Best Asus AC router for a media bridge?

ElShaddai Edwards

Occasional Visitor
Current setup: AC86U (main router), AC68U (media bridge), AC66U (media bridge), AC56R (media bridge).

The 66U is dying and needs to be replaced. Don't feel like I need to jump to AX or mesh yet, so curious if there's a consensus on a high-value/basic features AC router that will primarily work as a media bridge. Primary concern is a solid 5GHz signal at a longer range. Will be used with a gaming laptop.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
RT-AC66U B1 is the cheapest, if you can find one. It's an RT-AC68U variant in horizontal shape, runs the same firmware. RT-AC68U comes second - you have one already and you know how it works. There is a newer V4 version with ARMv8 CPU, much faster. RT-AC86U comes on sale from time to time down to $110. This one will make 2Gbps wireless link to your other RT-AC86U. It's good to have a spare AC86U router as well. It's an excellent performer, but has bad reliability history. Likes to die suddenly because of blown voltage regulators. It has excellent long range performance as well. I would say another RT-AC86U on good price is your best option. Don't buy RT-AC86U second hand though especially early production years. New with warranty.
 

wouterv

Very Senior Member
As a bit of explanation: the RT-AC86U is a 4x4 device, the RT-AC68U and RT-AC66U B1 / RT-AC1900U are 3x3 devices.
In other words the 86 can deliver 4 data streams, resulting a theoretical maximum throughput of 1733 Mbps.
The 68 can deal with 3 data streams, resulting a theoretical maximum throughput of 1300 Mbps.
Depending of your application it can make some difference.
Talking about reliable hardware I suggest the RT-AC68U or RT-AC66U B1 or RT-AC1900U, those are nowadays priced very low.
 

ElShaddai Edwards

Occasional Visitor
RT-AC66U B1 is the cheapest, if you can find one. It's an RT-AC68U variant in horizontal shape, runs the same firmware. RT-AC68U comes second - you have one already and you know how it works. There is a newer V4 version with ARMv8 CPU, much faster. RT-AC86U comes on sale from time to time down to $110. This one will make 2Gbps wireless link to your other RT-AC86U. It's good to have a spare AC86U router as well. It's an excellent performer, but has bad reliability history. Likes to die suddenly because of blown voltage regulators. It has excellent long range performance as well. I would say another RT-AC86U on good price is your best option. Don't buy RT-AC86U second hand though especially early production years. New with warranty.
Thank you - very helpful. Looks like a new 86U is actually cheaper on Amazon right now, so that probably makes it a no-brainer for various reasons. I know that the original one I purchased a couple of years ago had issues - the second one has been quite solid. Hopefully the dice will roll well again.
 

ElShaddai Edwards

Occasional Visitor
As a bit of explanation: the RT-AC86U is a 4x4 device, the RT-AC68U and RT-AC66U B1 / RT-AC1900U are 3x3 devices.
In other words the 86 can deliver 4 data streams, resulting a theoretical maximum throughput of 1733 Mbps.
The 68 can deal with 3 data streams, resulting a theoretical maximum throughput of 1300 Mbps.
Depending of your application it can make some difference.
Talking about reliable hardware I suggest the RT-AC68U or RT-AC66U B1 or RT-AC1900U, those are nowadays priced very low.
Good information - thank you. The 68U bridge has multiple computers attached, so swapping a new 86U in there might make sense from a "bigger pipe" perspective. I'll just have to make sure that moving the 68U to the far end of the house can get and return a reliable signal. Given that it used to be our main router, I'm not too concerned about it.
 
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