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Buying tips: You need a new router or repeater


More and more notebooks and smartphones are able to use Wi-Fi 6. However, the new WLAN standard only works if the router fits. You can find it with our buying tips and find out whether the switch is worthwhile for you.

Modem routers are most popular in Germany: they offer all the functions and connections for connecting to the Internet, the home network and making calls. The best modem router for VDSL connection is the

AVM Fritzbox 7590
for about 180 euros. Although it does not have Wi-Fi 6, it does have fast WLAN-AC (Wi-Fi 5) with four data streams for a maximum of 1733 Mbit / s over 5 GHz and 800 Mbit / s over 2.4 GHz. Furthermore, it gets new functions via regular firmware updates that accelerate the WLAN, such as band and AP steering most recently.

With Wi-Fi 6 comes the

Fritzbox 7530 AX
for around 170 euros. Your WiFi speed is 1800 Mbit / s over 5 GHz and 600 Mbit / s over 2.4 GHz. Apart from the WLAN, it corresponds to the

Fritzbox 7530
(around 115 euros). Both VDSL routers are recommended for smaller networks: They offer fewer connections (no ISDN, 1 instead of 2 sockets for analog telephones, 1 instead of 2 ports for USB 3.0) than the 7590. The Fritzbox 7530 uses WLAN-AC with only two data streams ( 86 Mbit / s and 400 Mbit / s).

In addition to the Fritz boxes, there are few alternatives with VDSL modems: The

Telekom Speedport Smart 3
for around 130 euros offers faster WLAN than the Fritzbox 7530, the

TP-Link Archer VR600v
is cheaper at 100 euros, but only suitable for vectoring connections up to 100 Mbit / s. The

Speedport Pro Plus
has Wi-Fi 6, but is very expensive at around 390 euros because it is intended for Telekom’s VDSL-LTE hybrid connection and also supports Internet via LTE.

If you have a cable connection, you can use the

Fritzbox 6660 Cable
switch to Wi-Fi 6 for around 190 euros. With the new standard, suitable clients get up to 2.4 Gbit / s over 5 GHz and a maximum of 600 Mbit / s over 2.4 GHz. In addition, the 6660 has 4 Gigabit LAN sockets and a connection for 2.5 GBit LAN. The

Fritzbox 6591 Cable
is more expensive at 220 euros and still relies on Wi-Fi 5: The fastest version of the wireless network works with four data streams and the 6591 offers more connections for telephony and USB peripherals. Both routers are equipped for current and future cable connections with gigabit speeds and more.

If the WLAN router should only set up a high-speed wireless network behind a modem or modem router, then you can use the

TP-Link Archer C7
to grab. It costs around 60 euros and offers WLAN-AC with three data streams (1300 Mbit / s over 5 GHz and 450 Mbit / s over 2.4 GHz). The slightly faster one

Archer C80
is available for 65 euros. The 4×4 router brings a higher speed

Asus RT-A86U
for around 180 euros. If you use a large WLAN intensively for video streaming and games, we recommend a tri-band router that provides two WLANs over 5 GHz in addition to a 2.4 GHz network: This applies to the

Netgear Nighthawk X6S
for around 225 euros as well as the faster and lavishly equipped with nine gigabit LAN connections

Asus GT-AC5300
for around 260 euros.

Router with Wi-Fi 6: investing in the future

Buying a Wi-Fi 6 router is worthwhile for users who want a large, fast and future-proof WLAN. Because many high-end smartphones and notebooks already have Wi-Fi 6 and soon the standard will also be the norm in mid-range devices. In addition, most Wi-Fi 6 routers also bring a speed advantage for WLAN AC clients thanks to their faster CPUs and better antennas.

Corresponding routers are available for less than 100 euros, but you will only notice an increase in speed with fast devices that transmit two or, better, four parallel data streams. Since the transfer rates with Wi-Fi-6 are more than one GBit / s in practice, the gigabit connection of the router can become a bottleneck: To prevent this, use a router with 2.5 or multi-gigabit sockets like this

Asus RT-AX86U
for around 230 euros. For high-end models with Wi-Fi 6 you currently pay around 400 euros: You then work with tri-band technology like

the Asus GT-AX11000
(around 400 euros), the

Netgear Nighthawk AX12
(around 450 euros) and the

TP-Link Archer AX11000
(around 440 euros).

Enlarge

With over 5 GBit / s, the Asus RT-AX86U not only delivers top speed via Wi-Fi 6. It also has a 2.5 GBit connection for fast connections via LAN.

© Asus

WLAN repeater: expand the wireless network at high speed

If you do not want to replace the router just for faster WLAN, you can use a WLAN repeater: These wireless network amplifiers supply distant devices with a better signal, which increases the speed. Very cheap AC repeaters for less than 30 euros such as the

TP-Link RE200
or the

Netgear EX3700
. However, they only work with a parallel data stream and, depending on the distance, slow down WLAN clients that can process two data streams like most notebooks, tablets and smartphones. In this case a repeater is like that

Fritz Repeater 1200
(around 60 euros) the better choice. The AVM repeaters are usually more expensive than competing products. The advantage: If you use a Fritzbox, the devices can be connected to a mesh network. The repeaters then take over the WLAN settings from the router and can be managed and updated via its menu.

Ideally, the WiFi speed of the repeater corresponds to that of the router: For a 3×3 AC router like that

Fritz box 7490
a 3×3 repeater is therefore ideal. In addition, repeaters with this speed often only have a Gigabit LAN connection: This means that devices without WLAN, but with a Gigabit LAN socket, can be integrated into the wireless network without braking. This equipment offers you the very inexpensive

TP-Link RE450
for around 50 euros. The corresponding product from AVM is called

Fritz Repeater 2400
and costs around 75 euros.

Most repeaters are plugged into the socket, which has two disadvantages: On the one hand, you lose a power connection. You can avoid this if you use a repeater with an integrated socket: TP-Link has it

RE365
for around 45 euros, which delivers two parallel data streams with a maximum of 866 Mbit / s over 5 GHz and 300 Mbit / s over 2.4 GHz. On the other hand, the repeater is usually not optimally placed in the socket to receive and forward radio signals. A repeater with a stand such as the

Fritz Repeater 3000
(around 110 euros) can be set up more flexibly. It goes well with the Fritzbox 7590 because it connects to it via four parallel data streams. Because it uses tri-band technology, it can also connect wireless clients without restrictions via two data streams each with a maximum of 866 Mbit / s (5 GHz) and 400 Mbit / s (2.4 GHz). They also work with Tri-Band

Netgear repeater EX7700
(around 100 euros) and the faster one

EX8000
(around 150 euros).

Mesh systems for maximum range

Mesh systems offer the best WLAN coverage: They consist of two or more base stations (mesh nodes) that are connected to one another and have the same access information for the wireless network, such as SSID and password. A WLAN client can log on to any station. You can also manage the entire mesh system via a common menu or a corresponding app.

At AVM, suitable devices can subsequently be combined to form a mesh. The manufacturer also offers ready-made mesh sets made of Fritzbox and Fritz repeaters, for example the Fritzbox 7590 with the repeater 2400 (around 250 euros). With other mesh systems you also need a modem or a modem router for Internet access. Cheap sets like that

TP-Link Deco M5
for less than 200 euros offer the advantage of simple operation. However, you should not expect more speed than with a router-repeater combination, as these systems work with a maximum of two parallel data streams and via dual-band – the connection of the nodes to one another is at the expense of the speed available for WLAN clients. Tri-band mesh systems get around that like that

Netgear Orbi RBK20
(from around 220 euros with two stations) or systems in which the mesh nodes are connected via powerline, like that

Devolo Magic 2 Wifi next
(from 190 euros) or that

TP-Link Deco P9
(from 180 euros).

Reading tip:

More power for your WLAN – that’s how it works

With the Devolo Magic 2 Wifi next, the transfer between the mesh stations takes place via powerline. They connect WLAN clients via AC dual band.

Enlarge

With the Devolo Magic 2 Wifi next, the transfer between the mesh stations takes place via powerline. They connect WLAN clients via AC dual band.

© Devolo

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