Should you buy a Wi-Fi 6 router in 2021?

TP-Link Archer AX90 backSource: Samuel Contreras / Android Central

Best answer: Yes, if you have an older router, you should consider moving up to Wi-Fi 6, especially since the prices have come down and new phones will likely support the tech. If you already have a fast Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) router, it won’t be worth it, however.

Speed and capacity upgrades on Wi-Fi 6 routers

If it’s time for you to buy a new router or you need to get your first router, it’s worth it to be ready for new Wi-Fi devices. Wi-Fi 6 can handle more devices at once compared to Wi-Fi 5 and will be able to keep speed and latency more consistently even under heavy load. Many of the best Android phones you can buy today support Wi-Fi 6, and allow for up to 1,200Mbps speeds compared to Wi-Fi 5’s typical 867Mbps.

Since most people keep their routers for years and may upgrade their phones or computers multiple times before getting a new router, it’s best to get a router that’s ready for the future. Thankfully, Wi-Fi 6 routers have come down in price and are finally ready for mainstream users.

There are a ton of options to choose from when it comes to WI-FI 6 routers whether, you’re looking for the best WI-FI 6 router you can get or a great cheap Wi-Fi 6 router. It really comes down to how much speed you need. For many people, the best bet is a cheaper router like the TP-Link Archer AX21 with a dual-band AX1800 connection. AX1800 routers support Wi-Fi 6 on both bands with around 600Mbps at 2.4GHz and 1,200Mbps at 5GHz. Since the majority of Wi-Fi 6 devices have a maximum connection speed of 1,200Mbps, it’s a good fit.

Wi-Fi 6 has enabled extremely fast connections in high-end routers with some tri-band models reaching AX11000. For most people, something like the Archer AX90 with a tri-band AX6600 connection will be a better fit. There are also some gaming-focused models designed to give you enough headroom that you’ll never be bottlenecked by your network during a game.

With a Wi-Fi 6 connection, the fastest WI-FI cards are capable of connections up to 2,400Mbps with 160MHz compared to 1733Mbps on Wi-Fi 5. Even with the slower 1,200Mbps, more Wi-Fi 6 devices will be getting, if you’re ready for a new router, it’s worth it to get one with WI-Fi 6.

Where does that leave Wi-FI 5?

Wi-Fi 5, or as it is more commonly known, 802.11ac, got darn fast at the end of its life, with many routers offering speeds well over 1 Gbps if you have a fast device. Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11ax, brings a lot of enhancements or routers, such as support for a larger number of devices as well as some more efficient power usage.

For most home users, Wi-Fi 5 routers can supply more than enough speed, and if you have a fast one, it might not be worth it to jump unless your router is struggling to keep up its speeds in a congested area. Similar to buying a smartphone from last year like a Galaxy Note 10, the performance may be good enough, and the software will be current, but it will reach its end-of-life sooner than the Note 20.

If you were going to buy a router today, Wi-Fi 5 just doesn’t make a ton of sense for the next few years you will have it. However, if you don’t, it’s worth it to go further and get a Wi-Fi 6-compatible router.

Fast Tri-band Wi-Fi 6

TP-Link Archer AX90 Wi-Fi 6 Tri-Band Router

TP-Link Archer AX90

Plenty of speed for your gigabit connection

The TP-Link AX90 is a very fast Wi-Fi 6 router with great capacity thanks to a tri-band AX6600 connection with 160MHz support.

Entry AX Mesh

Netgear Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6 Mesh MK62

Netgear Nighthawk MK62

Compact Wi-Fi 6 mesh networking

Build an understated Wi-Fi 6 mesh with the Netgear Nighthawk MK62 mesh routers. It can cover up to 3,000 square feet, even in tough conditions at AX1800 speeds.

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