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AC66U-B1 x2 or AC86U x1 details in the description

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New Around Here

I have a question for you guys and some additional info about that.

Location: House; 20m length x 15 m wide 3 story high.
There are some nearby neighbors but their Wi-Fi signal is week here. reinforced concrete slabs.
There are 2-3 pieces of wall between routers which are 15 cm wide.
Internet speed: 300 Mbit/s (later hopefully 500)
Usage usually: 4 mobile and 2 laptops
Usage sometimes occasionally: 16 mobile and 8 laptops
What I prefer: Reliable as it can be with a good coverage range (I was thinking about mesh but it is out of my reach if you have any solution I would like to know.)

System now: 3 routers (2 of this connected with Ethernet to the main router)
Based on the length on the house: system looks like this now. (20 m length) routers on 2. story.
1. router (at 2 m) ---- 2. router (at 8 m) ---- 3. router (at 15 m)

The 3. router is from ISP and works well. I would like to keep or turn it off, if the solution is good enough.

1. and 2. routers what I would to change:
Asus rt AC66U-B1 x 2 pieces
Asus rt AC86U x 1 for the second and turn off the 1.

I know I have to test it because every location is different but What do you suggest?
Would the rt ac86U be enough for the size of the house or rt ac66U B1 x 2 you prefer?
If there is any other solution, please tell me.

Thank you for your time!
A single router is usually the most reliable in my experience.

Take out the ISP's router and install a single RT-AC86U to do your initial testing with. Play with location and orientation of the router. Use and test channels specific control channels (don't use Auto for them).

See how the older RT-AC3100 worked for my customer so long ago. The link is in my signature below.
A single router is usually the most reliable in my experience.

Take out the ISP's router and install a single RT-AC86U to do your initial testing with. Play with location and orientation of the router. Use and test channels specific control channels (don't use Auto for them).

See how the older RT-AC3100 worked for my customer so long ago. The link is in my signature below.

Thank you for your quick answer!

Is there any video or a description guide which you suggest for Testing channels and control channels.
I' not a beginner but I never did such a test.
extra question: I read a lot about special firmwares do you suggest anything or the basic is good enough (do I gain anything with specialones -stability? - range?)?
No question that the RMerlin firmware is (always) the much-preferred version! Running stock is like riding a bicycle with square tires. :)

For testing control channels, know that it is very specific to your network dynamics and specific local WiFi environment.

Getting an 'objective' suggestion such as what a WiFi utility will provide will almost always come in a poor second to simply test a device for a few days or hours with your client devices and your actual network loads. Same can be said for the 'Auto' settings we are specifically disabling too. ;)

For the 2.4GHz channels, the only control channels you should test are the 1, 6, and 11 channels. Testing in-between channels are usually the worst of all worlds for yourself and your neighbors. Regardless of what a WiFi utility or speed test may suggest. The reason most WiFi utilities are effectively useless (especially as apps on handheld devices) is the fact that they don't take into consideration channel bandwidth utilization. Just because there are more SSID's on a channel doesn't make it automatically inferior in actual use. Also, when doing your testing, setting the channel width at 20MHz is preferred to pinpoint the best channel to use, even if you decide to change to 40MHz width afterward, IME.

Using just a handheld device is not recommended to finding an optimal channel because those devices are designed for maximum battery life, not maximum WiFi performance, regardless of what marketing material may indicate. ;)

For the 5GHz channels, test each channel in a likewise fashion. Simply select the first channel and use your network normally for a few hours or days (there is no rush to fine tune these settings, a longer time period is what will more closely match what is needed in your local WiFi environment). Be sure to not use DFS channels when testing.

Within a few short days, (or hours, if you really task yourself with testing in beast mode) you'll end up with the best possible performance for your network.

Things to keep in mind when doing the above:
  • First, find the best location for the router before doing any of the items listed further below.
    • Central locations are usually best. However, don't be afraid to center the router in the room/area(s) which will see the most use, even if it is not centered to the remainder of the property/area you want coverage in.
    • Having the router at least 10' above ground level (the actual ground, outside) and also having 3' of free air all around in 3D will also produce the best overall performance and experience for all connected clients.
    • Mind the orientation of the router/antennae too! Small movements of as little as inches in any direction can yield vastly better results at the furthest or most obstacle-hindered location(s) you wish to be able to use.
After doing the above, you can continue to make small adjustments as your testing below indicates (make sure several clients correlate before doing so).
  • Keep notes! A spreadsheet is even better. ;)
  • Use multiple locations and orientations that you test repeatedly with, inside your coverage area. A good minimum is 3 locations, more than 7 is not usually required and can cloud judging the best single channel to use. Ideally all your location selections are regularly used by client devices.
  • Use these test locations as you would in real life, not simply standing against the wall at the far side of the property unless that is how you do use your device(s)! :)
  • Don't use just a handheld device like a phone or a tablet, a laptop is a better choice for seeing differences. If possible, having it plugged in and/or using the Performance battery profile is also preferred to better differentiate between two channels or more.
  • Note not just maximum connection speeds, nor just highest throughput achieved for each device for each location, network responsiveness is also a criteria when I fine tune a WiFi installation for customers too.
  • I find that customers value a more responsive network rather than simply the fastest possible one (for one device and/or a single location).
  • This includes how fast webpages load, how quickly clients re-associate after being turned off or leaving the router's vicinity and also how quickly local resources respond too (such as NAS, printers/scanners, etc.).
  • Note that there will not be a single channel that will be the best for all devices and/or all locations. WiFi is a tradeoff, not a science. Be prepared to make a choice that is the best for most, but not all.
Before doing any of the above, be sure to also read the links in my signature below too.

A full reset to factory defaults is needed not just when flashing between RMerlin and Asus stock firmware (or vice versa). Nor just when flashing from a very old firmware to a current one (or vice versa). Nor just when flashing a router that was previously used either.

A new router that is just being setup, even with the as-shipped firmware, would also be a required candidate for a full M&M Config. If you value your time and want to do this set up properly as few times as possible over the life of your router. :)

See the link below for the 'why' it is required to do so from RMerlin himself.


Thank you for your all-out description it is beautiful and detailed (and a little but brutal) :) !
I understand a big portion of it, but because of the other part what I did not know yet:
Can you suggest anybody video about this topic. (I am a little bit a visual type of guy).

I read RMerlin description and I would like to use his firmware but I only could find this firmware.
Can you give me a link to ac86U?


Sorry, I don't know of any useful video of anything truly detailed and I can't say I saw as complete a written step by step when I was starting out... do with it what you can.

The link above is RMerlin's main site. Make sure you download the correct firmware for your model.

It may help to print out the appropriate links and posts I've offered. Maybe make notes on them if needed. Other than that? I don't know how I can help more.
If i may chime in a bit... useless trivia :)
Control channels 1, 6 and 11 are US-standart. EU control channels are 1, 7 and 13 respectively.
But! Using US-standart is preferred anyway, if you want to stick to EU one , at least avoid channel 13 or check it first, there are devices which will not connect to anything above channel 11 and you can't figure that out from specs alone.
Theoretically every WiFi device sold in EU should be able to connect to channel 13 but again - not guaranteed.
Usually those are smaller devices like phones and tablets and suck. Laptops should not have this issue. Theoretically. But again - better stick to 1, 6 and 11
The best option for testing WiFi is having a friend (or working) for a company which specializes in designing, installing and configuring WiFi networks.
That way you will get a person which has specfic WiFi coverage heatmap processing tools like Ekahau + spectrum analyzers - that will help you a lot to determine what is going on in air.
Of course simplier tools exist, but professional ones are superb in this area. Of course if you have a money, you can even order wireless survey from those companies, but that would cost you.
Still having access to those tools are just too good to pass - if available. You need plan of your house/apartment though.

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