The standard for Wi-Fi routers has been “ac” for years, indicating the latest protocol and compatibility with new mobile devices. Now a new standard has appeared, “802.11ax” or “Wi-Fi 6,” which means a whole new crop of routers is here. Wi-Fi 6 is a new standard, so only laptops and smartphones hitting store shelves since late 2019 will be able to access those faster speeds. Yes, Wi-Fi 6E was only recently announced, but frequencies have been allocated and mobile devices have begun to appear that support it, so now is certainly the time to think about a serious router upgrade.
In other words, if you want your network properly future-proofed, your best bet at present is still Wi-Fi 6. Wi-Fi 6 promises new speeds, fewer problems, and better security — and you’ll need a new router to access it.
In our reviews of dozens of the latest routers, we’ve kept on eye on new models that are Wi-Fi 6 compatible. Now we’re ready to make some recommendations:is a great starting place with everything you’d want in a cutting-edge router, but be sure to check out our other picks too.
Netgear Nighthawk AX8
Netgear has released a whole line of Wi-Fi 6-ready Nighthawks, but the AX8 offers some great middle ground for those who want the best but don’t exactly need an office router. This model promises speeds up to 6Gbps across its bands — yes, Wi-Fi 6 really is that much of an improvement — and is designed for large homes that have a whole lot of devices on the wireless network.
Inside, the 1.8GHz processor helps take care of the details, managing up to eight simultaneous OFDMA connections and 16 simultaneous Wi-Fi clients while making sure there are no dead zones around. There are also six Gigabit Ethernet ports for file transfer, including the ability to combine two of the ports to create an even faster wired connection.
There are plenty of Nighthawk AX models that are Wi-Fi 6 ready if you want to choose something with a little less power and a lower cost, but this one is the top of the line for a home router if you really want the best!
Asus has a number of Wi-Fi 6 routers, and honestly, we’re impressed with all of them. This particular model has a lot in common with the Nighthawk AX8, offering 6GBps speeds (around 1.15Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 4.8Mbps on the 5GHz band, the expected speeds on all Wi-Fi 6 models), plus 8 LAN ports. The dual-band router also works with AiMesh, the Asus Wi-Fi mesh system that can link multiple routers together for better, stronger coverage where necessary.
The router also supports both OFDMA and MU-MIMO for direct connections to devices for greater stability and better data streaming. Gamers, meanwhile, will appreciate the Adaptive QoS that can prioritize games to make sure there are no slowdowns that the worst possible time. As with most modern Asus routers, the network is guarded by AiProtection Pro, a security filter to help keep your data safe.
TP-Link Archer AX6000
With Netgear and Asus offer top-tier ax models, you know TP-Link can’t be far behind. This Archer model offers up to 6Gbps across its bands, nine Gigabit LAN ports, and compatibility with both OFDMA and MU-MIMO. It comes with a 1.8Ghz quad-core processor, and two co-processors to help manage connection quality. By now, all this may be feeling a little familiar. But TP-Link has a few unique features to contribute.
The “band steering” and “airtime fairness” software helps make sure that bands don’t get overcrowded, while also ensuring that one device doesn’t get too much attention. This router also comes with a USB-C 3.0 port, useful for everything from data transfer to charging up your mobile devices — a nice benefit if your router is on your desktop. There’s even Alexa compatibility if you want to give it voice commands.
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
Primarily interested in gaming? The Rapture is a Wi-Fi 6 model designs for gamers that may not be able to get a wired connection but still want the highest-quality wireless connection available. The router will prioritize gaming devices, gaming servers, and what it identifies as gaming data packets, speeding up the connection from beginning to end, aided by the 1.8GHz quad-core processor.
If you do find an arrangement that allows for a wired connection, there’s a dedicated 2.5G port for gaming devices. AiMesh allows you to connect multiple Asus devices, while AirProtection provides a nice security filter. There are also plenty of options to customize connection monitoring and prioritization so you can check up on the quality of your connections at any time. Oh, and it makes port forward extra, with the ability to pick your game and device and activate open NAT in seconds.
D-Link AX6000 DIR-X6060
D-Link is hard at work preparing one of the most advanced Wi-Fi 6 models for release. The DIR-X6060 is packed with features, offering up to 6,000Mbps speeds across two bands, with the ability to turbocharge speeds with the latest QAM tech, and use DFS to switch to clearer frequencies if needed. The OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology allow for eight simultaneous direct connections to devices (if you have the compatibility). This router also included “target wake time” to help save battery life on your mobile while still ensuring a reliable connection to your Wi-Fi network when you need it. There’s even compatibility with both Google Assistant and Alexa.
Yes, the DIR-X6060 is packed with the latest tech–but there is a catch: D-Link hasn’t settled on a release date yet. Suffice it to say, the router is coming soon. If you’re a fan of D-Link or like features that help even the most demanding mobile users, it’s probably worth waiting for.
TP-Link Deco X60 WiFi 6 AX3000 Whole-Home Mesh Wi-Fi System
TP-Link’s Deco was already a great mesh system, design to spread multiple units throughout your building for superior coverage and no dead zones. But in 2020 Deco was upgraded to include Wi-Fi 6 technology and now it’s better than ever. The units can cover up to 7,000 square feet (making them suitable for pretty much any big space you’ve got) and provide up to 3Gbps speeds for up to 150 devices. Expected upgrades like OFDMA and MU-MIMO are here too, but note that the Deco X60 also supports WPA3 encryption — soon to become the new required standard — along with TP-Links suite of security tools. If you want a mesh system for the new decade, this is the one to pick.
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