looking for a dependable router out of the box

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kingoffools13

New Around Here
this is gonna be long so I appreciate even skimming this and giving me some info. I have wasted a ton of time and gotten nowhere.

my needs: I am in the process of setting up a smart home (so lots of wifi/ IOT devices (currently 40-50 but would like to get more depending on how this goes)
want future proof wifi 6 if possible
have gigabit internet want the full speed I can milk out of that
I do a lot of streaming and file transfer across the network over cat6

I am coming from an Asus rt3200. it worked great for everything except I believe a firmware update killed my 2.4ghz wifi (and reviews on amazon confirm it isn't just me) and merlin no longer supports so I couldn't try going the 3rd party route.

I spent over a month researching and trying to contact Asus (no customer support) and finally gave up and caved in and bought a new router.

currently, I picked up a tp-link archer ax11000 from Costco got it on sale it was a steal normally in the 400+ range I think. it does connect, and for certain sources, my hardline connections sorta get close to the max speeds I was getting before but just an approach they never get there, and they have a sluggish start. both 2.4 and 5ghz wifi are very sluggish. local network transfers are slow. speed tests on the router itself cant get above 80mbps when I have gigabit FiOS but my hardline computer gets close to the full speed. with certain servers. I have updated to the most recent firmware and nothing seems to help, customer support for tp-link is almost nonexistent as well.

is there an out of the box router that just goes? trustworthy? will just work with 50-100 devices? gets full use of gigabit speed. isn't sluggish? doesn't limit everything with QOS you can't turn off. I'm sick of routers that get in their own way and then customer support that is non-existent and quite frankly doesn't speak the same language.

I was looking at:
asus ax6100
or
asus rt-ax88u

I kinda wanted the tri-band set up so I could pick and choose what connected to what but I honestly don't know if that really matters for speed/congestion or if I should focus on more ram/CPU power
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
If 2x RT-AX86U's don't fit your ideals, then maybe the QNAP router will 'Work(s) straight out of the box.' for you too.

QNAP QHora-301W AX & 10Gbe Router Review – NAS Compares

PROSCONS
  • 2x 10Gbe Port Router, Copper too
  • Slick Router GUI with easy access
  • WiFi 6 Support
  • 8 antennae
  • FAST setup and inc wall brackets
  • Fanless/noiseless
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 Ports
  • Works straight out of the box
  • Free SD-WAN software and services included
  • Works with Several QNAP NAS Apps
  • Design and colour will split opinion
  • 2 Year Warranty is shorter than Netgear
  • Antennae are oddly placed and internal, which will put some people off
 

RMinNJ

Regular Contributor
Maybe you mean some distant device can only get 80Mbit? I'm hoping to upgrade my service to gigabit..I'll be chasing all kinds of wireless speed then also and may need an access point if I want the far away speed to be greater. I guess I would be upset too if 80Mbit was all a device was getting that could do more.
 
Last edited:

kingoffools13

New Around Here
speed.JPG


the speed test from the router's internal tool set. after spending a day or more trying to get a hold of someone at tp-link (they aren't answering one of their phone lines for some reason) they have a ticket for me and escalated it so i may hear back from a tech at some point.


If 2x RT-AX86U's don't fit your ideals, then maybe the QNAP router will 'Work(s) straight out of the box.' for you too.

QNAP QHora-301W AX & 10Gbe Router Review – NAS Compares
would 2 rt-ax86u's be able to route more devices smoothly? I thought having a second device would just extend my range but that all the routing would be done in one main device and the other would act as a satellite? am I misunderstanding how this works? do they really split up the workload efficiently?
 

RMinNJ

Regular Contributor
So your router itself wired to the modem gets 80Mbit. How about if you plug a pc into the modem? Did you try changing the cable that goes from the modem to the router?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Two RT-AX86U routers in wired AiMesh mode won't route twice as fast, but it will give your network four, extremely low latency, radios that can each handle around 32 client devices each at the fastest speeds I've seen from any consumer router so far.

A single RT-AX86U will be just as fast. But it can't have the reach, speed, or coverage that two optimally placed (via a wired backhaul) identical models will offer.

If you want to get the most out of your 1Gbps ISP speeds and can also leverage the 2.5GbE Ports for the backhaul or the internal LAN (or both, if you have the proper switch), then 2x RT-AX86U is worth considering and testing in your network too.
 

AndrewJacob

Regular Contributor
Wow @[email protected] that is an amazingly well given explanation about 2 AX86U. Btw, I currently have an Asus GT-AX11000 and I'm about to test how 2 AX86Us do (i bought those as a potential replacement for the GT-AX11000).
Regarding the QNAP QNAP QHora-301W router, I did some digging and I found a review that said this:

"
Pros: Device is very easy to work with and has nice menus

Cons:
* Device can only support 10GB on the LAN side, not the WAN side
* Device has no GEOIP blocking
* Device does not support mesh networking even with multiple 301W units
* Device is highly limited in its granularity of configurations. Its basically too simple and has no advanced modes.
* Support requests from qnap go unanswered.

Overall Review: Don't waste your time on this one. Move on if you need any sort of performance and/or support.
"
The two things that would make me not consider this router are the following:
1- No support for Mesh: for me, this would be important in terms of expandability and depending on whether the single router can cover your entire square footage
2- Poor support. I currently have a QNAP NAS (253-D) and haven't yet had to contact support. But if support is actually bad, then that's something to consider. How is Asus support?

I am no expert but here is my piece of advice:
A) Consider the dual AX86U with wired backhaul and Merlin firmware on both. From different sources' opinions and experiences, Merlin software brings very very good stability (and also a slight performance jump). I will be trying this setup tomorrow and can post my results if this is helpful to you. I will be comparing it to my dual router ISP setup and to my current Asus GT-AX11000.
B) Consider Ubiquiti: I know people aren't fans of Ubiquiti setups here, but again from looking at varied sources, experiences and checking out my friend's setup here is what I noticed compared to a consumer router setup:
Pros: better stability (at least out of the box), more concurrent clients, overall network health is better, simpler management interface, one unified setup for all your network infrastructure if they're all UniFi (wifi, lan, IP cameras, video doorbell, etc.), overall speeds of all clients at the same time is significantly faster (routing power I guess?), better roaming between access points, much more expensive, very good support, and it is cheaper, better supported through online communities and more intuitive than other enterprise-grade setups
Cons: slower max speeds than consumer routers especially fast ones like the AX86U (my friend's setup can have a sustained 300mbit everywhere on multiple clients so if this is enough for you maybe it's a non-issue. For comparison, my AX11000 has no problems reaching 450 mbit and the bottleneck is my ISP...), much more expensive, requires more hardwiring, wifi-6 isn't great yet (they just came out with their first wifi-6 AP), 10G networking isn't great (no good RJ45 options)

Just my 2 cents...
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
@AndrewJacob, thank you. Could you link to that review, please?

I don't believe the WAN statement is correct, but no mesh, and highly 'simplistic' is accurate for today (they can add those features via firmware updates, of course (not that I would expect them to on a version 1 model).

I've never had to deal with QNAP support. In over a decade, their products have just worked as they should for me and my customers. DOA units, notwithstanding, of course.

The reason that I suggested the QNAP router option is for the 'just works' requirement. Sometimes, simple is better.

The lack of mesh also isn't an issue.

With something like the Qhora or a pfSense/OpnSense box handling the routing duties, and with two or more RT-AX86U's set up in 'AiMesh Router in AP' mode, it may offer the best of all worlds. :)

The AiMesh v2.0 and RMerlin firmware 386.1 Beta 4 available for almost a full day so far is not something to ignore anymore. Heck, even my 'handheld' can now peak at 640Mbps from a floor away from the AiMesh (wired 2.5GbE backhaul) node and my 1Gbps symmetrical up/down Fibre ISP connection.
 

AndrewJacob

Regular Contributor
So here's that review I referenced Newegg review - scroll down and also a more in-depth review by a reviewer I regularly consult.
His overview of the QHORA router is as follows:
"
PROS
  • Reliable Wi-Fi performance
  • SD-WAN and other enterprise-class features
  • Responsive web interface
  • Two 10Gbps network ports
CONS
  • Expensive for the modest Wi-Fi coverage
  • Some common settings are missing
  • No 160MHz channel width support (yet)
  • Useless USB-related features
  • No Dynamic DNS or QoS
"

@L&LD, are you suggesting using the QHORA as the main router and 2 AX86U as AiMesh nodes? I thought @kingoffools13 was considering one or the other. Also, I didn't realize that AiMesh could work with the main router not being Asus.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Those reviews are not reviews, to me. :)

Yes, you can use any router and still have AiMesh v2.0 capabilities when you have two or more capable Asus routers with one in AiMesh AP mode and the others as nodes.
 

kingoffools13

New Around Here
Two RT-AX86U routers in wired AiMesh mode won't route twice as fast, but it will give your network four, extremely low latency, radios that can each handle around 32 client devices each at the fastest speeds I've seen from any consumer router so far.

A single RT-AX86U will be just as fast. But it can't have the reach, speed, or coverage that two optimally placed (via a wired backhaul) identical models will offer.

If you want to get the most out of your 1Gbps ISP speeds and can also leverage the 2.5GbE Ports for the backhaul or the internal LAN (or both, if you have the proper switch), then 2x RT-AX86U is worth considering and testing in your network too.
so it sounds like this is just a very expensive extender setup but it won't give me more routing capability? wouldn't it make more sense to just get a cheap router that did aimesh and use it as the extender and get a nice one to use as the main? I mean, to be honest, one router reaches everywhere in my home and most of my yard. my problem has been sluggishness on the party of the part of the router sending out data maybe I am over-taxing the radio but right now on this tp-link even the wired connections are acting taxed as well, so I don't think it is the radio that is the bottleneck. I think it is the routing that is suffering DHCP server or whatever splits up the data stream and sends it out with a multi router setup there is still only one router doing all that work so it doesn't improve that part of the performance from what I can see and I would still have the same issue unless it was really working better than what I have now. it's possible this tp-link is just crap I don't know.

also, a side note question: is the ax86u the best of the dual-band wifi 6 Asus routers? I was looking and they have a bunch but they seem to all be very similar and I was wondering how to tell what is the best and newest etc?

this is a 2 piece kit for a mesh setup https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07RBBX5ZW/?tag=snbforums-20

and these two are both wifi 6 dual-band but a little cheaper
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HM6KJN8/?tag=snbforums-20

&

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08BJJ3RGW/?tag=snbforums-20
 

Fatawan

Occasional Visitor
The Amazon Eero 6 PRO fits the bill, if it comes back in stock. I have GB internet, and my wireless speeds often are 850 meg . I hooked two of them up in a mesh system and it just worked, I had four working adults here for weeks, up to 30 devices, and we all used a total of 750GB that month with no issues. Not much customization available, and I think their attempt to charge extra for various services is a dick move, but plug it in and it works.
 

srkbear

Occasional Visitor
Wow @[email protected] that is an amazingly well given explanation about 2 AX86U. Btw, I currently have an Asus GT-AX11000 and I'm about to test how 2 AX86Us do (i bought those as a potential replacement for the GT-AX11000).
Regarding the QNAP QNAP QHora-301W router, I did some digging and I found a review that said this:

"
Pros: Device is very easy to work with and has nice menus

Cons:
* Device can only support 10GB on the LAN side, not the WAN side
* Device has no GEOIP blocking
* Device does not support mesh networking even with multiple 301W units
* Device is highly limited in its granularity of configurations. Its basically too simple and has no advanced modes.
* Support requests from qnap go unanswered.

Overall Review: Don't waste your time on this one. Move on if you need any sort of performance and/or support.
"
The two things that would make me not consider this router are the following:
1- No support for Mesh: for me, this would be important in terms of expandability and depending on whether the single router can cover your entire square footage
2- Poor support. I currently have a QNAP NAS (253-D) and haven't yet had to contact support. But if support is actually bad, then that's something to consider. How is Asus support?

I am no expert but here is my piece of advice:
A) Consider the dual AX86U with wired backhaul and Merlin firmware on both. From different sources' opinions and experiences, Merlin software brings very very good stability (and also a slight performance jump). I will be trying this setup tomorrow and can post my results if this is helpful to you. I will be comparing it to my dual router ISP setup and to my current Asus GT-AX11000.
B) Consider Ubiquiti: I know people aren't fans of Ubiquiti setups here, but again from looking at varied sources, experiences and checking out my friend's setup here is what I noticed compared to a consumer router setup:
Pros: better stability (at least out of the box), more concurrent clients, overall network health is better, simpler management interface, one unified setup for all your network infrastructure if they're all UniFi (wifi, lan, IP cameras, video doorbell, etc.), overall speeds of all clients at the same time is significantly faster (routing power I guess?), better roaming between access points, much more expensive, very good support, and it is cheaper, better supported through online communities and more intuitive than other enterprise-grade setups
Cons: slower max speeds than consumer routers especially fast ones like the AX86U (my friend's setup can have a sustained 300mbit everywhere on multiple clients so if this is enough for you maybe it's a non-issue. For comparison, my AX11000 has no problems reaching 450 mbit and the bottleneck is my ISP...), much more expensive, requires more hardwiring, wifi-6 isn't great yet (they just came out with their first wifi-6 AP), 10G networking isn't great (no good RJ45 options)

Just my 2 cents...
I too have a gT-AX11000 running as my main router. But after trying several other options for AiMesh nodes (including two AX86Us), I finally settled on a pair of ZenWifi XT8s, with the most stable, speedy and satisfying results I have yet experienced in nearly 3 decades of soul-depleting network troubleshoots.

Not the cheapest option to say the least. But c’mon, I have over 44 devices across nearly 10,000 sq ft placing myriad demands on my network mesh, and this configuration (which affords wireless backhaul capability on my third channel and compatibility with this forum’s ASUSWRT 386 RC2 public beta across all three components) has literally allowed me, for the first time ever, to not have to touch my routers’ settings or reboot once since setup.

Of course now I’m facing the crucible of whether to upgrade my AX11000 to the AXE11000 before it’s too late!
 

AndrewJacob

Regular Contributor
Thanks @srkbear for sharing your experience! I too thought about waiting for the AXE, but it's the first router on a new band for which clients won't be available for a while. On top of that, once clients do become available, I suspect there will be many more 6ghz routers with better technology by then.. That's why I just went for the AX11000. I have a lot less square footage than you, roughly 1000 sq. ft per story on a 2 story home with an outdoor patio that needs to get a signal through. I'll be testing 2 AX86U tonight. Any advice? What may I ask failed when you tried those?
 

kingoffools13

New Around Here
just a side note if anyone was wondering I finally got a session with a tech from tp-link and the archer ax-11000 was tested with special firmware that allowed the tech to telnet into the router and see what was going on. he wasn't able to fully diagnose the router but over the time he spent on it (almost 2 hours) he said it was getting good speed but also had a high rate of retransmission. I haven't heard much about that before so I looked it up and the very last paragraph of this article sounds a whole lot like what has been happening to me. slow slow start to connections and then a gradual increase of speed until you hit a mediocre top never reaching full potential can anyone give me more info on this or explain it better? I don't think this is something I caused since it came out of the box this way and I didn't have this issue with my other routers. I'm still in the middle of reading reviews and doing research on models if anyone has more info to toss my way but I am looking back at some of the Asus models (like the 86u ) again despite them having almost no customer service and I was wondering does the merlin software get rid of the data collection in these routers?
 

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