How does AiMesh work with a tri-band main router and a dual-band node?

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goldenegg

Regular Contributor
I currently have a GT-AC5300 as my main router. I have an older Asus router at the other end of the house, that doesn't support AiMesh, to solve to wireless connectivity. I'm getting tired of having to manually bump devices between the access points, so I'm considering picking up an AiMesh compatible unit. Specifically, I'm thinking of getting the RT-AC66U B1, since I can get it fairly cheap.

What I'm not clear on is how this would work, since my main router is tri-band but the AC66U is dual-band. I don't care if both my 5Ghz bands are extended. Will I at least get to choose which of the two gets extended between the units?
 

JDB

Very Senior Member
The 66U 5Ghz will connect you the 5300 5Ghz-2.

5GHz-2 will be a hidden backhaul radio that normal clients do not connect to, so the 5300 looks like a dual band router to clients now.

The result will be the 5300 has no contention for backhaul, however the 66U will do as it’s single 5Ghz radio will be used for clients and backhaul.

So clients connected to the 5300 5Ghz-1 will never be throttled due to clients on the 66U. Clients on the 66U will only ever achieve 50% of the 66U potential 5Ghz throughout as it is backhauling the data using the same radio.

However in reality, unless you have the need for 100s of Mbps throughput regularly on the 66U it’s not an issue, I have tested 300Mbps throughput on a tri/dual band setup you describe.


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C

COBOL-Coder

Guest
Hi, I just went through almost the exact same transition. I have an RT-AC5300 and it was not getting to the far side of the house mostly a result of construction materials. I have a 4K TV and a few other smaller devices and I wasn't getting the coverage I needed. I purchased a dual band RT-AC86U (recommended by this forum) and setup an AiMesh configuration with the AC86U as the node and it works great. I did not want to run a lot of Ethernet cable to create the backhaul so I chose wireless backhaul. In doing so I lost a 5ghz band (backhaul) however, it works great. In addition, since the AC86U was now much closer to the TV a ran an Ethernet cable from my 86U to the TV so it now runs wired, no WiFi hassles. I strongly suggest, if you do this, to follow the AiMesh instructions Exactly as directed for it to work right out of the box. I installed the latest Merlin firmware on both devices. It's been written that the node will operate stock ASUS firmware but that didn't feel right (no tech reasons) so I elected to run Merlin on both. The only downside I see is that you will also lose the ability for a guest network. To the best of my knowlage, while ASUS is supposedly working on this, it doesn't work at this time. I'm glad I took the plunge and installed AiMesh, it may still be improved upon but that's for the future, I just enjoying running 2 4K TV's at 4K.



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MarkyPancake

Senior Member
I hadn't considered this.

I decided to try AiMesh for the first time this weekend to see if it would improve coverage upstairs, as I've had my AC68U sat in its box gathering dust for a few years now. So, I updated the AC86U and 68U to Merlin 384.17 and set up the 68U as a mesh node (wireless backhaul). In the 86U wireless log I can see the 68U in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz sections; showing as 3 (n) streams in 2.4 and 3 (ac) streams in 5.
 

alba666

Occasional Visitor
With my AX92U (Tri-band) and my old AC88U (Dual-Band) as AiMesh node, the 5GHz-2 radio on the AX92U gets reserved by the AiMesh software for backhaul.
But since the AC88U doesn’t have a second 5GHz radio, the AiMesh traffic routes over the 5GHz-1 radio on the AX92U. This leaves no traffic on the 5GHz-2 radio on the AX92U.
I simply unhid and put a unique SSID on 5GHz-2 on the AX92U and pointed compatible devices at that SSID.
 

JDB

Very Senior Member
With my AX92U (Tri-band) and my old AC88U (Dual-Band) as AiMesh node, the 5GHz-2 radio on the AX92U gets reserved by the AiMesh software for backhaul.
But since the AC88U doesn’t have a second 5GHz radio, the AiMesh traffic routes over the 5GHz-1 radio on the AX92U. This leaves no traffic on the 5GHz-2 radio on the AX92U.
I simply unhid and put a unique SSID on 5GHz-2 on the AX92U and pointed compatible devices at that SSID.

That’s not how it should work. How sure are you that is what it was doing?
If you run a scan for broadcasting BSSIDs you should find the 88U 5Ghz on the same channel as the 92U 5Ghz-1.

The 88U should connect to the 92U 5Ghz-2 only, leaving the 5Ghz-1 dedicated to clients. So only the 88U is sharing it’s 5Ghz radio with backhaul and clients.

That’s certainly how mine work and how it is documented.

https://www.asus.com/us/support/FAQ/1039646/


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alba666

Occasional Visitor
That is how it is documented. But after monitoring the 5GHz-2 channel traffic volume on the AX92U while my daughter pounded traffic through the 5GHz connection on the AC88 node, the 5GHz-2 channel on the AX92U was quiet. The backhaul was using the 5GHz-1 channel on the AX92U.
IMHO, these AX92U’s are a bit of a unicorn. It is doing what I need it to do, but hindsight being 20/20, I’d go with something that supports Merlin (as I miss the flexibility).
 

goldenegg

Regular Contributor
Thanks for all the feedback! I haven't bought the new router yet, as I'm still going back and forth between doing that or replacing the whole system with Google Home.

I'd be using a wired connection between the nodes. In that case, would 5ghz-2 still be disabled? What I ultimately want is both routers broadcasting 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz-1 throughout the house, with 5Ghz-2 only going to the GT-AC5300. If I can get that working with the Asus routers, I'll go that route since it solves my problem and is ultimately significantly cheeper.
 

JDB

Very Senior Member
If using wired backhaul you can disable DWB yes.

In the Asus mobile app there is now a toggle to turn it on/off. Oddly I don’t think the option has made it into the web UI yet though!


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