Wi-Fi Router NAS Solutions: The Best 14


You probably already know how a router hosts a home network and delivers Wi-Fi to multiple devices at a time.

But there are also “router NAS” options where a USB-enabled Wi-Fi broadcaster can work as a mini NAS server — that’s a Wi-Fi router with storage. All you need is an external drive.

So, if you want to dabble into network-attached storage, using a good Wi-Fi router is the best way to start, before getting a real NAS server. I detailed the process in this post on how to get the most out of a Wi-Fi router’s USB port.

In this piece, you’ll find a list of the current 14 best candidates for the job. I’ll update it as I review more.

Dong’s note: I first published this post on October 29, 2020, and updated it on May 12, 2022, to add more options and relevant information.

Router NAS
Router NAS: When hosting an external drive, a router can work as a mini NAS server.

Almost all Wi-Fi routers with a USB port can work as a mini NAS server, at least for simple file sharing.

What decides if one is good at this job, however, is the performance of this port. In other words, when it comes to network storage, the throughput speed is the king.

That said, below is the chart of NAS performance of (almost) all of those I’ve tested. They are popular USB-enabled routers, in alphabetical order — you might find yours here.

All Routers NAS Write Speeds All Routers NAS Read Speeds

Router NAS: Popular Wi-Fi routers’ NAS performance when hosting an external portable drive.

Note: These charts are updated each time I review a new USB-enabled Wi-Fi broadcaster. It includes router NAS options that don’t make it to the top list below.

I tested each broadcaster using a wired Gigabit connection. With those that feature a multi-gig port, I tried that out, too.

As for storage devices, I’ve always used SSD-based portable drives for testing. The actual drive used for each router might vary, but they all are much faster than the router’s wired network port.

Note that the scores on the chart are in megabytes per second (MB/s), and not megabit per second (Mbps). The latter is generally used for network connection speed. One megabyte equals eight megabits.


Best Wi-Fi router NAS solutions: The list

Again, any routers on the chart above will work as a mini NAS server. But you’re on the market for a new USB-enabled router; find my recommendations below.

These are routers that deliver the best performance or have a great feature set when hosting external storage or both. I’ve personally used them all.

This list is sorted based on the NAS read performance using the fastest wired connection each router supports. In my opinion, the read throughput is more most important than the write one when it comes to network-attached storage.

Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see how their NAS numbers stack against one another’s.


1. Asus RT-AX89X

Asus RT-AX89X 10Gbps and USB Ports
The Asus RT-AX89X has two 10 Gpbs network ports and two USB 3.0 ports occupying two of its sides, making it one of the best Wi-Fi 6 router NAS servers to date.

The RT-AX89X is the top-tier dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router from Asus, and it’s the first router on the market with two 10Gbps network ports. That plus two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports means it can deliver ultra-high-speed router NAS performance.

Like all Asus routers, including the GT-AXE11000, RT-AX86U, GT-AX11000, GT-AX6000, and RT-AX68U below, the RT-AX89X can deliver all storage-related applications you can consider, including local and cloud-based data sharing, PC-less download app, Time Machine backup, and a lot more.

By the way, the storage-based feature set is the same across all Asus routers released in the past few years. And that also applies to other Asus routers on this list.

Asus RT AX89X Folded

Pros

Excellent Wi-Fi performance

Uniquely cool design with two 10Gbps network ports

Eight Gigabit network ports with Dual-WAN and Link Aggregation

Super-fast network-attached storage speed when coupled with an external drive

Tons of useful features, including free-for-life real-time online protection and AiMesh

Cons

A bit buggy at launch, relatively expensive

Bulky physical size with an internal fan — potential heat issue in hot environments

Not wall-mountable, no universal backup restoration


2. Synology RT6600ax

The Synology RT6600ax isn’t the fastest in NAS performance — though its performance on this front is up there — but has by far the most comprehensive features on this front similar to that of a Synology server.

And the fact it’s one of the best Wi-Fi 6 router doesn’t hurt.

Synology RT6600ax Wi-Fi 6 Router

Pros

Fast and reliable Wi-Fi with the support for 5.9GHz UNII-4 spectrum, mesh-ready

Robust, comprehensive yet user-friendly SRM 1.3 firmware with excellent web interface and DS Router app

Lots of useful built-in settings and networking features, helpful add-on packages with accompanying mobile apps

Can work as a full-featured NAS server

Practical design, wall-mountable

Cons

No Link Aggregation, awkward Multi-Gig WAN, rigid default WAN port

5.9GHz clients are scarce


3. Linksys MX8500

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E 5Gbps WAN port
The Linksys MX8500 has a 5Gbps WAN port and a USB 3.0 port.

The Linksys MX8500 is an interesting case. It’s part of the MXE8400 Wi-Fi 6E mesh system.

As a standalone router, the MX8500 doesn’t have a Multi-Gig LAN port. However, when working as a satellite in a mesh setup, its 5Gbps WAN now functions as a LAN. That plus the super-fast 6GHz band means you can get excellent NAS speed out of it.

And like the case of any Velop mesh set, you can use one external drive per MX8500 uint, meaning you can host more storage in a mesh setup.

Out of the box, Linksys doesn’t officially support Time Machine backup, but you might be able to make it work with a bit of tweaking.

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E with power adapters

Pros

Reliable performance, extensive coverage

Excellent NAS performance when hosting external storage device(s)

Separate SSID for each band

Cons

Comparatively slow mesWi-FiFi speeds in homes with walls

Limited Wi-Fi settings and features, mobile app coercion

No Multi-Gig LAN port (main router), Dual-WAN, or Link Aggregation

No setting backup and restore


4. Netgear Nighthawk RAX120

Netgear RAX120 Wings
Wi-Fi 6 router NAS: With a 5 Gbps network port, the RAX120 delivers excellent NAS performance.

This router is the latest from Netgear and has the fastest network storage speed, by far, thanks to its 5Gbps port. But even when you use its regular Gigabit connection, the NAS performance is still outstanding.

Like most Netgear routers, the RAX120 is all about sharing that storage space in as many ways as possible when hosting an external drive.

You can share that locally or via the Internet using Netgear’s ReadyShare software. The router also supports local backup for Windows and Mac’s Time Machine.

Netgear AX12 Front

Pros

Powerful hardware, fast performance

Multi-Gig network port (5Gbps)

Well organized web user interface

Ultra-fast network storage performance

Cons

No online protection, gaming, or mesh features


5. Asus GT-AXE11000

Asus GT AXE11000 USB Ports
The Asus GT-AXE11000 comes with two USB 3.0 ports.

Like the case of the Linksys MX8500 above, the GT-AXE1100 is also a Wi-Fi 6E machine.

In terms of storage support, though, it’s similar to other Asus routers, especially the GT-AX11000 below. It has two USB 3.0 ports and a 2.5Gbps LAN to deliver excellent NAS speed when hosting an external drive.

Asus GT AXE11000 Top View

Pros

Tri-band with Wi-Fi 6E support

Excellent 5GHz and 2.4GHz performance

Excellent set of game-related, online protection and monitoring features, full AiMesh 2.0 support

2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port, Dual-WAN, and LAN/WAN Link Aggregations

Cons

Wi-Fi 6E is not fully available

Only one 2.5Gbps port, no 10Gbps port

Bulky design, not wall-mountable, buggy firmware (at launch)


6. Netgear Nighthawk RAX200

Netgear RAX200 Ports
Wi-Fi 6 router NAS: The Netgear RAX200’s Multi-Gig port caps at 2.5Gbps.

The RAX200 is a tri-band router that shares the same storage feature set as the dual-band RAX120 above. It also has a multi-gig network port, but it caps at just 2.5 Gbps, so it’s not as fast as its cousin, but still, it’s speedy.

Netgear RAX200

Pros

Reliable and fast performance

Helpful mobile app, robust web UI

Multi-Gig support (2.5Gbps)

Cons

Comparatively super-expensive with nothing extra

Shallow Wi-Fi customization, spartan feature set

Comparatively low CPU clock speed

No 5Gbps or 10Gbps LAN port, not wall-mountable


7. Asus GT-AX6000

Asus GT AX6000 Network Ports
Wi-Fi 6 router NAS: The Asus GT-AX6000 comes with two 2.5Gbps ports and a USB 3.0 port.

The Asus GT-AX6000 is currently the best Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 router on the market.

For its NAS feature, the router comes with two 2.5Gbps and a USB 3.0 port.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000

Pros

Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with excellent coverage

Dual Multi-Gig ports with Dual-WAN, Link Aggregations, and more

Tons of helpful networking features and settings, including AiMesh 2.0 and gaming-related applications

Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app, no login account required

Multi-Gig, WAN/LAN Link Aggregation support

Excellent NAS performance when hosting a portable drive

Bold-looking design, no fan, runs cool

Cons

Lowest Multi-Gig grade (2.5Gbps), there could be more ports considering the router’s massive physical size

Impractical antenna design, bulky, not practically wall-mountable


8. Asus RT-AX86U

Asus RT AX86U 5
Wi-Fi 6 router NAS: Among other things, the Asus RT-AX86U comes with two USB 3.0 ports.

The Asus RT-AX86U has a 2.5Gbps LAN port and two USB 3.0 ports. It performs well both as a regular router as well as a mini NAS server.

Asus RT AX86U 12

Pros

Fast performance, excellent range, reliable

Tons of helpful networking features and settings

Useful settings for online gaming

Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app

Multi-Gig, WAN/LAN Link Aggregation support

Excellent NAS performance and features when hosting a storage device

Cons

Single, low-speed (2.5Gbps) Multi-Gig port

Gaming features turn Adaptive QoS off

No support for WTFast Gamer VPN


9. Asus GT-AX11000

Asus AX11000 Back
Wi-Fi 6 router NAS: The Asus GT-AX11000 has a 2.5Gbps port and two USB 3.0 ports, enough for it to deliver fast NAS performance.

The GT-AX11000 is the first tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router from Asus. It’s also a powerful router, and like its cousins above, it has everything when it comes to network storage.

Again, like other Asus routers, its USB ports can host printers, storage devices, or cellular modems and deliver a ton of storage-based features. On top of that, it also has a 2.5Gbps network connection to deliver fast NAS performance.

Asus AX11000 Top 1

Pros

Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance with an excellent range

Lots of useful features for home users

Unique and effective settings for online gaming

Multi-Gig network port, Dual-WAN, Link Aggregation

Cons

Bulky design, loose antennas, non-wall-mountable

Fewer LAN ports than the previous model

Long boot-up time, buggy (at launch), fluctuating Wi-Fi throughputs


10. Netgear RAXE500

The Netgear RAXE500 Routers backside
The Netgear RAXE500 comes with two USB 3.0 ports and a 5Gbps LAN port.

The Netgear RAX500 is the third Wi-Fi 6E on this list. Other than that, it’s almost identical to the RAX200 above.

The Netgear RAXE500 Router angle

Pros

Collectively excellent Wi-Fi speeds and range

2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port, Dual-WAN, and LAN/WAN Link Aggregations

Robust web interface, helpful (optional) mobile app

Fast network-attached storage when hosting a storage device

Cons

Wi-Fi 6E is still in the early stage

No 10Gbps port, only one 2.5Gbps port

Limited Wi-Fi settings, no built-in QoS or Parental Controls

Online protection requires a subscription

Internal fan, a bit buggy (at launch)


11. Asus RT-AX68U

Internet bandwidth: Asus RT-AX68U
Wi-Fi 6 router NAS: The Asus RT-AX68U comes with one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port.

The Asus RT-AX68U is the last entry-level Wi-Fi 6 router and shares similar NAS features as its older cousins mentioned above. However, it’s noticeably more affordable.

Without a multi-gig port, this router is not the fastest in any way, but its router NAS function virtually maxed out the speed of a Gigabit connection in my testing.

The RT-AX68U deserves a spot on this list for a nice combo of excellent features, fast performance, and friendly pricing.

Asus RT AX68U

Pros

Fast performance, excellent range, reliable

Tons of helpful networking features and settings, including AiMesh 2.0

Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app

Excellent NAS performance and features when hosting a storage device

Cons

No Multi-Gig ports or 160MHz channel width support (at launch)


There are two USB 3.0 ports to host storage devices or printer.
Wi-Fi 6 router NAS: The TP-Link C5400X Wi-Fi router has two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports to host storage devices or printers.

This massive and ostentatious Wi-Fi router is quite impressive in terms of USB-based NAS performance. Despite having no multi-gig network port, it delivers fast NAS performance via its regular Gigabit ports.

The router supports sharing storage locally as well as over the Internet. It can also work as a media server, casting content to network streamers and an Apple Time Capsule alternative.

TP Link Archer C5400X 8

Pros

Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance

Solid design with responsive and well-organized interface

Extra LAN ports with Dual-WAN and Link Aggregation

Fast NAS performance when coupled with an external hard drive

Cons

No advanced gaming-specific features

2.4GHz Wi-Fi speed could be better


13. Linksys MX5 Velop AX

Linksys MX10 Hand
Wi-Fi 6 router NAS: The Linksys MX5 router has a good heft to it. Note the NAS-ready USB 3.0 port.

The Linksys MX5 is the latest Wi-Fi router of the Linksys Velop mesh family. It’s part of the Linksys MX10 mesh system, but you can also get it as a standalone router.

Unlike some other Wi-Fi 6 routers below, the MX5 doesn’t have a multi-gig port, so its NAS performs caps at 1Gbps. And that was almost the speed it delivered in my testing.

The router’s USB port doesn’t offer anything more than local storage sharing — there’s no personal cloud streaming features.

Like the MX8500’s case above, the MX5 can host an external drive when working as a route or a mesh satellite, and its support for Time Machine backup might require some teaks.

Linksys MX5 Underside 1

Pros

Reliable and relatively fast Wi-Fi performance

Helpful mobile app, full web interface

Effective backhaul that delivers Wi-Fi 6 throughout in a mesh setup

Fast NAS speeds when hosting an external drive

Cons

Expensive with comparatively low Wi-Fi specs

No support for 160MHz channel bandwidth

Mobile app and login account required for initial setup

Spartan Wi-Fi settings, modest feature set

No multi-gig network ports, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation

USB port awkwardly place, not mountable


TP Link Archer AX11000 Router 7
Wi-Fi 5 router NAS: The TP-Link Archer AX11000 is the first Wi-Fi router on the market with a USB-C port.

The TP-Link Archer AX11000 is the Wi-Fi 6 of the C5400X above. It’s a newer and much better router overall. But in terms of NAS performance, it’s behind its older cousin. The two share the same storage feature set, however.

Despite other advanced networking features of a Wi-Fi router, the comparatively slow read NAS speed when hosting a storage device lands it at the bottom in this post.

TP Link Archer AX11000 Router 18

Pros

Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance

2.5 Gbps WAN port with eight Gigabit LAN ports

160 MHz channel bandwidth support

Excellent, Antivirus, QoS, and Parental Control features

Robust full web user interface, helpful mobile app

Eye-catching and convenient hardware design

USB-C ready, wall-mountable

Cons

Misleading gaming veneer, no actual gaming-specific features

No multi-gig LAN port, bulky design

Not mesh-ready (at launch)

Artificial” “Game” items make the interface unnecessarily confusing

Mobile app requires a login account

Best Wi-Fi routers with built-in NAS features: The performance

Find below the NAS performance charts of my recommended routers above. Again, I test them all using a wired Gigabit connection. And for those with a multi-gig port, I also tried them using a 10Gbps adapter.

Best Router NAS Performance 1
The performance of the current best router NAS options

It’s important to note that I performed the tests with just one client connected to the Wi-Fi router. When multiple clients write or read from the router’s connected storage, the speed will reduce accordingly. But that’s the case with all NAS servers.



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