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Do you need a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router?

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Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 Wi-Fi 6ESource: Netgear

Best answer: Yes. If you live in a congested area or have a lot of connected devices, tri-band can improve signal quality and speed even on Wi-Fi 6. However, you'll have to pay more for the privilege.

Do you need another band?

A dual-band router uses a 2.4GHz channel paired with a 5.2GHz channel. A tri-band router, on the other hand, can help by making use of an additional 5GHz channel to add capacity on another channel. A tri-band router adds in a 5.8 GHz band that typically has less traffic. This combination of the three different bands allows for much greater flexibility in connecting your devices but it's only one part of your connection.

If you've got speed or coverage issues with your home Wi-Fi connection, there are a few things you need to check first. The first thing you should do is a speed test with a Wi-Fi device close enough to have a great signal. Your results should ideally be very close to the connection speed you pay for. If you're getting the speeds you pay for and it still isn't enough, it may be time for an internet speed upgrade. If your connection is good up close but falls off quickly, a Wi-Fi 6 mesh system may be the best solution.

Most fast mesh systems use the third band to connect the mesh points while only using the lower 5GHz band for devices. This was great for keeping speeds consistent and if you're looking for a mesh system, tri-band is your best bet. Still, many of the early Wi-Fi 6 routers only used dual-band and for most people, thanks to tech like 1024 QAM making the most of a connection, it should be more than enough. As congestion continues to climb, the extra reliability of a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router will become more apparent, especially to those in an apartment building.

What about Wi-Fi 6E?

The newly released Wi-Fi 6E standard is tri-band as well but it's a bit different from tri-band Wi-Fi 6 because it uses a 2.4GHz, a 5GHz, and a 6GHz channel. This maintains support for devices that only support 5GHz Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6 while adding headroom for new 6GHz devices. For many people, tri-band Wi-Fi 6E will look a lot like dual-band Wi-Fi 6 until they get Wi-Fi 6E capable devices.

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If you're looking to futureproof your network as much as possible, you should get Wi-Fi 6E but for the time being, most of our devices won't see any improvement from a Wi-Fi 6E router compared to a fast Wi-Fi 6 dual-band router and may underperform compared to tri-band Wi-Fi 6.

Tri-band with 2.5G



TP-Link Archer AX90

Affordable enthusiast specifications

With a 2.5G WAN port, tri-band AX6600 speeds, and HomeCare and OneMesh software, the Archer AX90 is a great Wi-Fi 6 router.

Clean design



Netgear Nighthawk RAX70

The tri-band nighthawk with AX6600

A modern design with fast tri-band AX6600 speeds and link aggregation makes the Nighthawk RAX70 a great choice for any family.

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