How to Buy a Wi-Fi 6 Router

edited June 10 in Acer Corner

While it is understandable if you are not familiar with the term 802.11ax, you have very likely heard a lot of buzz about the latest and greatest form of Wi-Fi technology on the market known as “Wi-Fi 6”. Although Wi-Fi 5 routers remain some of the most widely used and popular means of providing wireless internet in many personal and professional settings, investing in a future-proof Wi-Fi router will ultimately pay dividends. While the advertised measurements of maximum increases in Wi-Fi speed are largely academic, Wi-Fi 6 routers can notably improve the overall performance of your wireless network. Learn more about what Wi-Fi 6 is and how it can help take your wireless internet experience to the next level. 

The Maximum Theoretical Speed of Wi-Fi 6 and Why it Matters 

This may be unfamiliar to those who are not interested in every technical detail of their wireless router, but the maximum speed that is possible for Wi-Fi to achieve is 3.5 Gbps (Gigabytes per second) split among all the devices connected to the network. On the other hand, Wi-Fi 6 has a theoretical top speed of 9.6 Gbps or almost three times the speed of Wi-Fi 5, creating a far greater amount of available bandwidth. This increase in speed is especially significant because this bandwidth can be spread across any device accessing the internet on your network rather than being used for a single unit. 

Whether you enjoy the current strength of your Wi-Fi network or wish it could be better, just imagine having up to three times as much data to power your gaming, content streaming, and other digital activities. No more squabbling between your housemates, children, or other cohabitants may sound impossible, but a Wi-Fi 6 router can help you achieve greater flexibility even before its widespread release.  

While the improvements in speed are already sufficiently impressive, where Wi-Fi 6 really distinguishes itself is its ability to handle more devices at once and ensure better and more efficient communication between devices and the router itself. A pair of technologies are largely responsible for these massive improvements, namely OBSS (Overlapping Basic Service Sets) and OFDMA (Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access). In terms that the layperson can understand, these two technologies can effectively communicate with multiple devices simultaneously instead of sequentially, and they can also neatly organize returning signals from devices by subdividing communication pathways. 

Improvements to Security Protocols and Energy Efficiency 

 If you find your Wi-Fi-connected devices are running out of battery or causing increases to your power bill due to constantly looking for a signal to connect to, Wi-Fi 6 routers can provide an ideal solution. Thanks to a new form of device management known as TWT (Target Wake Time), users can set specific periods for individual devices to “wake up” and search for signals rather than wasting energy on constantly scanning. All Wi-Fi 6 routers also come with WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 3) installed, the latest and greatest form of Wi-Fi encryption available, to help keep your network and devices from being compromised in a cyber-attack. 

Features to Look for When Purchasing a new Wi-Fi 6 Router 

To avoid getting bogged down in complicated technical details when searching for a new Wi-Fi 6 router, one of the easiest things to look for is a clear label that states that the router is “Wi-Fi 6 certified”. This label will ensure you are buying some of the best wireless internet technology available and that the router is fully backwards compatible with previous generations of Wi-Fi devices. 

Wi-Fi 6 Routers Available for Purchase 

TP-Link Wi-Fi 6 AX1500 Smart Wi-Fi Router (Archer AX10) 

An excellent Wi-Fi 6 router that costs less than $100, the Archer AX10 provides an excellent upgrade for those looking to maximize their technology budget. 

  • Offers next-gen wireless technology Wi-Fi 6, including OFDMA 1024-QAM, significantly improving the power and utility of the entire network. 
  • Archer AX10 supports all Wi-Fi-enabled devices and full backwards compatibility with all previous 802. 11 standards. 
  • Dual-Band router – 300 Mbps on 2. 4 GHz (802. 11n) as well as 1201 Mbps on 5 GHz (802. 11ax) 
  • Works with many ISPs, including all internet service providers, such as Verizon, AT&T, RCN, Cox, CenturyLink, Frontier, and others. 

ASUS ZenWi-Fi Whole-Home Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System (ET8 2PK) 

One of the more costly Wi-Fi6 mesh router systems, the ASUS Zen ASUS ZenWi-Fi Whole-Home Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System, offers incredible coverage while maintaining speedy wireless internet throughout the target area.  

  • This router comes with Lifetime free ASUS AiProtection Pro commercial-grade network security, advanced Parental Controls to protect your home, powered by Trend Micro and WPA3 encryption. 
  • Theoretical maximum data transfer rate of 6600 Megabits per second. 
  • Offers up to 5,500 square feet of mesh Wi-Fi 6 coverage, enabling you to connect many devices throughout your home or workplace easily. 

NETGEAR Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6 (RAX120) 12-Stream Dual-Band Gigabit Router 

If you find your Wi-Fi network struggling under the burden of overuse, the NETGEAR Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6 will significantly alleviate the levels of network traffic. 

  • Offers an easy setup process through the Nighthawk app and network monitoring, internet speed testing, data usage statistics, and more. 
  • Have up to 30 devices simultaneously connected to your Wi-Fi network without breaking stride. 
  • Provides full compatibility with many modern PCs and gaming consoles, including Xbox Series S/X, PlayStation 5, Samsung S10 and S20, MacBook Air, Mac Mini, MacBook Pro 13, iPhone 11 and 12, Ultra Notebooks, and more.
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