Second Thoughts - RT-AC88U to replace RT-AC86U

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Regular Contributor
I picked up a used RT-AC88U (probably from someone here since it had 384.14_b1 on it). Two benefits are for better range in the house and for the 8 ports.

Current config
2x RT-AC86U AI Mesh (Ethernet Backhaul) and Smart Connect
~25 Wifi Clients (6 on Isolated Guest network, they happen to be furthest away from the Main router)
~12 Hard Wired Clients (couple of 8 port switches in use)
Trend Micro AI Protection & all data stats enabled
USB 3.0 drive for backups and occasional DLNA picture viewing
Entware Runing off usb2 stick
Scribe, ScribeUI, Speedtest and ConMon addons.
No QOS (600mbit/10mbit service)

I know the 88U is much older hardware, where the CPU does not have the AES acceleration, it's based on the older 2.6.x kernel, much more of the config is stored in NVRAM (vs moving values to JFFS).

As I redo my setup it's feeling like I'm going backwards, I mean I know I am, but maybe I'm over thinking it. However, I am planning on Skynet and Diversion in the future...

Anyone here ever make the jump backwards? Just curious.


Part of the Furniture
As I redo my setup it's feeling like I'm going backwards, I mean I know I am, but maybe I'm over thinking it.

Yep, from what others around here say. Plus the upper half the AC88U LAN ports are known to die at some point.

Unless you have a specific need the 88U addresses, I would trust your first impressions as you work with it, since you are familiar with the newer 86U.



Very Senior Member
The AC88 has been superseded by the AX88, just as the AC86 will be eclipsed by the you need to be/care about being bleeding edge, or is it simply a matter of having reliable mesh coverage over your home/property?
As I suspect it to be the latter (likely for the scripts you mention, and I personally encourage unbound to everyone), flash the new acquisition with the latest Merlin and add it to your existing mesh, relocate your Asus machines to expand the wifi bubble and don't think twice about it. If you want to ponder something, consider the advantages of staying resolutely a generation or two behind the bleeding edge.


Regular Contributor
It's coverage (88U vs. 86U - 88U seems better - especially on the 2.4 range where my IoT devices are). I also wanted to cut back to only 1 external 8 port switch - which the extra 4 ports help with. My 2nd AI Node would cover my IoT devices better but I have to wait will AI Mesh 2.0, which I've been following too on the official forum.

The AC88U purchase was kinda impulsive... I know there's an AX88U but t this point I didn't want to mix an AX into my AI MESH / Smart Connect setup since it's worked awesome since the inclusion of fixed channels & SC.

That also frees up an extra AC86U device for a 2nd AI Mesh node I'd like to place outside under at a boat dock / over the water deck. I have power an conduit out there with a ready to use Cat 6 Cable. I'm wondering how the device will fare exposed to the temperature swings... and more importantly, dew/condensation. I've devised a plan like a diver's bell in the form of a large plastic bin screwed to the ceiling. In that the router screwed to the top - that should prevent condensation forming. but this experiment is for another post I suppose.

I have a lot of property to cover, as you might have figured out by now...


Senior Member
I'd made my older AC88U an indoor WAP for 4+ years now. I waterfall the primary router every ~ 3-4 years when there's a good reason to do so like more pCPUs or faster pCPUs to handle shuffling bits faster. It's made a fine WAP. Nothing I have does AX but a few models have 4 pCPUS but the AC86U seems to handle my workload exceptionally well for now.

There is specialized transmission hardware designed for outdoor use with varying antenna patterns. You might want to dig a bit more.
I looked at using Ubiquiti a few years back and almost pulled the trigger but settled on KIS - waterfalling my ASUS routers in WAPs as needed. Stay safe, stay alive. Peace.
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