We recently brought you a review of a router from Xiaomi with a model designation AC2100. We kept it after our review and we still use it today, together with the older Mi Router 3G. This time we got to the editorial office probably the most powerful router from the Chinese giant, which bears the designation Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600.
It comes with support for the latest IEEE 802.11ax (WiFi 6) standard, a separate antenna for AIoT and many interesting features. You can read how he passed our test in this review.
Where to Buy Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600?
We bought the router from our partner DHGate, where it appeared for a record low price. Thanks to delivery from a Polish warehouse, we had it at home within a few days without any fees. Unlike the routers we have had so far, the Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 is available in a global version that is customized for our market.
Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600
Express delivery from European warehouse.
This product will be delivered to you expressly from your local warehouse in Europe. Delivery from EU warehouses usually takes 7-10 days and delivers courier. No extra charges, no customs duties or VAT.
Important: Order from DHgate exclusively through a computer or browser on a smartphone, not through their application. Then the order may not be processed correctly.
What do we find in the package?
As soon as the courier delivered the package to us, it was clear to us that this was not a compact, small router. At first glance, a large box wrapped in a protective envelope revealed this. In addition to a photo of the router, the box also contains all the key features of the device in English.
The router is stored in a box in a plastic filling and the protective foil is not only on the body of the router itself, but also on every single antenna. From the top, the router is protected by a soft foam layer, which is glued to the inside of the box. The package also includes instructions for use, power adapter and Ethernet cable. However, their location is quite unfortunate, because they literally fly in the box and crash into the router.
The power cable is relatively short, similar to other Xiaomi routers, it is 120 cm. The Ethernet cable in the package is 100 cm long. Packaging is so simple, but we would welcome a better placement of individual elements in the box.
Key Features of Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600
Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 is the flagship model among routers from Xiaomi. Here you will find support for the latest WiFi 6 standard (IEEE 802.11ax), which offers up to 5 times higher transfer speeds compared to the older variant of WiFi 802.11 (2.7ac). Signal response and coverage have also been improved, especially if multiple devices are connected at the same time.
The router supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. By combining these two bands, we achieve a theoretical wireless transmission speed of up to 2976 Mbps. The 2.4 GHz band offers better transmission over obstacles such as walls, and thus better coverage in the apartment or house. On the other hand, 5 GHz provides low interference and significantly higher bit rates. But worse passes through walls or other obstacles. By combining both bands, however, we get a huge advantage.
The router has up to 7 external antennas with PA and LNA amplifiers. 2 of them are for the 2.4 GHz band and 4 for the 5 GHz band. PA (Power Amplifier) amplifies the signal strength, thanks to which it spreads over longer distances and even over obstacles. The LNA (Low Noise Amplifier) takes care of signal reception and allows the router to receive even weaker signals from devices that are further away. The last, seventh antenna, which is located in the middle, is used exclusively for Xiaomi smart home devices.
The router's memory has a capacity of 512 MB and the maximum number of devices that can be connected simultaneously is up to 248. OFDMA technology ensures more efficient data transfer to multiple devices. Its basic mechanism is the division of one channel into several sub-channels. Through them, the router can transmit multiple data units simultaneously. This feature is one of the biggest advantages of the AX3600 router and WiFi 6 technology itself. You can see an illustrative explanation in the video below:
The 6 × 8 MU-MIMO function is also closely connected with WiFi 8. While with WiFi 5 and the AC2100 router we wrote about 4 × 4 MU-MIMO, using the AX3600 router it can receive and send data in 8 streams simultaneously.
There is also support for the mesh function, where it is possible to connect multiple routers for better coverage of larger spaces, a new version of WPA3 security or a bulletin board function that reduces interference between other WiFi networks. There is also parental control, a powerful 4-core Qualcomm A53 processor or efficient heat dissipation.
First power on and router configuration
Since we have a global version, the setup is very simple and the environment is in English via the web interface, not just through the application. The router can be set up using a graphical interface via a web browser at router.miwifi.com (or using the default IP address 192.168.31.1) or via a smartphone with the MiWifi application installed.
Both methods are the same for the initial settings. The router can be set up via WiFi if you connect to the router's WiFi network or via an Ethernet cable.
If you use the application on a smartphone, there is a minor problem if you also use other routers from Xiaomi in the Chinese version. Like the Mi Home application, MiWiFi can only work in one region. For this reason, we had to change the region from China to any European country in the application. The application will find the router even if you use the Chinese region, but will prompt you to change it.
The first step in the application is to select the mode in which the router should work. You can choose from: a standard router for connecting to the Internet, a wireless repeater and a cable repeater. We chose the first option - a classic setting for the Internet. We connected a cable from the internet provider to the WAN port and started the automatic setup. The router immediately recognized the Internet connection and in the next step offered the selection of the region, the name of the WiFi network and the setting of a password. The router will create 2 WiFi networks, one for the 2.4 GHz band and one for the 5 GHz band.
These WiFi networks can be connected by clicking on the "Smart connect" option. With this option, WiFi networks will have the same name in both bands and the devices will connect to the band that has a better signal at the moment.
Speed test via WiFi 6
We tested the WiFi speed using the Speedtest application in the Xiaomi Mi 10T smartphone. In the router we had turned on smart connect, WiFi 6, signal strength at the highest level, MU-MIMO function and we were curious about the results. Our internet connection has a speed of 1 Gbit / s via optics.
We performed the first measurement right next to the router, where we had a 100 percent signal. The download speed was 653.26 Mbps and the upload speed reached 793 Mbps, which is almost a value that we normally measure on a computer connected via a cable.
In the second measurement, we moved away from the router by approximately 4 meters. Between nami and there was a partition partitioning the room through the router, but without a door. The speed dropped slightly, but not significantly.
Another measurement was made at a distance of approximately 8 m, in the door of the room on the opposite side of the apartment. Between the router and nami there were 2 partitions. Here, the speed has already dropped by almost half compared to the first measurement.
Subsequently, we moved a little further, to a distance of about 10 m, where we were separated from the router by 3 walls. The speed has been reduced to approximately 200 Mbps.
In the farthest part of the apartment, where between nami and they found 3 walls and some cabinets with the router, the distance as the crow flies was approximately 15 m. Here the speed dropped rapidly and the smartphone switched to the 2.4 GHz WiFi network. However, this band is significantly disturbed by other WiFi networks in the block of flats.
As you can see, the speeds are decent, but with increasing distance and obstacles in the form of walls and furniture, the speed decreases significantly. Our apartment has an area of 70 m2 and this router is completely sufficient to cover it.
If we placed it in the middle of the apartment, we would achieve better coverage and higher speeds in individual rooms, but since we wanted to test how the signal spreads across multiple walls, we placed it in a less suitable place, in the edge room.
Comparison with WiFi 5 and Xiaomi AC2100 router
Since we have more routers available, we decided to compare the recently tested Xiaomi AC2100 with the AX3600 router. We first compared the speeds on a computer that was connected by a cable. They were almost exactly the same.
We also tested WiFi. However, the AC2100 does not support the latest version of WiFi 6, so in the settings of the Xiaomi AX3600 router we changed the mode from WiFi 6 to WiFi 5 compatible mode, when WiFi 6 is turned off with all its functions such as OFDMA. We tested again with the Speedtest application in the Xiaomi Mi 10T smartphone from the same places in the apartment as in the test in the previous chapter on WiFi 6.
The first measurement in the immediate vicinity of the router:
Second measurement 4 m from the router with one wall without a door as an obstacle:
The third measurement at a distance of 8 ms is two stenami as obstacles:
Fourth measurement 10 m from the router with three walls as obstacles:
The last measurement in the farthest part of the apartment (15 m) with several different obstacles:
Based on these measurements, it can be seen that the speeds with routers running on WiFi 5 are very similar. With the AC2100 router, however, you can see greater differences between its download and upload, especially with increasing distance.
You can then compare the measured speeds via WiFi with the AC2100 router with the speeds in the previous chapter to see the difference between WiFi 5 and WiFi 6 with the same router. These are not very significant differences and up to a 2.7-fold improvement over WiFi 5, as presented by the manufacturer, is far from happening.
Finally, we also measured speeds via WiFi using the Speedtest application on the Samsung Galaxy S9 + smartphone, which does not support WiFi 6. We performed the test with WiFi 6 turned on on the AX3600 router. This test shows that it doesn't make sense to use a WiFi 6 router if you don't have devices that connect to WiFi that support the latest standard. It does not bring any improvement in speed and the cost of buying a WiFi 6 router is higher.
Signal strength over WiFi
It was interesting to measure the strength and quality of the signal using the WiFi Master application in the smartphone, the AC2100 router was better. However, we were unable to find any information in the router specifications about which antennas are located in them.
The following screenshots are from the AX3600 router, measured at three distances at WiFi 5: right next to the router, 5 m from the router behind one wall, 10 m from the router with three walls as obstacles. When WiFi 6 was turned on, the signal values were almost exactly the same as with WiFi 5, only the speed differed, so we present only one version.
To our surprise, the signal in the same places on the AC2100 router was better, although the Speedtest application measured slightly higher connection speeds with the AX3600 router. In both cases, the phone was still connected to the 5 GHz band.
Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 router application and settings
We described the environment of the MiWifi application and the settings that can be changed during the review of the AC2100 router. If you are interested, we recommend you read the relevant review. In order not to unnecessarily describe the same, we will list only those settings that are missing for the AC2100 router.
Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 offers the possibility of connecting other routers to a mesh network. Right on the home screen of the application there is a possibility to manage these devices. In the WiFi network settings, you will find the option to turn off the MU-MIMO function, turn on WiFi 5 compatible mode or turn off the automatic search for Mi smart devices for which one antenna is dedicated. The router itself was automatically added to the Mi Home application.
Again, we have the same problem as with other Xiaomi routers, where the application does not contain all the available settings that are in the web interface. The application is not a full-fledged replacement for the graphical, web interface in the browser.
Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 is the latest router from the Chinese giant, which offers support for a new version of the WiFi wireless standard 6 and up to 7 external antennas, one of which is dedicated to smart devices from Xiaomi.
The router works great, its setup is simple and we have not noticed any connection instability or speed fluctuations during the whole period of use. A router is a good choice if you have WiFi 6 devices in your home.
If you do not have one and you are using, for example, an AC2100 router or similar, do not expect significant improvements in signal coverage or higher speeds. However, the advantages of this router may be manifested if a larger number of devices are connected to it, which is usually not the case for an ordinary household.
In smaller apartments, the size of the router can also be a negative, as the body of the device itself measures up to 268 x 179 x 177 cm. The disappointment is the presence of only three LAN ports and the absence of a USB port. With such dimensions of the device, we would definitely expect more LAN ports.