1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
Dismiss Notice

Welcome To SNBForums

SNBForums is a community for anyone who wants to learn about or discuss the latest in wireless routers, network storage and the ins and outs of building and maintaining a small network.

If you'd like to post a question, simply register and have at it!

While you're at it, please check out SmallNetBuilder for product reviews and our famous Router Charts, Ranker and plenty more!

Router choice?

Discussion in 'ASUSWRT - Official' started by DigitalFreedom, Jun 7, 2018.

  1. DigitalFreedom

    DigitalFreedom New Around Here

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    Hello,

    I am interested in the RT-AC68/86U or other models, in addition to Merlin firmware. After reading through forums a while, it seems many members lean towards the 86U.

    The the ability to use a VPN is nice, although never used one. The 86U has the edge in, processing power/Intel encryption.

    I would prefer easy to use features and better WiFi extension/control, using mostly 5mhz. Along with better router options. Over the better VPN processing, as long as the routers have decent performance.

    I live in a neighborhood that is crowding the same coaxial pathways (thanks ISP) I know having the extra dedicated band helps, in a tri band unit. WiFi coverage needed is for a 2600 sf home. With open first level and 4 enclosed rooms at 2nd level.

    Not to sure about the Asus policy. For using features such as built in security and others, which collect detailed personal data and submits it to seemingly unnecessary
    parties? Unless this can be circumvented, with ability to use included features?

    I am also unlearned with Merlin process, or if it’s something that can be downloaded at the router. Or recommendations on router settings at startup, such as immediate firmware updates.

    Appreciate any help, or how to links for newbies.

    Take care
     
  2. indark

    indark Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2014
    Messages:
    188
  3. umarmung

    umarmung Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2018
    Messages:
    191
    Within the product range, the only Asus router I know with a very high degree of control over WiFi is the tri-band Asus RT-AC3200.
     
  4. DigitalFreedom

    DigitalFreedom New Around Here

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2018
    Messages:
    9

    I appreciate the links. The UI looks easy enough for selecting correct base settings. Will also help in advance of setting up unit, should I purchase!

    Not concerned with mesh at this point anyway. Maybe AC, if needed! Hopefully the 4 channels will be enough, considering small amount of clients.
     
  5. DigitalFreedom

    DigitalFreedom New Around Here

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    umarmung: thanks for the info on AC3200, I’ll check it out.
     
  6. Grisu

    Grisu Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,294
    RT-AC3200 is a 4 years old router!

    I would prefer a 86U with probably 4 years longer support and updates!
     
    indark likes this.
  7. umarmung

    umarmung Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2018
    Messages:
    191
    I agree in general, but I like to note that the RT-AC3200 seems to be unique in the Asus lineup for its WiFi control. I'm not sure if even the Qualcomm-based business router Asus BRT-AC828, which has the same class leading radios as the Netgear R7800, has such fine-grained wireless control. Nor is it a tri-band router, assuming the OP actually needs that (unlikely).

    Also, the OP is contradicting themselves, even in the same sentence. They want easy to use but want control too. That hints they are better off with a standard recommendation like the flagship RT-AC86U.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
    Grisu likes this.
  8. VANT

    VANT Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2015
    Messages:
    718
    Location:
    Poland
    all new Asus routers have smart connect for wifi control, ac/gt5300 is also tri band, so what is unique in 3200 ?
     
  9. monaro-ds

    monaro-ds Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2018
    Messages:
    86
    good question, if its so good, why did ASUS left it behind.. including no AIMesh.
     
  10. DigitalFreedom

    DigitalFreedom New Around Here

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    Not contradictory in asking for “Easy to Use”. Meaning simple interface/GUI for settings. Advanced features settings can also be used, with easily disclosed details.


    I would absolutely prefer a newer model, with firmware support. Even then the “May” word comes in to provide support up to?


    Routers that have the additional WiFi channels may help, if they are unused in my area. The extra 5mhz band would help, provided majority of people in crowded area may not have tri-band capability. Although still unsure this makes a big difference, if at all. Considering 86U provides 4 streams.


    Any tips on how to download Merlin and what is needed? What Asus firmware version to select on new 86U router as well as Merlin?


    Thanks
     
  11. maxbraketorque

    maxbraketorque Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2015
    Messages:
    422
    The ASUS router UI is nearly the same for all their currently available routers. There are just minor changes to accommodate slightly different features among the routers.

    Covering a 2600 sqft home with 5 GHz using a single router (whether it be dual band or tri-band) will result in fringe locations having slower speeds. However, the open first floor may make moderate speeds at the fringe locations possible.

    The RT-AC86U is a great wifi router (I have two), but the SNB tests suggest that the RT-AC5300/GT-AC5300 will provide better speeds at the fringe. Both of those routers are Tri-band, so if you have a ton of 5 GHz devices in your house, these two routers could provide some effective improvements in bandwidth. The GT-AC5300 will not run a Merlin firmware, but as someone else said, there are other factors to consider as well.

    The ideal setup is probably a router on each floor if you are capable of running an ethernet line in the house between the two routers. This will guarantee excellent speeds on both floors. In this configuration, you could go with the traditional Main router + access point style setup that has been an available configuration in ASUS routers for a number of years, or you could go with the AiMesh that is still under heavy development and optimization. I'm currently using the main+AP setup, and its working fine for me. If running an ethernet link is a hassle, then maybe try an RT-AC5300 first. As I have said in other threads, if the range isn't sufficient, you can easily sell it (or return it if if that's your thing).
     
  12. Grisu

    Grisu Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2014
    Messages:
    1,294
    as I know from my 86U I cannot find any Tri-band on it, can only set 1x 5G, but maybe I missed something ...
     
  13. maxbraketorque

    maxbraketorque Senior Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2015
    Messages:
    422
    Yeah, its only dual band.
     
  14. Volfi

    Volfi Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2018
    Messages:
    44
    RT-AC3200 is 3x3 on 2.4GHz and 2x 5GHz, without 1024QAM, speeds only up to 600 Mbps + 2x 1300 Mbps. Might be ok for office use, but for home usage would go for AC86U, unless you have 50+ devices on 5GHz.

    RT-AC86U is 3x3 on 2.4GHz and 4x4 on 5GHz, with 1024QAM support, which gives you 750 Mbps + 2167 Mbps speed, and very fast CPU, great for IPSec and OpeVPN. And AiMesh compatibility.

    RT-AC5300/GT-AC5300 will give you best of both routers, but are too expensive. And if your home / appartment is large, you might get better results with two AC-86U in AiMesh.

    Would definitely go with AC86U for home usage (20 - 30 devices), if you are concerned about money, 2xAC86U if you are less concerned, and RT-AC5300 + AC86U if you are not concerned at all :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
  15. VANT

    VANT Very Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2015
    Messages:
    718
    Location:
    Poland
    RT-AC5300 and GT-AC5300 is not the same ruter. GT5300 is a new platform like 86U, both have 64bit cpu with hw vpn, GT have 4 cores, 86U two, and have lates wifi chipset with range boost technology (whatever it means).
     
  16. DummyPLUG

    DummyPLUG Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2017
    Messages:
    113
    We have both 68U and 86U. If you don't need VPN and just need a simple wifi router then you can go for either one. 5G is great but depends on your house you may end up using 2.4G. I have 86U at first floor and the 5G signal is really bad at second floor, for another apartment we need 3*68U for 5G for good signal coverage.

    p.s. I will not rely on the vpn server on these router because it is slow and can't heavily guarded
     
  17. monaro-ds

    monaro-ds Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2018
    Messages:
    86
    RT-AC5300 +86U +3X68U (AiMesh AP combo)
    AIprotection is on
    Adaptive QoS is on
    Traffic Analyzer is on
    35-42 devises , including 8 X IP cameras 1080P and and 2 TV streaming 1080P
    CPU load on RT-AC5300 5-8% per core , if do download @400Mbps CPU load going up to 55% on 1 core 17% on 2nd
     
  18. Volfi

    Volfi Occasional Visitor

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2018
    Messages:
    44
    Around my appartment, there are about 30+ networks runnig on 2.4GHz, fighting for bandwith, but only two on 5GHz. Moving my home network to 5GHz (and AiMesh for better coverage) improved Wifi speed and reliability dramatically. Only 3 legacy devices (security camera, weather station & heating) stayed on 2.4GHz network.

    I also use different SSIDs for 2.4GHz and 5GHz, to make sure devices will stick to 5GHz.

    For a case like mine, 2x AC86U in AiMesh is a much better solution than single GT-AC5300, while having similar price.
     
  19. DummyPLUG

    DummyPLUG Regular Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2017
    Messages:
    113
    Exactly what I am doing, I agree using aimesh, or some real mesh AP will much better then a single AC5300
    p.s. for the apartment I use 3*AC68U, for the house I use AC86u to provide wifi for my garden and mesh from another brand for the whole house
     
  20. DigitalFreedom

    DigitalFreedom New Around Here

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2018
    Messages:
    9
    I ended up purchasing the RT-AC86U and figured I can learn as I go! Many great features on this unit, that I am looking forward to using.

    Appreciate all the help! I will probably return soon with a plethora of newbie, yet sensible questions. If that is even possible?