The Mercusys Halo H80X took its place in our selection in the Wifi 6 mesh network category. In the news, Google is making headlines by unveiling a new Wifi 6E router, the Nest Wi-Fi Pro. It will be available for sale at the end of the month.
1. Asus RT-AC88U: 8 gigabit Ethernet ports and performance
The RT-AC88U router has everything you would expect from such a product, but it comes at a high price. If you have the budget, this is the router to choose. Not only is it the latest dual-band router from Asus, but it’s also the best that the manufacturer has offered so far. It is the first home router to have 8 Gigabit LAN ports that are Dual WAN compatible (one of the LAN ports can be converted into a WAN port) and which can be aggregated (combine two ports to create a super fast connection).
2. Synology RT2600ac: the most complete with NAS option
If you need to create a high-performance, highly customizable home network, the RT2600ac is probably the router for you. Indeed, the RT2600 is not only one of the fastest Wi-Fi routers on the market, but it is also the one that offers the most comprehensive range of features. And if you connect it to an external hard drive, it can turn into a network storage server (NAS) to share data and distribute content to local or remote terminals. A solution to create a reliable, uncompromising and secure home network.
3. NETGEAR R6120-100PES: budget-friendly 802.11ac
The NETGEAR AC1200 Dual Band WiFi Router delivers AC WiFi speed three times faster than older WiFi standards. Compatible with next-generation Wi-Fi devices, this router also provides backward compatibility with 802.11 a/b/g/n devices.
4. TP-Link Archer MR600 / Deco X20-4G: 4G at home
WiFi 6 Mesh Routers & Networking
Hardware compatible with Wifi 6 is starting to timidly point the tip of its nose, but is this really an advantage for the user? The tests carried out clearly show a performance gain, but this will not be useful for the Internet with current speeds. Even within the framework of a local area network, the hardware that sends and receives the data must be powerful enough to support such transfer rates and increase the mbps. A selection for insiders who buy knowingly.
The Archer AX6000 router displays a design that does not leave anyone indifferent but its advantages are hidden inside, it allows you to take full advantage of very high speed connections even wirelessly thanks to Wifi 6 and optimized network coverage with its 8 external high gain antennas.
NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12 Wi-Fi 6
The stream Nighthawk AX6000 WiFi 12 Router is powered by the industry’s latest 802.11ax WiFi standard, with 4x the data capacity to handle the growing home network, today and tomorrow.
The Orbi RBK352 Mesh Wi-Fi does exactly what is expected of it: it puts Wi-Fi 6 within reach of modest budgets, without offering an overly degraded experience. It’s even rather the opposite, apart from the slightly capricious application, and the loss of flow at mid-distance, it’s almost faultless for a very attractive product. Easy to install, the speeds and range measured are higher than what a simple Wifi 5 operator box can offer.
Easy to set up and easy to use, the Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) offers a far greater degree of customization than is typically found on mesh routers. It performed very well in real-world conditions, maintaining high speeds in all corners of our habitat without losing signal. The ZenWiFi AX offers the best possible value for a high-end Wi-Fi 6 mesh router.
The Orbi 6 is proof that mesh networking and Wi-Fi 6 are a great mix. When the router and its satellite are able to take full advantage of Wi-Fi 6 speeds and features to transmit data back and forth, everyone benefits, including faster remote connections.
The Deco X90 is currently the most powerful WiFi 6 Mesh offered by TP-Link with a gargantuan speed of 6600 Mbps. It is also capable of managing nearly 200 devices, making it the perfect choice for a home focused on home automation.
The eero 6+ system is a set of devices that can cover, thanks to the mesh or mesh system, large enough surfaces to distribute WiFi more optimally than a single router. This “Plus” version supports 160 MHz client devices for increased connection speed and performed well in our tests. Wifi 6 compatible, it is also a fairly affordable system in terms of pricing even with 3 elements.
The eero Pro 6 comes in several versions. Alone, it acts as a Wifi 6 router and can cover up to 190 m². By combining it with two additional devices the trio becomes a powerful mesh system covering up to 560m² and offering good faster WiFi coverage for more than 75 devices simultaneously. It incorporates a Zigbee connected Hub to link small compatible connected devices in the home via its Alexa network.
The Halo H80X AX3000 from the Mercusys brand is a WiFi mesh system that includes 3 devices, one of which recovers the connection to the modem or operator box to then relay to the 2 other modules placed in the house. Each device is identical and relays via 2.4 Ghz Wifi up to 574 Mbps or via 5 Ghz Wifi up to 2402 Mbps. They also each have 4 Ethernet ports to connect devices to connect.
WiFi 5 Mesh Routers & Networking
When you’re having trouble with your current box or router due to thick walls, an extended surface or multi-storey dwelling, buying a better WiFi router may not be enough. You then have the option of turning to wireless devices to extend the network and gain a few mbps.
The first reflex will be to think of the repeater, that is to say a device that will recover the flow of your existing Wifi network to try to extend it. This type of solution may be effective for limited surfaces, but cannot work miracles: it will strengthen the signal, but will lose bandwidth.
- Find out more: how to choose the right WiFi repeater
For some time now, manufacturers have been offering more interesting options than simple repeaters: setting up a wireless mesh network (“Wifi mesh” in English). These are repeaters which also have the function of a router and which will allow you to create a more powerful Wifi network by creating a new network. The main device will relay its signal through one or more satellites strategically placed in the house via Wifi, Powerline or even Ethernet. The best solution for spreading Wifi everywhere in a home.
The Deco M9 Plus solution from TP-Link is the brand’s most advanced mesh Wifi 5 system, it can cover up to 600m2 of surface, promises speeds compatible with Gigabit fiber and offers advanced features such as an integrated antivirus. or a home automation hub.
Amazon’s Eero Mesh Router promises to perfect your home’s Wi-Fi coverage by extending it to every corner with access points in multiple locations.
Google Nest Wifi a great mesh router with impressive top speeds, easy features, Nest Wifi points that extend range double as smart speakers with the Google Assistant
Powerline + Wi-Fi hybrid mesh network
In the family of solutions for mesh networks, there is a category a little apart, that of routers with satellites which combine Wifi and PLC, that is to say the carrier current in line. This technology uses the electrical network to transmit network data. The modules then broadcast WiFi throughout the house.
This solution will be preferred by users who have a house or an apartment with a wall arrangement that hinders the propagation of the Wifi signal. These can be long homes with lots of obstructions or houses with thick walls that block the signal.
The TP-Link Deco P9 is a hybrid system that mixes PLC and Wifi to use the electrical network to broadcast the connection between its various modules which then relay the internet connection via Wifi or Ethernet ports. It is a good solution for broadcasting a broadband or fiber connection in houses with thick walls.
The Devolo Magic 2 WiFi 6 Mesh boxes allow you to extend or broadcast the network in homes with large areas. The combination of PLC which uses the electrical network and WiFi is an interesting solution for homes with large surfaces or with thick walls. Configuration and management via the application offer the possibility of setting up the system in a simple way even with several additional boxes.
A FAQ to help you choose
Today all operators offer their own boxes and that is enough for the majority of us. But for some this is still not enough, whether in terms of bandwidth or network range. Router manufacturers offer machines with different performance and capacities.
Gamers, for example, will want a router that matches their hardware and the connection speed required for resource- and bandwidth-intensive games. Those who can’t wire their desktop PC will find devices here that will improve their wireless connection speed without having to run a cable.
Another category of users who do not necessarily need power will seek another advantage, this is the case of Internet users who have a house that is too big or too high to allow the Wifi signal from the operator boxes to spread. For these, you will have to aim for the routers with the best range or invest in multi-element routers that will extend the network using satellites.
Whatever your needs, here is a selection of routers that we have been able to test and which could suit your needs. It is difficult to establish a ranking so much the score awarded will depend on the uses, on what is expected when choosing an alternative router, but also on the budget to be allocated to this purchase. Do not hesitate to take the time to consult the tests by clicking on the thumbnails.
Which WiFi standard to choose?
The most widespread Wifi standard at present is the 802.11n standard, it has backward compatibility, that is, an old device with the 802.11g standard (or a letter preceding n in the alphabet) will be able to connect to it. However, it will not benefit from the speeds offered by the 802.11n standard or those above. The 802.11n standard used by a router with a Wifi adapter using the same standard makes it possible to reach speeds of 450 to 600 Mbps depending on the frequency of the Wifi channel used 2.4 or 5 Ghz. It may also be interesting to turn to an even more recent standard, 802.11ac or “Wifi 5” (up to 1300 Mbps) which uses the 5 GHz band. 802.11ax or Wifi 6 is also even more recent and will become more popular in 2020.
What are the 2.4 and 5 Ghz frequencies?
This mention completes the characteristics of the routers in addition to the standard, but also confuses potential buyers in their understanding of the functionalities. All routers can broadcast on the 2.4Ghz band but many now offer to broadcast on both bands and/or to choose between one or the other. The Wifi receiver must also be able to communicate on these two bands. When this is the case, we will obtain better speeds on the 5ghz band but the 2.4 Ghz band will offer better range and better penetration if your house is large or has obstacles.
What security options?
Just like your box, your router is a potential entry point to your Internet network. So do not neglect this purchase and position yourself on alternatives that are not trustworthy, because you must be able to count on a minimum of security and confidentiality in your home. The most scrupulous manufacturers offer naturally secure solutions. Several options could also be of interest to you in the context of your uses: presence of a scheduler to turn WiFi off or on, parental control solutions, etc.
Do you need Ethernet ports?
The presence of several Ethernet ports is decisive when you want to be able to connect devices and benefit from optimal speed, in particular for playing online, working or watching videos in 4K. You generally have to put a higher price if you need many Ethernet ports, but it is also possible to complete your purchase with an Ethernet switch which will allow you to multiply the ports in a simple way.