AX58u vs AC86U for 2-floor NY apartment with a few 3-4 stream devices

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speculativename

New Around Here
I recently found my way to this forum while researching which router to buy for a new apartment, and I'd like some guidance. I seem to have narrowed my router options down to the AX58u or the AC86u. They both cost $160-170, and I'd like to avoid paying too much more, but if you all think it's worthwhile to upgrade to the AX82u ($220) or AX86u ($250) I'd consider it. (or is there another option I'm not considering?)

The best guidance I've found is the below comment by RMerlin, however I do have a handful of 3 or 4 stream clients. So I would appreciate more insight specific to my scenario.
[the AX58U is] Definitely a worthwhile upgrade [over the AC87u], unless you have 3 or 4 stream clients on your network.

Layout: The place is a split level with 2 floors, with a rectangular layout: upstairs, 750sq ft; downstairs 600sq ft. It is currently under renovation and the landlord said that "walls are made out of masonry, wood, sheetrock, compound, plaster". The router will likely be centrally located upstairs.
I am most concerned with reception downstairs: There is one room semi-centrally located downstairs which has a reinforced wall (I believe this is using the sheetrock) for sound insulation; I plan to use it as a sound design studio. My bedroom will also be downstairs at the end of the apartment. Plus we have a rather long backyard, where it would be nice to get wifi, but not strictly necessary.

Some more info---
Devices: 3 MacBooks with 3x3 AC (they are my priority), an iPhone 12 with 4x4 AX. One 2x2 AX iPhone and one 2x2 AC iPhone. We will have at least one smart TV, a few AirPlay speakers, etc. My landlord wants to install a basic Nest thermostat system eventually but I'm not too keen on adding IoT devices.

ISP: My internet speed will be 300/300 fiber, so I am not very concerned with max speeds. I am most concerned with range and reliability in the aforementioned rooms. I work remotely and often on video; I'd like to avoid investing in mesh if possible since I don't have wired backhaul, but I like that the ASUS routers give me the option of adding a node later.

Network Traffic: As it is NYC, there will be many other networks in the surrounding area - one from the unit upstairs; at least 4 in the shared-wall neighboring buildings; even more from the surrounding buildings.

I understand that it's impossible to guess about signal strength regarding the apartment's layout and materials etc, but I'd appreciate any insights you have into my situation, regardless. Thank you!
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Welcome to the forums @speculativename.

What kind, quantity, and size transfers do you do with your three MBPs? To/from what other devices (and how are they connected to the network)? For most uses, you will not need to worry about limiting the maximum the MBP's can transfer over Wi-Fi.

I think you may be mistaken about the 4x4 AX capabilities of your phone. :)

Unless you're looking for the fastest VPN speeds possible from the new router, the RT-AX58U is a good start. If 200Mbps VPN speeds are required, then the RT-AC86U or the RT-AX88U/RT-AX86U is your only other choice(s).
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I recently found my way to this forum while researching which router to buy for a new apartment, and I'd like some guidance. I seem to have narrowed my router options down to the AX58u or the AC86u. They both cost $160-170, and I'd like to avoid paying too much more, but if you all think it's worthwhile to upgrade to the AX82u ($220) or AX86u ($250) I'd consider it. (or is there another option I'm not considering?)

The best guidance I've found is the below comment by RMerlin, however I do have a handful of 3 or 4 stream clients. So I would appreciate more insight specific to my scenario.


Layout: The place is a split level with 2 floors, with a rectangular layout: upstairs, 750sq ft; downstairs 600sq ft. It is currently under renovation and the landlord said that "walls are made out of masonry, wood, sheetrock, compound, plaster". The router will likely be centrally located upstairs.
I am most concerned with reception downstairs: There is one room semi-centrally located downstairs which has a reinforced wall (I believe this is using the sheetrock) for sound insulation; I plan to use it as a sound design studio. My bedroom will also be downstairs at the end of the apartment. Plus we have a rather long backyard, where it would be nice to get wifi, but not strictly necessary.

Some more info---
Devices: 3 MacBooks with 3x3 AC (they are my priority), an iPhone 12 with 4x4 AX. One 2x2 AX iPhone and one 2x2 AC iPhone. We will have at least one smart TV, a few AirPlay speakers, etc. My landlord wants to install a basic Nest thermostat system eventually but I'm not too keen on adding IoT devices.

ISP: My internet speed will be 300/300 fiber, so I am not very concerned with max speeds. I am most concerned with range and reliability in the aforementioned rooms. I work remotely and often on video; I'd like to avoid investing in mesh if possible since I don't have wired backhaul, but I like that the ASUS routers give me the option of adding a node later.

Network Traffic: As it is NYC, there will be many other networks in the surrounding area - one from the unit upstairs; at least 4 in the shared-wall neighboring buildings; even more from the surrounding buildings.

I understand that it's impossible to guess about signal strength regarding the apartment's layout and materials etc, but I'd appreciate any insights you have into my situation, regardless. Thank you!

I'd choose the AC86U 3x3 and 4x4 over the AX58U 2x2 2x2. Either for clients or a wireless AiMesh backhaul later.

Here's one for $153:

ASUS AC2900 Dual-band Gaming Router, Mesh Wi-Fi support - Newegg.com

I'd wait for WiFi 6e to get AX and the 6.0 channels that may give you more channel options in a noisy area... if your clients can do the same.

The solid construction and ambient WiFi may be your primary challenges. You'll have to try it. If you add a second AiMesh node on the lower level later, you might want to disable the 2.4 band to spare your neighbors.

OE
 

speculativename

New Around Here
What kind, quantity, and size transfers do you do with your three MBPs? To/from what other devices (and how are they connected to the network)? For most uses, you will not need to worry about limiting the maximum the MBP's can transfer over Wi-Fi.
It is me and two roommates, so not all mine. I do a lot of uploading and downloading to cloud services, sometimes several GB large files. I'm not too worried about top speeds though. Not much goes on directly between devices. I guess the main thing is that I do like to AirPlay music and live sports streams to the TV, but I can always plug in if necessary. I'm mostly worried about reliable connectivity in the rooms I mentioned rather than speedy transfers or streams. I moreso meant I'd like to optimize the connection reliability & strength for my 3x3AC macbook and don't really care about getting faster speeds on other devices which support AX.

I think you may be mistaken about the 4x4 AX capabilities of your phone. :)
I was under the impression the iPhone 12 was 4x4AX but upon double checking it is 4x4 LTE, not wifi. My mistake.

Unless you're looking for the fastest VPN speeds possible from the new router, the RT-AX58U is a good start. If 200Mbps VPN speeds are required, then the RT-AC86U or the RT-AX88U/RT-AX86U is your only other choice(s).
If I use a VPN it probably wouldn't be on the router level -- in the past I've just used the Mullvad client installed on my computer. So not very high priority for me.

I'd choose the AC86U 3x3 and 4x4 over the AX58U 2x2 2x2. Either for clients or a wireless AiMesh backhaul later.

I'd wait for WiFi 6e to get AX and the 6.0 channels that may give you more channel options in a noisy area... if your clients can do the same.
I also thought that I should prioritize the 3x3 of the AC86U over the AX 2x2 of the AX58U, right? I guess that is the central question here. But I probably won't upgrade my phone or computer for at least 2-3 years (and who knows when Apple will support it), so I don't think I will have 6E clients for a while.

The solid construction and ambient WiFi may be your primary challenges. You'll have to try it. If you add a second AiMesh node on the lower level later, you might want to disable the 2.4 band to spare your neighbors.
My thought as well - thanks for the 2.4 band advice.
 
Last edited:

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I also thought that I should prioritize the 3x3 of the AC86U over the AX 2x2 of the AX58U, right? I guess that is the central question here. But I probably won't upgrade my phone or computer for at least 2-3 years (and who knows when Apple will support it), so I don't think I will have 6E clients for a while.

I would buy for now with regard to AX, but I would also plan for the router to be a future wireless node... the more antennas/streams the better for the wireless backhaul throughput. Also... and I'm not sure about this... it is my impression that more antennas improves the beamforming that seems to nudge connection quality/performance up a notch.

OE
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Since uploading to cloud services depend on your ISP speed (and the specific servers and timeframe you're connecting to them too), the RT-AX58U is a solid choice for your use today.

This isn't so much an AC vs. AX pros/cons discussion. The RT-AX58U is generally less expensive and therefore the better fit here too.
 

speculativename

New Around Here
This isn't so much an AC vs. AX pros/cons discussion. The RT-AX58U is generally less expensive and therefore the better fit here too.
As I mentioned they are virtually the same price for me ($10 difference) -- I moreso meant to ask, rather than "just" AX vs AC, would optimizing for a 3x3 AC client in a room with potentially poor connection be better suited for the AC86U, since it has 3x3? Or is it not something I should worry about because the 2x2 AX58U will suffice?

Thank you
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
This would be a good test for your environment and for when you come back to report back to the forum here too.

The AX routers have better throughput at range, the 3x3:3 routers have just better range, period. Which is better for you? Only testing will tell.

If I was in your shoes, I would bet the RT-AX58U to be superior and be the one to test with first. But I would certainly test both to know.

If you want to bet/wait until the RT-AX68U is RMerlin supported, that may be an option for you too. That would give you all possible benefits (AX + 3x3:3 antennae/streams) with the unguaranteed support of RMerlin though.
 

speculativename

New Around Here
This would be a good test for your environment and for when you come back to report back to the forum here too.

The AX routers have better throughput at range, the 3x3:3 routers have just better range, period. Which is better for you? Only testing will tell.

If I was in your shoes, I would bet the RT-AX58U to be superior and be the one to test with first. But I would certainly test both to know.
Hmm, this does sound like a good test. I will look into buying both, if it's feasible to test them both out sufficiently within the return window, and report back here if I end up doing so. Thanks!
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
You replied before I updated my post above. Be sure to consider that option too, if possible. ;)
 

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