The Biggest Yet The Cheapest WiFi 6 Router We Tested!
Today, we will be reviewing the newly released Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 in China for a price of 599 yuan ($85 USD). Remember, if you are planning to buy a WiFi 6 router, the full potential of this router will be seen on a 500 Mbps broadband and above. If your network is below 500 Mbps, the traditional WiFi 5 router will be the best for you. However, it’s a good investment right now, since the Snapdragon 865 phones come with WiFi 6. It’s not the cheapest WiFi 6 router out there. The cheapest WiFi router is Archer AX20 but the hardware configuration is really limited. So, let’s dive into this review and know everything we need to know about Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600.
Starting with the packaging, this router has the largest boxing I have ever seen for a router. It feels larger than the box of the Xiaomi Notebook Pro 15.6 enhanced version, but it isn’t that heavy than the notebook but still much weight for being a router.
Unboxing it, we have the Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600, power adapter, network cable, and a simple instruction manual (in Chinese).
The Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 adopts a relatively rare triangular body design, a matte plastic case, and a large area of heat dissipation grill that is surround through the entire router. Heat dissipation performance is not bad, and you will not feel obvious heat when you touch the case.
Seven antennas aren’t that much for a router priced under $100, however, they are still more than most of the routers people use in their home. The antennas include one independent IoT device antenna, two 2.4GHz antennas, and four 5GHz antennas.
On the bottom center, there is the login information and QR code of the router (you can scan and download the Mi WiFi App).
There are four rubber pads at the bottom of the Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600, which can play a role of non-slip fixing during home placement.
It is worth mentioning that the 2.4Ghz antenna and 5Ghz antenna of the Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 are equipped with PA power amplifiers and LNA low-noise amplifiers, so we don’t have to worry too much about the signal loss. The IoT device antenna also comes with standard indicator light. I haven’t found its specific role anyway.
A copper-colored metal piece is configured on the top of the Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 to accelerate the heat transfer from the inside to the outside of the router and provide stable heat dissipation support for the router’s high-speed operation.
The Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 has not changed much in terms of interface. There’s 1x Gigabit WAN port, 3x Gigabit LAN ports, power interface and Reset button are in line with the requirements of home use, but it is recommended to add 1-2 interfaces more.
The Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 is equipped with a 12V / 2A power adapter. Compared with the Redmi router AC2100, it has 0.5A more amperes.
Last but not least, due to the highly efficient heat dissipation, this router is advertised as one of the most durables Xiaomi routers out there. Here what they did to check its durability:
The Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 is equipped with a Qualcomm IPQ8071A chip with a 4-core A53 architecture and a 2-core network acceleration engine. This chip uses a six-core design, which includes a 64-bit quad-core 1.0GHz CPU and a dual-core 1.7GHz NPU. The 2.4GHz Wi-Fi chip is QCN5024, the 5GHz Wi-Fi chip is QCN5054, and the AIoT Wi-Fi chip is QCA9889. With 512MB of large memory, the hardware configuration is worth praising as along with 256MB internal storage, this router can connect up to 248 devices at the same time.
It’s easy to understand why the Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 is called AX3600. First of all, Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) is a new generation of Wi-Fi6 standards, so it is named by AX prefix. Secondly, the bandwidth of the router is 160MB, the rate is 574Mbps in the 2.4GHz band, and the rate is 2402Mbps in the 5GHz band. The IoT antenna is also dual-band, which is 150 Mbps and 433 Mbps, so the total is 3559 Mbps.
In addition, Xiaomi AIoT routers are equipped with two and four external high-performance signal amplifiers (PA + LNA) in the 2.4GHz band and 5.0GHz band, respectively. PA (power amplifier) effectively enhances the signal transmission power, LNA (low noise amplifier) can improve the sensitivity of signal reception, the signal transmission distance is longer, along with better wall penetration.
Also Read: WiFi 6 vs WiFi 7 – Speed, Frequency Comparison | What To Expect?
The first advantage of Wi-Fi6 is that it supports 1024-QAM. Compared with Wi-Fi5’s 256-QAM, the data capacity is higher and the transmission speed is faster. At the same time, OFDMA + MU-MIMO can allow several devices to communicate at the same time. A single router can get connected to hundreds of devices, unlike Wi-Fi 5, where there’s a limit. As a result, the network is more open and less likely to be blocked.
It also supports BSS Coloring technology, which can reduce the previous interference of multiple routers and improve communication efficiency. Beamforming technology can detect smartphones, smart devices, etc., enhance range signals, and enhance communication quality, which is the same as the Redmi router AC2100 and AC2300.
At the same time, the Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 supports IPv6 and Auto Configuration. This is an improvement and extension of the DHCP protocol, making network (especially local area network) management more convenient and faster. At the same time, IPv6 encrypts data at the network layer and verifies IP packets, which greatly enhances network security. And so on, IPv6 application situations will become more and more popular in the near future.
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 instructions for connecting the router to the APP or website login are given in the user manual which, sadly, is in Chinese. Here’s how to connect it via Mi Wifi app:
After connecting the power and network cable, use a phone to connect to the WLAN signal sent by the Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 (no password required), and then enter the relevant broadband account and password to achieve Internet access. More importantly, there’s only one WiFi name for the dual-band frequency networks.
If the user has previously used a Xiaomi router, its settings can also be imported directly with one click. Here’s how to do that:
The addition of the WPA3 encryption protocol this time greatly increases the difficulty of network cracking and makes user’s information secure. Users can also enable Wi-Fi mode, AIoT smart antenna scanning, etc. according to their needs.
Users who like to operate on the PC can directly access the website and enter the settings of Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600. They can directly modify and set the WiFi name and password. It is necessary to set the upload and download speed of broadband. After everything is done, the “Earth” shape will pop up and the router will have internet access.
For the test, we have selected a 90 square meter house. We have selected three test points and the star shown is where the router is placed. We will be testing 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands. The bandwidth package is 160 Mbps which is below the recommended 500Mbps+ package to get the best out of AX3600 router and test WiFi 6 limit rate. The phone which is measuring the speed is Xiaomi Mi 6 (it doesn’t have WiFi 6) and the software selected is ‘Okala SpeedTest’.
The Speedtest test results show that 5GHz band WiFi performed well. The download speed in all three locations reaches up to 100Mbps, and the upload speed of 22.8Mbps remains basically unchanged despite the distance. This is worth praising. On the contrary, the performance of 2.4GHz is average, and the upload and download are what we expected. More importantly, the 5GHz band has less coverage but much better speed than the 2.4GHz band. This is why we see the speed difference. Judging from the data, the network coverage of Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 is relatively wide, and the network speed is relatively stable, which is enough for ordinary home users.
For the AIoT smart products connection, if you have Xiaomi and Mijia smart home products you can download the Mijia home app, scan the product, and connect it with one-click only.
In addition, the Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 still continues the features also found in the previous Xiaomi and Redmi routers because they all have the same basic Mi WiFi app. These include intelligent speed limit, WeChat red envelope Wi-Fi, security center, child protection, etc., and NetEase UU game accelerator, which is free for three months and supports PC and Android. You can read about all these features in our Redmi router AC2100 review.
In short, if you are in search of a WiFi 6 router offering at the best price range and no limited hardware utilization, Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 is the first one you should consider. With its “unique” and “domineering” design, it gives us an incredible performance with high speed, high penetration, and large coverage area. The most important feature is the WiFi 6 integration and technologies like the MU-MIMO, and the automatic network distribution function of independent AIoT smart antennas are indeed in line with the 5G wave.
Like we said if you don’t have a 500Mbps network or above, buying a WiFi 6 router isn’t necessary. You can go for a Redmi AC2100 router or Redmi AC2300 router which is much cheaper than the AX3600. Even you should have a WiFi 6 notebook or smartphone to utilize the best out of the router which is rare to see right now. However, it’s a good investment if you are planning to move to 500Mbps and more internet package and also have smart devices (probably Xiaomi and Mijia) at home.
Sadly, the firmware has a long way to go as it doesn’t support 160MHz bandwidth. Moreover, one can sometimes experience stability issues as well and need to restart the router.
Update: Huawei released Huawei AX3 Pro which supports 160MHz bandwidth by default. It’s also 2x lesser than AX3600. You can see its review here.
Update 6/23/2020: Xiaomi officially announces that the Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 mesh networking feature is now available in the new update. It also supports mesh networking with the Xiaomi router AX1800.
In China, the Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 is selling for 599 yuan ($85). However, the price for global purchase from websites like Aliexpress and Banggood range around $110 to $160. If you are interested in buying this router, Aliexpress may provide you the best price which is $94 (excluding shipping cost). Here’s the link of the store:
If the above deals expire here are some more stores to get the router for the best price.
Image Credits: Yuan Chuang (PCOnline.com)