What is the better purchase between the AX88U and AX86U?

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riroku

Occasional Visitor
Just a small update! I have been running Merlin 386.1 for almost 3-4 weeks total runtime before I suffer a power outage due to storm so this router has been running pretty stable for me! Also this router seems to run cooler than all my previous router capping out around 68-72c.

I notice that there is an update for Merlin (386.1_2). What is the usual procedure for updating? Can I update without having to do a full reset every time I want to update? I know usually you should full reset for big updates but what about small update/revision of the same firmware
 

Lee MacMillan

Regular Contributor
Just a small update! I have been running Merlin 386.1 for almost 3-4 weeks total runtime before I suffer a power outage due to storm so this router has been running pretty stable for me! Also this router seems to run cooler than all my previous router capping out around 68-72c.

I notice that there is an update for Merlin (386.1_2). What is the usual procedure for updating? Can I update without having to do a full reset every time I want to update? I know usually you should full reset for big updates but what about small update/revision of the same firmware
Can you update without a full reset? Yes you can. Should you? That's a matter of opinion. I took every firmware update of Asuswrt on my AC66U_B1 for 2 1/2 years without doing a factory reset and never had a problem. When I finally flashed Merlin 384.19, I did the factory reset and realized it wasn't as big a task as I had imagined. Of course, I'm not running scripts and I use the default settings almost everywhere so my setup is pretty simple. FWIW, I updated from Merlin 384.19 to 386.1 without a factory reset and have not experienced any issues. YMMV.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
I notice that there is an update for Merlin (386.1_2). What is the usual procedure for updating? Can I update without having to do a full reset every time I want to update? I know usually you should full reset for big updates but what about small update/revision of the same firmware

No need to, the changes are generally quite minor between 386.1 and 386.1_2.
 

Suresh

Occasional Visitor
do I have to factory reset after flash if i am coming from factory firmware 386_41535?
AX86U
 
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RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
do I have to factory reset after flash if i am coming from factory firmware 386_41535?
AX86U
Probably a good idea, especially since some of these early 386 releases had an issue with improperly setting up MTU values in nvram.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Do you have to? No.

I would do it by default.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
@RMerlin upgrade went fine and I did factory reset after. I now have bunch of these messages in the log. is this expected?

Feb 17 21:17:10 kernel: CONSOLE: 020657.022 wl1: wlc_ampdu_recv_addba_resp: ae:88:22:71:4b:66: Failed. status 1 wsize 0 policy 0
Feb 17 21:17:16 kernel: CONSOLE: 020662.512 wl1: wlc_ampdu_recv_addba_resp: 74:d8:3e:c8:98:58: Failed. status 37 wsize 64 policy 1
Asus compile the RT-AX86U wireless driver with debug logging enabled. Just ignore those messages.
 

MarkyPancake

Senior Member
I've had my AC86U for a few years now and it has been solid and still going strong (had an AC68U before that and an N66U before that), but I'm getting the urge to want to try the AX86U, now we have the first AX device in the house, but I can't really justify the expense right now, so going to hold out for the price to come down or a decent pre-owned one.
 

vit5421

Regular Contributor
Here is my 2 cents.
Both routers are very good but I have much better luck with ax88 compare to ax86 in very big multilevel house using latest Merlin 386.1_2. Both bands on ax88 give me the better signals and connection speed consistency and even compatibility with old IOT devices. Probably its because of better antennas and SOC on 2.4 and longer time on the market.
Ax88 also looks so much better on the shelf for my taste and only $50 more expensive.
 

Ars92

Occasional Visitor
For me, if I do upgrade from my 7+ years old AC68U, its gotta be the AX86U simply because its a vertical model lol. And it looks like its gonna be a long standing model just like the legendary AC68U....just have that feeling

Haven't done the move as I'm just getting a few AX devices here and there, and honestly, 2x2 AC is really good for wireless transfers already, with average speeds of 60-70MBps for file transfers.
 

MarkyPancake

Senior Member
I'm still impressed with the AC86U (had it since 2017). For example, our Virgin Media V6 box upstairs connects to the router downstairs over wireless with a consistent 1300/1300 link rate. I also disconnected and factory reset our AC68U mesh node and when I reconnected it as a node, that was also getting a 1300 link rate near the router.

The AX86U has got a lot to live up to, when the time comes to replace the AC86U.
 

Smokey613

Very Senior Member
I'm still impressed with the AC86U (had it since 2017). For example, our Virgin Media V6 box upstairs connects to the router downstairs over wireless with a consistent 1300/1300 link rate. I also disconnected and factory reset our AC68U mesh node and when I reconnected it as a node, that was also getting a 1300 link rate near the router.

The AX86U has got a lot to live up to, when the time comes to replace the AC86U.
My thoughts exactly. My pair of RT-AC86U are rock solid and do everything I need. I do not see me needing AX capabilities any time in the near future.
 

Clark Griswald

Senior Member
@MarkyPancake @Smokey613

You two sound like my Wife when I suggest not "upgrading, but updating" our current network, which has zero issues.
Stay Safe Everyone
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Zero issues, a 'lot to live up to', and AX capabilities do not begin to contain the improvements the RT-AX86U brings to the network environment.

With anyone having a working 'AC86U set up, it may or may not be worth the cost to upgrade (for any specific individual). But an upgrade, it surely is (whether there are any AX clients or not, as many of my customers' installations prove).

What I'm waiting for is what hardware/firmware RMerlin supported magic can Asus/Eric produce, to entice me to upgrade from 2x RT-AX86U's in a wired AiMesh v2.0 setup. :)
 

Clark Griswald

Senior Member
@L&LD RE Zero Issues

I skipped the previous alpha/beta fw, due to work from home and Distance Learning. I learned to always read the release notes and I do a "Nuclear Reset" at each RMerlin fw release to diminish the gremlin issues from testing.
I jumped on the latest alpha, and my LAN/WAN is smooth (zero issues ;)).

I read on the Forum that Amazon has the AC86 for $159 (YMMV), and at that price I can't rationalize (per The Wife) the current cost of the routers in the op's choices. LINK

Stay Safe everyone
 
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MarkyPancake

Senior Member
You two sound like my Wife when I suggest not "upgrading, but updating" our current network, which has zero issues.
Stay Safe Everyone

LOL! It has taken willpower to resist paying the cost of an AX86U right now, but with the AC86U still doing so well and being able to max out our 200 / 20 service over 5 GHz Wi-Fi. I must fight the urge for now. :)
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
@Clark Griswald, maybe you can rationalize it better if the RT-AX86U is on sale for $200 and you have a buyer for your old router.

That is how I have upgraded the last few times. :D
 

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