Best Wi-Fi 6 Router Windows Central 2019

It's starting to look like Wi-Fi 6 is the tech cord cutters have been waiting for to finally eliminate Ethernet without compromising on speed. Also known as AX Wi-Fi, Wi-fi 6 brings not only speed improvements but increased bandwidth and traffic management features to improve wireless connections compared to AC Wi-Fi. If you are ready to make this jump to new tech, the ASUS RT-AX88U provides the best overall experience. This router has fast speeds, plenty of room for expansion, and a price that's quite competitive.

Best Overall: ASUS RT-AX88U

Gaming on Wi-Fi has long been a sin. In the old days, the ping times and packet loss on Wi-Fi made it a nightmare for any twitch shooter, but the RT-AX88U from ASUS has all the speed and quality of service (QoS) software enhancements you need to game untethered. This software makes your gaming connection a top priority for speed and response time. And that's before you even consider the impressive raw power.

With a 1.8 Ghz quad core CPU and 1GB of RAM, the raw horsepower in this router gets close to pro-tier tablets. This power helps keep speeds high and powers the impressive software on offer from ASUS, offering out-of-the-box support for a VPN connection, client and server, the QoS software, and even mesh capabilities with other ASUS routers.

Finally, this is an AX6000 router offering speed of nearly 6Gbps on Wi-Fi 6 with a dual band connection. There are also eight gigabit Ethernet ports to keep your wired devices connected and keep speed constant for something like 4K game streams. With a housing that looks like it was lifted from a Lamborghini Huracán Spyder, this router not only shows your power level, it shouts it.

Pros:

  • Fast AX6000
  • VPN capability
  • Easy app setup
  • Eight Ethernet ports
  • Mesh Capable
  • Stylish housing

Cons:

  • Ethernet only 1Gbps each
  • Large
  • Not easy to conceal

Best Overall

Asus RT-AX88U

Tons of devices, wired and wireless

The Asus RT-AX88U is a fast and powerful Wi-Fi 6 router that, thanks to its powerful software, can adjust traffic priorities to keep games lag free.

Best Mesh: RT-AX92U 2-Pack

Pretty much any router can be part of mesh network with a little work and a sometimes a software flash. ASUS has been bringing its AiMesh technology to its new routers as default for a while now and perhaps this forward thinking helped it to bring one of the first and best mesh experiences to Wi-Fi 6. With the large footprint offered by these two units, the ASUS RT-AX92 2-Pack will provide great, fast coverage even in large homes.

These units don't leave much to be desired when it comes to their specifications. With support for AX6100 Wi-Fi 6, these routers are some of the fastest available. They even offer link aggregation with two Ethernet cables for an internet connection up to 2Gbps. Using this mode will reduce the number of Ethernet ports on the back of the router available to wired devices, but with four total on each unit, there's still quite a lot of capability.

These are not exactly competitors with the tiny, understated routers from a company like Eero, but they pack a lot more of a punch. Still, with four antennas on each unit standing up, this is a more visible piece of equipment. Finally, the powerful software onboard means you have a phone app available for setup and VPN capabilities out of the box.

Pros:

  • Fast AX6100
  • VPN capabilty
  • Easy app setup
  • Ethernet backhaul for mesh

Cons:

  • Ethernet only 1Gbps each
  • Larger than other mesh systems

Best Mesh

RT-AX92U 2 Pack

Bringing mesh to Wi-Fi 6

Improve your Wi-Fi coverage with a mesh system while keeping the full speed and features of a high-end Wi-Fi 6 router.

Fastest Wired Option: NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12

As more people leave physical media like Blu-ray discs in storage and have switched to digital versions saved locally, a fast physical connection is made that much more important. Some may even create their own videos with 10-bit 4K MOV files and need to move more than 100GB without waiting. With the Nighthawk AX12 from NETGEAR, you can have a fast connection to your storage server with the tried and true reliability of an Ethernet connection up to 5Gbps.

Incorporating a design that feels straight out of Star Wars, the AX12 can also push Wi-Fi 6 speeds up to AX6000 at 6Gbps with a compatible device. Around back there are five Ethernet ports, four gigabit ports with the other for 5Gbps. There are also two USB 3.0 ports for fast access to portable storage, making this one of the most complete Wi-Fi 6 routers for users with a lot of data to move.

With access to the Nighthawk app for setup and modern features like OFDMA and 1024 QAM to help keep connections strong and consistent, the NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12 creates an experience with a focus on speed and utility.

Pros:

  • AX6000 speeds
  • Wi-Fi 6 support
  • App for setup
  • Four Ethernet ports

Cons:

  • No VPN option
  • No mesh option

Fastest Wired Option

NETGEAR Nighthawk AX12

Top wired and wireless speeds

One of the fastest home routers you can buy, the Nighthawk AX12 brings not only AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 support but also a 5Gbps Ethernet port.

Best Value: NETGEAR Nighthawk AX4

Unless you share your connection with a lot of people with Wi-Fi 6 compatible devices, you don't really need the top speed offered by the technology. That's not to say you there's no benefit to upgrading because even a lower tier router can bring Wi-Fi 6 enhancements like OFDMA, 1024 QAM, and wide 160 Mhz channel support to keep consistency high without breaking the bank.

With a passable top speed of AX3000, which translates to a best case scenario at around 3Gbps on wireless, there is more than enough speed for a small family or single user. Make no mistake, this is still a high-end Nighthawk router from NETGEAR and comes with access to the Nighthawk app for easy and quick adjustments to your network, though the weaker CPU may struggle with heavier workloads.

Around back the AX4 has four gigabit Ethernet ports for your wired connections like a gaming computer but also a USB 3.0 port if you wish to quickly stream files over the network without a computer. Finally, this keeps one of the best features too often cut from cheaper products: a switch for the LED lights.

Pros:

  • Wi-Fi 6 support
  • App for setup
  • Four Ethernet ports

Cons:

  • AX3000 speed is lower than most
  • Lower-end CPU
  • No VPN option
  • No mesh option

Best Value

NETGEAR Nighthawk AX4

Wi-Fi 6 for everyday use

Highlighting that Wi-Fi 6 is more than top speed, the NETGEAR Nighthawk AX4 brings Wi-Fi 6 support with a feature set that makes more sense to lighter users.

Bottom line

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 connection become more common, the need for a faster and more reliable connection will follow.

With the RT-AX88U from ASUS, you get the top speeds offered by Wi-Fi 6 today and have a ton of extras on board from mesh capability to VPN support. It's still a little early for many people to upgrade but for enthusiasts, there is a great selection already becoming available today.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Samuel Contreras When Samuel is not writing about networking at Windows 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.)

This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.

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