Best Wi-Fi 6 mesh routers 2023

Two TP-Link Deco XE75 units on the table close-up
(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Cenral)

The best Wi-Fi 6 mesh routers take whole-home wireless speeds to the next level. Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) has allowed mesh systems to deliver full gigabit speeds quickly throughout a large house by getting even more performance out of the available spectrum. While Wi-Fi 6E has added more capacity and Wi-Fi 7 is on the horizon, Wi-Fi 6 is still the best choice for most people thanks to its tumbling prices and more than quick enough speeds for most homes.

Wi-Fi 6 has allowed even compact routers to keep up with the best of the last generation with support for multi-gig internet connections on some higher-end models. With more phones than ever including Wi-Fi 6 support, and families asking more of their internet connections than ever, it's an excellent time to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6.

What are the best Wi-Fi 6 mesh routers?

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With so many ultra-fast Wi-Fi 6 routers available, it's easy to overbuy. The fact of the matter is, most people don't need a ton of extra speed. The TP-Link Deco X55 hits the sweet spot with its AX3000 connection and three nodes in the box. This Deco also supports 160MHz connections unlike older models so your devices can make the most of the 5GHz connection. For most people, an AX3000 mesh router is the sweet spot with enough capacity to keep up with a gigabit connection, even when connected to a remote node.

It can be easy to get distracted by big numbers and marketing when it comes to picking a mesh but the fact is, many people simply don't have a need for an ultra-fast gigabit connection. A compact AX1800 mesh system like the ASUS ZenWiFi XD4 is a great fit for many families on internet connections around 500Mbps or slower. ASUS includes parental controls, malicious site blocking, and AiMesh which makes mesh expansion with nearly any modern ASUS router.

The TP-Link Deco X90 is a very fast AX6600 tri-band mesh system that's a great pick for those working from home or for a home with a large family. Its 2.5Gbps Ethernet port makes it a good choice for those with access to multi-gig internet connections which are becoming more common, both from fiber providers like AT&T and even cable providers like Xfinity.

Speed on with these Wi-Fi mesh 6 routers

TP-Link Deco X55 mesh router on a table in living room

(Image credit: TP-Link)
The best Wi-Fi 6 mesh router overall

Reasons to buy

+
Three Ethernet ports per node
+
Solid AX3000 connection is plenty for most people
+
HomeShield parental controls are a nice bonus
+
Compatilbity with older Decos makes expansion cheap and easy

Reasons to avoid

-
Dual-band connection means devices must share the 5GHz connecion
-
A subscription is required to unlock the full HomeShield featureset
  • Top speeds: Dual-band AX3000, 2402Mbps @ 5GHz, 574Mbps @ 2.4GHz
  • Top features: 6,500 sq ft. coverage, 3x Ethernet ports per node, 160MHz support, easy setup

TP-Link's Deco mesh systems are some of the most affordable options available with solid speeds, a good app, and great coverage. The Deco X55 is a compact mesh system that has a lot in common with the older Deco X60 with an AX3000 dual-band connection, but there are some worthwhile updates that make the newer model a better pick. First and foremost, the Deco X55 supports 160MHz connections compared to 80MHz on the X60. This allows for a faster connection on supported devices like the high-end Galaxy S22 and PCs.

Around the back, there's another upgrade with three gigabit Ethernet ports on each node. This makes it easier to keep wired devices online if you're upgrading from an older network switch. It also allows you to place your node in proximity to a home office or entertainment center so you can use a more reliable wired connection to that device.

The nodes in this kit also have a nice design with matte-white housing that's easy to blend in with just bout any room's décor. This allows users to place the node more optimally in a room rather than trying to hide it.

TP-Link's mesh systems are set up with the Deco app which is easy to use and guides you through getting set up in just a few minutes. You will need to use this app to get set up, so make sure to download it before disconnecting from your old router. TP-Link has included its robust HomeShield package which comes with parental controls and a basic QoS. You can also upgrade it with a subscription to add real-time protection and a few extra parental control features.  

Bottom line: The TP-Link Deco X55 is a dual-band AX3000 mesh kit with three nodes offering up to 6,500 square feet of coverage. The connection has plenty of speed for most families with 2,402Mbps on the 5GHz band and full access to it thanks to a 160MHz connection.

ASUS ZenWiFi XD4 AX1800 mesh router on table

(Image credit: ASUS)

ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4)

The best value Wi-Fi 6 mesh router

Reasons to buy

+
Compact block-like nodes blend in easily
+
Solid AX1800 speeds are enough for most homes
+
AiProtection with parental controls included
+
Easy expansion with most other ASUS routers

Reasons to avoid

-
AX1800 speeds aren't much faster than Wi-Fi 5
-
Only one Ethernet port for a wired device
  • Top speeds: Dual-band AX1800, 1200Mbps @ 5GHz, 600Mbps @ 2.4GHz
  • Top features: 4,800 sq ft. coverage (3 nodes), 1 open Ethernet port per node, easy app setup, Compact nodes, AiProtection, AiMesh

When I ask people what they want out of a router, most of them don't mention a speed test at all. Realistically, most of the things we do online apart from large downloads rarely need more than 100Mbps to feel responsive and fast. The ASUS ZenWiFi XD4 is a compact mesh system with an AX1800 wireless connection on each node and ASUSWRT software under the hood.

Starting with the hardware, the aX1800 dual-band wireless connection offers speeds up to 1,200Mbps on the 5GHz band and around 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. Wi-Fi 6 devices will be able to connect to the router with a link speed of 1,200Mbps though internet speeds will more often than not be around half of that at best. This is due to dual-band mesh systems needing to share the 5GHz band between devices and linking the mesh nodes. Still, this is plenty of speed for most people and users should have no trouble streaming 4K video or browsing through social media.

On the software front, ASUS stands out with ASUSWRT and AiProtection. ASUSWRT is the operating system used on ASUS routers and it allows for not only easy app-based management but advanced settings if you access your mesh through your web browser. It's nice that these settings are available for those that want them and sufficiently concealed for those that prefer simplicity. AiProtection Classic is included with some security enhancements powered by Trend Micro. You get malicious site blocking, infected device blocking, and advanced parental controls.

When it comes time to expand your mesh or upgrade your Wi-Fi system, there's a good chance your ASUS system will be more than just e-waste. AiMesh allows you to expand your mesh with most other ASUS routers. You could either use your XD4 nodes to expand a new system or add capacity to your mesh with a new router or ZenWiFi system, whichever core is faster.

Bottom line: If you're looking for an affordable way to cover a large home, the ASUS ZenWiFi XD4 is a strong pick with plenty of speed for most people. The nodes are compact so it's easy to place them in the ideal location for Wi-Fi. You can even get them with wood grain if you prefer the natural look.

TP-Link Deco X90 nodes in front of a Casio electric guitar

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)
The best Wi-Fi 6 upgrade

Reasons to buy

+
Fast AX6600 Wi-Fi 6 speeds
+
2.5Gbps Ethernet on each node
+
Great coverage
+
HomeShield parental controls and security

Reasons to avoid

-
Large nodes
-
Only two Ethernet ports per node total
  • Top speeds: Tri-band AX6600, 4804Mbps + 1201Mbps @ 5GHz, 574Mbps @ 2.4GHz.
  • Top features: 6,000 sq ft. coverage, 1x Gigabit Ethernet port + 1x 2.5Gbps Ethernet per node, Easy app setup, HomeShield security and parental controls included

The TP-Link Deco X90 is a very fast mesh Wi-Fi router with an AX6600 tri-band connection. The speeds break down to 4804Mbps on one 5GHz band and 1201Mbps on the other. The 2.4GHz band offers an additional 574Mbps for older devices or those that need a little more range. Four antennas provide dedicated coverage, with two more connected to other Decos. With eight streams, each Deco X90 node has plenty of power for just about anything.

A Deco X90 set with two nodes covers up to 6,000 square feet. TP-Link's AI-Driven Mesh uses the router's software to provide the best coverage possible, depending on the specific challenge of your home. Still, if you find you need more coverage, the Deco X90 can be expanded with any other Deco router. This means you can use more X90 nodes, other Wi-Fi 6 Decos, or even older Wi-Fi 5 Decos.

The Deco X90 nodes are rather tall at 8.3 inches, so you'll need to think a little more about how you place them. With a matte white housing, the X90 nodes don't stand out too much and really wouldn't look bad if left visible. Keep in mind that each node only has two Ethernet ports. One is used for an internet connection. So if you have many wired devices, you may need to pair this system with a switch.

The Deco system is easy to set up with the Deco app and only takes a few minutes. HomeShield is included with this system and incorporates parental controls and some security features. While there is a paid tier, most people will have everything they need with the free version, including content filters, profiles, and schedules.

Bottom line: The TP-Link Deco X90 is one of the fastest mesh systems around, with great coverage and a fast mesh link thanks to a tri-band connection. It covers up to 6,000 square feet out of the box and can be expanded with any other Deco router.

eero 6+ routers front and back

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)
The best compact 160MHz-capable mesh router

Reasons to buy

+
Fast AX3000 connection with 160MHz support
+
Great eero app and software
+
Compact design
+
Works with all other eeros

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't work in 160MHz mode with older eeros
  • Top speeds: Dual-band AX2000, 2402Mbps @ 5GHz, 574Mbps @ 2.4GHz
  • Top features: 1,500 sq ft. coverage, 2x (1 for WAN) Ethernet ports, great software with eero Plus, easy mesh expansion

Some specifications, like AX3000, don't tell the whole story when it comes to actual Wi-Fi speeds. This is thanks to additional factors such as MU-MIMO, spatial streams, and antenna configuration. What separates the eero 6+ from the standard eero 6 isn't just a bump in speed but a wider 160MHz band at 5GHz. This doubles the 5GHz band to 2402Mbps with 160MHz devices like the newest Galaxy S22 series of phones. It also means that the eero 6+ nodes will have a faster connection to each other for better overall mesh performance. 

Even with the faster speeds, the Eero 6+ is one of the smallest routers you can get with this kind of speed. Eero 6+ comes in at just 3.8 inches wide and 3.9 inches deep. Of course, this router is designed to sit flat on a table or shelf, so expect to dedicate a bit of space to it. Still, compared to many other similar routers, eero 6+ is remarkably compact.

Mesh expansion is easy on eero, with the company maintaining compatibility with all other eeros. One issue we noticed in our eero 6+ review with expansion is that the connection will need to operate in a slower 80MHz mode when used with older devices like the eero 6 series. This could also be a factor when adding eero built-in devices like the Echo Dot to your mesh.

Eero's setup and management app are robust, so people want almost any option, including port forwarding and IPv6 support. Eeros will also automatically update themselves to make sure your network is secure. There is an optional eero Plus subscription available that can add advanced filtering for inappropriate content, as well as antivirus software, a VPN service, and a password manager.

Bottom line: Eero 6+ brings excellent speed at an affordable price for connections up to 1Gbps. The simple and powerful eero app lets you add this router to your existing eero mesh or start a new one.

Asus ZenWiFi ET8 front and side views on table

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8)

The best Wi-Fi 6 mesh router for home network security

Reasons to buy

+
2.5Gbps WAN port is excellent for a fast NAS
+
Fast speeds
+
Tri-band setup
+
Up to 5,500 square feet of coverage
+
Tons of expansion with other Asus routers

Reasons to avoid

-
Three LAN Ethernet ports limit wired devices
  • Top speeds: Tri-band, 1201Mbps + 4804Mbps @ 5Ghz, 574Mbps @ 2.4Ghz
  • Top features: 5,000 sq ft. coverage, 3x + 2x Ethernet ports, dedicated 5Ghz backhaul, easy setup

Asus was one of the first networking companies to commit to mesh networking with its robust AiMesh software that works on most routers regardless of whether they were explicitly designed for a mesh. Asus has repeatedly proven its abilities with the ZenWiFi XT8, which features a sleek and reasonably compact design with incredible capabilities. The routers come in white or charcoal colors and have three available Ethernet ports on the back of each.

The ZenWiFi XT8 is capable of wireless speeds up to AX6600 with a tri-band setup. That is 574Mbps at 2.4GHz and 1201Mbps and 4804Mbps on its two 5GHz bands. While most connections today max out at 1Gbps, the ZenWifi is ready for the future with a 2.5Gbps input for faster internet speeds or, more realistically, a fast wired home network.

If you want to expand your mesh, you'll need an Asus router that supports AiMesh and will be best served by a tri-band Wi-Fi 6-capable router. The ZenWiFi XT8 can cover up to 5,500 square feet, so most homes should be covered. Still, it's nice that you can use an older Asus router as an expansion in low-priority areas.

AiProtection Pro is an unmatched value in home networking. AiProtection Pro is included for the product's life and comes with network security using Trend Micro's official database. It also has advanced parental controls that allow you to control all of your kids' devices with schedules and content filters.

Bottom line: Asus has created one of the best fast tri-band mesh systems and takes it to the next level with good compatibility and included software. AiMesh software allows any AiMesh router to expand the mesh, and free AiProtection Pro adds network security and advanced parental controls.

A man plugs in an eero pro 6

(Image credit: Eero)

Amazon eero Pro 6

The best Wi-Fi 6 mesh router for easy expansion

Reasons to buy

+
Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 allows for gigabit internet
+
Great eero app and software
+
Works with all other eeros
+
Compact size

Reasons to avoid

-
Coverage per node is less than the competition
-
Only two Ethernet ports per eero
  • Top speeds: Tri-band AX4200, 2402Mbps + 1201Mbps @ 5GHz, 574Mbps @ 2.4GHz
  • Top features: 2,000 sq ft. coverage, 2x Ethernet ports, Expand with any other eero, compact design, eero Secure available

More people than ever are upgrading to gigabit internet. Unfortunately, getting a mesh system fast enough to support it usually means you'll have to find space for a reasonably large node in several rooms of your house. Eero Pro 6 goes a long way to fix this with its tri-band AX4200 speed in a compact 2.1-inch tall and 5.3-inch wide housing. The rates break down to 2,402 Mbps and 1,201 Mbps on either of the 5GHz bands, with 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. With eight spatial streams, even high-end laptops should be able to make the most of the connection.

Each eero Pro 6 node can cover up to 2,000 square feet, with the three-pack covering 6,000. Like all wireless routers, this can vary greatly if your home has a lot of interference, like dense walls. Still, with three less powerful nodes, eero's approach with the Pro 6 should allow for a lot of flexibility in the mesh setup. If you have any older eeros, you can use them to expand your eero Pro 6 mesh, thanks to full compatibility with all eero routers. This includes eero built-in devices such as the Amazon Echo Dot.  Keep in mind that in areas where you connect to the slower eeros, your speed will only be as fast as those older eeros.

Software isn't the first thing most people think of when shopping for a router, but eero's app and consistent software updates have shown how convenient it can be to have a wealth of settings and network statistics at your fingertips. The UI is well-designed, and setup is a breeze, whether you're setting up for the first time or adding more nodes. Eero supports some nice features like IPv6, WPA3, and even port forwarding from the app.

Eero secure is a subscription software suite available on eero systems. The base eero Secure subscription has improved network security, parental controls with content filtering, ad blocking, and even VIP support. For a low monthly rate, this is an excellent package to have, especially if you have students on your network. Eero Secure+ adds antivirus software, a password manager, and a VPN subscription to that for a bit more.

Bottom line: Eero's fastest router ever enables gigabit mesh speeds thanks to a quick tri-band AX4200 setup. With compact housing and compatibility with all other eeros, this is easy to upgrade an existing eero mesh or create a new one.

TP-Link Deco XE75 front and top on table

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Cenral)
The best value Wi-Fi 6E mesh router

Reasons to buy

+
Solid AXE5400 tri-band speeds
+
Up to 5,500 square feet of coverage with two nodes
+
Easy to conceal
+
Supports 160MHz at both 5GHz and 6GHz

Reasons to avoid

-
No multi-gigabit Ethernet
  • Top speeds: Tri-band AXE5400, 2402Mbps @5GHz, 2402Mbps @6GHz, 574Mbps @2.4GHz
  • Top features: 5,500 sq ft. coverage, 3x Ethernet ports per router, Works with all other Deco models, easy setup, Wi-Fi 6E, 160MHz support

Wi-Fi 6E is the newest version of Wi-Fi you can get and with the promise of improved speeds on compatible devices over Wi-Fi 6, you might expect the tech to be very expensive. TP-Link has broken the mold with the Deco XE75 Wi-Fi 6E mesh kit at a lower price, even compared to Wi-Fi 6 kits, and plenty of wireless speed for those with a gigabit internet connection.

As we found in our Deco XE75 review, this mesh kit delivers some of the best WI-Fi speeds of any router, let alone one that costs less than some other standalone routers of similar speed. You get two nodes in the pack that TP-Link reckons will cover up to 5,500 square feet. You can pair this system with more of the same node or even older Decos but for the best performance, you'll want a WI-Fi 6E-enable Deco if possible.

TP-Link's software is much simple with the likes of ASUS putting it to shame when it comes to advanced settings. Even so, most people won't find the lack of choice to be a serious issue and TP-Link does at least allow you to choose whether you use the 6GHz band as a dedicated backhaul or shared with devices. Being able to isolate the 6GHz band is also convenient in that you can be sure your device connects to 6GHz rather than 5GHz. This was a problem in our eero Pro 6E review, but TP-Link has sidestepped the issue by simply letting the customer choose.

Bottom line: The TP-Link Deco XE75 is one of the most cheapest Wi-Fi 6E systems you can get and TP-Link hasn't made many sacrifices to hit that price. While it lacks in advanced settings, you still have enough options to get connected at 5GHz or 6GHz if you have a compatible device.

Asus ZenWiFi ET8 on a table near some Android phones

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)
The best Wi-Fi 6E mesh router

Reasons to buy

+
Fast tri-band AX6600 speeds
+
Compact nodes
+
2.5Gbps Ethernet WAN/LAN on each node

Reasons to avoid

-
Not many devices support 6GHz yet
-
Slower 5GHz band
  • Top speeds: Tri-band AXE6600, 574Mbps @ 2.4GHz, 1201Mbps @ 5GHz, and 4804Mbps @ 6GHz
  • Top features: Single or multiple Wi-Fi names, 3x gigabit Ethernet ports, 1x 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, USB 3.1 port, easy setup

The ZenWiFi ET8 from Asus is a compact tri-band mesh Wi-Fi kit with Wi-Fi 6E support. The speeds break down to 574Mbps at 2.4GHz for legacy devices, 1201Mbps at 5GHz for most Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 devices, plus 4804Mbps at 6GHz for newer devices. On the back are three gigabit Ethernet ports for LAN devices and a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port that can be used for WAN or LAN. There is also a USB 3.1 port that can be used for network storage or even a phone for tethering.

Wi-Fi 6E is an evolution of Wi-Fi 6 with faster speeds and great capacity available at 6GHz. There are many more channels with 160MHz support available in this new spectrum which can significantly reduce the effects of congestion. Still, only a handful of devices support Wi-Fi 6E, such as the Asus Zenfone 8, so it's not a great fit for everyone just yet.

Asus makes setup easy with a robust app and an in-depth web interface. Compared to other mesh systems, Asus gives customers a lot more access to advanced controls. For example, AiProtection is included with great parental controls and security for free. Asus also allows you to use any other AiMesh-compatible routers, including older ZenWiFi kits or another ET8 kit.

If you like these features but want even more speed, the ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is another strong pick. As I saw in my ZenWiFi Pro ET12 review, the price is quite a bit higher than the ET8 but you get faster AX11000 speeds for your money and a unique high-end design.

Bottom line: The ZenWiFi ET8 is one of the first mesh Wi-Fi 6E routers available, and it's an excellent fit for many people. With a tri-band connection, it works great with both newer 6GHz devices and 5GHz devices.

Ubiquiti Alien with green underglow and an LCD

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)
The best Wi-Fi 6 mesh router for remote work

Reasons to buy

+
Attractive design with a color display
+
Fast tri-band Wi-Fi
+
Easy configuration with AmpliFi app

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
  • Top speeds: Tri-band, 7685Mbps total capacity, 1148Mbps + 4804Mbps @ 5GHz
  • Top features: 3,000 sq ft. coverage, 4x Ethernet ports, AmpliFi Teleport app, easy setup, attractive design

AmpliFi Alien is a faster router with a ton of great features. A 5GHz band utilizing Wi-Fi 5 in addition to a 2.4GHz and 5GHz band using Wi-Fi 6 allows the Alien to hit 7,685Mbps, of combined wireless capacity. For Wi-Fi 6 clients, this breaks down into 1,148Mbps and 4,804Mbps available. It's more than enough speed for a gigabit connection and should be sufficient for years to come.

A single Alien Router covers up to 3,000 square feet, and a pack with a similarly equipped MeshPoint takes that up to 6,000 square feet. The Alien Router has four Ethernet ports on the back for wired devices, while the MeshPoint has none. You can create a mesh with multiple routers if you need extra Ethernet ports.

AmpliFi Alien comes in a cylindrical housing measuring 9.84 inches tall with a 4.33-inch diameter. The power and WAN port are located on the bottom, allowing for a perfect wireless-only setup. The four Ethernet ports are located on the back, vertically oriented. On the front of the router is a 4.7-inch touchscreen that can show your network information in real time.

Setting up your AmpliFi mesh is simple with the AmpliFi app. You can manage connected devices and set up family profiles to enable time-managed internet access. You also get access to AmpliFi Teleport, which allows you to connect to your home network while you're away from home securely and quickly.

For the most part, gamers should be using a wired connection for competitive gaming, but that's not always possible. Luckily, the Wi-Fi 6 connection on this router is about as good a backup as you can ask for with two 5GHz bands, so you have plenty of capacity for all of your devices. Most Wi-Fi 6 devices, like the PS5, will only connect at 1,201Mbps, but high-end gaming PCs can connect at up to 2,402Mbps with a strong signal. This is more than enough for gaming, downloading, and streaming and is more than likely significantly faster than your internet connection anyways.

Netgear Orbi CBK752 DOCSIS 3.1 gateway and satellite

(Image credit: Samuel Contreras / Android Central)

Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 with DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem (CBK752)

The best Wi-Fi 6 mesh router with a built-in modem

Reasons to buy

+
Dedicate mesh backhaul
+
Fast DOCSIS 3.1 modem
+
Works with Orbi RBS750 and RBS850 satellites
+
Simplified network setup

Reasons to avoid

-
Rather large unit
  • Top speeds: Tri-band AX4200, 1400Mbps + 2400Mbps @ 5GHz, 600Mbps @ 2.4GHz
  • Top features: DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem, 5,000 sq ft. coverage, 4x + 2x Ethernet ports, dedicated 5Ghz backhaul, easy setup

If you have cable internet, your ISP probably tried to get you to pay an additional monthly fee for a router that doesn't deliver great performance. The Netgear Orbi CBK752 is a fast AX4200 Wi-Fi 6 mesh system with a DOCSIS 3.1 modem that can handle the fastest speeds a cable ISP can deliver, with a theoretical max download speed of 10Gbps. The router side offers a fast mesh connection similar to the Orbi RBK752 and even uses the same satellites. That means 600Mbps at 2.4GHz plus 1400Mbps at 5GHz for connected clients with a dedicated 2,400Mbps 5GHz backhaul.

This mesh system with a router and satellite covers 5,000 square feet though you can add additional satellites if more coverage is needed. An additional RBS750 satellite will add 2,500 square feet. The base router has four open Ethernet ports, and the satellite has two Ethernet ports. You could also use an RBS850 satellite for expansion, with four Ethernet ports.

Orbi routers are a bit tall and awkward, though their minimal depth makes them reasonably easy to place. The base router comes in at 9.6 inches tall, 7.7 inches wide, and 3.5 inches deep. The Satellite is more compact, 9.1 inches tall, 7.2 inches wide, and 2.8 inches deep.

The setup uses the Orbi app, allowing easy setup and management. For example, you can see all connected devices and restrict internet access. You can also see the quality of each satellite's connection to ensure you're getting as much speed as possible. You can also subscribe to Netgear Armor, which includes security features powered by BitDefender and additional device controls. The modem is compatible with all major US cable service providers, and you will need to contact your ISP to activate the modem for use.

Bottom line: Combine your cable modem and router and simplify your mesh network with the Netgear Orbi CBK752. A DOCSIS 3.1 modem can keep up with any cable connection, and an AX4200 Orbi router makes sure you have plenty of coverage for any size home.

The route to the best Wi-Fi 6 mesh router

Most people simply don't need much more than gigabit speeds on their home Wi-Fi networks. Luckily, even Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems are available for people that don't need a ton of speed but still want to take advantage of the other advancements. While some great Wi-Fi 6E routers are already available, including a couple of mesh systems, Wi-Fi 6 still makes the most sense right now for an upgrade thanks to great phone compatibility and lower prices.

Most of the best Android phones support Wi-Fi 6, and Wi-fi 6 can help you make the most of them with faster and more consistent speeds than Wi-Fi 5. Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems bring features like MU-MIMO and better handling of multiple connections to your whole home. Not many devices sold in the past couple of years support Wi-Fi 6, but many new phones support the protocol. Thankfully, all of these routers support older versions of Wi-Fi to maintain compatibility, with the added benefit of better connections between the base router and satellite units.

Is a mesh system right for your home?

What is a mesh router?

Mesh routers are just like any other Wi-Fi router except many of them have been designed to be more compact and a bit nicer to look at. This is because mesh routers need to be placed in multiple rooms of a house to work their best so they'll be in full view much of the time.

Even so, many standard routers such as the ASUS RT-AX82U can be used as a mesh router or with mesh routers to form a mesh.

How does a mesh router system work?

Mesh routers are much like standard Wi-Fi routers when it comes down to the hardware but they're designed to work in conjunction with other routers to create consistent coverage all over a house. In a mesh, these routers are often called nodes. By using either a wide 5GHz band or another separate band, mesh systems link together to find the best past back to the modem to provide as fast an internet connection as possible. This allows your devices to connect to a nearby mesh node rather than needing to reach all the way to your modem.

Should a mesh router be faster than a standalone router?

Yes, a mesh router will need to use a significant chunk of its overall capacity to link the mesh nodes. This usually works out to around half of your 5GHz Wi-Fi speed. Getting a system with a dedicate backhaul will offer the most consistent speeds since it will have an entire 5GHz band just for your devices.

If you're picking out a dual-band system, make sure the 5GHz bands can deliver at least double the internet speed your want to see on your devices. Tri-band systems are a bit more complicated but they have a few more options when it comes to configuration. Make sure the band that's dedicated to devices has plenty of speed for your needs. If it doesn't use a dedicated band, like the TP-Link Deco X90,  stick to the same rule as dual-band systems and make sure you have around twice the speed you need on your devices.

If you have an internet connection under 500Mbps or so, an AX1800 kit with a 1201Mbps 5GHz band should have most of the speed you need but still may struggle to achieve 500Mbps in congested areas. This is one of the reasons we have chosen a faster AX3000 mesh kit as out top pick.

Can you game on a mesh router?

The short answer is yes, but gaming on a mesh can lead to some issues for competitive gamers. For gamers, latency, also known as ping, is the measure of time it takes your PC or console to communicate with a game server. High ping can lead to gaps between input and action onscreen called lag and an unstable connection can lead to intermittent spikes in ping known as lag spikes. While modern mesh routers are very efficient and rarely add more than a couple of milliseconds to your ping, any extra is a disadvantage in a competitive game.

Serious gamers should avoid Wi-Fi altogether, and if at all possible, connect their PC with an ethernet cable. If that's simply not possible, a gaming router with software to prioritize gaming connection like the ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 is the next best bet. Still, most casual gamers can play on a modern mesh system without issue.

Samuel Contreras

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.