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Buying Asus router just because of this. Supported device AC3200?

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terminator

Regular Contributor
I am in the market for a new router. Linksys and Netgear still have that dated UI that I used to create in 12th grade 15 years ago and none of them have stock VPN client. How hard is to put new HTML5 UI on top? geez.. I ran dd-wrt for a couple of years and although it ran fine with the basics, it had way too many options for me, had a need to restart every couple of days and could not use the advanced device/vendor specific features.

Thanks for this project! This is the only reason I am buying an Azus. Appreciate all the hard work and I will be sure to send a small donation shortly. I am looking at AC3200 mainly for it being tri-band so I can dedicate one band to streaming because I am having some issues in that front.

Question: Is AC3200 fairly newer that it would still be supported for some time? Are their any known technical or other reasons that support might be dropped? If so, is there other preferred model I should be looking at?

Regards,
 
AC86U is the newest (64-bit cpu, 4.1 kernel) device Asuswrt-merlin supports right now.

The rest are 32-bit processors with 2.6 kernel.

I'm not as confident in accepting that as you seem to be in asserting it; could you point us in the direction of your information source please? or would someone like @RMerlin please confirm? There's a lot of material/information to filter and absorb on a forum such as this.
 
I am in the market for a new router. Linksys and Netgear still have that dated UI that I used to create in 12th grade 15 years ago and none of them have stock VPN client. How hard is to put new HTML5 UI on top? geez.. I ran dd-wrt for a couple of years and although it ran fine with the basics, it had way too many options for me, had a need to restart every couple of days and could not use the advanced device/vendor specific features.

Thanks for this project! This is the only reason I am buying an Azus. Appreciate all the hard work and I will be sure to send a small donation shortly. I am looking at AC3200 mainly for it being tri-band so I can dedicate one band to streaming because I am having some issues in that front.

Question: Is AC3200 fairly newer that it would still be supported for some time? Are their any known technical or other reasons that support might be dropped? If so, is there other preferred model I should be looking at?

Regards,

http://asuswrt.lostrealm.ca/about lists what routers are supported; the one you have chosen appears near the middle of the list. It will most likely be supported for some years to come, but you might want to read https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/bas...177-how-to-buy-a-wireless-router-2018-edition before spending any money to be certain you're making the right decision for you
 
I'm not as confident in accepting that as you seem to be in asserting it; could you point us in the direction of your information source please?

CPU information you can get here: https://wikidevi.com/wiki/List_of_ASUS_Devices_-_Wireless_Routers

Kernel information you simply have to look at the source code there is no nice table to refer to to compare all devices, for example AC86U: https://github.com/RMerl/asuswrt-merlin.ng/tree/master/release/src-rt-5.02hnd/kernel
 
What @kfp said is correct. The 86U is the newest router from Asus right now. The 3200 is a few generations old. I believe the 5300 is the newest tri-band currently available from Asus.
 
I'm not as confident in accepting that as you seem to be in asserting it; could you point us in the direction of your information source please? or would someone like @RMerlin please confirm? There's a lot of material/information to filter and absorb on a forum such as this.
You can go to https://wikidevi.com/wiki/List_of_ASUS_Devices_-_Wireless_Routers and sort the routers by FCC date, then goto http://asuswrt.lostrealm.ca/about and correlate release dates to supported hardware and figure it out yourself.

Certainly the AC86U is newer, and is, AFAIK, the only 64-bit router currently supported by Merlin. The plural of anecdotes is not data, but I'd say just by looking here, the AC3200 has had the most issues with the 384 codebase. I gave up fighting mine due to time constraints and bought an AC86U. YMMV.
 
hmm.. that is very interesting and the information here was impossible to easily find elsewhere so thank you so much for the responses so far. My challenge is that AC86U is not tri-band, although very similar in pricing, I am really looking to dedicate one band to the two streaming TVs (1 running Youtube TV and other running Sling TV) and is my main reason for switching. I am currently having buffering issues with dual band (not Azus router). I have 100mbps up/down fiber so internet isn't an issue. 3200 and 5300 seems to be the two tri-band but 5300 just seems too much for my needs (also with size and price).

There is never a clear path, is it? :) Is 3200 really having so many issues that people are starting to not use it? I may have to reconsider.
If it's supported for a couple of more years with updates, I might be okay. After all the DD-WRT build I had for the previous router has not been updated for 5 years now and the other dlink one I have has not been updated firmware for about 8 years now so I think 3200 will continue to run a few more years after the updates have stopped. But if it's having issues already, thats another story.

the AC3200 has had the most issues with the 384 codebase
Can you expand on what kind of issues these are? I am wondering if these issues are related to a feature that I won't use or are general stability issues.
 
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hmm.. that is very interesting and the information here was impossible to easily find elsewhere so thank you so much for the responses so far. My challenge is that AC86U is not tri-band, although very similar in pricing, I am really looking to dedicate one band to the two streaming TVs (1 running Youtube TV and other running Sling TV) and is my main reason for switching. I am currently having buffering issues with dual band (not Azus router). I have 100mbps up/down fiber so internet isn't an issue. 3200 and 5300 seems to be the two tri-band but 5300 just seems too much for my needs (also with size and price).

There is never a clear path, is it? :) Is 3200 really having so many issues that people are starting to not use it? I may have to reconsider.
If it's supported for a couple of more years with updates, I might be okay. After all the DD-WRT build I had for the previous router has not been updated for 5 years now and the other dlink one I have has not been updated firmware for about 8 years now so I think 3200 will continue to run a few more years after the updates have stopped. But if it's having issues already, thats another story.

Can you expand on what kind of issues these are? I am wondering if these issues are related to a feature that I won't use or are general stability issues.
I'd hardly call the information impossible to find. Simple google searches for "asus router release dates", and "merlin supported routers" would have turned up the information.

As for how long they're supported, you can take the release date information and goto ASUS' website and see what models have recent firmware available. Note that just because a certain model doesn't have the absolute latest and greatest doesn't mean they've dropped support, each model needs its own teaks to the firmware, so they're not all going to be released at once. As the financial ads say "past performance is not a guarantee of future results."

As I said, just by looking here, the AC3200 seems to have had more issues. Typically getting everything working after going from 380 to 384. I don't know if current 3200s are shipping with 384. Again, the plural of anecdotes (i.e. the posts here) is not data. This group suffers from sample bias - people who aren't having issues are less likely to look for it, so that and the small sample size makes drawing any firm conclusions highly dubious at best.

I'm no expert, but from what I've read, unless you have a large number of wireless devices (I have no clue how many "large" is, although I suspect it's well north of a dozen), you don't really need tri-band (I bought my 3200 before I found this forum, and I didn't know any better then). Did you read the 2018 buyer's guide that heysoundude linked to?
 
There is never a clear path, is it? [emoji4] Is 3200 really having so many issues that people are starting to not use it? I may have to reconsider.

<...>

Can you expand on what kind of issues these are? I am wondering if these issues are related to a feature that I won't use or are general stability issues.

I still use an AC3200 as my main AP (I have something else doing the routing). The issues has mainly been the 2.4 band dropping/disappearing, but I have not personally experienced that, and this is not isolated to 3200. There are other threads for 86U complaining about the same problem.

And then there are weird ‘spikes’ in the traffic monitoring data, but again not isolated to 3200.

Edit: I don’t think you’d need a tri-band router since what you’re doing (Youtube + Sling) is not going to saturate a single 5G band. I’m assuming you’re streaming both from your 100Mbps fibre connection.
 
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I still use an AC3200 as my main AP (I have something else doing the routing). The issues has mainly been the 2.4 band dropping/disappearing, but I have not personally experienced that, and this is not isolated to 3200. There are other threads for 86U complaining about the same problem.

And then there are weird ‘spikes’ in the traffic monitoring data, but again not isolated to 3200.
Which just hit me like a hammer - a perceived imbalance in the raw number of reported issues with the 3200 could be easily explained by the fact that the 3200 is a very popular router. The raw number doesn't tell you about the percentage of owners who are experiencing issues.

The 3200 could easily be experiencing the same, or even fewer issues than other routers. I erred in my unconscious assumption that there was more or less an even distribution of router owners here. That is actually not likely to be the case.
 
Which just hit me like a hammer - a perceived imbalance in the raw number of reported issues with the 3200 could be easily explained by the fact that the 3200 is a very popular router. The raw number doesn't tell you about the percentage of owners who are experiencing issues.

Not sure if it’s due to how popular 3200 is, or just the fact that you’d pay more attention to posts related to the model you own yourself.

Another user experienced 2.4G problems with 5300, but fixed it with manually reconfiguring from factory defaults.

https://www.snbforums.com/threads/asus-broadcom-and-problems-on-384-5.46783/#post-406826
 
Did you read the 2018 buyer's guide that heysoundude linked to?
Yeah, I read the guide. Believe me I have been doing extensive research for the last month with anything that I can find :). I also have a technical background with a computer science degree so I would call myself 7.5/10 on a "technical-tinkering" scale (home automation, Arudino development, etc) - more than average users but not to the extent that I would feel comfortable changing router code.

I am basing the need for a tri-band router on my testing within the last month. I first got a dual-band Linksys. The buffering issue I am having (It's YouTube TV and not regular YouTube so may be the transmission protocol is different or something) did not go away. So, I returned Linksys and then a got a Netgear tri-band and dedicated 1 band to the streaming devices. The buffering issue went away but it does not have VPN client and UI is just bad so it is going back too. I have about 30 devices, only 2 are streaming heavy content. The Phones and tablets may stream once in a while for short durations. Other than that its just browsing, google home devices, etc. I realize that my sample size above is small and it could be many other factors such as that Linksys dual-band was just bad, interference from other devices/neighbors, the way house was built, etc. All I know for a fact is that the tri-band has solved the buffering issue so I am trying to stick with that model if I can.

I think I will take a chance with 3200, see how it goes. I will have 30 days to return it if it is infact having a lot of issues.
 
Edit: I don’t think you’d need a tri-band router since what you’re doing (Youtube + Sling) is not going to saturate a single 5G band. I’m assuming you’re streaming both from your 100Mbps fibre connection.

From Asus' own specs pages (they have a nice "compare" function on their website to see the specs side-by-side), the 3100 seems to me as if it would be a better fit with more RAM (512 vs 256 in the 3200), and 4x4 MIMO vs the 3200's 3x3 (discussed in the 2018 router buying link I included in an earlier post)...but I'm not the one buying one, yet.
 
I wouldn't touch the RT-AC3100 (or its brother RT-AC88U) with a stick - too many complaints and their original design was flawed.

If those are 30 WiFi devices that cannot be moved to wired, that easily approaches the point where a single consumer AP will struggle (some struggle well before that from flaws), especially if you have a mix of legacy and modern devices.

The RT-AC3200 is good tri-band router to try, especially since it is one of the cheaper ones. In a recent detailed real world comparison against many other consumer routers, Jim Salter of the TheWireCutter, formerly of SNB, was impressed by its performance and recommended it. His tests are unusual because not only did he do latency tests but they were real world tests, a very valuable type of test for all kinds of applications these days. The RT-AC3200 was only beaten out by his top recommendation, the Netgear R7000P (dual band) in consumer routers for most non-technical people who just want a set it and forget it device.

Due to the number of devices you have, and suffering from latency issues before controllable bufferbloat, you may find that a SOHO or even enterprise AP would work better for you. Ubiquiti Unifi UAP-AC-Lite, the SOHO AP that Salter used as a reference, obliterated everything else he tested for latency.

You can therefore instead use whatever existing router you like as an Internet gateway and for legacy WiFi, then add first one then later as many APs as you like. The UAP-AC-Lite costs $80 and you can run the controller to change settings from a mobile, PC, Raspberry Pi or mini-PC. Of course, you would need to run the gateway's WiFi on different channels or disable it entirely if the AP(s) worked well enough for you.

Note. If you suffer from WiFi issues on the Asus, try the usual fixes:
  • disable MU-MIMO
  • disable beamforming
  • disable Nitro/Turbo-QAM
  • disable airtime fairness
  • set a static channel on both bands
  • set static channel widths
Also, do not use Asus mobile app on Android (security risk: may silently enable remote management since late 2017).
 
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I wouldn't touch the RT-AC3100 (or its brother RT-AC88U) with a stick - too many complaints and their original design was flawed.

If those are 30 WiFi devices that cannot be moved to wired, that easily approaches the point where a single consumer AP will struggle (some struggle well before that from flaws), especially if you have a mix of legacy and modern devices.

The RT-AC3200 is good tri-band router to try, especially since it is one of the cheaper ones. In a recent detailed real world comparison against many other consumer routers, Jim Salter of the TheWireCutter, formerly of SNB, was impressed by its performance and recommended it. His tests are unusual because not only did he do latency tests but they were real world tests, a very valuable type of test for all kinds of applications these days. The RT-AC3200 was only beaten out by his top recommendation, the Netgear R7000P (dual band) in consumer routers for most non-technical people who just want a set it and forget it device.

Due to the number of devices you have, and suffering from latency issues before controllable bufferbloat, you may find that a SOHO or even enterprise AP would work better for you. Ubiquiti Unifi UAP-AC-Lite, the SOHO AP that Salter used as a reference, obliterated everything else he tested for latency.

You can therefore instead use whatever existing router you like as an Internet gateway and for legacy WiFi, then add first one then later as many APs as you like. The UAP-AC-Lite costs $80 and you can run the controller to change settings from a mobile, PC, Raspberry Pi or mini-PC. Of course, you would need to run the gateway's WiFi on different channels or disable it entirely if the AP(s) worked well enough for you.

Note. If you suffer from WiFi issues on the Asus, try the usual fixes:
  • disable MU-MIMO
  • disable beamforming
  • disable Nitro/Turbo-QAM
  • disable airtime fairness
  • set a static channel on both bands
  • set static channel widths
Also, do not use Asus mobile app on Android (security risk: may silently enable remote management since late 2017).

The ac3200 is actually older tech than the rt-ac88 / rt-ac3100 and have some sort of special broadcom radio and code base. I believe everyone else now has gone the MIMO route. And if i'm not mistaken I believe Eric said he may drop support for it at some point.
 
I wouldn't touch the RT-AC3100 (or its brother RT-AC88U) with a stick - too many complaints and their original design was flawed.

What's flawed in their design?

Been using an RT-AC88U as my primary router here, of all the models I have available for me to use. It's been rock-stable, only issue so far is my Zenpad's crappy Mediatek disliking band C channels - resolved by switching to channel 36.
 
The ac3200 is actually older tech than the rt-ac88 / rt-ac3100 and have some sort of special broadcom radio and code base. I believe everyone else now has gone the MIMO route. And if i'm not mistaken I believe Eric said he may drop support for it at some point.

AC3200 also supports MU-MIMO.

Edit: https://www.snbforums.com/threads/b...ported-device-ac3200.46781/page-2#post-407201

On a side note, the wireless chip is supported in the Linux Kernel so in theory you can run OpenWRT/LEDE on it, just that no one has developed support for it yet. Its close cousin using the same chip, Netgear R8000, has support already.
 
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AC3200 also supports MU-MIMO.

On a side note, the wireless chip is supported in the Linux Kernel so in theory you can run OpenWRT/LEDE on it, just that no one has developed support for it yet. Its close cousin using the same chip, Netgear R8000, has support already.

Thanks for the clarification, i thought it was an either or?

https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wir...s-xstream-the-coming-battle-for-wi-fi-airtime

and at least from this old review it didn't have any mimo settings
https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wir...reless-ac3200-gigabit-router-reviewed?start=2

https://www.smallnetbuilder.com/wir...-band-wireless-ac3200-gigabit-router-reviewed

But sure enough the specs say it does

https://www.asus.com/us/Networking/RTAC3200/specifications/
 
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