Mixing AC and AX routers in a mesh.

tomw

New Around Here
I just set up an Asus Zenwifi XD6 as my router mesh system. I noticed I still have an Asus RE-AC68U left over from before. Can this AC router be worked into this AX mesh? If so, How? Anybody that can point me in the right direction, I would be very grateful.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I just set up an Asus Zenwifi XD6 as my router mesh system. I noticed I still have an Asus RE-AC68U left over from before. Can this AC router be worked into this AX mesh? If so, How? Anybody that can point me in the right direction, I would be very grateful.

Assuming that is an RT-AC68U router, install the current firmware, reset that firmware to it default settings, and then search/add the AC68U as an AiMesh node from the Zen router webUI. The AC68U WLANs will not support AX clients, of course.

If you intend to use guest1 WLANs across all nodes, then you should use the previous release AC68U firmware to avoid a bug in the latest firmware.

Note that the AC68U does not support Smart Connect node band steering, so you may need to configure different SSIDs for each band used by the AC68U... or wait and see how your wireless clients connect to its WLANs.

Be sure you need more WiFi... too much radio is not helpful. You would not want to add the overhead of integrating and managing a second and older standard model AP only to degrade your overall WiFi experience.

Note that the AC68U can connect to the Zen router WiFi in Media Bridge Mode to wirelessly extend your LAN for wired clients only... such as to put its 4-port Ethernet LAN switch at your media center for wired clients. All AC68U WiFi is then dedicated to its WiFi link to the Zen router.

OE
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
More info: I have tested an AC66U_B1 (which has the same hardware as the AC68U) as a mesh node with my AX86U. Both on the most recent Asus firmware (3.0.0.4.386.45934 for the AC66U_B1 and 3.0.0.4.386.45934 for the AX86U). I had no problems. The issue with the AC68U is when it is used as a router not a mesh node.
WIFI settings on your XD6 - do use Dual Band SmartConnect and AX WIFI but set the Authentication Method to WPA2-Personal as the AC68U does not do WPA3. All the other WIFI settings leave to default. However, in time you may want to set the WIFI bands to fixed channels.
 
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OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
More info: I have tested an AC66U_B1 (which has the same hardware as the AC68U) as a mesh node with my AX86U. Both on the most recent Asus firmware (3.0.0.4.386.45934 for the AC66U_B1 and 3.0.0.4.386.45934 for the AX86U). I had no problems. The issue with the AC68U is when it is used as a router not a mesh node.
WIFI settings on your XD6 - do use Dual Band SmartConnect and AX WIFI but set the Authentication Method to WPA2-Personal as the AC86U does not do WPA3. All the other WIFI settings leave to default. However, in time you may want to set the WIFI bands to fixed channels.

Good points! So yes, try the latest AC68U firmware.

Now that the time has come for me to mix AiMesh hardware... that's been an AiMesh premise all along that I have avoided..., I've got some things to learn. So, WPA3 doesn't fallback politely to WPA2 with non-AX nodes? non-AX clients?

OE
 

sl4fko

Regular Contributor
More info: I have tested an AC66U_B1 (which has the same hardware as the AC68U) as a mesh node with my AX86U. Both on the most recent Asus firmware (3.0.0.4.386.45934 for the AC66U_B1 and 3.0.0.4.386.45934 for the AX86U). I had no problems. The issue with the AC68U is when it is used as a router not a mesh node.
WIFI settings on your XD6 - do use Dual Band SmartConnect and AX WIFI but set the Authentication Method to WPA2-Personal as the AC68U does not do WPA3. All the other WIFI settings leave to default. However, in time you may want to set the WIFI bands to fixed channels.

Same here, I have a good experience mixing different routers in mesh mode.


AX58U (main) with AC57U v3 as a mesh node.


AX58U was configured with non-AX signal (only AC) and AC57U v3 works with it as a mesh node. Never had any problems since it was configured.
 

kamelie1706

Occasional Visitor
Has the situation changed?
This is my network:
- RT-AX68U (main router)
- RT-AX55
- RT-AC66U_B1
- RT-AC1900

So far (last firmware update was back to 2021) all this was working in Mesh using Asus firmware.

Then I have a smart device having issue with IEEE 802.11R that I could not connect and decided to update firmware (all got a new one from this summer)

All firmwares are 3.0.0.4.386_XXXXX .... but now only AX can talk together. My ACs node are seen but the procedure fails no matter what I try!

I tried also to move all to Merlin (386.7.2) (not the RT-AX55 obviously!) but did not help. Funny enough the 2 AX still "talk" to each other.
I will try to setup those as repeaters ...

As somewhere in 2022 Asus dropped the mesh support for AC routers?
 
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Tech9

Part of the Furniture
You may have to rework your network. AX68U is a router with reported connectivity issues, AX55 is the cheapest available AX router, AC66U B1 and AC1900 although very reliable are mostly obsolete hardware. I have a suspicion you don't need 4x routers and just trying to find some use of your old routers. Asuswrt-Merlin will make your AiMesh worse, actually. Asus did not drop AC routers from AiMesh compatibility list, but AiMesh works best with the same model routers running the same firmware. Otherwise positive experience is not guaranteed in real life. Only in Asus AiMesh advertisements everything is perfect.
 

kamelie1706

Occasional Visitor
Indeed I do not need advanced functionalities but problems started when I updated all with latest asus summer firmware so tried Merlin instead …

from hardware point they all seem to work fine both from reliability and my speed needs that would justify investment …

that is why I was thinking asus is starting silently to retire AC hardware.

now AC are set as repeaters to overcome the issue … not clean solution and feel being back to old days but works for now

newer technology seems to focus/improve on speed, my needs are more on ground coverage

last but not least “smart device” connects fine with AC66 not with AX68 ;-)
 
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Tech9

Part of the Furniture

kamelie1706

Occasional Visitor
Yes that is the plan. Mesh has the huge advantage that you do not need multiple access point names ... might be possible with repeater but that touch my network competence limit :-D

For example having a power meter you switch place regularly ... now with repeater I need to change the settings/reset the device which can be a pain ...
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Mesh has the huge advantage that you do not need multiple access point names ...

AiMesh is a marketing name of wired access points or wireless repeaters with limited central management. The only advantage of AiMesh was introduced with v2.0 - Guest Network to so called Nodes. Everything else is the same as repeater in wireless mode. You can get better performance with wired routers in access point mode with the same SSID, but working on different Wi-Fi channels. Up to 2x performance. You can achieve better roaming as well having access to Tx power control in access point mode. AiMesh uses all the same channels and has no Tx power control per node.

now with repeater I need to change the settings/reset the device which can be a pain ...

Not sure what do you mean. You need to set the repeater once.
 

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