Should I get the ASUS RT-AC86U or ASUS RT-AX86U

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agentsmith1

New Around Here
hi there

My first post go easy lol.
Im have the ASUS RT68U and thinking of using that in a mesh and getting the ASUS RT-AC86U or ASUS RT-AX86U. I rather the AX buts it still $400 to buy. I can get the 86u for $200 and I dont have any wifi 6 routers. Is the ASUS RT-AC86U still relevant and worth while getting in 2021 or should I wait until the AX reduces in price?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Welcome to the forums @agentsmith1.

L&LD | SmallNetBuilder Forums (snbforums.com)

The RT-AC86U at a $200 savings in your area (assuming you are buying a brand-new router) is still relevant today.

The top 3 routers are (in order) RT-AC86U, RT-AX88U, RT-AX86U.

If your budget allows for the RT-AX86U, you won't regret it. However, if the RT-AC86U is in your budget, likewise, no regrets.

Be sure to fully update, reset, and then manually set up your new router as the main, and then fully update and reset your old RT-AC68U as the AiMesh v2.0 node. RMerlin v386.2_4 firmware is highly recommended for stability, security, and performance.


Best Practice Update/Setup Router/AiMesh Node(s) 2021
 

Hazel

Regular Contributor
Welcome to the forums @agentsmith1!

My 2 cts… The RT-AC86U is definitely still worth while and if you’re planning to create a mesh setup you’re better of with that one as you would like to use it in a mesh setup with your existing RT-AC68U. I have the same combination in an AIMesh setup and it works flawlessly. Unfortunately it has become somewhat temperature sensitive, but that seems to solved in the latest stock firmware update and hopefully in the next Asuswrt-Merlin update. From what I’ve read here AC and AX doesn’t really mix well together, so either buy a model that has been proven stable and reliable for a lower price, knowing that it might have some heat issues or keep on saving until you can buy an RTAX86U and an RT-AX68U and use those to create a future proof, WiFi 6 mesh network.
 
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Kendo

Regular Contributor
Hello and welcome agentsmith1,

Had the same "problem" as you in choosing, but finally bought the AC86U, as the AX's price was just way too high for me.
Got no wifi6 devices so far, so the ax upgrade will wait some more.
Good luck with the decision and keep us posted. :)
 

agentsmith1

New Around Here
Ok guys..many thanks for the welcome.... s
I decided to go with the AC86U. I couldn't really justify 400 plus on the AX router and at this stage I don't really see the benefit. Wifi 6 is promising but not yet really viable in my opinion.

I have two of these ASUS RT‑AC68U https://www.asus.com/au/Networking-IoT-Servers/WiFi-Routers/ASUS-WiFi-Routers/RTAC68U/
I have only been running one with standard factory firmware. The plan is to run all three in a mesh or two in a mesh and one spare. My house is not huge.
Should I upgrade to merlin firmware? Is there any version which is better than others? What would be the tangible benefits to going this way??

Again thx in advance
 

Hazel

Regular Contributor
Congrats on your decision. Whether you go Merlin is (of course) all up to you. The benefits of loading Asuswrt-Merlin unto your routers are substantial: https://www.asuswrt-merlin.net/features.

A warning upfront: once you go Merlin, it'll be hard to be without it, because once you get used to it, returning to stock will always leave you with a feeling thay you're missing something which should actually have been there in the first place. I've tried it myself, but it didn't last longer then a week.

Follow the instructions at the bottom of the about page of @L&LD , called Best Practice Update/Setup Router/AiMesh Node(s) 2021 and odds are big you don't want to get back to stock ever, because you'll likely be missing something of the goodies which are built in or available to Asuswrt-Merlin (check out the Add-ons subforum for example, there are many voluntary coders active on the forum and some elsewhere, but still providing updates and it mostly comes together in once place called amtm, short for the Auswrt-Merlin Terminal Menu which gives you the possibility to install, update or uninstall most of the scripts and goodies I mentioned before and maintain them. No need to follow the install instructions on said About page, amtm is now included by default. If you know your way around ssh, just fire up an ssh-terminal and enter amtm press<ENTER> and that's all there's to it.

At the time of writing this, the latest stable build is 386.2_4, which can be found with the first link provided above. Make sure you download the releases for the RT-AC68U and RT-AC86U, instead of the AX flavours. They don't mix together.

Having said that all that in favour of Asuswrt-Merlin, when you don't need of all this, you'll be fine with stock firmware. Many people are and find it more than enough to run their home network.
 
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agentsmith1

New Around Here
So im wondering then is there optimal settings published for both stock firmware and the merlin software?? I often look at the setting in the router and wonder what tweaks would do. I know it depends on everyone's personal preferences but I was thinking their must be some optimal settings?
 
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Hazel

Regular Contributor
There's no such thing as optimal, universal settings, as the effect of settings differ on your specific situation where many different factors come into play.

If you check out the other guides from our member @L&LD, (see link) you'll find several guides to optimise your router and your network. I'd start with the M&M config, which will give you a stable, basic setup and go step by step from there. Control channel setup (part 1 and 2) are also worth reading, it'll help you to get the most out of your Wi-Fi, with trial and error. Remember: everything you change, needs to be reconfigured if at some point you decide to start with a fresh, clean install, especially when it's from a new branch and it's not advised to restore a backup from a previous branch (until that you'll be reasonably safe, just don't forget to backup your config once it's running to your likings). And tinkering with all the options also means that it'll be harder to troubleshoot issues, if nothing is left at its defaults.

TL;DR: Enjoy the reading ;)
 
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Babingepot

New Around Here
Hello,

A little bit same problem here. Difference is AX86u and AX88u not release yet in my country due to new regulation.

So should i buy ac86u or go for gt ax11000 (future proof?)instead?

Using isp modem/router now
Didnt have wifi 6 client


Thanks in advance
 

Hazel

Regular Contributor
If the new regulations concern Wi-Fi 6, I'd be surprised if the GT-AX11000 is available in your country, as you mentioned the RT-AX86U and RT-AX88U are not?

If it is available though, which one to choose is up to you. The RT-AC86U is an older, but proven en reliable model (as long as you keep it in a well ventilated place to prevent issues with temperature), whereas the GT-AX11000 is much more recent. There must be a huge price difference, which would probably for most people be to first factor to come into play. So, I guess it depends on your budget, how much power you need. It's basically comparing a Ford with a Ferrari, as the two models your suggesting are completely different and designed for a different group of users.
 

Babingepot

New Around Here
@Hazel
Thanks

Its not wifi 6, its about loose/fixed antenna. I think gt ax11000 passed before the regulation come

Almost buying rt ax55 if my brother didnt screaming bout gaming router
Asus give 3 yrs replacement warranty so its fine for me
Searching forum for asus router which had similar gaming features, then ax86u come up highly praised
 

agentsmith1

New Around Here
If the new regulations concern Wi-Fi 6, I'd be surprised if the GT-AX11000 is available in your country, as you mentioned the RT-AX86U and RT-AX88U are not?

If it is available though, which one to choose is up to you. The RT-AC86U is an older, but proven en reliable model (as long as you keep it in a well ventilated place to prevent issues with temperature), whereas the GT-AX11000 is much more recent. There must be a huge price difference, which would probably for most people be to first factor to come into play. So, I guess it depends on your budget, how much power you need. It's basically comparing a Ford with a Ferrari, as the two models your suggesting are completely different and designed for a different group of users.
My current asus RT68u lives in the top of the wardrobe cupboard and ventilation is minimal. It only has ventilation really if I open the lines press door. I was planning on putting my NAS and raspberry Pi server n the same spot. I also have the NBN NTD box in there also.

I was also planning on setting up a custom made acrylic stand. The stand will have holes on the various levels (maybe 3 or 4 levels) to allow air to pass under the devices.

I was also planning on have a number of temperature controlled fans to run under the equipment to assist in air flow that only turn on at a set temp.

Thoughts ?
 

Hazel

Regular Contributor
There's a whole thread about router temperatures, it might give you some (more) ideas. As far as I can tell, even the slightest bit of airflow on the right places helps a lot. If the cupboard is really closed, I would monitor the temperature inside the cupboard (at least at the beginning and during periods of high temperatures) as the ambient temperature inside the cupboard will most likely rise with the equipment you're planning to install. If temperature rises too high, I'd start thinking about ventilating the cupboard itself.
 

Grievous Angel

Regular Contributor
I decided to go with the AC86U. I couldn't really justify 400 plus on the AX router and at this stage I

I got the AX86U at MSRP of 250 on Amazon. It may take a little patience. But you do not have to spend 400.

It's a bad time to buy anything built on semiconductors right now.
 

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