ASUS Expands 11ax Lineup And Sets Ship Date

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thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
ax-networking-rapture-gt-ax11000.jpg
ASUS announced two new 802.11ax routers at Computex 2018 today and said shipments will begin in Q3 this year.

At the top end is the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, the "world's first" tri-band 802.11ax router. The 11,000 comes from--you guessed it--the sum of top link rates of 1148 Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 4804 Mbps on the separate 5 GHz low and high band radios.

Continuing the fine Wi-Fi marketing tradition of link-rate inflation, the 4804 Mbps link rate specified for the 5 GHz radios comes not from 8 streams, but from using 160 MHz bandwidth with four streams. The 2.4 GHz radio also supports four streams, with its link rate is specified using 40 MHz bandwidth.

This new addition to ASUS' line of gaming routers also sports one 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port that can be used for WAN or LAN duties. Its hardware platform also includes a quad-core CPU (Broadcom BCM4906, according to WikiDevi), 256 MB of flash, 1 GB of DDR3 RAM and two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports.
ax-router-ax6100.jpg
ASUS can claim bragging rights for another first with its AiMesh AX6100 WiFi System. This is actually a bundle of two RT-AX92 routers. The RT-AX92 is also a four-stream, tri-band design, with an interesting mix of radios, including a two stream 2.4 GHz 802.11n, two stream 5 GHz 802.11ac and four stream 5 GHz 802.11ax. Maximum link rates of 400 Mbps (40 MHz banwidth), 866 Mbps (80 MHz bandwidth) and 4804 Mbps (160 MHz bandwidth) add up to the "6100" class rating.

Other features of the RT-AX92 hardware platform include Gigabit Ethernet WAN (1) and LAN (4) ports, USB 3.1 Gen 1 (1) and USB 2.0 (1) ports, 256 MB of flash and 512 MB of DDR3 RAM
ax-router-rt-ax88u.jpg
ASUS also included the RT-AX88U that was announced last September at IFA 2017 in this round of announcements. It's a dual-band version of the GT-AX11000, so its inflated link rates add up to only around 6000 Mbps.

All three products are said to include Trend Micro's AiProtection security features and support ASUS' AiMesh technology that allows creating Wi-Fi mesh systems using any ASUS routers that support AiMesh. The AX6100 bundle will support AiMesh at launch, while the Rapture GT-AX11000 and RT-AX88U will add support in a firmware update "soon after launch".
asus_ax_spec_summary.png

ASUS' announcement does not use the word "draft" to describe the 802.11ax standard, but it should have. The 802.11ax standard is currently scheduled for Working Group approval in November 2019.

All three routers "will arrive" in Q3 2018. Pricing was not announced. For more information, hit ASUS' blog post and press release.
 

Internet Man

Senior Member
This new addition to ASUS' line of gaming routers also sports one 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port that can be used for WAN or LAN duties. Its hardware platform also includes a quad-core CPU (Broadcom BCM4906, according to WikiDevi), 256 MB of flash, 1 GB of DDR3 RAM and two USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports.
This new GT-AX11000 seems to be a different product from the linked ASUS RT-AX95U. Wikidevi doesn't have an entry yet. This one might be Qualcomm-based like the (unannounced) GT-AX6000 is expected to be. Perhaps this one is using a variant of the 12-stream IPQ8074 configured as three 4x4 radios. I don't think that the IPQ8074 has been officially confirmed to support tri-band mode though. Did the press release say quad-core or give RAM/Flash amounts?

The IPQ8074 specs page doesn't preclude tri-band support, it just says that 2.4 GHz and 5GHz are supported and eight spatial streams are allocated to 5GHz while 4 spatial streams are for 2.4GHz.

Another Press Release for the product says, "A new Turbo Key conveniently located on the outside of the chassis allows you to toggle various functions like Zero Wait DFS on or off without using the web GUI or App interface." This is kind of interesting. Perhaps the second 5GHz radio is dedicated to monitoring for clear 5GHz channels if Zero Wait DFS is turned on. It would be a shame to dedicate a full four-stream ax radio to DFS monitoring though.

Broadcom chip specs could certainly fit the device too and Broadcom lists ZeroWait DFS as a feature of its BCM43684 and BCM43694 radios so we will just have to wait and see.
 
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thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
This new GT-AX11000 seems to be a different product from the linked ASUS RT-AX95U.
What makes you say that? None of these are 8 stream products. They're getting the 4804 Mbps link rate by specing 160 MHz bandwidth.

Yes, the release mentions quad-core "Like its tri-band ROG counterpart, the RT-AX88U is controlled by a potent quad-core processor. It has dual USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports for shared peripherals like storage or a printer...". The other specs are shown in the table I included.
 

avtella

Very Senior Member
Internet Man I wonder in regards to triband if it's like the IPQ 4019 then, where it can act as a single 4x4 unit or 2 2x2 units, except with the option of 2 4x4 or a single 8x8 mode in this case. Also it could be using a different chip for 5Ghz as one Asus product was supposedly going to according to WiKi Devi.
 

Internet Man

Senior Member
What makes you say that? None of these are 8 stream products. They're getting the 4804 Mbps link rate by specing 160 MHz bandwidth.

Yes, the release mentions quad-core "Like its tri-band ROG counterpart, the RT-AX88U is controlled by a potent quad-core processor. It has dual USB 3.1 Gen 1 ports for shared peripherals like storage or a printer...". The other specs are shown in the table I included.

The IPQ8074 is quad-core while the Broadcom BCM4906 that is supposedly in the RT-AX95U is dual-core. The RT-AX95U may actually contain the quad-core BCM4908 though. Wikidevi is likely wrong about the BCM4906 in the RT-AX95U. Also, the RT-AX95U supposedly supports 10 GbE. When the RT-AX88U was first added, it was listed as having the quad-core BCM49408 CPU but someone changed it to the BCM4906. The Wikidevi entry for the RT-AX95U was likely created as a copy of the RT-AX88U...

My quick glance at the linked Wikidevi page for the RT-AX95U appeared to show a dual-band product since the infobox at the top left says "9600 Mbps max PHY rate for the 160MHz wide 5GHz channel" and the 5GHz radio is listed as 8x8 but I now clearly see it also listed as a tri-band product. My guess that it is Qualcomm-based is also heavily biased by the fact that the GT-AX6000 is expected to use the IPQ8072 since it is listed under the RTCONFIG_QCA section of ASUSWRT source code. It seemed to make sense that RT-AX* products would be Broadcom-based and GT-AX* would use Qualcomm. That might be too logical for ASUS though!

Internet Man I wonder in regards to triband if it's like the IPQ 4019 then, where it can act as a single 4x4 unit or 2 2x2 units, except with the option of 2 4x4 or a single 8x8 mode in this case.

Yes, that was what I was thinking too.
 
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thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
InternetMan: Thanks for reading the tea leaves. WikiDevi did not cite its sources, so I suppose I should not have quoted it in the article.

At any rate, we are talking about products not yet announced. As I said, the products announced today are all four stream using inflated 160 MHz bandwidth rates for the sake of BNOB.

Also note there was no mention of WPA3 support...
 

Internet Man

Senior Member
I'll see if I can sneak up to their booth tomorrow and ask what's inside.
If you can get the CPU speed out of them, that might be enough to tell. The IPQ8074 is 2.0GHz while the BCM4908 is 1.8GHz. The Physical dimensions could also help us figure out whether there is room for three separate radio chips plus a CPU. In my mind, the square shape would seem to fit a single-chip Qualcomm design better while the wider RT-AX88U and RT-AX95U would fit the multi-chip Broadcom design more easily.

I wonder if the RT-AX92 uses a Qualcomm IPQ8072 configured as 4x4 ax, 2x2 ac, 2x2 n. That would throw my GT-AX* vs RT-AX* assumption out the window though. Since the RT-AX92 will have AiMesh support immediately, perhaps it is based on an older design with an ax radio added. Something like a BCM4908 + BCM4358 + BCM4358 + BCM43684 . Its "small size" makes a single-chip solution seem more likely.
 
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Makaveli

Very Senior Member
Do we know if the RT-AX88U has the same 4 port+4 port design on two separate internal switches as the RT-AC88U or a single switch 8 port design?
 

Internet Man

Senior Member
Do we know if the RT-AX88U has the same 4 port+4 port design on two separate internal switches as the RT-AC88U or a single switch 8 port design?

The best information available right now suggests that all 8 LAN ports will be handled by a Realtek RTL8370MB.
InternetMan: Thanks for reading the tea leaves. WikiDevi did not cite its sources, so I suppose I should not have quoted it in the article.
I just found the likely source of Wikidevi's BCM4906 assumption. ASUS' product specifications page says that the RT-AX88U has a "1.8 GHz dual-core processor." That's likely why they changed it from a quad-core part to the BCM4906 which is 1.8GHz and dual-core. This wouldn't be the first time a manufacturer listed the specs wrong on a product page though. Apparently an ASUS admin claimed that the RT-AX88U has a quad-core CPU on their forums so this press release would be the second source of a quad-core spec.

I guess we'll see once you get your review sample or maybe when the internal photos are released.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Wikidevi has been wrong a number of times in the past, so don't rely too heavily on what they publish, especially with unreleased products.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Do we know if the RT-AX88U has the same 4 port+4 port design on two separate internal switches as the RT-AC88U or a single switch 8 port design?

I don't think BCM has any 8+ ports design in their CPUs (BCM49408 for instance is 5 ports total), so unless Asus decides to put all LAN ports on an 8-ports switch and hook it over PCI-E to the CPU, I think it's highly likely to be another split design. For cost reasons.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
Apparently an ASUS admin claimed that the RT-AX88U has a quad-core CPU on their forums so this press release would be the second source of a quad-core spec.

Each wifi chip has its own CPU, that might be why they said "quad-core"... :)
 

Internet Man

Senior Member
Each wifi chip has its own CPU, that might be why they said "quad-core"... :)
Broadcom seems to like to tout the CPU offloading done by their radios so that's certainly a possibility. (Example)

Wikidevi has been wrong a number of times in the past, so don't rely too heavily on what they publish, especially with unreleased products.
In this case they went with the best official information that was publicly available at the time (1.8 GHz dual-core).
 

Easy Rhino

Regular Contributor
"Continuing the fine Wi-Fi marketing tradition of link-rate inflation, the 4804 Mbps link rate specified for the 5 GHz radios comes not from 8 streams, but from using 160 MHz bandwidth with four streams."

So, 160mhz pretty much fills up all available 5ghz spectrum, so if you max out both 5ghz radios then you're guaranteeing interference with... yourself?
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
Remember - WiFi performance is primarily dictated by the Client, and the RF environment that the Client is it.

For most folks, the interest is not going to be the WiFi, but the routing capability of the host chipset... and goes without saying that stability and upper layer functions are all software - the HND platform is new relative to older SDK's, but it's got some legs there in certain areas.
 

sfx2000

Part of the Furniture
I don't think BCM has any 8+ ports design in their CPUs (BCM49408 for instance is 5 ports total), so unless Asus decides to put all LAN ports on an 8-ports switch and hook it over PCI-E to the CPU, I think it's highly likely to be another split design. For cost reasons.

I doubt they would do that... it's an evolutionary step for HND and the hardware behind it.

There's a lot of ways to play things - but I'm guessing the ethernet is going to be similar to what we've seen with other 8-port Asus designs... same goes with WiFi.

Broadcom/Asus has first to market here - will be interesting to see what QCA and Marvell respond - and I'd add Mediatek and the unknowns (china)...
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
"Continuing the fine Wi-Fi marketing tradition of link-rate inflation, the 4804 Mbps link rate specified for the 5 GHz radios comes not from 8 streams, but from using 160 MHz bandwidth with four streams."

So, 160mhz pretty much fills up all available 5ghz spectrum, so if you max out both 5ghz radios then you're guaranteeing interference with... yourself?
160 MHz bandwidth is basically snake oil created primarily to suck in people who think the BNOB is an indicator of Wi-Fi performance.

Without DFS support, 160 MHz can work only as 80+80 because there are are not 8 contiguous channels available. A tri-band router using 160 MHz bandwidth would require 16 channels, which would be quite challenging.

As I said, snake oil....
 

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