There are plenty of reasons to care about Wi-Fi 6 (opens in new tab) (802.11ax), chief among them better handling of multiple internet-connected devices and the very real potential for wireless PC VR with the Oculus Quest 2 (opens in new tab). Step one in taking advantage of Wi-Fi 6 is buying a router based on the wireless specification, and you don't have to spend a mint on one—Walmart is selling Netgear's Nighthawk RAX35 (AX3000) for just $84.99 right now.
That's half off its list price, and a lot cheaper than the RAX40, one of the best routers for gaming (opens in new tab), which Walmart sells for $199.99 (opens in new tab). Here's the kicker—there's not much difference between the RAX35 and RAX40, certainly not enough to warrant paying more than twice as much.
Netgear Nighthawk RAX35 | AX3000 | Wi-Fi 6 |
$169 $84.99 at Walmart (save $84.01) (opens in new tab)
Most Wi-Fi 6 routers in this discounted price range are slower models (typically around AX1500-1800). You don't get a USB port on this model, but it does deliver fast speeds on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands for under $90.
Both are four-stream models capable of covering 1,500 square feet, according to Netgear, and both are dual-band models with the same speed ratings—up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and up to 2,400Mbps on the 5GHz band, hence the AX3000 designation.
They also both share a built-in four-port switch, allowing for up to four wired connections (1Gbps), a standard feature on any modern router. They're both powered by the same dual-core processor and support the same set of security features. So, what's different?
As a Netgear representative relayed in a support thread (opens in new tab), the RAX40 has a USB 3.0 port and the RAX35 does not. For some people, that might be a deal killer. But if you can do without a USB port on your router (useful for sharing a printer without built-in Wi-Fi or storage across a network), you can save a whole bunch of money on the RAX35, which is otherwise the same as the RAX40.
I have not tested this specific model, but have spent many hours benchmarking and evaluating Nighthawk models in the past. In my experience, they've generally been fast, reliable, and capable of covering large areas.
And with Virtual Desktop now available via the Oculus App Lab for your Quest 2, Wi-Fi 6 is the only real hope of getting a lag-free experience. Think about it, Half-Life: Alyx free of cables in your own home...
It's also worth mentioning that the majority of Wi-Fi 6 routers in this price range are slower models. For example, TP-Link's Archer AX21 is an AX1800 router and costs $5 more on Amazon (opens in new tab).