Extend wifi

Chris.darling

New Around Here
Just moved into a new home and need to improve the wireless coverage as a couple of rooms hardly get a signal

Internet -
RT-AC86u router (latest merlin firmware)
Vodafone Full Fibre 900

I cannot move the current router as I have devices physically connected to them. I know the AC86u router is pretty old so is it worth replacing this i.e. AX86s and create a mesh with the 86u router)? Always happy with some other suggestions/ideas.

Thanks
 

jsz

Senior Member
Depends on price.

Adding another GT-AC2900/AC86U could work well. They're as low as $90-100 USD here in US ATM. AX86S is double the price @ $180 USD.

AX86S gives you upgraded radios that are capable of hosting more clients simultaneously along with better range with AX clients (Actual performance depends on environment).

SW may be updated longer on newer model, but RAM is starting to bottleneck (AX86S) with latest official FW. IE: Uses 380-400mb with no main CPU oriented task running.

General WIFI performance should be even with AX86U outside of unit to unit tolerance. Thats assuming you're not using the main CPU to add a SW layers... in which case, the AX86U may be faster when enabling stuff like AI protection or running something that saturates memory.

Alternatively you can go all out for the latest Gen 2 AX BCM platform (GT-AX6000), but I personally had bad luck with the unit I tried. (Poor penetration/range in my environment.. though to be fair, it could have been defective via amplification.)

This model will have good longevity extending into WIFI 7 platforms as the main CPU will be used with future radio designs.
 
Last edited:

bcm00re

Occasional Visitor
AX86S gives you upgraded radios that are capable of hosting more clients simultaneously along with better range with AX clients (Actual performance depends on environment).

SW may be updated longer on newer model, but RAM is starting to bottleneck (AX86S) with latest official FW. IE: Uses 380-400mb with no main CPU oriented task running.
Is that a big jump from the previous FW version or has it just been getting incrementally worse with each release? If there was a big jump, I wonder if that is something Merlin FW could address/fix? Was it created by the move from the 386 series to 388 FW that created this issue perhaps? I am just trying to get a better handle on this potential concern as I have a AX86S sitting unopened at the moment.
 

jsz

Senior Member
Is that a big jump from the previous FW version or has it just been getting incrementally worse with each release? If there was a big jump, I wonder if that is something Merlin FW could address/fix? Was it created by the move from the 386 series to 388 FW that created this issue perhaps? I am just trying to get a better handle on this potential concern as I have a AX86S sitting unopened at the moment.

Both. 386 uses 100mb less with default out of box config.

If you value long term longevity, I would go with a gen 2 platform such a GT-AX6000 but router designs are highly variable and may or may not perform better in your environment.
 

bcm00re

Occasional Visitor
Both. 386 uses 100mb less with default out of box config.

If you value long term longevity, I would go with a gen 2 platform such a GT-AX6000 but router designs are highly variable and may or may not perform better in your environment.
I do value that (and it was part of the reason I went with the AX86S over the AX68U) but for me I just don't think the price difference is worth it. My old RT-AC1750 B1 (aka - RT-AC66U B1) with half the memory is running okay with only 93mb free -- I just need better wifi coverage. I don't do any VPN stuff, but I do have a few parental rules setup as well AiProtection turned on.

Any chance going to Merlin FW could help with the bloat issue?
 

jsz

Senior Member
I do value that (and it was part of the reason I went with the AX86S over the AX68U) but for me I just don't think the price difference is worth it. My old RT-AC1750 B1 (aka - RT-AC66U B1) with half the memory is running okay with only 93mb free -- I just need better wifi coverage. I don't do any VPN stuff, but I do have a few parental rules setup as well AiProtection turned on.

Any chance going to Merlin FW could help with the bloat issue?

Not sure. I don't use Merlin ATM.
 

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