What router seems to work best with the RT-AC86U in AiMesh?

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ingeborgdot

Regular Contributor
I have the RT-AC86U. I am looking for another router that works best in the AiMesh system . I don't want to spend near as much as the 86U cost, so I was wondering what people have found to be the best router match for the mesh system? I will have the other router hardwired if that is relevant.
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
I have the RT-AC86U. I am looking for another router that works best in the AiMesh system . I don't want to spend near as much as the 86U cost, so I was wondering what people have found to be the best router match for the mesh system? I will have the other router hardwired if that is relevant.
I think the cheaper options down are AC68U and AC66U B1. Neither support Smart Connect, so you would use different SSIDs per band. I can't say how well they mesh.

A second AC86U does offer hardware backup for fast recovery of the main router.

OE
 

fritzk3

Occasional Visitor
Having just gone through this myself with an 86U as the main router and a 68U as the second router, I found the best success by configuring the 68U as an Access Point, hardwired to the 86U (from LAN port on 86U to WAN port on 68U), and broadcasting its own set of SSIDs.

I had previously tried the AiMesh setup over wireless, and frequently observed the 68U appearing as "Offline" in the GUI. Other posts have suggested that the 68U is perhaps not the best match for the 86U when trying to use AiMesh wirelessly.

I believe the coverage would be the same either way you configure it, but I feel as though there's a more stable partnership between the two units with the 68U configured as an Access Point.
 

JT Strickland

Senior Member
I had two RT689U's as aimesh nodes, but only have one now because I didn't need two. The primary is in my office, and the node in my nearby home. They work well with the RT-AC86U. Some say that smart connect causes problems instead of solving them. I named my 5 and 2.4 networks different SSID's where I would have control over which network my clients connected to. Also, I can walk from my home to my office, and the transitional handoff of my iPhone is smooth as silk. I never know when it is switched from one router to the other.
 

ingeborgdot

Regular Contributor
RT689U? I can't seem to find that anywhere.
When you say you named your 5 and 2.4 networks different SSID's , were you referring to the 86U and your other router or different SSID's on the 86U alone?
 

JT Strickland

Senior Member

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Is AiMesh my best option? Or should I just use the 2nd router as an AP? What gives me better coverage?
Generally speaking, WiFi coverage is a function of the radio. Since a given radio doesn't change between AP modes... AP Mode vs. AiMesh node... the WiFi coverage is basically the same. What does change is the system integration and management of the AP. Some would argue that an AiMesh node is a better system-based implementation of an AP. I think it can be, will be, and is, depending upon who you ask and when.

You should try AiMesh. You can easily switch to AP Mode later.

My install notes cover some basics that may help with setup. Feel free to use Asuswrt-Merlin, if you need it. Wiring your node will boost its performance, helping with it not being a 5.0 4 stream AC86U.

OE
 

JT Strickland

Senior Member
RT689U? I can't seem to find that anywhere.
When you say you named your 5 and 2.4 networks different SSID's , were you referring to the 86U and your other router or different SSID's on the 86U alone?
Haven't you heard about that new model? 6789? No, fat fingers and I didn't see it. Excuse my dexterity. And eyesight.
Different SSID's on my network. The node router's name is RT689U. Just kidding.

BTW, I run AsusWRT-Merlin firmware on all my routers, although it isn't necessary. It simplifies the updates at the same time.
 

MarkyPancake

Senior Member
I've been using an AC86U router downstairs and an AC68U node upstairs with a DWB for around several months now and it's been solid with both on the same firmware version. Started out with them on Merlin 384.17, then .18 and now .19.
 

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