The wireless internet world is changing fast, with Wi-Fi 6 bringing connectivity that's faster and better at handling all of your devices at once. The standard is already available, but since it's brand spankin' new, we wanted to do a quick rundown of the Wi-Fi 6 routers that are on the market or coming soon.
The first Wi-Fi 6 routers started trickling onto the market in November of 2018, but the first wave of new models really got a boost at CES 2019, when several companies announced routers and other gear that utilizes the faster Wi-Fi 6 standard. To help you keep up with all of the new products, we've collected them here, in a handy guide that details which companies have new Wi-Fi 6 routers, what ones have been announced and where you can buy them as they hit store shelves.
Wi-Fi 6: Faster, smarter, simpler
While most routers on the market today use the 802.11ac wireless standard, the technology behind your Wi-Fi just got a major upgrade. The new 802.11ax standard has been in development for years but has now been finalized and brought to market, with the first true AX-capable routers arriving in late 2018.
All the 802.11 language can get confusing, though, and the Wi-Fi Alliance is moving to a much simpler naming scheme. Instead of referring to 802.11ac and 802.11ax, router companies will use the terms Wi-Fi 5 to refer to the current crop of AC-compliant devices and Wi-Fi 6 for the new AX standard.
In addition to the easier-to-remember name, Wi-Fi 6 also comes with a number of upgrades that will significantly improve wireless capabilities. Orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) improves efficiency by divvying up the allotted radio spectrum into smaller units, and Wi-Fi 6 also adds new data channels using 1024-QAM modulation to handle even more data. Other enhancements include smarter traffic management and les wasted battery life on connected devices.
The end result: better wireless connectivity, smoother performance and faster speeds for every device on your network. For a more detailed look at the new standard, see our article Wi-Fi 6: What It Is and Why It's Better.
Asus RT-AX88U Dual Band 802.11ax Wi-Fi Router
Asus' first Wi-Fi 6 offering is the Asus RT-AX88U, a dual-band router that boasts up to 6,000 Mbps of Wi-Fi throughput. With four positionable antennas, signal covers a large area, and the eight LAN ports give you wired connectivity for a huge number of devices.
But Asus isn't banking entirely on Wi-Fi 6 speeds to sell the new router. It also comes with Asus' AiProtection, which uses cloud-based security from Trend Micro to scan for outside attacks, unexpected behavior from connected devices and other threats. You can also use it as a mesh router, thanks to Asus' AiMesh, which lets you pair two or more Asus routers together to offer whole-home coverage in a mesh network.
The Asus RT-AX88U is available now for $342.
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Gaming Router
Gamers stand to benefit hugely from Wi-Fi 6, and the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is a tri-band gaming router that pushes that advantage as far as it can. The GT-AX11000 is optimized for speed and performance with wireless AX speeds and a tri-band setup that lets you set aside one 5-GHz band for nothing but gaming. This router is also bristling with antennas and ports for maximum connectivity. The Rapture is surrounded by eight positionable antennas and boasts four standard Gigabit LAN ports, a Gigabit WAN port and a dedicated 2.5-Gbps LAN port for gaming.
The GT-AX11000 also features customizable RGB lighting, dynamic frequency selection (DFS) for finding congestion-free wireless channels and extensive QOS management tools built in to the ROG Game Center interface. It also comes with a special mode that lets you run a VPN on the router while simultaneously running an ordinary internet connection, for security and unimpeded gaming performance at the same time. Throw in simplified port forwarding and Trend Micro's AiProtection Pro security, and you have a killer router for gaming and everything else.
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Tri-band Gaming Router is on sale now for $449.99 on Amazon.
Check out our full Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 router review.
ASUS AiMesh AX6100 Wi-Fi System (RT-AX92U 2 Pack)
To bring Wi-Fi 6 speeds to the entire home, there's the AiMesh AX6100 Wi-Fi System. The tri-band router is made with large homes and multistory dwellings in mind. It comes in a two-pack that can be further extended with additional units or even paired with existing AiMesh routers — even those that use the older wireless AC (Wi-Fi 5) standard.
The mesh routers let you extend Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home and even into the backyard, bringing Wi-Fi 6 speeds to every device you own. And if wireless capability isn't enough, each unit has a bevy of Gigabit ports onboard: a single WAN port and four LAN ports. With ports on every unit, you can double or triple that number as you add mesh extensions in your home.
Pricing hasn't been announced, but Asus plans to bring the AiMesh AX6100 Wi-Fi System to the U.S. this fall, where the company will sell a two pack of paired units.
D-Link AX6000 Ultra Wi-Fi Router DIR-X6060
D-Link announced some of the earliest Wi-Fi 6 routers more than a year ago at CES 2018, back when the nascent standard was still called wireless AX. The D-Link AX6000 Ultra Wi-Fi Router DIR-X6060 offers Multi-Gig networking speeds, MU-MIMO support for multiple devices, and an easy-to-use app for setup and management.
The DIR-X6060's angular chassis is ringed with eight high-performance antennas and equipped with a 5-Gbps WAN port and four Gigabit LAN ports, along with USB 3.0 for connecting storage and devices.
The D-Link DIR-X6060 slated to arrive sometime this year.
Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80)
Netgear is ahead of the competition on Wi-Fi 6; the company brought the first consumer Wi-Fi 6 router to market last November. The Netgear Nighthawk AX8 (RAX80) is a Wi-Fi 6 router that boasts up to eight streams of wireless connectivity, 160-MHz channel support and the ability to move gigabits of data with ease. It's also got one of the coolest designs of any router we've seen, with a pair of stingray-like wings that house four high-performance antennas.
It's also the first home router to support multigig speeds, thanks to a design that lets you aggregate two gigabit connections. The dual-band router is designed to offer wide-ranging coverage for large homes and offers simultaneous 2.4- and 5-GHz connectivity, with up to 6,000 Mbps of throughput.
You can buy the Nighthawk AX8 right now now for $399.
Netgear Nighthawk AX12 (RAX120)
The bigger brother of the AX8 is the Netgear Nighthawk AX12, a Wi-Fi 6 router that ups the ante with support for up to 12 Wi-Fi streams. Combined with Wireless AX speeds and up to 5-Gbps connectivity, it's the most powerful home router Netgear has ever offered. It's also got Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, letting you connect your favorite smart speaker and control the router by voice.
The Nighthawk AX12 is available now for $399.99.
Orbi with Wi-Fi 6
Finally, Netgear has also announced that there will be Wi-Fi 6-capable routers for the Orbi, our favorite mesh router system. The Orbi mesh system is the gold standard for mesh networking in the home, with its easy setup and superb performance. And the new Orbi with Wi-Fi 6 aims to keep that dominant position with the new Wi-Fi standard.
Netgear tells us that the the Wi-Fi 6 Orbi will offer gigabit wireless speeds across the entire mesh network. This router also retains Netgear's FastLane3 technology for superior performance. Like the Nighthawk AX12, the new Orbi will be equipped to handle 12 Wi-Fi streams at once, and it'll be tri-band with a dedicated 4x4 backhaul. That means data will move swiftly and seamlessly between the various satellite units in your home for coverage in every corner on every floor.
The Wi-Fi 6 Orbi won't arrive until later this year. Netgear hasn't announced pricing.
TP-Link Archer AX6000
For faster home Wi-Fi, there's the TP-Link Archer AX6000, a dual-band router, which boasts eight high-gain antennas and plenty of ports: eight Gigabit Ethernet ports, a blazing 2.5-Gbps port, and both USB 3.0 and USB-C ports for connecting external devices. You'll also get network protection with TP-Link HomeCare, a cloud-based security service from Trend Micro.
The TP-Link Archer AX6000 is available now for $349.
TP-Link Archer AX11000 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Gaming Router
TP-Link's Archer AX11000 isn't the only Wi-Fi 6 gaming router on this list, but as this is the follow-up to the category-leading Archer C5400X, we've got high expectations for the tri-band gaming router.
Outfitted with a 1.8-GHz quad-core CPU, this speed demon can reach combined speeds of more than 10 Gbps (TP-Link claims up to 10,756 Mbps) and offer tons of connectivity, with 2.5-Gbps WAN port and eight Gigabit LAN ports. Throw in several performance boosters like automatic priority for gaming traffic, real-time networking stats for latency and resource allocation, and this gaming router will be a strong contender for the best gaming router ever.
The TP-Link Archer AX 11000 Gaming Router starts selling this month, for $449.
TP-Link Deco X10 Mesh Wi-Fi System
TP-Link is also updating its mesh router system for Wi-Fi 6, with the TP-Link Deco X10. The mesh units will be sold in a two pack, so you can spread Wi-Fi 6 coverage throughout your home. You can also add this router to an existing Deco mesh system to enhance your coverage with wireless AX speeds. With two 5-Ghz bands rated for 1,200 Mbps each and a 300-Mbps, 2.4-GHz band, the Deco X10 will move beastly amounts of data.
The TP-Link Deco X10 is scheduled to launch in late 2019, selling as a two pack for $349.
Credit: Tom's Guide