Choosing between Asus AC86U and MikroTik hAP AC

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Ganzo

New Around Here
So I'm quite new to the whole router business and my knowledge is very limited at the moment, so bare with me :)
My current router is a piece of s**t my ISP gave me and after a few years I've finally had enough and I want to set up my own proper router.
Got many recommendation on the MikroTik but couldn't grasp why is it superior to the Asus RT-AC86U.
On paper it looks like the Asus has better speed, better hardware, faster WiFi capabilities and it supports OpenVPN (even multi-client with Merlin's firmware).
Current stable MikroTik RouterOS doesn't support OpenVPN, v7 supports Wireguard but it's still in beta and who knows when it will even have a proper RC.
The price range isn't crazy different (at-least for me, not when I plan on getting a new router to last for years).
The setup process in MikroTik seems to be way harder than AsusWRT (merlin/non-merlin), though that's not an issue for me as I'm not the average user (programmer at day, gamer at night).

So... what are the advantages in getting a MikroTik hAP AC over the Asus RT-AC86U? (other stronger chipset routers by mikrotik just cost much than the asus)

Please enlighten me!
 

Gar

Very Senior Member
So I'm quite new to the whole router business and my knowledge is very limited at the moment, so bare with me :)
My current router is a piece of s**t my ISP gave me and after a few years I've finally had enough and I want to set up my own proper router.
Got many recommendation on the MikroTik but couldn't grasp why is it superior to the Asus RT-AC86U.
On paper it looks like the Asus has better speed, better hardware, faster WiFi capabilities and it supports OpenVPN (even multi-client with Merlin's firmware).
Current stable MikroTik RouterOS doesn't support OpenVPN, v7 supports Wireguard but it's still in beta and who knows when it will even have a proper RC.
The price range isn't crazy different (at-least for me, not when I plan on getting a new router to last for years).
The setup process in MikroTik seems to be way harder than AsusWRT (merlin/non-merlin), though that's not an issue for me as I'm not the average user (programmer at day, gamer at night).

So... what are the advantages in getting a MikroTik hAP AC over the Asus RT-AC86U? (other stronger chipset routers by mikrotik just cost much than the asus)

Please enlighten me!
The setup is much more difficult and the features more limited with the Mikrotik. The hAP ac is a single core, 3x3 design with internal antennae so depending on application a possible limiting factor in performance. Your being skilled would definitely help overall though. I bought the hAP ac2 as a learning device months ago (only $60) but still find the ASUS feature set much more friendly compared to Mikrotik.

EDIT: Ebay has both Int'l and US versions available for both models from Latvia where they are designed, and at what seems to be a good price compared to the US prices I see on Amazon, etc.
 
Last edited:

bbunge

Very Senior Member
No question. Asus. My AC86U is my third Asus and, with no hardware failures, could be my last. It just might outlive me!
 

cooloutac

Senior Member
No question. Asus. My AC86U is my third Asus and, with no hardware failures, could be my last. It just might outlive me!
I choked when I read this. lmao. Curious, how long have you owned your ac86u?

I guess in your case Ganzo the only advantage would be reliability. Mikrotik is more of a professional commercial brand and Asus is a consumer brand. I would assume Mikrotik would be way more expensive for the same specs interesting that you found them comparable. I would assume the asus would be considered gimmicky and buggy by Mikrotik users. I can tell you my ac86u is extremely buggy compared to their older model routers I've used in the past. My faith in asus is wavering but You would probably like asus more for ease of use and wifi speed. The mikrotik if you plan on using ethernet more then wifi.

IF I was you i would just test them both out for 30 days and choose the one you like best.
 

Gar

Very Senior Member
Mikrotik pricing is very good, can't say about the build quality.

 

cooloutac

Senior Member
Mikrotik pricing is very good, can't say about the build quality.

I went on amazon and they seem to sell mostly routerboards and switches which is what I would of assumed. Like I said, If you looking to connect mostly wifi devices get the asus. IF you going to go mostly wired or need poe, with just wifi for very few devices and don't need much range get the mikrotik. I got the ac86u for fast vpn and tons of wireless iot devices, but turned off all the marketed features, like adaptive qos and ai trend micro cause they are very buggy.
 

Ganzo

New Around Here
Thanks everyone!

I went on amazon and they seem to sell mostly routerboards and switches which is what I would of assumed. Like I said, If you looking to connect mostly wifi devices get the asus. IF you going to go mostly wired or need poe, with just wifi for very few devices and don't need much range get the mikrotik. I got the ac86u for fast vpn and tons of wireless iot devices, but turned off all the marketed features, like adaptive qos and ai trend micro cause they are very buggy.
my use is mainly wireless devices (phones, laptops, smart TVs), range is important for me and getting a MikroTik with another AP is just going to cost as much as the Asus while the Asus has a much stronger hardware. I do want a permanent fast VPN (for safe torrent dls and streaming services geo-location bypass).

The setup is much more difficult and the features more limited with the Mikrotik. The hAP ac is a single core, 3x3 design with internal antennae so depending on application a possible limiting factor in performance. Your being skilled would definitely help overall though. I bought the hAP ac2 as a learning device months ago (only $60) but still find the ASUS feature set much more friendly compared to Mikrotik.

EDIT: Ebay has both Int'l and US versions available for both models from Latvia where they are designed, and at what seems to be a good price compared to the US prices I see on Amazon, etc.
Sounds like the Asus would be a better choice for my use-case scenarios. I might buy the hAP just for learning purposes as you did if I can find it on a deal (maybe on back friday).
 

cooloutac

Senior Member
my use is mainly wireless devices (phones, laptops, smart TVs), range is important for me and getting a MikroTik with another AP is just going to cost as much as the Asus while the Asus has a much stronger hardware. I do want a permanent fast VPN (for safe torrent dls and streaming services geo-location bypass).
sounds about right.
 

heidarren

Regular Contributor
Own them both, been spending months to get the best out of hAP ac2, my conclusion is don't go for hAP ac2 if your ISP speed is more than 300mbps. Yes I can get max speed of 490mbps+ from hAP ac2 (many other reviewers just got nearly 400mbps and they were thrilled and laugh at others, this is the culture of their official forums), but the problem is consistency for the speed is terrible, it can get 480mbps for 1st speed test and sub 300mbps for 2nd time of same speed test, jumping up and down. Stability is the strongest point for Mikrotik gears, never encounter any problem once the link is up, bullet proof, ping is the lowest I've ever seen in wireless connection.

The best results based on my test, with iPhone 11 Pro Max:

within 3 meters, AC86U 530mbps ; hAP ac2 490mbps (not bad huh)
5 meters + 1 wall, AC86U 500mbps ; hAP ac2 270mbps
10 meters + 2 walls, AC86U 300mbps+- ; hAP ac2 less than 100mbps

Maybe due to the lack of PA/LNA, hAP ac2 suffered huge performance drop as the distance increases.

AC86U:
Great performance but some might encounter stability issues.

hAP ac2:
Insane stability but below average in wireless performance.

*Since it's enterprise gear, why don't we add another hAP ac2 for roaming? Try to google how people suffer from roaming for Mikrotik gears and you will see. CAPsMAN is a joke, seriously, they can't even figure out how to get band steering work.
 

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