AIMesh Setup using 2-AC68Us vs 1-AC86U and 1-AC68U

  • 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.

Q05039

Occasional Visitor
I currently have an RT-AC68U as my main router in my basement (25% of my clients are located trhere and they run fast on 5G). I also have (75% of my clients upstairs) on the first floor and they run much slower. When I run a speed test downstairs near the single AC68U router (5G band) I get 220 down and 10 up. When I run the speed test upstairs on the same client I get 54 down and 6 up due to distance increase from the router downstairs. My goal is to maximize WI-FI performance which results in the fastest speeds on both floors. Therefore I am planning to purchase another router either a (AC86U or another AC68U) to setup an AIMesh system. If I purchase an AC86U it will be used as my main router in the basement and the existing AC68U will be used as the node upstairs connected via ethernet backhaul to the router. Question #1: Which setup would result in the fastest performance on both floors (AC86U router and AC68U node) or( AC68U router and AC68U node)? Question #2: Can I expect the Wi-Fi performance upstairs with clients connected to the AC68U node to be just as fast as clients currently connected in the basemen to the AC68U as the main router? In summary I don't want to spend approximately $100 more for the AC86U if another AC68U in an AIMesh will perform about the same speed in my config. I really appreciate any advice you can give!!!
 

Domdus

Occasional Visitor
I currently have an RT-AC68U as my main router in my basement (25% of my clients are located trhere and they run fast on 5G). I also have (75% of my clients upstairs) on the first floor and they run much slower. When I run a speed test downstairs near the single AC68U router (5G band) I get 220 down and 10 up. When I run the speed test upstairs on the same client I get 54 down and 6 up due to distance increase from the router downstairs. My goal is to maximize WI-FI performance which results in the fastest speeds on both floors. Therefore I am planning to purchase another router either a (AC86U or another AC68U) to setup an AIMesh system. If I purchase an AC86U it will be used as my main router in the basement and the existing AC68U will be used as the node upstairs connected via ethernet backhaul to the router. Question #1: Which setup would result in the fastest performance on both floors (AC86U router and AC68U node) or( AC68U router and AC68U node)? Question #2: Can I expect the Wi-Fi performance upstairs with clients connected to the AC68U node to be just as fast as clients currently connected in the basemen to the AC68U as the main router? In summary I don't want to spend approximately $100 more for the AC86U if another AC68U in an AIMesh will perform about the same speed in my config. I really appreciate any advice you can give!!!

#1: The AC86U with its specs does technically offer better wifi performance in terms of throughput for clients that are capable. It should do better with very fast ISP connections (1GBit+). See: 86U vs 68U - Wifi Throughput | SmallNetBuilder Forums (snbforums.com)
It also has a few more features such as wifi band steering. So it will be faster/advanced compared to the (another) AC68U. If you can get it for a good price I would say - why not!

#2: You can expect about the same wifi performance with another AC68U if you connect the node via ethernet backhaul. Then it depends on your upstairs conditions for wifi (rooms layout, walls, reflections etc.) and maybe a little loss if router and node positioned too close to each other (wifi interference).
An advantage could be that 2x AC68U will be on the same firmware base always, both receive a release with improvements and fixes at the same time for best compatibiliy. Still, there usually is a good compatibility with mixed models. For the cheaper price it will fulfill your needs I'm sure.

I personally run 2x AC68U and they do very well.
 
Last edited:

Q05039

Occasional Visitor
Domdus, that's for the great info. Based on what you said and the fact that the delta in price is over $100 it sounds like it makes sense to purchase another AC68U. Instant roaming between nodes is not important to me as I never have open sessions when I go from upstairs to downstairs. However it would be important for the clients to switch between main router downstairs and node or AP upstairs. So now a few more questions. 1) I am thinking on setting up my upstairs AC68U as an AP backhauled by ethernet connection. If I do that I would also want to only have 2 - SSIDs (2G Smith and 5G Smith). I will also make sure both AC68Us use different 2G and 5G channels. So is this configuration going to work as well or better than setting up the upstairs AC68U as a node in an AIMesh config? Another point of reference is my ISP is 200MB down and 10MB up (on ethernet cable) so the main thing is I need to maintain all of the speed / performance I can regardless of where the client is located. Currently I get about 150MB down and 10up when on 5G anywhere downstairs. However that reduces to about 80MB to 45MB down and 10MB up when my wi-fi attached 5G client moves upstairs from one end of the house to another. Also a signal analyzer shows -41 to -44 dB downstairs and -52 - 61 upstairs on the 5G band. That's why I need the second AC68U. In summary, are there any advantages of setting up in an AIMesh config over an AP config in my situation? Thanks in advance for you excellent assistance!
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
If you want to save a buck or two get an RT-AC66U_B1. Same hardware as the AC68U but clocked faster. It does not have removable antenna. I used one for almost four years.
I have an AC66U_B1 (my old router) in a small office as the root router on cable 300/35 Mbps with two AC68U AiMesh nodes. One ethernet one 5GHZ backhaul. System works well for WIFI connectivity. Using the mesh Guest 1 for folks to connect their phones. Works well. In this application I am not too concerned with speed but the security provided is good.
I have also tested AiMesh with an AC86U with AC68U nodes. I used Dual Band Smart Connect on the AC86U and WIFI on the AC68U nodes was great even with the same SSID on both bands.
 

Domdus

Occasional Visitor
In summary, are there any advantages of setting up in an AIMesh config over an AP config in my situation?

An AiMesh node is technically in AP mode, but you don't reach its dedicated web interface anymore. Instead all configuration is made on the master router.

Advantages of AiMesh:
  • Centralized wifi configuration and firmware update managment on the main router, also restarting of all mesh nodes (with one click).
  • (mostly) Seamless roaming of wifi clients between nodes and router, as AiMesh units are aware of eachother and do hand over clients. In traditional AP mode you can only "kick out" a client (with roaming assistant) when signal drops below treshold and hope the client will find the better signal quickly.
  • Assign/bind wifi clients to a specific node/router. Good for stationary devices or devices that are jumpy at the location. You may know better what is the best node connection for them.
 

Q05039

Occasional Visitor
Thanks! So it sounds like I would be better off just setting these two AC68Us up in an AiMesh config instead of not using AiMesh and manually setting us the upstairs AC68U as an AP.
 

flyingwolf

Occasional Visitor
An AiMesh node is technically in AP mode, but you don't reach its dedicated web interface anymore. Instead all configuration is made on the master router.

Advantages of AiMesh:
  • Centralized wifi configuration and firmware update managment on the main router, also restarting of all mesh nodes (with one click).
  • (mostly) Seamless roaming of wifi clients between nodes and router, as AiMesh units are aware of eachother and do hand over clients. In traditional AP mode you can only "kick out" a client (with roaming assistant) when signal drops below treshold and hope the client will find the better signal quickly.
  • Assign/bind wifi clients to a specific node/router. Good for stationary devices or devices that are jumpy at the location. You may know better what is the best node connection for them.

Thanks for this breakdown.

How do you assign specific clients to a specific node?
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I currently have an RT-AC68U as my main router in my basement (25% of my clients are located trhere and they run fast on 5G). I also have (75% of my clients upstairs) on the first floor and they run much slower. When I run a speed test downstairs near the single AC68U router (5G band) I get 220 down and 10 up. When I run the speed test upstairs on the same client I get 54 down and 6 up due to distance increase from the router downstairs. My goal is to maximize WI-FI performance which results in the fastest speeds on both floors. Therefore I am planning to purchase another router either a (AC86U or another AC68U) to setup an AIMesh system. If I purchase an AC86U it will be used as my main router in the basement and the existing AC68U will be used as the node upstairs connected via ethernet backhaul to the router. Question #1: Which setup would result in the fastest performance on both floors (AC86U router and AC68U node) or( AC68U router and AC68U node)? Question #2: Can I expect the Wi-Fi performance upstairs with clients connected to the AC68U node to be just as fast as clients currently connected in the basemen to the AC68U as the main router? In summary I don't want to spend approximately $100 more for the AC86U if another AC68U in an AIMesh will perform about the same speed in my config. I really appreciate any advice you can give!!!

I would add an AC86U, wire the existing AC68U as an AiMesh node, disable Smart Connect band steering (AC68U can't do Smart Connect band steering), and use different SSIDs per band.

The AC86U will increase your overall network performance and has about 20% better WiFi than an AC68U (an AC86U in a below-grade basement won't reach the yard areas... a main/ground level placement would allow the AC86U to better reach outdoor living areas. AC86U also does hardware encryption for strong VPN performance.

Otherwise, add an AC66U_B1 or later as the AiMesh node... cheaper AC68U.

If you are disappointed with AiMesh (you shouldn't be with a wired backhaul), then switch the node to AP Mode etc. and see if your clients like that better.

OE
 

Domdus

Occasional Visitor
Thanks for this breakdown.

How do you assign specific clients to a specific node?

On the router UI - in AiMesh section - you will find the bind icon for each wireless client:
Screenshot_1.png


On click it will ask you to choose one of AiMesh nodes:
(AiMesh 2.0 required. RP-AC55 does not support it here, that's what the info in yellow says)
Screenshot_2.png


The bind feature is also available in the Asus Router mobile app.
 

flyingwolf

Occasional Visitor
Ok, it looks like I need to do some updating as I do not have those options in my router. I am using Merlin and that screen is not available, I will be updating everything to the latest release tonight, and then hopefully that should all be in there.

Thank you.
 

Similar threads

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

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