TP-Link’s new Wi-Fi 6 routers look more like alien spaceships than ever

The future is most definitely here at CES 2019 and it’s not just because of new processors and graphics cards. TP-Link’s latest wireless networking routers are some of the most capable we’ve ever seen and they look the part, too. While there aren’t many devices that can take advantage of the latest Wi-Fi 6 standards that the new routers support just yet, that should change in the year to come, making these much more viable, future-proofed networking upgrade options.

Wireless speeds and features have been improving every few years since the implementation of the IEEE 802.11 standard in the late ’90s, and though we may have moved to a new naming convention now, the Wi-Fi 6 (802.11.ax) standard is just the next step on that ladder. It offers higher bandwidth, greater power efficiency, and improved performance in environments with greater numbers of connected devices. TP-Link’s new routers benefit from all of that and a few other neat enhancements that may be worth upgrading for in their own right.

The AX11000 is the most alien-looking of TP-Link’s new lineup but comes with a stellar feature set alongside it. It’s a tri-band gaming router with a theoretical maximum bandwidth of 11,000MBps. With a total of eight external antennas, it should be able to deliver a reliable Wi-Fi signal on 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands throughout even larger homes, as The Verge reports. It will go on sale at the end of January with a price tag of $450.

A slightly more reserved sibling of that monster is the AX6000. Its eight antennas lack the aggressive red accents and its dual band, so it has only one 5GHz and one 2.4GHz band to spread devices across. It still supports bandwidths up to 6,000MBps across its Wi-Fi 6 network though, so it is unlikely to see much of a bottleneck. Its price tag reflects a slightly weaker feature set at a more modest $350.

The AX1800 drops the number of antennas and has a more traditional router look to it, even if it still enjoys the beveled “X” shape of its meatier cousins. It supports Wi-Fi 6 as well and is also dual-band, but has a maximum bandwidth of just 1,800MBps. It will retail for $130 alongside a cheaper (price as yet unannounced) AX1500 model with a similar look and feature set.

TP-Link’s new lineup isn’t limited to spaceship-like black boxes though. It also has a device reminiscent of a Google Home in the form of the Deco X10, itself a high-end, tri-band router with Wi-Fi 6 compatibility. Its big selling point, though, is its mesh support, letting you twin as many of them together as you want to create a stronger Wi-Fi network throughout your home. It will go on sale later this year with a price tag of $350 for a two-pack.

If you’re more interested in improving your existing Wi-Fi network, TP-Link is also launching a new Wi-Fi extender called the RE705X. It will support Wi-Fi 6 just like the new routers TP-Link had on show at CES 2019 and will have both 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands to help spread the load. Its price tag will be $100 when it debuts later on in 2019.

If you can’t wait for any of this new hardware though, check out our top list of the best routers for gaming you can buy right now.

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