Thursday, January 21st, 2021

Multi-Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Routers: Getting Yourself Ahead of the Speed Curve

Best among Multi-Gigabit Routers: The Asus RT AX89X 10Gbps
The Asus RT-AX89X router comes with two 10Gbps network ports.

Together with Wi-Fi 6 and 5G is the new area of faster-than-Gigabit connections, the Multi-Gigabit (or Multi-Gig for short.) Truth be told, it’ll be a long while before you need to worry about this type of network throughput. So this roundup is mostly for those looking to be (well) ahead of the curve.

You’ll find here the list of a dozen multi-Gigabit-capable Wi-Fi 6 routers I’ve reviewed. Any of these can deliver at least one multi-gig wired connection when you have a similarly-capable client. Of course, make sure your home is wired.

Before continuing, though, let’s get on the same page on multi-gig.

Multi-Gigabit connection: The Basics

First and foremost, keep in mind that all hardware involved must support the same speed grade. That’s because a connection between a pair always caps at the speed of the bottleneck party.

What qualifies as a multi-Gigabit speed

As the name suggests, to qualify as multi-gig, the router needs to deliver 2Gbps or faster in a single connection.

Eventually, that would mean having a 10Gbps port, but, for now, we also have qualified ports that deliver 5Gbps or 2.5Gbps. More on port speeds in this post, but generally, a faster port can also work at lower speed grades. So, there’s no downside to having the fastest ports.

Multi-Gigabit: WAN vs LAN

In a home router, the multi-gig port, if any, can work for the WAN side or the LAN side, exclusively or selectively. The former is for those with super-fast broadband speed, and the latter is for those with a super-fast local client, like a NAS server.

Ideally, you want a router that can do multi-gig on both WAN and LAN sides simultaneously. For that, it needs to have at least two of these ports. By the way, you can also add a multi-gig switch — still prohibitively costly — to the router to extend your multi-gig wired network.

Multi-Gigabit: Wi-Fi vs wired

Even though Wi-Fi 6 is capable of delivering multi-gig on paper, in real life, that’s, so far, not been the case. The sustained speeds of all routers I’ve tested capped at round Gigabit, or just slightly faster at best.

That’s because Wi-Fi has crazy overheads and, for now, we only have 2×2 clients. Read more in this post about Wi-Fi 6.

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

Things might change with the upcoming Wi-Fi 6E or when faster clients become available. But generally, to have a real multi-gig connection, you need a wired connection. And that’s also the premise before you can think of a multi-gig wireless connection anyway, at least in the way I test Wi-Fi.

The current use of multi-Gigabit

So chances are you won’t be able to get your entire home to multi-Gigabit yet. But even getting just one specific connection to that speed would help. Here are a few examples:

  • Router to (NAS) server: This where you get your NAS server to connect to the router via multi-gig. This allows for full Gigabit connections to at least two (or more) clients.
  • Faster router-based NAS performance: If you choose to turn your router into a mini NAS server, its multi-Gig connection will give that one multi-Gig-capable client the best NAS performance.

While the applications might vary, the bottom line is it never hurts to have a multi-Gig-capable router. At the same time, though, in most cases, going multi-gig makes no difference at all.


With that out of the way, let’s find out which routers can give you multi-gig.

Wi-Fi 6 routers with Multi-Gigabit capability: The list

This list is in reviewed order with the latest on top. The number in front of a product’s name is just numerical and doesn’t mean the ranking.

You need to check each’s full review to see how they are as a Wi-Fi router as a whole. This list only takes the multi-gig notion into account. In other words, having multi-Gigabit capacity is not the end all be all of a router.

Note: Generally, a multi-Gig-capable router with a USB port is great for NAS applications when hosting a storage device. However, that’s not always the case, and I will touch on that notion, too, when applicable, with routers on this list. The point is, just because a router is multi-Gig-capable doesn’t mean it’s all good in related applications.


12. QNAP QHora-301W: Dual 10Gbps BASE-T ports

QNAP QHora 301W Wi Fi 6 Router 4 1
The QNAP QHora-301W is one of a few Wi-Fi 6 router that comes with two 10Gbps BASE-T ports.

The QNAP QHora-301W is one of a few Wi-Fi 6 routers on the market with two 10Gbps ports, and both are BASE-T (RJ45). On top of that, it’s the only one that supports SD-WAN.

For this reason, it has the most flexible configuration in terms of network port functions. Among other things, it can host a local of multi-Gigabit speed on both WAN and LAN sides.

The router also comes with two USB 3.0 ports. Unfortunately, it has dismal support for external storage devices.

QNAP QHora-301W Dual 10G WiFi 6 AX3600 SD-WAN router

$398.31
7.5

Performance

8.0/10

Features

7.0/10

Ease of Use

8.0/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • Reliable Wi-Fi performance
  • SD-WAN and other enterprise-class features
  • Responsive web interface
  • Two 10Gbps network ports

Cons

  • Expensive for the modest Wi-Fi coverage
  • Some common settings are missing
  • No 160MHz channel width support (yet)
  • Useless USB-related features
  • No Dynamic DNS or QoS
READ NOW:  QHora-301W Review: QNAP's Intriguing but Lacking First Router

11. Zyxel Armor G5: 2.5Gbps WAN + 10Gbps LAN ports

Zyxel Armor G5 3
The The Zyxel Armor G5 has two Multi-Gig ports.

The Zyxel Armor G5 comes with two multi-Gig port with rigid designations. One is a 2.5Gbps WAN port, and the other is a 10Gbps LAN.

The Armor G5 also has quite terrible support for external storage devices, making its multi-Gig LAN port a bit less useful.

Zyxel Armor G5 AX6000 12-Stream Multi-Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Router (NBG7815)

$349.99
7

Performance

8.0/10

Features

6.5/10

Ease of Use

7.0/10

Value

6.5/10

Pros

  • Fast Wi-Fi speeds
  • Two Multi-Gig network ports
  • Nice design

Cons

  • Overall buggy, especially the USB-related features
  • Severely lacking in features: Not mesh-ready, no Dual-WAN, no Link Aggregation, no QoS
  • Parental Control is a joke
  • Runs hot
READ NOW:  Zyxel Armor G5 Review: Cool but with Lots of Room for Improvement

10. Asus RT-AX86U: Single 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port

Asus RT AX86U
The Asus RT-AX86U comes with one 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port.

The RT-AX86U has just one 2.5Gbps port that can work either as a LAN (default) or a WAN port. For this reason, you can either host a multi-Gigabit WAN connection or a fast local client.

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

9

Performance

9.0/10

Features

9.5/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast performance, excellent range, reliable
  • Tons of helpful networking features and settings
  • Useful settings for online gaming
  • Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app
  • Multi-gig, WAN/LAN Link Aggregation support
  • Excellent NAS performance and features when hosting a storage device
  • Comparatively affordable

Cons

  • No support for WTFast Gamer VPN
  • Not wall-mountable
  • Gaming features turn Adaptive QoS off
  • Multi-gig port caps at only 2.5 Gbps
READ NOW:  Asus RT-AX86U Review: The Best Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router to Date
TP Link Archers AX3200 Hand
The TP-Link Archer AX3200’s network ports.

The Archer AX3200’s 2.5Gbps port can work as a WAN (default) or LAN port. It also has a USB 3.0 port (on its side). This port doesn’t provide great performance when hosting a storage device, so the multi-gig port didn’t make any difference in my testing on the NAS front.

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

8

Performance

8.0/10

Features

7.0/10

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

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

Cons

  • Modest hardware specs
  • No Antivirus
  • No 160MHz channel width
  • Slow NAS performance when hosting a portable drive
  • Simple QoS and Parental Control
READ NOW:  TP-Link Archer AX3200 Review: An Excellent Buy for a Modest Network

TP Link Archer 6000 Ports
The TP-Link Archer AX6000’s 2.5Gbps port is a WAN-only one.

The TP-Link AX6000 has one 2.5Gbps port that works as the WAN port. As a result, you won’t get faster than 1Gbps on the LAN side in a network hosted by this router.

TP-Link Archer AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Router

$269.99
8.1

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

7.5/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance
  • 2.5 Gbps WAN port with eight Gigabit LAN port
  • 160 MHz channel bandwidth support
  • Excellent QoS and Parental Control features
  • Robust full web user interface, helpful mobile app
  • USB-C ready, wall-mountable

Cons

  • No multi-gig LAN port
  • Bulky design
  • Not mesh-ready
  • Certain functions of the interface could use some improvement
  • Mobile app require a login account
READ NOW:  TP-Link Archer AX6000 Review: A Well-Rounded Wi-Fi 6 Router

7. Asus RT-AX89X: Dual LAN/WAN 10Gbps (Base-T and SFP+) ports

Asus RT AX89X 10Gbps Ports
The Asus RT-AX89X has two flexible 10Gbps Ports

The Asus RT-AX89X is quite a special router. It’s the only on this list that comes with two different 10Gbps port. One is a traditional BASE-T (RJ45) and the other is an SFP+ port.

The use of these ports is flexible, however. Specifically, you can use them:

  • Both as LAN ports (default). In this case, they don’t support LAN Link Aggregation — you can’t combine them into a single 20Gbps connection.
  • Both as WAN ports. In this case, they don’t support WAN Link Aggregation but can work as Dual-WAN, where each connects to a different service provider.
  • One as a WAN port, and the other as a LAN port.

ASUS RT-AX89X AX6000 Dual Band WiFi 6 Router

9

Performance

9.5/10

Features

9.0/10

Design and Setup

9.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Excellent Wi-Fi performance
  • Uniquely cool design with two 10Gbps network ports
  • Eight Gigabit network ports with Dual-WAN and Link Aggregation
  • Super-fast network attached storage speed when coupled with an external drive
  • Tons of useful features, including free-for-life real-time online protection, and AiMesh

Cons

  • A bit buggy at launch, relatively expensive
  • Smart Connect setting not available at launch
  • Tweaking required to deliver top Wi-Fi 6 speeds
  • Bulky physical size with internal fan
  • Web interface needs work
  • Not wall-mountable, no universal backup restoration
READ NOW:  Asus RT-AX89X Review: Most Wi-Fi Bases. Covered. And More!

6. Asus ZenWiFi AX: Single 2.5Gbps WAN (and kind of LAN) port

Asus ZenWiFi AX Ports
The Asus ZenWiFi AX router comes with a 2.5Gbps WAN port

As a single router, the ZenWiFi AX has a single WAN-only 2.5Gbps port. However, in a wireless mesh configuration (when you buy a 2-pack), this port on the satellite unit can function as a LAN port.

ASUS ZenWiFi AX Whole-Home Tri-Band Mesh WiFi 6 System (XT8)

8.9

Performance

8.5/10

Features

9.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast Wi-Fi performance and large coverage at a comparatively affordable cost
  • Improved and flexible AiMesh
  • Lots network settings and useful features, including free real-time online protection for life
  • Full 4x4 dedicated backhaul band with optional wired backhaul support
  • Multi-gig WAN port with Dual-WAN and WAN link aggregation

Cons

  • No 160MHz 4x4 support for Wi-Fi 6 clients, for now, in a wireless setup
  • No multi-gig LAN port or LAN link aggregation
  • Only four network ports on each hardware units
  • Guest networking, for now, remains at the router unit
  • Not enough instructions on network settings
READ NOW:  Asus ZenWiFi AX Review: The Best AiMesh System to Date

5. Netgear Orbi RBR850: Single 2.5Gpbs WAN port

Netgear Orbi RBR850
The Netgear Orbi RBR850 router comes with a 2.5Gbps WAN port.

The Orbi RBR850, which is the router unit of an Orbi RBK852 mesh system and also available as a standalone router, comes with a 2.5Gbps WAN port. As a result, it can host a multi-Gig broadband connection.

READ NOW:  Netgear Orbi AX6000 (RBK852) Review: Great Wi-Fi for a Hefty Price

4. Netgear RAX120: Single 5Gbps LAN/WAN port

Netgear RAX120 Ports
The Netgear RAX120 is an all-around excellent router.

The RAX120 comes with a single 5Gbps port that works as a LAN out of the box. You can use the web interface to change its function into that of a WAN port, however.

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

$384.77
8.1

Performance

8.5/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

9.0/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • Powerful hardware, fast performance
  • Beautiful design
  • Multi-Gig network port (5Gbps)
  • Well organized web user interface
  • Ultra-fast network storage performance

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No online protection, gaming, or mesh features
  • A bit bulky
READ NOW:  Netgear RAX120 Router Review: The Multi-Gig Age Is Here

TP Link Archer AX11000 Router 6
The TP-Link AX11000 has a 2.5Gbps WAN port and a ton of regular Gigabit LAN ports.

Like many routers above, the TP-Link Archer AX11000 also comes with a 2.5Gbps WAN port to host a super-fast broadband connection.

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

8.4

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

9.0/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance
  • 2.5 Gbps WAN port with eight Gigabit LAN ports
  • 160 MHz channel bandwidth support
  • Excellent, Antivirus, QoS and Parental Control features
  • Robust full web user interface, helpful mobile app
  • Eye-catching and convenient hardware design
  • USB-C ready, wall-mountable

Cons

  • Misleading gaming veneer, no actual gaming-specific features
  • No multi-gig LAN port, bulky design
  • Not mesh-ready
  • Artificial "Game" items make the interface unnecessarily confusing
  • Mobile app require a login account
READ NOW:  TP-Link Archer AX11000 Review: Excellent yet Ridiculously Misleading

2. Netgear RAX200: Single 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port

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

Despite being a higer-end (and more expensive) than the RAX120 above, the Netgear RAX200 also comes with a 2.5Gbps port that works either as a LAN (default) or a WAN.

Netgear Nighthawk AX12 12-Stream AX11000 Tri-Band WiFi 6 Router (RAX200)

$499.99
8

Performance

9.0/10

Features

7.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • Reliable and fast performance
  • Eye-catching design
  • Helpful mobile app, robust web UI
  • Multi-Gig support (2.5Gbps)

Cons

  • Comparatively super-expensive with nothing extra
  • Shallow Wi-Fi customization, spartan feature set
  • Comparatively low CPU clock speed
  • No 5Gbps or 10Gbps LAN port, not wall-mountable
READ NOW:  Netgear RAX200 Review: Nice, Super-Fast but Overpriced

1. Asus GT-AX11000: Single 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port

Asus GT-AX11000 Ports
The Asus GT-AX11000 is a massive Wi-Fi 6 router.

The Asus GT-AX11000 is the first Wi-Fi 6 router on the market that comes with a 2.5Gbps multi-Gig port. Asus routers are quite flexible in terms of port use and you can use this port as a LAN (default) or WAN.

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Gaming Router

8.3

Performance

8.0/10

Features

9.5/10

Design and Setup

8.0/10

Value

7.5/10

Pros

  • Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance with excellent range
  • Lots of useful features for home users
  • Unique and effective settings for online gaming
  • Multi-Gig network port, Dual-WAN, Link Aggregation
  • Mesh ready

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Bulky design, loose antennas, non-wall-mountable
  • Fewer LAN ports than previous model
  • Long boot-up time, buggy (at launch), fluctuating Wi-Fi throughputs
READ NOW:  Asus GT-AX11000 Wi-Fi 6 Router Review: A Pro Gamer's Delight

Multi-Gigabit: The final thoughts

There you go. That’s your current list of Multi-Gig options. Note that some routers can still deliver 2Gbps speed without a multi-gig port, by combining two 1Gbps ports into a single connection, in a setup called Link Aggregation.

But in the future, using 10Gbps network ports in the place of Gigabit ones is the standard. And we’ll get there when the need for them truly arises. It’s a matter of demand and supply.

30 thoughts on “Multi-Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 Routers: Getting Yourself Ahead of the Speed Curve”

  1. Hi Dong,

    This is certainly a great article, I have a quick question. I live in an apartment (full concrete walls, floor and ceiling) wiring is not an option even though is a small area (800 sqft), and I need a strong backhaul mainly for streaming from my gaming pc to my 2 tvs, which router would you recommend for this situation?

    Reply
  2. I came across another idea, but am not certain if it would work as I think it could.

    I am waiting on the AX86U to arrive, driven by your review. Thank you.

    the question is as follows,
    I have NAS that supports LAN Aggregation.
    AX86U supports LAN Aggregation.
    So the question is – If I buy a USB-C 2.5G RJ45 Ethernet dongle and connect it to the LAN configured 2.5G port on the router will I be able to use the 2G connectivity option between the NAS, Router and My Mac?

    I am still looking for the answers online and I could not find anything conclusive enough.

    Cheers,
    Martin

    Reply
    • Yes, Martin. Try it. Note though, that even if you don’t have a multi-gig device, the LA from the NAS still helps when you have multiple devices accessing it.

      Reply
      • Ok. To make it short it does not work as I thought it would. There is a technical limitation within the router and it does not allow speeds to be exchanged between the 2.5G port and LAN Aggregated ports 1 and 2.

        uGREEN USB-C 2.5G adapter to 2.5G port on Router works fine but the maximum speed of transfer is 1G aka 110MB/s on average.

        The transfer speed from my MBP16 to the NAS over wifi is still averaging 75-85MB/s over wifi, only it seems this router leaves the old AC88U in the dust. Internet speeds and coverage across the apartment have been improved considerably.

        In order for my 2.5G idea to work I need the following:
        1x uGREEN USB-C dongle for Mac (199RMB)
        1x uGreen USB-A dongle for Synology(189RMB)
        1x 2.5G enabled switch TP-Link TL-SH-1008(549RMB)
        on top of the 1450RMB router.

        so for now I have decided to stay with the 1G wired link until a more options hit the market. Or until it becomes financially more reasonable for investing into setting up the 2.5G network at home. I can do the current work on 1G.

        In case anyone has a similar question on the fringe situation, this may help them find the answer.

        Reply
  3. Hello, I really enjoy your reviews. I am thinking of upgrading my current fios router (g1100) and extender. I currently have fios gigabit. Would it be better to use the Verizon 3100 router and their 3200 extender (connected to moca / coax) or use a mesh network like asus xt8?

    Thanks,
    John

    Reply
  4. For Wi-Fi some use ~60% figure for effective throughput. Does USB 3.0+ go as bad as that?

    (reply button is missing, so starting a new thread)

    Reply
    • Possiblily worse. But don’t quote me on that. Let’s conclude here. I don’t have answers to all of your questions, especially you just want me to confirm your belief, instead of reading and learning yourself. Take care. 🙂

      Reply
        • It’s really not my business what you’re under or what you can or can’t do, Davi. But just because I’m open to answering your questions doesn’t mean you should waste my time. If you do a search, you’ll see that I have written about the said issues in multiple posts. (Examples: USB, Wi-Fi.) Also including a link to your own stuff in a comment is spamming. (I removed that from your original comment). Don’t do that! So, no hostility at all, just real hard truth.

          Reply
          • You are *assuming* that that link was my own stuff. Which is not. The link was a legitimate source for my comment (it was just a MCS table). I only bothered to make that comment because I enjoyed your article but unfortunately you chose to be hostile towards a reader based on your own assumptions. Your assumptions simply didn’t meet reality. Hard truth. Funny because you blamed *me* for being under beliefs.

          • Well, it must have been some misunderstanding. I had lots and lots of comments and emails daily, things might get mixed up. Again, no hostility, I was just being blunt. And I don’t blame anyone for anything. Appreciate the fact you enjoyed my articles. Check out those I linked in previous comments, too.

  5. Both my Netgear Orbi RBK853 and RAX20 have a setting that allows “WAN aggregation (2.5 Gbps + 1 Gbps, LACP-IEEE802.3ad)” using the WAN port and the first LAN port. Quoted text copied from RBK853 Internet Setup page.

    Reply
  6. @DongNgo – on the RAX120 I cannot seem to get the WAN aggregation (1gb + 1 gb) to work. I have two Fios connection, so I should be able to link the to connection to the RAX120. I get “error: unable to setup Wan Aggregation”. Is Wan Aggregation the same as Dual-Wan support?

    Let me know your thoughts, or should replace the RAX120 to the Asus GT-AX11000?

    Reply
    • No, Dual-WAN is different from WAN Link Aggregation, John. The former is when you use TWO separate broadband plans, like cable AND fiber, for faster speed or higher availability. The latter is to combine two ports into a single connection.

      Reply
  7. Quick comparison across different technologies:

    Wi-Fi 6* ————> ~1 Gbps (“real life”, per article)
    SATA 3.0 ————> 6 Gbps
    USB 3.0** ———–> 5 Gbps
    USB 3.1 Gen 2*** —-> 10 Gbps
    10GBASE-T**** ——-> 10 Gbps
    PCI Express 3.0 —–> 128 Gbps (x16 lanes)
    PCI Express 4.0 —–> 256 Gbps (x16 lanes)

    Also known as:
    * 802.11ax
    ** USB 3.1 Gen 1; USB 3.2 Gen 1×1; SuperSpeed USB
    *** USB 3.2 Gen 2×1; SuperSpeed+ USB
    **** 802.3an-2006

    ~

    Wi-Fi data rates (“theoretical”):
    Wi-Fi 5* ————> 3.5 Gbps (160MHz; 4SS; 256QAM)
    Wi-Fi 6** ———–> 9.6 Gbps (160MHz; 8SS; 1024QAM)

    aka:
    * 802.11ac-2013
    ** 802.11ax (final approval est. Feb 2021)

    Reply
      • The other throughput figures can help when you want to tell whether your piece of equipment (say a USB 3.0 drive) can handle the throughput of a given technology (say a file transfer over 802.11ax). In this case, yes, if it’s connected to functional USB 3.0 port from Wi-Fi 6 ready system.

        Or maybe you are designing a PC for a given application and you want to be able to tell if there is some nasty bottleneck in your system data flow (you strive for a overall well balanced system).

        Thanks for the article, by the way.

        Feelthhis

        Reply
        • Sure, Davi. Your numbers are all theoretical so they are not really applicable when it comes to picking a piece of equipment. 🙂

          Reply
          • If I can’t rely on the standards themselves, I have no idea of what to rely on that would serve as an initial foundation for picking a compatible equipment or for building a system without obvious bottlenecks. What would you suggest?

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