Fastest Asus Router with AES-NI for ExpressVPN

b3st

New Around Here
Hi Everyone! I just joined the group and I'm an new starter when it comes to routers and VPN Servers.

A couple weeks back I started looking into creating a separate Wireless VPN network to connect to my TP Link Deco M5, and my home speed is 500mbps. I've bought a couple TP-Link routers but then ExpressVPN stopped supporting L2TP and that meant I needed to find another solution. I then bought a netgear R7000P as ExpressVPN recommended this one and I could install their own firmware, which I did and it is very simple to use and user friendly, but I had hopes that it would have given me a faster connection than just 40/50mbps, but ExpressVPN explained that this is a router limitation as it doesn't have AES-NI. They then recommended me to buy one of the below routers, which is what brought me here today, to ask for your opinion on which one of them will give me the fastest VPN speed:

- RT-AC86U (AC2900 Only)
- RT-AX88U
- RT-AX92U
- GT-AC5300
- GT-AX11000

Thank you in advance!
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
GT-AX6000 is the fastest as well as newer routers based on the same hardware. It has 2.0GHz ARMv8 + AES cores. Fastest means 200-250Mbps OpenVPN. This is what home AIO routers can do. For more - x86 hardware router/firewall or VPN run on a client PC.

From your list - all have 1.8GHz ARMv8 + AES CPU, but RT-AX88U is the one to go with. GT-AX11000 if you really need/want tri-radio router. The rest are older models, some with no firmware update for a long time. You can get an RT-AX86U as well, one of the most popular models around.
 

b3st

New Around Here
Hi @Tech9, thank you for the info and feedback! The RT-AX88U does look good but a bit pricier... will there be a big speed difference between that one and all the others when it comes to VPN connections? Cheers
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
They are all about the same. If the budget is low - go for AC86U (in Canada/US it goes on sale often for about $110-120), get one new with maximum warranty. It's an awesome router with excellent range, but had some reliability and QC issues in the past. Not sure if newer production year routers are fixed. Hopefully they are. It is Asuswrt-Merlin supported and can also do >200Mbps on OpenVPN. AC-class router, but one of the best in terms of performance. It can do up to 600Mbps on Wi-Fi to common 2-stream AC client - more than enough for most users.

Check if AX86S is available around you and on what price. It's a better choice in 2022. Newer hardware, AX support and no reliability issues reported.
 

b3st

New Around Here
They are all about the same. If the budget is low - go for AC86U (in Canada/US it goes on sale often for about $110-120), get one new with maximum warranty. It's an awesome router with excellent range, but had some reliability and QC issues in the past. Not sure if newer production year routers are fixed. Hopefully they are. It is Asuswrt-Merlin supported and can also do >200Mbps on OpenVPN. AC-class router, but one of the best in terms of performance. It can do up to 600Mbps on Wi-Fi to common 2-stream AC client - more than enough for most users.
Hi @Tech9, I did hear good things about the AC86U. What's your thoughts on the RT-AX92U? Thank you
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
What's your thoughts on the RT-AX92U?

This router had no firmware update from Jan 2022. Weird tri-band model with single AX radio and firmware issues in the past. Not popular, no official Asuswrt-Merlin support, supported recently by Asuswrt-Merlin fork by GNuton. It was sold originally in pairs as AC mesh system with AX wireless backhaul. Skip this one as well as GT-AC5300 spider. The best one to get today on a budget is AX86S. It comes on sale from time to time for about $140 (in Canada at least). If not in a hurry, shop deals around holidays. If you can afford AX86U, it's the most popular model around.
 

Bostonvex

New Around Here
I went through almost the exact same scenario you describe. I bought a R7000P, flashed it with ExpressVPNs software and was disappointed by the throughput, around 60Mbps. I exchanged it for an AX86U and have been getting around 200Mbps throughput on ExpressVPN and a little less on NordVPN.

The reason I picked the AX over the AC is that the AX support Wifi6 (802.11AX) where the AC supports Wifi5 (802.11AC) as I wanted to get the best possible Wifi throughput.

My recommendation would be the AX86U if you want the best performance all round albeit at a price. the AC86U should be fine too.
 

b3st

New Around Here
This router had no firmware update from Jan 2022. Weird tri-band model with single AX radio and firmware issues in the past. Not popular, no official Asuswrt-Merlin support, supported recently by Asuswrt-Merlin fork by GNuton. It was sold originally in pairs as AC mesh system with AX wireless backhaul. Skip this one as well as GT-AC5300 spider. The best one to get today on a budget is AX86S. It comes on sale from time to time for about $140 (in Canada at least). If not in a hurry, shop deals around holidays. If you can afford AX86U, it's the most popular model around.
Hi @Tech9, thank you for the feedback. Really glad I didn't go with that one then!
 

b3st

New Around Here
I went through almost the exact same scenario you describe. I bought a R7000P, flashed it with ExpressVPNs software and was disappointed by the throughput, around 60Mbps. I exchanged it for an AX86U and have been getting around 200Mbps throughput on ExpressVPN and a little less on NordVPN.

The reason I picked the AX over the AC is that the AX support Wifi6 (802.11AX) where the AC supports Wifi5 (802.11AC) as I wanted to get the best possible Wifi throughput.

My recommendation would be the AX86U if you want the best performance all round albeit at a price. the AC86U should be fine too.
Hi @Bostonvex! Really appreciate you sharing your experience as it is eye opening since you already gone through it! The AX86U does seem like a great option, and I like that it has Wifi 6! Don't know why ExpressVPN didn't recommend this one as well.... I'll definitely have a good look around to see where's the best place to buy it from!
 

Medrey

New Around Here
@Bostonvex did you modify the config given by ExpressVPN in any way? The ceiling for me seems to be 150 Mbps on an AC86U /w Asuswrt-Merlin (on a 500 Mbps fiber connection). Not the the same router, but I was under the impression that the AX isn't that much faster than the AC when it comes to OpenVPN.
 

Medrey

New Around Here
@grauzone unfortunately ExpressVPN doesn't seem to support Wireguard. Now that they have their own protocol (Lightway), it also gives them even less incentive to work on it: https://www.expressvpn.com/blog/expressvpn-wireguard-update/

I might change VPN providers once my subscriptions runs out in 2024 (yay, referrals), but for now, all I can do is swap routers. And IF the AX really is 30% faster (150 Mbps -> 200 Mbps) for OpenVPN, it may even be worth it. I see an open box one offered that isn't much more expensive than the AC86U was.
 

Bostonvex

New Around Here
@Bostonvex did you modify the config given by ExpressVPN in any way? The ceiling for me seems to be 150 Mbps on an AC86U /w Asuswrt-Merlin (on a 500 Mbps fiber connection). Not the the same router, but I was under the impression that the AX isn't that much faster than the AC when it comes to OpenVPN.

I used the stock OVPN config and ExpressVPNs installation instructions and do feel your pain with Lightway.

There are instructions online to manually extract the private and public keys and generate the WireGuard config for NordVPN and their NordLynx protocol seems to be compatible with WireGuard.

Since I VPN mostly into one country, I have now also stood up a VPS in country that acts as a WireGuard peer. Some of the services I use continue to block and play cat and mouse with Nord and Express and the VPS is very reliable for me but does take some upkeep.
 

Similar threads

Latest threads

Sign Up For SNBForums Daily Digest

Get an update of what's new every day delivered to your mailbox. Sign up here!
Top