Should I get the ASUS RT-AC86U or GT-AC2900

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ASadani

Regular Contributor
Hi All, I have the rock solid ASUS RT-AC86U and it runs the vpn smoothly. I also have the AX-88U but the range of 2.4 ghz no matter what anyone says is significantly weaker than the AC86U. Since I live in the country where there are no returns, I cannot purchase something, try it out and return it.

My main requirement is to run VPN on the router and then use the 86U as a node. Should I just purchase the AC86U or get the GT-AC2900. I believe since merlin supports the GT-AC2900, the vpn applet shouldn't be an issue? Confused on which way to go.

Any guidance is much appreciated.
 

dave14305

Part of the Furniture
The GT is only under “experimental” support by Merlin, where the AC86U support is well-established.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Hi All, I have the rock solid ASUS RT-AC86U and it runs the vpn smoothly. I also have the AX-88U but the range of 2.4 ghz no matter what anyone says is significantly weaker than the AC86U. Since I live in the country where there are no returns, I cannot purchase something, try it out and return it.

My main requirement is to run VPN on the router and then use the 86U as a node. Should I just purchase the AC86U or get the GT-AC2900. I believe since merlin supports the GT-AC2900, the vpn applet shouldn't be an issue? Confused on which way to go.

Any guidance is much appreciated.

Isn't the RT the same as the GT but without the extras including cost, more or less? If not buying AX, get another RT-AC86U.

OE
 

kamabazi

New Around Here
I bought GT-AC2900 couple of weeks ago over AC86U because it was released last year compared to AC86u which is almost 3 years old now.
I am not very impressed as the max 5Gz speed I can get using my s10 phone is about 450Mb. Yes there are some gaming features which set it apart but I do not use them right now.
I believe AC86U has better speed but I am not sure how and why if the hardware set is the same.
Is there a way to get similar speed like AC86U on GTAC2900?
 

bbunge

Very Senior Member
I bought GT-AC2900 couple of weeks ago over AC86U because it was released last year compared to AC86u which is almost 3 years old now.
I am not very impressed as the max 5Gz speed I can get using my s10 phone is about 450Mb. Yes there are some gaming features which set it apart but I do not use them right now.
I believe AC86U has better speed but I am not sure how and why if the hardware set is the same.
Is there a way to get similar speed like AC86U on GTAC2900?
The model may be three years old but the production seems to be improved. The AC86U also has more radios than the GT-AC2900.

I have been toying with getting an AX86U. I have to restrain myself as I have no AX devices and my FIOS speed of 100/100 is handled very well with the AC86U. I am not a gamer, do a bit of work from home and stream a lot of shows with Roku and the PC. I just do not have any problems with the performance of the AC86U running Asus or Merlin firmware. (the 386.1 beta 2 is great!)
 

intr0

Regular Contributor
Hi All, I have the rock solid ASUS RT-AC86U and it runs the vpn smoothly. I also have the AX-88U but the range of 2.4 ghz no matter what anyone says is significantly weaker than the AC86U. Since I live in the country where there are no returns, I cannot purchase something, try it out and return it.

My main requirement is to run VPN on the router and then use the 86U as a node. Should I just purchase the AC86U or get the GT-AC2900. I believe since merlin supports the GT-AC2900, the vpn applet shouldn't be an issue? Confused on which way to go.

Any guidance is much appreciated.

As for what appears to be a desire for stability & a known quantity, I'd say stick with what you know. However, if you've got any devices that have 802.11ax functionality, may I suggest researching the AX models. I've an AX58U; I've not yet been able to get stable functionality using its VPN Client (ProtonVPN; side note: they've P2P servers in the US now for everyone wanting to watch US Netflix or w/e). However, I've not attempted it for the last ~7 months(?). It's been awhile; that I know. I'll be attempting again, but I'm not sure when I will. The AX88U plays well with ProtonVPN, so despite the higher price tag, that may be an option. Not that ProtonVPN is what you use, just that if it works & my AX58U has issues, well, the AX88U (or others) would likely work. I can't say which others will work well with your VPN. I'm sure others will be able to.
 

cooloutac

Very Senior Member
I got an ax58u after I returned the ac86u. its runs great. A vpn client on it with merlin firmware has no issues. I use PIA, but I'm not sure why the above user would have problems with his vpn depending on the router model. they all pretty much handle them the same. ALthough the ax86u and ax88u will have 3x the vpn speeds.

I've found the 2.4ghz on the ax58u to be much better then the ac86u, and the router is way more stable in general. But if your focus is 5ghz and those are your choices i'd got with the GT model just because i had so many serious problems with the RT model. . process crashes, router crashes and reboots, 2.4ghz dropouts. That GT model doesn't even have a single 1 star review on amazon with 80% 5 stars which seems remarkable to me.


I bought GT-AC2900 couple of weeks ago over AC86U because it was released last year compared to AC86u which is almost 3 years old now.
I am not very impressed as the max 5Gz speed I can get using my s10 phone is about 450Mb. Yes there are some gaming features which set it apart but I do not use them right now.
I believe AC86U has better speed but I am not sure how and why if the hardware set is the same.
Is there a way to get similar speed like AC86U on GTAC2900?

Have you actually tried the ac86u? Were you speeds actually significantly different? Very strange.


Update: GT-ac2900 has 4% 1 star reviews on amazon and only 79% 5 stars with only around 550 reviews. If it was me I'd go with the ax58u, unless you absolutely need faster vpn speeds and wireless 5ghz latency.
 
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kamabazi

New Around Here
I got an ax58u after I returned the ac86u. its runs great. A vpn client on it with merlin firmware has no issues. I use PIA, but I'm not sure why the above user would have problems with his vpn depending on the router model. they all pretty much handle them the same. ALthough the ax86u and ax88u will have 3x the vpn speeds.

I've found the 2.4ghz on the ax58u to be much better then the ac86u, and the router is way more stable in general. But if your focus is 5ghz and those are your choices i'd got with the GT model just because i had so many serious problems with the RT model. . process crashes, router crashes and reboots, 2.4ghz dropouts. That GT model doesn't even have a single 1 star review on amazon with 80% 5 stars which seems remarkable to me.




Have you actually tried the ac86u? Were you speeds actually significantly different? Very strange.


Update: GT-ac2900 has 4% 1 star reviews on amazon and only 79% 5 stars with only around 550 reviews. If it was me I'd go with the ax58u, unless you absolutely need faster vpn speeds and wireless 5ghz latency.
I have 1gig fiber so that was one reason to upgrade so I can take full benefit.
I had a TPlink C9 (AC1900) which was giving me similar speed (400Mbs from 15 feet) and the GTAC2900 gives my around 450Mbs so slightly better. 2.4Ghz on GT AC2900 is quite slow. Highest I have been able to get to is around 85Mbs. On my C9 I have hit over 100 consistently. So for me it is not really an upgrade from speed point of view but yes Asus interface has many more options.

I did my research and I saw too many people complaining about 2.4Ghz radio died after a couple of months or the performance was really poor. I think 1 star reviews are for those people. Not sure if that is the case now.
My main reason was to get better speed, range and features. GTAC2900 delivers on features for sure but speed is not as promised and range is OK.

My question is if RT-AC86u will have better speed and range? I am not really looking for all the gaming features.
 

kamabazi

New Around Here
The model may be three years old but the production seems to be improved. The AC86U also has more radios than the GT-AC2900.

I have been toying with getting an AX86U. I have to restrain myself as I have no AX devices and my FIOS speed of 100/100 is handled very well with the AC86U. I am not a gamer, do a bit of work from home and stream a lot of shows with Roku and the PC. I just do not have any problems with the performance of the AC86U running Asus or Merlin firmware. (the 386.1 beta 2 is great!)
I have fiber so I am looking to justice to the speed and looking for a router that can deliver over 500Mbps over 5Ghz. I do not see wide usage of AX in next couple of years so AX86 is an overkill, not to mention more expensive. That being said if it goes on sale for under $200 it will be a very good buy as it seems to be a great router on all the reviews I have read.
 

cooloutac

Very Senior Member
I have 1gig fiber so that was one reason to upgrade so I can take full benefit.
I had a TPlink C9 (AC1900) which was giving me similar speed (400Mbs from 15 feet) and the GTAC2900 gives my around 450Mbs so slightly better. 2.4Ghz on GT AC2900 is quite slow. Highest I have been able to get to is around 85Mbs. On my C9 I have hit over 100 consistently. So for me it is not really an upgrade from speed point of view but yes Asus interface has many more options.

I did my research and I saw too many people complaining about 2.4Ghz radio died after a couple of months or the performance was really poor. I think 1 star reviews are for those people. Not sure if that is the case now.
My main reason was to get better speed, range and features. GTAC2900 delivers on features for sure but speed is not as promised and range is OK.

My question is if RT-AC86u will have better speed and range? I am not really looking for all the gaming features.

I doubt it would be much different, its the same exact hardware and the firmware would get less attention for stability and gaming then a rog device most likely. They still have their own forums lol. The 2.4ghz problems have not changed at least with my 2020 model i just returned. I was running a vpn client and using all the features. Since you care about features you will also find most people who run the ac86u have to disable some features for stability. That drove me up a wall.

I would keep the gt ac2900 and wait till you see the ax86u go on sale for $200. after my horrible experience with the ac86u i would avoid anything with the numbers 86 and the words gaming in the title lol. but that ax88u is even more overpriced.

I have an ax58u which I find had better performance then the ac86u especially on the 2ghz. The 5ghz I can't really attest too since I only have a 300MBs connection. I can say i get full speed wirelessly all over my small single family home and on paper it has a slight edge to the ac86u. But I don't even think the ax58u would be a big upgrade from your gt ac2900 unless you are planning to return it. You could try out the ax58u if vpn speed is not a factor and see how you like it. They sell them refurbished on amazon between 120-140 dollars.
 

bbunge

Very Senior Member
Disable features on the AC86U for stability? In a word, NUTS!
Compare the specs. The AX58U is only a 2x2 router while the AC86U is a 4x4 + 3x3. Only router better would be a tri-band, maybe...
 

Gar

Very Senior Member
Maybe the new AX68 will do, whenever it shows up.
 

Smokey613

Very Senior Member
I know I have posted it before, but my 2 RT-AC86U are rock solid. That being said, I do not run any of the TrendMicro stuff so that may be a contributing factor.
 

cooloutac

Very Senior Member
Disable features on the AC86U for stability? In a word, NUTS!
Compare the specs. The AX58U is only a 2x2 router while the AC86U is a 4x4 + 3x3. Only router better would be a tri-band, maybe...

its sure is nuts. Instead of returning it I would of preferred to take a sledge hammer to it and light it on fire then watch it get crushed in the garbage truck. lol Not only that but on paper the ac86u should have faster speeds. but it wasn't even close. Makes asus spec sheets bogus.

Those 3x3 and 4x4 wifi are nice if your devices support them. and according to guys like @thiggins its all worthless and meaningless anyways lol.
 

cooloutac

Very Senior Member
I know I have posted it before, but my 2 RT-AC86U are rock solid. That being said, I do not run any of the TrendMicro stuff so that may be a contributing factor.

I believe a major factor was enabling these features while running a vpn client. IMO, thats why there is so many reported problems with that router since most people were buying it over other routers specifically for vpn use. In most cases not all. But alot of the problems I had were fixed by turning off ai trend micro, adaptive qos, or traffic analyzer which are solutions I got from the forums. That was not acceptable to me. Almost every error you can find reported on that router i experienced in the syslogs. It was unreal.


After a month of one problem after the other in the end having to reboot the router to get the 2.4ghz wifi working, which was my biggest fear before I bought it, was when I had enough and it went back in the box. It was terrible from day 1 for me.

The ax58u is as solid as my ac66u_b1 is. not much going on in the syslogs, no wifi bands dying and no router crashes/reboots and even better 2.4ghz range.
 

ASadani

Regular Contributor
As for what appears to be a desire for stability & a known quantity, I'd say stick with what you know. However, if you've got any devices that have 802.11ax functionality, may I suggest researching the AX models. I've an AX58U; I've not yet been able to get stable functionality using its VPN Client (ProtonVPN; side note: they've P2P servers in the US now for everyone wanting to watch US Netflix or w/e). However, I've not attempted it for the last ~7 months(?). It's been awhile; that I know. I'll be attempting again, but I'm not sure when I will. The AX88U plays well with ProtonVPN, so despite the higher price tag, that may be an option. Not that ProtonVPN is what you use, just that if it works & my AX58U has issues, well, the AX88U (or others) would likely work. I can't say which others will work well with your VPN. I'm sure others will be able to.

Thanks for this. My setup is as follows.
I have the AC86U and I also have the AX88U which is on a persistent VPN assignment plus the smart DNS. so my media players can reach any country.
On my laptop, I can just connect to the main router 86u and not be on a VPN and switch vice versa when on need.
The setup works rock solid. Here are my findings. When I purchased the AX88U, my intention was to make it a primary device and keep the 86U in the place where the AX88U stands, however, no matter what one says here are "my" findings.

1. The AX was unstable, the speeds would start off extremely well on my Lenovo 940 aX but then would get to 10 Mbps whereas the AC would always hover around 45-50 on file transfers. Eventually, I did the AX setup by disabling the AX mode and use it as an AC router, and that works very well today. barring the lack of the 2.4 range.
2. Movie streaming from my laptop with the AX would hang all the time. I've updated the wifi drivers from Lenovo and intel but that didn't help in any way.
3. The 2.4 wifi range was miserable. Seriously, like 1/3rd of what the 86U has. I really don't know how Asus could build such a product. I requested the store to switch it out for an AC86U but that was denied.
4. I have about 15 86U's installed at multiple friend's places due to the VPN and router recommendation and NO ONE complains of the range on the 86U. I also have a stash of two ubiquities hidden away in my closet and that too didn't have such a robust range as the AC86U.

I'm planning on adding another router in my bedroom to add as a node as my trusted 86U although having great signal till my bedroom does show signs of having difficulty at times, especially during VOIP calls.

Since returning is not possible here, I wanted to check before I rebuy the 86U (which I have done already. It's coming from Amazon. US so will take time its own time). I plan on getting the new one as a primary router with the latest beta on merlin and VPN configuration and do a reset of my old Chinese 86U with the latest merlin and add it as a node. I hope the region changes won't create an issue as the Chinese version has region change options in it. It even boots to Chinese on a hard reset. I have to use google translate to get into the menu and change it to English. Not a big deal
 

kamabazi

New Around Here
The model may be three years old but the production seems to be improved. The AC86U also has more radios than the GT-AC2900.
Where did you get this info?
Both on GT and RT on the Asus websites states to have 4x4 and 3x3 configs for the 5 and 2.4 bands

In fact GT supports 160Ghz bandwidth but in practice I have not seen any benefit even from 10 feet away on my phone or laptop connection speed.
 

kamabazi

New Around Here
I just found that hardwired connection I am only getting about 400Mbps down and 380Mbps up with GT-AC2900.
Has anyone with GT-AC2900? I used my 5 year old tplink router and got 927Mbps so it was not cable etc. Same laptop just swapped the routers?
Is there a setting that needs to changed?

UPDATE 1:
I just figured out that I had QoS enabled and that was limiting my wired question to less than half my 1Gig fiber speed even though in the bandwidth speed I had listed was 1024Mbps. It seems router limits it to about 40% of the bandwidth. So for anyone facing same problem do not use QoS. In my case it was Adoptive QoS selected

UPDATE 2:
After completely disabling QoS last night and seeing my 400Mbps speed go back to 940Mbps for 1g fiber connection I tested 5Ghz in the morning(when others are not using Wifi). I was able to hit 500Mbps. This is using S10 which has wifi6 capability. So better performance than before (QoS helped here too). In the past I was getting around 400-450Mbps as the high. All these max are from about 15ft from the router.
2.4Ghz speed remain miserably poor between 50-75Mbps. My 5 year old router easily hits 100Mbps.
So Yes Asus really sucks with 2.4Ghz radio in this router too.
 
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