If you care about speed and reliability on your home network, Ethernet has long been the answer. And if you're stuck working from home, the upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 can bring the capabilities we're used to seeing in wired networks to your entire home. Also known as 802.11ax Wi-Fi, Wi-fi 6 brings not only speed improvements but increased bandwidth and traffic management features to improve wireless connections compared to Wi-Fi 5 or 802.11ac. If you are ready to make this jump to new tech, the Netgear Nighthawk RAX80 provides the best overall experience. This router has plenty of speed, excellent coverage, and a price that's quite competitive.
- Best Overall: Netgear Nighthawk RAX80
- Best Value: Netgear RAX15
- Best starter mesh: Netgear Nighthawk MK62
- Best fast mesh: Asus ZenWiFi XT8
- Fast wired option: TP-Link Archer AX6000
- Best Gaming: Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
Best Overall: Netgear Nighthawk RAX80
The Netgear Nighthawk RAX80 has enough speed for most people at AX6000 as well as five-gigabit ethernet ports. With a modern-looking antenna setup, the RAX80 delivers its speed with a dual-band setup. If you need a bit more wired speed, two of the Ethernet ports can be combined with link aggregation, effectively doubling the connection speed to one of your wired devices.
You also get two USB 3.0 ports on the back next to the switch that can disable the status LEDs. All of this comes with the ease of use provided by the nighthawk software, including the nighthawk app. If you are looking for a fast router with enough speed and features to last for years, the RAX80 has everything you need at a great price.
- Fast AX6000 speeds
- Five Ethernet ports
- Link Aggregation
- Concealed antennas
- Nighthawk software
- WAN only 1Gbps
All of the speed and features you need
With five open Ethernet ports, AX6000 speeds, and dual USB ports, the Nighthawk RAX80 can cope with just about anything you throw at it in a home network.
Best Value: Netgear RAX15
Wi-Fi 6 isn't limited to only high-end gaming routers. The sort of routers that most people will be interested in are much cheaper, and the Netgear RAX15 has a great balance of features and nothing you don't need. With speeds up to AX1800, with a few users, you should be able to browse and stream without issue, even with 4K content.
You still get a sensible amount of wired Ethernet ports with four and even a USB port. If you are looking to get your portable devices online with enough speed for most normal usage while supporting the most recent Wi-Fi standards, the Netgear RAX15 is an excellent option.
- Compact size
- 4 Ethernet ports
- Only AX1800 speeds
Wi-Fi 6 for everyday use
Wi-Fi 6 is more than top speed, and the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX15 brings Wi-Fi 6 support with a feature set that makes more sense to lighter users.
Best starter mesh: Netgear Nighthawk MK62
Quite a lot of people don't have gigabit Ethernet connections and won't be setting up an SSD-based storage server. These people can still benefit from the increased capacity and consistency that is available with Wi-Fi 6 with great coverage thanks to a mesh system. The Netgear Nighthawk MK62 comes in a small housing and can deliver speeds up to AX1800.
You only get a single Ethernet port on either node making this system better for people that have gone mostly wireless with their home network. If you are looking for the convenience of a mesh with the added features of Wi-Fi 6, the MK62 can be a great option with enough speed for most people that doesn't break the bank.
- Compact size
- Expandable coverage
- 3,000 square feet of coverage
- Only AX1800 speed
- Only 1 Ethernet per unit
Best starter mesh
Build your mesh with Wi-Fi 6
The Nighthawk MK62 brings Orbi-like mesh support in a compact black housing. Speeds are more than enough for standard browsing at AX1800.
Best fast mesh: Asus ZenWiFi XT8
Asus was one of the first companies to make a mesh capable Wi-Fi 6 system. It continues that legacy with the purpose-designed ZenWiFi XT8. It comes in a compact housing around six inches wide and tall and just shy of three inches deep and is available in white or charcoal color. It also works with other Asus routers that support its AiMesh software, which is most of them but will be best with other Wi-Fi 6 capable routers.
The ZenWiFi XT8 also doesn't give up much in speed with a fast AX6600 tri-band connection and 3 Ethernet ports per unit. It can also accept a 2.5Gbps input making it a great way to add Wi-Fi to a fast wired connection. With two nodes, you can cover up to 5,500 square feet with the ability to easily expand it later.
- Fast AX6600 speeds
- 5,500 square feet of coverage
- 2.5Gbps WAN
- Expand with AiMesh
- Only 3 Ethernet ports per unit
Best fast mesh
Mesh functionality with a speed boost
Cover up to 5,500 square feet with two units at fast AX6600 speeds. You also get 2.5Gbps input and three open Ethernet ports for wired devices.
Fast wired option: TP-Link Archer AX6000
TP-Link's Archer AX6000 is one of the few Wi-Fi 6 routers to pack in eight Ethernet ports. This means you keep your wired devices connected without adding another switch making your network setup more straightforward. Besides that, it can accept a 2.5Gbps input allowing it to keep pace with several devices asking for top download speeds while most internet connection max out around 1Gbps; this can still be an excellent addition to a network with a fast storage server.
It's rather significant with eight thick antennas folding up from the center. It also is somewhat thicker than many routers to accommodate the two rows of four Ethernet ports. It has dual USB ports for easy storage expansion, with one of them being USB Type-C. This is a router that will work for nearly any home network but will be larger than necessary for someone that only needs a couple of wired connections.
- Fast AX6000 speeds
- 2 USB ports (1 USB Type-C)
- 8 Ethernet ports
- Only dual-band
Fast wired option
2.5Gbps input and 8 Ethernet ports
The TP-Link Archer AX6000 packs in eight Ethernet ports, as well as fast Wi-Fi 6. Its balance of features makes it an excellent choice for large home networks.
Best Gaming: Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
For the most part, computer accessories wearing a gaming badge are just cheaper accessories with a few lights glued on. With the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, you get a bit more than that. While RGB lighting is a bit cliché, the lighting on this router works with Asus' Aura RGB, which means it can synchronize with your Aura RGB gear to build Twitch-ready shrine to gaming.
Beyond the aesthetics, you get a fast 2.5Gbps WAN port, which can come in handy with a storage server or even just to be ready for faster network cards in the future. Built-in software can keep your gaming connection optimized to prioritize low ping times, even when there are multiple other active connections.
The ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 has an expressive design with eight large antennas that will stand out. If you like the gaming aesthetic, this router can be a great fit for your home.
- Fast AX11000 speeds
- 4 Ethernet ports
- 2.5Gbps WAN
- ROG QoS software
- Large size
Great software keeps ping times low
Fast AX11000 Wi-Fi speeds, a 2.5Gbps input, and great software keep your speeds high and ping times low, whether you game wired or wireless.
Wi-Fi 5 speeds really are enough for what most people need to accomplish on their internet connection. The Wi-Fi 6 upgrade is mostly for future products and uses that haven't fully been realized yet. As 4K streaming and remote connections become more common, the need for a faster and more reliable connection will follow. Wi-Fi 6 will also be able to deal with the dozens of devices we need to get online in our smart homes.
With the Netgear Nighthawk RAX80, you get more than enough speed for standard usage, including multiple 4K streams and gaming. With the wealth of new options available, if you're ready to upgrade your wireless router, it's time to go with Wi-Fi 6.
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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