XT8 experience so far

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wardie

Occasional Visitor
In summary... good in the end but fiddly to get there as wizard setup is flaky. Just unboxed a pair of white XT8's to replace an AC5300 and AC86U. Wanted Wifi6 speeds for newer devices, exploit 5GHz-2, better reliability of mesh, I use dual WAN so that's a reason for staying with Asus, as well as Wifi6 price point for mesh and re-use old kit. Wired backhaul. So story went:
- Did initial setup of the pair via iOS app (slave is wireless adjacent to each other via bluetooth)
- Problem 1: app wizard would not detect the ZT8s initially, only worked after 3-4 attempts reboot ZT8's
- Problem 2: setup wizard kept on getting bluetooth errors and not completing, again after a few tries it worked
- Curiosity 1: the pair came on different firmware levels, despite being adjacent serial numbers (WTF!!!), one on 386_25790 and one on 386_25524. The wizard also got confused about this.
- Problem 3: initial attempt to upgrade the firmware via wizard failed (uh oh...) but luckily didn't brick anything, tried again and it worked
- Upgraded 386_25790 on them both then did factory reset on both
- Set up the system via wizard again, AI mesh pair etc.
- Moved the slave to final resting place, checked it worked OK with wireless backhaul (ok)
- Switched over slave to wired backhaul (at the slave node level, as this firmware doesn't yet have the AI Mesh 2.0 options tab for system-wide wired backhaul)
- Exposed the 5GHz-2 band (just made the backhaul setup visible to try it out) seems to work OK and fast
- Improved network performance around the house vs old setup, near to routers I'm able to hit my max WAN speed c. 540Mbps easily, from far flung locations I still get c. 150bps. Need to see now far I can push the AX speeds locally (running 1Gbps Cat6 wired)
- Has been rock solid stable for 48h with no client drop outs and no weird node switching (unlike my old setup, clients seemed to migrate from slave AC86U to weaker master)
- Await new firmware (and will go through reset process) with AI Mesh 2.0 once out of beta (which is now on my AC86U so I can see what it looks like), as AC86U is doing temp duty as a guest network provider because I need guest network at my slave area and right now AI mesh doesn't do that (doh!).

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wardie

Occasional Visitor
How is the range of a single XT8 compared to the 86u?
Not a scientific test, but I have the XT8 slave in the same physical location as my 86U was. I just tried it going to marginal signal area e.g. outside, where it’s only say 15m away but through a thick brick wall and glass (i.e. another room in between then outsitde). Where the 86U was unusable on the edge of signal / phone cuts to 4G cell, the XT8 is still holding a 5GHz or 2.4GHz signal OK bit only about 1-2/4 bars and through put down to about 15Mbps. But fine for ”working at home” in the garden, if its nice weather :). So overall slightly better but not a game changer.
At the moment it looks like the other way around for XT8 vs my old AC5300, which is the main mesh master node and in a somewhat restricted area elsewhere (server room). The AC5300 seemed to get slightly better reception around other bits of the house than the XT8, but then it does have a million aerials spiking everywhere :). I may use the AC5300 as another slave node once the AI mesh 2.0 firmware lands.
 

HDGuy

Occasional Visitor
How do you expose the wireless backhaul? I just got an iPad Air 4 and I'd like to try out the 160MHz band. I don't really use the mesh node in my bedroom much so it doesn't matter if 1 ax device is sharing the backhaul.
 

digits n bits

Regular Contributor
How do you expose the wireless backhaul? I just got an iPad Air 4 and I'd like to try out the 160MHz band. I don't really use the mesh node in my bedroom much so it doesn't matter if 1 ax device is sharing the backhaul.

iPad Air 4 doesn't support 160mhz channels, only 80mhz channels. I don't think any iPads support 160mhz.
 

wardie

Occasional Visitor
How do you expose the wireless backhaul? I just got an iPad Air 4 and I'd like to try out the 160MHz band. I don't really use the mesh node in my bedroom much so it doesn't matter if 1 ax device is sharing the backhaul.
If you want to use it anyway, just go into the router settings (I'm on firmware 386_25790) Advanced Settings -> Wireless -> General tab -> select "5 GHz-2" band and set Hide SSID to "No". Then you can see it. The network name and key air on that screen too.You can of course still use it even when hidden if you manually add it.

Note: I still get the message on the front screen "5 GHz-2 is now used as dedicated WiFi backhaul under AiMesh mode." and I have the AI Mesh -> node -> More Config -> Connection Priority = Ethernet (if that matters). I'm hoping that changes when I get the pending new AI Mesh 2.0 firmware on the XT8's (which I can see on the AT86U I have 386_40451, you get a new Systems Settings tab under AI Mesh category which has an option "Ethernet Backhaul Mode").
 

wardie

Occasional Visitor
So update on this after a week... good news first, connections have been stable with no client dropouts from either node, no lost connections. All seems good.

Strange / bad news... network performance seems to degrade over time on both nodes, but reboot fixes it. That’s not ideal.

I’ve been testing both using Speedtest (but max 500Mbps connection) also using iPerf 3 running on local server on wired MacMini and various clients. Wired LAN is 1Gbps, and via a wired connection through the main node router I get consistent 940Mbps. So wireless...

I just checked with iPerf using iPhone 11 Pro testing it adjacent to both nodes, after they’ve been on a week without reboot. On the slave (wired backhaul) I was setting about 450Mbps but on the master node only 200Mbps. Go figure?

After a reboot, both nodes are back up to a healthy 750Mbps.

Anyone got any ideas? Other than scheduling a reboot regularly (Which causes me other knock-on issues)? Or return and invest in something else? If so what?
 

The Cool Dude

Occasional Visitor
Hi there.

Sorry but I can't even get any better than 100 Mbps down using wireless on my XT8 and I have a 1G internet connection. Wired connection maxes out at around 500 Mbps.

I got my pair of XT8s about a week ago through Amazon and have been fighting with this all week. I've tried a lot of stuff that other users in other posts have been trying but nothing is really helping. I'm thinking of returning them. Never had so many problems with a new router before. My old ASUS RT-AC87U routers worked way better than the XT8. I'm so disappointed.

I'm considering trying the Beta Firmware located at https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1eiAdgaQJCRwE3qwO3RDhbLozP9Jpr1qd. You need the one with RT-AX95Q in the title. Apparently it's solved some problems but not all. Since you can get up to 750 Mbps at all, I'd be happy if I were you. I wish I had something better to say that might be more helpful but I'm feeling rather defeated by the XT8.
 

wardie

Occasional Visitor
Hi there.

Sorry but I can't even get any better than 100 Mbps down using wireless on my XT8 and I have a 1G internet connection. Wired connection maxes out at around 500 Mbps.

I got my pair of XT8s about a week ago through Amazon and have been fighting with this all week. I've tried a lot of stuff that other users in other posts have been trying but nothing is really helping. I'm thinking of returning them. Never had so many problems with a new router before. My old ASUS RT-AC87U routers worked way better than the XT8. I'm so disappointed.

I'm considering trying the Beta Firmware located at https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1eiAdgaQJCRwE3qwO3RDhbLozP9Jpr1qd. You need the one with RT-AX95Q in the title. Apparently it's solved some problems but not all. Since you can get up to 750 Mbps at all, I'd be happy if I were you. I wish I had something better to say that might be more helpful but I'm feeling rather defeated by the XT8.
I hope you get your problems resolved. I've just tested mine again - not rebooted since Tuesday's post above - and I'm still getting >700Mbps on iPhone when a couple of metres away from XT8's on wifi to a wired LAN server (MacMini running iPerf3 server), so seems stable. I still want to use the next firmware release for full AI Mesh 2.0 functionality e.g. mesh guest network etc.

Two things may help?
1. I would test using iPerf 3 software as long as you can run the software server on wired LAN somewhere in server-mode, then use the client app on wifi devices. It's free, simple, works well, takes your WAN out of the equation for testing.
2. Have you factory reset both nodes after ensuring the latest firmware is on them? Lots of folk here say that's essential. PITA though to set things up every time fresh but ho hum.
 

The Cool Dude

Occasional Visitor
Thanks!

I used a combination of NetSpot and inSSIDer to check things out. Also factory reset both devices with the reset button at the bottom. The WPS button method to reset them does nothing. To reset you need to use the reset button in the pinhole at the bottom. Unfortunately none of this helped.

Both of my ASUS XT8 devices are on the latest firmware available today of Version 3.0.0.4.386.25790. I never did try the beta version because the wireless speeds were so bad and fluctuated dramatically.

I did discover that putting my cable modem in bridge mode helped for the Wired speeds. The download speeds when connected directly to the modem (Wired) were finally as expected. Before I did that, the speeds were half of what they should be.

As for the wireless speeds, they were abysmal. Occasionally, on an AX device right next to the modem we saw speeds near that of a direct connection which is what I expected. I expected this to be the same one room away or even one floor above. Sadly this was too much to ask for I suppose. Then for no reason and without me changing anything, the speeds would drop from 980 Mbps down to 20 Mbps down and stay there until they eventually return to normal on their own or rebooting the routers and or the computer. Sounds like the issue you were seeing.

One room away from the main router, I was lucky if I got 100 Mbps down. I've set my NICs to use 5G band only, turned off Smart Connect, separated the bands to 2.4 and 5G, turned off 802.11AX/Wifi6 Mode, experimented with OFDMA and MU-MIMO, and on and on... for two weeks. The speed tests using the SpeedTest app from Ookla during both up and down tests would fluctuate dramatically. I've never seen anything like it.

I must have gotten a bad pair. All the reviews I read and watched on YouTube showed everything to be amazing. I am so disappointed. Then in the forums there are a lot of users having wireless speed issues too. I know that you mainly only hear the bad stuff in the forums, but I'm still disappointed.

The XT8s are going back to Amazon before I end up being stuck with them. I've reconnected my old pair of ASUS RT-AC87U routers. I'm back to stable, mediocre wireless speeds. Much better than the expensive XT8s that cost me over $600 Cdn and two weeks of my time messing around with something that should mainly just work out of the box. I'm OK with tinkering with my network from time to time but this was ridiculous. I'm going to debate getting another pair of XT8s, or maybe trying something other than Asus Routers like TP-Link or something.

Good luck with your XT8s. I hope you get your issue resolved. Sorry I could not be of help.
 

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