Wi-Fi 6 routers promise lots of performance gains over the ageing Wi-Fi 5, but the options in the UK are quite expensive with our cheapest options costing over £150.

Redmi AX5 Router

However, in other countries, there are some much more affordable options. Xiaomi's subbrand Redmi has just unveiled the Redmi Router AX5 with an insanely low price of just CNY 250 (£28/$35/€31) and is capable of offering speeds of 1,200 Mbps on the 5 GHz band (using Wi-Fi 6).

This is currently available for international delivery via Giztop for £45/$55 + shopping (and possible import tax).

While the Wi-Fi spec of this router does not look that great when you compare it to the below models, the stand out feature is the ability to pair up multiple routers for a mesh system and the option for ethernet backhaul. So you could, in theory, build a mesh Wi-Fi 6 system for just £90.

Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600

Redmi AX5 Router vs Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 vs  Huawei WiFi AX3 / Honor Router 3 – Wi-Fi 6 routers are getting much cheaper, as long as you live in China (or are willing to import) 3

Xiaomi already have their own model out the Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 which had a launch price of CNY 599 which is just £66/€75, this has a theoretical maximum rate up to 2402Mbps. Unfortunately, the firmware is in Chinese, and the cost of import is $135 making it not all that appealing for UK buyers.

Huawei WiFi AX3

Redmi AX5 Router vs Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 vs  Huawei WiFi AX3 / Honor Router 3 – Wi-Fi 6 routers are getting much cheaper, as long as you live in China (or are willing to import) 4

I recently imported and reviewed the Huawei WiFi AX3 Pro for just $80, you would expect at that price it would be rubbish, but the router comfortably outperformed many of the options that are in the UK that cost two or three times more. There is also the more affordable Huawei WiFi AX3 for £37 which has the same Wi-Fi spec but a less powerful processor

Honor Router 3

The Honor Router 3 was recently announced, and this is planned to launch globally with a launch price of just CNY 220 (£25/$31/€28). This is the same hardware as the none-pro Huawei WiFi AX3 and will hopefully land in the UK without too much of a mark-up on the Chinese price.

Out of these options, for UK buyers, the Honor Router 3 is going to be the stand out option because it supports global languages, however, I was able to use the Huawei with the HiLink app and then Google Translate for the web interface.

So how do these affordable routers compare?

Router Comparison

Wi-Fi

Redmi AX5 Router

  • 2.4G Wi-Fi: 2 ×2 (maximum support for IEEE 802.11ax protocol, theoretical maximum rate up to 574Mbps)
  • 5G Wi-Fi: 2 ×2 (maximum support for IEEE 802.11ax protocol, theoretical maximum rate up to 1200Mbps)
  • No 160Mhz support (I assume, due to the 1200Mbps speed)
  • Four   4 dB antennas with MIMO
  • Mesh network compatibility

Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600

  • 2.4G Wi-Fi: 2 ×2 (maximum support for IEEE 802.11ax protocol, theoretical maximum rate up to 574Mbps)
  • 5G Wi-Fi: 4 ×4 (maximum support for IEEE 802.11ax protocol, theoretical maximum rate up to 2402Mbps)
  • 6 external omni directional antennas + 1 AIoT antenna that automatically connects to Xiaomi smart devices using app
  • 160Mhz support

Honor Router 3 / Huawei WiFi AX3

  • 2.4G Wi-Fi: 2 ×2 (maximum support for IEEE 802.11ax protocol, theoretical maximum rate up to 574Mbps)
  • 5G Wi-Fi: 2 ×2 (maximum support for IEEE 802.11ax protocol, theoretical maximum rate up to 2402Mbps)
  • 160Mhz support
  • Antennas – 4x 5dBi external antennas

Other Features

Redmi AX5 Router

  • CPU – Qualcomm IPQ-6000 with four Cortex-A53 cores at 1.2GHz and an NPU core at 1.5 GHz
  • Ethernet/WAN – 3 gigabit LAN, 1 Gb WAN
  • OS – MiWiFi ROM that is based on OpenWRT.

Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600

  • CPU – Qualcomm IPQ- 8071A with four Cortex-A53 cores at 1GHz and an NPU core at 1.7 GHz
  • Ethernet/WAN – 3 gigabit LAN, 1 Gb WAN
  • OS – MiWiFi ROM that is based on OpenWRT.

Honor Router 3 / Huawei WiFi AX3

  • CPU – Huawei Gigahome W650 dual-core Cortex-A53 processor @ 1.2GHz (Quad-core used on the Huawei WiFi AX3 Pro)
  • Ethernet/WAN – 4 gigabit  ports, no dedicated WAN
  • System Memory – 128MB RAM
  • Storage – 128MB flash
  • OS – Huawei RTOS system

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