replacement to RT-AC88U

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mekabe remain

Regular Contributor
My RT-AC88U seems dead as I described in the following thread:

So, I need a replacement.
But I want to make sure Merlin firmware is available.

My choices seem like RT-AX88U and RT-AX86U
other supported models (AX56U , AX58U, AX68U) seem like a downgrade to AC88U.
Am I correct ? or should I consider them with lower price ?

There are also other models like AX89U in my country.
AX89U and AX88U both share the same alternative name (AX6000)
would that mean AX89U uses the same firmware ?

and I also found AX92U which is called AX6100 alternatively. But there is no compatible Merlin firmware , right ?

Another question:
I want to reach my static IP DHCP reservations and port forwarding rules.
I have a backup of my current config.
is it possible to get the DHCP reservations and port forwarding rules ?



Part of the Furniture
The RT-AX86U is the one I'd recommend, but you got the old gal running again!


Very Senior Member
some people need 2 or more AX80-series(88, 86...), some people need a single AX80-series and a number of AX50- or 60series AiMesh nodes. I could get by with an ac68 and consider my network complete until the client devices are predominantly wifi6/2.5G ethernet capable. I'd have to adjust my wifi tx settings to customise my wifi bubble from interfering any more than it already does with my neighbours...but that's why 5 GHz nodes are happening, and meshing is increasingly popular.

I'm finding in my case such an examination/audit lends itself to paying close attention to the devices intended to participate on the network and in what capacities, and what their capabilities are.
I'm also finding that where the devices are used, and HOW they use bandwidth (LAN, WAN and WLAN) are particularly crucial to determining network architecture/topology.
for instance, all of the devices on mine (single AC86) are 5GHz capable, but some experience issues connecting and staying connected to 5GHz due to building construction/current router placement; I can either move the router or add an AP/AiMesh node to solve that problem...that means recabling for wired clients.

you have to examine YOUR use case to determine which router(s) would make (a) suitable replacement(s).


Part of the Furniture
Then the RT-AX86U it is. :)


Part of the Furniture
Buy a $15 switch and peace of mind instead.

Do a 'Better search' on why the RT-AX86U is the best router today.


Occasional Visitor
why not AX88U but AX86 instead ?
I really need those additional 4 ports as I use them on my AC88U
Single 2.5Gbps port is better, you can easily add on a few extra gigabit ports for the cost of an 8 port switch (like $20/£25).

It's an upgrade I'm tempted with coming from my AC88U also.

The price tag might suggest the AX88U is better and superior but it's not when compared. AX88U beats it in nearly every category especially WiFi performance (both bands). I've installed it a few times for clients but running stock firmware.

No WTFast on AX86U but really.. who uses that lol. Makes ping worse for me, not many new titles and more of a gimmick imo.

Both do support Merlin. Good design but the ax88u is a beast in size like the ac88u.

Last edited:

mekabe remain

Regular Contributor
thanks for your replies.
But I am not in US and where I live I can find AX88U easily. For AX86U I have to make an international purchase and with additional tax it comes more expensive. And the delivery time is longer.
So , why are you against AX88U ?
I really don't need the 2.5G port.

Other than that they share the same CPU , same RAM , so what's wrong with AX88U ?


Part of the Furniture
The base code is not the same between the two.

The two year newer RT-AX86U is superior.

mekabe remain

Regular Contributor
ok then I'll go with the AX88U
I hope there'xs no major problem with it.
From L&LD's comments I see as if it has issues. I hope I get that wrong..


Very Senior Member
I don't see this person's comments, he/she is in my ignore list. Both routers share the same hardware platform and the performance is very similar.


Part of the Furniture
Don't listen to what @Tech9 writes about RMerlin supported routers. He doesn't use them.

The RT-AX88U and the RT-AX86U are two year apart designs. You decide which is the better router to buy today.

I've had all the routers I talk about and I make all the same routers work for my customers too. Anyone that listened and bought an RT-AX86U (even when they had an RT-AX88U, and sold), hasn't regretted it.

A few dollars for 4 more ports does not make a router. The internal chips, code, new hardware mods, and firmware all converge to give a better platform.

Buy both and send the lessor one back. I'm betting it will be the more expensive RT-AX88U you part with. :)


Part of the Furniture

mekabe remain

Regular Contributor
I understand you have a problem with @Tech9
I also understand you love the AX86U and that it has worked good for you and your customers.
But I really don't understand why you trying to make me change my decision about AX88U although I tell the reasons that make me prefer it.
Once again:
- it is easier for me to buy (cheaper & more quickly deliverable)
- I need the extra switch ports and I really don't want to supply power to another device (additional switch) , I already have 3 switches distributed around the house, but where I put the router, I don't want any more devices
- I don't need a 2.5Gb port

These 2 products share the same CPU and RAM. Maybe some parts of the hardware is different but I really doubt it would make a huge difference in performance.
You say that code and firewall are different but these are software. I really don't believe Asus is writing 2 different baseline code and firewall for each HW platform. The versions (minor) are labeled same. I believe most part of the code is identical.

Lastly, this comment:
"Buy both and send the lessor one back. I'm betting it will be the more expensive RT-AX88U you part with."
I am not living in US. It is not as easy to send back a router to the seller here. Besides I can't find AX86U locally.


Part of the Furniture
You're wrong on all counts. I have no issues with @Tech9, he does with me. My point stands on his non use of these routers.

The points you state 'for' the RT-AX88U are not enough reasons to buy it when the RT-AX86U is an option.

But I'm offering my observations and experiences on products I actually use. You buy what you think is best for you.

I may not be able to convey the underlying differences between the two routers as easily as someone else, but this is where you are greatly mistaken that the routers are 'otherwise the same'. They most definitely are not.

Spend a few minutes using 'Better search' if you don't want to believe me. My experience mirrors the observations of others on these forums too.


Very Senior Member
Besides I can't find AX86U locally.
YET is the missing key word to that statement.
Unless your upgrade is a "must happen now" situation (which it doesn't seem to be, having resurrected your ac88), you'll likely be happier if you can wait until the piece is locally available in your country.
the AX86 is the flagship..."86" and "68" models generally are, between generations. (There is something special about those model numbers in asus routers...6s and 8s doubled or in combination)
(Frankly, I think it will be supplanted by an ax86e when wifi 6e becomes the new thing...but that's only going to be a radio upgrade)

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