As a long-time freelancer and work-from-homer, I’ve owned quite a lot of routers in my quest for the speediest and most pervasive potential Wi-Fi. I had the unique Apple Airport, adopted by the AirPort Excessive, the Linksys WRT3200ACM, and most lately, the Netgear Orbi RBK50.

Replace 3/25: Newegg is promoting the Orbi WiFi 6 router for $550 right now, taking $150 off the MSRP with code 3FNMDS36. This model is barely higher than the mannequin I personal and wrote about right here, with 1.2Gbps of bandwidth on the two.5Ghz community versus 900Mbps on the Costco mannequin I purchased.

Every time I changed my router, the speeds and protection enhance was measurable however comparatively muted. The leap from 801.11n (Wi-Fi 4) to 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) was noticeable, however not monumental. And upgrading to a mesh router was straightforward, nevertheless it didn’t ship an enormous leap in protection over the bridged Airport routers I used to be utilizing beforehand (I had configured one Airport as a router, and a second as a spread extender). Once I needed a velocity enhance, I paid for a higher-speed tier from my ISP.

However after I attached my new Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6 system (particularly, the Costco-exclusive Orbi RBK842-1CCNAS, which set me again $550), it was like going from dial-up to broadband. Sure, it’s an costly router. And Netgear’s barely quicker Orbi RBK852—accessible from different retailers—is even pricier. Amazon was promoting it for about $700 at this writing. Each fashions are tri-band mesh methods consisting of a router and one satellite tv for pc, however the Costco SKU delivers barely much less bandwidth on its 2.4GHz community: 900Mbps vs. 1.2Gbps.

Most of my consumer units have dual-band (2.4- and 5GHz) community adapters onboard, and those with 2.4GHz-only adapters don’t want excessive bandwidth, so I’m OK with it. The underside line is that this Wi-Fi 6 router is value each penny. And it’s not simply due to the straightforward setup and upkeep. On my porch, the place I used to be barely getting throughput of 20Mbps, I’m now getting round 100Mbps. I even examined it by placing the consumer in a closet with the door closed and I nonetheless topped 100Mbps.

orbi rbk152Netgear

The Netgear RBK852 is a high-end Wi-Fi 6 mesh router plus one satellite tv for pc.

I’ll be trustworthy, I didn’t anticipate such a lift, as my earlier Wi-Fi system was a lot good. I had Netgear’s Orbi RBK40 with an additional satellite tv for pc, and I had no complaints. Fairly frankly, I deliberate to return the the Wi-Fi 6 system if my benchmarks confirmed that it wasn’t lots quicker than what I had. Suffice to say, I’m conserving it. For the primary time since I’ve been hooking up Wi-Fi routers in my dwelling, I’m assured that I gained’t want to interchange this method for a few years to return, even when I choose to improve my web plan (each Netgear fashions are geared up with 2.5Gbps WAN ports).

Observe that I’m a router hobbyist and never an skilled, so I’m utilizing the Speedtest app to measure my connection to the web. Meaning the velocity between a server and a consumer on my dwelling community—which is how we extra usually benchmark Wi-Fi routers—could possibly be even quicker. When you have a gradual web connection, your personal Speedtest outcomes may be artificially low, as a result of they will’t be greater than what your ISP is offering.

Supercharged every thing

As with earlier generations of Wi-Fi, your consumer units might want to have Wi-Fi 6 adapters to squeeze probably the most profit from a Wi-Fi 6 router. However I skilled super velocity will increase even with shoppers that had older (Wi-Fi 5) adapters onboard. I’m speaking doubling—and in some circumstances—tripling throughput over my native community. My Wi-Fi 6 router enabled me to take significantly better benefit of the gigabit web service I’m paying my ISP for.

wifi5 speed tests IDG

The distinction between my new Wi-Fi 6 Orbi (the numbers contained in the yellow packing containers) and the Wi-Fi 5 mannequin is crystal clear.

Irrespective of which of my dwelling’s predominant rooms I take a look at in, I’m seeing common velocity readings of 500Mbps or extra, utilizing the identical units (outfitted with Wi-Fi 5 consumer adapters) that I did earlier than. For instance, my 2016 MacBook Professional, which is identical distance from the satellite tv for pc in my workplace because it was earlier than, now returns speeds between 500- and 600Mbps, and I can work method quicker in my work CMS. With my previous router, I’d get 200Mbps with that laptop computer on day, and round 50Mbps on common. I’m even topping 500Mbps in my bed room with the door closed, a location with out an Orbi satellite tv for pc, the place I acquired round 150Mbps earlier than.

Max out earlier than you could

My community’s efficiency can be far more constant. Earlier than, my velocity assessments would fluctuate drastically relying on the place I used to be in my home, or if my son was streaming a video on his iPad. Wi-Fi 6 not solely delivers greater velocity, it might probably additionally deal with extra wi-fi shoppers concurrently. Meaning my community isn’t as impacted by issues like video streaming or gaming—even when these shoppers don’t have Wi-Fi 6 adapters. Speeds fluctuate considerably, however they by no means dip beneath 350Mbps or so—which was the peak velocity with my Wi-Fi 5 system. And the wired connection (utilizing a CAT6 ethernet cable) to my AppleTV tops out at 900Mbps, about 50-percent greater than the 600Mbps I used to be getting earlier than and really near the precise velocity I’m paying my ISP for.

As we fill our properties with good units—plugs, switches, audio system, bulbs, thermostats, and what have you ever—Wi-Fi 6’s skill to deal with numerous wi-fi shoppers directly will develop into ever extra necessary. I have already got 55 wi-fi shoppers on my community, so you possibly can plainly see how adept Netgear’s Orbi RBK842 is.

And that’s simply the tip of the iceberg. As soon as every thing will get upgraded to Wi-Fi 6, I’m assured that my community shoppers will completely scream. The 2 Wi-Fi 6-compatible units that I used to be in a position to take a look at—a Samsung Galaxy S10+ and an iPhone 11—blew away the opposite wi-fi shoppers, with speeds better than 700Mbps after I was close to the principle router. And I didn’t lose a lot after I wandered. The slowest speeds I recorded with Wi-Fi 6 shoppers had been nonetheless greater than 600Mbps, greater than double what I used to be getting after they had been related to my Wi-Fi 5 Orbi system.

wifi 6 speed tests IDG

My Wi-Fi 6 Pixel 4 (left) acquired glorious speeds each close to the router and much away on the porch (proper), however it might probably’t compete with the Wi-Fi 6-enabled Galaxy S10 (middle).

However the greatest motive to plunk down a bunch of dough on a Wi-Fi 6 router isn’t for right now’s speeds, units, and use circumstances; it’s for tomorrow’s. Even when your ISP can’t ship gigabit broadband right now, a contemporary dwelling wants a router that may shortly transfer numerous knowledge from numerous shoppers inside it. And broadband suppliers will quickly be capable of supply very high-speed web nearly wherever, whether or not or not it’s through cable, 5G, or some new tech we haven’t considered. Apart from, nobody ever complains that one thing is just too quick.