Dual-band router with Tri-band node versus vice versa for AiMesh

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uildvek

Occasional Visitor
Hey all,

I'm looking to get another Asus router to extend my wifi range using AiMesh. I current have the AX58U which is a dual-band router. Ideally both the router and the node would have tri-band, but I would like to keep using my existing router. I did some searching and it seems like most people in my position are using the tri-band router as the router and the dual-band router as the node. Would it be more performant to use the tri-band router as the node instead? This way the clients on the node will have better performance since the node will have a dedicated backhaul to the router. Perhaps I'm missing something, any insights on this would be much appreciated!
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
An AiMesh system is just a fancy Repeater setup. Unless you have 2x 3 radio (each) routers that can work optimally together, you will not get a lot of (if any) benefit by mixing them.

The most stable AiMesh systems (wired or wireless backhaul) I have worked on and set up are 2x RT-AC86U, 1x RT-AX88U (main) + 1x RT-AX58U (node), 2x RT-AX58U, and just recently, 2x RT-AX88U's.

The key I think of a stable setup currently is keeping the capabilities of the routers working together as matched as possible, so for instance, I do not suggest 1x RT-AC86U with any 1x RT-AXxxU pairing.

Not that these system pairings wouldn't work in specific scenarios for people, but when I'm setting them up and don't want to return to tweak/troubleshoot, the above 'rule of thumb' has kept me sane and the customers more than happy.
 

uildvek

Occasional Visitor
Interesting you mentioned 1x RT-AX88U (main) + 1x RT-AX58U (node) since that's the one I'm most likely to get. Just out of curiosity, why wouldn't making the AX88U, a tri-band router, the node result in better performance for clients connected to the node? My possibly naive thinking without much networking knowledge is that it would be better the other way around. One of the reasons clients connected to a dual-band node has bad performance is because a single radio has to talk to both the client and the main router. If the tri-band router is used in this case, one of the 5Ghz radios can talk to the client while the other one can be used as a dedicated backhaul. My biggest uncertainty is whether clients connected to the main router will suffer since it is dual-band. My current thinking is maybe not since the radio does not have to relay packets to anyone else and the performance would be equivalent to having all of the node clients directly connected to the main router instead.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The RT-AX88U is not a Tri-Band router.

I cannot recommend any Tri-Band router today (none of them are truly Tri-Radio routers, mainly). Except in very specific scenarios (where you need the maximum wireless clients connected on a consumer router, about 90 to 96 max if the clients can be forced to each band at about 32 clients/band.

For AiMesh use, the results are varied and usually not what is expected with AiMesh 1.0 and today's Tri-Band routers. This may change with AiMesh 2.0 in the 386.xx branch and future (true, full band) Tri-Radio Routers.
 

uildvek

Occasional Visitor
Oops you're right about the AX88U, I was actually referring to the 92U, all of the model numbers blend together after a while. I was not aware that tri-band doesn't always mean tri-radio, so that's good to know! I think for stability and cost I'll just get another AX58U. Thanks for all the helpful info!
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
What I don't agree with is that the current Tri-Band/Tri-Radio designs are just a 2.4GHz Band/Radio and 2x 5GHz Radios which have the Whole 5GHz band split between them. This is not my idea of Tri-Band.

The WiFi 6E routers coming out soon should be true Tri-Band and Tri-Radio. 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz in one package.
 

MarkyPancake

Senior Member
My AC86U router and AC68U node AiMesh setup has worked great since I decided to dust off the AC68U to try ita few months ago. I've kept both on the same Merlin versions, currently they're on 384.19.
 

Kanchan Ray

Occasional Visitor
If I use a AC68U as the AIMesh node with a tri-band AC5300 as the main router (I connect them via ethernet) - it converts the AC5300 to dual mode. I don't see any use of the second 5HGz-2 band on the AC5300. Is it OK to switch off the 5GHz-2 radio of just leave it as a hidden SSID?
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
If I use a AC68U as the AIMesh node with a tri-band AC5300 as the main router (I connect them via ethernet) - it converts the AC5300 to dual mode. I don't see any use of the second 5HGz-2 band on the AC5300. Is it OK to switch off the 5GHz-2 radio of just leave it as a hidden SSID?
Do whatever you want. You can always undo it if you don't like it.

OE
 

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