Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 R-3600

Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 R-3600 (review)

Reader Rating0 Votes
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9.3

The Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 R-3600 is its dual-band flagship model intended for global use outside China. And it turns in some very impressive performance ratings for a surprisingly low price.

No, teh Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 R-3600 is not quite as fast as, say, the Netgear Nighthawk AX6 (6 streams, dual-band, AX6000) at $399. But it is also a 6-stream, dual-band, AX3600 and quite amazing at $199.95. It also supports standard mesh 802.11k/v protocol to work with almost any brand of compatible Wi-Fi repeater.

We have also reviewed the Xiaomi AX1800 RA67 dual-band. It is half the speed and half the price but no less impressive with great signal strength and works as a very effective Wi-Fi extender.

With the greatest respect to Netgear and D-Link that make excellent gear, these routers are half the cost with no apparent downsides. I suspect Panmi Australia (Xiaomi’s official distributor) is pricing aggressively to win market share. After smartphones routers are Xiaomi’s second-biggest volume product.

Review: Xiaomi AIoT router AX3600 R-3600

  • Website here and from PC Byte as well here
  • Price: $199.95
  • Warranty: 1-year
  • Country of manufacture: China
  • Xiaomi is better known for its smartphones, where it has been a global top-5 player for some time. The brand is gaining a strong foothold in Australia via Panmi as its authorised Australian distributor.

First impression – big, long, black and lots of protuberances!

This is not your typical rectangular white box. Instead, it is a long black triangle 408 x 133mm (triangle) and seven antennas making an overall height of 177mm.

On the front are a power indicator and an internet connection indicator. At the rear are three Gigabit LAN ports, one WAN port and a power plug from its 12V/2A charger. The seventh antenna is specifically for Xiaomi AIoT device connection. If you don’t have any, it does nothing. This for Wi-Fi devices supported in the Mi Home app.

It has two streams of 2.4Ghz (574Mbps) and four streams of 5Ghz (2402Mbps). The 5Ghz also has OFDM and 64/256/1024QAM, which means it can aggregate spare bandwidth to users for up to 1200Gbps. And let me tell you, it did not disappoint. At 2m from the router, the Surface Pro 7 connected at 1.2Gbps and at 5M was 1.1Gbps – that shows exceptional strong antenna design. Note – it’s actual aggregated throughput when all bands are in use is around AX3000 speeds.

Setup – perhaps the easiest I have used

  • Plug it into the Aussie Broadband Gateway via its WAN port (LAN port 1)
  • Power-up with 12V/2A Australian plug charger
  • Go to a PC and log into the Xiaomi network (no internet and no passwords at this stage)
  • Setup via 192.168.31.1 in a web-browser. We could not get the Mi Home app to work.
  • It mandates new passwords for the Wi-Fi and Admin, and that is it.

Inside the router firmware

MiWiFi is a clean, simple interface based on the Open WRT operating system. You don’t need to change any settings. If you are not using Wi-Fi AX devices, it can switch to pure AC mode. It has all the usual Open WRT operating system smarts like IPv6, MAC Address clone, DHCP/DDNS/Static IP, VPN QoS, and UPnP (disabled by default). You can change LAN settings, although I rather like that it uses 192.168.31.1-255 instead of the usual 192.168.0.0 – especially if you want to swap out existing networks. It also has basic parential controls.

Mesh (Wi-Fi extender with a single sign-on)

Place the Xiaomi Mi Router AX1800 (satellite) nearby the operating AX3600 (router). Once the power light is blue, access the router via a browser (192.168.31.1) and select ‘Add a Mesh Node’. It then finds the AX1800 router, and the second blue light comes on. Hint: You will need to press the reset button to restore factory defaults if you have already used it as a router.

Once paired, you can place the satellite up to 10 metres away (line-of-sight) or between 3 and 10 metres, depending on how many walls and cupboards are in the way. We understand it supports up to three mesh extenders.

Now remember that Mesh only retransmits the signal it gets – it is illegal to ‘boost or amplify’ it. So, while your Wi-Fi device may get up to a 266/1200Gbps connection to the satellite, the actual throughput will range between 100-500Mbps – still faster than NBN 100. That is pretty good for a dual-band router and satellite. Why lower data transmission rates? It uses a portion of the 5Ghz channel for Wi-Fi backhaul. You can also use an Ethernet cable up to 30 metres and get 1000Mbps backhaul.

Ports

Three dedicated gigabit LAN ports and one WAN port.

Tests using a Samsung S20 Ultra 5G and Surface Pro 7. Speeds are MBps and -dBm signal strength

Router5GHz (maximum 1200Mbps)2.4Ghz (266Mbps)
<2m line-of-sight from router1200/-30266/-38
10m line-of-sight from router1100/-50216/-48
15m line of sight from router960/-60207/-58
15m through four wallsNo connection157/-66

This has an amazingly powerful six stream antenna with exceptional 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz reach. It should cover a 20m diameter circle or an area of about 300m2.

GadgetGuy’s take

Extremely well priced and great performance AX router.

Using a Qualcomm IPQ 8071A processor, six independent antenna amps, beam forming and WRT open-source software (wrapped in MiWiFi skin), the Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 R-3600 is a great router. Antenna strength is excellent. 5Ghz data throughput to 15metres is excellent. If you can place this in the home’s dead centre, it will give you 15-20m diameter coverage.

Xiaomi AIoT Router AX3600 R-3600
At least – a placement image that makes sense! Right in the middle.

While Xiaomi quotes a theoretical 248 smart device connection capability, we think its closer to 30 on the 2.4Ghz band. Readers ask about privacy. My take is that we have investigated using Fing Box, Trend Micro Home Security, Nortons 360 reverse cloud lookup, and we cannot find any data exfiltration. We think Xiaomi is a pretty safe, terrific value bet. You can read other GadgetGuy Xiaomi news and reviews here and viomi reviews here.

Terrific value and performance
Features
8.5
Value for money
10
Performance
8.5
Ease of use
10
Design
9.5
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Positives
Low-cost but not low performance
Excellent 300m2 coverage
Extremely easy setup
Wi-Fi AX performance for a price many AC routers can’t meet
Negatives
There are no mesh ‘controls’ - its on or off
Xiaomi Mi Home app does not recognise it
9.3