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RT-AC86U or RT-AX88U if buying now?

Andrew Willey

Occasional Visitor
If you was purchasing now what would you go for if i could get the AC86U for £134 ($170) or the AX88U for £300 ($382)
 

Andrew Willey

Occasional Visitor
Money isn’t really the issue, but so many people have said the performance from AC86U is better than the AX88U at this stage. But surely everyday that goes by the stock firmware and the merlin firmware will just continue to iron out the problems?

The reason why I am considering the AC86U is that it’s on offer and seems great value for something that’s on par with something twice the money at this stage


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

FTC

Senior Member
Hi, there are several differences between the two models. not only the AX support which is still in an early stage :

- ax88u has a 4x4 wifi, and ac86u is 3x3
- ax88u has 4 more ethernet ports (8 in total)
- ax88u has a 4 core processor and 1GB memory.. ac86u has a 2 core processor and 0.5 GB memory
- ax88 has 2 USB3 ports, where ac86u has only one 3.0 (the other is 2.0)
- The form factor is very different (this may be a factor in some installations)

... so, even if some of this differences may be unnoticeable for 'day to day' routing, once you want to start stressing on the power of both units it is much more likely that you will find the limits earlier with the '86.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
If you was purchasing now what would you go for if i could get the AC86U for £134 ($170) or the AX88U for £300 ($382)
First, for double the money, you will not get double the router. But, if money is no object, the additional capabilities of the RT-AX88U are tempting. :)

Just note that you may be replacing the draft 'AX' RT-AX88U with a final 'AX' version in the not too far future (within a year from all indications). And assuming that the RT-AX88U works well in your environment today. ;)
 

Fifth313ment

Occasional Visitor
If you was purchasing now what would you go for if i could get the AC86U for £134 ($170) or the AX88U for £300 ($382)
I just got the AX88 and it's amazing! I had an TM1900 (TMobile ac68u) and a AC1900 (newer ac68u with faster processor). The difference was NIGHT AND DAY! With both my other routers 5ghz was very short range. With the AX88 I get signal a block away from my house on 5ghz! I was getting 350Mb down on my Samsung S8+ and now I'm getting 450Mb down. I use the s8 as it's the fastest wireless device I have. It has two streams AC with beamforming. I have Xfinity gigabit service (1GB down and 45Mb up). Now so far with the Merlin software I'm seeing some bugs with the wifi radar and dns settings not working. But I have to say the range and throughput are amazing, especially if you're coming from a 68u! Two 68u's don't have the range (even a quarter of range) of the ax88! I got my ax88 used (it was simply openbox and actually the box was opened but nothing was ever taken out as it was still sealed inside the bags. I got it used on Amazon and saved $50! So that's a thought and Amazon sells almost all routers on their used or almost new. And on some of the routers you can save as much as $80 to 100 dollars!
 
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maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
...

- ax88u has a 4x4 wifi, and ac86u is 3x3
- ax88u has 4 more ethernet ports (8 in total)
- ax88u has a 4 core processor and 1GB memory.. ac86u has a 2 core processor and 0.5 GB memory
- ax88 has 2 USB3 ports, where ac86u has only one 3.0 (the other is 2.0)
- The form factor is very different (this may be a factor in some installations)

...
The AC86U is 3x3 for the 2.4 GHz band, but its 4x4 for the 5 GHz bands. The fourth antenna is internal. Since most clients only have 2x2 antennas (the only 3x3 clients I know of in OEM mobile devices are MacBookPros), the primary value of the 4th antenna is more variability in antenna orientation to maximize reception.

The AC86U is amazingly capable for how inexpensive it is. It has excellent processing power, the wired performance is excellent, and wifi performance is a step up from the AC68U in terms of range, but not really that much in throughput (except at long range). From the tests I've seen on the AX88U, its most obvious benefit over the AC86U is improved 802.11AC throughput and range which are valuable for larger homes.
 

Andrew Willey

Occasional Visitor
First, for double the money, you will not get double the router. But, if money is no object, the additional capabilities of the RT-AX88U are tempting. :)

Just note that you may be replacing the draft 'AX' RT-AX88U with a final 'AX' version in the not too far future (within a year from all indications). And assuming that the RT-AX88U works well in your environment today. ;)

How do you mean replacing though? Having to buy again or Asus will replace it?
 

Andrew Willey

Occasional Visitor
The AC86U is 3x3 for the 2.4 GHz band, but its 4x4 for the 5 GHz bands. The fourth antenna is internal. Since most clients only have 2x2 antennas (the only 3x3 clients I know of in OEM mobile devices are MacBookPros), the primary value of the 4th antenna is more variability in antenna orientation to maximize reception.

The AC86U is amazingly capable for how inexpensive it is. It has excellent processing power, the wired performance is excellent, and wifi performance is a step up from the AC68U in terms of range, but not really that much in throughput (except at long range). From the tests I've seen on the AX88U, its most obvious benefit over the AC86U is improved 802.11AC throughput and range which are valuable for larger homes.
I only have a one story flat, and there is only myself and my 8 year old son living there.........We are in the UK and i ave a 200meg cable broadband connection. All my tv viewing is via streaming likewise for my son on youtube etc, and everything is smart home wireless, lighting, heating, video doorbell etc sounds like the 86U is the correct purchase but i just hate buying something thats not the latest technology so im more future proofed.......And obviously the £134 i spent on the AC86U would go against the AX88U instead of paying out twice
 
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Grisu

Part of the Furniture
I just got the AX88 and it's amazing! I had an TM1900 (TMobile ac68u) and a AC1900 (newer ac68u with faster processor). The difference was NIGHT AND DAY!
Why do you compare apples with pears? TM-1900 is an 68U and he asked for 86U!!!

How do you mean replacing though? Having to buy again or Asus will replace it?
86U will be your best choice right now and has powerful new hardware.
AX is still in define process not finished yet, so your future clients may have problems with AX routers bought now and specs may changing.
Your home wont need AX or even a bit more powerful router next 10 years, be happy with an 86U and less troubles.
In 2 years you will get AX routers for half price and many different models matching your needs, then you still can buy another one and have 2 routers for the price you would have to pay for one AX now.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
How do you mean replacing though? Having to buy again or Asus will replace it?
Replacing, of course, by buying it again at some near future time period. :)

If you do buy an 'AX' router today, do so only if there is nothing else that can give you the same level of network performance. Given the two users, a one-story flat, and the 200Mbps ISP speeds you note, the RT-AX88U is likely crazy overkill for your needs today when the RT-AC86U can handle 1Gbps ISP speeds well enough. ;)

Save yourself the $212 today and keep adding to it until the non-draft AX routers appear. From indications on this forum, hardware upgrades are missing from all current options so far, meaning a replacement will be required to be 'future proofed', even if that isn't a thing. :)
 

maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
I only have a one story flat, and there is only myself and my 8 year old son living there.........We are in the UK and i ave a 200meg cable broadband connection. All my tv viewing is via streaming likewise for my son on youtube etc, and everything is smart home wireless, lighting, heating, video doorbell etc sounds like the 86U is the correct purchase but i just hate buying something thats not the latest technology so im more future proofed.......And obviously the £134 i spent on the AC86U would go against the AX88U instead of paying out twice
I'll add to other folks responses by saying that the AC86U is very new compared to most routers out there. There has been a burst of AX routers released by several vendors, but AX is still in draft status, so if the AX specification changes substantially before it gets approved, all these AX routers hitting the street may become more obsolete in a few years than an AC86U. Its not likely to happen, but it could.

I understand the concern about not having having max capability, but for the situation that you are describing, the AC86U is plenty. Make separate SSIDs for the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, stick all your smart home stuff (including cameras if you have those) on the 2.4 GHz band (most of it is probably only 2.4 GHz band anyhow), and then save the 5 GHz band for you and your son's usage.

The only reason I could think of for considering the AX88U for your situation is if somehow your flat is very opaque to 5 GHz wifi, e.g. from brick walls or maybe steel 2x4 construction. In that case the AX88U might make sense.
 

Andrew Willey

Occasional Visitor
I'll add to other folks responses by saying that the AC86U is very new compared to most routers out there. There has been a burst of AX routers released by several vendors, but AX is still in draft status, so if the AX specification changes substantially before it gets approved, all these AX routers hitting the street may become more obsolete in a few years than an AC86U. Its not likely to happen, but it could.

I understand the concern about not having having max capability, but for the situation that you are describing, the AC86U is plenty. Make separate SSIDs for the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, stick all your smart home stuff (including cameras if you have those) on the 2.4 GHz band (most of it is probably only 2.4 GHz band anyhow), and then save the 5 GHz band for you and your son's usage.

The only reason I could think of for considering the AX88U for your situation is if somehow your flat is very opaque to 5 GHz wifi, e.g. from brick walls or maybe steel 2x4 construction. In that case the AX88U might make sense.

Funnily enough that is what im hoping to improve the 5g coverage/distance because when im streaming tv from an amazon fire stick it keeps buffering.......when i do wireless tests its mainly 2g that its picking up.....im even starting to wonder if the buffering is caused from the signal changing from 5g to 2g during viewing
 

Andrew Willey

Occasional Visitor
yes ive tried that but i think the distance is right on the limit for the 5g range of my existing supplier supplied router
 

Grisu

Part of the Furniture
but you will see if using only 2G has no issues or same as before.
 
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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Funnily enough that is what im hoping to improve the 5g coverage/distance because when im streaming tv from an amazon fire stick it keeps buffering.......when i do wireless tests its mainly 2g that its picking up.....im even starting to wonder if the buffering is caused from the signal changing from 5g to 2g during viewing
The RT-AC86U is a 4 antennae/4 stream 5GHz design. You can't compare that, or even the 2.4GHz band, with the router you're running now. :)

I'm almost positive the issues will disappear whichever band you use with the RT-AC86U. :)
 

maxbraketorque

Very Senior Member
Funnily enough that is what im hoping to improve the 5g coverage/distance because when im streaming tv from an amazon fire stick it keeps buffering.......when i do wireless tests its mainly 2g that its picking up.....im even starting to wonder if the buffering is caused from the signal changing from 5g to 2g during viewing
I looked for more reviews on the AX88U last night partially because I'm interested in one for myself. These reviews show the AX88U non-AX wifi speeds to be on par or slightly below a GT-AC5300. The original review I found showed the AX88U to be significantly better than a GT-AC2900 which is an AC86U in a spiffy enclosure. Wifi performance comparisons of the GT-AC5300 and AC86U on SNB show 2.4 GHz performance to be roughly the same, while for 5 GHz performance the GT-AC5300 clearly does much better on download performance over the entire attenuation range. Upload speeds are virtually the same between the two on 5 GHz though.

So my general opinion now is that the AX88U may not have significantly better wifi range over the AC86U for real world usage after all. Unless your house is brick and mortar or steel 2x4 construction, I have a hard time believing that the AC86U won't get the job done for you. My AC86U sits at one end of my house, and I have no problem getting tolerable reception 50 ft away at the other end of the house. It doesn't set any speed records at that distance, but no problem to stream from my media box. I also have an AC86U at my cabin. There's no cell reception in the area, so we have to rely on wifi calling, and I get a tolerable 2.4 GHz N signal 100 yards away.
 

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