Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6Source: Netgear

Best Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Routers Android Central 2020

Wi-Fi 6 was designed with the future of routers in mind. A router spends most of its time directing and managing network traffic to keep speeds high even with a ton of connections. As our homes get smarter, we have more connections than ever that need to check in consistently and reliably. Wi-Fi 6 then allows for more connections than ever and still manages to kick the speed up a notch. Wi-Fi 6 isn't just for enthusiasts anymore and even in mesh, there is an option for nearly anyone, although the Arris SURFboard mAX Plus Mesh is our top pick for people who want top speeds.

Best Overall: Arris SURFboard mAX Plus Mesh AX7800

Arris SURFboard mAX Plus Mesh AX7800Source: Arris

Despite having a silly way of capitalizing letters, the Arris SURFboard mAX Plus Mesh is a serious set of Wi-Fi 6 routers with a fast backhaul for top speeds. Arris has some experience in networking and you may recognize the Arris name from many modems and routers provided by ISPs.

Boasting support for AX7800 speeds, the Arris SURFboard series dedicates four data streams to a fast 4.8Gbps backhaul to keep speeds between routers as high as possible. While the wireless features are impressive, the wired performance leaves something to be desired. That's not all bad if you want a Wi-Fi focused network and have little need for wireless connectivity.

There are four Ethernet ports per unit on the bottom of the main router, one will be used for uplink all the time with another able to be used with link aggregation for faster speeds. While a faster Ethernet option would have been nice, most people likely won't need more than the available 2Gbps for internet any time soon. For any normal usage, this should be plenty fast.

Pros:

  • 4x 1Gbps Ethernet per unit
  • Link Aggregation
  • Fast AX7800 speeds

Cons:

  • No multi-gig Ethernet
  • Still quite expensive

Best Overall

Arris SURFboard mAX Plus Mesh AX7800

Mesh as fast as possible

The SURFboard mAX Plus provides fast AX7800 speeds with a dedicated backhaul and capacity for internet speeds over 1Gbps.

Best Speeds: Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6 System (RBK852)

Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6Source: Netgear

Netgear's Orbi line is one of the most flexible mesh networking systems and the Nighthawk line has one of the most complete Wi-Fi 6 offerings. This all comes together with the affectionately named RK852, a Wi-Fi 6 version of Netgear's Orbi mesh routers. While it's quite expensive, it's also quite fast at AX6000 with tri-band and comes with Netgear's respected Orbi software.

The addition of this package to Netgear's Orbi family makes it one of the fastest mesh networks available with a design that fits in with the modern and stylish appearance that people have come to expect from mesh routers. The Orbi should be fairly easy to blend in with any room's decor.

On the back of the main router is a 2.5Gbps WAN Ethernet port that can be combined with one of the four gigabit LAN Ethernet ports to support an even higher speed uplink. This high-speed uplink is the main thing that keeps this router ahead of the competition for high-speed coverage. The satellite router also comes with four Ethernet ports allowing for up to eight wired devices to be connected at once.

Pros:

  • 2.5Gbps WAN port with link aggregation
  • 4x 1Gbps Ethernet per unit
  • Tri-band Wi-Fi

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Large size

Best Speeds

Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6 System (RBK852)

Orbi gets Wi-Fi 6

Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6 brings the next wave of mesh with fast AX6000 speeds. This is great for large coverage with a lot of devices.

Best Value: Asus RT-AX92U

Asus ax92uSource: Asus

Asus was one of the first companies to make a Wi-Fi 6 router for consumers and quickly followed that up with the RT-AX92U mesh system. Thanks to fast tri-band speeds, these routers can connect with a fast backhaul of up to 4.8Gbps and each unit has four gigabit Ethernet ports.

Disappointingly, there is no multi-gig Ethernet but link aggregation can combine two of the gigabit ports for up to 2Gbps internet support. This will be quite a bit faster than most people have access to. Thanks to Asus' AiMesh software, another Asus router can be added in as a mesh point, but you'll need to make sure it has full tri-band Wi-Fi 6 support to get the most out of your network

I like the more traditional gaming router appearance. The gamer aesthetic here isn't for nothing since Asus built in its gaming software to keep ping times low and prioritize game traffic on your network. Gaming and mesh don't normally go together but Asus has managed to bring the two together with some of the best technology available.

Pros:

  • Link Aggregation
  • 4x 1Gbps Ethernet per unit
  • Tri-band
  • Built for gaming

Cons:

  • Hard to conceal
  • No multi-gig Ethernet

Best Value

Asus RT-AX92U

Even the gamers need mesh

Asus has a great Wi-Fi 6 and mesh solution with software to keep games lag-free. Four LAN ports keep all of your consoles online.

Best WPA3: Linksys MX10 Velop

Linksys Velop AX5Source: Linksys

The Linksys MX10 Velop is just the name given to the two-pack of Linksys MX5 Velops. These routers are capable of delivering AX7800 speeds across three Wi-Fi bands. While these speeds are quite high, the wired connection to your modem will max out at 1Gbps and other wired devices will be limited to the same speed. While this is more than enough for the vast majority of people, it would have been nice to see more wired capability.

Four Ethernet ports and a USB 3.0 port on each unit allow for a lot of expansion. The Wi-Fi 6 Velops are quite a bit larger than the Velop dual-band or tri-band AC mesh routers. Compared to a traditional router, however, the internal antennas help keep the appearance understated.

If you already have a Velop system, there's no need to get rid of it thanks to compatibility with the entire Velop family of routers. The most powerful routers, in this case the Wi-Fi 6 Velops, should be connected directly to the modem with the older routers providing extra coverage in areas that don't need as much speed.

Pros:

  • 4x 1Gbps Ethernet per unit
  • AX7800 speeds
  • Tri-band

Cons:

  • No multi-gig Ethernet
  • Expensive

Best WPA3

Linksys MX10 Velop

Expand your Velop mesh

Add coverage, capacity, and speed to your Velop mesh with the Linksys MX10 Velop. Wi-Fi 6 and Ethernet keep speeds high.

Best Mesh Add-on: Netgear Nighthawk EAX80

Netgear Nighthawk EAX80 extenderSource: Netgear

If you've already bought a Wi-Fi 6 router, like the Netgear Nighthawk AX8 but find yourself needing more coverage, Netgear has a solution. The Netgear Nighthawk EAX80 is an eight-stream Wi-Fi 6 mesh expansion capable of speeds up to AX6000. It's compatible with any existing router, though I would recommend a Wi-Fi 6 router with at least a matching eight data streams.

You can set this router up with the same Wi-Fi name as your existing wireless network so there's no need to manually switch between two different networks like older extenders.

Four gigabit Ethernet ports onboard and a USB 3.0 port make this a great way to bring the network to your media setup or a desktop PC that doesn't have Wi-Fi. You can also use it to improve the signal to the rest of your home like any mesh.

There are a lot more if-then considerations due to the extender being reliant on the speeds of the base router but this is true for any mesh. If you have already invested in Wi-Fi 6 and just need a bit more coverage, this is a great option.

Pros:

  • 4x 1Gbps Ethernet
  • Keep your Wi-Fi name

Cons:

  • Only dual-band
  • Needs existing router

Best Mesh Add-on

Netgear Nighthawk EAX80

Add mesh to your Wi-Fi 6 network

Add range and four Ethernet ports to your Wi-Fi 6 network without sacrificing speed or capacity with the fast Nighthawk EAX80.

Can you make your own mesh?

Something to keep in mind about mesh networks is that pretty much any router with a powerful enough CPU and enough RAM can technically act as a mesh router. Asus has taken this further than most other manufacturers by including its AiMesh in nearly all of its routers. It is technically possible to put together your own Wi-Fi 6 mesh with compatible routers but the setup process will be more complicated than a complete mesh system. This technology is more promising with Wi-Fi 6 routers thanks to the improved capacity and speeds over previous generations of routers.

Bottom line

Like most cool new technology, Wi-Fi 6 is still pretty expensive to get into but the prices are starting to come down. Being able to connect more devices at once as well as a good speed jump over previous generations makes the upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 worth it to many internet users and especially to people that use network storage at home. The Arris SURFboard mAX Plus is one of the most focused Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems available and should be more than enough for most people for years to come.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Samuel Contreras When Samuel is not writing about networking and carriers, 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.

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