This list includes the best among all Wi-Fi 6E mesh systems I've reviewed and is sorted in the review order. The numbers are just numerical and not meant to be the ranking.
While these are purpose-built mesh systems, their router unit can work as standalone routers. Still, if you're living in a place where a single broadcaster suffices, check out this list of the best Wi-Fi 6E routers. Or here are the options 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 July 12, 2023, to add or remove hardware options accordingly.
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. 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 -- get your home wired!
And if you want the best possible performance, Multi-Gig backhauling is the way to go.
Extra: Fronthaul vs backhaul
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 Wi-Fi broadcaster and another, which can be the network's primary router, a switch, or another satellite unit.
This link works behind the scenes 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 called 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 its bandwidth is available to either end. From the perspective of a connected client, that phenomenon is called signal loss.
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, up to Wi-Fi 6E.
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 network cables 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.
|Name||TP-Link Deco XE200's Rating||Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12's Rating||Netgear Orbi RBKE960 Series' Rating||Asus ZenWiFi ET8's Rating||Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max's Rating|
|Buy this product|
5. 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
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 ports with multi-Gigabit wired backhauling, flexible port configurations
Excellent performance and coverage as a standalone router
Tons of useful features and settings, flexible Wi-Fi customization
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 with wired-backhauling
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; unreliable with wireless backhauling
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 takeaway
No matter which system you pick, if it has no Multi-Gig WAN port, the broadband will be limited to 1Gbps. And if there's no Multi-Gig LAN port, the entire system -- your local network -- is also capped at Gigabit.
Generally, it's best to use Wi-Fi 6E mesh with wired backhauling. If you have no network cables, it's best to go with a Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 alternative or get a Quad-band system with an additional 5GHz band that works as the dedicated backhaul, namely, the Netgear RBKE960 series.