Purchase Help - GT-AX11000 or two RT-AX86U?

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achugh

New Around Here
I need you opinion to decide if I should go with two RT-AX86U or one GT-AX11000. Here is what I am trying to achieve as well as what I have already.

I have two (2) RT-AC86U. One RT-AC86U is connected to my ISP router which currently provides 60Mbps download and 12.5 Mbps upload speed. My second RT-AC86U is connected to this router in Bridge Media mode in my living room where I have my AVR, Blu-Ray Player, TV and my DISH Hopper 3 connected to the LAN ports. This 2nd router is connected to main router over 2.4GHz band. All my wireless devices use the 5Ghz band directly from the main RT-AC86U router and I have about 30 devices total. I currently DO NOT have any IoT devices so I am connecting, laptops, iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, Samsung TV, Nintendo SWITCH via 5Ghz wireless band. I also have SONOS PLAY 5 (four of them) that are connected to the main router. As some of you may already know SONOS uses 2.4 Ghz band. All of this setup is working properly with no issues. I have a two story (level) house with about 3000 SQ FT of total area between these two floors. No one in the house is a gamer and we usually play games in the local mode (no online gaming). While we do have Nintendo SWITCH, I wanted to call this out as my needs are not for gaming. With pandemic and everyone working from home, I have "WORK FROM HOME" QoS selected on the main RT-AC86U.

My challenge right now is that when I try to join Google Meet meetings for my office work, I do not have a good audio/video experience. I join Google Meet via MacBook Pro 2020 model using Google Chrome browser. This is the setup recommended by our IT team. There is no VPN running on the MacBook or on any device. I also joined a new company. My previous company provided me a DELL Laptop and wanted me to be on VPN all the time. They were also using Microsoft Teams. I had no issues previously. When I was with my old company, a speedtest over VPN would give me 10 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up but everything would work flawlessly. With the new company I am not sure why I do not have a better connection when my speed is much more and nothing in my WiFi setup has changed.

Over this holiday season, I have upgrade my iPhones and now have iPhone 12 Pro Max. These iPhones comes with WiFi 6 (or AX) capabilities. My company provided 2020 MacBook (intel based) which is still only AC (or WiFi5). Currently nothing other than iPhone 12 Pro MAX has AX connection abilities. Everything else is AC (WiFi 5) or N (WiFi 4) only.

In order to setup a dedicated WiFi antenna or connection to my office MacBook Pro, I am split between replacing my main AC86U router to GT-AX11000 or getting two (2) RT-AX86U routers.

Here is my understanding of these two routers.

PROs of GT-AX11000
  • Less space used on the desk compared to putting two (2) RT-AX86U.
  • Retail price is about $50 cheaper. AX11000 is $449 and AX86U is $249 * 2 = $500 (for the price of two)
CONs of GT-AX11000
  • Lots of reports that 5Ghz-1 antenna has much less reach (or low signal strength) than 5Ghz-2 antenna. Basically 5Ghz-2 has higher priority and is recommended for gaming or anything that needs priority.
  • I get 4 TX and 4 RX steams on 2.4Ghz band and a total of 8 TX and 8 RX steams over the two 5 Ghz band.
  • While I do not use ASUS MERLIN, since this is a ROG version there is currently no roadmap for supporting MERLIN.
  • Because it is so much more expensive, it depreciates faster and most people do not like to spend a lot when buying a used device. My RT-AC86U currently in use were purchased for $199 each back in 2017 and they are now retailing for $169 new. Not much depreciation happening on the 86U series. Whereas 5300 series (previous to this 11000 series) has depreciated considerable more due to its very high price point to begin with.
PROs of getting two RT-AX86U
I will be connecting one RT-AX86U to my ISP router and connecting the second RT-AX86U to the LAN port of the main router which is then connected to ISP router using an ethernet cable. This is an equivalent to creating 11000 router but technically I think it is much better as given below per my understanding.
  • I get 6 TX and 6 RX steams on 2.4Ghz band (3 TX and 3 RX stream from each of the 2.4Ghz band of the AX86U routers) and a total of 8 TX and 8RX steams over the two 5 Ghz band (4 TX and 4 RX stream from each of the 5Ghz band of the AX86U routers).
    • Basically I am gaining 2 TX and 2 RX stream over the 2.4Ghz. Also both the 5Ghz band run at full speed instead of one 5Ghz band being crippled to give priority to the other band.
    • I do understand that it will be best for me to set the channels and band manually so that there is less signal hunting and band selection as these two routers will be pretty close to each other.
  • If any of the router runs into a trouble I will still have a working other router instead of my whole network being completely down if I go with one GT-AX11000.
  • I will have a less depreciation happening on these models and it will give me a better or cheaper upgrade path.
  • I now get 8 LAN ports (4 each on AX86U) instead of 4 LAN ports on GT-AX11000, although I don't need even four but it is a good to know for someone else trying to replicate this setup.
  • I also get 4 USB ports (2 each on AX86U) instead of just 2 USB ports on GT-AX11000.
  • Both these routers are RT so they will have MERLIN support.
  • When the time comes to upgrade, I can only replace one of the RT-AX86U to bring in WiFi 6E with 6Ghz band instead of replacing the whole GT-AX11000. Who know for how long 2.4Ghz will be available on dual band routers.
CONs of getting two RT-AX86U
  • When it comes to setting up QoS I still don't understand or know what do I need to do on the 2nd RT-AX86U which is LAN connected to main RT-AX86U (this main RT-AX86U is connected to the ISP router).
    • I know I will be setting QoS on the main RT-AX86U but I don't know if I need to do anything on the 2nd RT-AX86U or not. I am assuming I do not need to touch 2nd RT-AX86U.
  • This setup is $50 more expensive to gain 4 additional LAN ports, 2 additional USB ports and 2 additional TX and RX streams over 2.4Ghz but more important is a fully working 2nd 5Ghz band.

STILL DON'T KNOW
  • Will it solve my problems with better audio/video conferencing issues.
  • Should I set my 2nd RT-AX86U which is LAN connected to my main RT-AX86U as another Access Point (AP) or something else like AiMesh with ethernet backhaul as they will be sitting close by to run an ethernet cable.
    • I will still be using my living room RT-AC86U as a media bridge connected to the new main router RT-AX86U).
    • The current main router RT-AC86U that will free up, I am thinking I will try to make that as a media bridge and see if I connect my MacBook Pro via ethernet to it. Will it give me a better connection over the built-in MacBook 2020 AC adapter? I am assuming the ASUS to ASUS communication can use the 1024QAM which should give me better connection over the built-in adapter but I need to see if my theory even works.
YOUR OPINION
  • For anyone considering GT-AX11000 should they also consider two RT-AX86U as I explained above. No online sites provides review even talk about what I am thinking so I am nervous. What do you all think about it?
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I need you opinion to decide if I should go with two RT-AX86U or one GT-AX11000. Here is what I am trying to achieve as well as what I have already.

I have two (2) RT-AC86U. One RT-AC86U is connected to my ISP router which currently provides 60Mbps download and 12.5 Mbps upload speed. My second RT-AC86U is connected to this router in Bridge Media mode in my living room where I have my AVR, Blu-Ray Player, TV and my DISH Hopper 3 connected to the LAN ports. This 2nd router is connected to main router over 2.4GHz band. All my wireless devices use the 5Ghz band directly from the main RT-AC86U router and I have about 30 devices total. I currently DO NOT have any IoT devices so I am connecting, laptops, iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, Samsung TV, Nintendo SWITCH via 5Ghz wireless band. I also have SONOS PLAY 5 (four of them) that are connected to the main router. As some of you may already know SONOS uses 2.4 Ghz band. All of this setup is working properly with no issues. I have a two story (level) house with about 3000 SQ FT of total area between these two floors. No one in the house is a gamer and we usually play games in the local mode (no online gaming). While we do have Nintendo SWITCH, I wanted to call this out as my needs are not for gaming. With pandemic and everyone working from home, I have "WORK FROM HOME" QoS selected on the main RT-AC86U.

My challenge right now is that when I try to join Google Meet meetings for my office work, I do not have a good audio/video experience. I join Google Meet via MacBook Pro 2020 model using Google Chrome browser. This is the setup recommended by our IT team. There is no VPN running on the MacBook or on any device. I also joined a new company. My previous company provided me a DELL Laptop and wanted me to be on VPN all the time. They were also using Microsoft Teams. I had no issues previously. When I was with my old company, a speedtest over VPN would give me 10 Mbps down and 1 Mbps up but everything would work flawlessly. With the new company I am not sure why I do not have a better connection when my speed is much more and nothing in my WiFi setup has changed.

Over this holiday season, I have upgrade my iPhones and now have iPhone 12 Pro Max. These iPhones comes with WiFi 6 (or AX) capabilities. My company provided 2020 MacBook (intel based) which is still only AC (or WiFi5). Currently nothing other than iPhone 12 Pro MAX has AX connection abilities. Everything else is AC (WiFi 5) or N (WiFi 4) only.

In order to setup a dedicated WiFi antenna or connection to my office MacBook Pro, I am split between replacing my main AC86U router to GT-AX11000 or getting two (2) RT-AX86U routers.

Here is my understanding of these two routers.

PROs of GT-AX11000
  • Less space used on the desk compared to putting two (2) RT-AX86U.
  • Retail price is about $50 cheaper. AX11000 is $449 and AX86U is $249 * 2 = $500 (for the price of two)
CONs of GT-AX11000
  • Lots of reports that 5Ghz-1 antenna has much less reach (or low signal strength) than 5Ghz-2 antenna. Basically 5Ghz-2 has higher priority and is recommended for gaming or anything that needs priority.
  • I get 4 TX and 4 RX steams on 2.4Ghz band and a total of 8 TX and 8 RX steams over the two 5 Ghz band.
  • While I do not use ASUS MERLIN, since this is a ROG version there is currently no roadmap for supporting MERLIN.
  • Because it is so much more expensive, it depreciates faster and most people do not like to spend a lot when buying a used device. My RT-AC86U currently in use were purchased for $199 each back in 2017 and they are now retailing for $169 new. Not much depreciation happening on the 86U series. Whereas 5300 series (previous to this 11000 series) has depreciated considerable more due to its very high price point to begin with.
PROs of getting two RT-AX86U
I will be connecting one RT-AX86U to my ISP router and connecting the second RT-AX86U to the LAN port of the main router which is then connected to ISP router using an ethernet cable. This is an equivalent to creating 11000 router but technically I think it is much better as given below per my understanding.
  • I get 6 TX and 6 RX steams on 2.4Ghz band (3 TX and 3 RX stream from each of the 2.4Ghz band of the AX86U routers) and a total of 8 TX and 8RX steams over the two 5 Ghz band (4 TX and 4 RX stream from each of the 5Ghz band of the AX86U routers).
    • Basically I am gaining 2 TX and 2 RX stream over the 2.4Ghz. Also both the 5Ghz band run at full speed instead of one 5Ghz band being crippled to give priority to the other band.
    • I do understand that it will be best for me to set the channels and band manually so that there is less signal hunting and band selection as these two routers will be pretty close to each other.
  • If any of the router runs into a trouble I will still have a working other router instead of my whole network being completely down if I go with one GT-AX11000.
  • I will have a less depreciation happening on these models and it will give me a better or cheaper upgrade path.
  • I now get 8 LAN ports (4 each on AX86U) instead of 4 LAN ports on GT-AX11000, although I don't need even four but it is a good to know for someone else trying to replicate this setup.
  • I also get 4 USB ports (2 each on AX86U) instead of just 2 USB ports on GT-AX11000.
  • Both these routers are RT so they will have MERLIN support.
  • When the time comes to upgrade, I can only replace one of the RT-AX86U to bring in WiFi 6E with 6Ghz band instead of replacing the whole GT-AX11000. Who know for how long 2.4Ghz will be available on dual band routers.
CONs of getting two RT-AX86U
  • When it comes to setting up QoS I still don't understand or know what do I need to do on the 2nd RT-AX86U which is LAN connected to main RT-AX86U (this main RT-AX86U is connected to the ISP router).
    • I know I will be setting QoS on the main RT-AX86U but I don't know if I need to do anything on the 2nd RT-AX86U or not. I am assuming I do not need to touch 2nd RT-AX86U.
  • This setup is $50 more expensive to gain 4 additional LAN ports, 2 additional USB ports and 2 additional TX and RX streams over 2.4Ghz but more important is a fully working 2nd 5Ghz band.

STILL DON'T KNOW
  • Will it solve my problems with better audio/video conferencing issues.
  • Should I set my 2nd RT-AX86U which is LAN connected to my main RT-AX86U as another Access Point (AP) or something else like AiMesh with ethernet backhaul as they will be sitting close by to run an ethernet cable.
    • I will still be using my living room RT-AC86U as a media bridge connected to the new main router RT-AX86U).
    • The current main router RT-AC86U that will free up, I am thinking I will try to make that as a media bridge and see if I connect my MacBook Pro via ethernet to it. Will it give me a better connection over the built-in MacBook 2020 AC adapter? I am assuming the ASUS to ASUS communication can use the 1024QAM which should give me better connection over the built-in adapter but I need to see if my theory even works.
YOUR OPINION
  • For anyone considering GT-AX11000 should they also consider two RT-AX86U as I explained above. No online sites provides review even talk about what I am thinking so I am nervous. What do you all think about it?

The AC86Us ought to be able to do the job, and the red webUI in the GT routers is atrocious, so I'd keep my money and fix the current issue.

Is the ISP box a modem/router gateway? Is it in Bridge Mode? Is the AC86U router double-NATed?

Have you tried disabling QoS in the AC86U?

Does you MAC connection give you any status info like link rate? What do you get for speedtest.net from you MAC location?

Does Google Meet work in the MAC browser?

OE
 

achugh

New Around Here
The AC86Us ought to be able to do the job, and the red webUI in the GT routers is atrocious, so I'd keep my money and fix the current issue.

Is the ISP box a modem/router gateway? Is it in Bridge Mode? Is the AC86U router double-NATed?

Have you tried disabling QoS in the AC86U?

Does you MAC connection give you any status info like link rate? What do you get for speedtest.net from you MAC location?

Does Google Meet work in the MAC browser?

OE
OE,

The ISP is a MODEM with a WiFi Router. I have the WiFi Disabled as I have my AC86U WAN connected to the LAN input on ISP modem using ethernet cable. Currently the ISP modem is NOT in bridge mode. So, yes the actual laptops and my devices are double NAT'ed (once by AC86U and then AC86U is NAT'ed by ISP Modem).

No, I have not tried disabling QoS. Let me try that first and see is that helps.

Yes, the MAC provides the following information. I have removed the MAC address and BSSID information but that was given as well.

Card Type: AirPort Extreme (0x14E4, 0x7BF)
Firmware Version: wl0: Oct 28 2020 14:13:29 version 9.30.357.42.32.5.48 FWID 01-767f6cce
Locale: FCC
Country Code: US
Supported PHY Modes: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Supported Channels: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 64, 100, 104, 108, 112, 116, 120, 124, 128, 132, 136, 140, 144, 149, 153, 157, 161, 165
Wake On Wireless: Supported
AirDrop: Supported
AirDrop Channel: 149
Auto Unlock: Supported
Status: Connected
Current Network Information:

PHY Mode: 802.11ac
Channel: 44
Country Code: US
Network Type: Infrastructure
Security: WPA2 Personal
Signal / Noise: -53 dBm / -92 dBm
Transmit Rate: 1170
MCS Index: 8

The SPEEDTEST.NET is reporting about 60Mbps down, about 12.5 Mbps up and about 20ms ping.

What do you mean by "MAC Browser"? Do you mean Safari? I have not tried it in any other browser other than Chrome as recommended by our IT team. Plus Google Meet being a Google product, I would expect it to work best in Google Chrome as they are from the same company. Also Google Chrome being the dominant browser these days, everything gets tested in Chrome first.

-achugh
 

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