AX56u/58u or AC86U?

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ArchDevil

Occasional Visitor
Looking to get an router for my parents apartment that is about 70sqm.
the options are AX56/58u or AC86U.
the three of them are about the same price here, since the AC86U is considered good, my parents have 2 main devices that support AX (ATV Box and Laptop).
Would it better to get the AX routers or still the AC86U should outperform them?
Planning to run Merlin.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The RT-AC86U will outperform them as a router and for OpenVPN use too.

At the same price, the RT-AC86U is the better router by far.

The RT-AX56U, I would not recommend at all.

At these price points, buying the most hardware you can get is more important than buying the best 'specs' and Wi-Fi class you can buy. The RT-AC86U has better hardware where it counts and for this (small) sized area that needs coverage, will be more than sufficient. Particularly if the router is placed in a central location (as it should always be).
 

Volt

Regular Contributor
Just my two cents... I would argue that AC86U will outperform RT-AX58U when you have a large number of WiFi6 clients (and eventually you will have). The price of AC86U comes from the fact that it has, for example, 5 GHz 4 x 4, but in real life it is not as useful as it sounds.

Most AC clients are 2х2 and 1x1. Usually users think that if you have 4x4, the router can transmit to two 2x2 clients at that same time; however, it is only possible if both clients have adequate MU-MIMO support, but there are almost none. In most scenarios, you will have a mix of 2x2 and 1x1 clients that have no MU-MIMO, and your 4x4 router will anyway end up transmitting to one 2x2 or one 1x1 client at a time. And with AC86, you will stuck with this situation, since manufacturers will no longer add MU-MIMO support to AC clients, because AC is obsolete. Of course, if you need VPN speed, buy AC86U.

That's why I think that if you do not have lots of 3x3 AC clients, with RT-AX56 or RT-AX58U you will get the same real-life speed as with AC86U. However, as the number of WiFi6 clients grows, you will get much better total throughput with WiFi6 routers since WiFi6 clients will most likely support OFDMA and MU-MIMO. Besides, from my personal experience, I noticed that WiFi6 routers usually perform better than WiFi5 routers given the same conditions, maybe due to higher requirements to radios, I do not know.

But, again, just my humble opinion.
 
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Adooni

Regular Contributor
for parent you do not need any special router - just one that have RMerlin and you can add amtm modules like firewall.
AC86U is very good one (I would say even to good) but the only challenge is that will hit end of production soon and we do not know when RMerlin end of it support (example when RT-AC3200 router one of the best Asus even made is not supporting any more)
AC routers would be absolute soon not because are bad but there is no parts available to build it as manufactures moved to different CPU , wi-fi standards etc.

AX56U is a relatively new router and will be support for long time. I put those to few of my friends and they do not have issue with it.
 

SomeWhereOverTheRainBow

Very Senior Member
Looking to get an router for my parents apartment that is about 70sqm.
the options are AX56/58u or AC86U.
the three of them are about the same price here, since the AC86U is considered good, my parents have 2 main devices that support AX (ATV Box and Laptop).
Would it better to get the AX routers or still the AC86U should outperform them?
Planning to run Merlin.
AX68U
 

SomeWhereOverTheRainBow

Very Senior Member
The RT-AC86U will outperform them as a router and for OpenVPN use too.

At the same price, the RT-AC86U is the better router by far.

The RT-AX56U, I would not recommend at all.

At these price points, buying the most hardware you can get is more important than buying the best 'specs' and Wi-Fi class you can buy. The RT-AC86U has better hardware where it counts and for this (small) sized area that needs coverage, will be more than sufficient. Particularly if the router is placed in a central location (as it should always be).
if they can ever get the overheating to go away.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
'Overheating' seems to be regional/local? No issues here (Canada west). Even with the current heatwave, all RT-AC86U systems and higher are just working.
 

eightiescalling

Occasional Visitor
You don't mention the typical or expected usage, but unless you have a specific need for higher performance (@Volt has a point on number of devices growing over time but I'd caveat that with how many actually need any significant bandwidth at the same time) I'd always go for the one with the longest expected support. Would your parents notice the performance difference or benefit more from the longer life of the product?
 

RangerZ

Occasional Visitor
I have basically the same question.

@Volt , on post #3, is your first sentence correct about WiFi6 clients outperforming on the AC86U (WiFi 5 device)?
@L&LD , can you detail your negative recommendation on the AX56U?

The 56 has a Quad core CPU, the 58 a Tri Core CPU. The 58 has a second 5Ghz wifi chip, but if one ignores 160Mhz (marketing) width, I think it would run the same speed.

I have 2 AC1900Ps, will either the AX56U or AX58U:
  • Have better range?
  • Be better with OpenVPN?
  • Be a notable improvement in any other way?
I am not unhappy with my 1900P. I'm running nothing better than an Intel AC7260 (2x2), however a family member needs a new device and it's an opportunity to upgrade.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
This is from the forum posts. Almost every comparison between the RT-AX58U and the RT-AX56U recommends not wasting time with the 'AX56U.
 

Volt

Regular Contributor
I think that if 160MHz channels are not needed, RT-AX58 would not perform better than RT-AX56. And 56 is not more troublesome than 58.
 

SomeWhereOverTheRainBow

Very Senior Member
I have basically the same question.

@Volt , on post #3, is your first sentence correct about WiFi6 clients outperforming on the AC86U (WiFi 5 device)?
@L&LD , can you detail your negative recommendation on the AX56U?

The 56 has a Quad core CPU, the 58 a Tri Core CPU. The 58 has a second 5Ghz wifi chip, but if one ignores 160Mhz (marketing) width, I think it would run the same speed.

I have 2 AC1900Ps, will either the AX56U or AX58U:
  • Have better range?
  • Be better with OpenVPN?
  • Be a notable improvement in any other way?
I am not unhappy with my 1900P. I'm running nothing better than an Intel AC7260 (2x2), however a family member needs a new device and it's an opportunity to upgrade.
If you are getting either as a primary router the 2x2 wireless capabilities alone speaks volumes to whether this should be a primary router. If you were getting this as an access point, then maybe it would be okay. I would highly recommend the AX68U over either of these.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
I think that if 160MHz channels are not needed, RT-AX58 would not perform better than RT-AX56. And 56 is not more troublesome than 58.
The RT-AX58U has a better 5 GHz radio, with its own dedicated CPU core. I would expect it to perform better if you have multiple clients connected to it.
 

RangerZ

Occasional Visitor
Thank you all for your replies!

@L&LD , @Volt , looks like we have very diametrically opposed positions, or as the expression goes, maybe we can agree to disagree.

I spent substantial time on the forum and Google and was unable to find anything recent that quantified the performance differences. Dong's review of the 58 was probably the best, but did not include speed tests of the 56. There are no 2021 reviews of the 56, and all the 2020 reviews claim these to be draft devices. Most forum discussions are "just don't do that". @L&LD, if you have some gold here, please offer a link.

What is really missing IMHO, is any discussion regarding the fact that the 56 has a Quad Core CPU as opposed to the 58 Tri-Core. The 58 has a separate 5Ghz wifi chip to get to the useless 160 number, which I expect, along with marketing and antennas, accounts for the the higher price. I have read the Broadcom spec sheets on the 2 CPUs, but find marginal differences, cores aside.

It's probably worth noting that I am an IT manager and have been in tech since the early 80's. I build computers and small home and business LANs on the side. I am regularly replacing old wireless N routers or ISP provided gateways, and have been doing so with the AC68U for the last 6 months as it's easy to expand to a mesh system if needed (has not been) My clients are not complaining about 30-50 Mbps wireless speed, the only complaints I get are that their wireless (N) does not adequately cover their space or they don't want to keep paying the $10-13 month for the ISP hardware.

@SomeWhereOverTheRainBow , really not following your comment. This hardware does 2 things, its a "router" and a "wireless AP" in one box. Better wireless tech does not technically make one a better router.

Both of these are close to the CPU speed of the AX68U (1.5 vs 1.8) and have more cores, and the same amount of memory & flash (not clear on their tech DDR3\4 etc). The cores alone should make either of these a better ROUTER than the AX86u (ie better task handling). As for 2x2 vs 3x3, while the landscape will eventually change, there are very few 3x3 devices that are not extreme PCs. Not finding evidence that a 3x3 Router's AP will make a 1x1 or 2x2 device perform better. I am open to being wrong here, just need some supporting data.

My personal use case is testing, mostly range; however if I can position a AX vs AC device to my clients for the same price, it's future proofing them. I expect all of these will do the task of ROUTER, but I could use a new wall mounted device in my personal tech closet. That's the drawbacks to the AC1900P and AX68U. Wall mounting generally leads to better performance (higher) in office locations. It's also helpful in homes where the ISP comes into a basement. VPN performance would be all bonus though; in a closed test environment I get about 35 Mbps on my AC1900P if I recall (OpenVPN Server) and it's nice to be able to offer this to my small business clients.
 

Volt

Regular Contributor
The RT-AX58U has a better 5 GHz radio, with its own dedicated CPU core. I would expect it to perform better if you have multiple clients connected to it.
Theoretically, yes, but I wonder why it is often assumed that integrated solutions like we have in BCM6755 will perform worse than 58's separate 5Ghz Wi-Fi chip when using 80MHz? Seeing this chart and reading this updated review makes me think that 58's 5GHz is actually not that good, and looks like the sole reason for adding a separate Wi-Fi chip was to give it 160MHz support.

Honestly, it looks like BCM6750 is actually BCM6755 with disabled core due to production faults. BCM6755 has better raw performance thanks to an additional core, for example, it powers ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8), which is AX6600-class router. There is no AX6600 router on BCM6750.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
What is really missing IMHO, is any discussion regarding the fact that the 56 has a Quad Core CPU as opposed to the 58 Tri-Core.
This was discussed at length in the past in another thread. Basically unless you run something very specific that requires multiple cores at full speed (like multiple OpenVPN clients), that fourth core will have zero impact on performance.
 

SomeWhereOverTheRainBow

Very Senior Member
Thank you all for your replies!

@L&LD , @Volt , looks like we have very diametrically opposed positions, or as the expression goes, maybe we can agree to disagree.

I spent substantial time on the forum and Google and was unable to find anything recent that quantified the performance differences. Dong's review of the 58 was probably the best, but did not include speed tests of the 56. There are no 2021 reviews of the 56, and all the 2020 reviews claim these to be draft devices. Most forum discussions are "just don't do that". @L&LD, if you have some gold here, please offer a link.

What is really missing IMHO, is any discussion regarding the fact that the 56 has a Quad Core CPU as opposed to the 58 Tri-Core. The 58 has a separate 5Ghz wifi chip to get to the useless 160 number, which I expect, along with marketing and antennas, accounts for the the higher price. I have read the Broadcom spec sheets on the 2 CPUs, but find marginal differences, cores aside.

It's probably worth noting that I am an IT manager and have been in tech since the early 80's. I build computers and small home and business LANs on the side. I am regularly replacing old wireless N routers or ISP provided gateways, and have been doing so with the AC68U for the last 6 months as it's easy to expand to a mesh system if needed (has not been) My clients are not complaining about 30-50 Mbps wireless speed, the only complaints I get are that their wireless (N) does not adequately cover their space or they don't want to keep paying the $10-13 month for the ISP hardware.

@SomeWhereOverTheRainBow , really not following your comment. This hardware does 2 things, its a "router" and a "wireless AP" in one box. Better wireless tech does not technically make one a better router.

Both of these are close to the CPU speed of the AX68U (1.5 vs 1.8) and have more cores, and the same amount of memory & flash (not clear on their tech DDR3\4 etc). The cores alone should make either of these a better ROUTER than the AX86u (ie better task handling). As for 2x2 vs 3x3, while the landscape will eventually change, there are very few 3x3 devices that are not extreme PCs. Not finding evidence that a 3x3 Router's AP will make a 1x1 or 2x2 device perform better. I am open to being wrong here, just need some supporting data.

My personal use case is testing, mostly range; however if I can position a AX vs AC device to my clients for the same price, it's future proofing them. I expect all of these will do the task of ROUTER, but I could use a new wall mounted device in my personal tech closet. That's the drawbacks to the AC1900P and AX68U. Wall mounting generally leads to better performance (higher) in office locations. It's also helpful in homes where the ISP comes into a basement. VPN performance would be all bonus though; in a closed test environment I get about 35 Mbps on my AC1900P if I recall (OpenVPN Server) and it's nice to be able to offer this to my small business clients.
My comments on 3x3 vs 2x2 were more pointed at the amount of wireless streams available for devices to take advantage of. If you are more worried about having a paper weight with a nice cpu for vpn use then the rt-ax58u is a step in the right direction. Just because you have 2x2 devices does not always equate a 2x2 router being a good wireless router.
 

RangerZ

Occasional Visitor
Thank you all, now were getting somewhere.

@Volt , I found the MB Reviews after my post, unfortunately the 56 did not get the scrutiny that the 58 got, but did get a better rating. I also found a broader SNB review here which reference other ASUS and Netgear devices using the same BCM43684 which exhibit a similar dip on 5Ghz. I spent a bit working in semicon (when we had it in this country), and understand grading. Every memory wafer was graded, so yes, very likely.

@Merlin , good point, I guess it depends on how the processes are designed to utilize the cores. This then begs the question, what processes actually use all these nice cores?

@SomeWhereOverTheRainBow , I can agree that the BCM6710 is a probably a better chip than the BCM6755; it's spec sheet is thin, but at least it states it's fully WiFi 6 compliant which the BCM6755 is not. I also will agree that the quality\performance of 2x2 devices will vary, but not sure that qualifies them all as paperweights either. The position I was hoping you would argue, indeed prove, is that a give AC or AX 2x2 device will perform better on a 3x3 AP. Sure, it's not "all else being equal", but 3x3 devices are unicorns in my world, and if the tech just leaves the 3rd stream idle, then I consider it superfluous, and yes, would rather have more CPU for VPN. I'm also not saying this is the correct solution for all, no gaming, no 4K streaming, generally 3-4 users with portable devices and a few IOT toys like Alexa or Nest. Zoom is probably the most taxing application, but I AM looking to maximize the usable range.

So, as it appears the BCM43684 may be flawed, for my use case, at basically the same price, is the RTA-X56U any better or worse than the RT-AC68U/AC1900P?

There's lots of people driving Ferrari's in a school zone here, a Subaru will get there just as fast.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
When the Subaru costs a negligible difference to the superior Ferrari, even in school zone's the Ferrari is the better buy.
 

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