2 86U's AiMesh or Xt8?

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Goofie Newfie

Regular Contributor
So I've been reading for days and the info is overload.
I have a 87u, running Merlin since day one, thank you Merlin, without you that router would have sucked. It's actually been very reliable with his firmware, and the range is pretty good on 2.4. But it's getting old, and the range is not quite cutting it anymore and the 5gig always sucked.

I have some major dead spots in my home. It's due to some metal for my Air Exchanger. So one section of my home has always been rough. The 87u was the only single router that could do it at the time. Before that I ran dual routers, wrt moded..

Anyways, I still have a lot of 2.4 devices. Cams and smart devices, smoke detectors, wifi light switches etc. I do have newer phones, laptops etc. 1 Gig Fiber. Dedicate Aruba 24 port switch. I am a sys admin. I even had Cisco in my house years back, way back when wifi was new, but for home, I don't want to go all out complicated anymore. I'm not against Ubiquiti or TP Link Omada I just don't think their worth it to a point. Really want to stick with at least wifi6 for future proofing.

After reading it seems XT8, no merlins support, not sure what I'd actually miss on stock firmware anymore, but it seems the stock firmware is actually quite stable finally.
House is cat 6e. Would use wired backhaul. Mostly 2.4/5gig clients, with new phones incoming. I think Mesh is the only answer. I don't see one router pulling it off.
But do I do dual 86's or XT8? or wait for ET8? or whatever Asus is announcing on the 2nd.

Then theres the overpriced Orbi and Linksys. Another discussion maybe. Thanks
 

Poseidon

Senior Member
If you have any IoT/smart devices then I would stay clear or ASUS routers. They are terrible with such devices. I tried 2 Asus routers (AXE11000 & AX86U) and ended returning BOTH because my smart 2.4 devices (and other Apple HomeKit devices) kept disconnecting and not responding. Really tried hard to like both but didn’t work out for me. I assume the ASUS XT8/ET8 would perform similar.

Splurged on the Orbi RBK852 and it was night and day. It’s vastly overpriced but it works great! My smart devices never lose connection and I’m getting fantastic speeds and performance in every location in my home. Settings are barebones but not an issue because everything works perfectly on default (with minor changes like enabling IPv6). Something to consider. Good luck with your decision.
 

Goofie Newfie

Regular Contributor
Thanks, I did get the Xt8 to try from Amazon. And sure enough on latest firmware my IOT devices are messed up. Dropped back to the last firmware and all is stable. I do like the Asus interface. But I find range to be an issue, and even with devices claiming to have high speed, they aren't getting it. Also my wired speeds aren't great so it's not utilizing my 1.5Gig fiber, really only getting 700. Shame, nice form factor, best interface, good app. Really wanted to like it, but this will be the 2nd Asus router I've had and I have feeling I'll regret it. Think I'll order the orbi next. Just trying to watch some vids, see what I'm really missing on the interface. Can I name every client? bind them to a node? stuff like that. Thanks for the reply. The Alien is nice too but that's getting pricey.
 

Tech9

Very Senior Member
I am a sys admin.

Do it right once. Get the router/firewall you prefer, centrally managed SMB class APs. Add more APs when needed.

You'll have a higher-performing, more configurable network that will run more like an appliance and less like a toy.

@Trip is the professional around, if you need advice about compatibility, specific manufacturers and model numbers.
 
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Goofie Newfie

Regular Contributor
Do it right once. Get the router/firewall you prefer, centrally managed SMB class APs. Add more APs when needed.



@Trip is the professional around, if you need advice about compatibility, specific manufacturers and model numbers.
I can't argue with that, but there's this side to me that is like, just how much do I need for home, and after working at it all day do I really want to mess with stuff in detail at home? Then there's the side of me that realized how reliable a proper system would be and even less headache. But again, do I need ruckus or aruba at home. Probably not. Ubiquiti AP's haven't really impressed me in the past but it would be a route to take.
 

Tech9

Very Senior Member
after working at it all day do I really want to mess with stuff in detail at home?

You have to mess once. After that is actually boring. With home routers you will have to mess way more.

But again, do I need ruckus or aruba at home. Probably not.

I had a home lab before, it was taking quite a bit of time of my life. It was interesting and addicting at first. Now I run Netgate firewall and Ruckus APs. Not the latest and greatest - SG-5100 and R610. I only touch the system on major updates and I'm not in a hurry. It can do 500Mbps on Wi-Fi and Gigabit on wired. I never upgraded to Gigabit ISP (500Mbps currently) just because I don't need it. Most of my family Internet activities fit in 150Mbps speeds. It's up to you, most people will recommend 2x RT-AX86U (around $500) routers in this forum. Asuswrt is in beta stage, AiMesh too, Asuswrt-Merlin is excellent, but few months behind in code base. The low price will keep you close to beta tester, for a long time. It works for most consumers, but not in the way you know from your work place. Worst case scenario, your routers may arrive on my test bench for dissection. This is one of pervious best router models.
 

Poseidon

Senior Member
Can I name every client? bind them to a node? stuff like that. Thanks for the reply. The Alien is nice too but that's getting pricey.

Yes on the naming of the client and I’m not sure about directing clients to specific nodes but that kind of defeats the purpose of “mesh” routers because a device should be free to connect to the strongest/fastest/best performing node. That’s what the Orbi does and it does it masterfully!

And stay away from the Amplifi Alien. Subpar range and lousy support. Looks fancy and nice but doesn’t live up to the hype. I had one for the better part of the year and ended up selling it. Made the mistake of giving ASUS routers another try and eventually settled on the Orbi RBK852 after much research and reading actual verified user reviews/experiences and not settling on PAID and BIASED website reviews/reviewers.

I really like this site but it gets quite redundant to see the same recommendation of Asus routers every time someone asks what router to purchase. IMO Asus hasn’t really had a kick ass router since the Dark Knight (N66U).
 

Tech9

Very Senior Member
IMO Asus hasn’t really had a kick ass router since the Dark Knight (N66U).

I disagree. What makes Asus routers interesting for folks who like to tinker is Asuswrt-Merlin firmware and Custom Scripts. AiMesh addition gives current Asus router owners the option to re-use some of the routers they already have. The advantages are in software. Netgear R7800 was perhaps the best hardware AC router, but the firmware was limited. There is something for everyone on the market. If you want easy - Orbi/eero are good options. If you want cheap - there is always D-Link/TP-Link around. Another Asus advantage is longer and regular support. Some vendors update the firmware once and move on. This very same RT-N66U from 2011 had a firmware update in 2020.
 

bokolobs

Occasional Visitor
I have been using a pair of XT8s since April and I wish I did what the others here said, do it right once. But of course I didn't know it at the time of purchase. The XT8 worked for a solid week. Then a series of firmware updates just broke my network. I've since used a wired backhaul but even then devices will drop from the mesh node every so often. The last usable firmware for me and for a lot of others is version 42095. And I'm afraid I'm not getting the necessary security updates. There are also bugs in 42095 that they have fixed in later firmware. But installing that would break the mesh node backhaul connection randomly for me. I also use the XT8 as an OpenVPN server. But I can't seem to add more than two users to the user list. It's driving me crazy.

In the end, I've decided I have had enough. I now have a mini PC on order that I will use as a firewall. I'm thinking of using Untangle or Pfsense. I'll switch the XT8 to AP mode. But I might just sell them in the future. I've set up an Omada network for my brother-in-law's office and it couldn't be easier. I'm planning on getting a couple of Omada access points to replace the XT8s at home.
 

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