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The latest generation – WiFi 6 – offers faster speeds, greater capacity, and better performance for connected devices than previous standards. This makes it ideal for homes with many connected devices. One way to take advantage of WiFi 6 is with a mesh router system. Mesh routers use multiple access points to blanket a home in strong, reliable WiFi coverage. They also allow easy expansion of coverage as needed.
What is WiFi 6 and How is it Different from WiFi?
WiFi 6 (also known as 802.11ax) represents the latest generation of WiFi technology. It builds on previous standards, like 802.11ac (WiFi 5), to deliver faster speeds, increased capacity, and better performance. Key improvements include:
Faster top transfer speeds – WiFi 6 supports maximum theoretical speeds up to 9.6 Gbps compared to 3.5 Gbps for WiFi 5. Real-world speeds will be lower but still faster than WiFi 5.
OFDMA technology – Allows more data to be transferred at once, reducing latency. This is great for busy networks.
Better handling of device density – WiFi 6 was designed to better handle many connected devices on one network. It can efficiently divvy up bandwidth.
Longer battery life – Target Wake Time and other features allow devices to sleep longer, preserving battery life.
Backwards compatibility – WiFi 6 devices maintain compatibility with older WiFi 5 and 4 networks.
What is the Difference Between a Traditional Router and Mesh Router?
Traditional WiFi routers rely on a single router unit to broadcast WiFi signals throughout your home. This can lead to dead zones in parts of the house farther from the router, where the signal is weak. It also means devices have to connect back to the main router, even if another device is closer.
Mesh router systems take a different approach, using multiple access points placed around your home. These access points, or nodes, work together to create one unified network. Devices automatically connect to the node with the strongest signal. This provides a larger and stronger network that reaches more areas of your home without dead spots.
Mesh systems also make it easy to expand coverage. Adding another node is as simple as plugging it in – the mesh routers automatically sync up to provide one seamless network. Traditional routers require more work to set up range extending equipment.
What Should You Consider When Shopping for a WiFi 6 Mesh Router?
There are a few key factors to weigh when choosing a WiFi 6 mesh system:
Speed rating – Look for AC3000, AX3000 or higher. This indicates fast top speeds on the 5GHz band.
Number of bands – Dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) is fine for most homes. Tri-band adds a second 5GHz band to dedicate to communication between nodes.
Number of nodes – Most systems come with 2 or 3 nodes. Pick based on your home size and WiFi needs.
Coverage area – Mesh nodes can cover 500 – 2000+ sq. ft depending on model. Consider your home layout.
Number of connections – WiFi 6 supports more simultaneous connections. Look for at least 128 per node.
Ease of setup – Mesh systems should be simple to install and manage from an app.
Security – Make sure the system supports modern security protocols like WPA3 encryption.
Smart home & network controls – Advanced models include built-in controls for your other connected devices and network settings.
Top 5 WiFi 6 Mesh Routers
|NETGEAR Orbi Quad-Band WiFi 6E Mesh System (RBKE963), Router with 2 Satellite Extenders, 10.8Gbps Speed, Coverage up to 9,000 sq. ft., 200 Devices, 10 Gig Internet Port, AXE11000 802.11ax||View on Amazon|
|ASUS ZenWiFi AX6600 Tri-Band Mesh WiFi 6 System (XT8 2PK) - Whole Home Coverage up to 5500 sq.ft & 6+ rooms, AiMesh, Included Lifetime Internet Security, Easy Setup, 3 SSID, Parental Control, White||View on Amazon|
|TP-Link Deco AXE5400 Tri-Band WiFi 6E Mesh System(Deco XE75) - Covers up to 5500 Sq.Ft, Replaces WiFi Router and Extender, AI-Driven Mesh, New 6GHz Band, 2-Pack||View on Amazon|
|Linksys MX8503 Atlas WiFi 6E Router Home WiFi Mesh System, Tri-Band, 9,000 Sq. ft,195+ Devices, Replaces Routers and Extenders, Gaming & Streaming, Speeds up to (AX8400) 8.4Gbps - 3PK||View on Amazon|
|Amazon eero Pro 6E mesh Wi-Fi System | Fast and reliable gigabit + speeds | supports blazing fast gaming | Coverage up to 6,000 sq. ft. | 3-pack, 2022 release||View on Amazon|
1. Netgear Orbi RBKE963 WiFi 6E Mesh Router
The Netgear Orbi RBKE963 WiFi 6E delivers blazing fast wireless performance and expanded capacity for smart homes. It supports the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard with quad-band connectivity, 10.8Gbps combined speeds, and dedicated backhaul. The main router features twelve internal antennas, 10 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, and enough power to cover up to 9000 square feet.
It can handle over 200 devices connected at once, perfect for high-density smart homes. Technologies like MU-MIMO, Beamforming, and OFDMA optimize speeds and reduce congestion.
The add-on satellite extends your coverage while providing four additional LAN ports for wired connections. With the Orbi RBKE963’s cutting-edge Wi-Fi 6E wireless technology, ultra-fast wired backhaul, robust antenna array, and ample device support, you can experience seamless whole-home connectivity for all your smart devices and high-bandwidth applications.
2. Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 Wifi 6 Mesh Router
The Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 is a high-performance tri-band WiFi 6 router that provides fast and reliable wireless connectivity.
It features the latest WiFi 6 (802.11ax) technology and supports speeds up to 5400 Mbps on the 5GHz band and 1200 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. The XT8 has a stylish, compact design with four adjustable external antennas to provide wide coverage up to 5,000 square feet. It can handle multiple devices connected at once with its powerful quad-core processor and 256MB RAM.
Key features include OFDMA and MU-MIMO support, AiProtection Pro network security powered by Trend Micro, and AiMesh for linking to other compatible Asus routers. The XT8 can also be managed remotely via the Asus Router app.
3. TP-Link Deco XE75 Wifi 6 Mesh Router
The TP-Link Deco XE75 mesh system is equipped with speeds up to AX5400, the Deco XE75 has the bandwidth for high-definition streaming, gaming, and working from home.
Its quad-core processor delivers smart routing that dynamically optimizes your network connections. Setup takes just minutes with the Deco app on your Android or iOS device. The system is built for large homes with two tri-band units covering up to 5,500 sq. ft. Simply plug in additional units to expand coverage as needed. Six powerful internal antennas ensure signals reach every corner.
Advanced security features like an encrypted network prevent unauthorized access and give parents controls over screen time. With Wi-Fi 6 bringing faster speeds and less congestion, the Deco XE75 helps manage the needs of today’s connected homes. Integrated HomeShield functionality blocks malicious sites and attacks while the Quality of Service engine prioritizes important devices.
4. Linksys MX8503 Atlas WiFi 6E Mesh Router
The Linksys MX8503 Atlas WiFi 6E Mesh Router harnesses the power of Wi-Fi 6E technology, it delivers speeds up to 19.8Gbps for smooth 8K streaming, VR gaming, and instant downloads.
With six streams and tri-band connectivity, 1080p video calls and gaming lag will be a thing of the past, even with multiple users. The Atlas can support up to 200 devices while dynamically optimizing traffic and connectivity using intelligent mesh technology.
Easy set-up and network management are possible with the Linksys app. Just plug in a node in each problem area for full home coverage up to 6,000 sq. ft. You can connect multiple devices via gigabit or multi-gig ethernet ports. AI security detects threats in real time and keeps your network safe from attacks.
With ultra-fast wireless speeds, ample capacity, an intuitive app, and future-proof Wi-Fi 6E support, the Linksys Atlas delivers an unparalleled mesh networking experience for high-speed homes of the future.
5. The Eero Pro 6E Mesh WiFi 6 Router
The Eero Pro 6E mesh wifi system provides outrageously fast wireless performance, expanded capacity, and enhanced security to meet the connectivity needs of modern smart homes.
The Eero Pro 6E system introduces tri-band WiFi 6E networking to Eero for the first time. It operates simultaneously on three bands, including the newly opened 6 GHz band. Blazing wireless speeds up to 2.3 Gbps allow you to stream, game, and browse on multiple devices in stunning 4K without interruption. The 6E standard dramatically increases wireless capacity, supporting over 100 devices on a network simultaneously.
Each Eero Pro 6E node contains two ethernet ports, allowing wired connection speeds up to 2.5 Gbps—perfect for home office setups, gaming rigs, and home entertainment centers. Expand coverage at any time by adding more Pro 6E nodes—the Eero mesh intelligently adapts to provide one unified network experience.
Eero Pro 6E comes packed with advanced security and privacy-enhancing features. The system automatically applies security updates to protect you against malicious attacks.
Integrations with Alexa allow voice control of your network settings. Insights provide visibility into how your connected devices are performing. For additional control, Eero Secure and Secure+ subscriptions provide enhanced security, ad blocking, malware prevention, and more.
Upgrading to a WiFi 6 mesh router brings faster, more reliable wireless performance throughout your home. Mesh systems can cover larger areas and handle more simultaneous connections than traditional routers.