need a new wifi router - old tech. vs. new?

airgap

Regular Contributor
Hi everybody,

it's been a long time since I was here and posted something on this forum :) nice to be back and I need your help in chosing a good wifi router for me.

I had over a year ago two ASUS RT-AX86U routers which were damn fine peaces of hardware but I sold them (for a very good price then) because I had changed my ISP and got 10G fiber internet :p

Now I changed (they wanted to charge more after the promo year) to some other ISP and I am back with 1G fiber internet connection speed which is fine and fully enough to be honest. 10G was very fun though ;)

So I need now a good router (the one shipped by the ISP is standard restricted useless nooby router) and I am quiet not sure if I should buy just two routers for perfect match or just a router and an extender/bridge but let me explain my setup and use-case:

- 2.4GHz WiFi is not needed. I don't use it all my devices are setup to use 5GHz.
- possible concurrent devices use WiFi: 3-4 but that's the rare case mostly 1-2 devices
- the WiFi coverage is in general good because from the living room to my other room there is a walk distance of probably max ~10ft ( ~3m)
- my main computer has no WiFi connection only LAN so I need either another router (in bridge) or a repeater/extender with LAN port.
- of course gaming involved with my main computer - so latency is important in that regard but also normal tasks for home-office work etc.

And now here some questions which are in my mind:
- do I really need 802ax or is the old 802ac enough?
- probably something which should a good invest in the future?
- tri band (is there four band?) router or dual band enough? As far as I know and understand tri-band is most cases king but in my case too?
- 3x3 or 4x4 mimo?
- 80MHz or 160MHz? well my devices (like my laptops) are fully compatible and I don't have a lot of neighbours who interfere on 5GHz

Amount of money to throw out of the window: max 300

So everyone is aware that in few weeks is blackfriday and cybermonday and probably best time to catch a good device but I truely can't figure out if some old used device (which are cheaper today) could be fully enough for me?
For example the old Nighthawk X4s would it be a good choice for me even though it's old and has no AX support but I could buy 2 of them used for 150 - 200 or should I invest in something like ASUS RT-AX92U which seems to be good?

ATTENTION: Before you just randomly making suggestions please let me say that I appreciate "opinions" and they are ok, but opinions are like exit-holes and everyone got one so it would be very helpfull if your suggestions are based on facts due to your own measurements (which you could provide) or reviews and benchmarks (with links to those) etc. - that would help me a lot more than "I like XYZ. It's awesome"

Now ladies and gentleman your turn :) help me out


Oh btw: I am not bound to a specific brand. I had good experience with ASUS and Netgear but I am also open to others.
 

Christos

Regular Contributor
Since you don't have a lot of neighbours who interfere on 5GHz, 802ac would be a good choice.
it is cheap and stable/mature at this moment.
"Possible concurrent devices use WiFi: 3-4 but that's the rare case mostly 1-2 devices". Then 2x2 or 3x3 would be fine.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I had over a year ago two ASUS RT-AX86U

Get two AX86S routers on sale around holidays. They come down to $150 from time to time. Good for Gigabit ISP, the same ARMv8 + AES CPU cores, the same radios, run the same firmware. Supported by Asuswrt-Merlin. You'll get the same Wi-Fi performance for less.

should I invest in something like ASUS RT-AX92U

No. Old router with no firmware update from Jan 2022 and history of firmware issues. Perhaps will be discontinued soon. Often comes on sale or liquidation price for that reason. Not popular and no Asuswrt-Merlin support. Recently supported by GNuton's Asuswrt-Merlin fork.
 

airgap

Regular Contributor
@Christos
Thank you but do you have also recommendations?




Get two AX86S routers on sale around holidays.
I did some research what the differences are and the "S"-Version it's in some way inferior to the "U"-Verson which would explain the price difference:
The S has:
- dual core
- only 512MB RAM
- no 2.5Gbit port
- only 1x USB 3.0 port

Do you consider that these differences as minor?




No. Old router with no firmware update from Jan 2022 and history of firmware issues. Perhaps will be discontinued soon. Often comes on sale or liquidation price for that reason. Not popular and no Asuswrt-Merlin support.
Very good and valid point. Agree fully on that. Thanks for the reminder.
 

jsz

Senior Member
CPU/RAM isn't that big of a deal unless you "need it". 1x 3.0 port is standard for next gen/future ASUS hardware.

2.5G port is the only thing you should really be concerned about.

- 3x3 or 4x4 mimo?
- 80MHz or 160MHz? well my devices (like my laptops) are fully compatible and I don't have a lot of neighbours who interfere on 5GHz
4x4 should be standard "high end" for 5G. Penetrates walls better. Doesn't matter than much for 2.4G, though 4x4 is generally better for the obvious.

80mhz or 160mhz doesn't matter at distance. Complete non factor.

If the ASUS router automatically puts you in UNII-3, You're on 80mhz bonding regardless. UNII-1+ extended 160mhz works, but SNR degrades around 3dB, 36-48 is usually crowded by local interference... which makes it a moot factor. 160mhz is valid if youre close to router obviously... but then why not just wire at that point? :)


If you want to be super cheap a GT-AC2900 will do the job @ $100 on sale. I recently returned a GT-AX6000 because it didn't penetrate walls that well. (Same case for the AX86U).

In terms of line of sight, GT-AX6000 is prob the best router on the market, but it was only 50-75mbps higher speed (via AX200 @ preferred locations) on average vs my old GT-AC2900 due to my home/walls/local inteference. YMMV.
 
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Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Do you consider that these differences as minor?

It's a different model router. It depends on what you are going to be using it for. Up to Gigabit ISP, one VPN server/client, not many custom scripts in Asuswrt-Merlin - both routers will perform the same. USB attached storage as NAS is not recommended - don't worry about the USB ports.

80mhz or 160mhz doesn't matter at distance. Complete non factor.

It does matter. 160MHz wide channel has shorter range and less wall penetration.
 

airgap

Regular Contributor
160mhz is valid if youre close to router obviously... but then why not just wire at that point?
Because I don't want to have a cable on the floor running from one room to the other :) - that's the reason why I am here.


inst6ead of getting a 2nd unit for the PC why not add WIFI to it for $30+ either PCIE / USB and go wireless?
That is not a bad idea and it would allow me to put a bit more money in to the main router.


It does matter. 160MHz wide channel has shorter range and less wall penetration.
If the doors are open is this affecting the 160MHz? How short is short?
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
How short is short?

I would say at least 3dBm short. I don't know what distance it translates to in your environment. If DFS channels needed for 160MHz are disrupted regularly by radar transmissions in your area, you better stick to 80MHz wide in non-DFS range. You have to decide what do you want - speed or stability.

If the doors are open is this affecting the 160MHz?

Really? :rolleyes:
What about a fan blowing the signal towards the clients?
 

Christos

Regular Contributor
- of course gaming involved with my main computer - so latency is important in that regard but also normal tasks for home-office work etc.

I would put latency as the requirement with the highest priority, because of the gaming and home-office work.
So you may need a router that supports FQ_Codel quality of service.

My suggestions are 2:

a) seperate router from wifi. Get a pfsense appliance (starting from 190$) or a mini pc with Intel ethernet ports and install pfsense+ (free for home use and will get updates for many years). Connect any 5Ghz wifi access point on it. I have used the Aruba instant On and they are very stable.

b) The Amazon eero PRO line supports fq_codel, they call it SQM in app abd they are stable for home-office work.
 

airgap

Regular Contributor
I would put latency as the requirement with the highest priority, because of the gaming and home-office work.
So you may need a router that supports FQ_Codel quality of service.
Thank you. Well I have to do research von FQ_Codel first but sounds good at the first glance and I never heard about those EERO devices - interesting! :)
 

Clark Griswald

Very Senior Member
Really? :rolleyes:
What about a fan blowing the signal towards the clients?
Do ceiling fans aid in the distribution of wireless signal? Asking for a friend.
Sorry I'm late to the topic, but the mechanic told me someone put metric air into my standard tires, so there goes $50 getting the proper air into my tires at $10/tire I'm not foolish enough to forget the spare tire. So, what did i miss?
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Do ceiling fans aid in the distribution of wireless signal? Asking for a friend.

@Tech9 is always here to help. As usual, I need more information to provide the right answer. Ask your friend if the ceiling fan is blowing towards the ceiling or towards the floor. The vortices created are different and greatly affect the performance.

Sorry I'm late to the topic, but the mechanic told me someone put metric air into my standard tires

Your mechanic is shi**ing you. Car tires are compatible with both metric and imperial air. Have you seen car tire markings? 225(mm)/60(%) R17(inches). Metric air sticks more to the tire, imperial air sticks more to the rim. It doesn't make a big difference.

So, what did i miss?

The fact metric is the standard adopted worldwide.
 
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Clark Griswald

Very Senior Member
@airgap
I have been recommending the GT-AX6000. I've had zero issues with the performance of router. As you stated, Black Friday sales are near, so hopefully you can find at your $300 expense limit.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
2x AX86S will serve Wi-Fi clients better than 1x GT-AX6000 for about the same price. There is no future proofing with home routers. Get what you need now up to your budget, upgrade when needed with newer models. The routers you get today will be old after few years and some may lose support.
 

jsz

Senior Member
It's a different model router. It depends on what you are going to be using it for. Up to Gigabit ISP, one VPN server/client, not many custom scripts in Asuswrt-Merlin - both routers will perform the same. USB attached storage as NAS is not recommended - don't worry about the USB ports.



It does matter. 160MHz wide channel has shorter range and less wall penetration.

Of course, hence why I said @ distance.

It's only valid in short range (<15FT) and or LoS but at point, you can just wire for a superior connection. :)

3dB signal loss.. if 36-48 is crowded locally, ASUS router will "auto" force you into unii-3 regardless.. which is a 80mhz wide channel block.

UNII-4 won't be valid either (160mhz wise) as it requires Firmware/SW updates on clients that only support UNII3 at the top end of 5Ghz. Router itself would have to be rectified via FCC like XT8 was.

2x AX86S will serve Wi-Fi clients better than 1x GT-AX6000 for about the same price. There is no future proofing with home routers. Get what you need now up to your budget, upgrade when needed with newer models. The routers you get today will be old after few years and some may lose support.
Or 2x GT-AC2900's in the low $100 area if they go on sale black friday... Even cheaper.. I haven't see AX86S below $170 personally.
 
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