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Best ASUS router for a large home

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Ola Malmstrom

Regular Contributor
Hi!

A friend of mine is building a new house. He has asked me for how to set up his wifi and for a good router.

His new house is built by reinforced concrete, both inner and outer walls. It is very solid. It is in two floors, each about 14x14 meters (200 square meters - about 2000 square foot - on each floor).

I have suggested the best places for the router and an AP (one on each floor as much separated as possible) based on my experiences in my own house.

I am not that fond of mesh systems since both will in that case use the same wifi bands. I will set up his system as a router and an AP with wired backhaul in between. I have also told him to use Cat6A ethernet cables and sockets between the fiber modem, the router and the AP.

Both my friend and his wife often work from home with Skype conferences etc. They have one son (currently) and may have another child or two in the near future. Finally, my friend enjoys gaming a lot....

So, I have made a guess what would be best for him. However, what would be your suggestion?
 
Hi!

A friend of mine is building a new house. He has asked me for how to set up his wifi and for a good router.

His new house is built by reinforced concrete, both inner and outer walls. It is very solid. It is in two floors, each about 14x14 meters (200 square meters - about 2000 square foot - on each floor).

I have suggested the best places for the router and an AP (one on each floor as much separated as possible) based on my experiences in my own house.

I am not that fond of mesh systems since both will in that case use the same wifi bands. I will set up his system as a router and an AP with wired backhaul in between. I have also told him to use Cat6A ethernet cables and sockets between the fiber modem, the router and the AP.

Both my friend and his wife often work from home with Skype conferences etc. They have one son (currently) and may have another child or two in the near future. Finally, my friend enjoys gaming a lot....

So, I have made a guess what would be best for him. However, what would be your suggestion?
Sounds interesting and like you know your way around. I can't help but would like to know what your "guess" is.
 
The best thing you can do for your friend is to encourage him to overinvest in ethernet cabling while it's still cheap to run it. Once those concrete walls are in, it's going to be a nightmare to install any new cabling. Making a mistake on what wireless gear to buy is a cheap error by comparison. I'd try to run a whole bunch of cables to some central wiring spot.
 
That is correct. Routers can easily be changed and probably will be. As distances running cable inside the house are relatively short, I'd go for cat8. Might as well future proof as much as possible. 20 years ago cat5 was the fastest and more than sufficient for speeds at the time, but not today.
 
You are right tgl and MarkLondon. I have told him to use Cat6A cables and associated wall sockets, patch panel and switches (if needed). Particularly important between the fiber modem, the router and the AP. Seems like I should tell him to use Cat8 stuff here instead. Thank you!!

My guess for the router is to choose between GT-AX6000, ZenWifi XT8 or XT12. Maybe XT12 is too much right now, but my experience is that we are 2 persons in my house and we already have 25-30 clients. So even if he doesn't need it all right now, he will in the near future.

I will install Merlin FW on the router and the AP. The router will be set up as an OpenVPN server so that he (and I) can access his environment from anywhere.
 
Hi!

A friend of mine is building a new house. He has asked me for how to set up his wifi and for a good router.

His new house is built by reinforced concrete, both inner and outer walls. It is very solid. It is in two floors, each about 14x14 meters (200 square meters - about 2000 square foot - on each floor).

I have suggested the best places for the router and an AP (one on each floor as much separated as possible) based on my experiences in my own house.

I am not that fond of mesh systems since both will in that case use the same wifi bands. I will set up his system as a router and an AP with wired backhaul in between. I have also told him to use Cat6A ethernet cables and sockets between the fiber modem, the router and the AP.

Both my friend and his wife often work from home with Skype conferences etc. They have one son (currently) and may have another child or two in the near future. Finally, my friend enjoys gaming a lot....

So, I have made a guess what would be best for him. However, what would be your suggestion?

Hi!

A friend of mine is building a new house. He has asked me for how to set up his wifi and for a good router.

His new house is built by reinforced concrete, both inner and outer walls. It is very solid. It is in two floors, each about 14x14 meters (200 square meters - about 2000 square foot - on each floor).

I have suggested the best places for the router and an AP (one on each floor as much separated as possible) based on my experiences in my own house.

I am not that fond of mesh systems since both will in that case use the same wifi bands. I will set up his system as a router and an AP with wired backhaul in between. I have also told him to use Cat6A ethernet cables and sockets between the fiber modem, the router and the AP.

Both my friend and his wife often work from home with Skype conferences etc. They have one son (currently) and may have another child or two in the near future. Finally, my friend enjoys gaming a lot....

So, I have made a guess what would be best for him. However, what would be your suggestion?
Wiring
  1. Ensure that there is Ethernet wall socket in each room (or at least in rooms where internet is mostly used) if possible.
  2. Use CAT8 for the Ethernet wiring for future proofing.
  3. Use highest GB bandwidth AP and Routers as possible for future proofing.
  4. Connect an AP to the Ethernet socket in each room (or at least in rooms where internet is mostly used)
  5. Have at least one unmanaged switch on each floor and have all Ethernet wall sockets connect to the unmanaged switch on the floor OR Have all Ethernet wall sockets connect to one unmanaged switch.
  6. Connect multiple unmanaged switches (if used) to each other through Ethernet wire.
  7. Connect the main router to the unmanaged switch.
Connectivity
  1. Connect all devices with Ethernet ports to LAN of AP in the room.
  2. Connect all WiFi devices in that room to the AP in the room.
The above will ensure best connectivity to each wired and WiFi device. Wired connections will take a substantial load off the WiFi if used wherever possible.

I have concrete walls in my home and I had used this approach for years and it works most of the time. Use any combination of sufficiently capable routers/ AP as suggested above.

The only catch is if you move from one room to another or from one floor to another and out of range of an AP, the WiFi connection will be lost for some time until the device reconnects to another AP SSID. This will not be mostly problematic or observable unless you are on a video or audio call, watching movies etc. when moving from room to room in which case your video or audio will disconnect for some time. I have resolved this by using ASUS Ai Mesh now as the Ai Mesh nudges the device to quickly connect to another Mesh node. Even with Ai Mesh, there may be times when connections are momentarily lost but should quickly connect to the other node if this happens.
 
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You are right tgl and MarkLondon. I have told him to use Cat6A cables and associated wall sockets, patch panel and switches (if needed). Particularly important between the fiber modem, the router and the AP. Seems like I should tell him to use Cat8 stuff here instead. Thank you!!

My guess for the router is to choose between GT-AX6000, ZenWifi XT8 or XT12. Maybe XT12 is too much right now, but my experience is that we are 2 persons in my house and we already have 25-30 clients. So even if he doesn't need it all right now, he will in the near future.

I will install Merlin FW on the router and the AP. The router will be set up as an OpenVPN server so that he (and I) can access his environment from anywhere.
Get one that gives you the option of Wireguard Client (even if you choose OpenVpn) plus a feature that Asus calls Fusion. I was recently looking to buy one and researched about 20 Asus models. 10 have both Wireguard Client mode and Fusion. Fusion allows you to set up to 4 separate tunnels set different VPN servers (all from the same VPN or even different VPNs), plus one with no VPN. You can the set your devices to these different tunnels. for example, one to a server in the US, another a server in the UK, another the closest/fastest, etc. Very handy. The XT-12 has neither. The XT-8 and XT-9 have both. The GT-AX6000 only has Fusion. The GT-AX11000 Pro has both. The RT-AX86U, RT-AX86U Pro and the RT-AXE7800 also have both. I've had the Tuf-AX5400 for about 3 weeks now and think Fusion is a pretty good feature. I bought that model because I already have a big investment in 5 Linksys velop mesh routers and only needed a back end to connect to the modem and then connect my existing system into it as the Lynksys cannot operate in client mode for the VPN. Starting from scratch, I'd go with the GT-AX11000 Pro or the RT-AX86U/Pro. Maybe XT9. Depending on main functions. Finally, I found that the 512 RAM on the AX5400 is a bit low as with about 25 devices it was always up at about 85% usage. Still room, but the number of devices is only going to grow. Am actually thinking or returning it and upgrading to the AX86U.
 
Make sure the house is wired with ethernet cable . I would run a wired backhaul with 2-3 routers.. depends on actual needs.
 
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You are right tgl and MarkLondon. I have told him to use Cat6A cables and associated wall sockets, patch panel and switches (if needed). Particularly important between the fiber modem, the router and the AP. Seems like I should tell him to use Cat8 stuff here instead. Thank you!!

My guess for the router is to choose between GT-AX6000, ZenWifi XT8 or XT12. Maybe XT12 is too much right now, but my experience is that we are 2 persons in my house and we already have 25-30 clients. So even if he doesn't need it all right now, he will in the near future.

I will install Merlin FW on the router and the AP. The router will be set up as an OpenVPN server so that he (and I) can access his environment from anywhere.
How about XT9? or GT6 for gaming?
 
My thinking here is to build for the future. The XT12 has one WAN port 2.5 GB/sec and one LAN port 2.5 GB/sec. Since there will be a wired backhaul between the router and the AP, the wired backhaul will not be a bottleneck.

I also want to use Merlin FW.

However new routers are introduced quite often. It will take at least half a year before his house is finished. There may be something even better available then. The most important thing right now is to make sure that the wired network is future proof, ie Cat8. Then we'll see where we are regarding router and AP later this year.

Btw ethernet cabling is included in the price for the house.......
 
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I would argue that CAt6a is fine (Cat8 is overspec and a waste of resources at this point - until you can get 100G service on site...and make sure your runs are within spec if you're looking for that speed), and the same for anything more than WiFi5 APs everywhere in a concrete building.
I'm thinking one of these in every room and you'd be more than golden for quite a while yet:
in 10y when AC is arthritic and your friend has 10G service, the wiring will be good still and the hardware will be ridiculously easy to replace himself.
ubiquiti used to offer earlier versions in 5-packs and 3-packs at a slight discount iirc...
the next upgrade will be fibre optic in the walls...in a few years
 
There are some other points as well:
  • AC equipment isn't good enough for roaming. My own experience is that it doesn't work well. Once I replaced my 2 AC APs with AX, the roaming started to function as expected. The main test person, my wife, often roams through all parts of the house. Seems like 802.11k and v are supported (at least to some extent) well enough for the roaming to work very much better. I also had to move around the APs and to adjust the transmit power on them.
  • I have told my friend that there is quite some "magic" involved and that he may need additional APs in some rooms and/or to move the equipment around.
  • I agree that Cat6E is probably OK for now. However, if there should be a need to replace the Cat6E cables, that will be a big and expensive task. Also note that the ethernet cabling is included...... so why not go for Cat8?
  • A crab-like or spaceship-like router or AP will not be accepted by certain members of the household. Zenwifi XT8 or XT9 (particularly in white) are probably the best from that point of view. However the XT12 will also be accepted.
 
A crab-like or spaceship-like router or AP will not be accepted by certain members of the household. Zenwifi XT8 or XT9 (particularly in white) are probably the best from that point of view. However the XT12 will also be accepted.

High WAF is exactly why I bought XT8s, a bit over a year ago now. Sadly, that's about the only thing they are good at. Can't recommend them.

There can be other solutions though --- in particular, I suggest thinking about hiding your APs inside furniture. I kept my living room AP inside the TV cabinet for years, and that setup worked very well. Cabinet walls aren't thick enough to be a big problem for wifi. The available space may not be enough for one of ASUS' big "gaming" routers, but that's not what you want anyway I think. You want small low-power APs that are only meant to cover one room. There's lots of that sort of gear once you look at products meant for SMB use rather than gamers.
 
AC equipment isn't good enough for roaming.

Not true. Perhaps your experience is with home routers only. If you want better roaming AiMesh has to be somewhere at the bottom of your list. Deco and eero are better and controller driven Omada is best even with AC-class APs starting from $60. The difference is in both hardware and software quality.
 
High WAF is exactly why I bought XT8s, a bit over a year ago now.
Ain't this the truth! I do think it's probably the most unobtrusive looking router out there. Our XT8s (just from Nov 2022) were pretty buggy for the first week, so I showed my wife some of the alternatives (Orbis, AX86U, GT-AX6000, Unifi Dream Router) and she wrinkled her nose at all of them and asked if we could stick them inside a cabinet lol. Purchasing things for form over function isn't my preference, but thankfully I did manage to stabilize the connection.
 
Not true. Perhaps your experience is with home routers only. If you want better roaming AiMesh has to be somewhere at the bottom of your list. Deco and eero are better and controller driven Omada is best even with AC-class APs starting from $60. The difference is in both hardware and software quality.
I had a bad experience with both eero and google mesh systems (wireless setup)...never tried Deco. However any mesh system with a wired setup should be pretty good.
 
Thank you all for your comments.

You are right, Tech9. My experience is with ASUS routers (mostly). Support for 802.11k and v has nothing to do with AC or AX. I have tried five different ASUS AC routers as APs. None of them supports 802.11k and v. My current AX ones does. The most important thing is that roaming between my AX router and my 2 AX APs now works flawlessly - which it didn't do using 2 ASUS AC APs and an AX router.

I have discovered that some non-ASUS AC routers does support 802.11k and v.

This means, that for the fairly big house of my friend, there are two options:

(1) 1 ASUS AX router and one ASUS AX AP as far apart as possible in opposing corners of the house. Using wired backhaul.

(2) 1 AC router / 6 APs supporting 802.11v and k in each room using wired backhaul.

I don't recommend mesh systems since this means there is no control over wifi bands at all.

Also having a controller based setup is out of question. My friend is very un-technical and can't do it himself. Someone has to maintain it.......
 
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None of them supports 802.11k and v.

I remember later AC products based on BCM4366E had 802.11k/v like AC86U, GT-AC5300, but good you found a solution to your needs.

(1) 1 ASUS AX router and one ASUS AX AP as far apart as possible in opposing corners of the house. Using wired backhaul.
(2) 1 AC router / 6 APs supporting 802.11v and k in each room using wired backhaul.

You don't need than many APs to achieve equivalent Wi-Fi coverage to 2x home routers. Do whatever is easier for you to maintain and you feel more comfortable with, but if your friend is a non-technical person you'll be asked questions about everything wrong happening there. Asus has buggy updates quite often and AiMesh is not the best for user experience. Better quality hardware and software needs less maintenance once set properly.
 

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