Asus ZenWiFi XT8 vs. RT-AX86U for small apartment

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KennyBaby69

New Around Here
I live in a 1000 sq. ft. (~90 sq. m.) apartment. I've been looking at the RT-AX86U but I am also tempted by the ZenWiFi XT8. I've read that a mesh system doesn't really make sense for small spaces. The nodes would be placed 10-15 ft. (~3-5 m.) apart from each other. What do you think about that? Would a single ZenWifi XT8 node be better than two nodes / RT-AX86U? I am also thinking that the ZenWiFi is better looking than the RT-AX86U (which matters regarding the wife acceptance factor).
 

shoman94

Regular Contributor
I live in a 1000 sq. ft. (~90 sq. m.) apartment. I've been looking at the RT-AX86U but I am also tempted by the ZenWiFi XT8. I've read that a mesh system doesn't really make sense for small spaces. The nodes would be placed 10-15 ft. (~3-5 m.) apart from each other. What do you think about that? Would a single ZenWifi XT8 node be better than two nodes / RT-AX86U? I am also thinking that the ZenWiFi is better looking than the RT-AX86U (which matters regarding the wife acceptance factor).
A single router is always the best option. If you can place it kinda central you should have no issues.
 

sorachan

Occasional Visitor
My apartment is smaller than yours and my AX86U 5Ghz could not cover every single corner, probably because my router is left inside a cabinet near the entrance.

Also note AX86U has 1024mb ram, which can be useful depending on what you usually do.
 

KennyBaby69

New Around Here
Thanks for your replies. I have 1Gbps internet and my current router is TP-Link Archer AX50, which is placed centrally in the apartment. I've found that despite good reviews, it does a rather poor job of covering the apartment with acceptable WiFi. That's why I started thinking that I could benefit from a better router like the RT-AX86U or even a mesh system, even though the apartment is small (but has walls made of concrete).
 

sorachan

Occasional Visitor
Thanks for your replies. I have 1Gbps internet and my current router is TP-Link Archer AX50, which is placed centrally in the apartment. I've found that despite good reviews, it does a rather poor job of covering the apartment with acceptable WiFi. That's why I started thinking that I could benefit from a better router like the RT-AX86U or even a mesh system, even though the apartment is small (but has walls made of concrete).
I doubt a single router will cover everything, my apartment is also all concrete. I personally use AX86U+AC86U ethernet aimesh without any significant problem (except occasional ping spikes).

You may also consider other more reliable mesh systems such as UniFi Mesh.
 

Tucu

Regular Contributor
Thanks for your replies. I have 1Gbps internet and my current router is TP-Link Archer AX50, which is placed centrally in the apartment. I've found that despite good reviews, it does a rather poor job of covering the apartment with acceptable WiFi. That's why I started thinking that I could benefit from a better router like the RT-AX86U or even a mesh system, even though the apartment is small (but has walls made of concrete).
Any chance of using ethernet between two routers/APs? Concrete and bricks walls will require the routers to be placed quite close to each other if using wireless backhaul.
 

shoman94

Regular Contributor
Thanks for your replies. I have 1Gbps internet and my current router is TP-Link Archer AX50, which is placed centrally in the apartment. I've found that despite good reviews, it does a rather poor job of covering the apartment with acceptable WiFi. That's why I started thinking that I could benefit from a better router like the RT-AX86U or even a mesh system, even though the apartment is small (but has walls made of concrete).
I have an AC88U and my 1st floor is 1400sqft. I have it in the center not in a cabinet and 5g easily covers it.

Edit: oh walls made of concrete.... Well I can see why you would want to MESH it. Probably your best option then.
 

KennyBaby69

New Around Here
I have an AC88U and my 1st floor is 1400sqft. I have it in the center not in a cabinet and 5g easily covers it.

Edit: oh walls made of concrete.... Well I can see why you would want to MESH it. Probably your best option then.
Thanks for the advice. So mesh would not necessarily be overkill in a 1000 sq. ft. (~90 sq. m.) apartment with 10-15 ft. (~3-5 m.) between the nodes, because of the concrete walls in between? I've read something about clients having difficulty deciding on which node to connect to if the nodes are too close together. That's why I've been contemplating the ZenWiFi XT8, because it has the Roaming Assistant, which Netgear Orbi doesn't have (to my knowledge).
Any chance of using ethernet between two routers/APs? Concrete and bricks walls will require the routers to be placed quite close to each other if using wireless backhaul.
I think I could maybe use ethernet if 10-15 ft. (~3-5 m.) between nodes (with concrete walls in between) is not enough. Thanks for the tip.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Too many APs (or mesh nodes) in too small a space can result in too much signal overlap. This can cause devices to stick to the first AP they see and not move when you move to a different room.

All the Roaming Assistant does is let you set a signal level where the AP will disconnect a client. But since clients decide when and where to roam, this can result in flaky connections (when a device decides it doesn't want to move) or no connection at all if the AP and STA are really stubborn.

I don't have experience using Roaming Assistant. Others will probably share their experience.

If a single router has trouble penetrating your walls, mesh backhaul isn't likely to work better. Your device will show a nice strong signal level that it receives from the mesh node that it's close to. But the backhaul bandwidth will be low and so will your actual throughput/speed.

Look at the Closing Thoughts section in this article for a clearer explantion.
 

sorachan

Occasional Visitor
I think I could maybe use ethernet if 10-15 ft. (~3-5 m.) between nodes (with concrete walls in between) is not enough. Thanks for the tip.
I have two concrete walls between my mesh router and mesh node, direct distance is less than 4 metres. 2.4Ghz works without any problem, but 5Ghz disconnects frequently. If you have pre-wired ethernet cable, definitely use ethernet to connect your router and node.
 

shoman94

Regular Contributor
Thanks for the advice. So mesh would not necessarily be overkill in a 1000 sq. ft. (~90 sq. m.) apartment with 10-15 ft. (~3-5 m.) between the nodes, because of the concrete walls in between? I've read something about clients having difficulty deciding on which node to connect to if the nodes are too close together. That's why I've been contemplating the ZenWiFi XT8, because it has the Roaming Assistant, which Netgear Orbi doesn't have (to my knowledge).

I think I could maybe use ethernet if 10-15 ft. (~3-5 m.) between nodes (with concrete walls in between) is not enough. Thanks for the tip.
Too many variables and you'll get all kinds of opinions. You could test it and return it if it doesn't work, you could also try powerline ethernet adapters to make the backbone wired and place them further apart too. Many options.
 
Last edited:

jmpr

Regular Contributor
I live in a 1000 sq. ft. (~90 sq. m.) apartment. I've been looking at the RT-AX86U but I am also tempted by the ZenWiFi XT8. I've read that a mesh system doesn't really make sense for small spaces. The nodes would be placed 10-15 ft. (~3-5 m.) apart from each other. What do you think about that? Would a single ZenWifi XT8 node be better than two nodes / RT-AX86U? I am also thinking that the ZenWiFi is better looking than the RT-AX86U (which matters regarding the wife acceptance factor).
My apartment is like youre, and have the XT8 in the middle, near the ceiling. No coverage problems at all (about 30 wifi devices, no one with wire):

1618593451882.png


But in amazon you can buy this:

1618593520605.png
 

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