What are the significant differences/(dis)advantages between AX88U and AX92U?

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lagrave

Occasional Visitor
What are the significant differences/(dis)advantages between AX88U and AX92U?

Counter-intuitively 88 is more expensive than 92. And if you want to use a third party firmware when the warranty is out, what do you recommend?
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
What are the significant differences/(dis)advantages between AX88U and AX92U?

Counter-intuitively 88 is more expensive than 92. And if you want to use a third party firmware when the warranty is out, what do you recommend?
AX88U is four stream Wi-Fi 6 dual-band. AX92U is tri-radio 2 stream Wi-Fi 5 for client connect, 4 stream Wi-Fi 6 for backhaul or second 5 GHz client connect.

I have no recommendation regarding 3rd party firmware.
 

lagrave

Occasional Visitor
AX88U is four stream Wi-Fi 6 dual-band. AX92U is tri-radio 2 stream Wi-Fi 5 for client connect, 4 stream Wi-Fi 6 for backhaul or second 5 GHz client connect.

I have no recommendation regarding 3rd party firmware.

Hmm, could you elaborate?

AX88UAX92
Streams42
Wi-Fi 6 band24
Radios
?
3
Wi-Fi 5 band??
5 GHz?x


Which is most modern? What is a typical scenario they are optimized for?
 

Piggie

Regular Contributor
What are the significant differences/(dis)advantages between AX88U and AX92U?

Counter-intuitively 88 is more expensive than 92. And if you want to use a third party firmware when the warranty is out, what do you recommend?

Here's some information on the AX92u and AX88u routers. WiFi 6e routers are rolling out, so you may be better off going with the latest technology. They are pricey now, but more models will be rolling out soon. if you're looking to purchase, and you can wait, it may be best to wait a few more months.

AX92u - $200
Tri-band router
6 antenas
1 x 5gb USB Type A
1 x 480 MB USB Type A
4 ethernet ports (1 can be used as WAN aggregation)
Merlin is not available for AX92u.
WAN port is 1gbp (but it does support WAN aggregation for multi gig).

AX88u - $300
Dual band router
4 antenas
2 x 5gb USB Type A
8 ethernet ports (can be used for WAN aggregation)
Merlin is available for AX88u
WAN port is 1gbp (but it does support WAN aggregation for multi gig).

The AX86u is priced between the two at $250 and offers a 2.5 gbps port and Merlin support.

I've had the AX92u for a few years. I bought it because I think the AX92u is the best looking of the group. You can set the 92u on a table and it doesn't look like a piece of technology. You can fold the antennas down and it looks like a block instead of like an insect or a spaceship. Yewwww! Bugs!! On 1gbps service, I get around 850-920 mbps downloads with the AX92u. There has been some talks the AX92u is being phased out .

Again, you may want to go for WiFi 6e router. There will be many different models to chose from later this year. They will probably be better for the long run.


How Much Total Throughput Can Your Wi-Fi Router Really Provide? - SmallNetBuilder

Wi-Fi 6 Performance Roundup: Five Routers Tested - SmallNetBuilder

Asus RT-AX88U Review: An Excellent Incremental Upgrade | Dong Knows Tech

Asus RT-AX92U Review: Odd, Cute, and Effective | Dong Knows Tech (Note - AX92u does support speeds faster than 867 mb under AI Mesh -- if nodes are on ethernet backhaul).
 
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lagrave

Occasional Visitor
Here's some information on the AX92u and AX88u routers. WiFi 6e routers are rolling out, so you may be better off going with the latest technology. They are pricey now, but more models will be rolling out soon. if you're looking to purchase, and you can wait, it may be best to wait a few more months.

AX92u - $200
Tri-band router
6 antenas
1 x 5gb USB Type A
1 x 480 MB USB Type A
4 ethernet ports (1 can be used as WAN aggregation)
Merlin is not available for AX92u.
WAN port is 1gbp (but it does support WAN aggregation for multi gig).

AX88u - $300
Dual band router
4 antenas
2 x 5gb USB Type A
8 ethernet ports (can be used for WAN aggregation)
Merlin is available for AX88u
WAN port is 1gbp (but it does support WAN aggregation for multi gig).

The AX86u is priced between the two at $250 and offers a 2.5 gbps port and Merlin support.

I've had the AX92u for a few years. I bought it because I think the AX92u is the best looking of the group. You can set the 92u on a table and it doesn't look like a piece of technology. You can fold the antennas down and it looks like a block instead of like an insect or a spaceship. Yewwww! Bugs!! On 1gbps service, I get around 850-920 mbps downloads with the AX92u. There has been some talks the AX92u is being phased out .

Again, you may want to go for WiFi 6e router. There will be many different models to chose from later this year. They will probably be better for the long run.


How Much Total Throughput Can Your Wi-Fi Router Really Provide? - SmallNetBuilder

Wi-Fi 6 Performance Roundup: Five Routers Tested - SmallNetBuilder

Asus RT-AX88U Review: An Excellent Incremental Upgrade | Dong Knows Tech

Asus RT-AX92U Review: Odd, Cute, and Effective | Dong Knows Tech (Note - AX92u does support speeds faster than 867 mb under AI Mesh -- if nodes are on ethernet backhaul).
Thank you for an excellent answer. However, it leads to one obvious follow-up question: why is the ax88 50 % more expensive than ax92? For routing/WiFi-purposes, ax92 seems to be the better choice with triband rather than dualband and more antennas? There is a diminishing marginal utility of more networks ports - that can't motivate such a big price difference, can it?

Besides, I found this article https://techprojournal.com/asus-rt-ax88u-ax6000-vs-asus-rt-ax92u-ax-6100/ and according to that, the ax92 package contains two devices, which makes the price difference even more surprising!?!?
 

Piggie

Regular Contributor
Thank you for an excellent answer. However, it leads to one obvious follow-up question: why is the ax88 50 % more expensive than ax92? For routing/WiFi-purposes, ax92 seems to be the better choice with triband rather than dualband and more antennas? There is a diminishing marginal utility of more networks ports - that can't motivate such a big price difference, can it?

Besides, I found this article https://techprojournal.com/asus-rt-ax88u-ax6000-vs-asus-rt-ax92u-ax-6100/ and according to that, the ax92 package contains two devices, which makes the price difference even more surprising!?!?

AX92u comes in two retail packages: 1 unit or 2 units. The single unit SKU runs around $200. The 2 unit SKU sells for around $350. So, if you buy the 2 unit package each AX92u runs around $175.

One other item that probably affects price is that the AX88U has a quad core processor with 1 GB ram and AX92u has dual core processor with 512 MB ram. If you running a lot of CPU intensive tasks like VPN, file sharing, then the CPU will make a difference.

As noted above, when I was purchasing, it really came down to looks more than anything. They are both good routers with many similar features: OpenVPN, parental control, QOS, Let'sEncrypt, etc. For what I do, I didn't think I needed the better processor or more LAN ports. (I haven't had any issues with processing power. I run OpenVPN, QOS, parental controls, and file sharing. But if you run many CPU intensive features, you may want to spend the extra money to get the 88u. LAN ports are easily addressed with a network switch). When I purchased my AX92u, WiFi6 was just rolling out and no one was talking about WiFi6e. Being new, Merlin wasn't out for either router yet. So, none of that came into the equation for me. The two things that came into play were tri-band versus dual band and the look. The look won me over. What can I say, I'm a sucker for a good looking router that I can leave on my coffee table.

The decision is a little more difficult today. WiFi6e is the elephant coming down the road. In the next few years, I'd expect manufacturers will be replacing there current stock with Wifi6e routers. So, it may bring a premature end of life to WiFi6 routers. So it may be worth spending a little more for a WiFi6e router or to wait a few months for a greater variety.
 

lagrave

Occasional Visitor
Thank you. This is the type of information ASUS should have on their own webpages. Clearly customers are interested in comparisons between similar products in their offerings.

For a while I had made up my mind and would go for the AX88, but that was until I realised that it was only dual band. That feels like an artificial limit on a high end router today? Especially since AX68 is tri-band, isn't it?

AX89
Advantages: tri-band, Merlin support (?), AX6000
However, the price is a dealbreaker

AX88
Advantages: Merlin support, powerful CPU, AX6000
Disadvantages: dual-band

AX92
Advantages: tri-band, 5 Gb USB-port, AX6100
Dealbreaker: not supported by Merlin

AX68
Advantages: tri-band, Merlin support
Disadvantages: limited top speed

AX86
Advantages: Merlin support
Disadvantages: dual-band


Am I missing some option?

I am looking at ASUS-routers because they have native support for HFS+. I also want to have the option to use a third party FW (it doesn't have to be Merlin but HFS+ -support is a dealbreaker so I think Merlin is the main option for 3rd party FW?).

I don't really care about the price as long as it is not significantly more expensive than the RT-AX88. How would you reason considering the above, especially tri-band/80 Mhz/3x3 vs dual-band/160 MHz/4x4 that for my purposes is the main difference between AX68 and AX88?

Worth noting is that RT-AX86 does have an USB 3.2 port while RT-AX88 only has USB 3.1 ports.

I bought my current router, an RT-AC66U just a month after it was released or so and it has been perfectly satisfactory for some 8 years, but it is starting to fail (spontaneous restarts) and I expect the next router to last at least as long as this one, so I want to buy something that is "future proof". I just wish the AX89 was cheaper!
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Until Wi-Fi 6E tri-radio, tri-band routers with 4 streams/antennae on each band exist and have proven themselves, any current (crippled) tri-radio router is the worst buy possible for most people today. The (only) exception? When you have more than about 32 wireless 5GHz clients constantly on the network. But even then, a second dual-band router handles even that situation with more grace and aplomb than any tri-radio router I've had the displeasure to work with.

There is a reason why they're cheaper per unit. They're hacks of what a quality dual-band router offers. And they usually make for a worse, not a better, network experience, overall.

Again, for niche scenarios, they may be the best thing since sliced bread, YMMV. But for most, a full-fat router with full-spectrum bands on each radio is a much better choice and one with more flexibility, stability, re-purposeability, and useful life too.
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
Between those two.. the AX88U and the AX92U I would probably give the most advantages to and lean towards the AX88U for many of the reasons previously mentioned by L&LD. I believe the AX88U is more common with a greater owner base. However at it's current discounted price point the AX92U appears to be a good value. It's long term support is more ambiguous. We don't know how long the AX92 will be still available since Asus will probably be replacing it's price class with newer tri or quad band AXE/6E capable models in the coming years. You should also strongly consider the AX86U which is a newer model than both of those and will likely have very long term support due to it's growing popularity.

I'm waiting for a five radio (2.4Ghz x 1, 5Ghz x 2, 6Ghz x 2) penta-band Asus wireless router with up to 16 external antennas and an optional outdoor/roof or indoor-wall mountable, single central pole, modern mini-cell tower style design. :D
 
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thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Until Wi-Fi 6E tri-radio, tri-band routers with 4 streams/antennae on each band exist and have proven themselves, any current (crippled) tri-radio router is the worst buy possible for most people today. The (only) exception? When you have more than about 32 wireless 5GHz clients constantly on the network. But even then, a second dual-band router handles even that situation with more grace and aplomb than any tri-radio router I've had the displeasure to work with.
I don't think my recent testing agrees with that position. For people who prefer only one router, a tri-radio router can provide advantages over a dual-band by providing more bandwidth. True, it doesn't expand coverage as a multi-point AP or mesh solution does. But it can achieve higher throughput than a dual-band router.

Two two-stream AX STAs at close range can pretty well saturate a gigabit connection if they are running at full speed. Granted, there are few (any?) web sites / applications that will supply a full gigabit of bandwidth, so the benchmark may not reflect real-world experience. But it does show where the product weaknesses are.
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
I don't think my recent testing agrees with that position. For people who prefer only one router, a tri-radio router can provide advantages over a dual-band by providing more bandwidth. True, it doesn't expand coverage as a multi-point AP or mesh solution does. But it can achieve higher throughput than a dual-band router.

Two two-stream AX STAs at close range can pretty well saturate a gigabit connection if they are running at full speed. Granted, there are few (any?) web sites / applications that will supply a full gigabit of bandwidth, so the benchmark may not reflect real-world experience. But it does show where the product weaknesses are.
I guess I missed it before but I just finished reading it. Wow! Quite an exceptional article you did there thiggins. This is the kind of comparative testing and data that is really useful to know. Thank you again for all your work.

I would have to disagree with one of your comments in the article though. When you reference "The ASUS RT-AX86U, which is the darling of the ASUS crowd that frequents SNBForums." I consider that an understatement. IMO a better description would be "a near mythical god like status." :D
 
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lagrave

Occasional Visitor
I would have to disagree with one of your comments in the article though. When you reference "The ASUS RT-AX86U, which is the darling of the ASUS crowd that frequents SNBForums." I consider that an understatement. IMO a better description would be "a near mythical god like status." :D
Why are there no simple answers...:-( Asus should simplify their line-up and create a bunch of models that are distinctly different.

Ok, so RT-AX86 and RT-AX88 then - what are the pros and cons with each model compared to each other?
 

lagrave

Occasional Visitor
Since this thread just made me even more confused - are there any new Asus high-end models in the pipe that one could expect to be supported by Merlin with time (I'm happy to use the OEM firmware while the device is still under warranty)?
 

Piggie

Regular Contributor
Why are there no simple answers...:-( Asus should simplify their line-up and create a bunch of models that are distinctly different.

Ok, so RT-AX86 and RT-AX88 then - what are the pros and cons with each model compared to each other?
If you think this all looks Greek to you!!

From what I hear the AX86u is like Hercules ;). But there's been some recent threads on which is better:



And don't forget they were both included in Tim Higgin's recent article on SmallNetBuilder.

And if you're looking for ASUS's high end WiFi 6e router - this one truly is Zeus -- but it looks more like Medusa and from the reviews, it has an Achilles' Heel.


Now, I bet you're really confused. :)

If you purchase a router from a local retailer, many of them have good return policies. For instance, BestBuy and Costco let you return for pretty much any reason (14 days at BestBuy - 90 days at Costco). So, if you try the router out for a week, and you don't like it, you can return it or exchange it for another model. If you've narrowed things down to 2 or 3 routers, it may be best to take the plunge, and buy one and test it for a week in your home.
 

dscline

Regular Contributor
Since this thread just made me even more confused - are there any new Asus high-end models in the pipe that one could expect to be supported by Merlin with time (I'm happy to use the OEM firmware while the device is still under warranty)?
The newest high end Asus routers are already supported by Merlin: the GT-AXE11000 is the highest end, a tri-band WiFi6e router that adds 6Ghz support at a hefty premium, the RT-AX86U is a 4 stream WiFi6 router, and the RT-AX68U is a 3 stream WiFi6 router. All of these have been released within the past 8 months or so. The RT-AX88 is a little older, is most similar performance-wise to the RT-AX86U, but has more ethernet ports, though some have reported that the newer RT-AX86U has lower latency despite the hardware between the two being very similar. All these are supported by Merlin.
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
Why are there no simple answers...:-( Asus should simplify their line-up and create a bunch of models that are distinctly different.

Ok, so RT-AX86 and RT-AX88 then - what are the pros and cons with each model compared to each other?
The simple answer is get the RT-AX86U.

...But that isn't what you asked in your original post. The AX86U is a popular router in this forum and by most reviewers on the internet because its a top performer, good range, reliable, very low latency, relatively small physical footprint, full of features like an extra 2.5Gb Ethernet port, it's supported by Merlin and it's reasonably priced compared to more expensive AX/Wifi 6 models. As many have said it's one of the best routers in it's price point class that Asus has ever offered. The "mythical god like status" comment was meant to be humor regarding the user enthusiasm many owners have about it... A Zeus.
 
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technotic

New Around Here
Thank you. This is the type of information ASUS should have on their own webpages. Clearly customers are interested in comparisons between similar products in their offerings.

For a while I had made up my mind and would go for the AX88, but that was until I realised that it was only dual band. That feels like an artificial limit on a high end router today? Especially since AX68 is tri-band, isn't it?

AX89
Advantages: tri-band, Merlin support (?), AX6000
However, the price is a dealbreaker

AX88
Advantages: Merlin support, powerful CPU, AX6000
Disadvantages: dual-band

AX92
Advantages: tri-band, 5 Gb USB-port, AX6100
Dealbreaker: not supported by Merlin

AX68
Advantages: tri-band, Merlin support
Disadvantages: limited top speed

AX86
Advantages: Merlin support
Disadvantages: dual-band


Am I missing some option?

I am looking at ASUS-routers because they have native support for HFS+. I also want to have the option to use a third party FW (it doesn't have to be Merlin but HFS+ -support is a dealbreaker so I think Merlin is the main option for 3rd party FW?).

I don't really care about the price as long as it is not significantly more expensive than the RT-AX88. How would you reason considering the above, especially tri-band/80 Mhz/3x3 vs dual-band/160 MHz/4x4 that for my purposes is the main difference between AX68 and AX88?

Worth noting is that RT-AX86 does have an USB 3.2 port while RT-AX88 only has USB 3.1 ports.

I bought my current router, an RT-AC66U just a month after it was released or so and it has been perfectly satisfactory for some 8 years, but it is starting to fail (spontaneous restarts) and I expect the next router to last at least as long as this one, so I want to buy something that is "future proof". I just wish the AX89 was cheaper!
I think the RT-AX3000 (AX58U) is a valid contender here, too. It has solid hardware specs that can handle a demanding workload. Merlin support. Price is nice (currently $160 on amazon, new). I think this is a valid option for someone looking for a faster primary router while delegating their existing AC router to an access point. You won't want to mesh them obviously if you intend to use Wifi 6, since the AC AP will limit the functionality, but it works great, at least for me, if you want a solid ASUS router that can handle 40-50 (30-40 "LAN" devices, 10-15 or so wifi devices) connections (25-30 or so coming from an access point connected to the AX3000 by ethernet).

ASUS firmware functionality doesnt change much above the AX3000, unless you specifically need >1gbps WAN/LAN, WAN aggregation, or other specialty needs. But for <1gbps internet connection, it definitely performs well. It serves as a great upgrade while I decide if I want to get a netgate S2100 or better, and just go pfsense to ditch consumer firmware for good.
 

buildersboy

Occasional Visitor
If using a vpn the RT AX88u is the bomb. Best router I ever owned. RT AX58u has no hardware acceleration so vpn speed would be dismal at best. RT AX58u is a great model for AiMesh as a node.
 

lagrave

Occasional Visitor
If using a vpn the RT AX88u is the bomb. Best router I ever owned. RT AX58u has no hardware acceleration so vpn speed would be dismal at best. RT AX58u is a great model for AiMesh as a node.
I don't need AiMesh. I used VPN before corona. :-Q
 

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