RT-AC86U Wi-Fi range

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dlandiss

Very Senior Member
Wow. I saw a price drop on the AC86 and jumped on it. It replaces an AC68U as the gateway router in a 3 story brick house built in 1902 (think: big rooms, thick walls).

The top download speed is still limited by my ISP, of course (Spectrum, paying for 200Mbps, getting 230). But the speeds available at different corners of the house are vastly improved. Same locations measured for both routers, 4 tests on 5GHz at each location.

The range of download speeds at location A was 5.0 to 74Mbps with the AC68, 124 to 168Mbps with the AC86.
The range of download speeds at location B was 0.6 to 27Mbps with the AC68, 43 to 115Mbps with the AC86.
The range of download speeds at location C was 4.5 to 22Mbps with the AC68, 32 to 100Mbps with the AC86.

Long live the AC86!
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Wow. I saw a price drop on the AC86 and jumped on it. It replaces an AC68U as the gateway router in a 3 story brick house built in 1902 (think: big rooms, thick walls).

The top download speed is still limited by my ISP, of course (Spectrum, paying for 200Mbps, getting 230). But the speeds available at different corners of the house are vastly improved. Same locations measured for both routers, 4 tests on 5GHz at each location.

The range of download speeds at location A was 5.0 to 74Mbps with the AC68, 124 to 168Mbps with the AC86.
The range of download speeds at location B was 0.6 to 27Mbps with the AC68, 43 to 115Mbps with the AC86.
The range of download speeds at location C was 4.5 to 22Mbps with the AC68, 32 to 100Mbps with the AC86.

Long live the AC86!

I replaced 2xAC68U with 2xAC86U back in 2018... it was worth it.

OE
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Select newer routers are invariably better. In one or more aspects. :)
 

dlandiss

Very Senior Member
Select newer routers are invariably better. In one or more aspects. :)
Since the transmit power is limited by the FCC, and the same mobile phone was used for all tests, my best assumption is that the AC86 has either better antennas or a better algorithm for distributing the power among the three antennas.

Since I have Explicit Beamforming enabled it will be interesting to test again with it off and see if it really makes the difference.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Yes, newer routers offer a better RF design, sometimes, even when all the same (old) parts are used.
 

dlandiss

Very Senior Member
Since I have Explicit Beamforming enabled it will be interesting to test again with it off and see if it really makes the difference.
And so with Explicit (802.11ac) Beamforming disabled, the average of 4 download tests at Location B fell from 72.3Mbps to 51.3.

But at location C it rose from 40.5Mbps to 44.6.

So the answer to "does Explicit Beamforming help?" is a good solid "sometimes."
 

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