Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

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

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

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

That said, any routers you find here will likely work 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  Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Systems of 2021: The Real-Deal Collection

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

Asus GT AXE11000 Wi Fi 6E Router
The Asus GT-AXE11000 is the first Wi Fi 6E router on the market.

Contents

Best Wi-Fi 6 routers of 2021: The lists

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

There are a few lists for different home sizes, including small, medium, and large, determined by the number of users and not necessarily space — again, you need a mesh for a large home. But before that, you’ll also find a special list that includes, well, special routers. You’ll know why in their brief description.

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.

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


Best special routers

This list includes routers I consider “special” for one reason or another. They are on this list for as long as I can find them (totally) different from the rest.

That said, being special can be a good or bad thing. But all of those on this list have more of the former than the latter — some might have nothing bad at all.

4. D-Link DIR-X5460: Look! D-Link has released another Wi-Fi 6 router!

D Link DIR X5460 Wi Fi 6 Router Box Content
The D-Link DIR X5460 Looks like a typical Wi-Fi router.

This is the only D-Link router on this list, and it’s not here for all the good reasons.

Sure, in all, the DIR X5460 is a decent router for a small or medium home that delivers good and reliable performance. What makes it different from any other Wi-Fi 6 router is that it feels so old despite being the latest and (almost) greatest from D-Link.

Indeed, like the previous DIR-X1560, the DIR X5460 shares the same look and feels as those released years ago. In fact, its interface still carries the “COPYRIGHT © 2016 D-Link” tagline at the bottom.

D-Link DIR-X5460 EXO AX AX5400 Wi-Fi 6 Router

$248.83
7.9

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.0/10

Design and Setup

8.0/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Reliable Wi-Fi performance, excellent range
  • Easy to set up, relatively compact and light, wall-mountable
  • Decent NAS performance when hosting a portable drive

Cons

  • Comparatively modest Wi-Fi speed
  • No multi-gig, Dual-WAN, Link Aggregation, or 160MHz support
  • No mesh option for now
  • Spartan feature set, no performance-favored Wi-Fi settings
READ  D-Link DIR-X5460 Review: A Reliable, Relatively Fast, but Boring Home Router

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

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

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

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

Netgear WAX204 Wi-Fi 6 AX1800 Dual-Band Business Wireless Access Point

$89.99
8.3

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.0/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

Value

9.5/10

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Strong and reliable Wi-Fi coverage
  • Can work as a router or access point
  • Straightforward local web user interface
  • Useful Wi-Fi settings
  • Compact design, wall-mountable

Cons

  • Low-tier Wi-Fi specs
  • No Multi-Gig port
  • Limited Wi-Fi settings and features
  • No PoE support
READ  Netgear WAX204 Review: An Excellent Low-Cost Wi-Fi 6 Broadcaster

2. Just in: Asus GT-AXE11000 Wi-Fi 6E router

Asus GT-AXE11000 Router
The Asus GT-AXE11000 is the first (and so far, only) Wi-Fi 6E router on the market.

OK, this one is a bit of a stretch. You can’t call something the best when it’s the only one — or can you? — and so far, the Asus GT-AXE11000 is indeed the only Wi-Fi 6E router on the market.

One thing is for sure: I’ve been using this brand-new Wi-Fi machine for almost two months now — for the most part as a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router — and it proved to be quite an excellent broadcaster. So it deserves a (temporary) place in this post.

That said, if you can stomach the hefty $550 price, this one is a great buy for its (non-Wi-Fi 6E) speeds and rich feature set alone.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 Wi-Fi 6E Gaming Router

$549.99
8

Performance

8.5/10

Features

9.0/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Value

6.0/10

Pros

  • Tri-band with Wi-Fi 6E support
  • Excellent 5GHz and 2.4GHz performance
  • Excellent set of game-related, online protection and monitoring features, full support for AiMesh 2.0
  • 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port, Dual-WAN, and LAN/WAN Link Aggregations

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Wi-Fi 6E is not fully available
  • Only one 2.5Gbps port, no 10Gbps port
  • Slow 2.5Gbps speed when working as bridge or AiMesh node
  • Bulky design, not wall-mountable, buggy firmware (at launch)
READ  Asus GT-AXE11000 Router Review: Excellent, but Jury Is Still Out on Wi-Fi 6E

I plan to re-test the GT-AXE11000 when Intel releases the official software driver for its AX210 chip to support the 6GHz band. By then, I’m sure there’ll be more Wi-Fi 6E routers to stack it up against. And we’ll find out if it remains special or even on this list at all.

Until then, consider the GT-AXE11000 as an excellent “dual-band” Wi-Fi 6 router.


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

The Asus RT-AX86U is one of the best Wi-Fi 6 routers
The Asus RT-AX86U has a bit of an underwhelming appearance.

The Asus RT-AX86U is special because it’s the best dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router to date.

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

But like all things, the RT-AX86U is not perfect. 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 budget entry-level (AX1500) and mid-range (AX3000) Wi-Fi 6 routers for a small home

This list includes dual-band 2×2 routers that range from affordable to semi-affordable. They all have a bandwidth cap of 2.4 Gbps or lower when used with 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients — there are currently no faster devices. These generally are routers for the budget-minded or those living in a small or medium home.


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  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, as long as you keep your expectations low.

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  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  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  Asus RT-AX3000 / RT-AX58U Review: A Cool 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  Netgear RAX40 Review: Wi-Fi 6 for the Budget Minded

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

These are dual-band routers with a mix of high-end (4×4) 5 GHz 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  Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 Review: A Unique (Gaming) Experience

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

Asus RT AX82U Front
The Asus RT-AX82U 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  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  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  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  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  Asus RT-AX88U Review: An Excellent Incremental Wi-Fi 6 Upgrade

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

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

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

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

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

But this router has some 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  Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Review: A Peculiarly Excellent Wi-Fi 6 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  Netgear RAX200 Review: Cool-Looking, 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  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 Wi Fi 6 Client

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

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 Performance

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

READ  Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Systems of 2021: The Real-Deal Collection

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

  1. Hey Dong,

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

    Thanks,

    Harben

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

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

        Reply
  2. Hi Dong,

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

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

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

    Reply
  4. Hi Dong,

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  5. Thanks for this rundown, Dong!

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

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

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

    Reply
      • Thanks for the recommendations!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I’d really appreciate your insight. Thank you!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply
  8. Hello Dong,

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

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

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

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

      Reply
  9. Hi Dong,

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

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

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

    Reply
  10. Hi Dong,

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

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

    Reply
  11. Hi Dong,

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks again for your wonderful site!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Reply
  16. help me! so many choices! i just want to maximize my new xfinity gigabit plan… ~2000sq ft home, but want to future proof.

    debating between a mesh router (RBK852) or non mesh options
    RAX-78, RAX120, RAX 200 (netgear) or Asus (-92U, -89X, -88U)

    thanks!

    Reply
  17. Dong,
    Try getting a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (US) for testing all these routers, it’s allegedly got a Broadcom BCM4389 chip in it capable of 2×2 WiFi 6E, 160MHz channels (the first smartphone I know to do so). Whether it can be configured that way, IDK yet. The Apple iPhone 13 is rumored to be getting the same chip later this year. I’m curious to see how it does.

    Reply
    • Don’t expect too much from Wi-Fi 6E, Doug. It’ll be the same as a 160MHz 5GHz Wi-Fi 6 connection in terms of speed. The only difference is you can get that type of connection easier, but likely at a shorter range. More here.

      Reply
  18. Hi Dong, great in depth reviews, I really appreciate them especially the comparison charts between all of the routers, and the inclusion of the USB tests for NAS performance.

    Please also review the Archer AX73 when you have the opportunity. It looks great on paper for it’s price, and I wonder how it stacks up against the competition in real world tests.

    Reply
      • Hi Dong, It is great pleasure to read your reviews. Depending on the location of my modem at home, I can only have up a daisy chain topology. I currently have TP-link wpa8631 onemesh powerline kit. It is 170 m2 and there are many walls. I have 4 devices streaming 4K and besides 3 laptops connected to the internet non-stop at the same time during 12 hours within a day. Which onemesh router do you suggest to use with onemesh powerline and which asus router that I can use with my powerline. I can buy tp-link ax90, ax73, ax6000, ax20, asus ax82u, ax92u, ax86u, axt8 mesh, ct8 mesh, ax92u mesh

        Reply
          • Oh wow, interesting.

            It is available in Canada so I was not expecting that answer. Also explains why there are so few reviews from sources I know enough to trust.

            Thanks for the reply!

  19. Hi,

    thanks for the great detailed review!
    I have fiber at home (theoretically up to 10Gb), I have a big box from the provider which has 1 ethernet 10Gb port (plug to the tv box), 4 classic ethernet ports and wifi 2.4/5Ghz.

    Don’t have problem with the speed or ethernet, but wifi signal can fluctuate a lot (tried setting manual channel or auto), but doesn’t seem to help.

    Range seems to be fine, but e.g. using GeforceNow in same room often show “spotty connection”.

    Was thinking of getting a ASUS GT-AX11000, which come with triple band (could keep one for visio/gaming). But it has only “2.5Gb” ethernet port. I could leave the tv box + nas plugged directly with lan on provider box and only use wifi devices with it.

    As it’s an investments for few years, do you think it’s best to go with that? Or at least a 5Gb port, like Netgear RAX120 for same price (but no triple band and seems no mesh possibility) or ASUS RT-AX89X (has 10Gb) (but also double band and here about 100 more).

    I don’t need mesh right now, flat is about 70m2, but I prefer to keep the option in the future as at some point we plan to move to bigger one (>100m2)

    Thank you!!

    Reply
    • A couple of things, Damien:

      1. If you get a router, you need to stop using the current box’s port. More here.
      2. You don’t really need a tri-band, a dual-band is fine, so maybe get the RT-AX89X if you like the 10Gpbs ports (plus it has more Gigabit ports.) More on dual-band vs. tri-band here.
      3. You can have a mesh with any of the Asus routers at a later time via AiMesh.

      Reply
      • Hi Dong!
        Thanks for the answer.

        I need to use the current box because it’s a modem (fiber)+ router, for what I read you can’t replace it but you can just turn off the router features (but still there is no bridge). In my case I’m mostly interested on Wifi, because that’s seems to be the weak part.

        So kind of thinking what’s best:
        – go with RT-AX89X which has 10gb port (but in other hand does 2.5Gb is really a limitation for wifi?)
        – go with GT-AX11000 so it’s a tri-band (could prioritise some clients. But as you said in the post will it really be noticeable?). In the other hand it’s better for future mesh if you can’t connect them by cable.

        Reply
  20. Hey Dong Im into buying a new router and decided it to be an Asus one with wifi 6
    Im between the rt-ax86u rt-ax88u rt-ax11000
    but where do i get the best performance over distance?

    Reply
  21. Can I use the ASUS AX89X to replace my Verizon FiOS G1100 router? The problem is the G1100 only allows for 16 devices to be connected and Verizon’s new G3100 only allows for 10 devices to be connected at any given time. I have 3 TVs, 3 Ipads, 4 laptops, and 2 fire ticks 2 ps5 connected at any given time, not to mention hooking up other wifi devices on the fly. I have Verizon FIOS internet, phone, and cable. I’m looking for a device that’s compatible with Verizon Fios but it allod for me to connect a minimum of 30 devices.

    Reply
  22. Hello Dong ,

    Have been reading your reviews and thought would ask you
    Im currently on a 500 Mbps plan ( planning to upgrade to 1 GBps next month) and need coverage for around 1200 SqFt. on 5Ghz . My use case would be 4k streaming (2 TVs) , good wifi 5 speeds wont hurt either.

    In India , Asus RT AX86U is not in stock, so my options are restricted to Asus RTAX88U ; recently launched TP Link AX73( which has the same specifications on paper as Asus RT AX82U & Netgear RAX50 ) , and
    TP Link AX600 … my budget doesn’t allow me stretch for any of the AX11000 models 🙁

    Of the afore motioned models , which would be the fastest , reliable and serve 1 GBps well for 2-3 years .. do u think I should purchase any of the above models – do you suggest any other model .

    Thanks
    Avik

    Reply
  23. Hello,
    Thanks for the valuable information and knowledge!
    I do have a question though..
    What would be a better option in my case? AX92U ($217) or AX86U ($249)? I’m planning to use it exclusively as a single device. Temporarily, just for one connected client, I may connect my old AC68U as AImesh or in old-fashioned way and that’s it. Currently I have 29 (including IoT) devices on my network with mixed usage (Netflix, browsing, gaming). No wired connections.

    Reply
  24. Hi Dong, your reviews are awesome! Please keep up the great work.
    I have a 1Gbps Fibre Broadband Internet which is connected to TP Link AC1900 Router (2.4GHz @600Mbps | 5GHz @1300Mbps).
    I also have the ISP provided Linksys MAX-STREAM AC2600 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router (2.4GHz @800 Mbps | 5 GHz @1733 Mbps) as a spare.
    I have a 1200 SFT single storey apartment with about a dozen connected devices (Laptop, Tablet, Phone, TV, Printer, Media Storage).
    I’ve been encountering issues with wifi coverage, unstable wifi connectivity and slow speed…. specially at the edges of my apartment.
    My workspace is about 20 – 25 feet away from the router with a door in between. Router is placed 4 Ft. above ground level and 2 Ft. away from the wall.
    I’m looking to make full use of my 1Gbps internet speed and looking to replace my router.
    Appreciate your advise on which router should I go for.

    Many thanks!

    Reply
    • First, Arnab, you won’t be able to “make full use” of the Gigabit Internet since there’s no such thing as full use of a connection unless what you want is to clog it :). More here. Then get one of these Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6 routers. Get a high-end, not a budget, one. I’d recommend one from Asus (or Synology).

      Reply
  25. Hello Dong,
    How r u today? loves all of ur reviews. very in depths.. I have facing big problem with my routers and wifi. So my house is around 2000 sqft a square shape house, and my internet connection and router is on d one side of d house. And i am getting week signal in my room which is completely other side of the house which is approximately 40ft away from d router and our house is brick house and from router’s room to my room the signal has to come through 3 thick wall. Currently im using tp link archer c7 and archer c20 as a wps bridg. cant use the proper 5 ghz band because of d distance from room and alws signal drops or connection cut. and whenever we use microwave oven than cant get d signal. So now I am planing to get any wifi 6 router or wifi 6 mesh system. within budget around 250 to 300 usd. And i cant do wired network connection through d house. Can u pls recommended some wifi 6 routers or mesh system . my internet speed is around 50 to 60 mbps. and my phone and laptop alrd has wifi 6 enable.
    thanks

    Reply
  26. Hello, again, Dong. Love your site and continue to have it on speed-dial when looking for something new in tech. Thanks for your great work. My question today is regarding the newer TP-Link Omada EAP’s – specifically, the EAP660 and EAP 620, along with the WiFi5 EAP265. Wondering if you have plans to test these access points? I installed a 7-unit EAP245v3 system (after an arduous pull of 1,000′ of Ethernet in a cramped church ceiling) that has performed wonderfully. Looking to replace a single router system at another location with a 3 or 4-unit Omada EAP setup, but I’m uncertain how the WiFi6 units perform and I’m concerned about installing a WiFi5 system, not because of speed, but because my understanding is that WiFi6 handles traffic and large numbers of clients far better. As always, thanks for your terrific insight!

    Reply
    • I’d stay with Wi-Fi 5 for now, Doug. Wi-Fi 6 will not make much of a difference in this case. If anything, change the router to whatever with features you like

      Reply
  27. Hi Dong,

    Thank you for these precious tests and reports !
    I was looking for updating all my network with 2 goals :
    – getting a wide mesh network to cover all the house
    – getting the best of the functionalities : QoS for visio&gaming/Parental control
    Reading your advices on comments, I was planning to get a RT-AX86U as a router, and Zenwifi XD4 as nodes. Also, all the house is wired.
    Aside, my wan line is in the basement and I suppose it doesn’t make sense to have latest wifi6 there (or even wifi). But, it looks like the latest functionalities for QoS and such are provided only with wifi routers.

    I would have 3 questions then :
    1 – If QoS/Parental control is present in the router but not on nodes, will the nodes provide the functionality ?
    2 – Is some router exists with the functionality of the RT-AX86U without the wifi included ? Is it a good idea even to get a router without it ?
    3 – More generally and a bit technical on Asus (mesh) routers/nodes : are the functionalities provided at the endpoint level or from the wan router ?
    For instance, with the following setup : Web > Internet Box > Asus router > Zenwifi XT8 or XD4 > PC
    Would functionalities like VPN, QoS enabled on the router or on the node ? My point is : for performance, it would be nice to have QoS all over the network, but the VPN from the router only. Could also be interesting to have a VPN on one node, and not on the other for instance.
    Thank you

    Reply
  28. Hello,

    I am planning on replacing my old Asus RT-N66U (no AiMesh) with a new Asus RT-AX86U (with AiMesh).

    I have a backyard shed with no wifi signal but with ethernet from the main router and I think I can use the old RT-N66U as an Access Point.

    How is the AP mode of the RT-N66U different from the AiMesh? Or is it essentially the same?

    Reply
  29. Hi Doug,
    Living in a large double story home with double brick walls, I’m looking for a strong primary router and at least one satellite node.
    Although mesh systems such as Netgear Orbi look good theoretically, backhaul, timeouts, and latency seem to affect these mesh systems.
    As such, I’m considering an ASUS GT-AX11000 as my primary with an RT-AX86U as a slave.
    Questions :
    1) Is this setup preferable to a pre-programmed consumer 3 unit mesh option ?
    2) Should the slave unit preferably be hardwired via ethernet ?
    Many thanks,
    Andrew,
    Durban, South Africa.

    Reply
      • Hi Dong
        My sincere apologies about getting your name wrong – was working since 03:00 this morning, and was caffeine deficient at time of writing. 😩
        Thanks so much for taking the time and trouble to reply.
        Wiring the hubs is possible but tricky.
        Reading your posts and other sources suggests to me that a wired network appears to be the best option by some margin.

        Taking a different approach to my original question, would a wired / cabled “mesh” of 3 identical dual-band routers as you suggest be preferable to a strong output tri-band router and 2 cheaper satellites / slaves , each of which is cabled directly to the master router ? (as per my original choice)

        If using identical routers is preferable, why ?

        Also, are dual band routers advisable for future- proofing ?

        My main problem at home is weak signal in most areas due to the wall thickness.
        I have basic networking skills so doing a manual setup is possible albeit challenging for me.
        Incoming internet is fibre @ 100 MBS.
        Thanks again
        Andrew

        Reply
        • With that Internet speed, Andrew, it doesn’t matter much what hardware and how you use it — wired or wireless. Note though that wall can be extremely problematic and can block signals completely, no matter how strong a router you use.

          That said, I’d recommend going with the XD4. Getting a tri-band router (as the main unit) doesn’t do anything since its speed limits at its location. But it doesn’t hurt to do that. More in this post. Also, I’d recommend not to worry about being “future-proof” — you NEVER will be. Just get what works for what you need now. And considering your current Internet speed, anything you get is somewhat “future-proof”. 🙂

          Reply
  30. Am I understanding well that in many cases, an very good Wifi 5 system is good enough (given the internet connection is 1Gb or less) and there may not be that much benefits from going to Wifi 6?

    One thing though, does the security protocol WP3 is enough to warrant the move to a Wifi 6 system? Besides Synology, I don’t think any other Wifi 5 system supports WP3.

    Reply
    • WPA3 is more of a software solution than hardware, John. So those without it now might get it in the future. The same goes for clients. Many existing ones don’t support WPA3 yet, and some might never get the update for it.

      Reply
  31. What router would you advise for facilitating wireless youtube live streams and having multiple high data wireless devices connected.

    Asus RT-AX89X or the Asus AX11000?

    And is there a clear use case for both of them, or are they competing with each other?

    Reply
  32. Dong hi,

    Lucky to stumble your amazing page!
    Unfortunately in my region home internet speed is 75mbps, and im thinking to change my wifi router from linksys EA2750 to asus wifi 6 routers. Reading from the ppls comment here, you suggested many ppl using the asus RT-AX86U or RT-AX88U. These 2 types are hard to get here and the available ones are ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, RT-AC5300, RT-AX82U, and TUF Gaming AX3000.

    What is your recommendation? Thank you!

    Reply
  33. Dong hi,
    Unfortunately in my region home internet speed is 75mbps, and im thinking to change my wifi router from linksys EA2750 to asus wifi 6 routers. Reading from the ppls comment here, you suggested many ppl using the asus RT-AX86U or RT-AX88U. These 2 types are hard to get here and the available ones are ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, RT-AC5300, RT-AX82U, and TUF Gaming AX3000.

    What is your recommendation? Thank you!

    Reply
      • Thanks for the input. Sorry I’d post same comment, cos didn’t see this comment earlier when I refresh the page.

        The current router linksys EA2750 network is only up to IEEE 802.11n and the asus router network is 802.11ax (5GHz).

        Does it make any difference if I change to either the AX3000 or AX82u with my current internet speed?

        Reply
        • Comments are subject to approval, Will, as stated in the green line of text above.

          And no, your Internet will be the same if you use any of the routers. It’s too slow for you to have to worry about which to get.

          Reply
  34. Do you think a single RT-AX86U would work in a 2 story home with approximately 2,000 sq ft on each floor (4,000 sq ft total)?

    I was also considering the cheaper TP-Link AX50 as a budget buy, which ones has the better range?

    My ISP connection speed is currently 200M but I have the option to upgrade to 1G if I desire.

    Reply
  35. Hi Dong,

    Great site!

    I just moved into a new home and I’m trying to decide the best way to take advantage of the 1.5 Gb internet (Total download speed up to 1.5 Gbps, Upload up to 940 Mbps) package I have.
    My home is about 3,000 sq. ft over 3 levels. Basement, main floor and 2nd floor.
    The Bell Home Hub 3000 (Sagemcom FAST 5566) Modem/Router is in the basement.
    It’s all that I’m currently using to provide wifi for the entire home.
    I have 1 cat5e drop per floor that I can utilize (already connected to the Sagemcom).
    I have a Smart TV and wifi speaker on each floor as well as about 10 wifi connected devices.
    My highest priority is getting maximum wifi performance for my laptop in my office on the 2nd floor.
    It’s a new i7, 16GB Ram with an Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 160 Mhz Network card.
    What would you recommend I buy/install to get the best performance out of the internet package I have?

    Thanks!

    Reply
      • Update – I installed a single Asus RT-AX86U on the 2nd floor. The internet speed on the laptop in my office went from 200Mbps to 600Mbps. I will install a 2nd RT-AX86U on the main floor as well.
        Thanks for your great advice Dong!

        Reply
          • Update – I purchased a 2nd Asus RT-AX86U for use on the main floor of my home. I plugged it in within 3 meters of the 1st AX86U and went through configuring it as an AiMesh Node. Setup went okay. I then brought it down to the main floor and connected the WAN port to the ethernet drop for Backhaul. Now when I log into the AiMesh Router it shows the AiMesh Node as disconnected. The 5e LAN drop each Asus is using is connected to the LAN ports on the Sagecom modem from my ISP. Any ideas on why this is not working?

  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. 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
  39. 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
  40. 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
  41. 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
  42. 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. 🙂

  43. 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
  44. 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