What's the verdict on the RT-AX88U vs RT-AX86U vs GT-AXE11000 if I'm buying today

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dylanmitchell

Occasional Visitor
Leaning toward the RT-AX88U over the RT-AX86U and GT-AXE11000. Read through a few threads and it sounds like AX88U may be better at longer ranges, 2.4 GHz on AX88U is a little better, similar performance but AX88U has edge but costs more. AC86U was better than the AC88U but that seems to have reversed with the AX versions. Both use the SoC Broadcom BCM4908 , both have BCM43684 for 5Ghz, but for 2.4 GHz the RT-AX88U has the better BCM43684 radio vs the BCM6710 on the AX86U. GT-AXE11000 is a beast of a router but its the first wi-fi 6E from Asus and I don't think it has Merlin yet. I really like the AC86U but
mine has become non responsive, and signal strength keeps dropping off. Hard reset got it working intermittently but it may be on its way out. We have dirty power here that is hard on electronics. I was using a Tripp Lite Isobar but our ISP wanted me to run my modem off direct power (no surge protector) so I swapped in a Tripp Lite Waber power distribution strip. I should put my next router on a Isobar to see if I can get it to last longer.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Use a battery-backed UPS with brownout, surge, and pure Sinewave output instead. On all your network infrastructure.

You may want to try a new power adaptor for your RT-AC86U and the following suggestions (see link below) to see if it becomes more stable and reliable for you.

The RT-AX88U is a great router and I'm not too keen on the 2.4GHz band (never was) for my own use. The RT-AX86U is a better router today vs. an otherwise identically set up RT-AX88U on RMerlin 386.1 Beta 2. More responsive network, higher sustained throughput on 160MHz width AX 5GHz and if you can wire two together with quality Cat5e cable or better, (particularly over their 2.5GbE Ports), that performance advantage extends to the entire home.
 
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cooloutac

Very Senior Member
Leaning toward the RT-AX88U over the RT-AX86U and GT-AXE11000. Read through a few threads and it sounds like AX88U may be better at longer ranges, 2.4 GHz on AX88U is a little better, similar performance but AX88U has edge but costs more. AC86U was better than the AC88U but that seems to have reversed with the AX versions. Both use the SoC Broadcom BCM4908 , both have BCM43684 for 5Ghz, but for 2.4 GHz the RT-AX88U has the better BCM43684 radio vs the BCM6710 on the AX86U. GT-AXE11000 is a beast of a router but its the first wi-fi 6E from Asus and I don't think it has Merlin yet. I really like the AC86U but
mine has become non responsive, and signal strength keeps dropping off. Hard reset got it working intermittently but it may be on its way out. We have dirty power here that is hard on electronics. I was using a Tripp Lite Isobar but our ISP wanted me to run my modem off direct power (no surge protector) so I swapped in a Tripp Lite Waber power distribution strip. I should put my next router on a Isobar to see if I can get it to last longer.


go with your gut man. I also had the ac86u and returned it after a month with similar issues, and I had it in a apc ups. ended up going back to my almost 3 year old ac66u_b1. I would go with the ax88u since its more established, i would assume the ax86u has more bugs and don't even like the routers marketed as gaming anymore after my experience.
 
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SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
If you don't mind the large footprint, the higher price, no Merlin firmware, first to own and debug and waiting (not sure if you can buy it today at the time of this post) for it to become available I would probably go GT-AXE1100. Between the AX88U and the AX86U I would go for the latter. The AX86U is a newer hardware design, has a smaller footprint, so far a good track record for reliability, offers great performance and it's less expensive.
 
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cooloutac

Very Senior Member
If you don't mind the large footprint, the higher price, first to own and debug and waiting (not sure if you can buy it today at the time of this post) for it to become available I would probably go GT-AXE1100. Between the AX88U and the AX86U I would go for the latter. The AX86U is a newer hardware design, has a smaller footprint, so far a good track record for reliability, offers great performance and it's less expensive.

one thing I don't like about the ac86u and ax86u is the ports are in the back and not on top making it a pain if wall mounted. my ac66u_b1 and ax58u have them on top and have screw holes in back for wall mounting. from the pics I've seen so does the ax88u. Those gaming routers seem to be made more for showing them off on a desk. I got my router sitting right on top of the fios ont box. I had to force the ac86u on there and kept worrying I might mess up the wires or ports. The usb was not even an option mounted like that and if I had to change a wire i had to pull the whole router off. Just pointing that out in case how people mount them might be an issue.

I also really like the idea of 4 antennaes instead of 3, since how I angled the antennaes on my ax58u really made a difference for me.
 
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SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
one thing I don't like about the ac86u and ax86u is the ports are in the back and not on top making it a pain if wall mounted. my ac66u_b1 and ax58u have them on top and have screw holes in back for wall mounting. from the pics I've seen so does the ax88u. Those gaming routers seem to be made more for showing them off on a desk. I got my router sitting right on top of the fios ont box i had to force the ac86u on there and kept worrying I might mess up the wires or ports. The usb was not even an option mounted like that and if I had to change a wire i had to pull the whole router off. Just pointing that out in case how people mount them might be an issue.
Wall mountable aluminum Wifi router shelf
 

cooloutac

Very Senior Member

well in my case I just have it sitting right on top of the ont box. I don't even use any screws. it just leans against the brick wall of my basement lol. That shelf is a good idea but is also a big footprint. I'm sure that is also the idea behind the way the 86u routers stand, to save space. but having the wires on the back increases the footprint especially with a usb. it worked but I had to kind of smash the wires up against it which didn't feel right to me.

ax88u also has 8 lan ports where the ax86u only has 4. I guess you could always use a switch but that could be troublesome sometimes. Maybe if you have a 2.5g connection you can use the ax86u 2.5g port. I don't foresee me having that kind of speed for the life or the router lol. You can also do lan port isolation on that ax88u. for example have 4 ports in a separate "Vlan" if i'm allowed to use the word lol. But i'm not sure if can be implemented natively from official firmware.

Update: If you have a NAS the ac86u 2.5gb port can come in handy. I have no network card with that kind of speed. it seems the ax88u does not support vlan tagging. :(

According to benchmarks, they perform the same, same exact hardware, except the 2.4ghz where the ax88u has faster speeds and range.
 
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SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
...According to benchmarks, they perform the same, same exact hardware, except the 2.4ghz where the ax88u has faster speeds and range.
IMO 2.4Ghz is an overused and often crowded frequency band used mostly for legacy devices. I have found that the new 5Ghz radios like the one used in the AX86U offer a similar range as compared to 2.4Ghz on many older Wifi routers but with better performance and throughput... Besides that there are other factors that have become more important for modern internet applications...

The AX86U is The King of Wifi 6 routers in latency tests according to this CNET review...
The leader in latency
https://www.cnet.com/news/asus-rt-ax86u-wi-fi-6-router-review/

At this time for current consumer grade Wifi 6 routers in its price range nothing else comes close. For online gaming or any latency sensitive online applications it is a huge factor.

In regards to the ports it's really a personal preference. I would rather have one flexible 2.5Gb port that I can assign to whatever application I choose... a total of 4 LAN ports + 1 2.5Gb WAN/LAN + 1 WAN rather than 8 fixed LAN + 1 WAN because as you mentioned... If I want more 1Gb LAN ports I just add an 8 port 1Gb switch for less than $20 USD.
 
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dylanmitchell

Occasional Visitor
Ordered the AX88U and interested to see how it performs. AX86U does have newer design sells for less but was out of stock. Asus store now shows stock but most other retailers are out of stock. Almost all our devices are 5 GHz so 2.4 GHz isn't important. AX86U may be less expensive and have higher throughput but AX88U should be close. Not ready to pay for the privilege of beta testing and debugging a GT-AXE11000!

What UPS back ups are you using? Looking at line-interactive UPS for the AC line noise, brownouts, minor voltage dips, and infrequent black outs. We have Isobar surge protectors on most devices, and a Furman PST-8 DIG on our audio and video equipment. Tripp Lite SMART1500LCDT has voltage regulation but it uses PWM sine wave when on battery power. A standby UPS like the BC600SINE doesn't have voltage regulation but is pure sine wave on battery power.
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
I use server grade APC Smart-UPS 1000 s for power backup, black outs, brown outs, voltage regulation and surge protection. For consumer use they are fairly large and they aren't cheap but neither is my equipment.
 
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SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
Ordered the AX88U and interested to see how it performs. AX86U does have newer design sells for less but was out of stock. Asus store now shows stock but most other retailers are out of stock. Almost all our devices are 5 GHz so 2.4 GHz isn't important. AX86U may be less expensive and have higher throughput but AX88U should be close. Not ready to pay for the privilege of beta testing and debugging a GT-AXE11000!
I never owned the AX88U myself so I have no experience with it other than what other users post here. Like most Wifi routers some people have issues with them and others have no problems and really like them. All you can do is see how it works for you. As far as the differences between the the AX88U and the AX86U... they should perform similarly since they use many (but not all) of the same internal processors, memory, radios, etc.. I am expecting that the GT-AXE11000 will be a very good router but like you mentioned I will wait for the user reviews.
 
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snah001

New Around Here
I own a AX88U now for a few weeks.
Upgraded from a AC3200.
Why?
The AX88U uses hardware acceleration on OpnVpn connections with Merlin firmware!
Now I can setup different clients using different OpenVpn connection for different devices.
I use a cable internet connection with a max download speed of 250Mbs and upload of 25 Mbps.
On each client on my previous AC3200 I reached (Wifi ac connection 5Ghz) a max of 60 Mbps download and even with a OpenVpn application on my Pc I got a max of 125 Mbps.
With the AX88U I get with each client (Wifi ax connection 5Ghz) the max of 250 Mbps down and 25Mbps up and core 4 uses a max of 80% so the connection is fully up speed compared to a connection without Vpn.
Even on my Android phone (Poco F2 Pro) I get close to 250 Mbps download.
So my goal is reached and eventually one could use Diversion instead of a seperate Pi-hole on a Raspberry-Pi for blocking purposes.
 

dylanmitchell

Occasional Visitor
You reference AX86U as best consumer grade router. What's the next step up or what is better than a AX88U/AX86U/AXE1100 Nighthawk AX12?
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
You reference AX86U as best consumer grade router. What's the next step up or what is better than a AX88U/AX86U/AXE1100 Nighthawk AX12?
To put it into specific context I was referencing the CNET review that had compared the latency tests for several popular consumer grade Wifi 6 routers.

The only Wifi 6/6E router I currently own is the Asus AX86U. I can only compare it to the previous consumer grade routers that I have owned including popular Asus AC and N models.

I have posted my opinion before in this forum that in terms of price, performance, features and reliability I believe the AX86U is one of the best consumer grade routers Asus has ever made.

What Wifi 6/6E router would I consider as a step up from those you listed? ... the AX88U/AX86U/AXE1100 Nighthawk AX12 ?...A general answer speculating my opinion about routers not available or some routers I have no hands on experience with isn't going to give you helpful information.

With all these newer Wifi 6/6E routers that are being released look at their hardware specs, what chips they are using... how fast they are clocked, how much memory, how many antennas, the footprint size, etc.. Then you will have to decide what features you want and what firmware interface you like using... Asus, Netgear, etc.. Then continue to read the latest online reviews and owner reviews like you have been doing....

....but since you asked me.... from what I have read about it I am expecting the Asus GT-AXE1100 to be a 6E Wifi beast.... I may even consider purchasing this router in the future. I would also look at the Netgear, Linksys, TP-Link 6E routers that will be coming out. If you want to go beyond these popular consumer brands for features and performance you can look at business class, enterprise and professional grade routers and access points... such as those used in 10GbE, MultiGb internet applications (i.e. Cisco MR56, MR46E). There are online reviews for these too but be prepared for the big jump in cost of ownership.
 
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cooloutac

Very Senior Member
IMO 2.4Ghz is an overused and often crowded frequency band used mostly for legacy devices. I have found that the new 5Ghz radios like the one used in the AX86U offer a similar range as compared to 2.4Ghz on many older Wifi routers but with better performance and throughput... Besides that there are other factors that have become more important for modern internet applications...

The AX86U is The King of Wifi 6 routers in latency tests according to this CNET review...
The leader in latency
https://www.cnet.com/news/asus-rt-ax86u-wi-fi-6-router-review/

At this time for current consumer grade Wifi 6 routers in its price range nothing else comes close. For online gaming or any latency sensitive online applications it is a huge factor.

In regards to the ports it's really a personal preference. I would rather have one flexible 2.5Gb port that I can assign to whatever application I choose... a total of 4 LAN ports + 1 2.5Gb WAN/LAN + 1 WAN rather than 8 fixed LAN + 1 WAN because as you mentioned... If I want more 1Gb LAN ports I just add an 8 port 1Gb switch for less than $20 USD.

problem is most of the devices on my network are still 2.4ghz only. 2.4ghz still goes way further. when it came to 5ghz on the ax58u or ac86u its not even comparable to the range on the 2.4ghz, especially on the ax58u which gave me good connection to my ring doorbell 2 on my front door for example. Even if the doorbell 2 did 5ghz, (newly released doorbell 3 does) not sure what the range difference is with the ax86u 5ghz compared to ax58u 2.4ghz. I'd imagine the ax58u 2.4ghz still goes further. and I could be wrong but I would think the better speed of the ax88u 2.4ghz means its range is greater then on the ax86u. But I would also assume like the ac86u vs the ax58u the 5ghz prolly has greater range on the ax86u compared to ax88u.

So I guess its a matter of what is more important. 2.4ghz vs 5ghz when deciding between the two.
 
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SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
problem is most of the devices on my network are still 2.4ghz only. 2.4ghz still goes way further. when it came to 5ghz on the ax58u or ac86u its not even comparable to the range on the 2.4ghz, especially on the ax58u which gave me good connection to my ring doorbell 2 on my front door for example. Even if the doorbell 2 did 5ghz, (newly released doorbell 3 does) not sure what the range difference is with the ax86u 5ghz compared to ax58u 2.4ghz. I'd imagine the ax58u 2.4ghz still goes further. and I could be wrong but I would think the better speed of the ax88u 2.4ghz means its range is greater then on the ax86u. But I would also assume like the ac86u vs the ax58u the 5ghz prolly has greater range on the ax86u.
The newer routers aren't necessarily better for 2.4Ghz range than older routers. The best 2.4Ghz range I ever experienced was on the Asus N66U with earlier stock firmware. I could walk down the street six or more houses away from my home and still get usable signal. There are fairly strict FCC limits on the new consumer Wifi routers and devices for how much power the 2.4Ghz radios can use. The newer routers make up for using less power with better radio sensitivity and improved signal processing but it's still not the same.
 

cooloutac

Very Senior Member
The newer routers aren't necessarily better for 2.4Ghz range than older routers. The best 2.4Ghz range I ever experienced was on the Asus N66U with earlier stock firmware. I could walk down the street six or more houses away from my home and still get usable signal. There are fairly strict FCC limits on the new consumer Wifi routers and devices for how much power the 2.4Ghz radios can use. The newer routers make up for using less power with better radio sensitivity and improved signal processing but it's still not the same.

I'm only telling you my personal experience with the ax58u vs the ac86u. ax58u has way better 2.4ghz range. non ax. the 5ghz was slightly better on the ac86u maybe the same. Maybe it wasn't performing right who knows because I would of assumed the opposite.

But I would think the ax88u 2.4ghz has better range then the ax86u 2.4ghz since its benchmarks at better speeds. SO definitely safe to go by listed specs alone which has higher 2.4ghz ax, qam and ac on the 2.4ghz. What is interesting and not to contradict you, but the ax58u has higher 2.4ghz ax speeds then both the ax88u and ax86u. very strange. is that a misprint? lol and a huge astronomical margin. 2402 mbs, vs 1148 and 861 respectively? wow. the newest of them the ax86u has the slowest 2.4ghz.

RT-AX86U - Tech Specs|WiFi 6|Networking / IoT / Servers |ASUS Global

RT-AX88U - Tech Specs|WiFi Routers|Networking / IoT / Servers |ASUS Global

RT-AX58U - Tech Specs|Whole Home Mesh WiFi Systems|Networking / IoT / Servers |ASUS Global


I guess not only does it depend on whats more important to you 2.4ghz vs 5ghz. Its also how fast your ISP speed is lol. Your coverage area, and how much are things going to change for you in 5 years.
 
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GK59

Regular Contributor
Guys I've been following this thread closely as I too am in the market to upgradefrom my now up and down AC86U. I'm pretty certain I'll go with the RT-AC86U but I'm also in need of good quality CAT7a or 8 for that matter to replace my older 6 stuff, any good recs from anyone is appreciated. I'm also looking to upgrade my old power strip soon too. One more thing, how has the beta FW been performing with the AX86U?
 

cooloutac

Very Senior Member
Guys I've been following this thread closely as I too am in the market to upgradefrom my now up and down AC86U. I'm pretty certain I'll go with the RT-AC86U but I'm also in need of good quality CAT7a or 8 for that matter to replace my older 6 stuff, any good recs from anyone is appreciated. I'm also looking to upgrade my old power strip soon too. One more thing, how has the beta FW been performing with the AX86U?

don't know about best wires. but instead of a power strip i would get a small ups. like from apc or cyberpower.

Amazon.com: APC UPS, 600VA UPS Battery Backup & Surge Protector, BE600M1 Backup Battery Power Supply, USB Charger, Back-UPS Series Uninterruptible Power Supply: Home Audio & Theater This is what I have had my ac66u_b1 in among other small devices for 3 years. And I get a power outages and bad surges a couple times a month where I live. never had a problem with the router. Its still rocking.

If extra worried though you could spend a little more money and get something with AVR (automatic voltage regulation) for when you get brownouts and such. tripplite sells cheap ones like this Amazon.com: Tripp Lite AVR750U 750VA UPS Battery Backup, 450W AVR Line Interactive, USB, Ultra-Compact, Black: Home Audio & Theater

They sell even more expensive ones like pure sine wave ones, but I think they are unnecessary. I don't even use that on my desktop pc and I'm a heavy gamer. I use evga bronze rated psu.

I have found though using the ethernet wire into surges can cause issues but you can always get one that has that and try it out. I never bother anymore. pretty sure the heavy duty ONT on my wall has surge protection in it but who knows. like i said i get constant power outages and crazy surges. Every single room in my house has a ups. lol but the ethernet wires i don't bother plugging in.
 

SoCalReviews

Very Senior Member
I'm only telling you my personal experience with the ax58u vs the ac86u. ax58u has way better 2.4ghz range. non ax. the 5ghz was slightly better on the ac86u maybe the same. Maybe it wasn't performing right who knows because I would of assumed the opposite.

But I would think the ax88u 2.4ghz has better range then the ax86u 2.4ghz since its benchmarks at better speeds. SO definitely safe to go by listed specs alone which has higher 2.4ghz ax, qam and ac on the 2.4ghz. What is interesting and not to contradict you, but the ax58u has higher 2.4ghz ax speeds then both the ax88u and ax86u. very strange. is that a misprint? lol and a huge astronomical margin. 2402 mbs, vs 1148 and 861 respectively? wow. the newest of them the ax86u has the slowest 2.4ghz.

RT-AX86U - Tech Specs|WiFi 6|Networking / IoT / Servers |ASUS Global

RT-AX88U - Tech Specs|WiFi Routers|Networking / IoT / Servers |ASUS Global

RT-AX58U - Tech Specs|Whole Home Mesh WiFi Systems|Networking / IoT / Servers |ASUS Global


I guess not only does it depend on whats more important to you 2.4ghz vs 5ghz. Its also how fast your ISP speed is lol. Your coverage area, and how much are things going to change for you in 5 years.
I wouldn't get too caught up in those AX58U vs. AX88U vs. AX86U Asus Wifi benchmarks. They are provided to differentiate their product line for marketing purposes. I am not saying that aren't real. It's just that many of their tests are done under optimal conditions in pristine environments with the latest Wifi 6 devices. I rely more on user tests and reviews in real world environments with a variety of different new and legacy devices.

The AX86U 5Gz signal in my house seems to be almost as strong as the 2.4Ghz but the throughput speed is superior so the devices I used to connect at the edges of my home that worked only with 2.4Ghz now use 5Ghz. Compared to the old Asus AC68P (which I really liked for stability) that I was using... both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz radios have better range, more stability and better throughput on the AX86U.

That is my experience but it doesn't mean your experience would be exactly the same. You would have to try in your environment for yourself. However I have read about other AX86U users making similar claims about how much improved both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz is with 5Ghz being considerably better than the older Asus AC Wifi routers.
 
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