Recently, a couple of days back, Redmi Router AX5 was released beating the previous Xiaomi router AX1800 in terms of pricing. And now it’s time to do an in-depth Redmi Router AX5 WiFi 6 review. Priced at only 249 Yuan ($35) Xiaomi says that it’s the most cost-effective router, the company has to deliver. However, it might not be the cheapest, as the Huawei AX3 WiFi 6 router is still 3 dollars cheaper than this router. But is it the company’s most cost-effective WiFi 6 router as they claim and how well does it go against the Huawei AX3 router. Let’s find out in this Redmi Router AX5 WiFi 6 review:
You might also love to see the comparison we have done between Redmi Router AX5 vs Huawei Router AX3 vs AX3 Pro.
Honestly, when I first saw this router, it reminded me of another Redmi router which released a couple of months back. It was a Redmi router AC2100. Though the appearance might not resemble that much still the white color, top air ventilation and cheap plastic build surely does.
Unlike the previous two WiFi 6 routers AX1800 and AX3600, Xiaomi this time provides a minimalistic and simple, white rectangular design to meet the targeted price set for the Redmi router AX5. It’s almost 2.5x smaller the size of the huge AX3600 router and almost equal to the Huawei AX3 and AX3 Pro. The Redmi router AX5 is 247 x 141 x 180mm in terms of dimension.
On the top, we have a grid-like surface, densely packed with a lot of ventilation holes. Though dust collection might be a problem which I think, however, the side-open design prevents dust and foreign objects to a certain extent. In the middle is Redmi’s LOGO along with two LEDs. One LED indicates power status while the other indicates network status.
The bottom side of the router also has the grid design. Compared to the top side, it has more prominent with larger gaps and holes. The grid design is that much prominent that it allows us to see the circuit through it. So, in a way, the router can be said transparent from top and bottom. We all know how much a WiFi 6 router generates heat. I have seen most of the WiFi 6 budget-friendly routers failing in terms of stability, however, looking at the heat dissipation design of Redmi router AX5, I must say that it has the best heat dissipation to offer under this much price. Even the Huawei router AX3 and AX3 Pro doesn’t offer such ventilation.
We can see the four 5dB external antennas attached which are moveable but not rotatable. Getting into the details, two of the antennas support 2.4G networking and two of them support 5G networking, which is quite similar to the four 5dB antennas of the Huawei router AX3 Pro. They can perfectly support 2×2 MIMO of most devices in the market.
The port distribution and layout is what I hated in the design section. Though we have the four gigabit-class network ports, however, there’s no way to differentiate between them. No markings, no LEDs, nothing. You have to see the manual which is in Chinese. Anyways, the first port to the left is the main WAN port and the others are the three LAN ports. All ports have auto MDI/MDIX. No USB port is present which is super fine under this price tag.
There’s a DC power port on the left side, which is powered by a 12W (12V/1A) power adapter.
Concluding this section of the Redmi router AX5 review, in terms of design and appearance, the router might not be appealing or having a cool design like the big AX3600 or the sleek Huawei router AX3. One can definitely see that this router is a budget-friendly router due to the cheap plastic build. However, this is what Xiaomi planned. To reduce the design cost, we have the small traditional rectangular design which is incredibly minimalistic.
Moving to the second part of the redmi router aX5 WiFi 6 review is the hardware and configuration. The design might fool us a bit, but the hardware is definitely worth praising. Its hardware configuration is close to the cylindrical Xiaomi router AX1800.
Redmi router AX5 uses the American Qualcomm enterprise-grade 5-cores 14nm SoC which is ‘Qualcomm IPQ6000‘. It comprises of 4 x Cortex A-53 core running at 1.0GHz and 1 x NPU running @1.5GHz. In comparison to the similar priced Wi-Fi 5 AC1200 router, the Redmi router AX5 wireless rate can be increased by 52%, through Gigabit Ethernet port. It can download an HD movie in 8 seconds.
The 256MB RAM and 128MB ROM allow connectivity of up to 128 devices at one time. We have already seen that this configuration is enough to run the WiFi 6 5GHz networking on multiple devices in the Huawei AX3 Pro review. The hardware is not the bottleneck for speed.
For a quick comparison, the Xiaomi AIoT AX3600 which is 3x the price of this router has much better 6-cores Qualcomm IPQ8071A chip with a 4-core A53 architecture @ 1.0GHz and a 2-core network acceleration engine @1.7GHz. Moreover, the RAM and ROM have twice the capacity which is 512MB and 256MB, respectively. Since the hardware performance is almost 2x, we have the supported devices doubled to 256 devices at one time, which is the highest device support we have seen for a WiFi 6 router.
When compared to the Huawei router AX3 and AX3 Pro, Xiaomi delivers a dedicated better AI performance and twice the RAM for almost the same price as the AX3.
Let’s remove the shell of the router and see what’s the router really looks like. This is to check the craftmanship level of Redmi, whether the internal components define the low price tag or not.
Opening the top cover, the first thing that catches one’s eyes is a large heat sink, almost covering the entire circuit board.
Remove the heat dissipation plate, there are four heat dissipation grease pads at the bottom, corresponding to the positions of the four shields.
A quick look at the motherboard, we have the four metal shields playing a role of anti-interference and heat dissipation. The two large blocks on the right are the 2.4G Wi-Fi wireless chip and 5G Wi-Fi wireless chip respectively. The antenna cable is directly fixed on the motherboard by soldering.
Let’s take a look at the bottom of the motherboard. There is also a heat plate at the bottom corresponding to the chip above. After the plate is opened, there is no chip inside.
Still at the bottom side, on the top center, there’s the flash memory chip with a single capacity of 128MB.
Let’s open the shield protection of the front chip. Once opened, we can see the types of various chips. There is also a heat dissipation pad in the position of the corresponding chip inside each shield to ensure heat conduction. See, the heat dissipation level is incredible on this router.
The 2.4G Wi-Fi module located in the lower right corner of the motherboard. The wireless chip is Qualcomm QCN5022, and the two independent external signal amplifiers are Qorvo QPF4200.
Meanwhile, the 5G Wi-Fi module on the upper right, the chip is Qualcomm QCN5052. The two independent external signal amplifiers are Qorvo QPF4550.
In the shield protection of the bottom left, 256MB of DDR memory is integrated.
Next to the memory is the processor which is Qualcomm IPQ6000.
Finally, we have the PHY network port switching chip, the model is Qualcomm QCA8075.
Redmi router AX5 also supports OFDMA (up to 1024 QAM), MU-MIMO, and other WiFi 6 technologies and multiple Mesh networking which will be provided in a firmware update on July 15.
OFDMA technology allows the router to complete the data transmission of up to 8 devices in one transmission, and the network delay can be reduced by 66%. MU-MIMO improves the experience of multiple users using the internet. Multiple Mesh networking allows us to use the router as a signal extension to improve the signals in the house.
The total bandwidth support this time is relatively lower compared to the Huawei AX3 Pro and Xiaomi router AX3600. We have two frequencies support 2×2 2.4GHz with a maximum speed of 574Mpbs, and the 2×2 5GHz with a speed up to 1201 Mbps. This makes the total speed up to 1775 Mbps. Unlike the AX3600, there’s no dedicated AIoT antenna and speed for it. However, the concerning aspect and one of the greatest downside is that the stream channels are 2×2 not 4×4.
Similar to the other Xiaomi WiFi 6 routers, Redmi router AX5 doesn’t support 160MHz bandwidth on firmware-level, though the hardware does support it.
Heading to the real part of this Redmi router AX5 WiFi 6 review, thanks to 4 independent signal amplifiers, the signal performance of Redmi AX5 is pretty good. Not to mention that with the support of Wi-Fi 6, the coverage is further improved. And because of the characteristics of OFDMA and channel coloring, even in residential buildings with other WiFi routers and interference under severe environment, the connection of Redmi AX5 is incredibly stable, maintaining low jitter and low packet loss performance.
Let’s test the signal strength and speed test of the router:
The test environment is an 80 square meters apartment with a wall thickness of 24 cm (concrete) and wooden doors. 6 positions have been selected.
Speed Test Software: OOKLA Speed Test
The phone used: Xiaomi Mi 10
Broadband connection: Unicom China
In the scenario, Redmi AX5 can easily cover the entire room. When the door is opened, almost all locations except room 5 can achieve above 300M broadband speed, even if the doors are closed. In the worst location which was room 5, the speed is 123Mbps, which is about 15MB/s which is fine for daily internet usage.
The most surprising thing about Redmi router AX5 is the signal performance. Generally, we will use -70dBm as the boundary between the excellent and moderate wireless signal strength. However, the weakest signal of Redmi AX5 in this test is only -61dBm. This means that it can not only achieve full house coverage but also ensure that the wireless signals in all daily activities are at an excellent level. Signal, as the foundation of a router, Redmi AX5 can be said to have a perfect score.
From the perspective of signal and external network speed, Redmi router AX5’s performance is already very good, but another feature of Wi-Fi 6 which is the maximum rate increase of 25%, is difficult to reflect in the external network speed measurement. Because of this, setting up a NAS on our intranet and transferring files has a great impact. So, I wanted to test the wireless intranet speed of Redmi router AX5 at the best signal point and the worst signal point, respectively.
I’m using Magic iperf3 to test Redmi AX5’s intranet 5G wireless throughput. The PC is used as the server, and it is connected to the router with a wired connection. The phone is used as the client for testing.
Although the Redmi AX5 uses the Qualcomm solution, 5G Wi-Fi is only 80Mhz bandwidth with dual antennas, and the maximum theoretical speed is only 1200Mbps. However, the intranet transmission speed is not bad. The maximum transfer rate should be about 746Mbps, and the maximum download speed is a bit low, but it has returned to normal after clearing the cache.
In location 5 with the worst signal, the Redmi AX5 can also maintain a bidirectional transmission rate of more than 150Mbps, which is still very high as the network speed with the worst signal strength.
Although Redmi AX5 does not support 160MHz bandwidth, compared with the same price and positioning products, the gap is not obvious. For extranet connections, both are actually sufficient to run the extranet bandwidth. As for the internal network, although the theoretical rate of the two is doubled, under the restrictions of the Gigabit network port and the Gigabit network card, the maximum internal network wireless rate of 160MHz bandwidth can only reach about 912Mbps, and the gap between the two is the only less than 30%.
More importantly, Redmi router AX5 signal performance is incredible as an entry-level WiFi 6 router. Even in the worst signal position, after closing the door, the signal strength is still -61dBm, and the coverage and network quality are guaranteed.
Moving to the next part of the Redmi router AX5 WiFi 6 review, Xiaomi router AX5 can be connected via the Mi WiFi app which is in multi-language. There’s also the web-page access as well. Since there’s no global version or the global firmware update yet, one can’t change the language of the web page and the location from the default ‘China’. Apart from this, similar to other Xiaomi routers, the firmware is based on OpenWRT.
Looking at the image above, the first image is of the home page which illustrates the router overview, the second screen is detailed device management, and the third screen is rich in settings and tools. Since all Xiaomi and Redmi routers have the same app, all the features are common in them. The unique and advanced features are accessible from the web page which is in Chinese.
I hate that the Mi WiFi has the paid game accelerator. Whereas, Huawei’s Hi-Link App has a free game accelerator.
The app includes:
Other features include:
Setting up the router is easy. Attach the WAN cable, plug in the power adaptor, and connect the router. You can connect and configure the router from two methods. First is downloading the Mi WiFi app from the App Store/Play Store and is multi-language. Second is the old traditional website login on miwifi official website or the IP address given in the image below:
Concluding the Redmi router AX5 WiFi 6 review, it’s true that:
Redmi router AX5 is the Best Cost-Effective WiFi 6 router
Redmi router AX5 is the Best Cost-Effective WiFi 6 router
Though it has some downsides such as no 160MHz support, cheap plastic build, and slightly lower maximum speed because of 2×2 channels, not 4×4. However, sacrificing these features, Xiaomi delivers one of the most stable WiFi 6 routers with the best heat dissipation in an entry-level router, incredible signal strength, and the 2nd lowest price (Huawei AX3 is the cheapest one), but the best price-performance ratio in all entry-level WiFi 6 routers. As for the mesh networking, Xiaomi promised it in a firmware update coming this July 15.
In China, the Redmi router AX5 price is 249 yuan ($35). It’s available on Global Chinese stores such as Aliexpress and Gearbest. The global price is around $46 to $60. Here’s the link to the stores offering the best price
Store 1: $45.56 + 0.63 USD registered shipping for most countries:
Store 2: 41.59 USD and free shipping for most countries
Store 3 (Gearbest): $49.99 and free shipping over Spain, Italy and other EU countries
I hope you loved my Redmi AX5 router WiFi 6 review. If you need to know anything about the router, do let me know in the comments.