Thursday, January 21st, 2021

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

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 not one but 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 that of the TP-Link Deco X5700, the Deco X90 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 (2×2) that caps at 2.4Gbps. The two front-haul bands are 4×4 (4.8Gbps) 2×2 (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 2×2 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 is a serious 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

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 AX3200 but has double the number of antennas.

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 that of 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 4×4 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

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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