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Got an XT9 - need help buying something to fix my situation

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Hello guys,

I need your help defining a solution to my case. Basically I "upgraded" from an OpenWrt box + AC mesh system from Netgear to a ZenWiFi XT9.

I wanted to remove one device from the chain and upgrading with something newer, due to several AX devices being present now in my house.

The problems I'm experiencing are disappointing coverage and lack of SQM. With SQM + cake, I never had an issue with my network. Asus Adaptive QOS is creating more issues, so I left it disabled.

Sadly XT9 is not yet supported by merlin/gnuton, so no SQM for now.

I was thinking about adding a main Asus router supported by Merlin and use the 2 XT9 boxes as AI-mesh nodes. I need your help understanding the following:

1. Is it possible to mix nodes with merlin and the original firmware?
2. Is the SQM support in merlin any good?
3. Considering that the backhaul will be wireless and that the XT9 has a dual 5Ghz network that can be dedicated to the backhaul, can you suggest a router with a similar hardware?

Thanks for your help!
Yes you can mix Merlin and stock Asus firmware the results may be questionable but yes you can do it. As far as a router with similar specs I would say probably the older GT-AX11000 or the newer AX11000 pro both are tri band and use 5ghz backhaul. I would suggest the 11000 pro
I see that the XT12 is ~100 euro less... Do you think it fits the requirements?
XT12 will also work with a 5ghz backhaul but if that’s the route you going to go use the XT12 as your main router over the XT9

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