Due to the rapid development of smart homes, many users are looking for reliable and high-quality routers. As you know, all devices from the smart home system are connected to each other via Wi-Fi network. If you want the smart home devices to work fast and stable, then you need a router with a stable Internet connection and wide coverage.
A large number of devices in the smart home system is a serious test for a home router. Today, most smart homes operate at 2.4 GHz band of Wi-Fi. This frequency has a fairly large transmission distance, but it cannot boast of the stability of Internet connection.
I want to give an example from personal experience. My smart home system includes about 50 devices, such as cameras, a robot vacuum cleaner, sockets, a humidifier, lamps, a smart TV, air conditioning and more. This list does not include smartphones, tablets, computer, and so on. Just imagine what kind of load one small router takes upon itself.
Recently, home routers have begun supporting Wi-Fi 5, which is also known as 802.11AC. Due to the popularity of Wi-Fi 5 routers, other devices from the smart home system have received Wi-Fi 5 support for a faster and more stable Internet connection.
This year a new Wi-Fi 6 version was introduced, which is safer and faster compared to Wi-Fi 5. The new Wi-Fi standard supports the parallel transmission of data from a large number of devices. At the same time it provides high Wi-Fi speed.
In this article I want to tell you about the new Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 router. This is the first router from the Chinese manufacturer with Wi-Fi 6 support. Moreover, it is one of the most affordable home Wi-Fi 6 routers.
Let’s do a detailed review of the new Xiaomi router, and find out its advantages and disadvantages.
As usual, we begin our review with unboxing.
Where To Buy?
Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600: Unboxing
The new router comes in a small white box. On the front panel we can see a picture of the router itself, a model name and icons with main features.
By the way, I have a Chinese version of Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600, so all the inscriptions, including the specifications and settings menu, are also in Chinese.
Have you noticed AIoT icon? It says that the new Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 router supports AIoT.
I want to remind you that AIoT (Artificial Intelligence of Things) is a system that automatically sets up several devices, for example, a humidity sensor and air conditioning, to maintain the desired temperature and humidity in the room.
Moreover, Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 has a separate antenna for AIoT and Internet of things connection.
In fact, AIoT is very useful for users who have a lot of smart devices at home, in particular from Xiaomi. Instead of connecting each gadget to the router, the router automatically finds all the proximity devices and connects them at the same time.
On the back of the box you can read detailed information about the new Xiaomi router. There is also a list of the main functions of Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600:
- Qualcomm Quad Core;
- Dual-band Wi-Fi up to 2976 Mb/s;
- 6 external signal amplifiers – antennas;
- AIoT Antenna;
- Netease UU Game accelerator.
Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 supports OFDMA and MU-MIMO technologies. If you can connect up to 128 devices to Wi-Fi 5 router, then Wi-Fi 6 router supports connecting up to 248 devices. It’s even hard for me to imagine so many smart devices in one house!
The router comes with a short black Internet cable and a power cable in the package.
The output power of Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 is 12V 2A.
There is also a simple setup guide, but it is in Chinese.
The router and antennas are protected by plastic. You can take the router from the box by holding it on both sides and lifting it up. Do not pull on the antennas!
Since the router is quite large and heavy, and the antennas cannot be disassembled, they should be handled carefully to avoid damage.
Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600: Design
The new Xiaomi router 2020 has a triangular design. Antennas are located on the rear and side panels. They are movable, so you can adjust the angle by setting the antennas in the desired direction.
In the center of the rear panel is the AioT antenna. It is easy to distinguish it from other antennas, since only it has an LED indicator. During a normal connection, the indicator glows light blue.
On the front panel of the router we can also see two indicators. One of them shows network status. When the router is malfunctioning or not connected to the network, the indicator glows yellow. If everything is OK with the Internet connection, it is blue.
The second indicator shows the status of the system.
The heat dissipation of any router is very important for performance. As a rule, most of the back or bottom panel of router will have many holes for heat dissipation. Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 is no exception. The lower part of this router is mainly occupied by holes for heat removal.
The rear panel has ports for WLAN network cable, three LAN connectors, a reset button, and a power connector.
The Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 is completely black, with the exception of the gold line along the front panel.
Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600: First Connection and Settings
Modern routers, as a rule, support settings through a computer and application on a smartphone. I’m used to using a computer that is relatively easy to work with.
The computer is connected to the new Xiaomi router wirelessly. When connecting for the first time, no password is required.
After successful connection, the login interface automatically opens.
Start the configuration with the name of Wi-Fi network, the password for Wi-Fi network, as well as the password for entering the router’s admin system. You can choose the same password for logging in to a Wi-Fi network.
It is recommended that you update the software after the first login to the admin panel. Since the Xiaomi router was recently released, the manufacturer warns about possible errors in the software. That is why it is recommended to update the software before using the router.
After updating the firmware, you can once again choose a name and a password for 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks.
Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 has a useful feature – support for dual-frequency unification. This means that one SSID, that is, one device, can operate in 5G and 2.4G bands. You do not need to reconnect to one or another frequency yourself.
Some older devices do not support dual-band Wi-Fi, so when you search for a Wi-Fi network, you will not see 5G.
Next, you should enable MU-MIMO and Wi-Fi 6 functions in the settings of the router. At this point, the router reminded me that some devices do not support Wi-Fi 6, so there may be a connection problem.
Below in the image you see the interface of the admin center of Xiaomi router on the computer. It is divided into three main categories: connection status, general settings and advanced settings. As I said, the interface is in Chinese, because the router is released only in China.
General settings include setting whitelists, blacklists, setting IP addresses for login, and setting passwords for login. There is also a DHCP service, static routing, and other features.
Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600: Application Settings
As I said, you can configure the router through a computer or application on a smartphone. The application is very convenient and easy to use.
First you need to download the application. After installing the application, you can connect to the wireless network of the router to configure it online.
The new Xiaomi router is available in the application immediately after connection. Use your Mijia account to log in and bind the router.
In the application you can find information about connected devices to the router, and network speed.
First of all, I recommend updating the software. Since I already installed the update through the computer, I don’t have updates in the app on the smartphone.
The Wi-Fi settings of Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 router in the application are quite simple: SSID, network switch, hidden settings, encryption method, etc. In addition, there are other functions such as restarting, disconnecting the router, sharing routers and others.
It seems that there are more options for setting up the router on mobile app than on the computer.
Inside the toolbar, you can set the speed limit, test Wi-Fi speed, switch indicators, WeChat Friend WiFi, set child protection and other functions.
Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600: OFDMA Function
And finally, let’s talk about OFDMA function. OFDMA technology is one of the main advantages of Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 over other routers.
The new Xiaomi router is able to send data to several devices simultaneously through one transmission channel. To be precise, data can be sent to 8 devices at the same time.
Traditional routers require multiple channels for data transfer. Thus, OFDMA technology significantly improves the efficiency of data transfer to several devices operating simultaneously. In addition, the delay is significantly reduced.
Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600: Speed Test
The first and perhaps most important quality of a home router is the speed of Wi-Fi network, and the second is the stability of the connection.
It takes some time to check the stability of the connection. However, a lot of time is not needed to check the speed of Wi-Fi network.
Look at the picture above to have an idea of the layout of my home, in which I use Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600. Yes, my apartment is not a perfect place for a router, since there are a lot of partitions and walls in it. However, I don’t have another one!
For the first test, I used the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S smartphone, which does not support Wi-Fi 6.
The test showed that 5G Wi-Fi network speed in all four rooms reaches 230 Mb/s, and the upload speed is stable above 30 Mb/s. This is a very good result.
For the second test, I used iPhone 11. The signal in the living room is the highest, while in other rooms it is noticeably lower.
Since the 5G network signal itself has a short data transmission distance and is easily blocked by the wall, it is predictably lower than the 2.4G signal.
Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600: Conclusion
The official price of the new Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 router is $85. However, given the fact that in China there are problems with production and logistics because of coronavirus, the price of a router in Chinese online stores is at least $120.
In fact, today not many smartphones and other devices support Wi-Fi 6. I can only remember Xiaomi 10, iPhone 11 and a few more flagships that support Wi-Fi 6.
However, times are changing, and mobile devices are constantly receiving updates and improvements. Buying a new Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 router now, you are making an investment for the future. In the next few years, all new devices will support Wi-Fi 6.