Router Replacement for Rental Home

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New Around Here
Hey folks, thanks for all the great advice you guys give on here, its greatly appreciated!

I have been running an old Asus RT-AC66U with a Motorola MB8600 Modem. It looks like after 5 years my router is quitting on me. I get perfectly normal performance when hard wired to the router but the WIFI is basically unusable, so its time for an upgrade!

The issue I have is that I am currently on a temporary work assignment for another year, so we are in a rental home. I dont have the option of installing new cables etc. I am also limited in the location of of the router as there is a single access point. The home is 2000sqft, including a finished basement where our home office is located. Our Desktop is located down there and is on WIFI. On the main floor we have the router in the living room with a Nvidia Shield hardwired into the router. We then have the usual mix of devices, laptops, phones, Alexa, Nest etc. The upper floor of the home has only bedrooms and a bathroom so no devices dependant on WIFI, alough if we had connectivity for our phones etc that would be great.

We currently have 100Mb service, looking to move up to 300Mb in the next few weeks. Both my wife and I both are working from home right now and that can include some quite heavy data transfers. We are also "Cord Cutters" so we stream everything. I have like Asus products and have used them a lot in the past, including Merlin on my routers, but its been over 5 years since I have been looking at routers so Im not sure whats best at this point, Im open to pretty much anything. My own research has made me more confused than ever! Seems like a lot of noise over WIFI 6 and MU-MIMO, but it looks like quite a few experts say its not something to consider?

Any advice for a confused shopper?


Part of the Furniture
The RT-AC86U and the RT-AX88U are the two RMerlin supported routers I would consider today, with the AX model the more powerful option.

If you had the RT-AX88U as the main router and wanted to add an AP or AiMesh node (wired highly preferred), the RT-AX58U is a great match. If sticking with the RT-AC86U and wanted AiMesh support, a second RT-AC86U (again, wired preferred) is what I suggest for a stable, reliable, and fast network.

There is no question that the RT-AX88U is superior to the RT-AC86U when both are compared when properly set up (see the M&M Config and Nuclear Reset guides in the link below). If you need the most powerful router today, buying WiFi 6 will get you what you're after, short of a commercial/enterprise solution. 2x RT-AX88U's may also be the answer to your large home (is that 2000 SqFt on a single level?), with the main router being stuck on one end of the structure too.


New Around Here
Thanks for the advice! The 2000sqft is actually over 3 levels if you include the basement where the home office is located, so its not too large of a house.

We are all about reliability and stability, would there be any sense in going for a small business/commercial type setup or would that likely just be additional cost for little gain?


Part of the Furniture
I would ask @Trip, @coxhaus, and others on the pricier options.

But with only 2000 SqFt over three levels, that would be overkill, IMO. See the link below on why I feel that way. :)

RT-AC3100 Report

With an ISP provisioned for up to 300Mbps up/down, I feel that a single RT-AX88U may be all that is required.

And I just noticed that I did not give you the link as I said I would above. Oops! So, I included an extra one below. :)


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