NETGEAR WAX206 as the main router?

NETGEAR sells this device as an AP, but they later added support for router mode. I found this review talking about 2 issues, namely

No 2.4ghz WiFi 6 support
No 5.0Ghz 160Mhz support - Limits the 4x4 radio to 4x600Mbps (2400Mbps) maximum

I'm interested in running this as my main OpenWRT router and the cpu seems capable of handling it, but my main priority is WiFi (I have lots of devices to connect and roaming between 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz is a must) and I don't want to invest in a flawed device. Do you recommend it? Would a WAX202 be more suitable for an IoT-filled home due to having 2.4ghz WiFi 6 support?

Does your IoT devices need this?
Mine are very happy with 802.11n.

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Mine is a multistory house made of brickwalls and 5 GHz only gives good coverage to the floor where the router is, other floors need 2.4 GHz or range extenders. Several devices use the 2.4 GHz, so I think OFDMA would be beneficial.

Have both the 202 and 206 (with OEM currently). I can confirm that the 206 OEM doesn’t have OFDA for 2.4GHz, whereas the 202 does. Range is mich better for the 206. Brick walls with OEM do not seem to be a problem (exceeds 202 and TP-RE650 performance)

Do you notice any performance difference on the 2.4 GHz between the two? I'm undecided if I should get the WAX206 because it's a hardware limit that can't be overcome with software.

I haven’t (except for range). Maybe with a lot of clients ‘close’, there may be an advantage of the WAX202. In my use (failover for the non-tech-savy household) I notice no benefit of the 202 over the 206


I don't think so, no. Better range with the WAX206 should translate to greater throughput too, which will mitigate it lacking 2.4GHz ax. Since you are going to use this as your main router, the far more capable CPU in the 206 is better for this purpose. The CPU in the WAX202 is going to be mighty busy just handling WiFi duties.

Nothing beats wired back haul if you are able to install it. No question it is an up-front burden, but if you are staying in this house for some time, you might give it some thought. And then you can buy inexpensive WAX202's for your other floors to be configured as dumb AP's wired to your main WAX206. Easy for me to recommend - I don't have to do the work or buy the extra AP's. :wink:

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I understand the cpu difference, but hypothetically, if we had two variants of the WAX206, one with 2.4 GHz WiFi 6 and one without, what difference would I see in day to day usage? I have a lot of clients making use of 2.4 GHz because 5GHz leave many areas uncovered or with very poor signal, so 2.4 GHz is a must have for me, and unfortunately there is no wiring possible, I need a wireless backhaul. I'm trying to work out the situation in the best possible manner. Would I regret not getting a router that support 2.4 GHz WiFi 6? (the WAX202 is out of the question because of the cpu of course, I will look for something more capable)

Powerlan ?

Powerlan ?

I tried in the past and it was not a good experience, house is very old.

I'm using a Belkin RT3200 as my second floor dumb AP at the moment. The RT3200 is MT7622/7915 like the WAX206, but the WAX206 may have a little better range than the RT3200.

I'm not much of a 2.4 GHz user, but I do keep 2.4GHz SSID's set up for when I'm outside the home. Giving you throughput information in my home is not particularly translatable to yours. It seems half my neighbors have devices that don't drop back to 20 MHz wide channels in a crowded 2.4 GHz environment. The other half don't bother sticking to 1, 6 and 11. Suffice to say, my 2.4 GHz spectrum is ridiculously crowded.

But I can at least let you know what I get on an ax200 2x2 client on the first floor on 2.4 GHz from the 802.11n RT3200 AP on the second floor: 75/85Mbps upload/download. Measured with iperf3 and the iperf3 server not running on the AP or client computer.

I stopped using a Dynalink DL-WRX36 as my second floor AP due to the Belkin RT3200 5 GHz performing better at mid to long ranges than the DL-WRX36, but I'll set it back up and let you know what I get with 802.11ax 2.4GHz using the DL-WRX36 shortly, with AP and client in the same locations. I'm kind of curious myself now. Stay tuned.

EDIT: Added 802.11ax results
Using the DL-WRX36 802.11ax 2.4 GHz and 20 MHz width channel, I get 50/110 upload/download to the 2x2 ax200 client. I confirmed the connection was ax this time with wavemon on my client. Obviously this is highly AP, client and environment dependent too, but I would conclude from this that at longer ranges you are not going to see a huge benefit from 802.11ax on 2.4 GHz. Only you can decide if ~25% improvement in download is worth it. I don't know what to say about the poor DL-WRX36 upload performance, beyond it is consistent with my 5GHz comparisons between a Belkin RT3200 and DL-WRX36 at mid to longer ranges (the RT3200 being more stable and having higher throughput in both directions).

FYI: I set the AP's to the same 27 dBm txpower for these tests. And both tests used 20 MHz wide channels of course.

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Aren't there more benefits to having WiFi 6 than pure speed? Like better handling of several clients or less latency? (@frollic & @slh might be of help)

WIFI6 does have more benefits - if your clients are also WiFi6 capable and your signal to noise ratio is high enough to take advantage of them. If that is not the case, the benefits may be marginal.


Yes, but I wouldn't overexaggerate the impact of that relative to 802.11ac. The primary (noticeable) difference between 802.11ac and 802.11ax is speed and speed over the range (roughly double).

Sure, it does make little sense to buy mid- to high-end 802.11ac devices today, as 802.11ax isn't more expensive (and as DBDC variant even cheaper).

…and the 2.4 GHz band is overbooked and congested anyways.

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Does the same apply to the difference between 802.11n and 802.11ax for the 2.4 GHz?

I currently have a WAX206 as my main router at home. It definitely has 160MHz support for the 5GHz WiFi. I using it with my Samsung S21 Ultra mobile as well as with my Laptop (with Intel AX210NGW WiFi card) but for some reason it seems to be faster with my Samsung mobile.

Generally the WAX206 is a nice device. I just don't really like the housing and I was hoping for a little bit higher WireGuard VPN performance. I therefore ordered a Dynalink DL-WRX36. Let's see how it will perform compared to the WAX206.

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Can you please link the build you're using? Or how you set up 160MHz mode? On the latest version enabling 160MHz crashes 5GHz

The current rc2 build together with the country code for Germany.

That's the part of my configuration script that I use to set up the 5GHz WiFi

uci set"auto"
uci set wireless.radio1.htmode="HE160"
uci set"DE"
uci set wireless.radio1.cell_density="0"
uci -q del wireless.radio1.disabled

uci set"lan"
uci set wireless.default_radio1.mode="ap"
uci set wireless.default_radio1.ssid="<SSID>"
uci set wireless.default_radio1.encryption="sae-mixed"
uci set wireless.default_radio1.key="<PASSWORD>"
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I use RC2 with JP country code also has 160MHz AX working well.