AX88U Link Aggregation? Buying Advice?

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Peter Miller

New Around Here
Hi, first of all, thanks for letting me join here. Boy I am so glad I found this group. For the past week I have been researching to upgrade my home network and of course sifting through all the marketing and youtubing stuff is time consuming. Was I happy to read Tim's and L&LDs articles based on some facts - I like facts, although I am obviously no computer scientist, nor electrical engineer.... so far to my intro.

Firstly, waying the pros and cons I came pretty much to the conclusion that the AX88U is not a bad deal for my ca. 250qm area to cover. I generally like proven technology and even considered going with AC instead of AX, but the difference is only about 60bucks between the AC88 and the AX. So I thought, why not chance it with the AX. Please let me know if I am wrong here.

Secondly, I would love to make better use of the Link Aggregation 802.ad (I believe) of my 918+ NAS (Yes I know it is is not 2 GBits) and the AX88 (and the AC88) are advertised to support this. Can anyone share their experience, if this is indeed the case? Alternatively I considered getting one of those smart switches eg. Zyxel GS1900-8, but I rather have less equipment to take care off.

If I missed an article, which I should have read, I apologize, please then kindly point me in the right direction.

Thx a lot.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Welcome Peter. I think your approach is a sound one. Put Merlin on that AX88U, plus whatever scripts may better serve your goals (@L&LD can offer a fair amount of insight there), and you should be good to go.

If the trial proves otherwise, at least you'll have given it a shot with arguably one of the better hardware/firmware combos out there. You can then amend wifi coverage with another AiMesh-compatible all-in-one, or bolster your wired firepower with whatever discrete router/switch(es) you need, and/or swap systems altogether. Whatever you deem necessary, as needed.

You're definitely on the right track.
 

Peter Miller

New Around Here
Welcome Peter. I think your approach is a sound one. Put Merlin on that AX88U, plus whatever scripts may better serve your goals (@L&LD can offer a fair amount of insight there), and you should be good to go.

If the trial proves otherwise, at least you'll have given it a shot with arguably one of the better hardware/firmware combos out there. You can then amend wifi coverage with another AiMesh-compatible all-in-one, or bolster your wired firepower with whatever discrete router/switch(es) you need, and/or swap systems altogether. Whatever you deem necessary, as needed.

You're definitely on the right track.
Thanks Trip for the confirmation. It’s good that there is a light at the end of my research tunnel.

I have found about three posts on link aggregation. They didn’t report any issues so I guess it works.

BTW. I need a bridge too. Shall I use the asus pci card for the one PC or better sth else?
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
If by "bridge" you mean a wireless client bridge (like this one - just an example), to connect a few wired-only clients to the network, then yes, that will work. If you want top-speeds you'd want an adapter or bridge with the same maximum spatial streams as the wifi AP it would be connecting to. Otherwise, if all you need is basic connectivity, any cheap client bridge (like that Zyxel I linked to) ought to work well enough.
 

Peter Miller

New Around Here
If by "bridge" you mean a wireless client bridge (like this one - just an example), to connect a few wired-only clients to the network, then yes, that will work. If you want top-speeds you'd want an adapter or bridge with the same maximum spatial streams as the wifi AP it would be connecting to. Otherwise, if all you need is basic connectivity, any cheap client bridge (like that Zyxel I linked to) ought to work well enough.
Yes that´s what I meant. I even have a few of those but all N standard. I guess as it is about 50 USD, I could go with ASUS PCE-AX3000 for the PC, which should be faster than N standard. What do you think?
 

Val D.

Very Senior Member
I generally like proven technology and even considered going with AC instead of AX, but the difference is only about 60bucks between the AC88 and the AX. So I thought, why not chance it with the AX. Please let me know if I am wrong here.
RT-AC88U and RT-AX88U may have similar name and appearance, but are very different routers from different hardware generations:

RT-AC88U - 10.2015, BCM4709C0 2-core ARM A9 CPU 1.4GHz, 512MB RAM, BCM4366 radios
RT-AX88U - 10.2018, BCM49408 4-core ARM A53 CPU 1.8GHz with AES, 1024MB RAM, BCM43684 radios

RT-AX88U is obviously the right choice in 2020, even if you don't have any AX devices. The new hardware is like 4 times faster in some tasks like VPN processing, the new radios offer wider range and better throughput, the available RAM is double size and it will be supported probably longer than a 2015 model router.
 

Peter Miller

New Around Here
Val thanks for the overview - very helpful. Based on all your input, I ordered the AX88U and one of those PCE-AX3000 PCIe1 Adapters. Looking forward to installing them.

I think I also saw some installation advice somewhere around here outlining the key settings and watch-outs....
 

Peter Miller

New Around Here
Thanks Val. Yes we are also quarantined here, so keep it coming that installation advice ;-)

The router should come next Monday, so plenty of time to get ready.

I could have sworn, somewhere I saw some basic setup advice going beyond the obvious of plugging the darn thing into the outlet ;-) Been searching on and off all day for it.... oh well, also learned something along the read.
 

Val D.

Very Senior Member
Get the router first, set it up using default values. Update the firmware, if a newer one is available. Test the performance, see if you have any issues. There is no single universal WiFi setup guide valid for all users and all environments. Don't overdo things just because someone mentioned something in an Internet forum. Don't rush to install right away custom firmwares and custom scripts. Find what you need this router to do for you first and don't try to solve non-existent to you problems in advance.
 

Peter Miller

New Around Here
Yep. That is good advice and my usual approach. I dont want to overcomplicate things. Just wondering, as I saw some discussions here, if the latest firmware is really that stable….
 

Val D.

Very Senior Member
Just wondering, as I saw some discussions here, if the latest firmware is really that stable….
It's now too late to ask this question... :)

RT-AX88U is only compatible with Asuswrt and based on it Asuswrt-Merlin. I don't know how stable is "that stable", but it works good enough for many users here on SNB. Being a newer model router with continuing software development, if something is broken, there is a good chance to get it fixed. Why you worry about issues even before you have the router in your hands?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
@Peter Miller you may be thinking of the M&M Config and also possibly the Nuclear Reset guides which you can find in my link in my signature below.

The following link may also be helpful.

https://www.snbforums.com/threads/ax88-packet-loss.62891/#post-563326

https://www.snbforums.com/threads/open-wrt-security-hole.63024/#post-565448

If you want to use the RMerlin firmware (highly recommended, see the link above) and you want to use the built-in amtm functionality, the following link may be useful too (remember though, RMerlin 384.15_0 or later doesn't need amtm to be 'installed', it is already present). Since you'll be in test mode, I would use the 384.16 Beta 3, if the final release 384.16 isn't ready by the time your router arrives. ;)

amtm Step-by-Step https://www.snbforums.com/threads/amtm-step-by-step-install-guide-l-ld.56237/#post-483421


Take note of the suggestion for new SSIDs (and their attributes) particularly with your first AX router. While it may not be needed, if you have any 'weird' issues with specific clients or WiFi in general, this is the first things I would correct to test further. :)

Why a new SSID? https://www.snbforums.com/threads/i...-ax88u-rt-ac86u-node.60551/page-2#post-532915

The point of all the above is to ensure your router/network, clients and basic setup is in a known/good state to give your testing and evaluation as fair a chance as possible. It also has proved many times to give a network the stability and reliability that may have been missing too.

HTH. :)
 

Peter Miller

New Around Here
@Peter Miller you may be thinking of the M&M Config and also possibly the Nuclear Reset guides which you can find in my link in my signature below.

The following link may also be helpful.

https://www.snbforums.com/threads/ax88-packet-loss.62891/#post-563326

https://www.snbforums.com/threads/open-wrt-security-hole.63024/#post-565448

If you want to use the RMerlin firmware (highly recommended, see the link above) and you want to use the built-in amtm functionality, the following link may be useful too (remember though, RMerlin 384.15_0 or later doesn't need amtm to be 'installed', it is already present). Since you'll be in test mode, I would use the 384.16 Beta 3, if the final release 384.16 isn't ready by the time your router arrives. ;)

amtm Step-by-Step https://www.snbforums.com/threads/amtm-step-by-step-install-guide-l-ld.56237/#post-483421


Take note of the suggestion for new SSIDs (and their attributes) particularly with your first AX router. While it may not be needed, if you have any 'weird' issues with specific clients or WiFi in general, this is the first things I would correct to test further. :)

Why a new SSID? https://www.snbforums.com/threads/i...-ax88u-rt-ac86u-node.60551/page-2#post-532915

The point of all the above is to ensure your router/network, clients and basic setup is in a known/good state to give your testing and evaluation as fair a chance as possible. It also has proved many times to give a network the stability and reliability that may have been missing too.

HTH. :)

Thanks L&LD I really appreciate the structured overview of what is important when to get started… it will give me something to read and food for thought.

Please bear with me if I come back after reading with a question or two. ;-)

Stay safe & healthy.
 

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