Need more Wifi Range / Speed Asus AX88 vs AX86u

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Julianc92

New Around Here
Hi All,

First post here as I need some help.

So in my apartment where I live I currently have an Asus AC1200g+ which has been going on for around 4 years and has been great. The issue is that we are starting to stream content all around the apartment and some devices do not support 5ghz. The apartment is around 140 sqm (1500square feet), the 2.4ghz band is being congested at times and also randomly disconnecting and re-connecting all devices which is becoming annoying.

I am looking into upgrading the router for it to be able to handle more speed and I am in doubt between 2 routers.

The AX86u is the very modern one which I can get for around €300 and from what I heard has good coverage and speed.

The AX88 is an older router and I read that it was released before all this Wifi 6 stuff, I can also get this for around €300 as its on sale.

Which router would you suggest to go for and why? Current setup is that we use 2.4ghz and 5ghz bands heavily and the area is FULL of 2.4ghz. I am upgrading to Wifi 6 as in the coming year or 2 max all our devices SHOULD be Wifi 6 capable and would like to buy 1 and keep the same router.

My main concern is which would be suited best for a thick concrete wall apartment that can handle Wifi Coverage best and is capable of giving out good speeds.

Thank you very much!
 

GHammer

Senior Member
If the AX86U upholds the performance of the AC86U then it would be my pick.
As it has only just been released there are not many with actual usage experience.
Your best bet would be to get some technical reviews that have signal strength and compare those with the older 86U.
If they are comparable, then were it me, the AX86 would be the one I'd get.
In fact, when they are available for me to buy, I intend to get an AX86 because of how well the AC86 has performed for me.
 

heysoundude

Very Senior Member
Just as the AC88 preceded the AC86, so too did the AX88 precede the AX86; it's therefore safe to assume support timelines for the different models will be similar.
in terms of comparing AC86 to AX86, the AX variant has 2x the processors and RAM. What nobody seems to have an answer to is if the radios in the AX are firmware-upgradable to the upcoming WiFi6e spec that will shortly supersede WiFi6.
For that reason, I would advise staying with what is proven for the time being - the AC86. Save your money for a future upgrade, once the market sorts itself out and you have more WiFi6e capable devices.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Before looking into new routers, tell us more about your network first.

How many devices are connected to WiFi in total? Are they all 5GHz capable, if not, how many are not?

What are your ISP speeds, up/down?

When things become unstable, how many devices total are accessing the internet? How many wired? Wireless? On which band are the most clients on?
 

Julianc92

New Around Here
Before looking into new routers, tell us more about your network first.

How many devices are connected to WiFi in total? Are they all 5GHz capable, if not, how many are not?

What are your ISP speeds, up/down?

When things become unstable, how many devices total are accessing the internet? How many wired? Wireless? On which band are the most clients on?

So first of all my ISP supplies me with a 250/15 connection.

As for devices connected we would have around around 6 devices on the 2.4 band of which at least 2 of them would be streaming in 1080p quality and the other 4 just browsing / facebook etc. Hiccups in the 2.4ghz band happen all the time even if just 1 device is connected but it would happen very rarely. As soon as 2 devices start streaming the hiccups start showing more.

The 5ghz band does not suffer any issues at all so this is not an issue.

From my investigations what we require is a little more bandwith on the 2.4ghz band and also more coverage would be very nice.

One thing which is a main concern is I am aware that routers would be limited on TX power by the law, so what makes a router be classed as medium home to very large home? Is it just the antenna as they are all omni directional.

Thanks once again!
 

1ceLaz0r

Regular Contributor
in terms of comparing AC86 to AX86, the AX variant has 2x the processors and RAM. What nobody seems to have an answer to is if the radios in the AX are firmware-upgradable to the upcoming WiFi6e spec that will shortly supersede WiFi6.

THey are not, you cannot "firmware upgrade" a 6 router to 6E, that requires different silicon. And I have a ax86U
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
@Julianc92 I guess we can't move any of those 2.4GHz clients to the 5GHz band then? Even so, we should still be experiencing a more stable connection. The ISP speeds seem high enough to exceed the demands placed on them. On a wired connection (or, on the 5GHz band) can you confirm you can hit your ISP speeds at speedtest.net and/or fast.com?

Moving to the 2.4GHz band. What options do you have enabled on it? First, is it on 20MHz width? Secondly, and more importantly, is it on a fixed channel (1, 6, or 11)?

Change your settings to one of those channels and 20MHz bandwidth and reboot the router and test.

There may be other settings we can adjust/optimize. Post a screenshot to help stop the guessing on our part.

Some 'guesses' of what other settings to check/change for the 2.4GHz Band; Universal/Explicit Beamforming (turn off), Wireless Mode (should be set to Auto), Hide SSID (No, it should be visible), Roaming Assistant (Disable), Airtime Fairness (Disable).


While the RT-AC1200G+ is only a 2x2:2 router on both the 2.4GHz and the 5GHz Bands, it should be able to handle your current demands.


An upgraded router to consider (if required) would be either an RT-AC66U_B1 which has a 3x3:3 2.4GHz output, or something equivalent to the RT-AC3100 which has 4x4:4 2.4GHz output.


But even before considering a new router, I would suggest following the steps in the link below to know if it is the router hardware that is the issue here and not a configuration issue.



HTH.
 

Julianc92

New Around Here
@L&LD Even though my ISP Speeds are enough we need to factor that the 2.4 band only is giving me a maximum of 70mbps standing next to the router around a room and a half away this is around 20ish.

I have tested all channels 1,6,9,11 doesnt make much of a difference the reason I am on channel 9 currently is that in my area its the least used channel. I was set on 20/40mhz and had set it to 20 didnt see any difference either.

Firmware Version:3.0.0.4.382_52272


1598348406061.png

1598348294792.png


Thank you for all your help :)

@1ceLaz0r How do you find the ax86u? what did you have before and any improvements?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
These are what I would change to begin testing for improvements.

Change these all at once and reboot the router, wait 10 minutes for it to settle, then begin testing.
  1. SSID - Change to an eight-character, alphanumeric name, no spaces, no punctuation, no special characters, no smiley faces.
    1. If you have Guest Network available on this router, use it instead to test with to not interrupt the main WiFi clients.
  2. Wireless Mode - Change to Auto.
    1. No reason to change this if you want the most responsive, highest performance, and most compatible mode possible.
  3. Control Channel - Change to 1.
    1. Using in between channels only makes your network a slave to AP's from both the lower and higher standard control channels (1, 6, or 11).
  4. WPA2 - AES - if your devices can handle it.
  5. Preamble Type - Change to Short.
  6. Airtime Fairness - Change to Disable.
You may want to give your new settings some time before changing them again. This gives the surrounding AP's a chance to move off your new Control Channel and let you experience the fastest speeds possible in your WiFi environment. A day or two isn't unreasonable to wait if you can be that patient.

Take good notes while on each channel and after a few days, you should be able to decide which Control Channel is working best for you. Forget about maximum speeds on the 2.4GHz Band in a congested space. You're just looking for a responsive connection and your fair share of the time-slices available to support your devices' usage needs.

After at least a few hours or ideally a couple of days, change the Control Channel to 6, reboot the router, and continue testing and making notes. Repeat for Control Channel 11 and continue taking good notes.

At the end of the testing, compare all your notes, and choose the most stable Control Channel with your devices, which should also be the one with the most responsive web browsing experience too. Don't rely too much on the maximum up/down speeds that can be achieved if the first two points are strong.

Btw, the RT-AX86U is several orders higher than your router. It will be a huge improvement to your network. But for 2.4GHz mode, the RT-AC3100 may be better still. Not that I would suggest buying this model today. I would rather get new client devices instead. :)
 

Julianc92

New Around Here
@L&LD WOW thanks so much! Yes I will definitely try these options which you have mentioned and I will get back to you in a few days to let you know how it went.

Thank you again!
 

heysoundude

Very Senior Member
another something to confirm/change, as well as the config suggestions from @L&LD: Is that the most current Asus firmware for your router? (shouldn't there be a 384.xxxx version?)
 

ATLga

Senior Member
another something to confirm/change, as well as the config suggestions from @L&LD: Is that the most current Asus firmware for your router? (shouldn't there be a 384.xxxx version?)
382.52272 from June 29th 2020 is the latest for the ac1200g+
 

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