802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) when is it worth updgrading to ax routers

  • ATTENTION! As of November 1, 2020, you are not able to reply to threads 6 months after the thread is opened if there are more than 500 posts in the thread.
    Threads will not be locked, so posts may still be edited by their authors.
    Just start a new thread on the topic to post if you get an error message when trying to reply to a thread.

How long should I wait to buy an 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) router?

  • Don't wait. They're stable and ready for prime time.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Wait unil I have some ax devices.

    Votes: 3 30.0%
  • Keep the RT-AC86U it's a good stable router.

    Votes: 7 70.0%

  • Total voters
    10
  • Poll closed .

dylanmitchell

Occasional Visitor
When will clients start supporting ax wi fi and will ax routers be worth upgrading to? Looking at the Netgear RAX80/ RAX120 or the Asus RT-AX88U as and upgrade to my RT-AC86U. None of our devices are running ax yet thinking it's better to wait until we get some ax devices. I like Asus and Merlin but would consider Netgear or other if it's a better router. On the plus side the RAX's look like a bat wing.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Your guess is as good as anyones. The true 'AX' routers (with fully enabled hardware and software) should be here in the first half of 2020. Buying an AX router before then for AX operation sometime in the future is not a good bet.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
The only smartphones with a WiFi 6 radio are the Samsung S10 family. There are a few laptops around, but good luck finding which ones they are. So there are not a lot of AX devices.

I would not be in a rush to move to a WiFi 6 router. You are paying a premium price and getting little, if any, benefit over a four-stream AC router. Key features like AX MU-MIMO and OFDMA are not enabled yet. But, then again, they help only with WiFi 6 devices.

Keep your money for now.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Especially since you currently have an RT-AC86U, which already has a high-end CPU and wifi SoC (for the 5 GHz band). There is next to nothing to be gained right now by moving to an RT-AX88U (same CPU but in quad-core variant).
 

Taikero

Occasional Visitor
I think you should just keep the AC86U. Wireless technology doesn't change that often or that much, and I've found that firmware makes a much bigger difference than hardware. Even if you upgrade, if the firmware's crap, the experience will be crap.

Additionally, as has already been mentioned you'd just be paying the early adopter tax for no reason. Wait for Wi-Fi 6 to become mainstream. Give it a few years. The inexorable flow of progress also reduces prices, given enough time.
 

dylanmitchell

Occasional Visitor
Thanks, appreciate the comments. Like the RT-AC86U especially since it works so well with Merlin firmware and supports VPN. Nighthawk R7000P/ R9000 and some others are good too but I'm partial to Asus and Merlin. In a year or so when AX/ Wi-Fi 6 is fully developed I'll revisit. I don't even know whether to call it AX or Wi-Fi 6 that's how new it still is.

Sounds like it's worth waiting for phones, laptops and streaming devices with fully developed Wi-Fi 6 to become common it before considering a new router.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
From what I see, it’s going to be awhile until all AX features are really working.

OFDMA is having a really tough birthing process. AX MU-MIMO downlink is also not enabled in any shipping consumer routers. Uplink MU-MIMO is not even supported in 11ax release 1.
 

dylanmitchell

Occasional Visitor
Thanks, I think I finally have all my devices running on AC now except for a printer. Think I'd probably still buy the RT-AC86U if I was shopping today and wait for AX to become common.
 

John1228

New Around Here
Hi. I know most would say hold tight to upgrade to ax but I'm in the market for one soon as my current router is giving me some issues. I was leaning towards Asus but now looking at Netgear. I'm looking for stability 1st . range and Power to push through walls and fill my entire house 2500sf ft. Then future proof and speed as I do not upgrade often.

Asus rtax88u or Netgear ax120 ????
 

Taikero

Occasional Visitor
Hi. I know most would say hold tight to upgrade to ax but I'm in the market for one soon as my current router is giving me some issues. I was leaning towards Asus but now looking at Netgear. I'm looking for stability 1st . range and Power to push through walls and fill my entire house 2500sf ft. Then future proof and speed as I do not upgrade often.

Asus rtax88u or Netgear ax120 ????

My perspective here based on your square footage would be to actually pick up two Asus OnHub units for $80 or less each and mesh them, and then down the line in 3-5 years you could supplement those meshed units with something like the Asus RT-AX88U or a better unit. Since the Asus units all support that AI Mesh stuff, you'd be able to slot in something new very easily as time goes on.

Of course, there are some drawbacks to units like the OnHub (lack of wired connection ports comes to mind), but if your primary plan is wireless connections, then Asus is probably an easier way to get started with meshing than Netgear (where you'd have to get into Orbi).

You can also disregard this if you're after speeds higher than AC1900 or so, however my advice remains that two cheaper units (Maybe AC-86Us?) meshed will probably result in better real world performance than a single AX unit, until such time as AX adapters and other hardware comes into the market (3-5+ years from now).
 

John1228

New Around Here
My perspective here based on your square footage would be to actually pick up two Asus OnHub units for $80 or less each and mesh them, and then down the line in 3-5 years you could supplement those meshed units with something like the Asus RT-AX88U or a better unit. Since the Asus units all support that AI Mesh stuff, you'd be able to slot in something new very easily as time goes on.

Of course, there are some drawbacks to units like the OnHub (lack of wired connection ports comes to mind), but if your primary plan is wireless connections, then Asus is probably an easier way to get started with meshing than Netgear (where you'd have to get into Orbi).

You can also disregard this if you're after speeds higher than AC1900 or so, however my advice remains that two cheaper units (Maybe AC-86Us?) meshed will probably result in better real world performance than a single AX unit, until such time as AX adapters and other hardware comes into the market (3-5+ years from now).

---------
I've tried mesh products before....velop and had a bad experience. Not sure since it was one of the first mesh routers to come on the market but it didn't work out. I have a large tri level and I noticed stability issues. I went back to an individual router and all went back to normal... I'm thinking they were too close together since my 4 floors are right on top of each other. They may have improved since then but hesitant to take a leap to the mesh side again. HAVE THEY?????. If so I might jump on an 86u or or ax88u and wait. Suggestions thoughts???

Thanks
 

Taikero

Occasional Visitor
---------
I've tried mesh products before....velop and had a bad experience. Not sure since it was one of the first mesh routers to come on the market but it didn't work out. I have a large tri level and I noticed stability issues. I went back to an individual router and all went back to normal... I'm thinking they were too close together since my 4 floors are right on top of each other. They may have improved since then but hesitant to take a leap to the mesh side again. HAVE THEY?????. If so I might jump on an 86u or or ax88u and wait. Suggestions thoughts???

Thanks

If you're leery of meshing, you can always go the route of primary router + access points, or two routers with one operating in repeater mode. In any case, the point here is that you can achieve great results for cheaper without having to pay the "new adopter tax" on the AX88U.
 

dylanmitchell

Occasional Visitor
I'm partial to Asuswrt-Merlin so I'd go with an Asus RT-AX88U or RT-AC86U. I'd wait until AX features are supported and get an RT-AC86U while you wait for AX to fully develop. Merlin now supports AIMesh so I'd be interested to see how two RT-AC86U routers work on AiMesh. I have a lot less square feet and one RT-AC86U provides plenty of coverage.

Nothing wrong with the Asus RT-AX88U it's just expensive and lacks AX features future routers will have.

Asuswrt-Merlin 384/NG Changelog
384.13 (31-July-2019)
- NEW: AiMesh Router and node support. Note that automatic live
update of Merlin-based nodes is not supported, you will have
to manually update any Merlin-based nodes when a new firmware
is available. Asus-based nodes (which is recommended) will be
able to make use of the automatic live update
 

ddarko

Regular Contributor
Netgear did an AMA on Reddit two months ago in which they stated: (1) the improved efficiency brought on by OFDMA is the "main benefit" of WiFi 6; and (2) the benefit doesn't kick in until you have 4 or more WiFi 6 clients transferring data simultaneously.

WiFi 6's main benefit is improved efficiency, reducing latency because of the OFDMA feature. OFDMA makes it easier for APs to chop up the busy channel into smaller channels so devices don't have to wait longer to receive and send their data. We already see some client devices such as Samsung Galaxy S10 phones, Intel AX200 adapter with WiFi 6 in the market. Because of the benefits, more clients are expected to adopt WiFi 6 through 2019 and 2020.

https://www.reddit.com/r/HomeNetwor...ar_and_here_is_what_you_need_to_know/epiiryg/

To see the benefit of OFDMA, you will need at least 4 or more WiFi 6 clients transferring data at the same time, such as multiple streams or streaming and gaming at the same time. Given that OFDMA is mandatory for all WiFi 6 clients, it's more likely to see real-world benefits

https://www.reddit.com/r/HomeNetwor...ar_and_here_is_what_you_need_to_know/epildrq/

I thought it was interesting Netgear put a number on the minimum number of clients.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
I thought it was interesting Netgear put a number on the minimum number of clients.
Yes, it is. But this is not an absolute. ASUS enables OFDMA in its RT-AX88U beta firmware for two OFDMA STAs.

My preliminary testing comparing performance of four Samsung S10e's with router OFDMA enabled and disabled has not shown any appreciable gain in total throughput. As I've said, it's still early days for 11ax and particularly for OFDMA. Like with MU-MIMO in 802.11ac, it's going to be a looonnnnggg slog.
 

John1228

New Around Here
If you're leery of meshing, you can always go the route of primary router + access points, or two routers with one operating in repeater mode. In any case, the point here is that you can achieve great results for cheaper without having to pay the "new adopter tax" on the AX88U.
-----

Thanks.... hadn't thought about that.

One more question and kind of off topic. Do you or anybody here know if the new pixel 4 will be wifi 6 capable. I can't find anything online directing me. One site says maybe. I know it will have the older snap855.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
My preliminary testing comparing performance of four Samsung S10e's with router OFDMA enabled and disabled has not shown any appreciable gain in total throughput. As I've said, it's still early days for 11ax and particularly for OFDMA. Like with MU-MIMO in 802.11ac, it's going to be a looonnnnggg slog.

that makes sense - at least it's not worse performance.

Based on my old background with 802.16 (WiMAX) which was OFDMA, the scheduler algorithms are very complex, and they're not defined in the IEEE specs, as IEEE does not define implementation, this is left up to the vendors. Even LTE does not use OFDMA on the uplink from the UE to the eNodeB - it uses Single Carrier FMDA (SC-FDMA) - and that was a measurable improvement in performance over OFDMA as proposed by IEEE 802.16.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
If you want faster wireless service now and you have a fast enough internet pipe then try switching over 5Ghz only. Every thing is faster and smoother on 5Ghz. You may have to add a couple of APs to support 5Ghz only.
 

asmopul

Occasional Visitor
If you want faster wireless service now and you have a fast enough internet pipe then try switching over 5Ghz only. Every thing is faster and smoother on 5Ghz. You may have to add a couple of APs to support 5Ghz only.

Most wireless printers ( mine for sure ) only support 2.4Ghz.
 

Latest threads

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

Get an update of what's new every day delivered to your mailbox. Sign up here!
Top