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The best Wi-Fi routers of 2020

Thanks to the arrival of Wi-Fi 6 And its promise of faster and more efficient connection performance, 2019 was an especially exciting year for wireless networks and Wi-Fi technology. And now, in 2020, it’s also worth paying attention to the arrival of new second-generation mesh network options, especially since many of them are considerably less expensive than the systems that preceded them.

All this has left us with a varied and extensive list of new models of Wi-Fi routers to evaluate. We continue to work diligently on it, but we have already found many excellent options that we can recommend. Whether you are interested in mesh systems, video game routers, Wi-Fi 6 compatible routers, or just want a good model that won’t bankrupt you, we are here to guide you in the right direction.

This note will be updated periodically as we continue our device testing. When we find a Wi-Fi router that deserves your attention, we’ll add it to this list with links to our most recent test data.

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Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Wi-Fi 6 is the latest and fastest version of Wi-Fi, and we hope to see many new compatible models in 2020. But if you want, you can upgrade to a Wi-Fi 6 router now for Wi-Fi performance. Faster and more efficient Fi on connected devices that support the new standard, such as iPhone 11 or the Samsung Galaxy S10. Wi-Fi 6 is backward compatible with older Wi-Fi versions, so your older devices will also be able to connect, but the new wireless router will not increase its speed.

All of which means it’s probably still too soon to buy a new Wi-Fi 6 router (and don’t forget to notice the difference in speed). you will need a really fast internet connection).

With that said, if you want to upgrade now, or if you need a new wireless router and want one that’s ready for the next generation of devices, then choose the Archer AX6000 from Tp link. Basically, this model shone in our performance tests, and recorded the highest transfer rates we’ve ever measured, plus excellent range and low latency.

The AX6000 was released at a price of $ 350, but we’ve seen it drop, even to $ 270. It’s definitely not a cheap device, even at that price, but if you find it on sale, it’s a good way to upgrade to a solid Wi-Fi network 6. If you can, wait a few months, as TP-Link will launch two new AX6600 routers during the year: The $ 300 AX90 in April and the $ 330 video game-focused GX90 in the summer (boreal). That probably means a price cut for the 2019 model.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

If you need to upgrade to a new wireless router, but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars, make sure the DIR-867 from D-Link be on your list. When we first tried it out, in 2018, it blew us away with constant Wi-Fi speeds and quite adequate features for its price. And when we tested it again, in late 2019, it lived up to high-end video game routers.

In fact, of all the routers we tested, the DIR-867 recorded the fastest average download speeds in the 2.4 GHz band, in both our top speed and real-world speed tests. This Wi-Fi router also performed well in the 5 GHz band, and outperformed several routers that cost much more. It didn’t perform the best in terms of its range of action, so it’s probably best suited for small homes, but you’ll still get a solid return for $ 100 or less.

Please note that D-Link announced its new line of routers for 2020 at CES. This includes Wi-Fi 6 compatible models starting at $ 120, which should start hitting stores in the coming months. We will be watching for new releases and we will inform you if it is worth paying the extra money in front of the DIR-867.

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With fast speeds, easy setup and useful and easy-to-use controls in your app, Google Wifi It was our best choice of mesh routers in the past three years. Its second generation model, Nest WifiIt is faster, cheaper and just as easy to set up and use. Additionally, range extension points now also function as smart speakers with Google Assistant. That, along with a new design that comes in multiple colors, is aimed at getting you to keep them in open places and in sight, where they’ll perform better.

It doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6 (and its Wi-Fi extenders for increasing your signal range don’t have Ethernet connectors, meaning you can’t connect them to the Wi-Fi router), but Nest Wifi adds a couple of good updates, including compatibility with new WPA3 security standards and also with 4X4 MU-MIMO connections, which means it can provide faster top speeds to devices using multiple Wi-Fi antennas. Priced at $ 269 for a two-device setup that can cover up to 3,800 square feet (about 350 square meters) (something we were able to verify when we tested it on both a small house and CNET’s 5,800 square foot smart home or 540 square meters), the dual-band Nest Wifi is the most complete mesh router on the market right now, and the first I would recommend.

Having said that, with all the new mesh systems just announced at CES 2020, including some that support Wi-Fi 6 and cost less than Nest Wifi, this year is shaping up to be very interesting (and buzzy) for the mesh router segment. If any of these new systems manages to dethrone the Nest, we will make sure to inform you in this space.

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It doesn’t have all the features of systems like Nest Nest’s Wifi, and the app controls you should use to set it up aren’t all that sophisticated, but other than that, the new budget system Orbi from Netgear It stands out for its good quality / price ratio in the category of mesh routers. Priced at just $ 150 for a two-device setup (the Wi-Fi router and a single-range WiFi extender), it is one of the cheapest mesh networks out there, and had comparable results to Nest devices. and Eero in our speed tests. And, for now, it’s for sale for a discounted price – just $ 130.

In fact, of those three systems, Netgear’s Orbi had the highest average top speed at close range, and when we tested it in that range at CNET’s smart home, it again outperformed the other two Wi-Fi systems. I even like its new design, with clever contours on the top that allow for stylish heat ventilation.

And what are the next Netgear news? Interestingly, this month will launch a new mesh system under the Nighthawk brand. It looks like this Orbi system except that it is black, and it supports Wi-Fi 6. It will be priced at just $ 230 for a two-device setup, and it is one of the next mesh systems we hope to test. We will have more information about it soon.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Priced from $ 700 for the two-device setup shown here, Wi-Fi version 6 of the Netgear Orbi (which I call Netgear Orbi 6) is much more expensive than the dual band version discussed above, but it is also much more powerful. Thanks to a second 5 GHz band serving as a dedicated backhaul network for system transmissions between the router and its satellites (by the way, at Wi-Fi 6 speeds), the system shone in our performance tests .

To be precise, the system delivered average speeds of 289 Mbps when I spent a few days testing speeds in various rooms in my home, where I have a 300 Mbps fiber optic internet plan. It’s an almost perfect result: one that no other system mesh I have tried has been able to match.

Is $ 700 worth of performance like this? I think most will find a better quality / price ratio if they buy something less expensive, and this year a variety of suitable options will hit the market. But if you are thinking about upgrading your gear right now and want the best performance in mesh systems that money can buy, this is your best choice.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

It is not so fast like Netgear’s Orbi 6, but the mesh router Asus ZenWiFi AX It has very close results, and its price, at $ 450 for a two-device package, is much more affordable. For that amount of money, you get almost everything you would have with Netgear equipment, including a multi-gigabit-capable WAN port and a dedicated backhaul band to keep transmissions between the router and your satellite separate from traffic. your network.

And while $ 450 is still quite a bit of money, this easy-to-use system proved to be extremely capable and reliable in our performance tests. That puts it at the sweet spot for those who want a mesh router that won’t lose relevance anytime soon and feel like a high-end upgrade.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Video game routers promise high performance and low latency for hardcore gamers, and it’s not uncommon to find them for sale for $ 300 or even $ 200. Priced at approximately $ 150, the dual-band router Asus RT-AC86U It is not very economical either, but it has a great quality / price ratio compared to other routers of this type, and also offers excellent performance.

Specifically, the RT-AC86U dual-band router recorded the highest average maximum speeds in the 5 GHz band of all the Wi-Fi 5 routers we tested. It was also the best router for video games in our dozens of latency tests, with a lower average ping than any other router we tested, including more sophisticated and expensive video game routers, and even a couple of Wi-Fi 6 models. Plus, the The router is controlled using an excellent application with numerous advanced network controls, including parental controls for your Wi-Fi network and options for device prioritization.

That includes everything most people want from a good gaming router and dual-band router, and for a price that allows us to recommend it to you. You can also wait until the end of this year, when Asus plans to launch the RT-AX86U, which adds Wi-Fi 6 support, but we don’t know how much that router will cost or when it will hit stores.

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