Wi-Fi made some great strides at CES 2020 – CNET

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The new Arris Surfboard Max – one of the few new Wi-Fi 6-mesh routers that were presented at CES 2020.

Arris

This story is part of CES 2020, our complete coverage of the showroom and the latest technical equipment.

There was a lot going on predictably CES 2020 in the wireless network category. Along with a plethora of 5G-related announcements, the show served as a kind of coming-out party for next-generation Wi-Fi 6 routers, with lots of interesting new models targeted at the crowd – and apparently surprising with price tags reasonable.

Mesh is becoming mainstream

These new routers primarily included mesh systems that use multiple devices to spread a fast Internet signal in all corners of your home. There were only a few systems like the ones that supported Wi-Fi 6 in 2019, and most of them cost at least $ 500. This changed at CES with the introduction of several new systems at a fraction of the price. They include:

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The Asus RT-AX86U is a new Wi-Fi 6 version of our favorite gaming router from last year.

Asus

Compare that to a year ago when most mesh systems were retailing for hundreds of dollars without Support for Wi-Fi 6. We have come a long way in the past 12 months.

Go-time for Wi-Fi 6

In addition to these special mesh systems D-Link also announced a number of 2020 standalone Wi-Fi 6 routers This can serve as a hub for a mesh setup via the Wi-Fi Alliance's new EasyMesh standard. This standard allows you to cobble a mesh setup with devices from different brands. The cheapest of these routers only costs $ 120. D-Link and TP-Link each have new Wi-Fi 6-range extenders, which are also planned for 2020.

Other interesting new standalone WiFi 6 routers are the Asus RT-AX86U our favorite gaming router from 2019 and extends it with faster, more efficient Wi-Fi 6 functions and speeds. Asus also has a new ZenWifi mesh setup at CES 2020 – it doesn't support Wi-Fi 6, but it does have a built-in Alexa speaker. This could be an interesting alternative to the Google Assistant Nest wifi,

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Comcast's new xFi Advanced Gateway supports faster Wi-Fi 6 speeds and is now available to all Xfinity Internet subscribers at speeds of 300Mbps or more at no additional cost.

Comcast

Another great news about Wi-Fi 6: Comcast is now offering Xfinity Internet subscribers with 300Mbps plans and a faster upgrade option to a Wi-Fi 6 xFi Advanced Gateway free of charge. Even better, Comcast Xfinity's xFi Advanced Security serviceis a free service that automatically protects devices on your network from online threats. It used to cost $ 6 a month.

Wait, what is Wi-Fi 6E?

And then there's something else Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 6E is a new name that was announced by the Wi-Fi Alliance shortly before CES. It identifies devices that can access bandwidths in the 6 GHz band. With a total frequency range of 1,200 MHz – from 70 MHz in the 2.4 GHz band to 500 MHz in the 5 GHz band – this band could open up a lot of space for applications with high bandwidth such as 4K video streams and augmented reality applications.

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New Wi-Fi 6E chipsets like this from Broadcom could be routed to a router near you.

Broadcom

And since regulators are ready to open this band for WiFi use, the industry seems ready to take advantage of them.

A typical example: Broadcom. Just a few days after the Wi-Fi Alliance announced that Wi-Fi 6E is one thing, Broadcom rolled to Vegas with new silicon chipsets that support the label, Manufacturers like Netgear seem to be busy integrating these chips into their routers, and TP-Link tells me that this is already the case A Wi-Fi 6E mesh router is planned for later this year,

Some people who bought Wi-Fi 6 early might be frustrated, but since Broadcom was ready to use chipsets right from the start, it was possible that other chip makers were prepared as well, perhaps even Wi-Fi 6E-enabled hardware sold in devices currently sold.

I'm examining it to get a better sense of which devices will use the additional spectrum and which won't, if it's available. So be excited to tell more about it.

All of this – the mesh, the Wi-Fi 6 explosion, the arrival of Wi-Fi 6E – is an indication that there is a lot going on in the world of Wi-Fi. And CES is just getting started. We will continue to follow the latest developments. So stay up to date.