All WiFi routers are not created equal. In many homes where fibre is installed for the first time, users are disappointed when they connect the WiFi routers that are usually supplied by their service providers. One of two things typically happens: the signal drops off dramatically just a few metres away from the fibre box; and the signal cannot be picked up more than one room away.
The solution to the latter is to install a range extender, which can cost as much as the router itself. For the former, only a more powerful router will usually address the issue.
WiFi to the max
But what if the router is both more powerful and can cut through multiple walls? Enter the Huawei WiFi AX3.
When one of our routers – a fairly decent machine in the first place – malfunctioned, we upgraded to the AX3, and instantly discovered why it had been termed a ‘wall buster’ in a YouTube review.
Fir the first time, we experienced the same speed on the far side of a thick wall that we had in the room where the router was situated. And the extender we had been using in that room became almost redundant.
The main problem with extenders is that, when they pick up the original router’s signal and ‘resend’ it, they typically output half the bandwidth coming in. This means that, if the signal has been diminished by a wall in the first place, the extender has even less speed with which to work, and the output is that much reduced.
If the signal not only cuts through walls with little reduction in strength, the extended signal will also benefit – if one needs it in the first place.
How does it work?
The Huawei WiFi AX3 Dual-core is the world’s first Wi-Fi 6+ smart router, meaning that it uses a new Wi-Fi standard that is faster, more energy-efficient, and more effective in general.
With a wireless rate of up to 3000Mbps, compared to the 150 or 300Mbps devices often shipped with fibre bundles, it allows for maximum possible speed and throughput.
It claims three times the maximum speed of equivalent devices, and four times the capacity in terms of connected devices – allowing all to share the same spectrum resources simultaneously.
Finally, it promises to cut latency by two-thirds, referring to the time it takes to send a signal and receive a response. This is the primary cause of lag in gaming, transactions, web page responses and video or audio communication. The router uses something called spatial reuse technology, which decreases the interference that usually occurs when multiple devices access a signal from the same access point, or from other nearby devices, thus decreasing the lag.
How much is it?
From R1,130 upward, depending on outlet. The tested unit was supplied at no cost by Afrihost as part of a fibre bundle.
Why should you care?
We tend to invest enormous time, effort and money in fibre connectivity, but then cut corners on the router connectivity that brings the fibre signal to connected devices, like our computers, handsets or TVs.
As sophisticated, fast and high-end as fibre is, the router should not degrade that experience. The Huawei WiFi AX3 dual-core is the first we have used that does the opposite: it enhances the fibre experience beyond initial expectations, and thus improves the overall experience of the technology.
- The browser interface for the router is straightforward, but not the most effective at diagnostics.
- The device performance appears to improve as it ‘learns’ its environment, but does not give any indication that such a process is under way, as usually occurs when one installs ‘mesh network’ routers.
- Most effective router yet tested for getting signal through walls
- On-demand wake-up technology reduces power consumption by 30% while on standby.
- A powerful computer processor ensures smooth operation regardless of the number of devices connected wirelessly.
- Includes parental control functionality.
- Seamless set-up via the Huawei AI Life app on a smartphone.
- Excellent support from Afrihost for diagnostics and fine-tuning the signal.