When everyone logs on to work from home, do you find the internet connection dipping? The multiple devices overwhelming your house network need a wireless access point or a router that’s excellent at multitasking, without hindering the speed. You will find this and more in the new generation of Wi-Fi: the Wi-Fi 6 standard (802.11ax).
What is Wi-Fi 6?
Dr May El Barachi, director of computer science and IT programs, and head of industry outreach at the University of Wollongong in Dubai, explains: “Wi-Fi 6 is the next generation of wireless standard that rolled out in 2019. It’s a pretty big deal in the networking world because it brings significant improvements in Wi-Fi capability and user experience.”
How is it better than Wi-Fi 5?
Compared to the previous generation, which is the Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), this wireless upgrade enhances speed and capacity. “With Wi-Fi 6 you get a 50 per cent increase in speed, which is a top concern for any user. Wi-Fi 5 or the AC has a maximum speed of 3.5 gigabits per second – one giga is a billion and a bit is a piece of information being sent out or received per second. Wi-Fi 6 has speeds of up to 9.6 Gbps, which is a pretty significant number,” said Dr El Barachi.
Our wireless applications keep growing at home. Most of us prefer to stream our movies and TV shows at the highest resolution, play multiplayer games with quality graphics, have an integrated smart home security system and much more. “Wi-Fi 6 can handle four times as many simultaneous users as the previous generation. The performance will remain uncompromised. To reap the benefits of Wi-Fi 6, you just need to change your router and the rest will follow.”
Which Wi-Fi 6 router is the best for me?
You don’t have to pick out the fastest Wi-Fi 6 router. Dr El Barachi says it all depends on your needs. “For the regular user who expects to do some streaming with other applications, a Wi-Fi 6 router with 2 or 3 Gbps is okay. For the extensive user who will engage in high-res streaming and multiplayer gaming, 5 or 6 Gbps will deliver a good performance,” she added.
Dr El Barachi recommends two tried-and-tested brands accordingly: The ASUS-RT AX routers work best for basic device traffic at home and have “good performance and price point”. The TP-Link Archer gaming router is relatively affordable for all that it offers, including antivirus software for its multiple device connections and wired ports.
If you’ve decided to make the switch, here are some of the best Wi-Fi 6 routers that you can easily order from Amazon to replace your existing device. Remember to sign up for Prime for next-day free delivery.
1. Best Overall: ASUS RT-AX68U AX2700 Dual Band WiFi 6
- Built-in security software
- Easy setup and management via ASUS app
- Parental controls
- Can be used as part of a mesh system
- Some reviewers found the 5GHz band unstable
This dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router delivers sufficient speeds of up to 2.7 Gbps (2700 Mbps). The RT-AX68U is neither slow nor dramatically fast – it sits in the middle, yet works exceptionally well in a smart house that is always online. With rave reviews, the ASUS router takes the cake for easy setup and management, far-reaching signal range and increased speed. Its parental control lets users customise access for children of varying age groups. You can even see when new devices connect to the network and feel reassured with ASUS’ built-in home network security called AiProtection Pro. You and your family will be protected against malicious attacks, websites and suspicious devices for a lifetime.
2. Best Mesh System: NETGEAR Orbi Mesh WiFi System (RBK352)
- Powerful mesh network
- 2,500 square feet of range
- Connects 30-plus devices
- Value for money for a mesh system
- Paid antivirus software
With a slight drop in speed at 1.8 Gbps, the NETGEAR Orbi mesh system is still popular among users for its stable connection and 2,500-square-feet range. It employs a Wi-Fi 6 router and a satellite extender to connect up to 30-plus devices on the home network. Add another Orbi extender and the system will give you an additional whopping 1,750 square feet. It comes with its own antivirus software, Armour, though the protection is only free for the first 30 days. Reviewers say the wireless signal is unstoppable through concrete walls.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh58.25 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: Amazon offers one-year extended warranty for Dh40 and two-year extended warranty for Dh66.
3. Best for Gaming: TP-Link AX6600 WiFi 6 Gaming Router (Archer GX90)
- Exclusive 4.8 Gbps frequency band dedicated to gaming
- Gaming antivirus software
- Quad-core CPU
- Wired 2.5 Gbps speed
- No lag
- Reviews complain of poor customer support
Built for heavy gaming streams, the TP-Link Archer GX90 operates on a tri-band structure, all of which bring high speeds of 6.6 Gbps to the table. Its eight detachable antennas face outward in all four directions, ensuring coverage of a house with four bedrooms. What’s more, this router processes data faster thanks to its quad-core CPU that Dr El Barachi says increases computational speed to deliver better performance than a tri-core, for instance. Other gaming-centric features include a 2.5 Gbps WAN/LAN port, real-time game statistics on latency and duration, a frequency band reserved for gaming with 4.8 Gbps speed and an online gaming security system.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh72.64 for 12 months with select banks.
Warranty: Amazon offers one-year extended warranty for Dh52 and two-year extended warranty for Dh85.
4. Best Budget: TP-Link WiFi 6 AX3000 Smart WiFi Router (Archer AX55)
- Value for money
- Cooling design
- Security software
- Voice assistant feature
- Can be used as part of a mesh system
- Has limited data reading for USB port connections
Say you don’t want to shell out a lot for your very first Wi-Fi 6 transition – the TP-Link Archer AX55 is a decent budget buy. You get sufficient speeds of 3 Gbps on a dual band, supporting gaming, TV streaming and downloading seamlessly. This model of the Archer series makes sure your router keeps cool on high-performance days using a large heat sink and improved case design. Your device is equipped with HomeShield, an advanced security software that includes parental controls.
Warranty: Amazon offers one-year extended warranty for Dh23 and two-year extended warranty for Dh38.
5. Best for Smart Home: D-Link DIR-X5460 AX5400 Wi-Fi 6 Router
- Extended coverage to outdoors
- Voice assistant feature
- Eliminates neighbouring interferences
- Takes up space
D-Link’s DIR-X5460 is a bulky device with six high-gain antennas and 5.4 Gbps speeds. While it’s not the most minimalistic router out there, it works hard to keep your smart home connected, without disrupting TV streaming and gaming. The router taps into a next-gen technology to propel signals outside the house, where your smart cameras and locks may be installed. Another feature known as Basic Service Set (BSS) colouring keeps your wireless connection from overlapping with your neighbours’.
Bonus: Buy with zero per cent instalments and pay Dh41.96 for 12 months with select banks.
Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.