ASUS RT-AX68U vs RT-AC68U. Worth the Upgrade?

bengalih

Regular Contributor
I see posts comparing the 86 to the 68, but nothing that directly compares the RT-AX68U to the ASUS RT-AC68U.

I have the AC right now and wondering if it is worth the upgrade for $160.

My main desires right now are for faster ISP throughput (since I can't maximize my 1GB fiber), and for some beefier CPU for handling nginx and other amtm stuff.
I likely won't be upgrading my client wifi for a while, so not sure my throughput there matters much and I am not in a congested area.

I'll be running Merlin of course, so basic router functionality should be the same. Unless there is something I gain (or lose?) by going to the HND platform models(?)

Thoughts?
 

heysoundude

Very Senior Member
the ac68 is still a solid machine, even though it's in the sunset of its life as far as asus is concerned
If youve had it for 5+ years, you're due the upgrade that'll put you ahead of your client devices, but those get updated more frequently in most cases.
More RAM and more capable CPU will definitely open whatever speed bottleneck you're experiencing...
a better upgrade would be the AX86, if you're willing to go deeper into the bank account.
 

Adooni

Senior Member
try to setup AC68U as below and check internet speed

Code:
QoS off

LAN - Switch Control
Enable Jumbo Frame - Disable
NAT Acceleration - Auto (it shows CTF is enabled)
Spanning-Tree Protocol - Disable

Tools - Other settings
Memory Management - Yes
Firewall - No
Wan - No
Disable AsusNAT tunnel - Yes

if AC68U meet year needs I do not see point to change it. It is no problem if router is 5y old. I have one Asus WL500-W from 2006 working and is enough for what is doing. If for any reason your AC68U will R.I.P you will buy new router.
 

BobD

Regular Contributor
Going to the AX68U will see you catch up. If you want to future proof (if that's even possible) then dig deeper and get the AX86U.
 

heysoundude

Very Senior Member
Going to the AX68U will see you catch up. If you want to future proof (if that's even possible) then dig deeper and get the AX86U.
its a game of leapfrog for radios on devices and routers by design - to keep you spending money on the latest and greatest to get the most functionality out of each.
 

bengalih

Regular Contributor
try to setup AC68U as below and check internet speed

Code:
QoS off

LAN - Switch Control
Enable Jumbo Frame - Disable
NAT Acceleration - Auto (it shows CTF is enabled)
Spanning-Tree Protocol - Disable

Tools - Other settings
Memory Management - Yes
Firewall - No
Wan - No
Disable AsusNAT tunnel - Yes

if AC68U meet year needs I do not see point to change it. It is no problem if router is 5y old. I have one Asus WL500-W from 2006 working and is enough for what is doing. If for any reason your AC68U will R.I.P you will buy new router.
Yes I have all those configured already. Still, I can't get as fast as I can with the ISP router (by ~200 Mbps). It isn't a huge issue as 700-800 Mbps for my wired devices is usually plenty fast for my needs. My bigger problems seem to be when serving content over nginx the router gets taxed having to proxy the https.
 

cdturri

Occasional Visitor
So I am looking to upgrade too and I have been looking for a comparasion table betwen the RT-AC68U and the AX alternatives which I couldn't find so I built one myself see below). In my case I don't need the fancy wifi features of the AX range since Ubiquiti for my home Wifi and I am happy with that. But I do want to increase my ISP throughput as well. Currently on a 650mb connection but will soon upgrade to 1gb which I know my RT-AC68U will struggle to switch. Based on the specs below the clear winner is the RT-AX86U with the quad core running at 1.8 Ghz and a 2.5 GbE LAN/WAN port, which should give it a bit more future proof. The RT-AX88U seems to have a newer BCM49408 chip with ARM Cortex B53 but I couldn't really find any difference in specs vs the ARM Cortex A53. It also has 8 GbE ports (so better if need more ports at the router) but no 2.5 GbE port even though the chipset is capable of supporting it. I wish Asus had a Quad Core AC router without all the Wifi stuff...


Screenshot 2022-01-02 at 13.02.30.png
 

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maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
Anything CPU or crypto intensive will benefit from an upgrade to an AC86U, AX68U, or AX86U. If you are certain that the lack of full internet speed is not due to something besides the router, then the one of these will solve the problem. But you should be certain that its not some other factor. The web version of speedtest.net will not necessarily be able to reach 1 gbps. Also, running speedtest.net over wifi will also result in an artificially low speed. I only see 1 gbps when running the speedtest.net app from a computer wired to my AC86U.

As a final note, if you are on a really tight budget, you could consider upgrading to the AC68U_V4 which is HND and will have a better CPU and crypto. However, I think it makes more sense to move to an AX-class router for a few more dollars, well probably about a $50 difference between the AC68U_V4 and the AX68U. My first hands-on experience with an AX68U over the last few weeks has been very positive. Wifi range is great, and processor performance seems to be excellent.
 

torstein

Regular Contributor
IIRC the ax68u is basically the ac86u but with Wifi6, isn't that correct? So ac86u's hardware which is loads better than the ac68u, but without the ax86u's bells and whistles. I'd say it's a good buy!
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The RT-AX68U is in a different class of performance/throughput vs. the RT-AC86U, even if both are great as 'routers' (ignoring the WiFi aspect, for a minute).

Current Order of Recommended Routers Late 2021

The router, no matter how pretty it looks initially, will look pretty ugly when the performance gap is so huge to a similarly (or less) priced model like the RT-AX68U. Certainly not a reason to not consider it. Everyone I know installs the router and then rarely looks at it unless it needs some attention then.

Edit: Another important item of note. The SDK plays a big part in how responsive the network will be too. That is why the RT-AX86U (which has the most current SDK) is better than the RT-AX88U which may have better hardware 'on paper'.

Report - 2x RT-AX68U upgrade over 2x RT-AC86U in wireless backhaul mode
 
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cdturri

Occasional Visitor
I have updated my table adding the AC86U. As Tech9 says the RT-AX68U and RT-AC86U share the same dual core CPU so wouldn't be my first choice since they lack some raw power. L2 cache is just 256 KB and RAM 512 MB compared to 1 MB and 1024 MB on the RT-AX86U. If you want a quad core router on the AC range you need to go for the GT-AC5300 which is a ROG router and looks horible, specially for someone not looking to use all those wifi antennas. All my speed tests are wired and use apps not web based tests. On the AX range there are some other quad core options with MErlin support, which is one of my requirements. The RT-AX56U meets that but it's a bit ancient and baed on ARM-A7. Then you have the RT-AX86U and RT-AX88U as per my table and finally the GT-AX11000 which is esentially the same CPU as the RT-AX86U/RT-AX88U but with lots of antennas (AX 4x4) and the ROG theme. So to me if you are looking for quad core, Merlin support and 2.5 GbE LAN/WAN port but not bothered on wifi then there is only one choice: the RT-AX86U. If you want the better wifi then the GT-AX11000 makes sese.

Personally I am not going to bother with wifi 6 for now and I will wait for 6E or 7. I can get 450mb over wifi on my iPhone already (see below), how much more do I need over wifi? That's already more than most devices can handle anyway.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Asus_routers


IMG_303DBCEE5F20-1.jpeg


Screenshot 2022-01-02 at 20.58.40.png
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
BTW, a friend recently replaced his RT-AC68U with an RT-AX86U. He saw significant improvements in coverage in his two-floor house, to the point that he didn`t even need to repurpose the RT-AC68U as an AiMesh node, the new RT-AX86U alone resolved his coverage issues.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
The RT-AX68U is in a different class of performance/throughput vs. the RT-AC86U

RT-AC86U actually has higher theoretical throughput than RT-AX68U - 2167Mbps vs 1802Mbps maximum link speeds.

What makes AX68U better is Wi-Fi 6 and to common 2-stream AX client it will have advantage - 1201Mbps (AX) vs 867Mbps (AC).
 

maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
Ah nice, thanks, reposting your suggested list:

Entry-level, Good, Better, and Best (today): RT-AC86U, RT-AX68U, RT-AX88U, RT-AX86U.

With respect to the AC86U and AX68U, The AX68U (and AX86U) will have better wifi range than the AC86U. Another factor is router temperature. Many people have had overheating issues with the AC86U. I recently installed an AX68U at my in-laws house, and it runs amazingly cool even in an 85F room with high humidity. Definitely runs cooler than my four AC86Us installed in temperature-controlled spaces. Also, there is virtually no cost difference between the AC86U (currently $170 on Amazon) and the AX68U (currently $180 on Amazon). Even though I think the AC86U is a great wifi router, I see little value to purchasing one at this point, especially when considering resale value.

With respect to the AX86U, the 2.5 gbps ethernet port is on the AX86U is a wonderful addition for people with a NAS on their network, it appears to have the same or better wifi range than the AX88U, and its at least $50 cheaper than an AX88U, so I would rank it ahead of the AX88U for those reasons.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
With respect to the AC86U and AX68U, The AX68U (and AX86U) will have better wifi range than the AC86U.

AC86U and AX88U have approximately the same 5GHz range. I have both in my collection. AX68U with mid-range Wi-Fi SoC is better than both?
 

maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
AC86U and AX88U have approximately the same 5GHz range. I have both in my collection. AX68U with mid-range Wi-Fi SoC is better than both?
I don't yet have direct comparisons of the AX68U to AC86U, but L&LD has made such comparisons and found the AX68U to have much better range. In a few weeks, I may have an opportunity to make my own comparisons.
 

torstein

Regular Contributor
Hmmm... maybe we should ask @thiggins to do a comparison between the AC86, AX68, AX86 and AX88 :D
 

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