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The best Wi-Fi routers

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The best Wi-Fi routers

We’ve tested a few other routers we like and have several more in the queue. These are not as good as the previous picks, but they are worth considering.

Vodafone Pro II from €39 per month: People in the UK looking for a new Internet Service Provider (ISP) should check out Vodafone’s Pro II. While ISPs have traditionally provided poor quality routers to their customers, that appears to be changing. The Vodafone Pro II is a tri-band router that supports Wi-Fi 6E and delivered blazing-fast speeds in my tests on par with many of my previous picks. Range is limited, especially on the 6 GHz band, but this service comes with a range extender that appears as part of the same network. You can also get a 4G backup that connects to Vodafone’s mobile network to keep you online in case your regular internet connection fails. It’s only available with a two-year Vodafone service contract, from £39 a month.

Firewalla Gold SE for $449: This quirky wearable device is perfect for people who care about security and privacy. It offers comprehensive tools to monitor all traffic in and out of your home, robust and detailed parental controls, ad blocking, and enhanced security with a built-in firewall and VPN option. It serves as a router, but you’ll want to pair another router in hotspot mode for Wi-Fi in your home. It’s expensive and can be intimidating for inexperienced people, but it offers deep insight into your network and an impressive depth of security features without an additional subscription. The Gold SE has two 2.5 Gbps ports and two gigabit ports and is suitable for people with up to 2 gigabit connections. If your Internet is only one gigabit, try the more affordable, but slightly less capable, Purple Firewall ($359) (8/10, WIRED recommends).

TP-Link Archer BE800 for $600: With a new design that’s more desktop PC than router, the BE800 tri-band beast (8/10, WIRED Review) came in at or near the top in my tests at 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz . GHz bands, proving to be impressively fast for file transfers and downloads. It also features plenty of fast ports, an interesting but useless customizable dot-matrix LED display, and the Tether app offers a guest network, IoT network, VPN server or client, EasyMesh, QoS for prioritization. devices and remote administration. This was our Wi-Fi 7 pick, but the Asus RT-BE96U outperformed it in my tests and doesn’t require a subscription. TP-Link’s HomeShield Pro at $6/month or $55/year offers full-featured parental controls and network security.

Reyee RG-E6 for $150: This affordable gaming router from Reyee came very close to unseating our previous budget gaming pick (TP-Link Archer GX90) after some impressive test results. It’s only a dual-band router, but with support for 160 MHz channels, speeds on the 5 GHz band were very good. It has a 2.5 Gbps WAN/LAN and three gigabit LANs, but no USB ports. The Reyee app offers device prioritization, ports and game traffic, separate guest and IoT networks, and basic parental controls. What it lacks is security and the application is poorly translated. But if that doesn’t bother you, this is probably the best gaming router you can get for the money.

TP-Link Archer AXE75 for $200: While this tri-band router makes Wi-Fi 6E affordable, its performance was mixed. The 6 GHz band offers fast speeds at short distances, but slows down dramatically with distance. I found the 5GHz band somewhat inconsistent, recording fast performance in most of my tests but relatively slow results on some occasions. You also need a HomeShield Pro subscription if you want full-featured parental controls and network security, and the four Ethernet ports are limited to 1Gbps.

Synology WRX560 for $220: If you already have the Synology RT6600ax mentioned above, the WRX560 is a decent additional device for setting up a mesh network. I had a few issues with setup that required a factory reset, but once up and running, the WRX560 offers a strong and stable signal on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. However, a dual Wi-Fi 6 router band is a tough sell at this price, so if you only need one, it’s worth spending the extra $80 for the RT6600ax.

TP-Link Archer AX5400 Pro for $200: This dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router is almost identical to the Archer AX73, except for the 2.5Gbps WAN port. It offers relatively fast speeds on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands and has a channel width of 160 MHz on 5 GHz. Range is good and easily covers my house and garden, but performance was inconsistent. It was also relatively slow when it came to moving files locally. There’s support for TP-Link OneMesh, VPN, and QoS, but you only get basic parental controls and network security unless you subscribe to HomeShield Pro.

MSi RadiX AXE6600 for $164: This Wi-Fi 6E tri-band gaming router has that familiar red and black Sith spider look, although you can customize the lighting. It proved very fast in most of my tests, nearing the top of the table at short ranges in the 6 GHz band and offering average performance in the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands. But the mobile app had options limited, confusing design, and buggy (it crashed on me more than once). The web interface was better, with more options, including open VPN, simple parental controls, guest networking, and QoS optimization for games. Unfortunately, performance was inconsistent and I suffered random crashes twice in a week of testing.

Linksys Hydra Pro 6E for $280: One of the first Wi-Fi 6E tri-band routers (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz) to hit the market, the price has dropped significantly since its launch. It was easy to set up and has a very simple app, although it was often slow to load. It has one 5Gbps WAN port and four gigabit LAN ports. Performance proved reliable, and ultra-fast speeds at close range are possible if you have a device that supports Wi-Fi 6E. Coverage and speeds at medium and long range were average. There are free basic parental controls that let you block sites and schedule downtime, but only per device (no profiling or age restriction filters). You can split bands if you want and prioritize three devices. There’s also a guest networking option and easy Wi-Fi sharing. Another positive is that this router works with any other Linksys Intelligent Mesh router (including the Velop Mesh range).

Linksys Hydra 6 for $110: Specs-wise, this compact router is similar to our top pick (TP-Link Archer AX55). It is a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router with a gigabit WAN and four gigabit LAN ports. Setup was easy and uses the same Linksys app as the previous Pro 6E, so you get free parental controls, guest networking, prioritization and band splitting. It was fast at close range and not bad at medium range, but if your home is larger than 1,600 square feet, you may struggle. However, as an Intelligent Mesh router, it can be combined with other Linksys routers or their Velop Mesh system. Linksys suggests a limit of 25 connected devices. Although it managed 40+ without issue in my tests, busy households will probably want something more powerful.

Reyee RG-E5 for $100: Based on performance alone, I was impressed with this dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router. It offered great coverage, very fast speeds on the 5 GHz band, and solid stability. You can also mesh with other Reyee routers and the app has free parental controls. On the downside, security is lacking (no WPA3, no 2FA, no anti-malware), you have to create an account on Ruijie Cloud (Ruijie is the Chinese parent company), and the poorly translated app is a bit confusing.

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