AX86U performing worse than AX82U

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Pavl

New Around Here
I did a test of the AX58U, AX82U, and AX86U. Out of the 3 I was most surprised at the AX86U results. It performed alright, but definitely not as good as the AX82U. Any ideas? The AX82U achieved 50 Mbps+ better than the AX86U. The AX86U should be better right?

Thanks in advance!
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Comparing router speed is like going fishing. In the same stream you can get big fish and small fish. Many factors affect upload/download speed from the internet. I can get 10-20 percent difference in speed test within a couple of minutes. As for the WIFI connection with AX/WIFI 6 the bandwidth from the router to the client depends on number of radios in the router and client, if DFS channels are used and the router gets a RADAR bounce, interference from other neighborhood routers and etc.

I fully understand Colin's <sigh> We get tired of explaining over and over again the inconsistencies of internet/WIFI. Speed is not important! Connection quality is important. Most Asus routers will give you GREAT connection quality. Granted, it may have to be tweaked for your environment.

I think we should number the answers to repeated questions. Put the number in a forum post title to make it easy to find. Call this one "666" ?
 

Pavl

New Around Here
Comparing router speed is like going fishing. In the same stream you can get big fish and small fish. Many factors affect upload/download speed from the internet. I can get 10-20 percent difference in speed test within a couple of minutes. As for the WIFI connection with AX/WIFI 6 the bandwidth from the router to the client depends on number of radios in the router and client, if DFS channels are used and the router gets a RADAR bounce, interference from other neighborhood routers and etc.

I fully understand Colin's <sigh> We get tired of explaining over and over again the inconsistencies of internet/WIFI. Speed is not important! Connection quality is important. Most Asus routers will give you GREAT connection quality. Granted, it may have to be tweaked for your environment.

I think we should number the answers to repeated questions. Put the number in a forum post title to make it easy to find. Call this one "666" ?
Thanks for the reply, bbunge. I appreciate it. I was just surprised by the results, but your answer makes sense and is helpful. It's just frustrating when you spend money on something that you believe should perform better and it doesn't appear to.

Are there any threads you would recommend reading for optimizing the AX86U?

Many thanks =D
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
What works for me:
Use Dual Band SmartConnect
Disable Airtime Fairness Universal Beamforming and Roaming assistant for both bands.
2.4 GHz @ 20 MHZ on channel 1, 6, or 11
5 GHx @ 160 MHZ on channel 36 (this will allow eight 20 MHz channels to be used and older clients that do not like DFS channels will still connect)
WPA2/WPA3

These settings work for me on Asus Factory Firmware and Merlin 386.2_2
Be patient after making changes as the 5 GHz will have to clear for RADAR.
 

Pavl

New Around Here
Super helpful. Thanks!

I've heard a ton about Merlin. What are the main benefits of installing their firmware vs the native firmware?
 

Volt

Regular Contributor
If you test speed from the same location and using the same channels, and you repeatedly get the same results, then I would disagree with the <sigh> comment, I think your question is quite valid. I also disagree with the "Speed is not important! Connection quality is important.", because what is quality? Speed is measurable, and given the same speed, you usually approximately get the same quality (whatever that means) and pings. However, you cannot expect the same or better "quality" given the 50 Mbps+ difference in speed, its nonsense.

Regarding the reliability of the speed test. For example, on Speedtest.net, I constantly get the same results with a +-1% difference, at any time of the day or night, and we cannot assume that the Pavl's internet stability is different. So the "Many factors affect upload/download speed from the internet." comment is only partially true and may be not applicable to the current case, because even if this statement is true and Pavl anyway gets the same difference given the large number of tests, then, again, his question is valid.

AX82U can indeed perform better than AX86U, I've seen similar differences when comparing AX86U to AX58U and even to AX56U (when using 80MHz channels only). My impression is that the routers based on BCM675x system-on-a-chips are better performers in certain environments, maybe due to different hardware implementation or drivers, who knows.
 

Pavl

New Around Here
If you test speed from the same location and using the same channels, and you repeatedly get the same results, then I would disagree with the <sigh> comment, I think your question is quite valid. I also disagree with the "Speed is not important! Connection quality is important.", because what is quality? Speed is measurable, and given the same speed, you usually approximately get the same quality (whatever that means) and pings. However, you cannot expect the same or better "quality" given the 50 Mbps+ difference in speed, its nonsense.

Regarding the reliability of the speed test. For example, on Speedtest.net, I constantly get the same results with a +-1% difference, at any time of the day or night, and we cannot assume that the Pavl's internet stability is different. So the "Many factors affect upload/download speed from the internet." comment is only partially true and may be not applicable to the current case, because even if this statement is true and Pavl anyway gets the same difference given the large number of tests, then, again, his question is valid.

AX82U can indeed perform better than AX86U, I've seen similar differences when comparing AX86U to AX58U and even to AX56U (when using 80MHz channels only). My impression is that the routers based on BCM675x system-on-a-chips are better performers in certain environments, maybe due to different hardware implementation or drivers, who knows.

Thank you, Volt! I appreciate your response. I was actually doing a controlled test of all 3 routers (AX86U, AX82U, AX58U) at different distances. I decided to do a reset on the 86U last night and it seems like that helped with the results. I've at least managed to get some faster results than the AX82U.

I did think it was interesting what bbunge was saying about it needing to clear for RADAR.
 

jaydee77ca

New Around Here
Hi @Pavl, I have this same issue also. I purchased the RT-AX82U first as it was on sale then the RT-AX86U went on sale two weeks after so I picked it up. After setting up the 86U I was dismayed to observe that I was getting a weaker signal and slower speeds. So, I did a comparison using a WiFi Analyzer app taking measurements from the same locations around the house and patio. Interestingly, the signal strength was usually lower with the 86U and the throughput was also lower (about 100-200 Mbps on a 750Mbps internet connection). I also noticed that when the channel size was set to auto the 86U was using 80Mhz channel while the 82U used 160Mhz. When I forced the 86U to use 160Mhz channel the signal strength got even lower while the throughput stayed about the same (though still 100-200 Mbps lower than the 82U). I'm running the stock firmware on both with the default settings other than the SSID and passwords and when I forced 160Mhz channels on the 86U. I tried the settings that @bbunge mentioned on the 86U but that made things even worse (signal about the same but way slower throughput). The measurements were taken using my Galaxy S20 on 5Ghz AX mode.
 
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SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
$229 USD for the AX82U vs. $249 USD for the AX86U...
That extra $20 you paid didn't get you much more did it? ;)

Actually there are a lot of factors that can effect Wifi performance including

1) The current firmware being used for that particular radio
2) The exact settings used for each router channel, features enabled, any band steering the router is using to avoid interference
3) How the devices match with router's radio and compatibility with it's current settings, previous settings stored in the client devices.
4) Router placement, height, antenna angles, router location and direction the router is facing

You could even have two hardware identical AX86Us or AX82Us and change any of the factors above and get different throughput results. I am not saying that is what is happening in your situation (maybe for another reason you are seeing a real performance difference between the two routers) but you do have to be careful relying only on measurements from individual devices such as Wifi phones, tablets and computers.

I have seen it happen with AX86Us where when I first set it up I get one set of results and after some time when the radios auto adjust and then I get different performance results. The Wifi Analyzer app is not known to be a very consistent method of testing Wifi. I usually see big fluctuations from one test to the next. With online testing like speedtest.net there can also be a fluctuation in your connection with the testing server from one moment to the next. A better test would be to compare with different devices... laptops, other brands of phones, etc.. and you can also use two identical routers to run multiple tests direct within the local network for the Wifi data throughput performance between them.
 
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bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Hi @Pavl, I have this same issue also. I purchased the RT-AX82U first as it was on sale then the RT-AX86U went on sale two weeks after so I picked it up. After setting up the 86U I was dismayed to observe that I was getting a weaker signal and slower speeds. So, I did a comparison using a WiFi Analyzer app taking measurements from the same locations around the house and patio. Interestingly, the signal strength was usually lower with the 86U and the throughput was also lower (about 100-200 Mbps on a 750Mbps internet connection). I also noticed that when the channel size was set to auto the 86U was using 80Mhz channel while the 82U used 160Mhz. When I forced the 86U to use 160Mhz channel the signal strength got even lower while the throughput stayed about the same (though still 100-200 Mbps lower than the 82U). I'm running the stock firmware on both with the default settings other than the SSID and passwords and when I forced 160Mhz channels on the 86U. I tried the settings that @bbunge mentioned on the 86U but that made things even worse (signal about the same but way slower throughput). The measurements were taken using my Galaxy S20 on 5Ghz AX mode.
You used a phone to test WIFI? Not too smart...
 

Adooni

Senior Member
Samsung Galaxy is not bad to test wi-fi - if you would use iPhone results would be much worst :)

AX86U have one of the best wi-fi range/ stability now looking at Asus routers.
 

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