Move from N66U to AC86U or AX68U or AX86U?

ggeinec

Occasional Visitor
I need to replace a dying N66U. I have a new in the box never used AC86U, manufactured in 2018, with hardware version R1.5 and firmware 3.0.4.384, that I can use. But I'm also wondering about going right to an AX68U or an AX86U instead. I just can't decide which of those two would serve my needs best if I go that route.

The AX86 would be overkill. I wouldn't use a lot of the capabilities, but I would welcome the stronger signal strength. And I love the support in these SNB ASUS forums and I notice a significant difference in the number of posts for the AX68 (fewer) vs. the AX86 (more) . . . :(

Or should I just start off with the AC86U I already have and let 6G\6E mature before I dive into AX routers . . .

I don't game, mainly just browse, stream, email, etc., with two phones, three laptops, and a Roku.

I'm in a 1200 sq. ft. two bedroom apartment, drywall and studs structure. The internet comes in on the opposite side of the apartment from the bedrooms. In-between the router and the bedrooms, where WiFi is weakest, are the furnace room and the master bathroom.

Thoughts? What would you do?
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I need to replace a dying N66U. I have a new in the box never used AC86U, manufactured in 2018, with hardware version R1.5 and firmware 3.0.4.384, that I can use. But I'm also wondering about going right to an AX68U or an AX86U instead. I just can't decide which of those two would serve my needs best if I go that route.

The AX86 would be overkill. I wouldn't use a lot of the capabilities, but I would welcome the stronger signal strength. And I love the support in these SNB ASUS forums and I notice a significant difference in the number of posts for the AX68 (fewer) vs. the AX86 (more) . . . :(

Or should I just start off with the AC86U I already have and let 6G\6E mature before I dive into AX routers . . .

I don't game, mainly just browse, stream, email, etc., with two phones, three laptops, and a Roku.

I'm in a 1200 sq. ft. two bedroom apartment, drywall and studs structure. The internet comes in on the opposite side of the apartment from the bedrooms. In-between the router and the bedrooms, where WiFi is weakest, are the furnace room and the master bathroom.

Thoughts? What would you do?

I'd install the AC86U you have... it will most likely do all that you need and will serve while WiFi6e matures and the market settles down... and be done.

See my install notes for a basic configuration.

OE
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Agree 100% with OE. Use the brand-new router you now have.

I suggest flashing to the latest firmware you're comfortable with (be it stock, or RMerlin) and then fully resetting the router more than once, flashing the firmware you want to use each time (at least two flashes/resets, but three sets or more preferred).

[Wireless] ASUS router Hard Factory Reset | Official Support | ASUS Global

Use the link above to properly reset the router.

Fully Reset Router and Network

Use the link above to reset the router in multiple ways (known to be needed for some units).

Fully Reset / Best Practice Setup / More

Almost all L&LD Links

Use the links above as information, and to properly set up your router in 2021.
 

heysoundude

Very Senior Member
I'll second what @L&LD seconded from @OzarkEdge - because that was my upgrade path, n66 -> ac86. it's a wonderful machine, the AC86. you'll notice a significant difference in range/responsiveness. With the upgraded processing horsepower, you'll be able to take better advantage of some of the nice scripts on the Merlin side of the house too. (Try Unbound...it will likely surprise you like it did me)
The chip shortage going on is making the AX stuff moderately overpriced for the time being, and I usually advocate for not spending money when you don't absolutely have to. In your case OP, you do NOT have to for the time being.
 

ggeinec

Occasional Visitor
Thanks all for your input.

@OzarkEge -

Yes, installing the AC86U I already have was my tentative plan. I just needed some other opinions to confirm I am on the right track.

And I've had your install notes bookmarked for a while. I'll be reviewing them again with this install. Thanks for those. : )


@L&LD -

I've also had all those links of yours bookmarked for a while and I'll be reviewing them again as well. Thanks for those. : )


@heysoundude -

Thanks for sharing the results of your direct upgrade from N66U to AC86U, like I plan to do. It gives me an idea of what to expect.


@Tech9 -

My AC86U came from China. Yes, I am aware of the connection with the 2018 China versions failing. That's one reason I posted asking about upgrading to the AX68U or AX86U instead. But I already have the AC86U so I might as well go ahead and give it a go. I might have one of the good ones. If not I'll move on then.
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
The RT-AX86U is an exceptional router and so far it has proven to be a top performer with a highly reliable design. It's a forum user favorite. But if you already have a new in box AC86U and don't want to sell it or spend more money then you could stick with the AC86U. However, for a number of users there have been reporting long term reliability issues (after one to two years) with the AC86U specifically related to components overheating. If you are worried about long term reliability there there are fan mods you can get for it but I would just try the router out as it is if you decide to use it.

One more thing about the AX86U is that the AX platform has become more established recently. It has been supported on most new laptops and devices such as the iPhone and Android for almost two years. It will take some time for the other Wifi devices to catch up but it's happening faster than you think. The latest greatest 6Ghz AXE Wifi 6E adoption is another story. I would stay away from overpaying for Wifi 6E at this point in time.
 
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