What is the better purchase between the AX88U and AX86U?

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GDT

Regular Contributor
I installed RMerlin alpha test version, I use it in conjuntion with a modded netgear R7000 with asuswrt firmware as an aimesh node because I need to extend my network to some ethernet cabled devices. It doesn't work very well as aimesh node (it didn't also when paired with another R7000 I had before the ax86u). I'm thinking to replace this one with another aimesh node with wifi6 support and some ethernet ports. Any suggestion?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Using Asuswrt firmware on non-Asus routers is illegal. Support isn't provided for this nor is discussion allowed. See the forum stickies.
 

GDT

Regular Contributor
Using Asuswrt firmware on non-Asus routers is illegal. Support isn't provided for this nor is discussion allowed. See the forum stickies.

In fact, I'm not asking for support for modded router: I'm going to replace it with something else and I'm asking for that.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
In that case, the RT-AC86U, RT-AX58U, RT-AX86U, and the RT-AX88U are what you should be considering.

Ideally, you will pair the 'AC86U with an identical unit. The 'AX58U would ideally be paired with one of the other 'AX class routers suggested above.

The 'AC86U, 'AX86U, and 'AX88U will give you the highest possible (200Mbps +) VPN speeds if that is important. The 'AX58U will give around 70Mbps, depending on the local and remote ISP speeds available (up and down, each way).
 
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riroku

Occasional Visitor
Just an update on my router situation. I returned my AX88U for an AX86U and so far the experience hasn't been well. Seems I got a lemon unfortunately and Amazon will be replacing it. I took it out of the box and ran setup wizard. Everything was setup but I couldn't find the Wifi at all. I did a full reset and still couldn't find the WiFi. I end up doing a firmware upgrade and full reset on that as well which didn't help. I then saw Merlin announce his Beta release so I installed that with a full reset and still couldn't find Wifi signal sitting 1 inch away from the router. I checked the Tools section on Merlin and it shows 5GHZ - Disabled so I'm assuming the WiFi is dead on this router. I turned off smart connect hoping that 2.4ghz would work but I still can't find WiFi unfortunately. I tried turning off WiFi 6 as well. Everything works except for WiFi. The lan ports work fine on stock and Merlin though

I'm currently just using a Asus N66U running off the lan port as an AP until I get a replacement since it's out of stock
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
Just an update on my router situation. I returned my AX88U for an AX86U and so far the experience hasn't been well. Seems I got a lemon unfortunately and Amazon will be replacing it...
riroku, That's unfortunate you had problems with your AX86U since it's not the experience most users seem to be having. All four of my AX86Us with the basic settings I used have been running flawlessly 24/7 for months now... never even needing a single reboot since their original setup... except after the normal configuration or firmware updates. But it's good to know Amazon is replacing yours. Please provide updates after you receive your new replacement router.

If you need any setup or configuration advice from other users in this forum don't hesitate to ask. Let the router update it's firmware during initial start up and setup, don't use Smart Connect, use separate SSIDs for 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, use WPA2 (don't use WPA3 at this time), try to set up your AX86U as similar as possible to your previous router's basic settings... for example use the same previous SSID and password, same LAN starting IP (192.168.1.1 or whatever it was, etc..), don't use AiProtection, leave QoS off or as default, use the regular Asus firmware with most default settings to start (AX enabled and most other default wireless settings should be ok). Keep your settings simple and basic default for your initial setting until you make sure your new router is working properly. You can always make your other personal configuration changes after you confirm everything is working.
 
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riroku

Occasional Visitor
riroku, That's unfortunate you had problems with your AX86U since it's not the experience most users seem to be having. All four of my AX86Us with the basic settings I used have been running flawlessly 24/7 for months now... never even needing a single reboot since their original setup... except after the normal configuration or firmware updates. But it's good to know Amazon is replacing yours. Please provide updates after you receive your new replacement router.

If you need any setup or configuration advice from other users in this forum don't hesitate to ask. Let the router update it's firmware during initial start up and setup, don't use Smart Connect, use separate SSIDs for 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, use WPA2 (don't use WPA3 at this time), try to set up your AX86U as similar as possible to your previous router's basic settings... for example use the same previous SSID and password, same LAN starting IP (192.168.1.1 or whatever it was, etc..), don't use AiProtection, leave QoS off or as default, use the regular Asus firmware with most default settings to start (AX enabled and most other default wireless settings should be ok). Keep your settings simple and basic default for your initial setting until you make sure your new router is working properly. You can always make your other personal configuration changes after you confirm everything is working.

Yeah, I usually keep it simple. I even try not setting any password at all. I basically just use the url from this post https://www.snbforums.com/threads/ax88-packet-loss.62891/#post-563326 to bypass the setup wizard then let the router run as default after a full reset. Wifi still doesn't show up on any of my device on AsusWRT or Merlin. Seems I might have gotten one with a dead wifi chip since the 5GHZ shows disabled on Merlin under tools where it shows the temperature and etc.
 

bobpow

Regular Contributor
Does the ax86u have the AES-NI acceleration feature for vpn acceleration or is it just the ax88u
Thanks
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
The RT-AC86U, RT-AX88U, and RT-AX86U all have identical VPN speeds (via AES-NI).
 

bobpow

Regular Contributor
Thank you for your help
 

riroku

Occasional Visitor
Just received my replacement AX86U today. Everything seems to be working and my previous model was definitely defective. I didn't notice until today but all the lights on my previous AX86U turned on except the 5GHZ. Every light on the replacement is on now including 5GHZ.

Will update to the latest AX86U firmware for now until Merlin is out of beta for this router. I will report back in two weeks on how the AX86U is doing for me. Hopefully no reboots like the AX88U I had
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
Just received my replacement AX86U today. Everything seems to be working and my previous model was definitely defective. I didn't notice until today but all the lights on my previous AX86U turned on except the 5GHZ. Every light on the replacement is on now including 5GHZ.

Will update to the latest AX86U firmware for now until Merlin is out of beta for this router. I will report back in two weeks on how the AX86U is doing for me. Hopefully no reboots like the AX88U I had

Back in the day I worked in quality control and repair for a manufacturer of memory upgrade components for printers, computers, etc.. We tested every product on a real machine (computer, printer, etc.) before it was shipped but some would still come back. Most of the defective products that came back either had a single bad chip that had gone bad, a bad/cracked board tracing or a broken solder connection. More often than not it was a separated/cracked solder connection that simply had to be re-soldered... and it usually took less than a minute or two to fix once it was found.

Congrats for now. It's good you got a working new replacement unit that seems to be performing well. When you are ready let us know how you like it.
 
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riroku

Occasional Visitor
Back in the day I worked in quality control and repair for a manufacturer of memory upgrade components for printers, computers, etc.. We tested every product on a real machine (computer, printer, etc.) before it was shipped but some would still come back. Most of the defective products that came back either had a single bad chip that had gone bad, a bad/cracked board tracing or a broken solder connection. More often than not it was a separated/cracked solder connection that simply had to be re-soldered... and it usually took less than a minute or two to fix once it was found.

Congrats for now. It's good you got a working new replacement unit that seems to be performing well. When you are ready let us know how you like it.

As of today, the router has 8 day uptime without any reboots or network issues. Everything seems to be very stable with this router and I have no regrets returning the AX88u for the AX86u. The smaller footprint as well has been wonderful. I'm running firmware Version 3.0.0.4.384.9318 if anyone else was wondering.

I'm just waiting for a stable full release of Merlin for this router now to fully take advantage of this router now that I know it's stable enough to keep. I can't wait to get diversion back up and running eventually. Using the phone for web browsing has been tougher without diversion with ad redirect to app store and you are a winner popup.
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
As of today, the router has 8 day uptime without any reboots or network issues. Everything seems to be very stable with this router and I have no regrets returning the AX88u for the AX86u. The smaller footprint as well has been wonderful. I'm running firmware Version 3.0.0.4.384.9318 if anyone else was wondering.

I'm just waiting for a stable full release of Merlin for this router now to fully take advantage of this router now that I know it's stable enough to keep. I can't wait to get diversion back up and running eventually. Using the phone for web browsing has been tougher without diversion with ad redirect to app store and you are a winner popup.
That's great news that you like it so far. Yes, in my book stability is one of the most important things I look for in computer, electronics and networking equipment. This is why I have been impressed with the AX86U. It seems to have that combination of excellent performance and stability. Having the feature enhanced Merlin firmware available makes this Wifi router even more impressive.
 
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riroku

Occasional Visitor
A small update, I'm slowly turning things back on. I turned on AIProtection at the 8 day mark and have still been running pretty stable. Router hasn't gone down or rebooted in 12 days now since AIProtection has been turned on. Still waiting for a stable release of Merlin for this router as I don't want to mess with the beta but things are looking great for this router. Hopefully it continues to last as long as my AC68P (I bought it in 2012/2013 and retired it Oct 2019).

I do probably have to get some AImesh nodes though. The signal seem weaker than the AX88u. I put it in the same place as my AX88u but the strength doesn't reach as far for 5GHZ band as the AX88u. I still take the stability over the AX88U range though
asus.png
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
A small update, I'm slowly turning things back on. I turned on AIProtection at the 8 day mark and have still been running pretty stable. Router hasn't gone down or rebooted in 12 days now since AIProtection has been turned on. Still waiting for a stable release of Merlin for this router as I don't want to mess with the beta but things are looking great for this router. Hopefully it continues to last as long as my AC68P (I bought it in 2012/2013 and retired it Oct 2019).

I do probably have to get some AImesh nodes though. The signal seem weaker than the AX88u. I put it in the same place as my AX88u but the strength doesn't reach as far for 5GHZ band as the AX88u. I still take the stability over the AX88U range though
View attachment 28995
asus-png.210101.png


...The AX86U is definitely stable.

The slightly less 5Ghz range might be due to the 4th antenna being positioned internally instead of externally like it is on the AX88U. Try physically rotating the router around and see if that makes a difference.
 

BreakingDad

Very Senior Member
They have the same cpu/ram arrangement. They have the same 5Ghz radio. I think the ax86u has a newer 2.4Ghz radio plus it has a 2.5 gigabytes wan port. The ax86u is cheaper as well. So from my point of view if you don't meed more than 4 lan ports the ax86u is a better choice for you.
You actually get 5 lan ports on the ax86u, assuming you are not using the 2.5gb port as a backhaul AI mesh link. (I learn fast @L&LD)
 

BreakingDad

Very Senior Member
Using Asuswrt firmware on non-Asus routers is illegal. Support isn't provided for this nor is discussion allowed. See the forum stickies.
Imagine having a non-asus router.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture

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