Best answer: Yes, if you have an older router you should consider getting one, especially since they've started to come down in price. If you already have a fast 802.11AC router it won't be worth it, however.

Are the routers ready?

If it's time for you to buy a new router or you need to get your first router, it's worth it to be ready for new Wi-Fi devices. Wi-Fi 6 can handle more devices at once and will be able to keep speed and latency more consistent even under load.

Since most people keep their routers for years and may upgrade their phones or computers multiple times before getting a new router, it's best to get a router that's ready for the future. Thankfully, Wi-Fi 6 routers have started to come down in price and are finally ready for mainstream users.

The flood of new mid-range Wi-Fi 6 routers coming from makers like Netgear has helped drive down the prices of routers across the entire product line. If you have the budget, you'll want to be future-proof and one of the best ways to do that is to improve your network.

Netgear, for example, has a great variety of Wi-Fi 6 routers available from the high-end Nighthawk AX12 with every modern feature, to the more restrained Nighthawk AX8, and the entry-level Nighthawk AX4. Even the Nighthawk AX4 has wireless capabilities similar to high-end AC rotuers.

The first consumer routers to adopt Wi-Fi 6 were gaming routers like the Asus AX88U and, though they were very good, they had features most people couldn't take advantage, like faster Ethernet and link aggregation. Not to mention they tended to be expensive.

While prices will continue to come down, if you are ready for a better network, there are plenty of options that should last for years.

Where does that leave 802.11AC?

Wi-Fi 5, or as it was formerly known, 802.11AC, got darn fast at the end of its life, with many routers offering well in excess of 1Gbps. Wi-Fi 6, formerly named 802.11AX, brings a lot of enhancements for routers, such as support for a larger number of devices as well as some more efficient power usage.

For most home users, Wi-Fi 5 routers can supply more than enough speed and if you have a fast one, it might not be worth it to jump into new hardware until prices come down even further. Similar to buying a smartphone from last year like a Galaxy Note 9, the performance may be good enough and the software will be current, but it will reach its end-of-life sooner than the Note 10.

If you were going to buy a router today, Wi-Fi 5 just doesn't make a ton of sense for the next few years you will have it.

Entry Level

Netgear Nighthawk AX4

Wi-Fi 6 for the masses

The Nighthawk AX4 brings a fast 3Gbps connection to your network without breaking the bank. With plenty of speed for streaming and gaming, this is a great option.

Fast Mesh

Netgear Orbi RBK852

Mesh networking as fast as possible

Build a mesh network without giving up speed or capacity thanks to Netgear Orbi with Wi-Fi 6. An attractive design helps them blend in with any decor.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.