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Why Your Smart Home Needs a Wi-Fi 6 Router




An Orbi Wi-Fi 6 Router on a counter by some books.

If you have dozens of Wi-Fi devices in your smart home, you might have noticed the network getting slower and slower. You might have upgraded to a mesh system and still struggled to keep everything running. That’s because most smart devices now cause network congestion, and there’s only one good solution—a Wi-Fi 6 router.

Z-Wave different than Wi-Fi smart home devices. While Z-Wave is a defined standard that follows specific rules, Wi-Fi isn’t when it comes to smart home devices. Amazon and a few other companies are trying to change that with a standard dubbed CHiP, but that’s a long way out.

Z-Wave has a specific advantage over both ZigBee (another smart home standard) and Wi-Fi-based gadgets. Z-Wave devices communicate over a lesser-used radio frequency—908.42 MHz—that won’t cause network congestion.

ZigBee and most Wi-Fi smart home gadgets communicate over the 2.4 GHz protocol. If you’re familiar with Wi-Fi networks, you likely know that your router can handle two “bands” of radiofrequency, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The latter is faster and less likely to become congested but doesn’t broadcast as far. It’s also more expensive to build into devices.

ZigBee and Z-Wave devices also automatically build smart home mesh networks from device to device, while Wi-Fi-based smart gadgets do not. But while Z-Wave and ZigBee have plenty of advantages, they’re fading way in favor of Wi-Fi devices.

Wi-Fi smart home devices don’t require hubs, and they’re easy to make Google Assistant and Alexa compatible. If you buy smart light bulbs for multiple rooms, a smart lock, video doorbell, and cameras, you’ve suddenly added dozens of Wi-Fi-connected devices in addition to your laptops, tablets, smartphones, and smart TVs.

Your smart home devices are overwhelming your router, thanks to the radios they use and the sheer number of them.

five Wi-Fi devices connected. Now we’re connecting far more Wi-Fi devices, even without smart homes. Additionally, Wi-Fi 5 routers can only broadcast to four devices simultaneously, and only one device can respond at a time.

And while theoretically Wi-Fi router software can handle “up to 250” devices, few consumer routers have the hardware to back that up. Your router can only communicate with so many devices at once, so the more you add, the more strain your router experiences. Even a mesh router won’t have the capacity to keep up. That’s where Wi-Fi 6 comes into play. 

Eero, SmartThings with Plume, and others.

But switching to a two-unit Wi-Fi 6 mesh router system solved the problem entirely. That’s right: A two-unit Wi-Fi 6 mesh unit can keep up with three simultaneous Zoom calls and run a 70-device network when a three or four-unit Wi-Fi 5 Mesh couldn’t.

Wi-Fi 6 is a next-generation standard designed for modern-day household needs and will do a better job of powering a smart home, a work-from-home life, or both. But it will come at a cost, and you will spend more money than you would buying a simple Wi-Fi 5 router.

NETGEAR Nighthawk 6-Stream AX5400 Wi-Fi 6 Router. What it lacks in an elegant name, it makes up for in power.

This NETGEAR router can handle up to six simultaneous streams and a 5.4 Gbps network. Given that few people have access to single gigabit speeds, that should be enough for most people. More importantly, it has the hardware to handle 60 or more connected devices without getting bogged down.

NETGEAR promises it’ll beam Wi-Fi out to the corners of a 2,500 square foot home, but your mileage may vary, depending on your walls and other surrounding interference.

Best Overall

Best Premium Wi-Fi 6 Router

If you know your smart home is huge and only growing, or you live in a work-from-home environment where multiple people need to make video calls simultaneously, the NETGEAR Orbi Whole Home Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System is all the router you’ll probably ever need.

It can easily handle 100 or more devices while accepting and broadcasting to eight simultaneously. Just two MESH units will cover a 5,000 square foot home, and each has four Ethernet ports.

The Orbi Wi-Fi 6 router can handle network speeds up to 6 Gbps, well beyond any current home’s need, making it truly future-proof.

Best Premium Wi-Fi 6 Router

Best Budget Wi-Fi 6 Router

Spending hundreds of dollars may not be something you can make happen right now, and that’s understandable. If you want to get started with Wi-Fi 6 and expand down the road, the Eero Pro 6 single unit should fit the bill.

Eero promises its single-unit router can support up to 75 connected devices and beam internet to far reaches of a 2,000 square foot home. Its top speed taps out at 1 Gbps, but few ISPs offer more than that anyway. The Eero router also supports ZigBee smart home devices, giving it access to more than just Wi-Fi-connected gadgets.

While sold as a single router, the Eero Wi-Fi 6 is a Mesh device, and you can add on additional router access points to expand its reach.

Best Budget Wi-Fi 6 Router


ZTE’s Axon 30 Extremely 5G Drops the Beneath Show Camera in Favor of a Teardrop




Three ZTE Axon 30 5G phones in black, green, and white.

Final 12 months when ZTE introduced the Axon 20 5G, it manufactured waves by hiding its front-going through digicam underneath the display screen. But while chopping edge, obscuring the camera below a screen predictably makes its individual established of complications. This year the ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G moves to a teardrop and techniques up the specs.

In the digicam department, the self lens is a standard 16 megapixel (MP) shooter housed in a teardrop at the higher center of the display screen. That’s technically a move again from final year’s 32 MP camera, but because it is uncovered, it will pretty potentially even now get greater images. As was the circumstance with last year’s Axon, ZTE went with a quad-digital camera format for the main digital camera process, but it’s a huge leap ahead in specs.

A black ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G

The phone’s principal digicam method will dwelling a 64 MP principal lens with optical impression stabilization, a further 64 MP portrait lens, and a third 64 MP ultrawide lens. Rounding all that out, it will feature an 8 MP telephoto lens with optical graphic stabilization. The business states the mobile phone will come with an AI scene detection that acknowledges 33 varieties of scenes, which include portrait and Tremendous Moon.

The latter ” utilizes multi-camera synchronization and fusion calculation to flawlessly combine the clarity of the moon and the clarity of the ecosystem to capture moonlight observed by the human eye.” ZTE guarantees big issues, but only a arms-on will say just how superior the pictures it can just take truly glance.

A gold ZTE Axon 30 Ultra 5G

Rapid charging is all the rage, and the ZTE managed to greatest OnePlus’s 65 Watt rapid charging by precisely one watt: the Axon 30 Ultra 56 has 66 Watt charging. That all goes to a 4, 600 mAh battery and relies on Qualcomm QC4+ speedy demand over a USB Kind-C 3.1 port. As the name indicates, you get 5G company, alongside with Wi-Fi 6e and Bluetooth 5.2.

Last year’s ZTE Axon 20 5G made use of a dated Snapdragon 765G processor, but the new Axon 30 Extremely 5G methods up to a Snapdragon 888 processor. You can pick from either 8 GB of RAM with 128 GB of storage or 12 GB of RAM with 256 GB of storage. And luckily, the mobile phone will have Android 11 out of the box.

A green ZTE Axon Ultra 5G

The display screen is a curved 6.67-inch AMOLED screen, with 2400×1080 resolution and guidance for HDR10/HDR10+. Corning Gorilla glass guards the front and back of the cellular phone. The display screen also properties the fingerprint sensor. To maintain every little thing amazing, ZTE went with a triple ice-sealed heat dissipation process (liquid cooling).

ZTE did not announce pricing or a launch date, but it will carry the ZTE Axon 30 Extremely 5G to the United States by way of its on-line internet site. It will appear in black, environmentally friendly, gold, and white. Another design, the ZTE Axon 30 Professional 5G, with lesser specs won’t make it to the States.

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