Mobile gaming: single AP or mesh?


New Around Here
Back again with a more specific question. Happy to close it if it's too close to other threads, but I'm hoping this serves useful for those with wireless/mobile gaming related asks in the future.

tl;dr: is a single AP better than a 2-3 point mesh kit for reducing latency/ping specifically for mobile gaming?

We're a mobile gaming household. Hardcore folks scoff but it's what we like. I've been trying for about a year now to get consistent low-latency performance with mixed results.

We have symmetrical 1Gbps fiber and it's decently consistent. Regular wired d/u speeds of at least 6-800mbps. A+ bufferbloat scoring. The devices that matter are all very new. I turn off all the stupid plugs and lightbulbs that aren't regularly being used to minimize that kind of interference. Consoles and computers wired wherever possible.

We originally had a TP-Link Archer AC3400 and, honestly, for a Costco router it was working extremely well. For COD mobile (main game of choice), we were getting around 20-25ms ping with spikes here and there. Over time, performance degraded and I figured it was the number of devices we had around the house.

I then picked up a AX88U thinking it would be able to handle the load of more devices and take advantage of the fiber connection, plus give me much more control with merlin installed. I had to RMA the first one because it would just not work out of the box. Not fun. But now I'm up and running with the latest stable merlin release. The replacement is working well enough but not blowing my mind or anything (with 25-35ms ping being pretty common). What's lame is that sometimes even basic web/app browsing feels sluggish. I'm tweaking/measuring things as I type this.

As for placement, the router is in an office that typically results in devices being a couple of walls away which isn't the absolute ideal. I can move it around with some clever cabling, but I don't know about bolting this mechanical goat altar to my living room ceiling as an eye sore. If this would truly truly help, I suppose I can find a way. But my house is less than 1500sqft and the interior walls are standard materials no brick or concrete or anything.

I'm now reading on the forums here that, generally, the AX86U is in fact the better option for latency and I should have maybe went with that one over the AX88U. Is this a fair assumption? Or do I just have buyers remorse?

But if I'm considering upgrading again to the AX86U, I might as well reconsider a mesh network. Would one of the mesh kits—with a unit within line of sight of devices—improve wireless gaming latency?


Part of the Furniture
Yes, for latency and overall performance, the RT-AX86U is superior.

Just buy it, make sure the unit you got is working as expected, and then sell your RT-AX88U.

While putting the main router in the central/main areas of use is ideal, it shouldn't be necessary for a 1,500 SqFt space.

RT-AX86U vs. RT-AX88U


New Around Here
Well shucks, I was afraid that would be the case, ha. Alright I'll keep an eye out! They all seem to be extremely overpriced due to lack of supply.

In the meantime I'll happily wait for the inevitable argument for another option that will likely result in more second guessing.

Thank you!


Part of the Furniture
Replacing your current AX88U with AX86U won't give you any significant user measurable improvements.


Part of the Furniture
I don't know about user measurable improvements, but they are there.

I don't measure much these days, knowing the numbers doesn't mean much to me. But I do know what a good network should 'feel' like. The RT-AX86U is always an improvement (and 100% noticeable to the customer, otherwise they wouldn't keep them...) when/if the customer decides they need to try something better.

Asus RT-AX86U review


New Around Here
Alrighty—it's a christmas miracle! I somehow got a unit and it's en route. I'll give it a shot! If it doesn't improve... I'll sell both and go back to the Costco router! Bah-humbug.

Speaking of, is there a good resource here on the site for networking gear buy/sell best practices? Feels kind of sketchy buying used network gear off the internet? I don't need a homegrown backdoor in my company sponsored backdoor.


New Around Here
Bump in this in case anyone sees it.

I'm getting ready to sell my AX88U. Is there any reason why I should keep that over the AX86U vs. sell to recoup some of the cost?

So far the AX86U has been great. No complaints (yet). Only issue is having less ports to work with (but I have a gigabit switch to solve that).


New Around Here
I decided to not let that router sit in its box for a month and hooked it up via the Aimesh wired backhaul function.

This is ok.



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