Upgrading from RT-N66U. Limited to OfficeDepot's current selection. Leaning towards RT-AC86U or RT-AX68U, but open to other suggestions.

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IlChengis

Occasional Visitor
Hi Everyone,
In the interest of conciseness, here are the facts:
  • upgrading from RT-N66U (running John's fork)
  • limited by OfficeDepot's selection (I have a $50 credit I can use - looking to stay under $200 if possible)
  • leaning towards either RT-AC86U or RT-AX68U (almost identical hardware outside of WiFi6)
  • use: standard home office use, good VPN performance a big plus.

Am I missing a better bang for the buck than the two models above?
I am looking at ASUS models because I am familiar with them, but open to other brands if they offer better hardware and 3rd party firmware support.

Thanks in advance!
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Either would be a good choice. The AX68U would be a bit more future proof. Both run Merlin firmware.
 

IlChengis

Occasional Visitor
Thank you, that was my feeling after going through a bunch of threads in this Forum. The difference in price is negligible to me, although I like the look of the AC86U much more than the AX68U. But "function > form" for me, especially in this space, so looks like the AX68U might be the one. I'll wait a few more hours before pulling the trigger, just in case someone comes up with a good alternative suggestion from OfficeDepot's offerings that flew under my radar.
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
I can't verify if the AX68U has Dual Band SmartConnect. The AC86U does. If using a single SSID is important go for the AC86U.
Too bad the AX86U is out of stock at OfficeDepot.
Edit: RT-AX58U, if you can find one, has 160 GHz bandwidth on 5 GHz.
Still, the AC86U is a great router in spite of some overheating issues that were observed a couple of months ago with Asus firmware. I have a cooling fan for that router if you want one.
 
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IlChengis

Occasional Visitor
Ok, so I wound up picking up the RT-AX68U. It's still factory sealed, I have no intention of opening it until I am sure it's the model I'd like to go with.

Too bad the AX86U is out of stock at OfficeDepot.
I haven't looked much into that model, but I would be happy to wait to see if I can exchange the AX68U with that one instead, if it's worth the extra cost.
EDIT: Hmmm... Quad-core and 1GB RAM... I would gladly spend the extra money for it, if it's a model that is recommended on this Forum.

Edit: RT-AX58U, if you can find one, has 160 GHz bandwidth on 5 GHz.
I will research this, not familiar with it. Thank you for bringing it up.

Still, the AC86U is a great router in spite of some overheating issues that were observed a couple of months ago with Asus firmware. I have a cooling fan for that router if you want one.
Thank you for the offer. Cooling is very important to me. I currently have a blower style fan pulling hot air out of my little RT-N66U and I was planning on figuring out a way to pull hot air from the new router I buy in a non destructive way. Out of curiosity, what fan are you using on the AC86U?

Thank you for sharing your knowledge thus far.
 

IlChengis

Occasional Visitor
Ok, now I'm looking at the RT-AX86U as well as the RT-AX88U.
Putting OfficeDepot stock limitations aside (I can buy elsewhere if need be, this is an important purchase), they seem almost identical, except for the 8x Gigabit ports and slightly better speed+range on the more expensive one.
Another thing I noticed... the RT-AX86U seems to have been released a couple of years after the RT-AX88U, so it's a fresher product.

I'll continue researching both models, but if anyone has any thoughts I'd love to hear them.

Thank you.
 

IlChengis

Occasional Visitor
Ok, so I wound up picking up the RT-AX68U. It's still factory sealed, I have no intention of opening it until I am sure it's the model I'd like to go with.
I am glad I didn't open it, because after hours of further research on this Forum, I decided to order the RT-AX86U from Amazon.
It's currently out of stock, expected delivery in a week or two... I'll use the time to research the best way to keep the router nice and cool, so I can have everything ready before putting it to use.
 

IlChengis

Occasional Visitor
Go for AX86U. Newer, smaller footprint, 2.5G port, same CPU/RAM as more expensive AX88U.
Yep, wound up doing just that. Thanks for confirming. I look forward to putting it to use and seeing the difference from my trusty old RT-N66U.
 

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