The mobile app offers a multitude of options and the web interface is even more in-depth. It's easy to split groups or create a guest network. I also found that the app recognized most devices correctly (it's sometimes difficult to identify devices from the hardware names assigned in router apps). And AiMesh is supported, which means you can easily add other Asus routers to expand your Wi-Fi system. The dedicated backhaul channel, the way the router communicates with its nodes and vice versa, is blazingly fast , ensuring you get the full speed of your Internet connection even from the node you placed near the backyard.
In contrast, my XT8 node initially refused to update its firmware, requiring multiple repair attempts. I also had an issue with my Sonos speakers disappearing, but I fixed it with a factory reset. Overall, using the XT8 was a smooth experience. It's simple enough for almost anyone to use, but the depth of options will satisfy experienced users.
This affordable Wi-Fi 6 package integrates parental controls and virus protection while providing decent coverage and performance, making it ideal for the average family home. I tested the AX1800 3-pack and it was very easy to set them all up. All three routers are quite small and sport a cylindrical design that fits well. It is a dual-band system (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz). There are two Gigabit Ethernet ports on each router.
Coverage and speeds are decent, well below the Asus XT8 but beating the Eero 6 (below). The app is simple and it's easy to set up a guest network. TP-Link HomeCare is free and features antivirus protection powered by Trend Micro and robust parental controls. It's a breeze to set up profiles with time limits and scheduled bedtimes, there are basic age filters, and you can view activity on the app and website.
The Quality of Service feature lets you prioritize activities like gaming or streaming or set priority devices. It's important to note that you can split the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands to view them as two separate Wi-Fi networks. This is convenient because some smart devices only work on the old band. Likewise, there is a mixed mode for WPA2 and WPA3 security. Only a few devices work with the new WPA3 standard, and some routers force you to choose one or the other, which can cause problems. This mode ensures that all your gadgets are on a compatible standard.
The web interface is basic and doesn't add much, so I preferred to use the easy-to-use app. However, the update is a bit slow and the settings remain limited. It didn't recognize many devices and listed obscure hardware manufacturer names, making it difficult to determine which devices to add to my kids' profiles.
It wasn't the fastest system, but this system is fast and reliable enough for the average home. If you have a connection of 500 Mbps or better, it may be worth upgrading to Deco X60 AX3000.
Amazon's Eero 6 mesh system is one of the easiest to set up, offers fairly wide coverage, and offers stable connectivity. It's a sleek system, available as three identical routers or (slightly cheaper) as one main router and two small nodes. The Eeros blend in on a table or shelf, although their compact design leaves no room for ports. (There are only two Gigabit ports on the routers and none on the nodes.)
Although the base Eero 6 was one of the slowest systems I tested, especially over long distances, node speeds were close to what I got from the main router. There was no drop-off and it proved adept at sharing limited bandwidth. The mobile app is simple and gives you an overview of connected devices with the ability to suspend the Internet and set up a guest network. I was also able to create profiles, group devices, set schedules, and set bedtimes. Unfortunately, content filtering, other parental controls, advanced security, ad blocking, and activity insights require an Eero Plus subscription at $10 per month or $100 per year.