Update 3 Wireless Router Review – [Update] Honor Router 3 has been officially launched in the UK, priced at £79.99, available at hihonor UK from the 23rd
Huawei launched the WiFi AX3 in February alongside the Huawei P40 Pro and made a number of big announcements, including the claim that the router is the most powerful Wi-Fi 6 router in the world, and its own Wi-Fi 6+ technology new
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Comparing the specifications and performance recommendations to TP-Link Archer AX11000 and Netgear RAX120, I give a little importance to this launch, both of which have better specifications than theoretical speeds of up to 4804 Mbps.
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However, I would love to try it out and see how good these recommendations really are. Tomorrow’s move will launch the same router, but also branded and available in the UK, I decided to import the Huawei WiFi AX3 Pro and test it.
The Honor Router 3 isn’t currently available in the UK, but it’s only $45.99 on Giztop, and the Huawei WiFi AX3 is the same price, but only Huawei has a Kannada version. For Huawei, there are Pro and non-Pro models, the Pro model has a faster processor and costs $20+.
In hindsight, I should have bought Honor because Huawei’s web interface is only in Kannada, but you can also set it to English through the HiLink app and then use Google to translate the web interface.
With shipping, I paid $79.98 for the Pro model, which is around £65, which is much cheaper than any other Wi-Fi 6 router currently on the UK market.
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A quick look at Amazon, the cheapest I can find is the TP-Link Archer AX50 at £151.05.
I expect the official UK version of Honor to be a lot more expensive than the import price, but it should still easily be the cheapest Wi-Fi 6 router out there.
The difference I know is the Gigahome quad-core 1.4 GHz CPU. This seems to allow the router to have enough processing power to provide TrustZone security.
With the Huawei WiFi AX3 Pro, you need the HiLink app to access the English interface. Then, I tap the phone on the NFC sticker, which allows it to automatically connect to Wi-Fi, and follow the setup process in the app. Overall, it took me a few minutes, and it was one of the fastest router setups I’ve done.
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There is not much customization in the setup process, so the cost of simplicity is low.
Using the HiLink application, it is not possible to change the router to field mode. In my scenario I got a DHCP IP address from my router and then set a new network of 192.168.3.x
It seems to go through the connection and I am still able to connect to the server on 192.168.1.x
However, once it’s working, you can switch to the access point if you’re using Google Translate on the web interface. After logging into the router, you need to go to the settings “I want to go online” and switch it to bridge mode. Once this feature is enabled, HiLink will no longer work
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Huawei routers are only available in Kannada, but should be offered in international languages, and English seems to be the default for the official UK stock.
So for Huawei, you will need to use their HiLink app, with which you get an English interface and the setup process only takes a few minutes.
The HiLink app itself is pretty basic, with little access to features you’d normally find on a router. There isn’t even a way to customize the Wi-Fi options.
However, once the configuration is complete, you can go to your router’s IP address in Chrome and use Google Translate to gain full access to the router’s functionality.
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In previous router reviews, I had many questions about the 160 MHz frequency bandwidth, and each review highlighted the issue. In this case, it works out of the box, which is what makes Wi-Fi 6+ different.
However, this could also be a case of user error, set up my Netgear RAX120 again, when running the router in default mode, it worked immediately.
160MHz is the limit, and while it requires twice the normal channel width, it gives you a very limited range of channel choices and exposes you to more interference. This also means that you can only have two 160Hz devices on a network with no crossover, one of which has to be used for the DFS channel that involves the radar.
When I first set it up, I had some issues with connection stability, which may have conflicted with some other network gear, but finally, after the change, it was resolved.
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I found that the connection speed on the P40 Pro went up and down considerably, but it generally stayed above 1600mbps and often peaked at 2400mbps, much faster than what I achieved with Qualcomm devices. It appears that the Huawei Wi-Fi chip has a capacity of 160Mhz channel width, while the Wi-Fi chip inside the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 is limited to 80Mhz.
Using the Wifi Speed Test Pro app, I was able to consistently hit speeds over 900mbps. It is worth noting, however, that I was able to hit a higher speed of 1278Mbps when using the Netgear RAX120 at 2400Mbps.
The Huawei P30 Pro appears to benefit from the same 160Mhz channel size as the P40 Pro, and as such, it can connect to 1400Mbps and achieve transfer speeds of just under 900Mbps.
Huawei has repeatedly said that Wi-Fi 5 on their phones is faster than Wi-Fi 6 from other companies. It seems to be true that the Huawei P30 Pro always generates a connection rate of 1170mbps to 1400Mbps. Realme X50 Pro with Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 connects at 1200mbps.
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With the Realme X50 Pro, I usually get 700mbps to 800mbps transfer rates, which is about 100mbps slower than the P30 Pro.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ has the same problem as SD865, it can only connect at 80Mhz, thus limiting the connection rate to 866Mbps. This gave me a high transfer speed of 626Mbps.
Once I switched the router to access field mode, I found that it set higher transfer rates more reliably, which made the Wi-Fi really work when I tested it on my PC and laptop.
The transfer rate is usually over 2Gbps, which results in an actual transfer speed of 113MB/s, while the Service Manager reports 960mbps, so this is at the limit of the gigabit transfer speed limit of the wired network.
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Unfortunately, since the router only has gigabit ports, it failed to beat the performance of the Netgear RAX120, which hit 1349mbps via jprf and a top file transfer speed of 170MB/s.
All the above tests were carried out at close range, within a few meters, and without obstacles, which represent only a small example of real-world use.
When you start to leave and enter other rooms, the router still stacks far more than its weight. If you go into the network-based router settings, you can change the Wi-Fi power mode to negative. As the name suggests, this increases performance.
I live in a sizable brick 4 and a half bed. Using the router in my office, which is upstairs in the house, I can get a 5Ghz signal in every room of the house. In the far hallway, I was able to hit 166Mbps. When the router is in normal power mode, I can only connect at 2.4Ghz, so the speed is only 41Mbps.
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Moving to my garage/gym, few routers make a reliable connection, but the AX3 Pro is still able to connect at 5Ghz and hit 54Mbits.
So, I don’t think Huawei has made it clear how Wi-Fi 6+ is different from Wi-Fi 6, and I think the firmware will manage the 160Mhz channel more efficiently, keeping the best customers of connect quickly. This may be true; however, during my testing, I didn’t see any indication that Wi-Fi 6+ offers any different performance than regular Wi-Fi 6.
There is no real competition at this price point, which makes the Huawei WiFi AX3 Pro the best. However, since this is an import, it remains to be seen how much Honor will charge for the slightly smaller Honor Router.
TP-Link Archer AX50 seems to be the cheapest option, this is a dual-band 2 × 2 router, so its top speed is similar to what Huawei offers 2402 Mbps on 5 GHz and 574 Mbps on 2 4 GHz price that is more than double £151.
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