RT-AC86U replacement

Tom Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo

Occasional Visitor
Hi,

So this morning my RT-AC86U died after 4.5 years. What will be the best replacement ?
I can buy the same again fairly cheap at €/$ 108, but are the better options for me... maybe RT-AX86U

- Top priority is good OpenVPN performance (maybe Wireguard at a later stage), I have the router connected as client to minimum two servers continuously.
- There will be 10-15 wireless devices, mainly IoT and phone/tablet/FireTV, everything else cabled.
- No need for Mesh
- I have 1Gbit fiber, and I don't see myself upgrading though 10Gbit will soon be available for €/$ 30, There is only myself in the household.
- 4 LAN ports preferable but not critical.

/Tom
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Hi,

So this morning my RT-AC86U died after 4.5 years. What will be the best replacement ?
I can buy the same again fairly cheap at €/$ 108, but are the better options for me... maybe RT-AX86U

- Top priority is good OpenVPN performance (maybe Wireguard at a later stage), I have the router connected as client to minimum two servers continuously.
- There will be 10-15 wireless devices, mainly IoT and phone/tablet/FireTV, everything else cabled.
- No need for Mesh
- I have 1Gbit fiber, and I don't see myself upgrading though 10Gbit will soon be available for €/$ 30, There is only myself in the household.
- 4 LAN ports preferable but not critical.

/Tom
Buy something cheap to hold you over until the AX86U Pro is released (August September timeframe).
 

heysoundude

Part of the Furniture
Do you intend to upgrade your service/package speed to the 10Gbit? That's a whole other set of equipment to consider...and probably overkill for your stated use case.

As far as I'm concerned, the AX68 is the direct replacement for an AC86 - it's a case and radios upgrade.
the AX86 is a processor/memory AND radios upgrade. I know nothing of the upcoming Pro version mentioned...
 

eibgrad

Part of the Furniture
I wouldn't recommend buying the AC86U again given all its known problems on this forum. Doesn't seem to affect every router of that model, but enough that it's a roll of the dice if you'll have problems. In fact, your own may have died to a known problem of overheating.

The risk in waiting for the AX86U Pro is the assumption it will be just as stable as the current AX86U. Only time will tell if *any* router warrants a purchase, esp. if you're installing third-party firmware. At least we *know* the current AX86U has a great reputation around here after several years of direct experience. When it comes to routers, I prefer a known quantity more than gambling on something new.
 
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jtp10181

Regular Contributor
As far as I'm concerned, the AX68 is the direct replacement for an AC86 - it's a case and radios upgrade.
I went from an AC56 to the AX68 and love it. Sure the AX86 would have more power, but I don't really need it for my connection speed or uses.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The RT-AX68U is a great option. Same OpenVPN performance as much more expensive routers and if you were happy with the RT-AC86U, you will love the RT-AX68U. Be sure you buy it on sale, or, from a store with a price-match policy after purchase to get it at the best price possible.

Report - 2x RT-AX68U upgrade over 2x RT-AC86U in wireless backhaul mode
 

jtp10181

Regular Contributor
Be sure you buy it on sale,
The best way I have found to get routers (and other things) is on Amazon, check the "Used" listings and look for the stuff from "Amazon Warehouse". Typically it will have very minor damage, missing a cord, or just the box is damaged or repackaged. They have notes on what is wrong with it and usually its not even as bad as it sounds. I have gotten some great deals that way on all sorts of electronics. I am guessing it is either returned items or stuff they dropped off the shelves and crushed the boxes.
 

Wisiwyg

Senior Member
Amazon currently has it new on the Asus store site at 12% off, $157.89. (AX68U black)

I had added it to my cart, just went back to purchase and it has gone up $7 to $165.
 
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Tech9

Part of the Furniture
If the budget allows, get RT-AX86S instead. It has the same CPU and 3x3 2.4GHz radio, but 4x4 5GHz radio like your old AC86U, plus AX support, plus 160MHz wide channel support. AX68U has quite a bit of complaints of 5GHz dropouts and is not very popular model here on SNB Forums. One person is advertising it actively, but see this before you make a decision:



This router comes on sale very often for a reason. It's quite ugly too - looks like a toaster. :)
 

jtp10181

Regular Contributor
If the budget allows, get RT-AX86S instead. It has the same CPU and 3x3 2.4GHz radio, but 4x4 5GHz radio like your old AC86U, plus AX support, plus 160MHz wide channel support. AX68U has quite a bit of complaints of 5GHz dropouts and is not very popular model here on SNB Forums. One person is advertising it actively, but see this before you make a decision:



This router comes on sale very often for a reason. It's quite ugly too - looks like a toaster. :)
Might be less popular because it is newer? I seem to be good at picking the least popular device though since I came from a AC56U.

Interesting posts, looks like it is a firmware issue as people have reported certain firmwares which work when other firmwares had issues for them. I don't think the AX86S was out when I bought mine, I just remember looking at the AX86U and thinking it was overkill for my situation. My upstream is only 200Mbps (although suddenly it seems it is getting 350 Mbps), I dont do much for gaming, but do have 40+ devices connected at all times.

I think when I got mine Merlin 386.6 was current firmware so I have used 386.6, 386.6_2 and now 386.7 and I have not noticed any issues with 5Ghz. Any time I look at the wireless table most devices are on the 5GHz. I am using the Smart Connect system and recently changed it to WPA2/WPA2 mixed, most of the rest of the Wifi settings are default except I put the 2.4Ghz on 20Mhz only.

Compared to the my old router, connections seem to be more stable and router is more stable. I think when I was running 386.6_2 and then went to update it I noticed uptime was somewhere around 40 days which was unheard of with the old one.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
If you plan what to buy by a few posts vs. the whole market (see the 450+ RMerlin downloads per week stats for this model), you'll never buy anything.

If you can buy it, try it, and return it (if it is not up to your expectations), that is what I would be doing today.

See the real-world comparison to the previous AC class king, the RT-AC86U in the post above.

 

jtp10181

Regular Contributor
Amazon currently has it new on the Asus store site at 12% off, $157.89. (AX68U black)
This is the deals I am talking about, check the "used" section for "Amazon Warehouse" items. If the condition is worse than stated they will take it back. I have gotten things like this which were missing items not noted here and they took it back no problem. Usually stuff looks like brand new perfect condition with a beat up box in my experience and I buy a lot of stuff this way.

1657463367177.png
 
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Tech9

Part of the Furniture
AX68U is a little improvement over AC86U. With no 160MHz support, best case scenario is 866Mbps (AC86U) vs 1200Mbps (AX68U) link speeds. It also will do worse in case MU-MIMO to AC clients is working - 4x4 radio (AC86U) vs 3x3 radio (AX68U). It also has worse wireless backhaul throughput in AiMesh between two identical routers - 2166Mbps (AC86U) vs 1800Mbps (AX68U). It's a cheaper router with slightly better speeds to 2-stream AX clients with some confirmed by Asus issues. I don't know if Asus fixed the firmware. If it works for you - good. If you are buying a new router now - AX86S is better.
 

heysoundude

Part of the Furniture
AX68U is a little improvement over AC86U. With no 160MHz support, best case scenario is 866Mbps (AC86U) vs 1200Mbps (AX68U) link speeds. It also will do worse in case MU-MIMO to AC clients is working - 4x4 radio (AC86U) vs 3x3 radio (AX68U). It also has worse wireless backhaul throughput in AiMesh between two identical routers - 2166Mbps (AC86U) vs 1800Mbps (AX68U). It's a cheaper router with slightly better speeds to 2-stream AX clients with some confirmed by Asus issues. I don't know if Asus fixed the firmware. If it works for you - good. If you are buying a new router now - AX86S is better.
great, thank you...but just how much ($$$) better?
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
great, thank you...but just how much ($$$) better?

Like a model with no reported connection issues better, for instance. It was on sale last week in Canada for $170.
 

Tom Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo

Occasional Visitor
Thank you for the suggestions. Looking at the suggested and currently available routers, they don't offer me any improvements over the RT-AC86U, as all my internet traffic except the NAS and IP phone is via VPN.
Merlin commented in another thread, that we can expect about 250 Mbps OpenVPN from the upcoming RT-AX86S Pro vs 220 Mbps from the current models.

I picked up a new RT-AC86U on sale with a three year warranty. The RT-AX68U/RT-AX86S is double the price, and the RT-AX86U is triple the price here in Spain, just not worth it.
It's now here in the box, and I have 30 days to return it if the RT-AX86U/RT-AX86S should go on sale before then.
 
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eibgrad

Part of the Furniture
Just make sure you use some active cooling w/ that new AC86U, or else retrofit the unit w/ better heatsinks (there are other threads explaining the process).

You might want to check out the following thread as well, so you can *actively* verify whether you suffer from any or all of these other issues.


You don't want your 30 day grace period to expire only to find you do.
 

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