would anyone recommend 2 x RT-AC68U to create mesh network?

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jata

Regular Contributor
Hi all,

I'm a long-time user of merlin and asus routers but I have had a bad experience trying to fix the 2.4ghz wifi on my RT-AC86U - after many hours I have confirmed that the 2.4g wifi is broken. Amazon have agreed a full refund (it's 23mth old so pleased)

So my new project is setting up a mesh network using 2x RT-AC68U. My questions are:

1. How is the general performance and reliability of the 68U vs the 86U?
2. has anyone got some experience setting up a mesh network using 2 x 68u's? How well does it work?
3. should I put merlin on both 68U's or just on the main router?
4. Any other advice or suggestions?
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Yes, I can, wholeheartedly. I have a few customers with a 2x RT-AC86U Aimesh main/node setup in both wired and wireless backhaul configurations that work very well for them. In addition to multiple times more RT-AC86U's working as a single, main router too.

RMerlin firmware highly recommended for all the routers. Full M&M Config after flashing the RMerlin firmware (currently 384.19_0).

With connections above 1Gbps symmetrical up/down, wired backhaul works much better for maximum wireless speeds possible.
 

K-2SO

Very Senior Member
Any other advice or suggestions?
Start with Asus stock. Stabilize your setup. Switch to Merlin only if you need something extra. Merlin won't update the firmware any time soon. Asus is moving to 386 code base soon with AiMesh 2.0.
 

jata

Regular Contributor
Thanks.

I have just had a bad experience with the wifi failing on my 86u so I was thinking of using 2x RT-AC68U - but after some research I think they are a bit too old.

What about the RT-AX58U? It seems quite good value here in Oz - $360

Also looking at RT-AX88U but it is pricey in Oz - $550
 

K-2SO

Very Senior Member
Different option:
With router of your choice. Much better than AiMesh. Coming from 2 failed RT-AC86Us.
 

jata

Regular Contributor
Start with Asus stock. Stabilize your setup. Switch to Merlin only if you need something extra. Merlin won't update the firmware any time soon. Asus is moving to 386 code base soon with AiMesh 2.0.
thanks - didn't know there is a big update coming with AiMesh - so might be worth starting with one good/solid AX router and adding a iAmesh node when needed.
 

K-2SO

Very Senior Member
See the post above. There are better not much more expensive solutions from small business gear. My advice - forget AIO routers.
 

jata

Regular Contributor
See the post above. There are better not much more expensive solutions from small business gear. My advice - forget AIO routers.
thanks - this is going to be a stupid question but what is an AIO router?
 

Decado

Occasional Visitor
I'm new to the forums, this is my first post/reply but fwiw my experience is as follows

I recently upgraded my home network hardware for the first time in over 10 years. I live a large 2 level home, we are a fostering family with 4 adults and anything up to 5 kids all with their own PCs and mobile devices and I run a full domain from home so I have 40 to 50 clients connected at any one time and I need something with a fair amount of grunt. After some advice I installed a RT-AX88U as the router with two RT-AC68U units as Aimesh nodes only. I'm using a wired backhaul. The ASUS rep for Australia suggested the AC68U to me as the node device as he uses them in that role himself. At any given time there are perhaps 15 to 20 clients connected through the AC68U nodes here.

I tested for 2 weeks with the stock ASUS firmware and found it to be stable, fast and reliable during that time. Far more so than many reports and reviews indicated may be the case. It's been pretty seamless to be honest.

As I want to incorporate Skynet and Diversion it seems to be required to run ASUSWRT-Merlin so I installed 384.19 on the AX88U and as suggested by RMerlin in his install notes I have left the nodes on the standard ASUS firmware. Although it's a bit early to make sweeping statements "so far so good" as the jumper said passing the 32nd floor.

From what I can see the AC68U is a pretty good device as a node as was suggested by Jack at ASUS and it's ability as a primary router has been pretty well established in the 6+ years it's been on the market.

Regards
Ari
 

jata

Regular Contributor
I'm new to the forums, this is my first post/reply but fwiw my experience is as follows

I recently upgraded my home network hardware for the first time in over 10 years. I live a large 2 level home, we are a fostering family with 4 adults and anything up to 5 kids all with their own PCs and mobile devices and I run a full domain from home so I have 40 to 50 clients connected at any one time and I need something with a fair amount of grunt. After some advice I installed a RT-AX88U as the router with two RT-AC68U units as Aimesh nodes only. I'm using a wired backhaul. The ASUS rep for Australia suggested the AC68U to me as the node device as he uses them in that role himself. At any given time there are perhaps 15 to 20 clients connected through the AC68U nodes here.

I tested for 2 weeks with the stock ASUS firmware and found it to be stable, fast and reliable during that time. Far more so than many reports and reviews indicated may be the case. It's been pretty seamless to be honest.

As I want to incorporate Skynet and Diversion it seems to be required to run ASUSWRT-Merlin so I installed 384.19 on the AX88U and as suggested by RMerlin in his install notes I have left the nodes on the standard ASUS firmware. Although it's a bit early to make sweeping statements "so far so good" as the jumper said passing the 32nd floor.

From what I can see the AC68U is a pretty good device as a node as was suggested by Jack at ASUS and it's ability as a primary router has been pretty well established in the 6+ years it's been on the market.

Regards
Ari
thanks - really helpful. If the AX88U was a bit cheaper I'd go for it but I think the AX58U will be fine for my use.
 

jata

Regular Contributor
All-In-One router, the home routers. Buy one RT-AX58U and see what it can do in your place.



Indeed. RT-AC68U is an older model, but one of the most reliable ones and still supported by Asus.
thanks everyone for your input. I'm going for the RT-AX58U and see how it goes...
 

Neil62

Senior Member
Start with Asus stock. Stabilize your setup. Switch to Merlin only if you need something extra. Merlin won't update the firmware any time soon. Asus is moving to 386 code base soon with AiMesh 2.0.
You may also want to keep an eye on the routers which ASUS intends to support for AIMesh support.
 

cooloutac

Senior Member
thanks everyone for your input. I'm going for the RT-AX58U and see how it goes...
lol i was just about to recommend this. stay away from the ac86u, ac3100, the ax86u and even the ax88u lol. I'm about to buy the ax58u too since the couple weeks I had it it seemed ok. Only issues I had turned out to be with my vpn service and not the router. Ended up replacing it for the ac86u for the fast vpn speeds, which I could care less about now.

Is it still working good for you?
 

jata

Regular Contributor
sorry for the delay. Generally very happy with RT-AX58U. It's a good and stable router. Now cake-qos is supported and the latest merlin 386 alpha 3 now supports it.
 

heysoundude

Very Senior Member
lol i was just about to recommend this. stay away from the ac86u, ac3100, the ax86u and even the ax88u lol. I'm about to buy the ax58u too since the couple weeks I had it it seemed ok. Only issues I had turned out to be with my vpn service and not the router. Ended up replacing it for the ac86u for the fast vpn speeds, which I could care less about now.

Is it still working good for you?
Stay away from the ac86? c'mon, it's shaping up to be the replacement for when the venerable ac68 is no longer supported...and is quite the machine to hold down the root/router spot in AiMesh now. (I'll agree with the 3100 - it was a niche thing) and the AX models are the new hot things all the cool kids are after...until wifi6e models start to creep into stores.
from where I sit - the newest model should be used as the router/root node, with older models as remote nodes. It makes sense to move machines closer to the fringes of coverage bubbles as they age out and approach age-related failure, wouldn't you agree? that makes the ac68 a wonderful current candidate for a remote node under AiMesh.
 

cooloutac

Senior Member
Stay away from the ac86? c'mon, it's shaping up to be the replacement for when the venerable ac68 is no longer supported...and is quite the machine to hold down the root/router spot in AiMesh now. (I'll agree with the 3100 - it was a niche thing) and the AX models are the new hot things all the cool kids are after...until wifi6e models start to creep into stores.
from where I sit - the newest model should be used as the router/root node, with older models as remote nodes. It makes sense to move machines closer to the fringes of coverage bubbles as they age out and approach age-related failure, wouldn't you agree? that makes the ac68 a wonderful current candidate for a remote node under AiMesh.
"new hot things" kinda screams "gaming" marketing for the kids. which the ax86u and ac86u are a part of. the only asus router i could recommend to people right now besides the ac66u_b1 and ac68u is the ax58u since the ax88u also seems to have similar problems and is ridiculously priced. And thats only if you have wifi 6 devices or absolutely need that extra range. The only thing "strong" about these new routers compared to the older models is the wireless range, and not by that much imo. Its more about high bandwidth and speed imo. They don't handle more devices any better and the firmware is so unstable its a downgrade in every other aspect. Most people running the ac86u can't even keep all the features enabled without the thing crashing. Thats a joke.

AImesh was a buggy unreliable mess for me to the point it became totally impractical. Even with a wired backhaul. I'm not buying that handful of beans anymore. Maybe if I had two ac86u's the aimesh node would of been more reliable? But as a standalone the ac86u was so buggy and unreliable in itself that it probably wouldn't matter. And the big selling point of aimesh is being able to use your old router like you are suggesting. But it doesn't always pan out in reality.

The avg home is going to have 50 iot and smart home devices soon in the future. They are going to want networks that don't crap out once a week so I don't know what the future holds for this consumer market, because at this point ISP routers are getting more reliable. The only reason to buy these routers as I did is to save on the monthly fees and for the extra functions, But if they are too unreliable people aren't going to bother.

I myself am going to move away from asus networking altogether. I personally tried the ax58u and ac86u and its just not worth it over the ac68u imo. It seems Asus is really milking the reputation they garnered from the legendary ac68u and are going downhill.
 
Last edited:

jata

Regular Contributor
"new hot things" kinda screams "gaming" marketing for the kids. which the ax86u and ac86u are a part of. the only asus router i could recommend to people right now besides the ac66u_b1 and ac68u is the ax58u since the ax88u also seems to have similar problems and is ridiculously priced. And thats only if you have wifi 6 devices or absolutely need that extra range. The only thing "strong" about these new routers compared to the older models is the wireless range, and not by that much imo. Its more about high bandwidth and speed imo. They don't handle more devices any better and the firmware is so unstable its a downgrade in every other aspect. Most people running the ac86u can't even keep all the features enabled without the thing crashing. Thats a joke.

AImesh was a buggy unreliable mess for me to the point it became totally impractical. Even with a wired backhaul. I'm not buying that handful of beans anymore. Maybe if I had two ac86u's the aimesh node would of been more reliable? But as a standalone the ac86u was so buggy and unreliable in itself that it probably wouldn't matter. And the big selling point of aimesh is being able to use your old router like you are suggesting. But it doesn't always pan out in reality.

The avg home is going to have 50 iot and smart home devices soon in the future. They are going to want networks that don't crap out once a week so I don't know what the future holds for this consumer market, because at this point ISP routers are getting more reliable. The only reason to buy these routers as I did is to save on the monthly fees and for the extra functions, But if they are too unreliable people aren't going to bother.

I myself am going to move away from asus networking altogether. I personally tried the ax58u and ac86u and its just not worth it over the ac68u imo. It seems Asus is really milking the reputation they garnered from the legendary ac68u and are going downhill.
Thanks for the helpful perspective and input. I agree that aimesh v1 did not work well for me and i tried a number of stock/merlin firmware on the mesh node (brand new AC68U).

So I have settled on the following config until we have a stable 386 release.

  • RT-AX58U on merlin 384.19 in wireless router mode - running the trend IA Protection and the FlexQOS addon
  • RT-AC68U on merlin 384.19 as wired AP mode - no additional config

So I'm happy with this setup for now as everything connected and system stable.

Looking back at all of the testing over the last week, I am thinking it was using a wireless backhaul that was causing wan dropouts on clients connecting to the node.

Anyway, I do look forward to trying aimesh v2 in a month or two. At least I will have a comparison point with aimesh v1
 

heysoundude

Very Senior Member
"new hot things" kinda screams "gaming" marketing for the kids. which the ax86u and ac86u are a part of. the only asus router i could recommend to people right now besides the ac66u_b1 and ac68u is the ax58u since the ax88u also seems to have similar problems and is ridiculously priced. And thats only if you have wifi 6 devices or absolutely need that extra range. The only thing "strong" about these new routers compared to the older models is the wireless range, and not by that much imo. Its more about high bandwidth and speed imo. They don't handle more devices any better and the firmware is so unstable its a downgrade in every other aspect. Most people running the ac86u can't even keep all the features enabled without the thing crashing. Thats a joke.

AImesh was a buggy unreliable mess for me to the point it became totally impractical. Even with a wired backhaul. I'm not buying that handful of beans anymore. Maybe if I had two ac86u's the aimesh node would of been more reliable? But as a standalone the ac86u was so buggy and unreliable in itself that it probably wouldn't matter. And the big selling point of aimesh is being able to use your old router like you are suggesting. But it doesn't always pan out in reality.

The avg home is going to have 50 iot and smart home devices soon in the future. They are going to want networks that don't crap out once a week so I don't know what the future holds for this consumer market, because at this point ISP routers are getting more reliable. The only reason to buy these routers as I did is to save on the monthly fees and for the extra functions, But if they are too unreliable people aren't going to bother.

I myself am going to move away from asus networking altogether. I personally tried the ax58u and ac86u and its just not worth it over the ac68u imo. It seems Asus is really milking the reputation they garnered from the legendary ac68u and are going downhill.
If you want (or need) a commercial/enterprise router for your home, you really shouldn't be looking at Asus: there are more appropriate solutions for you. I hope they're as magical and magnificent as you hope or believe they will be; I also hope you enjoy parting with your hard-earned money for the experience.
I'm running an ac86 for 2-ish years now, give or take, and havent had a single problem with it, other than with a couple of config blunders on my part. My experience differs from yours, obviously, because mine has been a rock solid piece of kit that I haven't hesitated to recommend to others because of that. Mind you, I'm just running a simple 2.4 and 5GHz wifi scheme, no guest networks, no VPN client/server, Native IPv6 on a 50/10 DSL, no dual wan, cake for qos, unbound DNS/blocking, no skynet, no suricata...no overreach.
I'll give you marketing: gamers trend towards the 5300s because they're explicitly marketed as Gaming routers to the gaming crowd, who then tend to come looking for advice on how to lower latency and find that their niche routers aren't as malleable as the mainstream ones. oh, the irony. right?
I also don't agree with you on the smart devices/IoT - 50 seems high to me: I'm doing whatever I can to limit my exposure to them.
Further, the ISP-provided modem/router combo box only does one of those acceptably well at any time for me (and many others), which is why companies like Asus make product in that category...and take them to a next step with tech like AiMesh. (I'm expecting v2 to bring home whatever runners are stranded out on base from v1 - a bit of patience might serve you well if youre so inclined - because alpha testers on both the factory and merlin forks are reporting improvements. by the time beta has wrapped and release is happening, it'll most likely be elegant/smooth or at least ridiculously functional for what it is)
 

bbunge

Very Senior Member
A lot of words pro and con for Asus. But I've recently put up an AiMesh 2.0 with an AC66U_B1 and AC68U and it works very well! About to add another AC68U node.
 

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