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As part of CES 2021, TP-Link today introduced its latest networking offerings, including two mesh Wi-Fi 6E systems, two tri-band Wi-Fi 6E routers, and more.

tp-link-deco-x76-plus-mesh.jpg
Deco X76 Plus

Wi-Fi 6E offers the features and capabilities of Wi-Fi 6, including higher performance, lower latency, and faster data rates, extended into the 6GHz band. The additional spectrum will provide a lot more airspace beyond existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, resulting in increased bandwidth and less interference for devices that support Wi-Fi 6E.

TP-Link's new Deco X96 mesh Wi-Fi system supports 6GHz, 5GHz, and 2.4GHz tri-band Wi-Fi for whole-home coverage at advertised speeds up to 6,600 Mbps. TP-Link says the system uses artificial intelligence to learn your network environment and provide ideal Wi-Fi for your home. A two-pack provides Wi-Fi coverage across up to 6,000 square feet of space, and up to 200 devices can be connected without performance degradation.

For smart home enthusiasts, the Deco X76 Plus is another Wi-Fi 6E mesh system, but it also acts as a smart hub, bringing together various Zigbee, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi smart devices in the TP-Link Deco app. The router delivers advertised speeds up to 5,400 Mbps with tri-band Wi-Fi, and it has the same artificial intelligence capabilities as the Deco X96. A two-pack provides Wi-Fi coverage across up to 5,500 square feet of space.

For those looking for a traditional router, TP-Link's new Archer AX96 supports Wi-Fi 6E for advertised speeds up to 7,800 Mbps with tri-band Wi-Fi. TP-Link says the router has so-called "Smart Antennas" that boost coverage and improve wireless connections. Other key features include a 1.7 GHz quad-core CPU that manages throughput for reduced latency, one 2.5 Gbps WAN/LAN port, one Gigabit WAN/LAN port, and four Gigabit LAN ports.

tp-link-archer-ax96-wifi-6e-router.jpg
Archer AX96

The higher-end Archer AX206 router also supports Wi-Fi 6E and is equipped with two 10 Gbps ports, enabling ultra-fast 10G networking. The tri-band router has a 2GHz quad-core CPU and supports OFDMA and UL/DL MU-MIMO technologies for low latency.

A CES 2021 Innovation Awards Honoree, the Deco Voice X20 is a mesh Wi-Fi system with an Alexa-powered smart speaker for voice control, smart home management, and music streaming. This system supports 5GHz and 2.4GHz Wi-Fi only.

TP-Link says all of these new products will become available throughout 2021, but it has not disclosed pricing at this time.

Apple does not offer any devices with Wi-Fi 6E support, but iPhone 13 models could be the first.

Article Link: CES 2021: TP-Link Introduces Line of 6GHz Wi-Fi Routers and Mesh Systems
 

Dwalls90

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Feb 5, 2009
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How is everyone getting on with their mesh networks? Are they as great as claimed?
I'm pretty happy with my setup in my apartment. Running a TP-Link Archer router and mesh network "extender" (operates as mesh network, not separate network extender). One downside to mesh networks is the bandwidth is cut in half for each extender away from the main router you are in the system, but you can have 600Mbps internet for $60 a month meaning you're still getting 300Mbps even at the furthest corners of your property (more than enough speed for any user).
 

Michael Scrip

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I'm pretty happy with my setup in my apartment. Running a TP-Link Archer router and mesh network "extender" (operates as mesh network, not separate network extender). One downside to mesh networks is the bandwidth is cut in half for each extender away from the main router you are in the system, but you can have 600Mbps internet for $60 a month meaning you're still getting 300Mbps even at the furthest corners of your property (more than enough speed for any user).

You're right... if you're trying to send and receive over the same radio in the extender... your transmission speeds will be cut in half.

But some mesh systems implement extra radios specifically for backhaul. The extenders will have the normal 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios... plus an additional radio just to communicate back to the main unit. Therefore you get the maximum speed through all the units.

Not all mesh systems have this. My Eero system doesn't. Well... the main Eero Pro base unit does... but the Eero Beacon (extender) doesn't.

It hasn't been a problem for me, though. Even half the speed is better than the ZERO speed I had in my far away bedrooms back when I had an old crappy single router. :p
 
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Dwalls90

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I really wanted Apple to revive the Airport routers.... Apple HomeHub... WiFI 6 mesh, HomeKit, 2T storage, and Apple TV all in one.
Totally agree.

In addition to the wish list items you noted, having hybrid additional iCloud storage that would allow for Mac Time Machine/iCloud backups would have been great too. I understand iOS and Mac OS operate differently, but I'm kind of surprised Apple is dragging Time Machine along given their push to the cloud and services. Maybe there was a hardware limitation with Intel and we'll see iCloud/Time Machine backups as Apple moves all Macs to Apple Silicon.
 

Dwalls90

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Feb 5, 2009
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You're right... if you're trying to send and receive over the same radio on the extender... your transmission speeds will be cut in half.

But some mesh systems implement extra radios specifically for backhaul. The extenders will have the normal 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios... plus an additional radio just to communicate back to the main unit. Therefore you get the maximum speed through all the units.

Not all mesh systems have this. My Eero system doesn't. Well... the main Eero Pro base unit does... but the Eero Beacon (extender) doesn't.

It hasn't been a problem for me, though. Even half the speed is better than the NO speed I had in my far away bedrooms back when I had an old crappy single router. :p
Thanks for this clarification. I forgot about this. The functionality you're speaking to doesn't tend to be standard in mesh systems and is expensive though. Perhaps will become more mainstream as mesh systems become more of the norm.
 
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Michael Scrip

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Thanks for this clarification. I forgot about this. The functionality you're speaking to doesn't tend to be standard in mesh systems and is expensive though. Perhaps will become more mainstream as mesh systems become more of the norm.

Yep... the additional backhaul radio tends to be a higher-end feature.

Normal mesh systems operate fine without it... even if you only get half the speed through the extenders.

It's better to have some connectivity rather than NO connectivity. :)
 
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swm

macrumors 6502
May 29, 2013
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Judging by the range of 5ghz vs 2.4 I would rather have lower not higher
6GHz will be only used for backhaul, i.e. between the mesh nodes. so it doesn't eat up the available client facing spectrum/airtime. this implies a 3-radio design, which is a kind of standard among higher end mesh setups.
the other thing is, that also the client device's specs contribute a lot to the excellent/miserable performance, so high end mesh setups also have dedicated, purpose tuned antennas for backhaul, this way (i.e. using higher gain antennas) they can overcome the subpar signal-propagation. and since mesh nodes will be talking to other mesh nodes, both ends will have tuned antennas, so both backhaul data transmission and reception will benefit from this.
 

mnsportsgeek

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Feb 24, 2009
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Excited to see 6e routers come into the market. I'll be looking for a 6e mesh system 2 or so years from now. Until then my wifi 5 system is fine.

One thing that I hope mesh routers improve on going forward is doing their best to make sure your device is always connected to the ideal node. Too often I find my devices will connect to a further secondary node, when the primary node is closer and will give a faster speed.

Eero, for example, blames this on the device which may be technically correct. But there should be a feature that allows you to force certian devices to connect to a certain mesh mode as most of your internet connected devices aren't moving around your house.
 

mnsportsgeek

macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2009
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You're right... if you're trying to send and receive over the same radio in the extender... your transmission speeds will be cut in half.

But some mesh systems implement extra radios specifically for backhaul. The extenders will have the normal 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios... plus an additional radio just to communicate back to the main unit. Therefore you get the maximum speed through all the units.

Not all mesh systems have this. My Eero system doesn't. Well... the main Eero Pro base unit does... but the Eero Beacon (extender) doesn't.

It hasn't been a problem for me, though. Even half the speed is better than the ZERO speed I had in my far away bedrooms back when I had an old crappy single router. :p

I had no idea this was why we had tri-band routers. Always thought it was unnecessary. Makes sense and pretty much eliminates any need for me to have ethernet anywhere in my house.
 
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collin_

macrumors 6502a
Nov 19, 2018
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Cannot wait for Wifi 6E. I’m looking forward to it as much as I am microLED screens and the 16 inch Apple Silicon MacBook Pro
 
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LeonPro

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2002
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Oh look another vapourware announcement just for CES! Remember when TP-Link introduced the top of the line Wi-Fi 6 Deco X90 last time in CES 2020? Yeah their website always said "Coming Soon" as well and it never produced this.

Fast forward CES 2021 and now a Wi-Fi 6E variant of the exact model appears this time as Deco X96. Another "Coming Soon" item.

Screen Shot 2021-01-11 at 7.54.03 AM.png
 

bollman

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Sep 25, 2001
558
1,068
Lund, Sweden
I'm running TP-Links pro system: Omada. Works flawlessly and is "enterprise" so it's possible to have different SSID for different VLANs. Great when WFH since you can route your work LAN via a separate VLAN/SSID and effectively separate work and home networks!
 

cmaier

Suspended
Jul 25, 2007
25,405
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California
Instead of WiFi 6, 6E, 5, whatever, router makers should instead be required to provide RB-##. Where ## is the number of days you can go before you have to reboot the damned thing to get it working right again.

I’ve tried pretty much every brand in the last few years, and nothing has been as rock solid as the old discontinued apple airports. Even with the synologys I’ve settled on, every 6 months or so I need to reboot everything to get full wired throughput back, and to get the mesh points working right, etc.
 

wood1208

macrumors 6502
Aug 30, 2015
333
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Now with WiFi 6E, we will see the WiFi 6's real benefits especially in congested area like multiple users in home streaming/gaming, corporations,Airports,etc. When WiFi 6E MESH network systems are offered; hope it just don't use 6E for back-haul channel between router and satellites but also clients can use 6E while talking to router/satellites.

Before buying especially MESH network, ask if this new WiFi 6E system allows clients capable of 6E can talk on 6E channel directly to Router/satellites ?
 

felixen

macrumors 6502a
Apr 13, 2009
870
107
I'm pretty happy with my setup in my apartment. Running a TP-Link Archer router and mesh network "extender" (operates as mesh network, not separate network extender). One downside to mesh networks is the bandwidth is cut in half for each extender away from the main router you are in the system, but you can have 600Mbps internet for $60 a month meaning you're still getting 300Mbps even at the furthest corners of your property (more than enough speed for any user).
I thought the main benefit of mesh networks was that you could add extenders without the loss of bandwidth. Sounds like that isn’t the case which is quite a bummer.
So how is a mesh network better compared to a traditional router and wifi extender (which in my testing has also resulted in large bandwidth losses )
 

Dwalls90

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Feb 5, 2009
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I thought the main benefit of mesh networks was that you could add extenders without the loss of bandwidth. Sounds like that isn’t the case which is quite a bummer.
So how is a mesh network better compared to a traditional router and wifi extender (which in my testing has also resulted in large bandwidth losses )
See above/earlier responses to my post. Newer and better mesh hardware can accomplish natural extension of network without bandwidth loss. There is a technical reason why "traditional" mesh networks have their bandwidth halved when you are connected to one of the "extenders" vs. main router, but the strong signal throughout a location due to using a mesh network means you will likely still have stronger bandwidth on a "traditional" mesh network as opposed to just having one router and no mesh system. If the latter was true, you wouldn't need a mesh network any way.

The benefit to mesh networks is you don't need to change WiFi networks as you move throughout your location. The network name and security is the same, so your devices seamlessly changes based on connection strength to the main router or nearest extender. Contrast this with traditional non-mesh extenders, which typically don't have a loss in bandwidth, but cannot share the same network meaning you need to manually change as you move throughout a space.
 
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