Upgrade Asus RT-N66U

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Bensrouter

Occasional Visitor
Hi,

I need to buy a new router for my parents' house. So far they have used an Asus RT-N66U which was fine; their connection is only ~50Mbit and at most, three laptops, four smartphones and one SmartTV are connected. They live in a 1500 square foot apartment (~150m2) and the router is based in a corner in a room at street level which I know is not ideal, but that's the only option.

Ideally, the new router would cover a wider range. I was thinking about buying the Asus RT-AC86U, but was reading that some people have stability problems with it. The Asus RT-AX58U is about the same price where I live. Basically, I am looking for a router that "just works" and will serve my parents over the next years. The RT-N66U (which I have always updated to the latest Asus Merlin when visiting) has done the job well so far, but is broken now.

Thanks for advice

Ben
 
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L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The choice between the RT-AC86U and the RT-AX58U comes down to this. Are the ISP speeds lower than an 'x' amount and is VPN ever going to be needed with the network the router will be used in. And of course the cost and various sales at the time you're looking to buy.

The 'x' ISP speeds are tied to the VPN performance expected. If your ISP speeds will only be ~70Mbps u/d symmetrical or less, then either of the routers will be more than enough upgrade over the RT-N66U. The next consideration is cost. Buy the cheaper one at the time you need to purchase with the above stipulations.

The RT-AC86U is the better router, the RT-AX58U has potentially newer/better Wi-Fi. Make sure you're buying the one that is the least cost and most applicable too.
 

Bensrouter

Occasional Visitor
Thank you. All I need is a stable router that has better WIFI range than the current Asus RT-N66U.

I have an older Asus running Merlin myself and am happy with it, that's why I only searched for the Asus brand. Both above mentioned routers are the same price here. But reading from people complaining about the RT-AC86U made me insecure. Which one would you recommend? It could be a third option under 200$ too.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
You may be surprised that the new routers do not give you 'more' range, per see, but rather, more throughput at farther distances. Either way, they are an improvement.

Don't forget that you will be able to use your RT-N66U as a Media Bridge for any distant wired capable devices with your new router. This may be all you need to get the 'coverage' you require.
 

Bensrouter

Occasional Visitor
That is good to know, thank you. I am not an expert at this, as you've noticed. :)

One more question: For the Asus RT-AX58U, do you recommend using the official firmware or the Merlin build? On my personal router I use the Asuswrt-Merlin 374.43 LTS because the official firmware is no longer updated. But for the RT-AX58U the newest firmware is from 2020/11/26.
 

noah way

Regular Contributor
You might want to look at the AC68U. Very solid router that will radically outperform the N66 at a little more than half the price of the 86U.

Merlin allows router-level ad blocking with Diversion. For me this is the primary benefit.
 

Bensrouter

Occasional Visitor
Thanks all! I looked at the AC68U but then decided for the newer RT-AX58U, as it wasn't that much more expensive here. Either way, as mentioned, it will be an improvement. Have a good day everyone!
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I suggest that the latest firmware from RMerlin be used.

The 386.1 Beta 4 or later is stable for many and worth considering today.

 

Bensrouter

Occasional Visitor
Hi,

Quick question: My parents mentioned that the new RT-AX58U has less coverage than their old RT-N66U which seems odd to me. Any ideas why this could be the case?

The antennas are directed the same way. The RT-AX58U runs on the latest official firmware, the old RT-N66U ran on the latest Merlin – does that make a difference with regards to WiFi coverage? I used the same SSID and WiFi password on the new router so my parents' devices would connect right away ... is there any reason this wasn't a good idea?

I am a little confused but maybe someone here has a solution?
 

degrub

Very Senior Member
"coverage" change may be the result of the change in spec. The older router is 3x3 according to Asus and the newer is 2x2.
Also look at the channels being used versus nearby other wireless. You may have to change the wireless channels to avoid interference from neighbors.

Are their devices 2x2 or 3x3 ?
 

Bensrouter

Occasional Visitor
To be frank, I don't know and haven't heard about this distinction before. But they devices are a little older, say 3-6 years.

The channel was and is set to 'automatic'.

So it is possible that the newer router is actually 'worse' in that it gives me 'less' range? I did rely on the forum's advice and Asus stating in their brochures that the newer router covers a 180m2 house (as compared to the old router only covering 120m2).
 
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degrub

Very Senior Member
The channel chosen under "automatic" may be causing the issue. Also, channel bandwidth ( wide versus narrow) will affect effective range but negatively affect "throughput" for the combination of the user device and the wireless router. Try limiting the 2.4 GHz to 40MHz channel width rather than likely 80 MHz or more. 5GHz band will not penetrate more than one sheetrock wall in many cases. 2.4 GHz will usually penetrate 2-3 walls.
 

Bensrouter

Occasional Visitor
Hi and thanks.

2.4GHz is either 20/40MHz auto or either of those --> now set to 20 and a fixed channel
5GHz is either 20/40/80MHz auto or either of those --> now set to 40 and a fixed channel

There is also an option called "802.11ax / Wi-Fi 6 Modus" which is activated and an option called "Wi-Fi Agile Multiband" which, right now, is deactivated.

I'll let my parents know that they should connect to the 2.4GHz WiFi.
 

degrub

Very Senior Member
Post your issue in the Asus subforums here. It could be an issue between wifi6 / ax and older devices. I don’t know as i dont have experience with it and the rollout is very recent.

20 MHz should work best for distance. It will be a little slower, obviously, than 40. What was used on the older router ? What bitrate were they able to connect at ?
 

Bensrouter

Occasional Visitor
It works okay now and I'll have a look once I get to visit them again. I will open a new post should there be new problems. Thank you!
 

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