This list includes the best Wi-Fi 6E mesh systems and is sorted in the review order. The numbers are just numerical and not meant to be the ranking.
While this is a list of mesh systems, you’ll find a standalone router in all options below. But check out this list for more options on Wi-Fi 6E routers or ways to upgrade your existing network to Wi-Fi 6E.
Dong’s note: I originally published this frequently-revised piece on October 30, 2022, and last updated it on January 25, 2023, to add or remove options accordingly.
Table of Contents
Wi-Fi 6E Mesh Systems: A couple of important notes
Wi-Fi 6E is the extension of Wi-Fi 6, which has an additional 6GHz band.
That said, Wi-Fi 6E has the same feature and speed grades as Wi-Fi 6. The only difference is the 6GHz band is clean and, therefore, can archive the top speed more easily and reliably.
In return, the 6GHz band has a noticeably shorter range than the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. And that makes things tricky for Wi-Fi 6E mesh systems — no band can work reliably as the backhaul without signal loss.
The point is this: If you’re looking into Wi-Fi 6E mesh with hopes of fast wireless performance (and rightfully so), it’s best to use it via wired backhauling — using network cables to link the hardware. And if you want the best possible performance, Multi-Gig backhauling is the way to go.
Extra: Fronthaul vs backhaul
When you use multiple Wi-Fi broadcasters — in a mesh network or a combo of a router and an extender — there are two types of connections: fronthaul and backhaul.
A Wi-Fi connection between two direct parties occurs in a single band, using one fixed channel, at any given time. This principle applies to all existing Wi-Fi standards, at least up to Wi-Fi 6E.
Fronthaul is the Wi-Fi signals broadcast outward for clients or the network ports for wired devices. It’s what we generally expect from a Wi-Fi broadcaster.
Backhaul (a.k.a backbone,) on the other hand, is the link between one satellite broadcaster and another, which can be the network’s primary router, a switch, or another satellite unit.
This link works behind the scene to keep the hardware units together as a system. It also determines the ceiling bandwidth (and speed) of all devices connected to the particular broadcaster.
The connection type, a Wi-Fi band or a network port, used for the backhaul is often referred to as the uplink. A Wi-Fi broadcaster might use one of its bands (2.4GHz, 5GHz, or 6GHz) or a network port for the uplink.
When a Wi-Fi band handles backhaul and fronthaul simultaneously, only half of its bandwidth is available to either end. From the perspective of a connected client, that phenomenon is called signal loss.
When a Wi-Fi band functions solely for backhauling, it’s called the dedicated backhaul.
In a mesh system, only traditional Tri-band hardware — those with an additional 5GHz band — can have a dedicated backhaul band without ostracizing clients of the same band.
Generally, it’s best to use a network cable for backhauling — wired backhauling. And that’s an advantage of mesh hardware with network ports. In this case, a satellite broadcaster can use its entire Wi-Fi bandwidth for front-hauling.
In networking, network cables are always much better than wireless in speed and reliability.
Sure, a Wi-Fi 6E mesh system will work in a wireless configuration — sometimes even quite well if you live in an airy home with lots of open spaces. Most of the time, though, your mileage will vary greatly and the performance more often than not is much lower than your expectations.
With that, let’s check out your current best options.
6. TP-Link Deco XE200: A solid mesh that’s also a missed opportunity
(If you didn’t read the intro, this is the latest member on this list — the number is only numerical, not the ranking.)
The Deco XE200 is a significant upgrade to the XE75 below. Unfortunately, having just one Multi-Gig port, it fails to be the ultimate mesh — there’s no chance for us to get a Multi-Gig wired backhauling setup out of it.
Still, for those with Gigabit or slower broadband, the XE200 is an excellent buy.
TP-Link Deco XE200's Rating
10Gbps port, 6GHz support, top-tier Wi-Fi, reliable Wi-Fi performance with extensive coverage
Easy to use; comparatively affordable
Single Multi-Gig port, spartan Wi-Fi, and network customization
Fluctuating Wi-Fi speeds, Mobile app, and login account required; HomeShield Pro costs money
No USB port, impractical design
5. TP-Link Deco XE75: The most affordable Wi-Fi 6E mesh to date
The 2-pack Deco XE75 — also available as the 3-pack XE5300 variant — is the first Wi-Fi 6E solution from TP-Link.
Featuring 2×2 Wi-Fi specs and having no Multi-Gig port, the new mesh is disappointing. That’s until you learn about this cost.
At just $300 for a 2-pack, it’s the most affordable among Wi-Fi 6E hardware. And for that price point, it’ll make an excellent buy for sub-Gigabit networking needs — especially when used with a wired backhaul.
TP-Link Deco XE75's Rating
Wi-Fi 6E-ready with reliable and extensive coverage
Easy to use
No Multi-Gig port, Link Aggregation, or Dual-WAN
TP-Link login account and mobile app required
No real, local web-based management
Only three network ports on each unit
4. Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12: First Multi-Gig wired mesh set out of the box
The ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is the second Wi-Fi 6E mesh system from Asus.
Like the ET8 that came out almost half a year ago, this new mesh doesn’t have an additional band to work as backhaul.
As a result, it works best in a wired backhaul setup. And in this case, thanks to the top-tier Wi-Fi specs and the two Multi-Gig ports, it might be one of the best mesh Wi-Fi systems with Multi-Gig wired backhaul you can get.
Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12's Rating
Wi-Fi 6E-ready, extensive Wi-Fi coverage with top performance in specific setups with possible fas Wi-Fi performance in certain setups
Dual Multi-Gig pots with Multi-Gig wired backhaul, flexible port configurations
Excellent performance and coverage as a standalone router
Tons of useful features and settings, flexible Wi-Fi customization
AiMesh 2.0 full support, helpful mobile app, no login account required
Bulky, no USB, only four network ports
Fluctuating performance as a fully wireless mesh due to the lack of a dedicated backhaul band
Short 6GHz range
Expensive, not wall-mountable
3. Netgear Orbi RBKE960 Series: The symbol of financial success (very expensive, that is)
Available as a 3-pack — RBKE963 (white) or RBKE963B (black) — Netgear’s first Quad-band Orbi Wi-Fi 6E system is insanely expensive, costing $1500 — and you have the option to pay even more over add-on subscriptions.
On top of that, it has fewer included features and settings compared with previous Orbi sets.
In return, you’ll get substantial and powerful Quad-band hardware and support for Multi-Gig wired backhauling.
Netgear Orbi RBKE960 Series' Rating
Powerful hardware with Quad-band Wi-Fi and Multi-Gig wired backhaul support
Excellent Wi-Fi coverage, fast performance
Multiple Multi-Gig ports
More Wi-Fi networks than previous Orbis, including two additional virtual SSIDs
Easy to use
No web-based Remote Management, few free features; mobile app (with a login account and even subscriptions) is required to be useful
Rigid Multi-Gig ports' roles, few Multi-Gig ports
The 2nd 5GHz band is unavailable to clients even with wired backhaul; no 160MHz channel width on 5GHz
Limited Wi-Fi customization, bulky design
2. Asus ZenWiFi ET8: Excellent for a wired home
The ZenWiFi ET8 is Asus’s Wi-Fi 6E alternative to the ZenWiFi XT8, a same-design purpose-built Wi-Fi 6 mesh system for a fully wireless setup.
In that sense, the ET8 is not an upgrade to the older cousin — it’s terrible in a wireless configuration. Instead, it’s an alternative for an airy home or one already wired with network cables.
The ZenWiFi ET8, for now, is available as a 2-pack, but you can use each hardware unit as a standalone router for a small home. And it works very well in that case.
Asus ZenWiFi ET8's Rating
Reliable and extensive coverage with possible fast Wi-Fi performance in specific setups
Wi-Fi 6E ready, Multi-Gig WAN, and Dual-WAN support
Excellent as a standalone router
Tons of useful features and settings, flexible Wi-Fi customization
AiMesh 2.0 support
Comparatively slow performance in most use cases
Modest 5GHz band specs
Short 6GHz range
No Link Aggregation or Multi-Gig LAN port
Only four network ports on each hardware unit
1. Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E: First Wi-Fi 6E mesh system
(If you didn’t read the intro, this is the oldest member on this list — the number is only numerical, not the ranking.)
Apart from the MR7500 router, the AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E is Linksys’s 2nd 6E broadcaster and the very first mesh system of the Wi-Fi 6E standard.
The mesh consists of three identical tri-band 6E broadcasters, model MX8500. Each can work as a standalone router, but you can combine them into a system to deliver coverage of all three bands (2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz) in a large property.
That’s if you think you have enough reasons right now to invest $1200 in it. Hint: It’s not worth it. Make sure you have wired your home and wait until the price drops.
Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max's Rating
Reliable performance, extensive coverage
5Gbps WAN port
Excellent NAS performance when hosting external storage device(s)
Separate SSID for each band
Comparatively slow mesh Wi-Fi speeds in homes with walls
Limited Wi-Fi settings and features, mobile app coercion
No Multi-Gig LAN port (main router), Dual-WAN, or Link Aggregation
No setting backup and restore
Best Wi-Fi 6E mesh systems for 2023: The performance chart and the takeaway
Below are the performance charts of the systems listed above, tested in all possible ways and sorted using alphabetical order for easy viewing.
When possible, each band is tested separately, and the satellites are tested via all possible backhauls.
No matter which system you pick, if it has no Multi-Gig WAN port, the broadband speed will be limited to 1Gbps. And if there’s no Multi-Gig LAN port, the entire system is generally limited at Gigabit, too.
If you have no network cables, getting a system with an additional 5GHz band that works as the dedicated backhaul — namely, the Netgear RBKE960 series, for now– is the best approach.
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12 thoughts on “Best Wi-Fi 6E Mesh Systems for 2023: The Best Options for a Wired Home”
I’ve had the Zen ET12 for almost a month now and it’s the first time I’ve ever been 100% satisfied with my wireless setup in my house…speed, coverage, and stability are great everywhere. Previous setups (Asus RT-66, Netgear X6 with TP-Link Extender, Nest) always had issues with range, speed, and/or stability in my 2100 sq foot house, partly because I could never place a router centrally (all coax outlets at edges of house, and open circular floor plan with stairs in middle makes it impossible to put something central).
Got the Zen ET12 based partly on your review. Original plan was to have satellite wired with MOCA given there’s a cable outlet where the satellite is, and running ethernet, while not impossible, would be a lot of work. Unfortunately I discovered that the coax in my house is so bad that it can’t handle even a single splitter…causes cable modem signal issues and can’t get a stable high speed connection with MOCA. I thought that I would have to return the ET12 for an XT12 given the limited range of the 6 ghz band for backhaul.
However, I decided just to try the wireless backhaul on “Auto”, and surprisingly it’s been choosing that band for backhaul and it’s been performing quite well. RSSI hovers around -70 dbm and it never switches to the 5 ghz band. This is despite being almost at opposite ends of the house. I was a bit shocked given the limited range of the 6 ghz band. It probably helps that I have the main router up high on a shelf in an open loft, and it’s an open circular floor plan so neither the router or satellite are in an enclosed room even though they aren’t in line of sight. Speeds for my Wifi6 laptop on the 5 ghz band hit around 800 mbps at the satellite in the family room (1.2 gig Xfinity plan), which is plenty for my needs for that room Thus I’m sticking with the ET12 and the wireless backhaul. And if I ever want to open up that 6 ghz band for clients (only 6E client I have is my Samsung phone which I don’t care about being on 6 ghz), then I’ll look into running ethernet cable to that part of the house. I foresee this setup working well for me for quite a while now.
Thanks again for your thorough reviews.
Sure, James. Glad it’s working out. But yes, linking the hubs using a Multi-Gig wired backhaul will make things even *much* better, especially considering your Gig+ broadband. Cheers! 🙂
Dear Dong Ngo,
not waiting for until it gets cheaper, but unto a new tech altogether (one wireless that does not fry water in brains!)
All the best!
No wireless fries water in your brain, Richie. 🙂
How do the new Google Nest Pro routers work in a backhaul config
I mentioned that it the review. Give it a read!
Wi-Fi 6E Mesh System raises a question to backward compatibility for IoT that still require 2.4 GHz.
I’m asking if a Wi-Fi 6E-router has inherent support for 2.4GHz
it will have be a tri-band router to have a 6GHz + 5GHz + 2.4GHz built-in bands?
Other than a few Wi-Fi 6E upgrade hardware broadcasters, all Wi-Fi 6E hardware has built-in support for previous Wi-Fi standards (and bands), Liviu. More in this post.
Thank you for your time and writing these great articles.
I am in a situation where I have partial wired/wireless backhaul. I currently have the Orbi RBK753 and have one satellite hardwired to the router at the opposite end of the house (3,300 Sq. ft) on the second floor, while the other satellite is not wired and is 40 feet from the router with a clear path to the router. Also, we will be getting fiber internet with Gig+ speeds. You mentioned the Asus or the Linksys being the best options when doing a partial backhaul. I’m more interested in the Asus because of the AiMesh. would the ET8 be a good option and just purchase a compatible/additonal AiMesh device, or is the AXE 8400 Linksys a better option? Or is there something better?
I think you should stay with the Orbi for now, Glen, and see how things go first. To get Gig+ (or faster), you first need to get the house fully wired and then use hardware with Multi-Gig ports, which can be quite an investment. When you’re ready, you can check out one of these AiMesh options.
Very informative article as always.
I’m reaching to inquire about a bottom line for one who would like to install a fresh Mesh system:
1) Would you say that the performance tested by you for router and satellites is the best parameter for comparison (except specific features one may want to use)?
2) There is a recent review of mesh systems (brands) comparison? (I did noticed Synology last update – dongknows.com/synology-mesh-review/#more-5079)
3) What article would you recommend reviewing for selecting a final router and its matching satellites?
Here’s how I test Wi-Fi devices, Liviu. The charts in a review generally include the scores of previous products.
This post will help you more on how to pick a mesh system. Follow the best lists (in the related posts) for options.