Upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 or wait for Wi-Fi 6E: which Asus router to get?

Paapaa

Occasional Visitor
My Asus RT-AC56U is working OK but I need more range so it would work better in nearby rooms. I need enough juice to support 3 simultaneous devices in a house-hold with 400M Broadband connection. Currently no NAS needs. AX support is a plus - I guess. (One s20+ phone in the household).

Options:
  1. Buy the "best": RT-AX88U. It has Merlin support, It support AX on 2 bands.
  2. Buy something a bit cheaper: RT-AX92U or RT-AX58U? The former is not supported by Merlin, though. The latter is supported, would that be enough for my needs?
  3. Wait until we get Wi-Fi 6E devices. But how long? What would I benefit from 6E?
  4. Something else? I'd stay with Asus if there is no very good reasons to switch brands.
 

Klueless

Very Senior Member
My Asus RT-AC56U is working OK but I need more range so it would work better in nearby rooms.
First off I am not familiar with the AC56U. That said when I upgraded one site from an N66U to an AC68U I did not see a significant improvement in range. When I upgraded another site from an N66U to an AC86U the improvement was noticeable. Weak spots became better but the technology is the technology and some dead spots will remain dead.

First try optimizing your router's current location. Sometimes just a few feet here or there can make a world of difference.

Then measure. Maybe use a WiFi analyzer.
  • If there're just couple areas that are a little weak maybe a simple uplift will help.
  • If there's just one area that's a lot weak then maybe just add an AP (to your existing setup).
  • If there're several areas that are a lot weak then maybe an integrated MESH system is in order?
Since you define your problem as a "range" issue I'm not seeing the benefit of 6E. The extra radio could help with congestion but doesn't have anything to do with range.
 
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thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
6E will not improve range. If anything, range on the 6 GHz channels may be less than 5 GHz.

You'll need 6E devices to benefit from a 6E router. Over time, your "legacy" 2.4/5 GHz devices may benefit from traffic moving over to the new channels.
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
My thinking is 6E will be much quicker than anything you have seen. It has to be as Cisco has named their wireless the same as a switch. I think the speed is going to be great, range not so much since most people still run 2.4 GHz. In the long run you are going to be able to use higher densities die to the new bandwidth.
 

dfunked

Occasional Visitor
Nothing you've said screams that you need to wait for 6E... If you had gigabit+ intenet speeds and transferred huge amounts of data to a NAS over wireless, then it's probably worth waiting (or getting a stop-gap 6 router now)
I have't seen any specific release dates, but would imagine it'll be next year before we start seeing equipment, and probably over a year before there's a decent bit of choice/some more mature & stable firmware.

I've already got 4x WiFi 6 capable devices at the moment, so personally I'm going for an AX86U when it launches and will look at selling that (or using it as an AIMesh node) when I've got enough 6E devices to warrant an upgrade.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
IMHO a pre-requisite for any Asus router is Merlin compatibility, just for the stability alone, to say nothing of the additional feature set.

With that out of the way, it really comes down to what you value most:
  • Higher range for all clients, no additional AX throughput, cheap-ish (AC86U)
  • Lower range for all clients, higher-throughput for AX, cheap-ish (AX58U)
  • Higher range and AX throughput for top dollar (AX88U)
Do note, the AX58U stands a chance of enough additional range that it may suffice. If you're that price sensitive, perhaps try it via Amazon Prime, and if range is still not there and you do desire it, do a quick return for an AC86U. Otherwise, simply pay the $130 premium for the AX88U and be done with it.

There's your logic flow. How you proceed now is up to you. :)
 

Kelbesq

Occasional Visitor
  • Higher range for all clients, no additional AX throughput, cheap-ish (AC86U)
  • Lower range for all clients, higher-throughput for AX, cheap-ish (AX58U)
  • Higher range and AX throughput for top dollar (AX88U)
Where are these range's coming from? Personal experience? Tests? Spec's I'm not aware of?
I'm not doubting you, but legitimately what to know for my own reference.
 

Trip

Very Senior Member
Ranges are relative and based on general knowledge of the platforms (specs, reviews, observations of others), but not on personal experience. Happy to remove if you feel that to be unfounded in any way -- and I say that sincerely.
 

Kelbesq

Occasional Visitor
Ranges are relative and based on general knowledge of the platforms (specs, reviews, observations of others), but not on personal experience. Happy to remove if you feel that to be unfounded in any way -- and I say that sincerely.
No, please leave the info up! Range seems to be impossible to figure out unless you buy 2 models and compare them side by side. Any info is good info, even if it is in broad strokes such as high vs low.
 

Paapaa

Occasional Visitor
First try optimizing your router's current location.
Good advice. I have currently quite limited options to put the router to a different location. But I will experiment a bit more to see if it has any effect.

Since you define your problem as a "range" issue I'm not seeing the benefit of 6E.
It might not be range. It might also be unsolvable (concrete walls), it might be that the internal antennas of AC56U are not as good as external ones. I really don't know.

I also read about 6E and it seems to bring mostly help to overcrowded radio bands. There is no congestion issues currently where I use Wi-Fi so 6E is not needed at least in that sense.
 

Paapaa

Occasional Visitor
I have't seen any specific release dates, but would imagine it'll be next year before we start seeing equipment, and probably over a year before there's a decent bit of choice/some more mature & stable firmware.
Sounds like 6E devices are not just around the corner.

I've already got 4x WiFi 6 capable devices at the moment, so personally I'm going for an AX86U when it launches and will look at selling that (or using it as an AIMesh node) when I've got enough 6E devices to warrant an upgrade.
Totally missed the RT-AX86U. Seems to be a very powerful device but slightly cheaper than AX88U. I'll at least wait for reviews before buying anything. No rush here.
 

Paapaa

Occasional Visitor
IMHO a pre-requisite for any Asus router is Merlin compatibility, just for the stability alone, to say nothing of the additional feature set.
Merlin compatibility really narrows down the choices. I wonder if the new AX86U will be supported? I have never used Merlin (my current Asus is no longer supported) but I've read good things about it. Will definitely consider.

With that out of the way, it really comes down to what you value most...
Thanks. Price is not an issue per se - but I of course don't want to pay extra for practically nothing. But if I update my router once in 7 years, the price is quite small issue anyway. AX86U seems like a nice compromise if it gets Merlin support and good reviews.
 
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Trip

Very Senior Member
Thanks. Price is not an issue per se - but I of course don't want to pay extra for practically nothing. But if I update my router once in 7 years, the price is quite small issue anyway. AX86U seems like a nice compromise if it gets Merlin support and good reviews.
Then I wouldn't wait, and just purchase the AX88U now. The AX86U when it releases probably won't be that much cheaper, will take that much longer to stabilize, on stock or Merlin, and its wifi likely won't be measurably better (if anything, it may be slightly worse).
 

coxhaus

Part of the Furniture
I would wait. I also think positioning in the center of the house was good back a few years ago but now days with cheap APs put one at each end of your house as it will work better because you will gain coverage out in your yards or patios. I think times have pasted for putting a router in the center of your house.
 

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