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Netgear R6700AX

Finest funds router for gigabit networks

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Although Wi-Fi 7 routers are on their approach, in the meanwhile, Wi-Fi 6 remains to be the newest era of Wi-Fi that is supported by a lot of the present era of devices and units. And that will help you equip your own home with the quickest and most steady web connection potential, we have rounded up the perfect Wi-Fi 6 router choices available on the market proper now beneath. 

Nearly each new telephone and laptop launch helps Wi-Fi 6, and we’re beginning to see assist pop up amongst peripheral units, too. Did you choose up an Apple TV 4K or Amazon Fireplace TV 4K Max media streamer in your TV? Each of these assist Wi-Fi 6. Have you ever managed to attain a brand new PlayStation 5 console but? That is a Wi-Fi 6 gadget too.

Wi-Fi 6 units like these are backward appropriate with older routers, however if you wish to unlock their full potential for quicker, higher Wi-Fi efficiency, then you definitely’ll want a Wi-Fi 6 router operating your own home community. That was an costly proposition again when Wi-Fi 6 first arrived, however not anymore. Now, procuring round, you will discover a good variety of Wi-Fi 6 choices out there for lower than $100, in addition to mesh methods, gaming routers, vary extenders and extra. Some do the job higher than others — however that is the place we are available in, with complete, hands-on exams to assist establish the perfect improve picks for the cash. 

Anticipate common updates to this submit as we proceed to place Wi-Fi 6 to the check in 2023. At any time when we discover a new router that deserves consideration, we’ll add it to the checklist.

Finest Wi-Fi 6 routers of 2023

Ry Crist/CNET Like
Sooner efficiency and higher vary than comparable AX1800 routers

Simple-to-use app controls

Excellent worth
Do not like
Lacks superior options

Not highly effective sufficient to take full benefit of gigabit web speeds

When a router helps Wi-Fi 6, that implies that it is able to utilizing new options like OFDMA and 1024-QAM to ship quicker speeds and decrease latency to busy networks with plenty of related units. That is true even with the budget-priced worth picks — and amongst these, the one which performs the perfect is the TP-Hyperlink Archer AX21.

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Tri-band design ensures optimum mesh efficiency

Simplified setup, with extenders that routinely pair with the principle router

Speeds corresponding to mesh routers that price tons of extra
Do not like
Bland, barely cumbersome design

Restricted retail availability

Wi-Fi Normal Wi-Fi 6Speed Ranking AX3600Range As much as 5,500 sq. ft. (two units)Wi-fi Networking Safety WPA2, WPA3Bands Tri-Band (2.4 and two 5GHz)

This was an excellent yr for TP-Hyperlink, and it wasn’t simply due to the Archer AX21. There’s additionally the TP-Hyperlink Deco W7200, which cruised by way of my velocity exams to earn a spot as my top-rated mesh router of the yr. With a number of units working like a workforce of routers to unfold a quicker, extra dependable sign throughout a bigger space than a single router can, it is a incredible choose for big properties — and one that will not set you again very a lot.

Learn extra Ry Crist/CNET Like
Glorious speeds, low latency, terrific vary

Complete gaming and community customization options through Asus Router app

Optionally available improve to a multi-gig Ethernet jack
Do not like
“Sensible Join” band steering does not carry out nicely in small properties (however you possibly can flip it off)

Wi-Fi normal Wi-Fi 6Speed Ranking AX5700Range As much as 2,500 sq. ft.Wi-fi Networking Safety WPA3Bands Twin-Band (2.4 and 5GHz)

Asus is likely one of the prime names within the gaming router class, boasting the perfect number of quick, flashy routers that promise elite efficiency, low latency, and superior controls in your connection. The Asus RT-AX86U is definitely one of many extra understated routers in that blend — it does not embody color-changing lights or an oversize, ostentatious design — nevertheless it’s nonetheless top-of-the-line gaming routers you should buy. Gaming apart, it is top-of-the-line Wi-Fi 6 routers you should buy, interval.

Learn extra Ry Crist/CNET Like
Dependable, constant speeds

Glorious worth

Higher efficiency on high-speed, gigabit networks than different entry-level Wi-Fi 6 routers
Do not like
Barely increased latency than comparable AX1800 routers

No USB jack

Pace Ranking AX1800Range As much as 1,500 sq. ft.

Gigabit web speeds are rising in availability from a large variety of main ISPs, and so they’re an excellent match with the quicker wi-fi switch charges of Wi-Fi 6. Should you’ve made the improve to gigabit web speeds at residence, then you definitely’ll positively desire a Wi-Fi 6 router that may take full benefit of it.

Learn extra Ry Crist/CNET Like
A constant prime finisher throughout a number of years of velocity exams

Multi-gig Ethernet jack helps the quickest web speeds out there in the present day
Do not like
Costly and infrequently on sale, regardless of being just a few years outdated

Wi-Fi Normal Wi-Fi 6Speed Ranking AX6000Range As much as 5,000 sq. ft.Wi-fi Networking Safety WPA, WPA2Bands Tri-Band (2.4 and two 5GHz)

Keep in mind how I discussed that the TP-Hyperlink Deco W7200 outperformed each different mesh router I’ve ever examined aside from one? Nicely, here is the one which beat it — the AX6000 model of the Netgear Orbi mesh system.

Learn extra Ry Crist/CNET Like
Sturdy efficiency and speeds, with assist for 160MHz channel width

Constructed-in Zigbee radio and assist for Matter make it an excellent good residence choose
Do not like
Barely inconsistent bandsteering in small properties

Wi-Fi Normal Wi-Fi 6Speed Ranking AX3000Range As much as 1,500 sq. ft.Wi-fi Networking Safety WPA2, WPA3Bands Twin-Band (2.4 and 5GHz)

Going with a mesh router makes a ton of sense for those who stay in a big, multi-story residence with loads of area to cowl. In circumstances like that, it is price it to prioritize getting a system with greater than two units within the mesh — and Amazon’s Eero 6 Plus will get you there for $300, full with full assist for Wi-Fi 6.

Learn extra Ry Crist/CNET Like
A dual-band mesh router that performs extra like a tri-band mannequin

Compact, nice-looking design
Do not like
Barely costly at full worth

Wi-Fi Normal Wi-Fi 6Speed Ranking AX5400Range As much as 2,700 sq. ft.Wi-fi Networking Safety WPA, WPA2Bands Twin-Band (2.4 and 5GHz)

It was a bit too expensive for me to suggest when it launched at $380 for a two-piece setup, however I’ve seen the Asus ZenWifi XD6 marked right down to $300 at a number of retailers in current weeks, which makes it a significantly better worth.

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How we check Wi-Fi 6 routers

At any time when I take a router into consideration, I put it by way of the identical set of complete, managed velocity exams to get an excellent sense of the way it performs in comparison with different fashions. All through the pandemic, I have been operating these exams out of my 1,300 square-foot residence in Louisville, Kentucky, however final yr, we have had been capable of transfer these exams again into the CNET Dwelling check lab, the place we have arrange a 1,350 sq. ft. check atmosphere with a gigabit fiber connection.

There are 5 rooms in that check area, so after setting the router up within the first of them, I run a battery of velocity exams in all of them to get a way of the typical speeds at numerous ranges. For every set of exams, I begin in the identical room because the router with my check machine, a Lenovo ThinkPad Wi-Fi 6 laptop computer. I connect with the router’s community, then I run three velocity exams and document the outcomes for add velocity, obtain velocity and latency. Then I transfer to the subsequent room and repeat.

As soon as I’ve completed within the fifth room, which is farthest from the router, I restart my connection and repeat all of these exams in reverse room order. This strategy provides me an excellent sense at how the router’s efficiency differs when the connection begins up shut versus when it begins at a distance, as this could typically influence your speeds. I repeat this whole course of thrice, throughout morning, afternoon, and night hours. I will sometimes additionally run devoted check runs to test the speeds on particular person bands, or if the router affords any distinctive efficiency settings. All informed, it provides as much as tons of of velocity exams and a number of days of labor for every router I assessment.

Which Wi-Fi 6 router is correct for me?

There are three principal issues to think about first as you are dialing in on a brand new router: the velocity of your own home’s web plan, the scale of your own home, and the variety of Wi-Fi units beneath your roof that want a dependable connection. Should you’re residing in a small- to medium-sized residence with web speeds of 500Mbps or much less, and also you simply want a dependable sign in your telephone, laptop computer and streaming machine, then a easy choose just like the TP-Hyperlink Archer AX21 or the Netgear R6700AX ought to provide loads of bandwidth and vary to fit your wants. The 2 are largely indistinguishable except your own home has a high-speed connection, and the AX21 sometimes prices rather less, so I might suggest beginning there.

Should you’ve acquired a home stuffed with good residence units, or a number of members of the family who every make common use of your Wi-Fi with quite a lot of devices, or for those who’ve simply upgraded your web plan so as to add in gigabit speeds, it’s best to most likely contemplate a router with higher bandwidth potential. The tried-and-true Asus RT-AX86U is the one I might most likely suggest first as a result of it has been a daily standout by way of a number of rounds of CNET exams, together with full rounds of exams on three separate networks at three separate areas.

Nonetheless, for those who’re residing in a bigger residence, particularly a multistory residence, then it is price contemplating stepping as much as a mesh router just like the Eero 6 Plus, the Asus ZenWifi XD6, or the TP-Hyperlink Deco W7200, as a result of these a number of mesh units will assist guarantee a greater, extra dependable sign all through everything of your own home. You can additionally contemplate splurging on a mesh powerhouse just like the Netgear Orbi AX6000, however at a price of a number of hundred {dollars}, it is most likely overkill for many properties.

Wi-Fi 6 router FAQs

Should you’ve acquired questions in regards to the ins and outs of Wi-Fi 6, make sure to take a look at my full explainer on the usual and what makes it higher than the Wi-Fi of yore. It’s also possible to attain me by trying me up on Twitter (@rycrist) or by clicking the little envelope icon on my CNET profile web page to ship a message straight to my inbox. Within the meantime, I will submit solutions to any generally requested questions beneath. 

What makes Wi-Fi 6 higher than earlier than?

Wi-Fi 6 consists of assist for brand spanking new Wi-Fi options that assist units cross information forwards and backwards quicker and extra effectively. One of many key upgrades is 1024-QAM, which stands for quadrature amplitude modulation, or the trick your router makes use of to ship radio waves that different units can learn as a collection of ones and zeroes — the binary code that makes up all the pieces you see, learn and expertise on-line. 1024-QAM permits your router to ship out 10 digits of binary code with every transmission, in comparison with eight digits of binary from Wi-Fi 5 routers that use 256-QAM. That is one of many key the reason why Wi-Fi 6 affords prime speeds which are roughly 30% quicker than earlier than.

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Are Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E the identical factor?

Will older units nonetheless work with a Wi-Fi 6 router?

Sure — Wi-Fi 6 is totally backward appropriate, so earlier-gen Wi-Fi units will nonetheless be capable of connect with them and get on-line. They only will not be capable of reap the benefits of the brand new Wi-Fi 6 options that velocity issues up for current-gen units.

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