Wi-Fi 6E is a relatively new technology, so there aren’t as many available Wi-Fi 6E routers as there are Wi-Fi 6 routers. But even with this comparatively small pool of devices, there are some big differences to be seen. For example, there is a wide variation in the top speed available from these routers, with the fastest providing connection speeds as high as 4.8Gbps in optimal conditions.
If you are currently using a Wi-Fi 5 or earlier router, an upgrade to a 6E router will give you a noticeable bump in network speed. For anyone already using Wi-Fi 6, the benefits of upgrading to Wi-Fi 6E are more subtle. You can expect a more reliable connection, better latency, and less interference from other network users, but only if the devices you are using to connect are capable of accessing the 6GHz band.
The list of 6E-compatible devices is currently short, but it is likely to get much longer over the next 12 months. Several flagship phones from Google and Samsung already support Wi-Fi 6E, and it’s rumored the next iPhone will also be Wi-Fi 6E compatible. There are several Wi-Fi adapters available that can add 6E capabilities to your PC, but it may be a while before anything other than the most expensive laptops can connect to it.
The 6GHz band that Wi-Fi 6E uses has a very wide spectrum for bandwidth. That means more “space” for signals from other devices and less chance of interference, therefore providing you with a more stable connection. On top of that, there are currently far fewer devices using the 6GHz frequency, so there is also less competing traffic.
It is worth remembering that the 6GHz band is really an additional feature, and any Wi-Fi 6E router will also work perfectly well with devices that use Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5.
Coverage is also an important element to look at. The 6GHz band uses a shorter wavelength than 5GHz, just as 5GHz is shorter than 2.4GHz. This means the signal doesn’t penetrate walls and ceilings and has less range in general.
The exact coverage range will vary, based on the materials your house is constructed from, among other things. The higher the coverage promised, the more likely you will be to have a good connection in all areas of the house.
The capacity of the Wide Area Network (WAN) port on the router can also make a big difference in how it performs. The WAN port is how you connect the router to your Internet source, and the routers in our list have WAN ports that range from 1Gbps to 10Gbps. If you have multi-gigabyte Internet, making sure you choose a router that can make full use of that through the WAN port means you won’t have a speed bottleneck.
As mentioned above, Wi-Fi 6E has not yet been heavily adopted by device manufacturers, so any gains you get from a 6E router may be limited for now. But if you want to upgrade from an older router to something that is going to be future-proof, a Wi-Fi 6E router is going to serve you well.
- ✓ Incredibly fast network speeds
- ✓ Extra gaming-focused features
- ✓ Good coverage range
- ✓ Network security tools included
- ✗ Large and may not be to everyone’s taste
For many people, the thing that makes one router better than another will be a faster wireless network speed. All Wi-Fi 6E routers will give you the added stability and less interference the 6GHz band allows for, but not all of them can transfer data at the same speed.
The ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 not only excels when considering the speed at 6GHz but also provides impressive speeds on the 2.4 and 5GHz bands. It is a router built to handle all of your modern network requirements such as streaming TV and movies, multiple connections, online gaming, and working remotely.
As you might expect from a router that includes the Republic of Gamers branding, the GT-AXE11000 is no shrinking violet when it comes to looks. It has a fairly large footprint and makes its presence felt with the eight external antennas that stand proud around its edges. Add on the LED lighting, and it’s clear that this is a router with a gaming aesthetic that was designed to be seen.
This router’s gaming credentials are further enhanced by several features specific to playing online. These include device prioritization, and the ability to prioritize gaming traffic when playing. These are nice additions if you are buying the router as a gamer, but non-gamers can simply ignore them and enjoy the high Wi-Fi speeds.
While the gamer-focused design and features might not be for everyone, the speeds which it can achieve are. The 11000 in the router’s name refers to its potential speed across the three bands of 11000Mbps, or 11Gbps to put it another way. It is safe to say that it will be able to handle most home internet requirements.
The 2.4GHz band can reach a maximum speed of 1148Mbps, and both the 5GHz and the 6GHz band have a maximum speed of 4804Mbps. That means that even your older Wi-Fi 5 and 6 devices can get great results from their connection to the router, although they won’t have the stability benefit of the 6GHz band.
Coverage is good, although you shouldn’t expect to see those data transfer speeds all over the house. The eight antennas help to push the signal through walls and ceilings, but if you want more complete coverage your best option is a mesh router.
There is plenty of connectivity at your disposal, with four gigabyte LAN ports, a 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN port, and an extra 1Gbps WAN. There are also two USB 3.2 ports for connecting network devices such as a network-attached storage (NAS) device.
The ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 isn’t going to be for everyone, especially those who want their router to blend in with the room rather than stand out. But those incredible speeds are hard to ignore, as are the gaming enhancements.
Best Wi-Fi 6E Router Overall
- ✓ Good value for money
- ✓ Impressive speed at 6GHz
- ✓ Very easy to set up and use
- ✓ 5Gbps WAN port is better than others
- ✗ 2.4GHz and 5GHz speeds are not great
If you aren’t sure that you are ready to spend five hundred dollars to dip your toe into the world of Wi-Fi 6E but still want to experience the new technology, the Linksys Hydra Pro 6E could be the answer. This capable, low-key, and easy-to-use 6GHz router can be picked up for around half the price of most other Wi-Fi 6E routers, making it pretty hard to ignore.
The Hydra Pro 6E promises coverage of up to 2700 square feet, which isn’t the best available, but still plenty for the average-sized home. If you need more coverage, the router is compatible with the Linksys Velop mesh system and can be connected to one or more extender devices. These need to be purchased separately, but it is nice to have the option.
The wider 6GHz band allows for many more devices to be connected at one time without experiencing interference, and the Hydra Pro can handle more than 50 devices easily. Although there are other routers on our list which can handle more concurrent connections, that is pretty good for a router at this price.
The maximum speeds at 2.4GHz and 5GHz are good at 600Mbps and 1200Mbps respectively. These speeds won’t be breaking any records, but they are in line with other mid-range Wi-Fi 6E routers, and should be more than enough for average household use.
The maximum achievable speed at 6GHz is an impressive 4800Mbps. That is actually comparable to our top pick, the GT-AXE11000, unlike the 2.4 and 5GHz speeds, where our top pick blows the MR7500 out of the water. It’s unlikely that you will experience these maximum speeds unless you are sitting directly next to the router, but that is the case with any 6E router.
Setup is easy through the Linksys app, which is available for iPhone and Android. You are led through the process and the router can be up and running in a few minutes. You can also choose to set up the router in a connected browser, but this is more complicated and can take some time to figure out if you are not experienced with setting up networks.
If you’re worried about looks, the Hydra Pro 6E is very understated compared to other routers, making it easy to hide away in a corner. In terms of connectivity, on the back are four Gigabit LAN ports and a very welcome 5Gbps WAN port. There is also a single USB 3.0 port for connecting a NAS or other network device.
The Linksys MR7500 Hydra Pro 6E isn’t going to win any awards for raw speed, product design, or coverage range. But for anyone who wants to experience Wi-Fi 6E without breaking the bank, this router is a brilliant choice.
Best Budget Wi-Fi 6E Router
- ✓ Unique design looks great
- ✓ Very fast speeds on all frequency bands
- ✓ Great coverage range
- ✓ Very stable signal is great for gaming
- ✗ WAN port capacity could be higher
The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 not only looks unique—it also brings high-speed connections across all three frequency bands and a few extra features that make it brilliant for gamers.
The Wi-Fi 6 version of the Nighthawk has proved to be a top choice for anyone wanting to game online without drops in speed and connectivity. The RAXE500 model only improves on its predecessor with the addition of the 6GHz band and even greater internet stability.
The Nighthawk looks like no other router that is available right now, with two wing-like panels on the sides. These do serve a purpose as they contain a total of eight internal antennas, each positioned in such a way as to provide strong and reliable connections in any direction. On the back panel are five ethernet ports, along with a 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN port. You can link two of the gigabyte ports together to give a 2Gbps connection to a single device.
The RAXE500 is an AXE11000 router, meaning it has a combined total capacity across all three bands of 10.8Gbps. This is broken down as 1.2Gbps on the 2.4GHz band, and 4.8Gbps on both the 5GHz and 6GHz bands. With 12-stream connectivity, you can expect some truly fast and stable connections. This is perfect for gaming where stability can mean the difference between a win and a loss.
Coverage of up to 3500 square feet is another great feature of this router. This is more than enough for even large houses, with the optimized antennae helping to ensure you can get a good connection wherever you are.
The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is much more than just a pretty face. If you want both speed and stability for your online gaming sessions, the Nighthawk is the way to go.
Best Wi-Fi 6E Router for Gaming
Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500
A uniquely-designed Wi-Fi 6E router that can provide impressive connection speeds for gaming and anything else you need to do online.
- ✓ Incredibly high potential speeds
- ✓ Coverage for even very large houses
- ✓ Dedicated 5GHz connection between nodes
- ✓ Nicely and subtle design
- ✗ Expensive even for a mesh system
If you want to ensure great Wi-Fi speeds all over the house, particularly if that house is large and constructed of brick or stone, a mesh wi-fi system is the way to go. This is even more true if you want to experience Wi-Fi 6E all over the house, as the wider 6GHz bandwidth can struggle to pass through walls and ceilings. When it comes to Wi-Fi 6E mesh systems, the Netgear Orbi RBKE963 is leading the way.
This quad-band mesh system features a hub and two satellites, which if correctly positioned can give a huge coverage area of 9000sq.ft. You can even add a third satellite, for approximately the price of a stand-alone router, that will extend that coverage to 12,000sq.ft.
Few home users will ever need this, but it is impressive nonetheless. The Orbi mesh may be more suited to a commercial environment, considering that you can also connect up to 200 devices concurrently.
Unlike most Wi-Fi 6E routers, which are tri-band, the Orbi is billed as a quad-band router. The extra band refers to the dedicated 5GHz Wi-Fi connection between the hub and satellites. This leaves the 2.4, 5, and 6GHz bands completely free for use by your devices, losing none of the bandwidth to the backbone connection.
The main hub of the Orbi features an incredible 10 Gigabit WAN port, as well as a 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port and three extra gigabit ports. Both satellites have the same, just without the 10Gbps WAN port.
Strangely, there is no USB port on either the hub or the satellites. While it’s probably not a deal-breaker, it does mean that if you want to connect a NAS, you will have to use up one of the LAN ports.
The components all have the same sleek, modern design with no external antenna. The Orbi mesh is available in white and silver or black, with both versions featuring a discreet LED light on the front that changes color to show connection status.
The only real downside for most home users is the high price. At $1500, this is by far the most expensive Wi-Fi 6E option on our list. No three-node mesh that offers 6GHz connectivity will be cheap, and you do get a huge coverage range and blistering data transfer speeds. Even so, this will be a large investment for most people.
But if you can swallow the price, this is the best Wi-Fi 6E mesh system currently available.
Best Mesh Wi-Fi 6E Router
Netgear Orbi RBKE963
A high-spec, quad-band mesh router that packs in some impressive features to go along with its fairly large price tag.
Best Budget Mesh Wi-Fi 6E Router: ASUS ZenWiFi ET8
- ✓ Cheaper than many stand-alone 6E routers
- ✓ Great network security features included
- ✓ High speeds available on the 6GHz band
- ✓ Good coverage from just two nodes
- ✗ 2.4GHz and 5GHz speeds aren’t great
While mesh wi-fi systems can hardly be described as “budget”, if you’re looking for a network that doesn’t drain your bank account, the ASUS ZenWiFi ET8 is a great purchase.
It combines the excellent speeds and low latency of Wi-Fi 6E, with up to 5500 square feet of coverage, enough for even large homes. It manages to do that with just a hub and a single node. These are completely interchangeable, so each component can act as the hub or the node as needed.
Setup is easy, with settings being automatically synced to all nodes on the network. You have complete control over the naming of your network, and you can even assign separate SSIDs to each frequency band.
You can manage everything from the ZenWiFi AX app, including the free AiProtection Pro network security software. AiProtection Pro features an Intrusion Prevention System, a URL blocker, and infected device detection.
There are also some very useful parental controls should you need them. These include an Internet activity monitor, the ability to block network access to specific devices at scheduled times, and an easy-to-use content filter for blocking apps or websites by category.
The tri-band ET8 manages maximum speeds of 574Mbps at 2.4GHz, 1,201Mbps at 5GHz, and an impressive 4,804Mbps on the 6GHz band. So even if not all of your devices can access the 6GHz band, anything compatible with Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6 will be able to reach transfer speeds of up to 1201Mbps. The backhaul uses the 6GHz band, so the connection between the two hubs is lightning fast.
Each hub has a fast 2.5Gbps WAN port, along with three extra gigabit ports for connecting devices directly. There is also a USB 3.1 port so you can connect a NAS or other network device. The 6 antennae in each node are all internal, which helps make the styling less obtrusive than other Wi-Fi 6E routers. In the ET8, the two nodes are completely interchangeable and almost identical in appearance.
If you are getting your home Wi-Fi ready for when more devices become available that use the 6GHz band, or just want a stable and fast network backhaul, the ASUS ZenWiFi ET8 mesh is a great choice. It gives you great speed and coverage, and perfect compatibility with Wi-Fi 6E and with earlier wireless devices. And it does all that at a cost less than some stand-alone Wi-Fi 6E routers.
Best Budget Mesh Wi-Fi 6E Router
ASUS ZenWiFi ET8
A solid, reliable and nicely-designed Wi-Fi 6E mesh router that will give you great wireless coverage for a price that won’t make you feel faint.