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FAQ(?): Recommended devices?

Discussion in 'Asuswrt-Merlin' started by Colin 't Hart, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. Colin 't Hart

    Colin 't Hart New Around Here

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    Hi,

    I couldn't find this in the FAQ. Is there any particular Asuswrt-Merlin capable device that is particularly recommended? I was shopping for a new Openwrt compatible router (or two) and have been simply confused by all the choice available. Then I stumbled across Asuswrt-Merlin which makes the choice much simpler.

    I note in particular that there are several models that run the same firmware; are there major hardware differences between those? Or is it OK to just shop around for the best deal?

    We have 100/100MBit fiber and no plans to upgrade to anything faster. No gaming, but a lot of streaming.

    Maybe it's possible to recommend different routers at different price points? I don't need the latest and greatest router.

    Thanks,

    Colin
     
  2. skeal

    skeal Part of the Furniture

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    AC3100 and AC68U are great routers and have great wifi coverage the AC3100 being a little better overall than the AC68U. Both are supported by Asuswrt-Merlin. Supported devices are found here.
     
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  3. skeal

    skeal Part of the Furniture

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    Welcome to the forum!
     
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  4. yk101

    yk101 Senior Member

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    RT-AC88U is the same as AC3100 recommended above, but with 8-port wired switch. Can’t go wrong with it...
     
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  5. miroco

    miroco Regular Contributor

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    If you go down the Asuswrt-Merlin route you can basically forget about Openwrt, since its Broadcom support is very weak.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2019
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  6. Gouldin

    Gouldin Occasional Visitor

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    RT-AC68u - Budget option. Works fine for most users.
    RT-AC86u - Newer generation, mid level, fast CPU, decent WiFi. Curent sweet spot for most users.
    RT-AC88u - 8 1GB ethernet ports. Awesome WiFi signal. My current router. Slightly better wifi and 8 lan ports, though the cpu is slower than the AC86u cpu. So if VPN is your thing, go for the 86u
    RT-AX88u - New generation of the AC88u. Same features, but you also get WiFi AX and I beleive a quad core CPU which is faster than the other routers listed above. Also get 1gb ram. If you don't mind the cost, this is probably the best to go for in terms of being future proofed as I imagine AX will be quite popular over the next 2-3 years.

    Just my opinion on them.
     
  7. Colin 't Hart

    Colin 't Hart New Around Here

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    Thanks for the great replies, in particular Gouldin. That's very helpful. I'll keep an eye on the prices of those models and make a purchase when I see a good deal.
     
  8. martinr

    martinr Part of the Furniture

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    You might also want to browse through the forum (the titles of the threads) to see which models are having problems. Then look on Merlin’s download page, which gives you an idea of what proportion of all the models they constitute.

    I believe you’ll find, as Skeal has already said, that the RT-AC68U is is a very popular and extremely reliable router.
     
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  9. Colin 't Hart

    Colin 't Hart New Around Here

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    At these prices (converted to USD from local currency (SEK)), which would you choose?
    1. RT-AC86U at $185
    2. RT-AC88U at $252.50
    3. A two pack of RT-AC68U for $257.50
     
  10. Gouldin

    Gouldin Occasional Visitor

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    At those prices, I'd opt for the RT-AC86u, I've found mesh mode on anything that isn't a Tri-Band router or using a wired backhaul to be pretty useless in terms of speed.
    at 185, saving a fair bit of cash and getting the newest generation of router model in terms of AC models.
     
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  11. Colin 't Hart

    Colin 't Hart New Around Here

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    I should have mentioned that I can connect the two routers via a "wired backhaul".

    We live in a split level apartment spread over 4 floors (2 real floors). Concrete floors and walls mean the signal doesn't reach outside at all, and the signal is pretty poor at the furthest point, even if it's not actually that far from the router, so I'm seriously considering two routers.

    Also, a single RT-AC68U is $143 here. Are these prices much worse than in the US?
     
  12. Makaveli

    Makaveli Senior Member

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    The RT-AC68U is $132 USD and $195 CAD on amazon so its within range.

    i'm with Gouldin on this one

    RT-AC86U at $185 is a great price and its abit more future proof than the 68U
     
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  13. punkinduster

    punkinduster Regular Contributor

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    I also agree with these guys. The RT-AC86U will probably be supported longer since it is newer and if you do need more ports a really good unmanaged switch is cheap to add to your network.
     
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  14. dlandiss

    dlandiss Senior Member

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    In that case you will have fewer setup and maintenance issues if you configure the second router as an Access Point, and ignore mesh.
     
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  15. nbdwt73

    nbdwt73 Occasional Visitor

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    I have a similar environment (2 floors, lots of concrete and steel). I have been using an 86U as my primary router with hardwired 68U APs for years - service was pretty good. With the latest release I decided to try setting up a mesh network for the 68Us (2 of them). I have to admit that this setup works better than the AP approach - far fewer dropped connections on the APs and MUCH better mobility within the building...
     
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  16. Makaveli

    Makaveli Senior Member

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    So I guess it will vary per user.

    Some people are good with Mesh others better in AP mode.

    Can one of you using either setup post a positive vs negative for each?
     
  17. dlandiss

    dlandiss Senior Member

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    Something else has changed then. The actual radios do not change so the coverage area would still be the same unless one of the devices was moved or the antennas placed at a different angle.

    I have no problem roaming around the house. If I am in my 2nd floor office I open my cell phone and I see it is logged in to the main router in that office. I move downstairs and I see it is logged into the access point in the living room -- even though it has a different SSID.
     
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  18. dlandiss

    dlandiss Senior Member

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    The biggest advantage of mesh for me would be if I did not have an Ethernet cable dropped to the living room. And then mesh might work if the main router signal there is enough to service the mesh point.

    The advantage of access points is that you just plug them in and go. They don't worry about the signal strength from the master, they don't worry about different SSIDs, they need no further setup, they don't even need to be the same brand; they just sit there and work.
     
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  19. Bamsefar

    Bamsefar Senior Member

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    As a former owner of AC88 - that had problems with 4 out of 8 ethernets ports I would say that AC88 is maybe not the best device, nor AC3100. My shortlist is:
    1) AC68 - if you are on a budget.
    2) AC86 - the smart choice
    3) AX88 - the expensive choice

    Now I have one AX88, but I could easily go AC86.
     
  20. Grisu

    Grisu Part of the Furniture

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    Or you can get cheap used 68Us.

    You might need more than one for your appartement.
    I would take 2x 68U if you dont use VPN on router.
    And update to AX-Wifi in some years when it becomes standard and your line gets faster too.
     
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