TP-Link unveils Wi-Fi 6E routers and mesh systems

Regular Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is great, but Wi-Fi 6E will be even better -- that's why many consumers skipped Wi-Fi 6 and stuck with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac). But wait, what exactly is the difference? Does that letter "E" really matter? Actually, yes, because it indicates the use of a 6GHz band -- a much less crowded frequency compared to 2.4GHz or 5GHz. This extra bandwidth, lower latency, and reduced congestion is why Wi-Fi 6E is so exciting.

Of course, to truly take advantage of this new standard, you will need both a router and clients with the capability. Thankfully, popular networking hardware-maker, TP-Link, is rolling out an all-new lineup of Wi-Fi 6E routers. This company has quickly become one of my favorite router manufacturers thanks to reliability and affordable prices -- I recommend this sub-$80 router all the time.

Today at CES 2021, TP-Link announced it will launch two 6E mesh systems and two 6E standalone routers. If you aren't familiar, mesh is when multiple access points are used in conjunction to minimize dead spots in a home. While mesh can be beneficial, it is often overkill. A single powerful router should be fine for most homes.

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If you do want mesh, however, TP-Link will launch the Deco X96 (AX7800) and Deco X76 Plus (AX5400). Both are tri-band 6E systems, but the former offers a max combined speed of 7,800Mbps while the latter provides 5,400Mbps. The Deco X76 Plus is notable for serving as a smart hub, while the faster X96 does not. The Deco X96 apparently has "smart" antennas, though.

The company's standalone 6E routers are quite interesting too. The Archer AX96 is designed for average consumer and offers a combined speed of 7,800Mbps. The Archer AX206 (AX11000) is what is truly exciting however. It has true 10G Tri-Band WiFi, plus it has a 10Gbps WAN/LAN SFP+ port, a 10 Gbps WAN/LAN port, and a 2.5 Gbps WAN/LAN port. This is a multi-gig beast. The AX206 even has a 2GHz Quad-Core CPU and 1GB of memory.

Before you get too excited, none of these TP-Link Wi-Fi 6E routers or mesh systems are available today. In fact, TP-Link is mum on when they will hit stores (other than 2021) and pricing. In other words, you will probably have to wait a bit. That isn't terrible news though, as no one has Wi-Fi 6E devices to use with them anyway. When they are available, however, they will surely be on Amazon here, so be sure to keep checking.

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