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

OK, the headline is a bit redundant — there was no Wi-Fi 6E router before 2021. But you guessed it, this post will eventually be about the best Wi-Fi 6E routers you can find.

For right now, it includes all of them — there are just a handful of these de-facto cutting-edge Wi-Fi machines on the market.

That said, if you can’t wait to bask yourself in the clean signals of the all-new 6GHz frequency band, you’re at the spot to figure out that right purchase. That is if getting a Wi-Fi 6E router today can be the right purchase.

But who is to say it’s not?

Before continuing, though, make sure you read my explainer post on Wi-Fi 6E and upgrade at least one of your computers to the new Wi-Fi standard using an Intel AX210 Wi-Fi adapter.

Without 6Ghz clients, these expensive Wi-Fi broadcasters will be only as good as affordable dual-band Wi-Fi 6 counterparts.

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

Dong’s note: I first published this post on May 17, 2021, and last updated on September 9, 2021.

Wi-Fi 6E Routers
Wi-Fi 6E routers come in all shapes and sizes.

Wi-Fi 6E routers of 2021: The list

This list includes both standalone routers and mesh systems and is sorted in the review order. The numbers are just numerical and not meant to be the ranking.

Needless to say, I’ll update it as I review more — so bookmark it. Scroll down to the bottom of the page for their performance numbers.

5. Asus ZenWiFi ET8: Exellent for a wired home

Asus ZenWiFi ET8 Tri band Wi Fi 6E Mesh System
The Asus ZenWiFi ET8 Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E Mesh System includes two identical routers.

The ZenWiFi ET8 is basically 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, it’s not an upgrade to the older cousin. Instead, it’s an option for a home that’s either already wired or has a lot of open space.

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 AXE6600 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System

$529.99
8

Performance

8.0/10

Features

9.5/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

Value

6.5/10

Pros

  • Reliable and large coverage with possible fast Wi-Fi performance in certain 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 customzation
  • AiMesh 2.0 support
  • Competitive pricing

Cons

  • 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 port on each hardware unit
See also  Asus ZenWiFi ET8 Review: A Worthy Mesh for a Wired (or Airy) Home

4. Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E: First Wi-Fi 6E mesh system

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E comes with standard power adapters
The Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E includes three identical tri-band Wi-Fi 6E routers.

Linksys has definitely intended to lead the charge in Wi-Fi 6E. Apart from the MR7500 below, this AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E is the company’s 2nd 6E broadcaster and the first mesh system of the new Wi-Fi standard.

The new 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.

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E Mesh System

0.00
7.8

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Ease of Use

7.5/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • Wi-Fi 6E-ready
  • Reliable performance, large coverage
  • 5Gbps WAN port
  • Excellent NAS performance when hosting external storage device(s)
  • Separate SSID for each band

Cons

  • Expensive
  • 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
See also  Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E Mesh Review: Reliable but Overpriced

3. Linksys MR7500: A nice third though not necessarily the charm

Linksys MR7500 AXE6600 Hydra Pro 6E  Wi-Fi 6E router Routers Package Content
Linksys MR7500 AXE6600 Hydra Pro 6E Routers Package Content

The Linksys MR7500 is the third Wi-Fi 6E router on the market, and the third time is not necessarily the charm in this case.

The new router looks a bit subdued in design — it’s sort of mundane looking. Its hardware specs are also rather modest compared with the first two. It’s a router that bets a bit too big on Wi-Fi 6E, making it a tad too ahead of its time.

Linksys MR7500 AXE6600 Hydra Pro 6E Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi Router

$292.95
7.3

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

Value

5.0/10

Pros

  • Wi-Fi 6E-ready
  • Simple design with 5Gbps WAN port
  • Robust web interface, helpful (optional) mobile app
  • Wall-mountable

Cons

  • Hugely overpriced
  • 6GHz band requires Gig+ or faster Internet to be useful
  • Slow 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands
  • Limited Wi-Fi settings, mobile app coercion
  • No Multi-Gig LAN port, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation
  • Buggy and slow NAS performance when hosting a storage device
See also  Linksys MR7500 Hydra Pro 6E Review: Too Big a Bet on 6GHz

2. Netgear RAXE500: A formidable contender

The Netgear RAXE500 is likely one of the best Wi-Fi 6E routers
The Netgear RAXE500 Router out of the box

The Netgear RAXE500 is the second Wi-Fi 6E router on the market, and it’s a real rival of the GT-AXE1000 below.

But within Netgear’s ecosystem, this one is quite familiar. It’s the 6E version of the tri-band RAX200. Among other things, you’ll love the design. This is one of the most awesome-looking Wi-Fi broadcasters on the market. That’s if you can stomach the $600 price tag.

Netgear RAXE500 Nighthawk 12-Stream AXE11000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6E Router

$599.99
8

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • Wi-Fi 6E-ready
  • Collectively excellent Wi-Fi speeds and range
  • 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port, Dual-WAN, and LAN/WAN Link Aggregations
  • Robust web interface, helpful (optional) mobile app
  • Beautiful design
  • Fast network-attached storage when hosting a storage device

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Wi-Fi 6E is still in early stage
  • No 10Gbps port, only one 2.5Gbps port
  • Limited Wi-Fi settings, no built-in QoS or Parental Controls
  • Online protection requires a subscription
  • Internal fan, a bit buggy (at launch)
See also  Netgear RAXE500 Review: An Formidable 6E Router for a Price

1. Asus GT-AXE11000: The very first Wi-Fi 6E router

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

Originally announced back in 2020, the Asus GT-AXE11000 didn’t materialize until January 2021. Yet, it still made it the very first on the market that sported the all-new Wi-Fi 6E standard.

This new router, for the most part, is a variant of the GT-AX11000. The two share the same design, ports, and processing power. The GT-AXE11000, however, uses a 6GHz band in place of the 5GHz-2 band.

And that makes all the difference. Oh, it’s also the most expensive router from Asus, costing $550 apiece. That’s if you’re lucky to find one right now at that price.

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

$549.99
8.4

Performance

8.5/10

Features

9.0/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Value

7.5/10

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
  • Bulky design, not wall-mountable, buggy firmware (at launch)
See also  Asus GT-AXE11000 Router Review: A Massive Wi-Fi Luxury, for Now

Wi-Fi 6E Routers of 2021: The performance

I tested Wi-Fi 6E routers the way I do all routers. For the 6GHz band testing, I use a couple of devices running the Intel AX210 Wi-Fi chip using an official but pre-release driver.

Wi Fi 6e Routers Performance

Other than Wi-Fi, I also tested their USB-related storage performance when hosting a portable drive.

However you look at it, Wi-Fi 6E is still in an early stage right now. Other than the Intel chip mentioned above, there’s just another official client, the Samsung S21 Ultra.

Wi Fi 6e Routers Nas Performance

Considering the fast speed but short range of the new 6GHz band, Wi-Fi 6E is an exciting addition to the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz band — it’s not a replacement of either.

See also  Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Systems of 2021: You Won't Go Wrong with These!
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12 thoughts on “Wi-Fi 6E Routers of 2021: Bask Your Home in 6GHz Signals Today”

  1. Thanks for all the reviews and useful information. Still reading my way through it all. Thinking about pulling the trigger on the GT-AXE11000 since I am upgrading to 10g service. Sorry if I missed it somewhere, but something that I can’t get my head around is how can a router have speeds like 11000 Mbps (GT-AXE11000) if the router only has a 2.5G WAN. Wouldn’t the maximum theoretical speed be 2500 Mbps?

    Reply
    • That’s correct, Robert. You can’t get more than 2.5Gbps of Internet speed from this router. For faster, you’d need a router with 10Gbps WAN, like the RT-AX89X or the QNAP Qhora 301w. But, honestly, I don’t know how they will work out in real life for your situation since my Internet is slower than 1Gbps. 🙂

      Reply
  2. I’m surprised that the speeds aren’t much faster at 6 GHz than at 5 GHz. Do these routers (and your client) support 160 MHz channels? Am I wrong to expect better performance at 6 GHz?

    Reply
    • 6ghz speeds are faster than 5ghz. But you cant tell on high 160mhz channels, unless you have more than 1gb+ internet connection. For my tests on 80mhz channels, 6ghz is about 250mbps faster than 5ghz.

      Reply
        • What I meant is that with the existing internet connections available, you can’t tell what’s faster, because thanks to the wider 160mhz channels, both 5 and 6ghz bands can easily achieve the current offered speeds.
          So literally, no one can say today that 5hz or 6ghz are faster while using a high 160mhz channel, because again both will achieve any speed anyone has at home. On the other hand you can test the speeds in narrower channels and see that 6ghz is truly faster. In the future we’ll be able to see 6ghz is always faster, once we have 1.5gb+ internet connections at home.

          Reply
        • I have 1.2gb connection at home. Both 5 and 6ghz are able to achieve the top speeds of over 1.4gb comcast decided to allocate. So yeah we know 6ghz is faster, but we can’t prove it yet unless you have more speed at home to test it.

          Reply
  3. I remember the cnet YouTube times, and I liked it. I can imagine that not everyone have the time to dedicate to a YouTube channel, but the way you explain stuff I think you’ll be successful at it if you go alone with it.

    Reply
    • Thanks. I honestly have no resources for a YouTube channel for now. We have no space for a studio. Recording and editing take time, too. It’s not easy doing these things on my own, have a day job and a bunch of mouths to feed. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Have you raised the rate for the gtaxe and lowered the raxe?
    If that’s the case I would agree.
    After all these six months of router “horrors” I now can say I love this gtaxe.
    And remember people, buy and trade a cheap $5 craigslist modem/router and get the gtaxe for about $500 after tax on Best Buy.

    Reply

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