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My quandary - RT-AC86U or R9000 or ???


Regular Contributor
I currently have an ASUS RT-AC86U running Merlin, along with a Netgear X4s R7800 as my backup. I'm really bored with Netgear stock firmware and Voxel firmware, I tried Kong's OpenWrt and it's really young. Merlin on my RT-AC86U has just about everything I like/need and it works well.

I have a FreeNAS box currently connected with link aggregation through a managed switch and then to a port on the RT-AC86U. Additionally I have a Windows machine running Plex. I copy large files across the local network fairly often and I'd like to explore increasing the copy speed.

I like the idea of link aggregation on the router itself, so I have been considering routers with more than four ports (and of course two that support link aggregation) so I can get rid of the switch. I currently have about six wired devices connected to the router and switch (with many more down the line elsewhere in the house on another switch or two).

Several of the new AX routers have 2.5, 5, or 10 gigabit ports, but they are so expensive because they are so new and AX hasn't been finalized, so I'm looking at older routers like the Netgear X10 R9000. You can find them on the used market for under $200 and I could easily sell my R7800 and/or RT-AC86U to make up the costs.

However, the R9000 has an SFP+ port that does 10 gigabit, but from what I have read, 10GBASE-T might be better. (I'm aware either way I will have to get new network cards, cables, etc.) I was also thinking, since it is not far from the router to the TV, I could use the 802.11ad wireless support on the R9000 to the Plex box.

I don't really want to buy an AX router right now, so the quandary is do I keep what I have and trudge along with the slower speeds or is the R9000 worth it at sub-$200 plus the costs of upgrading other parts of my home network? I see a lot of complaints about wireless disconnects with the R9000 and my RT-AC86U does not have that issue, so that is a concern, plus I would have to run stock or Voxel instead of Merlin.

I'm also thinking about leaving the router in place and getting something like a Netgear GS110MX or GS110EMX and connecting the FreeNAS and Plex boxes through the 10G ports.

I'm very interested in your opinions, and thanks in advance!
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Occasional Visitor
If it were me I’d hold off on purchasing anything AX until the standard is adopted. The old technology adage of you never want to be the first and you never want to be last.

Only if you have a NAS and you are moving huge files daily would you see benefit in moving up to 2.5g or higher Ethernet. As an example 4K streaming takes less than 50mbps of bandwidth.

802.11ad has very limited support and unfortunately is mostly dead.

Pretty much everyone on this forum loves hardware upgrades - but right now you have two top of the line AC consumer routers. They are comparable even to the upgraded processors on the new AX routers when you look at the review article on this site. I’d hold on what you got - the AX routers next year will be better and more affordable. I’d try Kong’s dd-wrt for your 7800 if you need a more capable firmware. Rock solid.


Regular Contributor
Thanks for your input, ACwifiguy.

I do have a NAS but I wouldn't necessarily say I move huge files daily nor do I do a lot of 4K streaming. This is just a hobby and sounds like something fun to do.

I agree, 802.11ad is a niche technology and it's difficult to find even used equipment on eBay. I think the best way to go would be to put 10Gb into the machines I do the most moving of files on, then eventually into my workstation. My plan right now is to have 10Gb on the NAS box and the Plex machine to start.

I did try Kong's OpenWrt on the R7800 and it was really slick although I had some unexplained slowness in the UI. It also has a bunch of features included I don't want or need, so I had to spend some time uninstalling fluff kinda like when you get a new laptop from Best Buy. I don't care for DD-WRT at all any more.

I got an 'open box' (but otherwise brand new looking) R9000 on eBay yesterday for $180. I plan on comparing it against what I have and either 1) sell something I'm not using, 2) keep it for backup, or 3) use it to extend my network. The R9000 has an SFP+ port so I am researching SFP+ hardware. You can get an Intel network card, transceiver, and cable for under $100 right now and there is (or what I think is) a nice new SFP+ switch for $130 on Amazon. I'm holding off until I evaluate the R9000 before I invest more.


Regular Contributor
I migrated from Netgear R7800 to Asus RT86U because Netgear is known to publish the half baked router firmwares and each subsequent Firmware update ensures that the stability of your internet becomes worse.
I won't recommend a Netgear router but if you still want to buy Netgear then R9000 with Voxel FW is a good choice. Otherwise, try Ubiquiti Edgerouter X :D.


Regular Contributor
Yup, thanks, the first thing I will do after verifying it works is install Voxel. My R7800 and the R7000 before that were good routers, in spite of the firmware. :)

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