Tom's Hardware Verdict
Offering Wi-Fi 6E connectivity for under $150, the Tenda RX27 Pro is a solid value. However, its 6-GHz speeds are disappointing.
Great value when compared to WiFi 6 routers
Solid performance on 5-GHz band.
Ultra-low average latency
Flexible scheduling options
Lacking in some features
6-GHz Throughput Lower than 5-GHz
Small amount of packet loss
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Despite the recent emergence of WiFi 7, WiFi 6E still qualifies as emergent. Many devices don’t yet support WiFi 6E. On a Windows PC, you’ll need an appropriate network-adapter card and Windows 11 to enjoy the 6 GHz band. If you prefer a Mac, you’ll need a device manufactured no earlier than 2023 (and even some 2023-manufactured devices won’t recognize 6 GHz).
But because WiFi 6E is no longer in the earliest stages of its emergence, networking manufacturers now offer downmarket WiFi 6E routers. They may cost a bit more than “affordable” routers that support merely the WiFi 6 protocol (after all, you’re getting not dual band but tri-band), but they’re still relatively inexpensive and low-end.
So if you want to get into WiFi 6E for cheap, you could try the Tenda RX27 Pro which, at press time, was just $110. At this price, it’s not more expensive than the pricier of the “budget” WiFi 6 routers. Its throughput on the 6-GHz band is unimpressive but it delivers low latency there and strong throughput at 5 GHz.
Design of Tenda RX27 Pro
When it comes to signal-boosting power, Tenda was not screwing around with the RX27 Pro. The router features five foldable antennas—complementing the seven high-power FEMS internally.
Aesthetically, the Tenda RX27 Pro is definitely a vibe—but, subjectively speaking, it’s not the vibe. The all-black router has three widely angled points at the front such that they are reminiscent of cold, predatory eyes. It gives the impression of a spaceship full of evil, conquest-hungry extraterrestrials. It looks like it could float—like you might wake up at 3:25am to see it hovering next to the lamp on your nightstand. Observing you. Waiting.
But hey, some people are into that sort of thing.
More objectively speaking, it is disappointing that the Tenda RX27 Pro has only three Ethernet ports. It also lacks a power button and a USB port.
Rounding out the physical features that it does have, the Tenda RX27 Pro has a WAN port, a recessed reset button (keep a paper clip handy), and a WPS button.
Specifications of Tenda RX27 Pro
|Processor||1.7 GHz quad-core Processor||Row 0 - Cell 2|
|Operating Frequency||2.4 GHz / 5 GHz / 6 GHz||Row 1 - Cell 2|
|Data Rates||2.4 GHz: 861 Mbps; 5 GHz: 2402 Mbps; 6 GHz: 2402 Mbps||Row 2 - Cell 2|
|Ports||(3) gigabit Ethernet ports, (1) gigabit WAN port||Row 3 - Cell 2|
|Encryption||2.4 GHz/5 GHz: WPA2-PSK, WPA3-SAE/WPA2-PSK 6 GHz: WPA3-SAE||Row 4 - Cell 2|
|Wi-Fi Technology||1024QAM High Data Rate, Beamforming, MU-MIMO, OFDMA||Row 5 - Cell 2|
|Price||$159.00||Row 6 - Cell 2|
Setup of Tenda RX27 Pro
In case you feel lost during the setup process, the Tenda RX27 Pro comes with thorough documentation in the form of a generous fold-out Quick Installation Guide. This Guide is welcome considering how rarely good help documentation is included with routers.
Options for setup include web interface via Ethernet or WiFi, or via smartphone app. The latter can be initiated with a QR code, if the user prefers.
The foldout takes the user through setting up the device via each of these methods. It also includes a detailed legend of the ports, buttons, and LED lights of the router. On the reverse side, it includes specific directions for setting up the router as an add-on to an existing network, as well as a troubleshooting FAQ and information for contacting technical support.
Once the process is begun, setting up the Tenda RX27 Pro is fast and painless—as simple as resetting admin credentials for each of the three bands (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, 6 GHz). Then, you’re in the friendly-looking control panel.
There is mildly mangled English on the setup screens and in the control panel that you are taken to post-setup. It doesn’t hurt anything, but it may raise a question as to quality control in other areas. (The alternative charitable explanation would be that Tenda chose to invest limited expenses into the tech more so than into overseas translations of the UI.)
Features of Tenda RX27 Pro
The Tenda RX27 Pro offers plenty of common-enough features—including security controls and firewalls, port forwarding, remote web management, VPN setup/management, router-configuration backup/restore, guest-network setup, mesh networking, and Alexa integration.
The access controls are relatively generous. The parental controls include URL restrictions, time limits, and blacklist/whitelist support—as well as batch functionality for bulk-handling clients.
The Tenda RX27 Pro also offers WiFi scheduling—letting you automatically set times for the WiFi to disable and re-enable. This feature comes in particularly handy for those with family members who might otherwise “internet forever”—as well as those who prefer to turn off their WiFi at night in a bid to reduce EMF exposure.
Speaking of scheduling, the control panel also allows you to schedule daily maintenance. The people at Tenda were also thoughtful enough to include an option to delay a router reboot if there are any active clients and network traffic exceeds 3 Kbps. (Microsoft could learn a thing or two from Tenda in this regard.)
Further helping with network maintenance, the control panel includes a tool for network diagnostics. The network-diagnosis tool purports to check connections, interference, delay, jitter, negotiation speed, upload/download speed, memory, CPU usage, and DNS—inter alia.
Performance of Tenda RX27 Pro
The Tenda RX27 Pro offers truly excellent 5-GHz performance and decent 2.4-GHz throughput, but throughput on its 6-GHz band was often slower than on 5-GHz. That’s odd, when you consider that the 6-GHz band is what makes WiFi 6E stand out. However, latency numbers were still excellent at 6 GHz, making this a good choice for gaming as the amount of data you transfer is less important than how fast your keystrokes and mouse clicks get to the server.
Tenda has a built-in diagnostic tool that offers its take on throughput and latency, but as always, we do our own testing. For what it’s worth, the Tenda RX27 claims to offer maximums of 861 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 2402 Mbps on each of the 5 GHz and the 6 GHz bands. The 861 number is noteworthy considering that IEEE considers the theoretical maximum speed on 2.4 GHz to be 600 Mbps. Perhaps Tenda knows something that IEEE does not.
We conducted our own tests repeatedly throughout the course of two weekdays in a single-family house with a 1,200-Mbps connection, using a laptop with a RealTek 8852CE network adapter as the client and another PC, attached via Ethernet, as the server to receive traffic.
We used iPerf to test throughput and ping to test latency. Four sets of tests were conducted for each band. iPerf’s results, on every router we have tested, are typically in the 150 to 350 Mbps range so we’re not surprised when we don’t come close to the theoretical maximum bandwidth.
Near uncongested: Testing laptop approximately 7 feet away from the router, no substantial traffic being carried across other devices
Far uncongested: Testing laptop approximately 25 feet away from the router, no substantial traffic being carried across other devices
Near congested: Testing laptop approximately 7 feet away from the router; videos streaming on four devices throughout the house
Far congested: Testing laptop approximately 25 feet away from the router; videos streaming on four devices throughout the house
Here are the results we recorded from our testing:
For a router that’s less than $150, the Tenda RX270 Pro has really good speeds on the 5-GHz band. In fact, its near-location 5-GHz throughput beat all competitors except the MSI RadiX AXE6600 and, with network congestion, it even topped MSI’s router (which costs $150 more). Latency numbers were also really strong with pings in the 4 to 5 ms range.
The 2.4-GHz band’s numbers are overall quite decent (although we would have liked to have seen better throughput on the congested-traffic tests there). Latency, under congested conditions, was so-so but acceptable.
The bigger headline than any of these items, however, involves the inferior throughputs on the 6-GHz band compared to those on the 5-GHz band. It’s surprising to see that , for example, the RX27 Pro had 100 Mbps higher speed at near / uncongested 5-GHz than at near / uncongested 6 GHz. You’d expect 6-GHz to have more throughput as it did on other routers. However, the good news – particularly for gamers – is that latency was really, really low at 6-GHz, besting most of its competitors.
At the same time, the 3% packet loss in our far-congested tests on the 5-GHz band is concerning. We are left to wonder if occasional modest packet loss is an issue potentially common to some low-end WiFi 6E routers; we also experienced 3% packet loss during our near-uncongested testing on the 6-GHz band of the TP-Link Archer AXE75.
It is also worth noting—though we cannot account for it—that our near-congested testing on the 2.4 GHz band underperformed performance during our far-congested testing. During the former, despite mostly ultra-low ping rates, we experienced substantial swings in ping rate to as high as 161 ms.
If you’re going to buy a WiFi 6E router to go with WiFi 6E-compatible devices, you probably want to be able to get some significant performance benefits from the 6-GHz band. In this regard, the Tenda RX27 Pro is somewhat of a disappointment, offering worse throughput on 6 GHz than on 5 GHz. However, its latency numbers – most important for gaming – are much better at 6 GHz.
The Tenda RX27 Pro performed relatively strongly on the 5 GHz band (discounting the 3% packet loss in one set of our tests). The 2.4 GHz results weren’t bad either. And average ping rates were low across the board.
Tenda’s router does cut some corners. It comes without a USB port, a power button, or even a fourth LAN port. And a number of other routers seem to offer more security features.
However, for $110, the Tenda RX27 Pro offers great value considering that many Wi-Fi 6 routers are in the same price range or are more expensive. If you’re looking for strong Wi-Fi 6E performance, consider the MSI RadiX AXE6600 or the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300, both of which cost more than $150 more. However, if you want to save money and think of it as a Wi-Fi 6 router with a 6-GHz bonus band, the RX27 Pro is a really solid choice.
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It's 2.4GHz speed of 861mbps is correct, the 600mbps you mentioned is for WiFi 4, this router uses WiFi 6 on 2.4GHz which supports speeds of 861mbps and even higher.Reply
For what it’s worth, the Tenda RX27 claims to offer maximums of 861 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 2402 Mbps on each of the 5 GHz and the 6 GHz bands. The 861 number is noteworthy considering that IEEE considers the theoretical maximum speed on 2.4 GHz to be 600 Mbps. Perhaps Tenda knows something that IEEE does not.It is pretty disappointing that a tech writer does not know 256-QAM and 1024-QAM were codified for 2.4GHz back in Wifi-6, then references the Wifi-4 standard to prove their point. While Wifi-5 did not change 2.4GHz, it's really not strange for 6E to follow the standard established back in 2014 for Wifi-6.
All I'm saying is even ChatGPT probably knows that.
tom's keeps reviewing routers without a USB port. Who in their right mind would consider buying a router without a USB port? It makes no sense.Reply
A router like this, that offers 861 Mbs speeds from the 2.4 Ghz band is simply a 3-stream Wifi 6 router that supports 1024-QAM, just like a 4-stream Wifi 6 router offers a linkrate of 1148 Mbs - various models from Asus come to mind.BFG-9000 said:It is pretty disappointing that a tech writer does not know 256-QAM and 1024-QAM were codified for 2.4GHz back in Wifi-6, then references the Wifi-4 standard to prove their point. While Wifi-5 did not change 2.4GHz, it's really not strange for 6E to follow the standard established back in 2014 for Wifi-6.
All I'm saying is even ChatGPT probably knows that.