi Dong,

    Excellent article. I just updated my home to gigabit internet and looking to upgrade my router as my old ac68u isn’t cutting it anymore. I have a medium sized house with 3 floors and lots of walls but don’t think I need mesh. Between the RT-AX86U and the GT-AX11000 , which one would you recommend? Is the Tri-Band the best option?

    Also, for connecting to the modem to the router, is it much faster to bridge the port?

    Thanks for your help and your great site!

    Reply
  33. Hi Dong,

    I currently have a Dlink 868l (more than 3 years old) which is due for replacement.

    I recently read your article “Why It’s (Still) OK to Delay Upgrading Your Home to Wi-Fi 6” and was quite keen on the Asus RT-AC86U. However, price-wise, it is similar to the Asus RT-AX58U or TP-Link AX50 .

    Currently I have about 10 devices, with only 1 wifi 6 client. As for coverage, the room furthest from the router has a dead zone (just barely), which I supplement with an extender.

    I was hoping the better range of the AC86U would eliminate my need for the extender. Are the newer routers able to match the range of the AC86U? And given the similar pricing, do you think it would make sense to get either of the wifi 6 routers instead, and if so, which one?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Those Wi-Fi 6 routers you mentioned are mid-tiers and they are inferior to the RT-AC86U in terms of range and speed, Joe. I’d go with the Asus.

      Reply
  34. I’m still using the latest gen airport extreme as my wifi access point (bridge mode). It’s centrally located in my house so all rooms have a good connection except my garage which is the only weak spot. I’m looking at the TPLink Archer AX50 to replace my airport extreme. I would only be using it as an access point like I am now with my airport extreme. I’m wondering if the range would improve at all with the Archer AX50 or any new router for that matter over my old airport extreme? Thanks.

    Reply
  35. Hi all. After reading a few articles and comments on Dong’s site I pulled the trigger and bought the Netgear Nighthawk 6 mesh system. I bought the router and 2 satellite package and ultimately found out that I only need the router and a single satellite. Now I’m stuck with an extra satellite. A friend offered to buy it but I can’t find the router for sale outside of a package deal. Does anyone know what router this satellite can pair with and where I can get it? And just to be clear the wifi signal in my house (a Faraday cage!) has never been better. Thanks!

    Reply
      • Thanks for the reply. I am not a fan of e-bay but that is the only site that seems to sell the MR60 by itself without satellites. Does anyone know where I can purchase just the MR60 router? Thanks!

        Reply
  36. Hi,
    Please help me choose a router among these models: Linksys MR9600, Velop MX5300, ASUS XT8, AX88U.
    All these models have nearly the same price. The apartment is around 170m2. No one play online game at home.

    Reply
  37. Mr. Ngo,
    Based on your reviews and my experience/expectations of routers, I bought the ASUS RT-AX86U. Thank you for recommending a solid router that replaced a 5th Gen AirPort Extreme Base Station. I was torn between the ASUS 86 and the Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien and due to cost I went w/ the ASUS. Aesthetically speaking the 86U is no where in the same league as the Alien and much props to the design engineers at Ubiquity. The 86U is everything you want in a router, you hook it up in minutes(don’t forget to keep the same Wifi Network name and password) and enjoy seamless uninterrupted internet. I did also buy the Motorola MB8600 modem to go along with my new router. Dong will the RT-AX86U be making the technological jump to WiFi 6e with firmware updates if the hardware supports it?

    Reply
  38. Hello Dong!

    What are your thoughts between the AX86U and AX88U? There is a $50 difference. Does the 88U give me anything more than the 86U? More range, stability, etc?

    Thanks so much

    Reply
  39. Dong, thank you so much for giving so much of your time and energy in preforming these tests and the write ups! I have used your guide several times to help colleagues pick the right router for their situation. I was curious if you could offer a spreadsheet to help quickly filter features & performance and narrow choices? Thanks again for sharing all your hard work.

    Reply
  40. I bought an Asus RT-AX89X in April and thought it the best thing I had ever used–for about two months until it started losing any network (wifi or lan) connections (or even visible SSID, no networking at all, wired or otherwise). Initially it required a restart to come back, and happened about once a week. Buy the end of June it was every ten minutes.

    I sent it to ASUS for warranty repair in early July. It took weeks to get them to send a RMA. A week after they received it they contacted me and said it couldn’t be repaired and told me I would be contacted about a replacement. I heard nothing in the remainder of July or August. Late August I began pestering ASUS. I had to buy another router because of the delay… Promises of a replacement have been made twice, but no router has come. And they refuse to send me another equivalent router. Rough working with them.

    Now I’m promised reimbursement. I don’t know if they’re even still making the RT-AX89X. It seems to have had many hardware issues. Which is too bad, because it was an awesome router with two 10GB ports, two USB ports and eight regular ethernet ports.

    Long story to get to my question. Is anything out there even nearly as capable as the router I bought in May? Anything on the horizon?

    Thanks for any help.

    Reply
    • Ah, I hate that when it happens. Sorry to hear, David. Mine has been working fine so far (knock on wood.) As far as I know, it’s still the only one that’s with two 10 Gbps ports.

      Reply
  41. Hello again dong. I am having a hard time deciding based on your buying guide. All of them look good but I don’t wanna spend more than I have to.

    Question for you. Is the ax86u worth the extra 100 over the tp link AX50?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  42. Hi Dong

    I live in a 2500 square foot house but half of it is two levels and the other is off the back so the layout is longer. I have a R6400v2 router and an extender but the coverage is still poor along with a huge drop of in speed when we move away from the signal. And I don’t have any way of using wired connections. We only have 150mbs of speed although I am considering increasing to 500mb. I think any of these systems would be a huge improvement but my budget is $300 so I am leaning towards the X60.
    My question is around the drop of of speed with distance. Will 150mb speed be reduced much using either the X60 or MK63? And is one of these better than the other when the download speed is on the lowerside already and coverage is a priority? Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  43. Hello.

    I am needing a new router that would be good to use for work and also gaming/streaming. I will only have 2 hard line connections and the rest of my house will be WiFi. I have an 1800 sqft home and the modem/router will be in the master bedroom on one end of the house.

    WiFi range and speed/stability are important to me. I currently am signed up with cox preferred plan (350mbps I believe don’t quote me).

    My budget is 150 or less. Currently I like the AX50 by TP-Link I think that’s the model number. But any other options would you recommend with my needs/budget?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  44. Hi Dong!

    Thanks so much for the no-fluff and really informative content. It is greatly appreciated!

    I currently have a Netgear R7300 that seems to be failing (it is about 3 years old). I’ve tried reloading firmware and more or less anything I can think of, but the WiFi is almost completely unresponsive now and even cabled connections are starting to slow dramatically.

    I have a reasonably large house (over 3k sq/ft) and have the router in the center of the house underneath a wood floor. It’s actually done a fine job of reaching outdoor Nest cameras, doorbels, etc. I haven’t had any issues until it started to fail.

    We have gigabit internet and I’d like to take advantage of it and get better speeds if possible. I’m not as concerned with budget as I am with performance and a degree of future proofing.

    We stream all of our TV content and both myself and my wife WFH full time so we are on VPN’s all day. We have a fairly large number of devices connected total (27) about half via WiFi.

    I was considering the AX12 just for sheer performance but am concerned about range. I was also looking at the AX5400 is it just seems like a WiFi6 version of what I have now and seems to have more range.

    I’m curious what you think and if you’d be willing to make any recommendations.

    Thank you!

    Reply
      • Hello again Dong!

        Thank you for the amazingly fast reply.

        I may be in a situation where I have to replace my router tomorrow. Unfortunately the AX86U is not available to me locally and would take 1-2 days to get here, although I may try and hold out.

        Locally the best I can do from Netgear is the AX12 or AX5400. From Asus the only one available is the AC3100.

        If I can manage to hold out and get the AX86U I will definitely be using your affiliate link!

        Thanks again!

        Reply
  45. @Dong, I am trying to decide between the Asus RT-AC86U and the RT-AX86U. Currently I have a Netgear AC2400/R6800 and its 5 GHz signal is a tiny bit weak at the corner of the house. 99% of my devices are Wifi 5. From your Wifi 5 and Wifi 6 router performance charts, it appears that AC86U has better speed at longer range (40 ft) than the AX86U?

    Does the AC86U have better range/coverage than the AX86U for Wifi 5 clients?

    Reply
    • The RT-AX86U is a much better router than the RT-AC86U but only if you have Wi-Fi 6 clients or need multi-gig speeds. Their ranges are similar. If you have mostly Wi-Fi 5 clients and sub-Gigabit Internet, go with the latter.

      Reply
  46. Hi Dong,

    I love your site! It’s so hard to find practical reviews without the fluff on other review sites.

    I could use your help with my wifi-6 upgrade plans.

    Here’s my scenario:
    Large home, 4200sf, but over 4 floors. Every room in the house is wired with CAT5e. Gigabit FiOS modem and single wifi router in the basement, 24-port switch.
    I’m thinking to buy two higher-end wifi 6 routers, using one as an access point, placed more centrally (2nd floor ceiling), in order to have a single SSID throughout.
    Seems like Asus would be best, although Netgear’s UI has always seemed easier.
    Do I need tri-band? (I have a mix of clients)
    Do I need multi-gig port? (I have one NAS device)
    I’m not a gamer, but have 20+ devices (7 people in the home)
    Not planning on tweaking, just want strong signals over 4 floors.

    Thanks so much for your time!

    Reply
  47. Hi Dong,

    Great website. I’m a fan now. I live in Lima, Peru and my apartment is long and narrow with thick concrete walls. The place is prone to very weak/dead zones. I just upgraded to 1 Gbps of internet and am looking to build a new wifi network possibly mesh so that my equipment will be better up to speed with what I’m paying for. Any particular suggestions for these concrete walls? Thanks

    Reply
  48. Hi Dong,

    I am in a 2,900 sq. ft house, currently using a Netgear nighthawk x6 in the front of the house (lower level) and a Netgear ex8000 extender upstairs in the middle of the home. They are connected via wifi, no Hardline connection between the two. The nighthawk x6 is connected to my comcast xfinity gig internet box (with its own wifi turned off). I do have Sonos speakers throughout the house using the 2.4 channel i assume.

    I’m looking to improve speed and stability throughout the home for 30+ devices, including 4 people needing to use Zoom simultaneously.

    I could potentially hardwire a line to the other side of the 1st floor for an AP over there, I don’t have one currently. 2nd floor is difficult due to firebreaks between levels.

    I’m curious to know what you’d recommend i do to improve consistent speed and performance with my gig internet.

    Should i start a new system (wifi coverage isn’t an issue currently)? Looking to spend under $1,000 to improve total home speeds. I have been drawn to your write-ups on the new ASUS wifi 6 systems.

    Thanks for any help you can provide.

    Reply
  49. hi dong.. am planning to setup AiMesh on currently used AC66U B1 with AX56.

    care to advise which one should i set as the main router?

    Reply
  50. Still torn on which router 6 to go with. I need reliability, speed. I do IT work. So i have multiple computers running, downloading etc. What do you suggest i buy and future proof?

    Reply
  51. Thanks Dong,

    Have you found the buggy firmware and inconsistent WiFi speeds to be an issue at this stage? Has firmware updates fixed those issues since your last full review on the GT-AX11000? Also, does this router have 160MHz Channel Support? I could not find that info in the review.

    Again thanks for your quick response and your reviews are much appreciated for those of us who are knowledgeable about IT, but not good enough to play in your sandbox :)!

    Bernard

    Reply
  52. Hi Dong,

    I have been waiting to get my hands on the Asus RT-AX89X. I like all the features that it has including the 160MHz Channel support, the multi gig ports, and the number of LAN ports. I will be moving soon into a 3200 sq ft home, so I need a router than can cover a house that size, I will have devices like smart lights, and several other smart home devices including smart TVs for streaming content such as Netflix. More than 2 dozen connected devices. I will have 400 Mb Internet, but may bump that up to the 1 Gb service. My question is, what other router would you recommend with the availability of the AX89X being what it is? I looked at your articles over and over and even looked at the full reviews on some models, and I was able to ignore the cons of the AX89X, but somehow I find it hard to ignore the cons on the other routers. I want to wait for the AX89X to become available, but there is no telling what that will happen. What’s your recommendation on the next best WiFi 6 router out there?

    Thanks.

    Reply
  53. Hi, I’ve been trying to decide between the tp-link ax10, tp-link ax50, and the netgear ac2000 (r6850). I don’t have many wifi 6 devices in the household but I was thinking that getting a wifi 6 router would be better for future proofing. I know they all have MU-MIMO so it will handle many devices better. An important aspect for me as well is reliability and ease of setup. When I looked at reviews for the netgear ac2000 (r6850) some people had some difficulty setting it up. There were also some reviews that the tp-link ax50 ran hot sometimes. Even if the theoretical bandwith of the tp-link ax50 is higher than the tp-link ax10, I feel like my internet provided by my ISP is not fast enough to take full advantage of the higher theoretical bandwith of the ax50. Which router would you recommend? Thank you.

    Reply
  54. Promise this is going to be the last question. Even though I don’t have many clients require WI-FI6 support for now, looking closer if RT-AX88U should be me primary and ac3100 secondary/node or vice- versa

    Reply
  55. Thank you for your quick response, really appreciate. Even though you have my full trust, something’s ringing in my ears that any time soon AC-3100 will not going to be enough to support repeater you’ve mentioned.At the moment with the ASUS support I can’t get even close to the wired speed, I would rather to spend the $ once and be covered for next 4-6 years as technology advance on the daily basis.

    Reply
  56. Dong. I can’t express how lucky I’m by founding your forum with tons of very valuable information. I would like to ask for your advise similar to the post from May,9. I currently have an Asus AC3100 router serving my 3 level home, which unfortunately is “buried “ in the darkest corner of my basement, whereof FIOS Gigabit connection enter the house.FIOS ONT is connected to the router and from there signal is getting directed to the HP managed switch, which serves all wired connections without a major issue. Problem I have is a WiFi distribution and signal (speed and strength).Up until last week UniFi AP AC PRO served with great success as the main source of WiFi for entire home (approx.40 devices). Works great and reaches all rooms decently, but unfortunately reached out it’s Iife span and entire “load” now has to taking care of by RT-AC3100.I am looking to improve the network and future-proof it with wifi6 compatible with current hardware. I would keep 1 router back where its right now and found placement for second either in the middle of the home or on the 2nd level. The second router will be placed about either 15 up to 40 feet apart separated by a floor. WPA3 support would be good, but not required unless you think I should wait for that feature. I always have 40+ devices connected These devices range from echos, PCs, Macs, apple TVs, multiple apple phones and multiple smart TVs, home security system, home security camera system etc. I utilize about 3TB of data a month on my cable internet. It would be great to be able to achieve max. speeds consistently through my router.

    I want to stay with Asus (I like their firmware support and user interface) and am hoping to continue utilizing my existing hardware (AC3100) Unless you convince me to exit the AC3100 I can create wired backhaul and I do consider the cost, but this would not be a critical factor. about cost of the new router(s). I do want the new router to continue to have the same features included in the AC3100 (such as QOS and Parental controls). What would you suggest I do? Performance and features are what I am looking for.

    Reply
    • Glad to have you, Jarek. Looks like your have your entire house wired, in that case, you only need an access point. Keep your RT-AC3100 and get the RP-AC1900 or the TP-Link EAP245. The latter is a bit cheaper and works better, but it will require a bit more work. Either will allow your network to be controlled by the router.

      Reply
  57. Dong,
    Have you run any vpn client speedtesting to compare between units? I am looking at upgrading my AC88U with it’s dual core 1.4ghz proc to the AX6000 and it’s quad core goodness. Currently my max speed on the AC88U is around 5MB/s on a good day but averaging less than 3MB/s of speed. Not sure if you have already done that or would consider adding that as a recordable dataset when comparing these units.

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • No, Olin. When it comes to VPN, I only test it to the extent of if that works or not. I can’t test EVERYTHING on a router, unfortunately.

      Reply
  58. I finally received my AX11000 today. I started from scratch and made the AX11000 the main router and the AC3100 a node. I have a couple issues I’m hoping for commentary on so I don’t have to re-invent the wheel. My AC3100 was superb with stability and i’m hoping to achieve the same with the mesh.
    I’ve had it twice drop connectivity with multiple devices at the same time and am trying to tweak the settings to ensure stability and performance.

    I have some additional questions…
    1. I used to reboot the AC3100 for good measure once a week. I think that will be a good idea with the new setup to reboot both nodes. Any input you have on how to reboot both nodes and in the best order. I see you can set a reboot schedule, but am unsure if it will just reboot the one node or both since you can’t specify.
    2. Roaming Assistant under the wireless professional tab…. I had this turned off on my AC3100, but should it be on and what dBm should I set it to (default -70dBM)
    3. I found one of the keys to connection stability for all my devices on the AC3100 was turning off “airtime fairness”. (it made a huge difference) I have done the same on the new setup, but it leads to a general question about the “Professional” tab under wireless settings. Any chance you have done or would do a write-up for you thoughts on each of the professional tab settings in an aimesh network? Would love to get your opinions.

    Reply
    • The restart schedule generally will restart just the router, Bob, however it’ll force the node to reconnect which is has similar effect. I’m some combo the node will restart, too, but I can’t confirm yours.

      Yes, it’s a good idea to have ATF off. It’s a bit if a neglected feature. You can read more about dBM in this post. https://dongknows.com/asus-aimesh-overview/

      Reply
  59. Thanks, I just bought an AX88U too and I’ll do a little comparison with the TPLink to see which is the best for our home

    Reply
  60. Hi Dong, on your recommendation I have purchased a new TPLink AX6000 router, but am still trying to figure out the best setup. My current router, an ASUS AC87R is great, but is located centrally, but in the basement of a two story house. I have a pretty rectangular home and wired for ethernet in a few places on each floor. Currently we have a weaker signal near our garage/front door and we would like to add some wireless doorbell/cameras. I was thinking I could either a) keep the AC87R as a router and turn off the wireless AP, then run the new AX6000 on the first floor or b) run the AX6000 in the basement and then run the AC87R as an AP on the second floor above the garage/front-door. Any easy way to evaluate which scenario would be better. Do you recommend any sort of heat mapping software for Android or OSX?. Thanks!

    Reply
    • You just need to try different scenarios out and see which works best for you, Ross. There’s no software or app that can really help with that. Also, keep in mind that Wi-Fi doesn’t remain the same, it changes depending on the environment. More on that here. In your case, it’s better to use BOTH router’s Wi-Fi, just use the same Wi-Fi network and password, and yes, one of them in AP mode.

      Reply
  61. Hello, Dong.

    My D-link 890l has been lately been dropping 2,4Ghz occasionally, which sadly drops my Harmony hub, PS4 etc. out and I have to reboot the router. Sometimes it works for a month or two and then it can do the drops weekly… Irritating.

    There’s a sale on network things on one store here now and I’m really looking for a replacement for D-link.
    One thing I want, is to have a good QOS-which would keep things running (gaming, YT and video watching etc.) smoothly.

    I have something like 15 – 20 wireless connections at time, two-storey building with some concrete walls (and floor/ceiling). Range has not been an problem, though.

    First I was really considering buying Netgear XR500 (205€, there’s also XR700 for 295€ but that AD is waste of money), but it seems that DumaOS is slow and quite buggy (though they are readying version 3…)

    Then I got my eyes on Asus RT-AX88U (289€), which seems to have very good hardware, though I don’t have AX-devices and most likely won’t have for a while.

    Cheaper consideration is Netgear R7800 (129€).

    I have tons of gaming consoles (something like 40), but of course just a few of them on WiFi (Wii U, Wii, Xbone, PS4, Switch Lite, a couple of Vitas etc.) Main consoles are wired (XboneX, PS4 Pro, Shield, LG C9 and main computer).

    XR500 has good price and R7800 has even better price 😉
    But I’m still thinking about that AX88U, not because of the Wifi 6 stuff, but more for the capabilities and tinkering possibilities it has… After all, I may enjoy more tweaking and tinkering with network and other things, than then actually gaming! xD

    But most important thing is, that watching streaming videos and gaming at the same time is fluid, because kid can be playing, I may be gaming or watching videos and GF can be watching streaming videos also.

    So, what’s your take? Sorry about the long post, but I wanted to cover it properly…

    Reply
  62. Hey Dong I’m new here too as well as a lot of guys above (or below), I’m in the process of upgrading my internet service from a regular Liberty cable of 100mbps to a optic fiber dedicated line of 1gigabit. I know I need to change my router (right now is an old apple airport express) and I’m deciding of Wifi 5 or Wifi 6. I have a medium apartment in a high rise with all cement walls! (1100 square feet). I’m a bit new at this so I don’t know what means when you mentioned 2X2 or 4X4 clients or any abcXabc !!!! can you help me with guiding me what to look for and explaining what the 2X2 ect… nomenclature
    thanks in advance
    Victor

    Reply
    • Glad to have you here, Victor. I’d recommend you read this post, and then this one when you have time. If you need a quick decision, get one of the tri-band routers on the list, and place it as near the center of your home as possible.

      Reply
  63. Hi Dong, thanks for your informative posts! Prior to finding your site, I purchased the Asus GT-AX11000 router.. then, after some shoddy connection issues, I started researching more about Mesh systems (and Asus AIMesh), and that’s when I came across your website. I’m not a gamer, but I do run Autodesk Revit, which warrants the gaming-style PC I built, and BIM 360, which hosts cloud-based 3D Building Information Models, among other things. I am constantly involved in video conferencing while using these programs. I’ve read a lot, but I am having a hard time deciding what to do: return the Asus (stacking another node to use AIMesh seems unnecessarily expensive) and switch to a mesh system? Could it be a settings issue? The router location is definitely a factor, but moving it could pose a bigger issue..

    My router is situated under a steel staircase in an A/V closet, and my main desktop is upstairs, across the house (about 50 feet straight shot through 4 walls and a floor). As I type this, I’m starting to laugh about how ridiculous my expectations might be. I have a ton of systems running on my wifi as well, but some of the major clients are hard-wired through the router inside the AV closet. I have a feeling I need to try moving the router, but I’d like to know if you have any thoughts and/or other recommendations to try before I relocate my modem (i.e. install a new coax run) and/or the router (new cat6 run)?

    Thanks in advance, and I’ll be looking you up when I am making a tech decision from now on!

    -Jason

    Reply
  64. Thank you so much. Amazing response! It’s been trial and error here with these various systems. I really wanted the RAX200 to work out but am I missing something with setup on that extender? It seemed to make it worse and I tried a few different configurations. I don’t mind spending some money for strong, fast signals across the home as I have two children doing remote learning, I’m now working from home and my wife operates a small consulting business from home.

    It seems the GT-AX11000 is the genie of routers. If I were to use it with another ASUS router for an AI mesh setup, would that be the best hypothetical setup? It would seem to be about the same price as the RAX200 and the extender. At the moment, though, I’m surprised how well the Velop is working, although I understand its feature set may be more limited. Can I pay you to come to my home?!? 😉

    Reply
  65. Dong – your information and testing is by far the most comprehensive and helpful I’ve found the last three weeks. Even with all this information, I’m struggling to find the best solution for my home. And I’ve been trying a number of WiFi6 devices. My home is two floors – just under 3,000 square feet. The problem — cable connection is in the end room on the second floor, so that’s where my router is located. I have 400 download and it’s consistent to the router. I have about 35-40 devices (lots of IOT stuff) using our network. The old router wasn’t cutting it.

    So I’ve tried the RAX200, the RAX120, the Nest WiFi and now the Velop MX10. RAX200 worked well on the top floor but incredibly slow speeds at the end of the house on the first floor. Tried the new AX8 extender and it seemed to actually slow the whole network down? Tried the RAX120 and it was slower than the RAX200 (I thought it would be a stronger signal).

    ASUS routers are impossible to find now. I am thinking that given my situation, a Mesh setup is probably best. It seems the Netgear extender isn’t really a Mesh network, even with the same SSID. They didn’t seem to hand off traffic as a device moved about the home.

    Right now, the Linksys seems to be the best so far — am I stupid for considering it over the RAX200 and an extender, or waiting to see if I can get a hold of the twi-band ASUS and another ASUS for an AI Mesh setup?

    Thank you so so much for your insight.

    Reply
    • Hold up for an Asus set, Matt. By the time they are available again, they will come with better firmware that makes them more stable anyway. For your, a tri-band system like the ZenWiFi XT8 or CT8 will take care of it. Alternatively, if you could run a cable to the middle of the house and place a router there instead, a single router will probably.

      Reply
  66. Hello, I am new to the site. I love the information. Sadly I am confused by the two charts. I have a lot of devices connecting via WiFi and a large home with two floors and about 3,500 square feet. We have only one WiFi 6 capable device, an IPhone 11. My internet speed is 1 gbps in theory via a Fios connection so fast. If I am willing to spend a lot for wireless, particularly a mesh system, which mesh system is likely the best investment? I had been leaning towards the Orbi rbk852 system. Is having just one device capable of WiFi 6 a reason to wait? I am willing to spend money to get WiFi closer to my incoming fios speed. I just am confused by the charts and don’t want to waste money. Thank you for any advice.

    Reply
    • Glad you’re here, Roy. The charts are quite clear. Make sure you look at them closely. They show the max sustained speed of the router when working with a 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 client (currently the fastest available for the standard) and high-end Wi-Fi 5 clients.

      As for what you should get, this post might help, and this one, too..

      Reply
  67. Sorry man, but this is a list of most commercial router, not a real buying advice guides. There a lot of missed model here. Be honest with you, this is what you recevied and what you present.

    Reply
    • Not sure what you meant, JT. But the entire website is one big buying guide. Also, it’s a work in progress. 🙂

      Reply
  68. Hi Dong, love your site not sure how I never ran across it before! Keep up the great work!

    I cut the cord years ago and I have been relying on streaming services (NetFlix, etc) and my NAS Media Server that houses all my media for our entertainment. With both my wife and I working from home for the forcible future I decided to upgrade our Comcast internet plan. For $10 less a month I am going from something like 105Mbps to 1 gig. Now I need to update our network.

    We are currently running a Netgear CM500 modem and ASUS RT-AC87U router, generally I have been pretty happy with both (although I have never seen anything close to the 105Mbps speeds but I imagine that is comcast not the hardware). I have ordered a Netgear CM1100 largely because it was impossible to find another 1Gig Modem, everything is sold out and on back order. It hasnt arrived yet so if you have a better idea I am all ears.

    For the router ,I haven’t ordered a router yet as I will see how the current one works out but I think I need to replace it. House is about 3200 sqft, wife and I currently work near the router but I think I am going to turn one of the bedrooms into her office which is at the other end of the house on the 2nd floor. I am not looking for a cheap solution but a good long term solution. I am thinking Wifi 6 and 3 channel? Should I do a mess router? In the reading I have been doing it looks like you sacrifice some speed with a mess but gain coverage? I am still trying to decide with is more important to me. (Note, house is wired with a OnQ box but since it was built in 2004 I dont think it has CAT 5 certainly not CAT 5e, I have run at least one CAT 5e cable under that house for a specific use).

    Also, For the NetGear RAX120 you mention they are great for a NAS. I have a NAS that is my hub for all media and storage. What about RAX120 or any other Router makes it a better Router for a NAS? I had not considered that there might be unique. requirements so that NAS works at an optimal level

    Thoughts, suggestions? Brand and model numbers welcome.

    Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • All routers are good for dedicated NAS servers, David, though ones with multi-gig network ports or Link Aggregation are generally better with a compatible server. I think you misunderstood my take on this front. What I meant was that the router itself can work great as a mini NAS server. As for which router you should use, check out this post.

      Reply
  69. So I just came across your site for the first time today. What a great site Dong! Great reviews on all the things I love.

    I have a rather large home (three stories, about 9,000 square feet, plus live on a 1.5 acre lot). I am currently have 1Gbps Fiber and am running four Apple Airport Extremes, and needless to say, they are lacking quite a bit now. We have many rooms without signal, and this is with most of my 100+ devices wired except for various laptops, ipads, and iphones (the home automation is all wired). I am looking for a great Mesh system and so far have settled on the Asus ROG GT-AX11000. I have seen mixed reviews on this with a number of issues, but wonder if those aren’t more user-related with setup. I’m fairly experienced in IT, but not as much on the networking side.

    I’m am looking for coverage, performance and good parental controls.

    My questions are:
    1) Do you think the Asus ROG GT-AX11000 is a better choice than the other options for these purposes or would the newer Asus Zenwifi AX XT8 be better since it is newer.

    2) Would someone need multiple GT-AX11000’s or just one for the main router (and its features) and then less expensive Asus AX routers to complete the mesh? I would plan to do a wired backhaul back to the main router.

    3) Where can we buy these? It seems Amazon and Best Buy are sold out, and the other online retailers like BHP, New Egg, etc do not have very friendly return policies, at a minimum requiring consumer to pay return shipping. At first I was concerned I couldn’t buy any of these due to hardware issues, but am now assuming that with so many people working from home lately, that frustration levels tipped over and Asus and others haven’t been able to keep up the supply chain.

    Reply
    • Glad you’re here, Chris.

      1. It depends on what you want, but yes, generally the GT-AX11000 is better.
      2. The latter. If you have wired backhaul, a couple of units of RT-AX3000 will do, too. You can mix AiMesh routers.
      3. You just have to wait, it’s tough time right now for the vendors.

      Reply
  70. hi dong, i’ve read a bunch of your reviews and some of your comments below. i wanted to say GREAT write up. you’re one of the reviewers who understand how to test a router thoroughly to it’s limits. Too many reviewers test out theoretical speeds with capped internet speeds of 300Mb’s.so once again, thanks for the AWESOME reviews. On to my question… im currently on the Netgear Orbi RBK50, and i want to upgrade routers since I just upgraded to symmetrical gigabyte internet. I don’t need any of the routing features since i have a dedicated pfsense box. I only need a AP. Ubuiqiti’s Alien just came into stock and i’m considering buying it… I’d like to do VLAN tagging to isolate my IOT products, and im not sure which wifi 6 router will support that. I know Ubuiti’s other routers do, but i can’t find any info about the new alien.

    Is there any router you suggust besides the alien? Or would that remain a good choice. THank you in advance

    Reply
  71. i have 800mbps internet, 5500sqf 2.5 storey, 7 bedroom. i dont have wifi 6 client and use internet for browsing and streaming. No nas or file transfer between network. My current ISP router have deadspot in some rooms. Should i get zenwifi CT8 or XT8?

    Reply
  72. Thanks again for the responses. You make a great point. I can go with the AX11000, then wait for the next updated version of the AX1100 to replace the AC3100, which I’ll give to a family member.

    Reply
  73. Thanks for your write-up and your response to questions. I currently have an Asus AC3100 router serving my 3 level home. Works great and reaches all rooms decently, but I am looking to improve the network and future-proof it with wifi6. I will keep 1 router smack dab in the middle of the home on the 2nd level. The second router will be placed directly under the other router on the 1st level, about 12 feet apart separated by a floor. WPA3 support would be good, but not required unless you think I should wait for that feature. I always have 45+ devices connected to my router and it does pretty well and with their latest firmwares has been very stable. These devices range from echos, PCs, Macs, apple TVs, multiple apple phones and multiple smart TVs, plex unraid media server, Home security system, Home security camera system etc. I utilize about 3TB of data a month on my cable internet. Cable is docsis 3.1 and the level I have is 950mb Down and 35mb Up. It would be great to be able to achieve those speeds consistently through my router.

    I want to stay with Asus (I like their firmware support and user interface) and am hoping to continue utilizing my existing hardware (AC3100) Unless you convince me to exit the AC3100 and buy two new devices. I do NOT have a wired backhaul and am not worried about cost of the new router(s). I guess that means choosing between ax1100, Zenwifi and AX89X. I do want the new router to continue to have the same features included in the AC3100 (such as QOS and Parental controls). What would you suggest I do? Performance and features are what I am looking for.

    Reply
  74. So sad that the X60 is so slow. Could it be a firmware problem? I was all ready to buy this but I think Im going to go with XT8 instead

    Reply