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Doubling Down on Wi-Fi 6E, TP-Link Unveils Routers and Mesh Systems

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TP-Link Deco X96
The TP-Link Deco X96 Wi-Fi 6E Mesh system

You can bet that TP-Link is betting big on the new Wi-Fi 6E standard. Today, the networking vendor announced at CES 2021 four new Wi-Fi 6E solutions, including two mesh systems and two standalone routers. It sounds almost too good to be true.

Deco X96 and Deco X76: First Wi-Fi 6E mesh systems

Taking a similar design as the TP-Link Deco X5700, the Deco X96 comes with three different bands (2.4GHz + 5GHz + 6GHz) with a total bandwidth of 6600Mbps.

Details are still sketchy, but it seems the 6GHz band is a dual-stream (2x2) that caps at 2.4Gbps. The two front-haul bands are 4x4 (4.8Gbps) 2x2 (576Mbps), respectively. On top of that, the X96 has four Gigabit network ports (1 WAN and three LANs) and a 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port.

TP-Link Deco X76
The TP-Link Deco X76 Wi-Fi 6E Mesh system

The Deco X76 has comparatively more subdued hardware, with just three autosensing Gigabit network ports. It's a 2x2 system with a total bandwidth of 5400Mbps. But it comes incorporated with Zigbee for home automation.

Both systems use the new 6GHz band as the dedicated backhaul. This approach is a risk pet since this band likely has a shorter range compared with the 5GHz. We'll have to wait and see how these new mesh systems pan out.

Hardware specifications: Deco X96 vs. Deco X76

NameAX6600 Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6 SystemAX5400 Smart Home Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System
ModelDeco X96Deco X76 Plus
Mesh AvailabilitySingle unit, 2-PackSingle unit, 2-pack, 3-pack
Wi-Fi TechnologyAX6600AX5400
First Band2.4GHz 2x2 Wi-Fi 6: 574Mbps 2.4GHz 2x2 Wi-Fi 6: 574Mbps 
Second Band5GHz 4x4 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 4804Mbps5GHz 2x2 Wi-FI 6: 2402Mbps
Third Band6GHz 2x2 Wi-Fi 6E: 2402Mbps6GHz 2x2 Wi-Fi 6E: 2402Mbps
Backward Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac
160MHz Channel SupportYesYes
Number of 160MHz Channels7x on 6GHz band + 2x on 5GHz band7x on 6GHz band + 2x on 5GHz band
Network ports1× 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN, 
1× Gigabit LAN/WAN
3× Gigabit Autosensing Ports
USBNone1× USB 3.0 Port, 1× USB 2.0 Port
Processing Power1.5 GHz Quad-Core CPU1.5 GHz Quad-Core CPU
Dimensions8.3 × 5.1 × 4.8 in 
(110 × 110 × 114 mm)
8.3 × 5.1 × 4.8 in 
(110 × 110 × 114 mm)
TP-Link Wi-Fi 6E mesh hardware specifications: Deco X96 vs. Deco X76

Archer AX96 and Archer AX206: Covering all Wi-Fi bases

The new Archer AX96 is a somewhat traditional router. It shares a similar design as the Archer AX90 but now with a 6GHz band.

TP-Link Archer X96
The TP-Link Archer X96 Wi-Fi 6E router

Support Wi-Fi 6E, it has a total bandwidth of 7.8Gbps. For wired clients, the router has four Gigabit ports (1 WAN and three LANs) and a 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port.

What's most exciting, however, is the Archer AX206. It shares the same design as the Archer AX11000 but now comes with two 10Gbps LAN/WAN ports (1x SFP+ and 1x BaseT), one 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port, and four Gigabit LAN ports.

On the Wi-Fi front, the Archer AX206 is a full 4x4 Wi-Fi 6E machine with 10Gbps total bandwidth.

TP-Link Archer AX206
The TP-Link Archer AX206 Wi-Fi 6E Router

Hardware specifications: Archer AX206 vs, Archer AX96

ModelArcher AX206Archer AX96
Wi-Fi TechnologyAX11000AX7800 
First Band2.4GHz 4x4 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 1148Mbps2.4GHz 2x2 Wi-Fi 6: 576Mbps
Second Band5GHz 4x4 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 4804Mbps5GHz 4x4 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 4804Mbps
Third Band6GHz 4x4 Wi-Fi 6E: Up to 4804Mbps6GHz 2x4 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 2402Mbps
Backward Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac
AP ModeYesYes
160MHz Channel SupportYesYes
Number of 160MHz Channels7x on 6GHz band
2x on 5GHz band
7x on 6GHz band 
2x on 5GHz band
Gigabit Network Port4x LAN1× WAN/LAN, 3× LAN
Multi-Gig Port1x 2.5Gbps/1Gbps LAN/WAN, 
1× 10 Gbps SFP+ WAN/LAN, 
1× 10 Gbps WAN/LAN
1× 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN
USB1× USB-C 3.0 Port, 
1× USB-A 3.0 Port
1× USB 3.0 Port, 
1× USB 2.0 Port
Processing Power2 GHz 64 Bit Quad-Core CPU1.7 GHz Quad-Core CPU
Dimensions11.3 × 11.3 × 7.2 in 
(288 × 288 × 184 mm)
12.2 × 8.1 × 6.8 in 
(311 × 207 × 174 mm)
TP-Link Wi-Fi 6E router hardware specifications: Archer AX206 vs. Archer AX96

Availability and pricing

Unlike the Wi-Fi 6E offerings from Asus and Netgear, which are imminent, TP-link doesn't have specific release dates for its new Wi-Fi 6E solutions.

The company says these new routers and mesh systems will be available later in 2021, with the pricing being announced then. There's no guarantee that will be the case, however. We'll have to wait and see.

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4 thoughts on “Doubling Down on Wi-Fi 6E, TP-Link Unveils Routers and Mesh Systems”

  1. Any new news on the Archer AX206? I have a 10G NAS, 10G switch, 10G ethernet adaptor, and 2G internet connection with a 2.5G port. I’m in the market for a new Wifi 6e laptop…as far as I can tell, this is the only router with multiple mulit-gig ports AND Wifi 6e?


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