Asus RT-AX86U VPN Speeds with NordVPN or Any Other VPN Service

mulkman

Occasional Visitor
Hi Guys,

Its been long but my Asus RT-AC87U has finally been retired by Mr Merlin and will no longer get any updates.

I am seriously considering the Asus RT-AX86U but would like to know how it performs with client VPN like NordVPN or any other service.
Max Download speed its CPU can handle?

I also have the order RT-AC86U into consideration but already have two WIFI 6 devices PS5 and iPhone 12
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
For OpenVPN speeds, the RT-AX88U, RT-AX86U, and the RT-AC86U are all identical.

The RT-AX86U is the lowest latency router of these and worth a bit more if your budget allows or your usage dictates.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I would rate those results as 'better'! :)
 

smallnet

Occasional Visitor
I am paying for a cable connection that is technically 250 Mbps down and 20 Mbps up. I think. It's all very nebulous, especially with regard to the upload speed, which the provider does not really advertise, they focus on the big "headline" number of "250 Mbps" when they advertise.

With an RT-AC86U, and just using speedtest.net to measure speeds, I get measurements of about 200-300 Mbps download and 17-22 Mbps upload. Of course varies by time of day, server chosen, and probably many other things.

Putting on NordVPN strictly following their instructions of how to set it up on the Asus Merlin router firmware, I get about 110-130 Mbps download and 17-22Mbps upload. It varies, of course, (and I so wish NordVPN would handle choosing the "best server" on their end, like PIA does) but I'd say download is reliably above 100 Mbps, which is plenty.

Another observation, although I have not measured it precisely, but doing tests next to each other, doing one test with OpenVPN and one without, it seems to me that the upload speed is actually very slightly faster with the VPN on. It could be just me, but anecdotally it seems like that to me.

I think the encryption on the connection is 256 bits, and if I force it to use a 128 bits key it would be even faster, but have not tried.
 
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Makaveli

Very Senior Member
Here are some speedtests results with my AX86U, ExpressVPN and a 1Gbps fibre connection :

With the ExpressVPN app on PC:


With the VPN Client on Asuswrt-Merlin 386.1 Beta 1:


Basically the same (great) result.

AX88U With Express VPN app on PC on 1Gbps fibre



VPN client on Router Merlin 384.19

 
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smallnet

Occasional Visitor
AX88U With Express VPN app on PC on 1Gbps fibre also.


Just to clarify, the encryption is handled by the PC in your case or the router? I don't get the "on PC" reference.

Did you mean: AX88U With Express VPN on 1Gbps fibre, and the speedtest.net website is accessed from a PC behind the router while the router is running OpenVPN?.
 

Makaveli

Very Senior Member
Just to clarify, the encryption is handled by the PC in your case or the router? I don't get the "on PC" reference.

Did you mean: AX88U With Express VPN on 1Gbps fibre, and the speedtest.net website is accessed from a PC behind the router while the router is running OpenVPN?.

I will add a test with the router running the VPN like the post before mine.

Yes that is with the PC running encryption..
 
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torstein

Regular Contributor
Hmm.. rather dissapointing speeds, no?

I have 1gbps fiber cabled. Without VPN I get 950/950. With Mullvad VPN Wireguard on the mac I get 850/850, but with Mullvad on Ax86U through VPN Director I get 200/200. I'm not home so I can't test Mullvad OpenVPN app on the Mac right now, but will in a couple of days.

But anyways, isn't the 200/200mbps unacceptable? Or is it within what's expected? I thought the AX86U had some magical hardware accelerated encryption which would make the speeds fly? Or is this normal? If so, when is Wireguard coming to Merlin-wrt?
 

Jack Yaz

Part of the Furniture
Hmm.. rather dissapointing speeds, no?

I have 1gbps fiber cabled. Without VPN I get 950/950. With Mullvad VPN Wireguard on the mac I get 850/850, but with Mullvad on Ax86U through VPN Director I get 200/200. I'm not home so I can't test Mullvad OpenVPN app on the Mac right now, but will in a couple of days.

But anyways, isn't the 200/200mbps unacceptable? Or is it within what's expected? I thought the AX86U had some magical hardware accelerated encryption which would make the speeds fly? Or is this normal? If so, when is Wireguard coming to Merlin-wrt?
 

Makaveli

Very Senior Member
Hmm.. rather dissapointing speeds, no?

I have 1gbps fiber cabled. Without VPN I get 950/950. With Mullvad VPN Wireguard on the mac I get 850/850, but with Mullvad on Ax86U through VPN Director I get 200/200. I'm not home so I can't test Mullvad OpenVPN app on the Mac right now, but will in a couple of days.

But anyways, isn't the 200/200mbps unacceptable? Or is it within what's expected? I thought the AX86U had some magical hardware accelerated encryption which would make the speeds fly? Or is this normal? If so, when is Wireguard coming to Merlin-wrt?
Its to be expected as the cpu in the router is the bottleneck. If you want full vpn speeds you will need a more powerful device.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Or is this normal?

Yes, ~200Mbps is what ARMv8 CPU core can do, with AES acceleration. OpenVPN is single-threaded.

If so, when is Wireguard coming to Merlin-wrt?

Still experimental in Asuswrt. Incompatible with NAT acceleration, so perhaps limited to ~350Mbps anyway.

 

sl4fko

Regular Contributor
Question:

Are these results from countries where you guys live or are you connected with VPN to foreign countries?

I also use NordVPN and I am curious on how do you find the best server to use/connect...
 

torstein

Regular Contributor
@sl4fko
Home country and neighboring countries. OpenVPN is just not made for high speeds it seems :)

@Tech9
Still experimental in Asuswrt. Incompatible with NAT acceleration, so perhaps limited to ~350Mbps anyway.
Incompatible for now but fixable, or completely incompatible by design and will never get around it? 350mbps is better than 200, but still... was hoping to approach 800 like I can through the mullvad wireguard app on my mac.
 

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