Rebecca Isaacs is a writer and an educator. She covers all sorts of products, from video games to e-readers and light therapy alarm clocks to standing desks.
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Lifewire / Rebecca Isaacs
Compact, fashionable design
Parental and security controls
Potentially incompatible with older computers
The SUS ZenWiFi mesh router is arguably one of the finest options on the market thanks to its great coverage, tri-band speeds, and Wi-Fi 6 standard.
We purchased the ASUS ZenWiFi AX6600 for one of our writers to test. Read on for the full product review.
Whether it’s PC gaming or working from home, having a reliable, fast internet connection that covers your entire home is a necessity. Investing in a home mesh WI-Fi network, specifically, the ASUS ZenWiFi AX6600, turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in terms of not only my gaming experience but also my work-from-home life. Read on for my thoughts on the Wi-Fi 6 speeds, compatibility, and connectivity over two weeks of testing.
Most Wi-Fi routers look like they came straight out of a science fiction film, with sloping edges and fancy overlays that look out of place in most homes. The ZenWifi’s design sticks with a classic, rectangular shape and comes in two colors: cream and black. At 3.0 x 6.3 x 6.4inches (LWH), it is small enough to fit on any side table.
A tiny light on the front of the device will let you get a quick read on your device. Three LAN ports also make it really easy to port your PC or home security system to the router. It also comes with a USB port to ensure you have complete compatibility with all of your home tech.
After going through a few routers before the ASUS ZenWifi, setting up the ZenWifi was a refreshing, simple experience. Unlike some of its market competitors, setup is easy with a couple of taps through the ASUS Router app, where you can set up your router to meet your daily needs. If you have young children, you can also set up parental controls and a password in the initial setup, but if you need to go back and alter them later, the app makes it easy to do so.
After going through a few routers before the ASUS ZenWifi, setting up the ZenWifi was a refreshing, simple experience.
Heads up, though, the AiMesh router and the booster can go up to 5,500 square feet of space coverage. It doesn’t hurt to have that booster—especially if you want to ensure you can plug your PC into the wired LAN connection—but you will have to complete another light layer of setup to get it going.
When I first finished setting up the ZenWifi, I was excited to try out the Wi-Fi 6 internet feature. Wi-Fi 6, builds upon the Wi-Fi 5 and improves reliability, speeds, and security to ensure a smoother internet experience. And, when you’re a gamer like me, that reliability coupled with higher speeds is essential.
Swapping out my old router for the ZenWifi changed my gaming life—the first time I checked my internet speed, I saw speeds skyrocket to 300Mbps.
Before I plugged into the ZenWifi, my speeds ran around 120Mbps wireless and about 50Mbps under a LAN wired connection on my MSI gaming laptop. Swapping out my old router for the ZenWifi changed my gaming life—the first time I checked my internet speed, I saw speeds skyrocket to 300Mbps. Since my internet plan opts for 300Mbps maximum, this was on point with the speeds I wanted.
These speeds and low latency levels of 6ms unloaded, and 18ms loaded, held consistently throughout two weeks of testing. Not once did I lag in any video game played. Asus also claims that the router and its booster can work in a space of up to 5,600 square feet. While my space isn’t nearly that large, I didn’t experience any places in the apartment where my coverage ebbed or waned.
To make things easier on families, ZenWifi also has real-time tracking. In the event you have any questions about bandwidth, you can check the app to see when you’re using it the most and how. I was able to check and see that my smartphone and laptop were connected. This feature makes it really easy to enable the Gaming Boost feature, which boosts bandwidth-heavy tasks, to ensure that games run smoothly while still being able to binge that new Netflix show.
What I found especially cool was I could go into the app and see exactly what was connected to the ZenWifi, and how much bandwidth it pulled.
Video gaming aside, the ZenWifi comes with boosters for everything. Going into the app, I could set the router to prioritize working from home devices to ensure my workday isn’t interrupted. Or, if I wanted to finally binge “The Queen’s Gambit," I could get that sweet 4K streaming with the tap of my phone. What I found especially cool was I could go into the app and see exactly what was connected to the ZenWifi, and how much bandwidth it pulled. With the ASUS ZenWifi, you can customize everything, from the boosters to the very device that is connected to the router.
One large hiccup to note: when I went to plug in my company laptop (age unknown) to the Wi-Fi, it would not let me connect to the network. In order to get it connected wirelessly, I would have had to update the laptop and follow the ASUS-approved steps to have it capable of running Wi-Fi 6. Instead, I found it easier to simply plug the laptop into the router via one of the three LAN ports. Users who have older machines, or even older company computers, may want to consider investing in an Ethernet cable to circumvent this glitch.
For the somewhat high price of around $450, the ASUS ZenWifi can be a great addition to your home network. You can get a cheaper mesh network option with Netgear’s tri-band Orbi Mesh Router, but the parental and security extra subscriptions can make that questionable for some users. You’re also going to get an extra 600 feet of coverage for that extra $150.
The closest competitor has to be the Orbi Mesh Router, and it makes sense—the Orbi has been considered a top-of-the-line mesh router. The Orbi offers great, smooth speeds of up to 3Gbps of wireless streaming, with 500Mbps guaranteed from any provider. However, if you’re worried about kids’ screen times or even your privacy, a look at the details will probably sell you on the ASUS rather than the Orbi. ASUS’ mesh router comes with complimentary parental controls and security systems.
The Orbi, on the other hand, offers a 30-day free trial before you have to pay $4.99 a month for those services. If you want fast and free parental coverage coupled with the extra reliability and security, it’s best to opt for the ASUS. However, if these features aren’t important to you, then the Orbi is your best option.
A great, expansive mesh network.
The ASUS ZenWifi AX6600 mesh router system is a wonderful way to have all of your Wi-Fi needs met, so long as the price isn’t too high for your budget. For parents, it’s an especially great system with its parental controls and security settings from the tap of a phone. Gamers will also appreciate its fast speeds and gaming boost features to ensure a smooth gaming experience.
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