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If you have a big property to cover, not every router is created equal when it comes to giving the range you want. While many wireless routers provide super-fast connections while you’re near to them, you’ll frequently discover that speeds deteriorate as you travel further away â€” often to the point where you lose your connection altogether â€” as you move farther away.
You will need one of the finest long-range routers if this is the case, as it will allow you to experience seamless internet performance no matter where you are in your house. Everything from watching Netflix to hanging out with friends and family on Zoom to playing games to simply perusing the web is available. There’s something for everyone here.
Many people will benefit from purchasing an ASUS’ RT-AX88U router, which provides a strong range and many capabilities, but there are several more alternatives available for every kind of house, family, and budget on our list.
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 is the first 802.11ax router we’ve examined, and it sets the bar high for any that come after it. The GT-AX11000 is an aggressively angular router with Asus’ Republic of Gaming (ROG) emblem illuminated in LEDs. It is not a router to be hidden away.
This router’s dimensions are huge in comparison to the TP-Link Archer C2300, which has dimensions of 8.75 by 7.5 by 1.5 inches, but it is around the same size as the company’s Archer C5400X. The eight screw-on antennae on the router may swivel and spin to direct the signal of the GT-AX11000 in the most effective direction, although they run the danger of appearing like a coat rack.
It features soft rubber feet to prevent your furniture from being scratched. In contrast, Asus engineers did not include any facility for mounting the GT-AX11000 on a wall in the design of the device. It was a good fit for a bookshelf.
It uses Broadcom’s BCM43684 Wi-Fi chip to produce a tri-band 802.11ax network, which is also known as WiFi 6. It is powered by the BCM43684 Wi-Fi chip. There are 15 different 5GHz bands available, allowing it to take use of the most up-to-date wireless technology, such as Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), dynamic frequency selection, and orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA).
The chip is equipped with a quad-core 1.8GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 256MB of storage space for firmware and configurations. It is a lightning-fast router, capable of potentially pushing 4.8Gbps on each of its two 5GHz transmission bands and 1.2Gbps on its 2.4GHz channel, according to the manufacturer. It is capable of transmitting data at a maximum rate of 10.8Gbps to wireless devices equipped with 802.11ax technology. In contrast, since there are so few 802.11ax devices on the market, it will be some time before the GT-AX11000 â€“ and other comparable routers â€“ can achieve their full potential in terms of speed and range.
The GT-AX11000 router is a gamer’s dream come true, thanks to its low-latency design, which allows it to outperform the competition in alien assaults, mediaeval sword duels, and urban vehicle chases, among other things. In addition to the device’s four downstream gigabit Ethernet ports, it also has a single 2.5G Base T Ethernet connector for individuals who prefer physical connections over wireless ones. With a maximum throughput of 2.5Gbps, this standard is only supported by a small number of gaming machines. However, numerous chips that can take advantage of the speed improvement are now under development.
On the front of the boxy router, there is a row of LED lights to indicate its status. They provide information about what is going on inside, including little lights for power, which bands are active, the WAN connection, LAN data flow, the Wireless Protected Setup (WPS), and if the 2.5G connection is being utilised. In addition, there are controls for turning it on, transmitting via Wi-Fi, using WPS, and activating the Boost function. The system is equipped with a recessed rest button that allows it to be reset to its original specifications and software.
Additionally, the GT-AX11000 provides the typical complement of four downstream gigabit LAN ports, in addition to its WAN broadband connection and 2.5G fast wired connection. There are also a pair of USB 3.0 ports for connecting a data drive or printer to the router for usage on a local network or for remote access.
In order to transmit on two 5GHz channels and one 2.4GHz band, the GT-AX11000 utilises the newest Wi-Fi 6 specification. On the whole, it is capable of transmitting data at rates as high as 10.8Gbps to wireless devices, making it one of the most powerful routers currently available.
The GT-AX11000 proved to be a capable gaming router at our Utah test facility, where we used 802.11ac devices and Ixia’s ixChariot software to simulate a busy network. However, it was not the fastest router available. In the end, it was the Archer C5400X from TP-Link that took home the top honour, as it was able to offer up to 859.5Mbps at 15 feet in comparison to 615.7Mbps for the GT-AX11000, a 40 percent performance advantage.
The GT-AX11000, on the other hand, provided 642.3Mbps at 5 feet, which was 14% slower than the C5400X’s 733.9Mbps. But neither could keep up with the Archer C2300, which has the potential to transport data at speeds of up to 939.6Mbps at 5 feet and so remains the leader in the field of routers.
In the same way that a marathon runner finds his stride far from the starting line, the GT-AX11000 finds his stride at 733.4Mbps at 100 feet. Compared to the Archer C5400X (with 622.9Mbps) and the Netgear Nighthawk XR500, this is the fastest router on the market (at 514.5Mbps). In spite of being 150 feet away from the other routers, the GT-AX11000 had 501.8Mbps available for gaming, streaming movies and 4K videos, whereas the Archer C5400X and the Nighthawk XR500 could only manage 383.3Mbps and 342.2Mbps, respectively, on the same connection.
But in the real world, the GT-AX11000 had problems getting its signal past a metal wall barrier, only transmitting 444.3Mbps to the opposite side of the barrier. In comparison, the Archer C5400X was able to provide 853.7Mbps, which is little less than half of the total bandwidth. While it performed better with the soundboard and ceiling barriers, with 807.2Mbps and 620.2Mbps accessible for devices, it still fell short of the Archer C5400X’s 832.3Mbps and 786.2Mbps, respectively, in terms of throughput.
Although the GT-AX11000 had a range of 95 feet in my older 3,500 square foot home, it was only able to provide a partial coverage of the house with Wi-Fi. However, although the router provided coverage for an outdoor porch, a section of the basement was left without wireless connectivity. The Netgear Nighthawk XR500 Pro Gaming Router, on the other hand, has a range of 115 feet.
In addition to playing games and watching movies, I used the GT-AX11000 for more basic household tasks such as sharing emails and accessing the internet. It gave me a great reaction, and it never let me down, passing my informal saturation test with flying colours. A Samsung Tab Pro S was used to transfer files on and off a network-attached storage system while I was using the router to play an internet radio station on my Macbook while I was using a Surface Pro 3 and an iPad Pro to view HD and 4K films. Both skips and dropouts were avoided, and the system performed flawlessly.
It never became hot to the touch while doing its data-intensive tasks and only used 13.2 watts of electricity while doing so. According to the manufacturer, this is comparable to the 13.4-watt power consumption of the TP-Link C5400X but approximately a third more than the 10.1-watt consumption of the Linksys WRT32X According to the national average energy rate (13.3 cents per kilowatt-hour), it should cost around $15 more per year in additional electricity bills.
The TP-Link Talon AD7200 has the appearance of a router that should not be trifled with. Its eight beamforming antennas are responsible for both its distinctive appearance and its outstanding performance features. The router is capable of supporting three different wireless networks at the same time: 60 GHz (4600 Mbps), 5 GHz (1733 Mbps), and 2.4 GHz (800 Mbps).
This is useful for a few of reasons. For starters, most common routers operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency range, which may cause traffic congestion and signal interference concerns in certain cases. The easiest and most efficient solution to prevent these issues is to choose a less-used wireless band, such as 5 GHz or 60 GHz, which are less frequently used.
Secondly, having numerous wireless networks gives you the option of separating work from leisure, allowing you to reduce slowdowns caused by unexpected surges in network traffic. Therefore, even if other WiFi users are streaming high-definition material and playing demanding online games at the same time, your email client will remain responsive.
This router is equipped with an extremely strong dual-core CPU running at 1.5 GHz, which is capable of managing many connections at the same time. Two USB 3.0 connections allow for quick data transmission throughout the network, while four Gigabit Ethernet ports give desktop PCs, televisions, and other connected devices with ultra-speed wired Internet access across the network.
The DIR-895L/R ($349.00 at Amazon Canada) has the same pyramid-shaped, cherry-red design as the DIR-890L/R, but it measures 5.8 by 16.4 by 10.3 inches (HWD), which is a few of inches larger than the smaller DIR-890L/R. It contains eight detachable and adjustable external antennas, as well as a strip of LED indicators on the top of the device that indicate power, 2.4GHz and 5GHz band activity, USB activity, and Internet connection. In addition to four Gigabit Ethernet ports, a WAN port, two USB 2.0 ports, and a button that toggles between router and extender mode, the router’s back panel has power and WPS buttons, as well as a button that toggles between router and extender mode.
A 1.4GHz dual-core CPU and three radio bands with potential data speeds of up to 5,332Mbps (1,000Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 2,166Mbps on each of the two 5GHz bands) are housed inside the device. It’s a 4X4 router, which means it delivers data via four distinct streams at the same time. It also has all of the newest 802.11ac Wi-Fi technologies, including MU-MIMO simultaneous streaming, beamforming (signal steering), and Smart Connect capabilities (automatic band switching). It also supports DD-WRT Open Source, which is a Linux-based firmware that provides custom options that enable you to fine-tune the router’s performance to your liking.
There are striking similarities between the Web-based control panel and the D-Link AC1900 EXO Wi-Fi Router (DIR-879) ($349.00 at Amazon Canada), which is employed on the latter device. It is also possible to control the router from a smartphone by utilising the mydlink Lite mobile application. The main page of the console shows a network map with basic data, such as client IP addresses and DHCP information, and gives alarms if there is a problem with the network connection. Additionally, in addition to a Setup Wizard, the Settings menu includes an Internet page where you can setup DHCP, IPv4, and IPv6 network parameters, along with a Wireless page where you can define the network’s SSID, password, security, and channel-width settings. In addition, you may activate access schedules and configure guest network access from this page. Drag-and-drop Quality of Service settings, Firewall configurations, Port Forwarding and Virtual Server configurations, and Website Filter configurations are all available under the Advanced menu. This is where you can monitor system logs and network statistics, make access schedules, and upgrade the router’s firmware, all from one convenient location.
The DIR-895L/R may be easily installed with the help of the Setup Wizard. When you connect your PC to the router with the accompanying Ethernet wire, you can access the wizard by going to http://dlinkrouter.local./ in the address bar of your Web browser. The wizard will guide you through the fundamentals of Internet and wireless settings, and it will take less than five minutes to complete.
The DIR-895 L/R performed well in throughput testing. When we used three identical Acer Aspire R13 laptops, each equipped with Qualcomm’s QCA61x4A MU-MIMO circuitry, we were able to achieve a speed of 264Mbps, which is the greatest speed we’ve observed from any MU-MIMO router to yet. While the TP-Link Talon achieved a throughput of 226Mbps, the Linksys EA9500 Max-Stream AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit Router ($349.00 at Amazon Canada) achieved a throughput of 210.3Mbps, and the Zyxel AC2200 MU-MIMO Dual-Band Wireless Gigabit Router (NBG6815) achieved a throughput of 148Mbps. We tested the DIR–895 L/R at 30 feet and found it to be faster than the TP-Link Talon (113Mbps) and the ZyXel NBG6815 (87.3Mbps), but not faster than the Linksys EA9500 (which scored 134.5Mbps) (162.3Mbps).
The router also performed well in our 5GHz throughput testing, achieving outstanding results. In the close-proximity test, it outperformed the Linksys EA9500 (450Mbps), the Netgear Nighthawk X4S Smart Wi-Fi Router (R7800)($349.00 at Amazon Canada) (491Mbps), and the TP-Link Talon (440Mbps), but not the Asus RT-AC88U Dual Band Router($349.00 at Amazon Canada) (537Mbps). For distances of 30 feet, it had 324Mbps, outpacing the competition, which included the Linksys EA9500 (258Mbps), the Netgear R7800 (247Mbps), and the TP-Link Talon (237Mbps).
The DIR-895L/score R’s of 98.4Mbps in the close-proximity test, achieved while operating on the 2.4GHz band, was comparable to that of the Linksys EA9500 and the TP-Link Talon (both of which achieved 98.9Mbps), although somewhat slower than that of the Netgear R7800 (105Mbps). The DIR-895L/R achieved 71Mbps at 30 feet, compared to the Netgear R7800’s 52.3Mbps and the Linksys EA9500‘s 79.1Mbps at the same distance. The TP-Link Talon had a slightly better score of 79.8Mbps, placing it in first place.
Using a 1.5GB folder containing a mixture of audio, video, document, and image files and a USB drive attached to the router’s USB connection, we evaluated file-transfer speed. 78.3MBps read speed and 39.5MBps write speed were achieved by the DIR-895L/R, indicating that it is a very fast reader and a good writer. A read speed of 38.5 megabits per second and a write speed of 35.5 megabits per second were achieved by the Linksys EA9500, while the TP-Link Talon achieved 56.8 and 27.9 megabits per second, respectively.
The Nighthawk RAX120 seems to be a carbon copy of the Nighthawk RAX80, which we examined earlier this year. It has the same double wing design as the original Star Wars model, measuring 6.5 by 13.5 by 8.5 inches (HWD) when the “wings” are completely extended, and is finished in a matte black finish. Top of the router has tiny LED indications for power, LAN (five), USB, Wi-Fi, and WPS, as well as Wi-Fi on/off and WPS buttons. Bottom of the router has a small LED indicator for power and LAN (five). There are four gigabit LAN ports (two of which may be set for link aggregation), a WAN port, and a 5GbE port for high-speed Ethernet access located on the rear of the device. You’ll also find power and reset buttons, as well as a power jack, in this area.
The RAX120 is equipped with a quad-core CPU running at 2.2GHz, 512MB of RAM, and 1GB of flash memory. In total, it has 12 streams (four streams on the 2.4GHz band and eight streams on the 5GHz band), and it can achieve maximum (theoretical) speeds of up to 1.2Gbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 4.8Gbps on the 5GHz band. It is a dual-band router with four streams on the 2.4GHz band and eight streams on the 5GHz band. However, unlike other routers such as the TP-Link AX6000 and the Asus RT-AX88U, the RAX120 supports the latest WPA3 encryption protocol. There are various more 802.11ax technologies that are supported, including 8×8 MU–MIMO data streaming, direct-signal beamforming, 1024-QAM data transmissions, and OFDMA data transmissions.
In addition to using the same mobile app and web management console as the Nighthawk RAX80, you can use the RAX120 to perform basic Wi-Fi and internet configuration tasks, such as pausing and resuming network access for any device with the touch of a button, and running Speedtest, but you’ll need to use the web console to perform advanced settings such as link aggregation, Port Forwarding, Port Triggering, and VPN (Virtual Private Network) configuration tasks.
The Wireless and Internet settings, as well as the Guest Network and Quality of Service settings, Attached Devices, and ReadySHARE USB devices are all found on the Basic screen. Configure settings for the Media Server, see system logs and perform firmware updates while also viewing network data on the Advanced page. You can also set up access schedules and restrict websites and services, but you won’t receive the age-appropriate parental controls or anti-malware capabilities that are included with the TP-Link AX6000. You can also set up access schedules and block websites and services.
I was able to get the RAX120 up and operating within minutes. I began by connecting the router to my cable modem and my desktop computer, then turning it on and off. When I opened a browser on my PC and entered http://www.routerlogin.net, the installation procedure was automatically activated. It took around 15 seconds for the router to establish a connection to the internet after I created an admin password and configured two security questions. Once I verified that my firmware was up to current, I set a new Wi-Fi password and completed the installation, it was complete.
As our customer, I used a Dell XPS 13 laptop equipped with a Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650s (802.11ax) network adapter to execute PCMag Labs’ wireless router testing method on the RAX120. A score of 125Mbps was achieved on the 2.4GHz close-proximity (same-room) test, which was only slightly quicker than the TP-Link AX6000 and somewhat slower than that achieved by the Asus RT-AX88U. The RAX120 achieved a speed of 63Mbps at a distance of 30 feet, outperforming both the TP-Link AX6000 and the Asus RT-AX88U in the same test.
The RAX120’s throughput performance at 5GHz was really excellent. When tested in close proximity, it outperformed the TP-Link AX6000 by 64Mbps and the Asus RT-AX88U by 57Mbps, according to the manufacturer. The RAX120 achieved a score of 417Mbps on the 5GHz 30-foot test, which was more than 100Mbps faster than the TP-Link AX6000 and the Asus RT-AX88U, respectively.
Using an external USB 3.0 drive connected to the router and a desktop PC to transfer a 1.5GB folder including picture, video, audio, and office document files, we can measure the transfer performance of both the write and read speeds. The RAX120 achieved a write speed of 69MBps, outperforming the Asus RT-AX88U but falling short of the TP–Link AX6000. The RAX120 also achieved a speed of 69MBps on the read test, however the TP-Link AX6000 and the Asus RT-AX88U were both slightly faster in this category.
Three low-profile Eero Pro 6 nodes measure 2.1 by 5.3 by 5.3 inches (HWD) apiece, which is much larger than prior Eero models. The system costs $599 and includes three nodes that are both attractive and functional. Each node offers wireless coverage for 2,000 square feet, with one node acting as the main router and the other two functioning as mesh nodes. One node serves as the primary router, while the other two serve as mesh nodes. You may also buy a single node for $229 or a two-pack for $399 if you find the three-pack to be excessive for your networking requirements.
However, unlike the Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8, the nodes do not have USB connectivity or the multi-gigabit capabilities of the Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8. The nodes are equipped with two auto-sensing gigabit LAN ports and one power port. The processor is a 1.4GHz quad-core processor with 1024MB of RAM, 4GB of flash memory, and a Bluetooth radio built in. The Eero Pro 6 features a Zigbee radio, similar to the one found in the TP-Link Deco M9 Plus Mesh Wi-Fi System, which enables you to connect to and operate a wide range of smart home devices, including cameras, lighting, switches, and thermostats.
In terms of data speeds, the Eero Pro 6 is a tri-band AX4200 system that can achieve up to 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz (2X2) band, up to 1,201Mbps on the 5GHz (2X2) band, and up to 2,402Mbps on the secondary 5GHz (4X4) band. It is based on the Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) standard and includes features such as WPA3 encryption, Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) data transfers, MU-MIMO simultaneous data streaming, and direct-to-client signal beamforming. It is available in a variety of configurations. However, it does not support channel bandwidths greater than 160MHz.
A similar situation exists to that of the Eero system that we reviewed last year: the Eero Pro 6 does not include any of the free parental controls or anti-malware tools that are included with systems such as the TP-Link Deco X60 AX3000 Whole Home Mesh WiFi System and the Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 (both of which we reviewed last year). Instead, you’ll need to sign up for an Eero Secure subscription.
You may establish separate user accounts with the Eero Secure plan, which costs $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year. You can also apply content filters to limit access to adult-oriented websites, and utilise the ad blocker to remove pop-up advertisements. It also analyses visited websites and compares them to a database of known risks in order to protect you from accidentally visiting a harmful page or website. The Secure Plus plan, which costs $9.99 per month or $99 per year, includes everything included in the Secure plan, as well as Malwarebytes malware protection, Encrypt.me VPN protection, and the 1Password password management software. There are no Quality of Service (QoS) options, which would allow you to assign bandwidth to client devices for activities such as video streaming, online gaming, and big file downloads.
As with the 2019 Eero system, the Pro 6 is controlled through an Android and iOS mobile app. The app also supports Alexa voice commands, which can be used to do tasks such as turning on and off guest networking and pausing network access for specified clients. The gadget also has compatibility for Amazon Wi-Fi Simple Setup, which makes use of the settings from Amazon Echo devices and Fire TV Sticks to assist in quickly and simply configuring new devices.
The network name, internet connection status, and the names of each Eero node are shown on the app’s home screen. When you choose a node, you can see how it’s connected (wired or wireless), its location and IP address, as well as which clients are connected to it. When you select the internet status tab, you can perform a speed test that evaluates upload and download speeds. To add additional devices, establish a profile, and invite people to your guest network, click on the + symbol in the upper right corner of the screen.
The tabs for Profiles, Computers and Personal, and Recently Online are located underneath the node tabs. You can manage individual users, provide parental control filters, schedule access hours, and allocate devices to each individual user using the Profiles feature. By pressing the client name under the Computers and Personal page, you may get information about the customers who are currently connected. You may check the client’s profile information and see which parental control filters have been activated for that client. You can also monitor real-time bandwidth activity and see which node the client is connected to from this page. The Recently Online page allows you to view which clients have recently connected to the network and when they were last active. You may also ban access to the network or halt internet access for any client by selecting it from the drop-down menu.
When you return to the home screen, you’ll see buttons for Home, Activity, Discover, and Settings at the bottom of the screen. A quick press of the Home button sends you back to your home screen, while a press of the Activity button takes you to a page where you can see the results of your speed tests and security information such as how many scans were performed and how many threats and advertisements were stopped. The information is presented in visually appealing charts that are simple to understand.
To see your Eero Secure membership status, activate ad blocking, and enable the SafeSearch function, which filters out problematic sites and pictures from Bing and Google search results, choose the Discover button from the Eero Secure menu. The Settings button leads you to a page where you may make changes to the network name and password, enable guest networking and alerts, and update the firmware, amongst other options. Advanced configuration options include DHCP and NAT configurations, IPv6 and UPnP configurations, and port forwarding configurations.
Most of your devices are unlikely to support Wi-Fi 6 or Wi-Fi 6E, the most recent Wi-Fi standards, at this time. (It’s something that the greatest computers and phones can accomplish, and it’s becoming increasingly widespread.) This new standard is supported by almost all of the mesh routers on this list, although they are also backward compatible with earlier Wi-Fi protocols. More information may be found in our router buying guide.
A general rule of thumb in home networking says that Wi-Fi routers operating on the traditional 2.4 GHz band reach up toÂ u003cstrongu003e150 feet (46 m) indoorsu003c/strongu003eÂ and 300 feet (92 m) outdoors. Older 802.11a routers that ran on 5 GHz bands reached approximately one-third of these distances.
In some situations, mesh Wi-Fi canÂ u003cstrongu003eallow for faster speeds, better reliability and greater wireless coverage of your homeu003c/strongu003eÂ than a conventional router would. As systems, they’re also very scalable and quick to customise.