The next generation of Wi-Fi is starting to arrive, and today TP-Link is unveiling its first family of next-gen products. There are six devices in total, ranging from high-end routers to a range extender, all of which use the new Wi-Fi 6 standard to deliver better performance and faster speeds.
At the top of the line is the Deco X10, a tri-band mesh router that’ll work with the rest of TP-Link’s Deco series to spread Wi-Fi signal throughout a home. There are basically zero devices that connect to Wi-Fi 6 signals right now, so there’s not much of a reason to upgrade yet, but the Deco X10 at least provides one: it’ll use Wi-Fi 6 to create a stronger link between routers, speeding up the overall connection. You’ll need two Deco X10 units to get that stronger connection, so when they launch later this year, TP-Link will be selling them in a two-pack. It’ll cost $349.99, which is pricey but not out of line with other high-end mesh router bundles.
After that is another high-end router, meant to be used on its own. The Archer AX11000 is a tri-band model being billed as a gaming router. It’s named after the router’s theoretical peak speeds — close to 11,000Mbps. Of course, you’re unlikely to get anywhere near that in actual speeds, but the router’s three bands (two 5GHz and a 2.4GHz) should mean fewer disruptions in a home with a lot of Wi-Fi devices. It’ll go on sale this month for $449.99.
Below that is the Archer AX6000, a dual-band router that takes advantage of Wi-Fi 6’s improved multi-connection support. It actually launched within the past week or so for $349.99.
And at the bottom end of the family is the AX1800 and AX1500, dual-band routers that don’t really do much in the way of fancy Wi-Fi 6 features — they mostly seem to be routers that just happen to support Wi-Fi 6. There’s still likely to be some speed improvements because of that, but they won’t be anywhere near as substantial as on those higher-end models. The AX1800 launches later this year for $129.99; there aren’t details yet on the AX1500, but it will be cheaper and may not launch in the US.
On top of all that, TP-Link has a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 range extender, the WiFi Range Extender RE705X, that’ll sell for $99.99 later this year.
Wi-Fi 6, previously known as 802.11ax Wi-Fi, is going to start launching throughout the year. We expect to see a bunch of initial products this week at CES, but the tech isn’t likely to really arrive for at least another year — and the transition could take even longer. Even though routers are starting to hit stores, consumer devices don’t support the new standard yet. And until they do, there’s almost no benefit from these faster routers, and no reason to upgrade.