RT-AC68U or RT-AC86U Buying Advice Needed

Paul Short

Occasional Visitor
Hi All
I’m currently looking at upgrading my trusty, well used Asus RT-AC56U router to something with more performance. I had set my sights on an RT-AC86U, however a friend of mine has an accidentally bought, brand new RT-AC68U that he said I could buy off him at a significantly reduced price. Now I know the AC86U probably tops the AC68U in terms of performance, but I like the sound of saving myself a significant amount of money by buying the AC68U. Is the 68U still a good buying choice in today’s market of routers available?
I’m currently on an 80mb / 20mb fibre broadband connection and there is only my partner and myself that use our internet connection. Devices connected to the router will be as follows:

Desktop PC
Laptop
Mobile phones x 2
Tablets x 2
PS4
Xbox Series X
Raspberry pi3
Blu Ray player
Smart TV
Sky Q box with additional minibox

Obviously not all the devices will be used at the same time, but with that info in mind do you think I should opt for the AC86U I’d originally planned on buying, or would the AC68U be just as good an option, with the added bonus of costing me at least half the price of the AC86U. Any thought and comments on this query would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks in advance.
 

KingBravery

Senior Member
For main router, I suggest go for RT-AC86U or RT-AX86U especially for OpenVPN performance..
 

Paul Short

Occasional Visitor
For main router, I suggest go for RT-AC86U or RT-AX86U especially for OpenVPN performance..
Many thanks for the reply.
So in your view there’s no point in opting for the AC68U, even though it will be around be £100 cheaper for me to buy?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Why do you need a router with more performance?

What is the RT-AC56U failing to provide?

The RT-AC68U has similar hardware performance to the RT-AC56U, except for an extra antennae.

Buying an RT-AC68U today may save you some money, but it will cost you too for little benefit from what you have posted so far.

If this is a 'want', I would not do it.

If this is a 'need', tell us more what you expect to gain over what you have now.
 

itpp20

Senior Member
If you don't need (incoming) VPN go for the ac68u. (incoming traffic via ssh works very well compared to vpn)
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Save a buck with the AC68U. I have a couple of them in small offices that work very well. But, the AC86U is a better long term investment.
 

KingBravery

Senior Member
Many thanks for the reply.
So in your view there’s no point in opting for the AC68U, even though it will be around be £100 cheaper for me to buy?
Wow.. the price difference is so high.

In my area, the difference is only about £30 for both ac86u vs ac68u.

Definitely, ac86u would be the best choice in terms of AC router.

If want more performance, mostly in my area would take AX3000 or the cheaper AX56U to utilize new Wifi 6 devices.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Many thanks for the reply.
So in your view there’s no point in opting for the AC68U, even though it will be around be £100 cheaper for me to buy?

Buy the router you want for the network you want/need. If cost matters, buy the router you can afford. You'll have to determine how much of a performance upgrade you are shopping for, and what will or will not provide it.

The AC86U has about 20% more effective WiFi coverage than the AC68U, supports Smart Connect for using the same SSID per band, has hardware encryption for strong VPN performance, and is a more recent, higher spec'd model.

The network is everything... don't overlook the cost of using it.

OE
 

noah way

Regular Contributor
I'm running a pair of 68U's on a 100 Mbps internet connection and get over 400 Mbps connections to all my devices.

Sounds like a great deal, go for it.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Sounds like a 'great deal' for the friend. Not for the OP with seemingly no need to upgrade from the comparable RT-AC56U he's currently running.
 

Paul Short

Occasional Visitor
Ok, well many thanks for all your responses, I do appreciate them.
Its not made my decision any easier unfortunately, some saying save money with the 68U, some saying go for more performance with the 86U. I guess it boils down to what I need, and I can only base that decision on the 56U I’ve owned and been using for a number of years now. The 56U has performed really well, and it seems to cope with my needs fine. There aren’t a huge amount of connected devices in my home, my partner and I live in a flat, so huge WiFi coverage is simply not needed, the only reason Im considering a change is due to my 56U being so old now, it’s not going to last forever so I decided to replace it before it does die on me.
I like the thought of an upgrade to an AC86U, I just get the feeling it would be serious overkill for my needs, when I can buy AC68U that will perform as good as my last router, yet cost me so much less.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Then you may as well buy an RT-AC56U again. That is my point. ;)

Nothing prevents a router from not 'lasting' forever (or, at least taking a good stab at it).

If your ISP speeds, client devices, network use, or other pertinent factors (such as moving to a bigger home) change, then a new router is warranted.

Nothing stated above warrants buying a friend's RT-AC68U, except to benefit said friend.

The overall increase in the network responsiveness of the RT-AC86U is worth paying for (above the RT-AC56U and the RT-AC68U which feel similar because they are). This is not, overkill. It is paying for the benefit provided.

You'll do what you will, but don't fool yourself that the RT-AC56U is ready to give up the ghost anytime soon. Many, many customers are still enjoying these great little routers (the 'baby' RT-AC68U, as it's been known around here).

ASUS RT-AC56U 802.11ac Dual-Band Wireless-AC1200 Gigabit Router Reviewed - SmallNetBuilder - Results from #3

Prior to the RT-AC56U, I can't remember any product that has ranked #1 in all categories since we started the Router Ranker. But that's what we have with the ASUS RT-AC56U. After reading through the features and comparing AC1200 class routers, I found myself saying, "Wow! I want one of these".
 

Paul Short

Occasional Visitor
That’s actually a fair point, I hadn’t really thought about the situation in those terms.
The only thing I don’t want to do is miss out on a good deal with a router that has similar capabilities as my current 56U. I’m not saying my 56U is going to die on me anytime soon, it could well keep going for more years to come, but if in the near future it does start failing, I’m going to have to buy another router, but at full asking price. I guess I’m considering the 68U as an investment for making sure I continue to be able to use my broadband connection as I have been in previous years, and when offered a brand new 68U for £60 I just thought it was too good a bargain to pass up. If the 68U is so similar to the 56U then it should last as long as the 56U, which will see me through for a fair few years to come.
I personally wouldn’t say my friend is benefitting from this, considering he’s prepared to sell it to me for around half the price he paid for it, it was just a nice gesture from him to offer me the 68U at that price I thought.
 

Paul Short

Occasional Visitor
Above all that has been said, I still would prefer the AC86U over all of them, but I don’t think I can justify spending £150 ish on a piece of equipment where I would be using only a fraction of its capabilities and features.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I'm not trying to put two friends against each other, but of course, he'll benefit (more than you, with a working RT-AC56U will). This isn't an investment; it is a sunk cost. :)

There is no getting around that. If he can't sell it to someone that is not in your situation, then the best use of the router would be in Media Bridge mode at this time.

I don't think of it as saving £100, rather, it is putting your 'preferred' RT-AC86U (or any other future router you will upgrade to sooner than you may believe today) as £60 more.

I agree that you've given no reasons to justify spending more today. But not just for the RT-AC86U, but also for the RT-AC68U too.

Also, no guarantee that the brand-new RT-AC68U won't be issue-free (hardware). Once it's put into use.

Save your £60 and put it towards a router when you'll really need it, not today.
 

Paul Short

Occasional Visitor
I'm not trying to put two friends against each other, but of course, he'll benefit (more than you, with a working RT-AC56U will). This isn't an investment; it is a sunk cost. :)

There is no getting around that. If he can't sell it to someone that is not in your situation, then the best use of the router would be in Media Bridge mode at this time.

I don't think of it as saving £100, rather, it is putting your 'preferred' RT-AC86U (or any other future router you will upgrade to sooner than you may believe today) as £60 more.

I agree that you've given no reasons to justify spending more today. But not just for the RT-AC86U, but also for the RT-AC68U too.

Also, no guarantee that the brand-new RT-AC68U won't be issue-free (hardware). Once it's put into use.

Save your £60 and put it towards a router when you'll really need it, not today.

I think you’re right you know, the phrase is ‘don’t mess with it if it’s not broken’, so why should I be considering a new router right now if the 56U is working as well as it did from day one, and shows no signs of failing. I think I’ll leave it for now!
I only considered the 86U due to the fact I see it has settings that can benefit gaming, and being a keen Xbox user wondered if it might add any benefit to my gaming experience? Again I’ve been using the 56U for Xbox gaming and I haven’t noticed any issues, but if my setup is all I’ve ever really known, then how would I know possible issues?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
If you want to see how far behind you are, borrow a friend's RT-AX86U for a weekend. (Make it fair; tell him he can use your RT-AC56U while you're testing his). :)

I don't believe you have any real 'issues'; you would know if you did, but your network may well be suffering from oldertechitis. :)
 

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