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Test and review of 4 Wi-Fi 6 routers: Who's the fastest?

One of the most anticipated features of Wi-Fi 6 wireless routers is improved throughput over their Wi-Fi 5 predecessors, and we wanted to check whether they deliver.

Four vendors – Extreme, Cisco, EnGenius and Meraki (owned by Cisco) – provided access points (AP) for our test. Since the routers support both Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) and Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), we tested them against two Wi-Fi 5 and two Wi-Fi 6 clients and recorded the average throughput and the peak throughput during one-minute tests.

The results give a sense of the performance boost you might expect by upgrading to Wi-Fi 6, and the Wi-Fi 5 number is important because some Wi-Fi 5 clients are likely to be in use for a while after upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 APs.

When you read on past the results, we’ve got in-depth reviews and a comparison of important features of each of the APs – the Extreme (Aerohive) AP-650, Cisco Catalyst C9115, EnGenius EWS377 and Meraki MR55.

How we tested

We used network-performance software platform IxChariot (from Ixia, a Keysight Technologies business) to run throughput tests on the APs with four different wireless clients: Two Wi-Fi 5 – TP-Link AC600 USB Adapter and Galaxy S5 Phone – and two Wi-Fi 6 – Ubit AX200 PCI Adapter and Apple iPhone 11.

The IxChariot High_Performance_Throughput.scr script was installed on a test PC, on the phones and on the PCI/USB adapters. We simultaneously tested the TCP uplink (from the wireless client through the test AP to the test PC) and the TCP downlink (from the test PC through the test AP to the wireless client).

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