AC88U + AC86U/AC68U for AiMesh

Magubbi

Occasional Visitor
Already confirmed for you in the post above.


You may be asking for trouble making an AX + AC router an AiMesh network though. The RT-AX86U is better paired with an RT-AX58U or better. That much older RT-AC88U may be a source for bottlenecks and/or other issues too when paired to an AX main router.

Your goal for either an AP or AiMesh network should be to have the same class of Wi-Fi (AC, AX, AXE, etc.) for all your wireless routers. Not only will this give the best speed, lowest latency, and hopefully the best seamless roaming for your client devices, but it should help too with getting a solid, stable, and reliable network too.

(Also, what if I turn off the wifi on the AC66U+?)
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
A network is only as fast as its weakest chain. :)

Using the RT-AC66U as a Media Bridge is the best use for it. Having it as part of the Wi-Fi network infrastructure isn't. (At least not with AX class routers in the mix).

Media Bridge Mode

A single RT-AX86U may prove to be all you need in your home. Pick the most central location possible and test there first.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Can someone confirm 100% that in an AiMesh any router can be the main router? Or does it have to be the one that gets the internet source from the modem? In other words, if I have the crappiest router getting the internet from the modem and then 2 badass routers connected to the crappy router, can I pick one of the badass routers as the main router? Can't find any documentation...

See diagram for clarification on how the routers will be wired.

(I'm asking because I need to buy the AC68U, which is the only AiMesh router that will fit in my panel. If I can't pick one of the better routers I will probably ditch AiMesh and go with APs instead.)

Here are various AiMesh scenarios:

[Wireless] How to set up ASUS AiMesh or ZenWiFi Mesh Ethernet backhaul under different conditions ? (Advanced setup with network switch) | Official Support | ASUS Global

ASUS AiMesh = router/AP + nodes = root node + remote nodes

You should use the highest spec router for the AiMesh root node in either AiMesh router mode or AiMesh AP mode.

An AP must be wired to a main network router. An AiMesh remote node can be wired or wireless.

Your bottleneck is likely the DSL service, so it probably won't matter whether your remote nodes are wired or wireless. Wireless is more flexible.

If one router/AP serves WiFi to your entire area, avoid adding another one... too much WiFi will confuse your clients.

OE
 

Magubbi

Occasional Visitor
All right, thanks again for your help!!!

It'll be a couple of weeks before I get the rest of my gear (just moved from another country) so I can put the AX86U through the ringer to see if it can handle coverage for the whole home.

Appreciate your time!!!
 

Magubbi

Occasional Visitor
Here are various AiMesh scenarios:

[Wireless] How to set up ASUS AiMesh or ZenWiFi Mesh Ethernet backhaul under different conditions ? (Advanced setup with network switch) | Official Support | ASUS Global

ASUS AiMesh = router/AP + nodes = root node + remote nodes

You should use the highest spec router for the AiMesh root node in either AiMesh router mode or AiMesh AP mode.

An AP must be wired to a main network router. An AiMesh remote node can be wired or wireless.

Your bottleneck is likely the DSL service, so it probably won't matter whether your remote nodes are wired or wireless. Wireless is more flexible.

If one router/AP serves WiFi to your entire area, avoid adding another one... too much WiFi will confuse your clients.

OE


Okay, that's clear to me. Thank you too for your time. I will try the AX86U to see if it handles the home. Probably should've splurged for the 88.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Okay, that's clear to me. Thank you too for your time. I will try the AX86U to see if it handles the home. Probably should've splurged for the 88.

And if the AX86U WiFi coverage falls short, just add a wireless node where you need it... likely plenty good enough and easy.

OE
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
But not an AC node, right?

I have no experience with AX yet... I'm waiting for WiFi 6e. I suspect it complicates a wireless backhaul setup with WiFi 6 5.0 usage. And although I naturally prefer to use like equipment to keep it simple, WiFi and wireless equipment is developed to a standard to be backward compatible, and AiMesh by design must accommodate incremental upgrades to newer standards. So No, I would not avoid using an AC node I already own.

I would avoid using AC1900/AC68U/AC66U_B1 since this oldest AiMesh product barely made the cut for AiMesh support, is approaching EOL, and does not support Smart Connect node band steering should you want to try using same SSIDs per band.

My main point to you is don't let the existing panel and wiring by other unnecessarily define your network or keep you from realizing the convenience of a wireless mesh, if it works well enough.

OE
 

gkteng

New Around Here
If you can add a small, USB fan to keep the router cool in that unforgiving 'space', then this is what I would do.

Use the RT-AC68U as your main router in that space. Turn off Wi-Fi on both bands.

Use the RT-AC86U as your 'main' AiMesh router in the 'AiMesh router in AP mode', mode.

Connect the RT-AC88U as your AiMesh node to the RT-AC86U via the GUI of the RT-AC86U.

I suggest using RMerlin 386.1 Beta 4 or later for the above routers (at least for the AiMesh units).

New M&M 2020

How to Connect an AiMesh Node

Further reading (as needed):

L&LD | SmallNetBuilder Forums

Fully Reset Router and Network
Hi.

I am new here. I am in the same situation as the original thread starter except that my cabinet is large enough to house a AC88U which acts as my main router, and I splitted it's connetion into 4 rooms via ethernet cable. I did it this way because I want all my room connections to be utilising the AiProtection that my main router AC88U is offering. However I do notice that my AC88U is generating quite a lot of heat within the cabinet, thus I am looking at ways to improve the situation.

Looking at your recommendation above, can I correctly say that you are using the AC68U as the connection splitter? If that is the case, would it be cheaper to use a gigabit switch instead? - I am not sure if this sound stupid to you experts but I am truely a novice when it comes to technology.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Hi.

I am new here. I am in the same situation as the original thread starter except that my cabinet is large enough to house a AC88U which acts as my main router, and I splitted it's connetion into 4 rooms via ethernet cable. I did it this way because I want all my room connections to be utilising the AiProtection that my main router AC88U is offering. However I do notice that my AC88U is generating quite a lot of heat within the cabinet, thus I am looking at ways to improve the situation.

Looking at your recommendation above, can I correctly say that you are using the AC68U as the connection splitter? If that is the case, would it be cheaper to use a gigabit switch instead? - I am not sure if this sound stupid to you experts but I am truely a novice when it comes to technology.

Either cool/ventilate the cabinet or move equipment out of it. If you need a switch for Ethernet connections, use one.

OE
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
@gkteng, I would suggest getting any heat generating (and RF dependent) equipment out of any cabinet or sealed closet.

I use 2x RT-AX86Us in wired backhaul mode, along with an RT-AC56U in Media Bridge mode for a wired capable client on another level of the house.

If what you mean by using an RT-AC68U as a 'connection splitter' is just using the built-in switch, then yes, a $10 to $25, 5 Port, or 8 Port switch will be a better match and generate less heat too.

To have the cabinet cool enough for the equipment inside, it may be enough to get a woodworking friend to cut a slit or two at the top and bottom of the cabinet (one to allow fresh air in, the other to allow the air to escape. No fan may be even needed.

HTH
 

heywire

Regular Contributor
Already confirmed for you in the post above.


You may be asking for trouble making an AX + AC router an AiMesh network though. The RT-AX86U is better paired with an RT-AX58U or better. That much older RT-AC88U may be a source for bottlenecks and/or other issues too when paired to an AX main router.

Your goal for either an AP or AiMesh network should be to have the same class of Wi-Fi (AC, AX, AXE, etc.) for all your wireless routers. Not only will this give the best speed, lowest latency, and hopefully the best seamless roaming for your client devices, but it should help too with getting a solid, stable, and reliable network too.
I've had no problems running AX alongside AC routers in an AiMesh setup.

What I did have to do tho, was to run official firmware on the AC68U Aimesh nodes, while the main router (AX88U) ran Merlin.

This was for stability reasons. The official firmware tends to be more stable in my experience.

Which is fine, because it is the main that needs the functionality of the Merlin firmware; the nodes are just dumb repeaters. An added benefit is that the AiMesh nodes running official firmware means that upgrading firmware on them is a one-click task.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Glad it works as you need it to.

In my experience, running either stock or RMerlin firmware system-wide is key to the most stable and performant networking possible (including either (only) effectively depreciated AC class routers, or the much better AX class (solely).
 

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