Router upgrade - RT-AC88U -> RT-AX86U vs GT-AX11000 Pro vs GT-AXE11000 vs RT-AX89X

Phantomski

Occasional Visitor
Hi everyone,

after the recent Merlin's teaser (thanks!) and new models release, I'm back mulling over the potential router upgrade.

I know that RT-AX86U is probably the most recommended model with a great stability and performance and frankly was my chosen future upgrade for quite some time, but these new tempting models made me re-think the options.

To be perfectly honest, I'm a bit torn in between these four. The main reason is probably my ideal model would be a combination of all of them, yet none has it all.

What are your experiences, ideas, recommendations?

- RT-AX86U - Pros: classic, great, cheap, user base, k.i.s.s. / Cons: outdated
- GT-AX11000 Pro - Pros: Merlin supported, 10Gbit port, 2GHz quad-core, 1GB DDR4 RAM / Cons: expensive, availability, no 6 GHz channels
- GT-AXE11000 - Pros: Merlin supported, 6GHz channels, availability / Cons: no 10Gbit port, 1.8GHz quad-core, 1GB DDR3 RAM
- GT-AX89X - Pros: 2.2GHz quad-core, 2 10Gbit ports (1 SFP+ !!), price / Cons: no 6GHz channels, no Merlin support (big one)

Why I'm saying the combination would be ideal:
- in my current setup, having 2 10Gbit ports would keep me going for a few years without investing in the separate downstream 10Gbit switch as I don't have (and likely won't have) more 10Gbit devices than my NAS and laptop
- the channel interference is not a big problem for me and I don't have any 6GHz devices at the moment, yet the separate SSID on separate frequency would theoretically keep things running better in the future with more isolation
- the faster CPU the better (if it's not Qualcomm - ie Merlin support)
- DDR3 vs DDR4 probably won't be noticeable imho

What are your thoughts? Any other pros/cons, things to consider or avoid?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I would disagree with your assessment of the RT-AX86U as being outdated. This is very much a current and excellent option.

It may be superseded by the GT-AX6000, but it certainly isn't outdated.

The rest of the models are certainly not anything worth considering today. Certainly not at your indicated ISP speeds (in your footer) and the assumption about the area being covered (in SqFt).

The RT-AX86U or the better GT-AX6000 will be a noticeable upgrade over that RT-AC88U running obsolete firmware.

'Future-proofing' beyond that is just emptying your pockets, today.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
Why do you need 10GbE ports on your router for 10Gb speeds on your LAN? With your 500Mbps ISP all you need is perhaps one GT-AX6000 router with the same 2.0GHz CPU, 1GB RAM and Asuswrt-Merlin support. It has dual 2.5GbE ports for >Gigabit WAN and LAN. If you want 10Gb on your LAN, just get one 10Gb switch and connect your 10Gb capable devices there. I would skip all 3-band or Wi-Fi 6E routers - just paying more money for minimal and/or eventual benefits. You may never have any benefits for the product lifetime. There is no future proofing with home routers.
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
There are rumors of a RT-AX86U Pro to be released in the near future. As for high bandwidth, quality is always better than quantity. 1 GB is more than enough for most home networks and sure saves money on equipment!
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I would actually wait for RT-AX86U Pro just because all of the spiders above are super ugly space wasting devices. I'm sick of plastic and RGB performance improvements. The actual antennas are 5cm long inside this BS created just for looks and getting more money from people who have no idea.
 

Phantomski

Occasional Visitor
I would disagree with your assessment of the RT-AX86U as being outdated. This is very much a current and excellent option.

It may be superseded by the GT-AX6000, but it certainly isn't outdated.
Thanks, wrong choice of words ;)
I've completely forgot about GT-AX6000. 2.5Gbit ports are a bit of downside for me though and the price/availability in the UK is not great. Can the ports be re-configured easily, so I have both 2.5Gbit ports for LAN and use 1Gbit port for WAN?

The rest of the models are certainly not anything worth considering today. Certainly not at your indicated ISP speeds (in your footer) and the assumption about the area being covered (in SqFt).

The RT-AX86U or the better GT-AX6000 will be a noticeable upgrade over that RT-AC88U running obsolete firmware.

'Future-proofing' beyond that is just emptying your pockets, today.
The indicated speed is just currently chosen speed. 1Gbit is very much an option. For me personally the LAN Ethernet / WiFi performance is more important aspect than LAN / WAN performance if that makes sense.
Area being covered is roughly 3000SqFt.
 
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Phantomski

Occasional Visitor
Why do you need 10GbE ports on your router for 10Gb speeds on your LAN? With your 500Mbps ISP all you need is perhaps one GT-AX6000 router with the same 2.0GHz CPU, 1GB RAM and Asuswrt-Merlin support. It has dual 2.5GbE ports for >Gigabit WAN and LAN. If you want 10Gb on your LAN, just get one 10Gb switch and connect your 10Gb capable devices there. I would skip all 3-band or Wi-Fi 6E routers - just paying more money for minimal and/or eventual benefits. You may never have any benefits for the product lifetime. There is no future proofing with home routers.
It's fairly simple - I have currently quite capable L3 switch, that's 1Gbit only. Replacing its capabilities with a new and/or additional 10Gbit switch is currently more expensive and complicated choice than a "simple" router upgrade. While new setup separating most of the components is still under consideration, I was looking for more of a quick interim all-in-one fix+upgrade. Forget the WAN / ISP side of things. I have a fast NAS and a laptop, both capable of 10Gbit speeds and tasks utilising that bandwidth, plus a lot of servers / services running around the network that are using that NAS as a storage, not just backup solution.

As per 6E - yep, thought as much.
 

Phantomski

Occasional Visitor
I would actually wait for RT-AX86U Pro just because all of the spiders above are super ugly space wasting devices. I'm sick of plastic and RGB performance improvements. The actual antennas are 5cm long inside this BS created just for looks and getting more money from people who have no idea.
Well you've hit the nail on the head there. If some manufacturers were capable of removing all the flashy colourful "gamer" crap from their devices, it would actually make them cheaper and more attractive ;)
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
I have a fast NAS and a laptop, both capable of 10Gbit speeds and tasks utilising that bandwidth, plus a lot of servers / services running around the network that are using that NAS as a storage, not just backup solution.

And what a single 10GbE LAN port on this router is good for? You still need 10GbE switch to connect your NAS and your PC to it. On most home routers the second multi-Gigabit port is for WAN. Just get the router you need for your WAN and a switch you need for your LAN.
 

Phantomski

Occasional Visitor
And what a single 10GbE LAN port on this router is good for? You still need 10GbE switch to connect your NAS and your PC to it. On most home routers the second multi-Gigabit port is for WAN. Just get the router you need for your WAN and a switch you need for your LAN.
The single 10Gbit port is still good enough for the NAS alone. It allows me to run simultaneous 1Gbit and WiFi tasks plus a link-aggregated device.
2 would be ideal of course, but sadly that's just AX89X at the moment.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
The single 10Gbit port is still good enough for the NAS alone.

That means your new overpriced home router becomes a bottleneck right after the purchase. Don't rely on Link/WAN aggregation or Dual WAN options with Asus routers. You'll be surprised how much marketing is involved and how bad some things actually work, if at all. Get a better tested product and don't sign up for beta tester for years ahead. This is what usually happens to "latest and greatest" product users.

2 would be ideal of course, but sadly that's just AX89X at the moment.

GT-AXE16000 for $700. Beta tester automatic subscription.
 

Phantomski

Occasional Visitor
GT-AXE16000 for $700. Beta tester automatic subscription.
Point taken
While trying to avoid to spend £100s on a switch, this is maybe a step too far.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
This switch can stay there with your next router. It's a long term investment. Home AIO routers are mostly disposable hardware.
 

visortgw

Very Senior Member
Point taken
While trying to avoid to spend £100s on a switch, this is maybe a step too far.
Take a look at this switch: TL-SG3210XHP-M2 (TP-Link JetStream 8-Port 2.5GBASE-T and 2-Port 10GE SFP+ L2+ Managed Switch with 8-Port PoE+). Fantastic switch for the price (about $340 US) that supports both 2.5 Gbps and 10 Gbps. I use it as backbone for my 2.5 Gbps network, adding 2.5 Gbps USB NICs to my Synology NASs. I use one 2.5 Gbps port of GT-AX6000 router from modem and second 2.5 Gbps port of GT-AX6000 to TL-SG3210XHP-M2 switch with TrendNET switches in distant rooms for additional 2.5 Gbps devices.
 
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