The Best 10 Wi-Fi Router NAS Solutions

David Beckam

You probably already know how a router hosts a home network and simultaneously delivers Wi-Fi to multiple devices. That’s generally how a Wi-Fi router works.

But there are also “router NAS” options where a USB-enabled Wi-Fi broadcaster can work as a mini NAS server — that’s when a Wi-Fi router hosts a USB drive to provide storage for the entire network.

In other words, add a good external drive, and your router will also work as a file-sharing, media server, or even more.

So, if you want to dabble into network-attached storage, a good Wi-Fi router is the best way to start before a real NAS server.

In this post, we’re talking about using a router as a NAS server, not actual dedicated NAS servers.

Generally, all routers work similarly to all real servers. But in terms of performance, those with Multi-Gig LAN port(s) are better fits.

This post includes the performance chart of most USB-enabled routers and the current best 10 candidates for the network file-sharing job.

Dong’s note: I first published this post on October 29, 2020, and updated it on February 18, 2023, to add more options and relevant information.

Asus RT AX89X as Router based NAS Server
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. However, it’s the actual performance that counts.

Below is the chart of NAS performance of popular home Wi-Fi routers I’ve rested, listed in alphabetical order.

Network storage performance of all Wi Fi routers by Dong Knows Tech Write SpeedsNetwork storage performance of all Wi Fi routers by Dong Knows Tech Read Speeds
Router NAS: Popular Wi-Fi routers’ NAS performance when hosting an external portable drive. These charts are updated each time a new USB-enabled Wi-Fi router is reviewed on Dong Knows Tech.

I tested each using a wired Gigabit connection. With those that feature a Multi-Gig port, I tried that, too.

As for storage devices, I’ve always used portable SSDs, which are much faster than the router’s USB ports — most use USB 3.2 Gen 1 (a.k.a USB 3.0) with a 5Gbps max ceiling speed.

USB standard: Speed grades vs connection types

Note that the scores on the chart are in megabytes per second (MB/s), not megabits per second (Mbps). The latter is generally used for network connection speed. Open the drawer below if you’re new to digital data and connection speeds.

Digital storage and data transmission in brief

As you read this page, keep in mind that each character on the screen, including a space between two words, generally requires one byte of data.

Byte — often in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB) — is generally used to convey storage space. For data transmission, we often use bits.

One byte equals eight bits.

One million (1,000,000) bits = 1 Megabit (Mb).

Megabits per second (Mbps) — the number of megabits that are manipulated in one second — is the common unit for data transmission nowadays. Based on that, the following are common terms:

  • Fast Ethernet: A connection standard that can deliver up to 100Mbps.
  • Gigabit: That’s short for Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) and generally means transmission speeds in Gigabit per second (Gbps). This is currently the most popular wired connection standard. 1Gbps = 1000Mbps.
  • Gig+: A connection that’s faster than 1Gbps but slower than 2Gbps. It often applies to 2×2 Wi-Fi 6/E or Internet speeds.
  • Multi-Gigabit: That’s multiple gigabits — a link that’s 2Gbps or faster.
  • Multi-Gig: A new BASE-T wired connection standard that delivers 2.5GbE, 5Gbe, or 10GbE, depending on the devices involved, and is also backward compatible with Fast Ethernet and Gigabit.

Multi-Gig explained: It’s more than faster-than-Gigabit speeds

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 in the market for a new USB-enabled router; find my recommendations below.

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

This list is sorted based on the NAS read performance using the fastest wired connection each router supports. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see their performances.

1. Asus RT-AX89X

Best Multi-Gigabit Wi-Fi 6/E Routers: Asus RT-AX89X 10Gbps and USB Ports
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Asus RT-AX89X has two 10Gbps network ports and two USB 3.0 ports occupying two sides, making it one of the best Wi-Fi 6 router NAS servers.

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, can deliver ultra-high-speed router NAS performance.

Like all Asus routers, including the GT-AXE16000, GT-AXE11000, RT-AX86U, and GT-AX11000 Pro 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.

The storage-based feature set is the same across all Asus routers released in the past decade. And that also applies to other Asus routers on this list.

If you want to see how Asus routers compare with one another front the performance front — including network storage performance –, check out this post.


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


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. Linksys MX8500

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E with hand
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Linksys Links MX8500 comes with a USB 3.2 Gen1 port and a 5Gbps WAN 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, the Linksys doesn’t officially support Time Machine backup, but you might be able to make it work with some tweaking.


Reliable performance, extensive coverage

Excellent NAS performance when hosting external storage device(s)

Separate SSID for each band


Comparatively slow mesh Wi-Fi 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

3. Netgear Nighthawk RAX120

Netgear RAX120 Ports 1
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: With a 5Gbps network port and two USB 3.0 ports, the RAX120 delivers excellent NAS performance.

This router is the latest from Netgear and has the fastest network storage speed among its cousins, 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 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.


Powerful hardware, fast performance

Multi-Gig network port (5Gbps)

Well-organized web user interface

Ultra-fast network storage performance


No online protection, gaming, or mesh features

4. TP-Link XE300

TP Link AXE300 Wi Fi 6E Quad band Router UTP Link Archer AXE300 Ports
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The TP-Link AXE300 comes with a USB 3.0 and three Multi-Gig ports.

With three Multi-Gig ports — 2 of which are 10GbE — the TP-Link AXE300 has a lot of potential as a mini NAS server. While the router didn’t live up to expectations in my testing, it proved to be one of the fastest mini NAS servers when hosting a portable SSD.

And its excellent performance as a Wi-Fi router doesn’t hurt.


Top-tier hardware with excellent performance; three flexible Multi-Gig ports and LAN Link Aggregation support

Robust web user interface; lots of network and Wi-Fi settings and a handful of valuable features for home users

Comparatively cheaper than competitors

Wall-mountable; useful optional mobile app; OneMesh-ready


No option for Gigabit WAN, Dual-WAN, or fast mesh with wired backhauling

HomeShield Pro requires a subscription, mobile app, and login account

Bulky design, the USB port’s performance could be better

5. Synology RT6600ax

Synology RT6600ax Wi Fi 6 Router 15
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Synology RT6600ax has one 2.5Gbps LAN and one USB 3.2 Gen 1 port.

The Synology RT6600ax isn’t the fastest in NAS performance — though its performance is up there — but it has comprehensive network storage features similar to that of a Synology server.

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


Fast and reliable Wi-Fi with 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


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

Only client-based QoS, 5.9GHz clients are scarce

6. Asus GT-AX11000 Pro

The Asus GT-AX11000 Pro has one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port.Asus GT AX11000 Pro 1 2
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Asus GT-AX11000 Pro comes with 10GbE and 2.5GbE Multi-Gig and two USB ports.

The GT-AX11000 Pro is the upgrade version of the GT-AX11000. It works well as a mini NAS server with two 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig ports and a USB 3.0 port.


Excellent Wi-F performance; UNII-4 support

Lots of free and useful networking features and settings, including all gaming features collectively found in Asus routers

Two Multi-Gig ports with excelling port configuration; supports LAN/WAN port, Dual-WAN, and LAN/WAN Link Aggregations

No vendor required login account; improved design


UNII-4 clients are nonexistent; no 6GHz band

Bulky design, not wall-mountable

7. Asus GT-AXE11000

Asus GT AXE11000 USB PortsAsus GT AXE11000 Network Ports
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Asus GT-AXE11000 comes with two USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) ports and a 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port.

The GT-AXE11000 is Asus’s first Wi-Fi 6E router, and it’s the upgraded version of the previous GT-AX11000. As such, its network storage performance is among the improvements.


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


Wi-Fi 6E is not fully available

Only one 2.5Gbps port, no 10Gbps port

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

8. Netgear Nighthawk RAX200

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

The RAX200 is a tri-band router with 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. Still, it’s speedy.


Reliable and fast performance

Helpful mobile app, robust web UI

Multi-Gig support (2.5Gbps)


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

9. Asus RT-AX86U

Asus RT AX86U
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Asus RT-AX86U comes with two USB 3.0 ports and a 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port.

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


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


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

Gaming features turn Adaptive QoS off

No support for WTFast Gamer VPN

10. Asus GT-AXE16000

Asus GT-AXE16000 Quad-band Wi Fi 6E Router's USB and switchMulti-Gig Wired Backhaul AiMesh: Asus GT-AXE16000 Network Ports
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Asus GT-AXE16000 has a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, and three Multi-Gig ports.

Like the case of the TP-Link AXE300 above, the Asus GT-AXE16000 has one USB 3.0 and three Multi-Gig ports, two of which are 10Gbps.

It, too, has great potential to be an excellent mini NAS server, yet it delivered lower-than-expectation performance when hosting a portable drive. Still, it manages to rank among the top 10 on this front.

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

The charts below are part of the ones at the top of the page and include only the top ten routers mentioned on the list above.

Best Wi Fi Routers for NAS Write PerformanceBest Wi Fi Routers for NAS Read Performance
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The network attached storage performance of the top 10.

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

How to turn a Wi-Fi router into a mini NAS server

The final thoughts

There you go. Any of the routers above will work well as a mini NAS solution. Apart from them, any of those mentioned in the charts at the beginning of the post will work, albeit with slower performance.

In any case, keep in mind that you’re using a router whose main function is to deliver network performance. The storage portion is not its primary function.

If you’re serious about network storage, consider a real NAS server.

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