The Asus ZenWiFi XD6 is one of the best mid-range Wi-Fi 6 mesh routers I have tried so far. I was particularly impressed at the speeds at the furthest ends of my home. Setting up the mesh routers is also extremely simple with the Asus Router app (for iOS and Android). I tested a 2-pack version that consists of two routers pre-paired at the factory. Set up the first one, and the second router will automatically be part of the mesh network when you turn it on.
- Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (AX5400)
- 4 Gigabit ports (3 LAN and 1 WAN)
- Parental controls and adaptive QoS
- Coverage of up to 5,400 sq feet (501 sq m) with 2 units
The XD6 is a dual-band model like the entry-level ZenWiFi AX Mini. However, the former comes with four Gigabit ports instead of the two on the budget AX Mini. There's no USB port on either of these mesh routers though. The XD6 also lacks a dedicated wireless backhaul — typically found in tri-band models like the Asus ZenWiFi AX (ET8) — that can improve the Wi-Fi performance. But if you have wired your home with Ethernet ports, the XD6 can use these ports to connect multiple nodes via Ethernet cable. This Ethernet backhaul also offers better performance than wireless backhaul.
A major difference between the XD6 and the cheaper AX Mini lies in their built-in AiProtection software suite. The XD6 comes with the Pro version that offers more features, such as an intrusion prevention system that monitors the network for malicious activity. As a parent, I found the Pro suite's content filter very useful. Simply specify your child's age and device and the filter will block certain types of online content based on the age. I could also access these parental controls using the Asus Router app even when I'm outside. There's also an Instant Guard feature that creates a VPN using the XD6 for your devices when they are on public Wi-Fi networks. But I did not test this, as this feature requires a public WAN IP address for the router.
One of the key benefits of Wi-Fi 6 is that all client devices, like notebooks that use the Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 adapter, support the 160MHz channel. This wider 160MHz channel — up from 80MHz — offers significantly faster speeds. In my testing, I recorded an average download speed of 886Mbps between two notebooks in the same room. This was pretty good, but I was surprised by the performance when I moved one of the laptops to a distant bedroom. The speed dipped to 468Mbps, but it was still faster than expected (200 to 300Mbps).
The Asus ZenWiFi XD6 offers excellent performance for its price. It also comes with a solid feature set, from its comprehensive software suite to its four Gigabit ports. My only nitpick would be its lack of a dedicated wireless backhaul. The XD6 is reasonably priced at S$499 (2-pack). It's available now at Shopee and Lazada.
Note: Review unit provided by Asus.
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