Hang on tight, here comes Wi-Fi 6
Wi-Fi 6 has arrived at CES 2019, and the newer, faster standard is showing up in everything from standalone routers to mesh systems. Whether you're streaming movies, getting some work done or blowing off some steam in Fortnite, Wi-Fi 6 will mean better speeds for more devices. We've been waiting for Wi-Fi 6 since last year, when it was still called 802.11AX, and it looks like that wait is finally ending, thanks to the new routers and extenders at CES 2019 this week.And it's not the only big advancement coming to networking gear in 2019. The latest routers boast features like integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Home smart speakers, end-to-end cloud-based security, machine learning to improve performance and safety, and much more.We caught up with some of the biggest names in networking during CES 2019, and got the scoop on what's coming in 2019.
Netgear Orbi with Wi-Fi 6
Our favorite mesh router, the Netgear Orbi, is getting a Wi-Fi 6 upgrade in 2019, delivering better speeds for more devices all throughout your home. Netgear tells us that the the Wi-Fi 6 Orbi will offer gigabit wireless speeds across the entire mesh network, and retains Netgear's Fastlane3 technology for superior performance.Netgear has not announced pricing, but the Wi-Fi 6 Netgear Orbi will be coming in the second half of 2019.
TP-Link Deco X10 Mesh Wi-Fi System
TP-Link's Deco X10 mesh router brings the new Wi-Fi 6 standard to the Deco. The result is coverage for the entire house at blazing speed, capable of handling all of your connected devices. The look of the Deco has been updated slightly, with changing the small puck-shaped units of the Deco M9 Plus into taller cylindrical designs. The Deco's styling stays true to the earlier models, but with an LED indicator light incorporated into the distinctive wedge molding on the top of the device.The Deco X10 is scheduled to launch in late 2019, selling as a 2-pack for $349.
D-Link AC1900 Mesh-Enabled Smart Wi-FI Router (DIR-1960)
Even though it's one of the simpler models D-Link is introducing in the new EXO line, you'll find some killer features on the D-Link AC1900 Mesh-Enabled Smart Wi-Fi Router (DIR-1960). It's a dual-band router, but it boasts mesh capability when paired with other D-Link mesh routers — if one doesn't cover your home adding a second or third should do the trick. The device also features easy setup and management, automatic over-the-air firmware updates, support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa control, and it comes with a lot of great security options.The cloud-based security includes a 5-year subscription to McAfee's Secure Home Platform, which monitors your home network and all of your smart home devices for unusual traffic, unexpected devices joining the network, odd traffic patterns and more. It also comes with 24 months of free antivirus protection for every laptop, desktop and smartphone in your home network.The D-Link AC1900 Mesh-Enabled Smart Wi-Fi Router (DIR-1960) is coming this spring, and will sell for $159.99.
Netgear Nighthawk AX12
The sleek, stingray-like Netgear Nighthawk router is getting an upgrade this spring with the Nighthawk AX12. The new model is a dual-band 12-stream router that can handle even more data on even more devices, thanks to support for Wi-Fi 6. It boasts Wi-Fi speeds up to 6Gbps, and uses eight high-performance antennas to maximize coverage.The new router won't be available until later this year, but Netgear is offering early access to members of its new Premier Beta subscription program.
D-Link EXO AC3000 Tri-Band Mesh-Enabled Router (DIR-3060)
The big brother to the AC1900 is the D-Link EXO AC3000 Tri-Band Mesh-Enabled Router (DIR-3060), which is also a smart mesh router, meaning that you can use one or multiple units to provide whole-house Wi-Fi coverage.Like the other members of the EXO line, the router comes with five years of McAfee cloud-based network security, and uses machine learning for regularly updated protection against an array of threats. It's also smart in the sense that you can control it through an Amazon Alexa or Google Home smart speaker, letting you monitor network usage and settings, and has built-in network quality testing from Ookla. The D-Link EXO AC3000 Tri-Band Mesh-Enabled Router (DIR-3060) will sell for $199.99, and will go on sale in the second quarter of 2019.
TP-Link Archer AX 11000 Gaming Router
TP-Link pushes the Wi-Fi 6 model line to the limit with the announcement of the TP-Link Archer AX 11000 Gaming Router: one of the first gaming routers to rock the new standard, and the successor to one the best gaming routers out there. Even before the introduction of Wi-Fi 6, TP-Link's Archer C5400X gaming router — the company's first foray into dedicated gaming gear — took top marks, and is our favorite router for serious gamers.The new Archer AX 11000 dials up the capability with Wi-Fi 6, offering new speed and coverage potential on top of the category-leading performance we saw on the last model. Outfitted with a 1.8GHz Quad-Core CPU, this speed demon is capable of combined speeds of more than 10 Gbps (TP-Link claims up to 10,756 Mbps), and adds optimization for gaming performance on top of that. If you want to step up your game, this router may give you an unfair advantage.The TP-Link Archer AX 11000 Gaming Router starts selling this month for $449.
Netgear Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Extender
The Award-winning Netgear Nighthawk X6S EX8000 Wi-Fi extender is getting a sharp new look in 2019. The Nighthawk extender series is designed to provide the networking convenience of a mesh router system with the broad compatibility of a Wi-Fi signal booster. The new, faster Nighthawk X6 is a tri-band extender that boasts Wi-Fi 6 compatibility and can be used with many routers — even those from from other manufacturers. Once set up, it provides the same seamless whole-home networking you would get with a dedicated mesh router system.
TP-Link AX1800 Wi-Fi Range Extender
In order to take to the new Wi-Fi 6 speeds throughout larger homes, TP-Link has also introduced its own Wi-Fi 6 range extender, which pairs basic signal boosting with built-in mesh capability. The compact device promises to provide the expandable convenience of a basic signal extender while also offering the seamless networking of mesh systems.The TP-Link AX1800 Wi-Fi Range Extender will sell starting this fall for $129.