Wi-Fi 6E Routers: 2022's Cutting Edge List

Wi-Fi 6E Routers: 2022’s Cutting Edge List

Posted on


Since early 2021, Wi-Fi 6E routers and mesh systems have grown like (expensive) mushrooms after rain. There will be more as time goes by. The all-new 6GHz frequency band has its allure.

This post includes all (*) Wi-Fi 6E solutions you can buy today in two separate lists. One for routers and the other for mesh systems.

While these are not all created equal, so far, there’s no “bad” Wi-Fi 6E broadcaster among those I’ve tested. And that’s a good thing.

Until Wi-Fi 7, these Wi-Fi 6E options are the best — as in most comprehensive — hardware you can get on the local Wi-Fi front. And they will be relevant for years to come.

The point is: If you want to bask your home in the clean 6GHz signals today, you’re at the right spot to figure out that right purchase. I’ll update it as I review more — bookmark this page.

Dong’s note: I first published this frequently-revised post on May 17, 2021, and last updated it on July 27, 2022.

Hint: If you’re short on time, the Table of Content below will come in handy — you can jump back and forth between different hardware instantly.

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

It’s now possible to UPGRADE your router to Wi-Fi 6E

While upgrading a computer to Wi-Fi 6E is straightforward — you only have to upgrade its Wi-Fi adapter — upgrading an existing router to Wi-Fi 6E hasn’t been possible until the ARRIS SURFboard W6U Wi-Fi 6E Network Upgrade Kit.

ARRIS SURFboard W6U: The easy way to upgrade your router to Wi-Fi 6E

The ARRIS SURFboard W6U is not a router. It’s an access point. Unlike any other access point you’ve seen, it’s the first that solely supports the 6GHz band — the hallmark of Wi-Fi 6E.

Consequently, it’s uniquely an excellent device when you want to upgrade your existing Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 5 router to Wi-Fi 6E.

Pros

Fast and reliable 6GHz performance

Quickly adds top-tier Wi-Fi 6E to any existing Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 5 network

2.5Gbps Multi-Gig port, compact design

Standard local web user interface, optional mobile app

Cons

No 2.4GHz, 5GHz, or PoE support;

Not yet supported by the mobile app (at the review)

A bit pricey, no Guest Wi-Fi network, no media bridge role, not supporting 240V power outlets


Getting tired of your current router? The two lists below apply to those who want a real migration to Wi-Fi 6E.

Wi-Fi 6E ROUTERS of 2022: The list

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

6. TP-Link Archer AXE75: Wi-Fi 6E meets affordability

(If you didn’t read the intro, this is the latest member on this list — the number is only numerical, not the ranking.)

TP-Link Archer AXE75 Wi Fi 6E Router Antennas
The TP-Link Archer AXE75 looks like a typical Wi-Fi router.

That’s right! The Archer AXE75 is the first standalone router from TP-Link, and it’s also the first that costs less than $200 (before taxes.) To put things in perspective, it’s half the cost of the “good-deal” Netgear RAXE300 below.

In return, it’s also one of the least impressive hardware and has no Multi-Gig port. In testing, though, it proved to be fast and reliable enough for most homes with sub-Gigabit broadband.

Pros

Fast Wi-Fi performance; good range, affordable

Wi-Fi 6E support, 160MHz channel width on both 5GHz and 6GHz bands

Standard web interface with lots of useful settings, including Dynamic DNS-based remote management

Support Time Machine backup vis USB storage, wall-mountable, OneMesh-ready

Cons

Middling Wi-Fi specs, no Multi-Gig port

Mobile app and login account required for Parental Control, QoS, and online protection

Write performance for network storage when hosting a portable drive could be better


5. Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300: Netgear’s “good-deal” Wi-Fi 6E router

Netgear RAXE300 Nighthawk Wi Fi 6E router
Netgear RAXE300 Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6E router

Pros

Wi-Fi 6E-ready with excellent performance

Flexible 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port, USB-C

Robust web interface, helpful (optional) mobile app

Cool fanless, wall-mountable design

Cons

Middling 6GHz specs, no standard Remote Management via Dynamic DNS

No 10Gbps port, only one 2.5Gbps port; not-well-thought-out Wi-Fi on/off button

Limited Wi-Fi settings and online protection/Parental Controls require a mobile app and subscription

Mediocre NAS performance when hosting a portable SSD; 100-120V power adapter

4. Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000: The ultimate Wi-Fi router (until Wi-Fi 7)

Asus GT-AXE16000 Quad-band Wi-Fi 6E Router
The Asus GT-AXE16000 Quad-band Wi-Fi 6E router has everything you’d want.

The Asus GT-AXE16000 is the 2nd Quad-band Wi-Fi broadcaster besides the Netgear Orbi RBRE960 (below). It has everything any user would want — as a standalone router or an AiMesh member.

It’s a safe buy as long as you can afford it. And that’s a big if.

Pros

Powerful hardware, Quad-band with Wi-Fi 6E support, three Multi-Gig ports (one 2.5Gbps and two 10Gbps)

Stellar performance throughout

Excellent set of game-related, online protection and monitoring features, full AiMesh 2.0 support

Unmatched port flexibility, including interchangeable WAN, Dual-WAN, and LAN/WAN Link Aggregations

Beautiful ROG Aura lighting

Cons

Expensive, 10Gbps ports’ sustained rates and NAS performance (when hosting a storage device) could be better

Awkward backhaul band design in a wireless AiMesh setup, no UNII4 (5.9GHz) support, no SFP+

Bulky design, not wall-mountable


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

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

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 relatively modest compared with the first two.

It’s a router that bets a bit too big on Wi-Fi 6E, making it less useful for the mainstream market.

Pros

Simple design with 5Gbps WAN port

Robust web interface, helpful (optional) mobile app

Cons

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


2. Netgear RAXE500: A formidable contender

The Netgear RAXE500 is likely one of the best Wi-Fi 6E routers
The Netgear RAXE500 Wi-Fi 6E router

The Netgear RAXE500 is the second Wi-Fi 6E router on the market, and it’s the natural 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. As such, it’s one of the most awesome-looking Wi-Fi broadcasters on the market. That’s if you can stomach the $600 price tag.

Pros

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

Fast network-attached storage when hosting a storage device

Cons

Wi-Fi 6E is still in the 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)


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

(In case you didn’t read the intro: This is the oldest member on this list — the number is only numerical, not the ranking.)

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

Initially announced in mid-2020, the Asus GT-AXE11000 didn’t materialize until January 2021. Yet, it still made it the first on the market to sport the all-new Wi-Fi 6E standard.

For the most part, this new router 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 instead 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.

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 AiMesh 2.0 support

2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port, Dual-WAN, and LAN/WAN Link Aggregations

Cons

Wi-Fi 6E is not fully available

Only one 2.5Gbps port, no 10Gbps port

Bulky design, not wall-mountable, buggy firmware (at launch)


Wi-Fi 6E MESH SYSTEMS of 2022: The list

This list includes purpose-built Wi-Fi 6E mesh systems and is sorted in the review order. The numbers are just numerical and not meant to be the ranking.

5. TP-Link Deco XE75: The most affordable Wi-Fi 6E mesh to date

(If you didn’t read the intro, this is the latest member on this list — the number is only numerical, not the ranking.)

The TP-Link Deco XE75 AXE5400 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System
The TP-Link Deco XE75 AXE5400 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System includes two identical Gigabit routers.

The 2-pack Deco XE75 — also available as the 3-pack XE5300 variant — is the first Wi-Fi 6E solution from TP-Link.

Featuring 2×2 Wi-Fi specs and having no Multi-Gig port, the new mesh is disappointing. That’s until you learn about this cost.

At just $300 for a 2-pack, it’s the most affordable among Wi-Fi 6E hardware. And for that price point, it’ll make an excellent buy for sub-Gigabit networking needs — especially when used with a wired backhaul.

Pros

Wi-Fi 6E-ready with reliable and extensive coverage

Cons

No Multi-Gig port, Link Aggregation, or Dual-WAN

TP-Link login account and mobile app required

No real, local web-based management

Only three network ports on each unit


4. Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12: First Multi-Gig wired mesh set out of the box

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12
The Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12, like the ET8 below, includes two identical Wi-Fi 6E routers.

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.

Pros

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 pots with Multi-Gig wired backhaul, flexible port configurations

Excellent performance and coverage as a standalone router

Tons of useful features and settings, flexible Wi-Fi customization

AiMesh 2.0 full support, helpful mobile app, no login account required

Cons

Bulky, no USB, only four network ports

Fluctuating performance as a fully wireless mesh due to the lack of a dedicated backhaul band

Expensive, not wall-mountable


3. Netgear Orbi RBKE960 Series: The symbol of success (very expensive, that is)

Netgear Orbi RBKE960 Quad-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System
Netgear Orbi RBKE960 Quad-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E system includes three identical-looking hardware units. One is a router, and the others are satellites.

Available as a 3-pack — RBKE963 (white) or RBKE963B (black) — the new 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 hardware. The most exciting part is it can do Multi-Gig wired backhaul, though you’d need a switch if you want to use both satellite units that way.

Pros

Powerful hardware with Quad-band Wi-Fi and Multi-Gig wired backhaul support

Excellent Wi-Fi coverage, fast performance

More Wi-Fi networks than previous Orbis, including two additional virtual SSIDs

Cons

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 backhauls, no 160MHz channel width on 5GHz

Limited Wi-Fi customization, bulky design


2. Asus ZenWiFi ET8: Excellent 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 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 option 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.

Pros

Reliable and extensive 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 customization

Cons

Comparatively slow performance in most use cases

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.)

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 seemed determined 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. Hint: It’s not worth it. Make sure you have wired your home and wait until the price drops.

Pros

Reliable performance, extensive coverage

Excellent NAS performance when hosting external storage device(s)

Separate SSID for each band

Cons

Comparatively slow mesWi-FiFi 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


Wi-Fi 6E Routers and Mesh Systems in 2022: The performance

I tested Wi-Fi 6E routers the way I do all routers. For the 6GHz band testing, I use a couple of laptops running the Intel AX210 Wi-Fi chip with the latest official Windows 11 driver, and a few 6E-ready smartphones.

Wi Fi 6E Routers Performance at Close RangeWi Fi 6E Routers Performance at Long Range
Wi-Fi 6E routers of 2022: Performances in close range (left) vs long range

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

All Wi Fi 6E Routers NAS Performance
Wi-Fi 6E routers of 2022: NAS performance when hosting a portable SSD. Not all hardware supports this feature.

The final thoughts

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 bands — it’s not a replacement for either.

And compared to Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6E has had a slightly slower adoption rate, especially on the client’s side. That might have had something to do with the upcoming Wi-Fi 7.

However, getting a Wi-Fi system that supports this standard doesn’t hurt. And per the rule in getting connected: you should get what works best for you today.

Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh Wi-Fi systems of 2022



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *