AiMesh is a free feature Asus has brought to most of its routers since the beginning of 2018 — starting with the RT-AC86U.
Over the years, it has proved to be one of the most versatile ways to build a home Wi-Fi mesh system. The feature itself has gone through a lot of changes with the latest being dubbed as AiMesh 2.0.
As of early 2022, AiMesh 2.0 has been the norm for all Asus Wi-Fi 6 routers and will be that way for all of its new routers in the foreseeable future.
You’ll learn all about this flexible mesh feature in this post — and others of the same series as shown in the box below.
Dong’s note: I first published this post on February 24, 2018, and have updated it numerous times since to keep it up-to-date with the development of the feature. This latest update, posted on February 11, 2022, aims to consolidate all the information and reorganize the coverage in a way that’s easier for first-time readers to follow.
Table of Contents
Asus AiMesh: A robust mesh approach like no others
Available in all Asus Wi-Fi 6 (and later) routers and most of its Wi-Fi 5 routers, AiMesh combines two or more hardware pieces into a single mesh network, similar to the many other mesh brands.
Initially released as an add-on update, AiMesh has proven to be Asus’s most impactful home networking feature over time. For a couple of years now, it’s been the most important part of the company’s core router features.
Still, AiMesh is not a plug-n-play Wi-Fi solution like other canned systems on the market. It requires some work — or maybe even a lot of work in certain situations — before you get it the way you want.
In other words, it’s not for everyone. But if you don’t mind tinkering with your hardware, chances are you’ll love it.
To take advantage of AiMesh, you need to get a couple of supported broadcasters. Most Asus routers have this feature, but that’s also where the trouble starts — there are just too many combinations.
Like most mesh systems, you use one as the primary router (or primary node, per Asus), and the rest will be satellites (or satellite nodes).
At the very basic, an AiMesh satellite automatically replicates the Wi-Fi settings of the primary router and extends the coverage, either wirelessly or via network cables.
After that, the router unit determines the features and settings of the entire network. And thanks to that an AiMesh system can offer a lot more than virtually all other home mesh brands on the market, for now.
List of Asus’s current AiMesh routers
There are tri-band and dual-band broadcasters.
As a rule, for the best performance, in a Wi-Fi mesh system, you want Tri-band hardware for a wireless setup. In a home wired with network cables, generally, it makes sense to use Dual-band Wi-Fi 6/Wi-Fi 5 or Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E hardware.
Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) AiMesh broadcasters
Most of these are legacy broadcasters that might not support the latest version of AiMesh.
- Tri-band: GT-AC5300, RT-AC5300, Lyra, and ZenWiFi AC.
- Dual-band: RP-AC1900, RT-AC1900, RT-AC1900P/U, RT-AC2900, RT-AC3100, RT-AC5300, RT-AC68P/R/RW/U/UF/W, GT-AC2600, Lyra Trio, Blue Cave, RT-AC86U, RT-AC88U, and possibly more.
Wi-Fi 6/6E (802.11ax) AiMesh broadcasters
These non-complete lists only include mostly the latest broadcasters already covered on this website.
- Tri-band (Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E):
- Traditional Tri-band (5GHz + 5GHz + 2.4GHz): GT-AX11000, RT-AX92U, ZenWiFi XT8, ZenWiFi Pro XT12, ZenWiFi XT9, ROG Rapture GT6, and more.
- Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band (6GHz + 5GHz +2.4Ghz): GT-AXE11000, ZenWiFi ET8, ZenWiFi Pro ET12, GT-AXE16000, RT-AX7800 and more.
- Dual-band (Wi-Fi 6): RT-AX88U, RT-AX89X, RT-AX3000 / RT-AX58U, RT-AX56U, ZenWiFi XD4, RT-AX86U, RT-AX82U, RT-AX68U, RP-AX56, GS-AX3000, GS-AX5400, ZenWiFi XD6, GT-AX6000, ZenWiFi AX Hybrid XP4, ROG Rapture GT6 and more.
Flexible hardware setup
First of all, AiMesh enables you to scale up your Wi-Fi network as your needs grow.
You can start with a single router; then, later on, add a satellite or two. It’s also an excellent way to re-use your old Asus router as a node when upgrading to a newer one.
Best of all, AiMesh allows you to pick and choose a mesh system that fits your needs and budget.
You can get two affordable Asus routers and build a budget mesh. Or get two high-end ones to create a high-performing system. And, of course, you can also mix routers of different tiers.
Generally, all AiMesh routers will work with one another, but certain combos will perform better than others unless you choose to use wired backhaul.
You’ll find more information on this below, but I also wrote a separate detailed post on picking the right AiMesh combo that explains more.
All the features you’d need and more
Again, an AiMesh system has all the features and settings of the primary router. And since Asus routers currently offer the most features on the market, none of the other home Wi-Fi systems can compete on this front.
In short, AiMesh is the only way to have a mesh that gives you the same feature set as even the most feature-rich standalone router. So if you pick a gaming router as your primary AiMesh node, you’ll get yourself, well, a gaming mesh system — something Netgear has been working on via a premium add-on for its Orbi line.
There are also tons of networking settings and tools that you can use via the web interface. Some are quite unique, such as Wake-on-LAN, or the support for Merlin firmware.
What’s more, you have the option to use the Asus Router mobile app to manage your network on your phone. It’s the only app on the market that has the option for remote management without you having to register an account and log in with the vendor.
(After reviewing lots of Asus routers, I wrote this primer post on Asus broadcasters that first-time readers should check out.)
But the point is whatever you can do with a single Asus router, you can with an AiMesh system. All you have to do is pick the right router to be your mesh primary node.
On top of that, as a mesh system, AiMesh gives you a lot of flexibility, compared to other canned stems on the market, depending on the hardware you use.
What you can expect from an AiMesh system
Following is what you can expect from an AiMesh setup:
- Flexible backhaul: Starting with AiMesh 2.0 — available starting with firmware version 18.104.22.168.386.000 — an AiMesh system has flexible backhaul support. Specifically:
- Dedicated wireless backhaul: When you use traditional tri-band routers, like RT-AX92U, or GT-AX11000, one of its 5Ghz bands, the 5GHz-2, will work as the dedicated backhaul band by default — this band works solely as the wireless link between the router and satellite — not applicable when you mix Tri-band and Dual-band hardware or use wired backhaul.
- User-selectable backhaul: You can manually set any band (6GHz, 5GHz, or 2.4GHz) or network ports as backhaul priority. When left at Auto (default), the system will use the fastest band, for the distance between the main router and a particular satellite, as the backhaul. Auto also prioritizes wired backhaul (when available).
- Wired backhaul: Generally, the WAN port of the satellite unit must be used for the backhaul. Even when that’s not the case, Link Aggregation, which is available in most Asus routers, never works for AiMesh wired backhauling. However, with a router that has a Multi-Gig LAN port (such as RT-AX86U or RT-AX89X), the high-speed port of the satellite node can be used for a Multi-Gig wired backhaul.
- Mixed backhaul: Generally, it’s best to use wired backhaul consistently throughout the system — you can daisy-chain the units. However, AiMesh does allow for mixing wired and wireless backhaul.
- Daisychain, third-party switch supported: For wired backhaul, you can daisy-chain the main router and nodes or use switches between the hardware units. For best performance, make sure you use Gigabit (or faster) unmanaged switches.
- Auto-sensing network ports: On the router unit, the WAN port functions in its designated role — it needs to connect to an Internet source. After that, the rest of the network ports in the mesh system, including the WAN ports on the satellite units (nodes), work as LANs. That’s generally true in either a wired- or a wireless-backhaul setup.
- Up to 10 hardware units: Asus says realistically, a system shouldn’t have more than seven units, though you can use up to 10, including the router. And I’ve indeed tried that many units in a wired backhaul setup with success. In a wireless configuration, though, I’d recommend no more than three hardware units, especially with dual-band hardware.
- No vendor account required: Just like any Asus router, no login account with Asus is necessary to use AiMesh, even when using the Asus Router mobile app. For remote access, Asus uses Dynamic DNS. So, AiMesh is less of a privacy risk (if at all) compared with other systems.
- Access point (AP) mode: As a system, an AiMesh setup can work in the access point mode — not to be confused with an individual router’s AP mode. In other words, you can use an entire AiMesh system (consisting of multiple nodes) that works solely as a network/Wi-Fi extension on top of an existing (third-party) router. Among other things, it helps avoid the use of double NAT.
And finally, AiMesh is here to stay. So far, all Asus routers released since 2018, including its latest Wi-Fi 6E hardware, support this feature right out of the box. It’s safe to say future Asus routers will support it, too.
Asus routers and privacy
Upon turning on some features on an Asus router, such as Network Protection or QoS, users will run into this scary warning:
“By using AiProtection, Traffic analyzer, Apps analyzer, Adaptive QoS/Game boost, Web history, you agree to the Trend Micro End User License Agreement. Please note that your information will be collected by Trend Micro through AiProtection, Traffic analyzer, Apps analyzer, Adaptive QoS, and web history.”
Keep in mind that these features only work because a third-party scans the router’s traffic. That’s like if you want to be protected in real life, you will need to have somebody, like a bodyguard, to watch over you. In networking, protection requires extra connections — there’s no way around that.
In any case, these features inherently cause privacy risks. The good news is, on any Asus router, they are turned off by default, and users can leave them that way.
How tri-band routers work in an AiMesh system
Generally, you want to use the most powerful (newer) router as the main AiMesh router and a lesser (older) router as a node. But if you choose to use tri-band routers, there are a couple of things to consider.
First, for best performance, consider tri-band routers if you intend to have a wireless AiMesh setup. And in this case, use tri-band hardware throughout, both as the primary router and node(s).
Important note on “Tri-band”
“Tri-band” only applies to Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 routers with one 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz bands. In other words, these are routers that have an additional 5GHz band to deliver extra bandwidth.
The new Wi-Fi 6E standard requires its routers, like the Asus GT-AXE11000, or ZenWiFi ET8, to have three different bands (2.4GHz + 5GHz + 6GHz) compatible with all devices.
This type of “tri-band” is not part of what we’re talking about here since the Tri-band in Wi-Fi 6E is similar to the Dual-band — there’s no additional band among the three.
How to manage the dedicated backhaul band (5GHz-2)
As soon as you set up a tri-band unit as the primary AiMesh router, it will automatically dedicate its second 5GHz-band (a.k.a 5GHz-2) as the dedicated backhaul.
It does this by:
- Creating a separate network on this band exclusively for the job of linking the routers in the mesh system. And:
- Keeps the SSID (network name) hidden so that general users won’t see it.
As a result, the 5GHz-2 band is generally not available to clients, even when:
- A dual-band router participates as a node. (In this case, this node will connect to the 5GHz-1 band for its backhaul link.)
- You choose to use wired backhauling for the entire system. In this case, the 5GHz-2 remains a standby backup backhaul that kicks in if you remove the network cable (unless you explicitly put the system in the Ethernet Backhaul Mode.)
You can leave this 5 GHz-2 band alone, and all is well. However, you can make it work for end clients, too, especially in the case of wired backhaul. Here’s how:
- Unhide the 5GHz-2 SSID and give it a meaningful name — (unless the system is in the Ethernet Backhaul Mode,) this name has to be different from that of the 5GHz-1 and 2.4 GHz bands even when you use these two in a Smart Connect setup. And:
- Pick an easy-to-remember password for the 5 GHz-2 band’s SSID. The default password, again, is a long string of random numbers and letters. It’s too impractical to use.
Now, this band (5 GHz-2) can still work as a wireless backhaul, but it’s no longer a dedicated one.
When you use wired backhaul, this band works only for clients and is available throughout all Tri-band hardware units within the mesh. When you use all Tri-band hardware in a mixed wired and wireless backhaul, keep the 5GHz-2 band as the dedicated backhaul for the best performance.
By the way, if you want to switch from wired backhaul back to using the 5GHz-2 as the dedicated backhaul band, make sure no clients connect to it anymore. You can do that by changing the SSID and hiding it. And then unplug the wired backhaul cable.
Starting in late 2021, with AiMesh 2.0, there’s an option to use wired backhaul, called “Ethernet Backhaul Mode“, and completely free the 5GHz-2 band in a Tri-band AiMesh system to serve clients — you can even combine it with the rest of the bands in a Smart Connect network.
And AiMesh 2.0 rings in a few more improvements, too.
AiMesh 2.0 and the ZenWiFi family
Asus announced the ZenWiFi family in early 2020. Since then, it has introduced the following member in the US: ZenWiFi XT8, ZenWiFi CT8, ZenWiFi AX Mini, ZenWiFi ET8, ZenWiFi Pro ET12, ZenWiFi Pro XT12 and ZenWiFi XD6.
ZenWiFi products are those built with AiMesh from the ground up. Within this product line, the feature is the core and not an add-on one. It’s also the beginning of the AiMesh 2.0 upgrade mentioned above.
Generally, ZenWiFi systems come with pre-synced hardware — you won’t need to add the nodes manually. But individually, each unit can work as a standalone router or as a satellite of any other AiMesh-enabled router.
Conversely, you can also manually add any AiMesh router as a satellite of a ZenWiFi set.
Among other things, an AiMesh 2.0 setup includes the following added benefits:
- Better interface: There’s a new AiMesh, which makes managing the feature easier. There’s also a new one-button optimization
- Guest network: Most, if not all, combos will get the Guest network throughout and not just at the router unit. (Applicable to only one Guest network per band — you can create three per band, but the other two are only available at the primary router.)
- Better wired backhaul implementation: The 2nd 5GHz band of a Tri-band system will be made available to clients when the wired backhaul is used (only applicable to when a Tri-band router works as the primary node.)
- Better node control: You can now use the router’s web interface to control certain aspects of a node, including USB applications and Link Bonding (LAN Link Aggregation), when applicable.
- Preferable backhaul: When using multiple wireless nodes, you can force the node’s backhaul to connect to another node or the main router.
AiMesh 2.0 and Guest networking
AiMesh 2.0 started out as a slow and fluid process. But by the end of 2021, its improvements have generally been available to almost all Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E broadcasters.
Of the improvements listed above, the support for system-wide Guest networking is the most anticipated. Prior to this, the Guest Wi-Fi network is only available at the router unit.
It’s worth noting, though, that AiMesh 2.0 is not available fully to all routers. Specifically, Wi-Fi 5 routers might only get part of the benefits listed above, if at all. Generally, a router must run firmware version 22.214.171.124.386 or later to have any AiMesh 2.0 benefits.
But most if not all Wi-Fi 6 and later will get AiMesh 2.0 in full. But even then, AiMesh is still far from perfect. Most notable is the clunky support for Wi-Fi bands. And that brings us to the shortcomings of AiMesh.
While most flexible among all mesh systems, AiMesh is quite terrible in managing the situation where you need to mix broadcasters of different numbers of bands, Wi-Fi tiers/standards, or backhaul types.
Specifically, if you use Dual-band and Tri-band routers together, mix wired and wireless backhaul, or use routers of different Wi-Fi tiers, there’s no good way to manage them. The mesh will still work, but not as straightforward as I’d like.
Here are some specifics.
Mixing Wi-Fi tiers or standard
If you use hardware of different Wi-Fi tiers (or standard), there’s no way to manage the Wi-Fi settings of the satellite.
For example, if your router features DFS channels and the satellite doesn’t, the two will not share the same Wi-Fi settings, which are adjustable only at the router.
It’s important to note that if you configure the backhaul band at the router with the settings not supported by the satellite, the two might not work together — use compatibility mode at the router in this case.
Tri-band and Dual-band mix: It can be a bit of a mess
There are two scenarios.
Tri-band primary router + dual-band satellite
In this case, there’s no dedicated backhaul band.
The router’s third band will be on its own, and the satellite still connects to its first 5GHz band, which is available to clients as backhaul unless you use wired backhaul.
In other words, you gain nothing from using a Tri-band router, in this case, other than having an additional band at the router itself.
Dual-band router + Tri-band satellite
In this case, there’s no way you can manage the satellite’s third band, no matter if you use wireless or wired backhaul.
In other words, you gain nothing from using a tri-band satellite in this case — you can’t use its third band anyway.
On this front, Asus’s AiMesh is really behind Synology’s Mesh approach. The latter can create a virtual band when need be so that you can mix the hardware of different bands together consistently. At the very least, that helps with the management.
AiMesh’s other shortcomings
On top of the band mixing issues, AiMesh has a few other shortcomings, too, including.
- Some router combinations can be buggy. Considering so many routers are involved, it’s quite hard for Asus to work in all scenarios consistently.
- At times, a new firmware release that fixes one combo might cause issues in others. In most cases, though, I find that resetting your router and setting up your mesh from scratch helps.
- The system-wide Guest network generally could use some improvement. Among other things, when available, it’s limited to the first Guest SSID for each band. That’s a big downer considering each Asus broadcaster can have up to three Guest SSIDs per band when working as a standalone router.
Asus AiMesh: Excellent performance
An AiMesh system’s performance varies depending on the hardware you use and how you set it up.
In the past few years, I’ve tried dozens and dozens of hardware combinations. In fact, I tried AiMesh with virtually all Asus routers I’ve reviewed.
In my experience, AiMesh has gotten better over time, and it’s safe to say any hardware combo can beat other similarly-priced purpose-built systems in both performance and features.
Below are the real-world performance charts showing many AiMesh satellite nodes against the satellites of some other mesh systems, both Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5. I tested all of these systems in a wireless setup.
On the Wi-Fi 6 chart, keep in mind that the ZenWiFi AX cost hundreds of dollars less than all other competitors, namely the Orbi RBK852, the Alien Kit, and the Arris SURFboard mAX.
In all, performance-wise, AiMesh is a sure thing. You don’t need to worry about it.
Asus AiMesh's Rating
The most flexible way to build a robust, scalable home Wi-Fi mesh system
Excellent performance, top-notch feature set
Built-in online protection
No vendor login is required, or other privacy risks
Certain router combos can be buggy or have issues with new major firmware releases.
Rigid Wi-Fi management when mixing hardware of different Wi-Fi tiers, standards, or number of bands
Only Guest SSID (instead of three) per band can be made system-wide
In my experience, AiMesh is one of the best — and fun — solutions for advanced users who wants to build a scalable, robust Wi-Fi mesh system without compromising their privacy.
Most importantly, again, it can beat all other similarly priced purpose-built systems on the market in both performance and features.
If you have gotten your home wired, a couple of Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 (or Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E) AiMesh routers are a sure way to get a robust mesh system.
In fact, in my opinion, the only true competitor to AiMesh, in terms of features, privacy, and management, is Synology mesh. Unfortunately, Synology hasn’t released any new routers for years now — there are only two, the RT2600ac and the MR2200ac. It did announce the RT6600ax earlier this year so that might change soon.
Until then, AiMesh is the way to go for now. At least for those feeling adventurous.
To learn more check out this post on the detailed steps to set up an AiMesh system and this one on picking the best AiMesh combo.
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1,120 thoughts on “AiMesh Overview: Asus’s Years-long Effort to Better Wi-Fi Coverage”
Hi Dong, thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience on networks. I have a new multi-gig 5Gbps internet network / Wi-Fi mesh configuration question for you –
I have fiber through a Frontier ONT w/10GbE port, out via Cat6e into my home office, concrete walls, 15’ from my concrete wall 2 story big house. I also use a wired connection through a 10 GbE port Thunderbolt 3 OWC dock to my 2023 M2 MacBook Pro that is having trouble keeping an IP address… keeps self-assigning and losing internet.
-1 ASUS ROG Rapture router GT-AXE16000 with 2 10G ports;
-2 ASUS ET12s with two 2.5GbE ports;
– 2 TP-Link TL-SX105 | 5 Port 10G/Multi-Gig Unmanaged Ethernet Switches
To maximize Wi-Fi speed in the office and main house, does this mesh setup max out the 5Gbps internet without problems, or is there a more efficient configuration?
ONT -> ROG Rapture Router IN to 10GbE Port #1/2
ROG out 10GbE Port #2/2 -> 10G TP-Link switch #1
c. (Office to house)
TP Switch #1 (office) -> via CAT6+ cable to TP Switch #2 (house) & CAT6+ to OWC dock to M2 Mac.
TP Switch #2 -> 2 cat6 cables to aggregated WAN/LAN backhaul setup (for total 5Gbps) on ET12 #1’s 2.5Gbps ports.
TP Switch #2 -> 2 more cat6 cables to aggregated WAN/LAN backhaul setup (for total 5Gbps) on ET12 #2’s 2.5Gbps ports.
Please let me know if this is good or a better way exists.
Bonus points if you can help me fix my MacBook from self-assigning an IP to the wired connection through the OWC dock after going to sleep and losing internet access.
Thanks so much!!
Give your OWC Doc an IP reservation, that would do it, Matt. The rest looks fine. Give this post a good read and you’ll be able to get everything done correctly. It’s in the little details.
I have used AiMesh since late 2018 with an AC86U and AC-5300 wired node and so far never worked as expected. Most of the time I have seen some device connections very slow on the ac5300 (node).
I just got an AX86S and AX82U to replace them (I got them on sale for $150 each in Costa Rica).
I have read in the post about mixing Wi-Fi tiers (use routers of different Wi-Fi tiers, there’s no good way to manage them. The mesh will still work, but not as straightforward as I’d like.) However, I would like to keep one of the old ones as an additional node if possible and just if it will not interfere with the full functionality of the other two WIFI 6 routers.
Do you have any recommendations about it?
It is a good idea to mix those new WIFI 6 routers with one of the old ones and with which of the ones could be better?
Thank you in advance, and thank you for all the detailed AiMesh information you have posted during all the past years.
Check out this post, Joy, especially this section. Pay some attention and you’ll find out what you should do.
Do you know if the following config would work with AiMesh?
1. Wired pfsense router as main router
2. Asus router connected in AP mode as aimesh router, wired backhaul to pfsense router
3. Asus router connected in AP mode as aimesh node, wired backhaul to pfsense router.
The reason being my LAN points in my house are wired to a patch panel near the main entrance. I’m planning to place the wired pfsense router at the patch panel and the main aimesh router at the living room, with the node being in one of the bed rooms. However, as each room has only a single LAN port, I was wondering if a wired backhaul is possible via connecting each aimesh device to the pfsense router rather than daisy chaining it from the aimesh router? Many thanks.
Yes, that will work, I described that in this post — think of the RT-AX89X mentioned there as your pfsense router. In the AP mode, the AiMesh router and note can be connected to the network at the same level.
Hi Dong, I have a aimesh with a ac86u and a node with the ac5300. I have over 80 devices connected and now I start to have disconnection for some devices . Do you think I have reached the max connections of the router?
That can be multiple issues. I’d recommend you check out this post on routers in general. It’ll answer a lot of your questions.
Thank you Dong, I have read the post already and most of the devices are smart light switches, smart plugs and other smart home devices so usually they don’t use a lot of bandwidth, I have a symmetric 200MB internet connection and usually don’t see any usage over 10MB. I have start to have this disconnection issue after I installed the last 10 devices (smart switchs). Last night I have changed some devices from the 2.4 to 5 GHz and so far I see fewer disconnections. I have QoS, traffic analyzer and AIProtection enabled.
I really appreciate your help with it.
You didn’t read that post closely, it seems, Joy. It’s the bandwidth of the Wi-Fi band itself (not the Internet) which is adversely affected by a slow device. Give it another serious read. In any case, that’s all I can tell you.
Thank you very much, Dong! That’s a relief and also amazing at the same time that Aimesh supports this.
Apologies I thought I had read the AiMesh article a couple of times over but I missed out that part on non-Asus routers being compatible too. Guess I have to give it another read!
Highly appreciative of your content!
if I may expand on Reuben’s question: I have a wired star topology of in total 5 RT-AX 92U’s (so 4 AImesh nodes and one AImesh router). All are in AP mode. The mesh ‘router’ is connected to my main non-wifi router. Will the system be faster when all 5 of them are directly connected to the non-wifi router rather than via the mesh router?
The strange thing is that when I rewire to this new config, the Asus app stil shows the same star topology rather than the actual physical topology. So it seems everything is still routed as before. Can you shed light? Thanks!
If you use wired backhauling, Bad, the topology doesn’t apply. Your case is fine as is assuming you’re using the AP mode for the whole system. Or you can try removing the original router.
For your situation the performance is the same. Also, the AiMesh map will always show that the satellites are behind the primary node since it’s where you manage all of them.
Asus (and AIMesh) routers support WPA3/WPA2-MIX mode? In order to connect to legacy clients like IoTs?
All routers that support WPA3 do, Liviu, on applicable bands. More here.
Instead of a WPA3/WPA2 MIX mode, I would like to connect the IoT to the guest network for increased security.
[I DID reviewed your article entitled: “Guest Wi-Fi Network Explained: Best Practices (with Your IoT Devices)”]
Do you know if it is possible for an ASUS router to support both WPA3 (on main network) and WPA2 (on the guest/VLAN network) simultaneously?
That depends on the band, not the SSID, Liviu.
Hi. Not sure if you can help, but I’m not sure what else to try. I have a 3-story house, new, so hardwired throughout. I started with an Arris SurfBoard G36 modem / router combo. Worked OK, but I had to put it in the bottom level based on where wiring comes in, so WiFi on the top floor was slow. Based on all your articles on Asus, I bought a pair of XD6 routers, put the Arris G36 in bridge mode, and set it all up. The one router is hardwire connected to the other, which is hardwire connected to the Arris. All laptops are ethernet connected to one of the XD6s. At first everything worked great, speeds on the system were excellent. However, over time speeds have dropped off to the point where speed tests show just a few Mbps, and video calls drop, video playback buffers, just not good. I’ve tried rebooting all equipment, but it just doesn’t seem to have an impact. Any thoughts? Thanks.
Check to make sure you set up the system properly and it uses wired backhauling, Brian. After that, you might want to use QoS in case you have a device that hogs all the band with.
Thanks. The Arris Surfboard G36 has 4 1G ethernet ports and one 2.4G ethernet port. While our internet plan is around 800 Mbps, I had connected the XD6 to the 2.4G port on the Arris cable modem. On a lark, I switched the connection to one of the 1G ethernet ports, and the problem instantly resolved itself. I have no idea why…
Likely the G36’s 2.5Gbps doesn’t work well in the bridge mode. In your case, it’s best to use a modem, like one of these, but the current setup should be fine, too.
If I have a dsl-ax82u dual band router and add another identical one as a satellite. Will I lose the 5ghz band to backhaul if not using wired? Will clients not be able to connect to it?
You don’t lose any band using AiMesh, Si. Read the post for more.
Hi Mr Dong,
I plan to move my home Asus XT8 to my three-storey office (1500 sq ft each floor) by adding two ceiling mounted Netgear WAX610 connected through solid backhaul to form a mesh. The two Netgear WAX610 will be connected to a POE switch which is connected to the XT8 router.
Can this configuration work as a mesh? Are there any setup issues I need to be aware of? Thank you for your help.
Yes, but you don’t want to do that since Insight Managed to require a subscription — it’s a ripoff. Go with TP-Link Omda instead, you can keep the XT8 as the router (or use any good router) and you’ll have a nice setup. Good luck!
Thanks for the prompt reply, Mr Dong. I read your post on TP-Link Omada. May I ask whether this configuration works: Modem + ASUS router (XT8) + switch (Netgear GS524PP) + OC200 controller + 3 Mesh APs (2xOmada EAP650 + 1x Asus XT8). Any compatibility issues with this setup? Can I use the OC200 controller to setup Asus XT8 mesh? Appreciate very much for your helps.
That will work, but you’ll have two separate systems (AiMesh + Omada) that might interfere with each other — so you’ll need to configure them accordingly. I’d take the 2nd XT8 out and use another Omada in its place. And you can replace the 1st XT8 with any router.
Hi Dong, thanks for the great collection of articles on AiMesh and ASUS networking in general. I’m running (4) XT12’s now in AiMesh covering a 5400sf house and it’s working well, way way better than the Eero Pro 6 I ignorantly went with before.
Question for you – now I want to extend wifi into a detached garage and a patio area. I am thinking of adding a pair of RT-AX92U nodes because they’re cheap and seem to have great range. Will they work well with the XT12’s?
I think the XT8 is better in your case, Rich, and if you don’t care about speed, you can also try the RP-AX56U. I haven’t tried any of those combos though.
In any case, if you’re using the system in a fully wireless setup, you’re pushing it.
I run an Asus RT-AX92U. I have an issue with my synology NAS, and they need to connect remotely, but my router is blocking them. How can I whitelist their incoming IP?
I tried searching here, and everywhere, but haven’t got much luck. I understand if I’m asking too much, I know you’re not ‘tech support’.
Your site has been really helpful for many tasks I’ve had to do over the past couple years, thank you.
Check out these posts, Al:
1. You might have a double NAT issue.
2. You might not know how to set things up in terms of remote access.
I’m pretty sure the RT-AX92u has nothing to do with your issues.
Wow, that was fast, thank you! I don’t think it’s a double NAT issue. Sorry, I should have been more clear. I set my NAS up for remote access (Synology walked me through it), and they were connected for level 1 and 2 support, but they couldn’t resolve the issue (it’s been a month of back and forth with them) and had to pass it to synology headquarters. Headquarters is saying they can’t connect due to my routers firewall. They gave me an IP to whitelist, but I can’t figure it out. Would the port forwarding possibly allow them to connect once I set it up and gave them the link? Thanks again, I really appreciate the response, I know you’re very busy.
You need to know networking at a certain level first, Al. Explaining that you have a problem and that you want something will not get you the answer. In this case, it seems you don’t even know specifically what you want to begin with. Give this post a good read and follow any linked related posts. Don’t go online and look for easy answers. You’d only waste your and others’ time.
For your case, to make sure the router is not part of the issue put the NAS server’s IP in the DMZ zone.
Ok, I’ll check it out and read through. And trust me, I’m not looking for easy, or even hard answers. I’m desperately trying to allow them to connect to fix my NAS…not having this working right for a month is killing me. Any answer on how to fix this is good enough for me, because I’m lost and I’ve already wasted time on this problem. But hey, I gotta do something, the answer isn’t going to fall into my lap. Thanks again!
You often ask us to read closely, so I do.
As such, I’ll point out that one of your pictures in this article (right below “Below are the real-world performance charts showing many AiMesh satellite nodes against the satellites of some other mesh systems, both Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5.”) refers to “megagits”…
Thanks, that was a typo. I noted that, but it was hard to change an image at the time, and it slipped off my mind… I’ll see what I can do. Typos are one of my many weaknesses, and I’ve made it easy to report by the button at the top corner.
As for my urging you to read “carefully”, it’s more of a reading with an open mind, and don’t just go look to validate the thing you’ve already believed. But grammar policing is welcome, too!
Hi Dong, thanks for this info. I’m considering setting up 2 dual band routers in AiMesh mode. If I use the 5ghz wireless band for the backhaul, will the satellite router still provide 5ghz connection to clients? Or does the backhaul band have to be dedicated?
I’m unable to run a wire at this time, and since I already use one dual band router I’m not willing to purchase 2 brand new tri-band ones for the setup.
I also read about the AP mode operation. If that is possible over WiFi, should I look into that instead of AiMesh?
Read the post CAREFULLY, Ayush, and follow the linked related posts when need be. Please no questions until you’ve done that.
Hi, I am in a bit of a spot here, I have asus rt-AC 3100 as my Main router ( Firmware 386.5_2) and One Netgear r7000 on Xwrt-Vortex – r7000_386.5_2, i made the R7000 to run as a node, everything running fine, so i decided to add one more node and got another r7000 from a friend who was using it in his setup as a node too. Same firmware – r7000_386.5_2.
Now, I made fresh setup of nodes, what happens is sometimes only 1 node works, ( other will show offline) or sometime neither will work.
Huh? Maybe you should read the post?
Could you please help me with my headache.
I need to cover a rather big house (about 300m) with relatively good wifi. I want to start with a single router in an access point mode (I already have Mikrotik RB750GR3 as a main router) and then, if I feel lack of range, to add one more
Which one, do you think, will be better in that situation – XT8, XD6S/XD6S, AX92U?
From your review tables it seems, that AX92U has better speed comparing with other ones, but what about a range? Or I should better choose a dedicated access point, like Ubiquiti U6 Mesh or U6 Pro?
No i couldn’t, Aleksandr. But this post will help, that’s if you read it carefully.
Thanks Dong. I really love the site and have been reading through the great articles.
My house is a two story, 2000sqft home and it’s older so I won’t be wired on the second story where my office is. I’m settled on ASUS and prices on the high end products are very reasonable (RT-AX92U) in my eyes. I already know from your articles how highly recommended the XT8 is and that is on my very short list, but is it worth getting the RT-AX92U vs. XT8(2 pk)? I do remote work and gaming in my office upstairs but my ISP is not a gig but connection is a priority. I’d likely have a unit downstairs where I’m wired but with the XT8 I could have a unit upstairs in my office (likely overkill but I don’t mind). I’d definitely love to future proof myself, however.
If you intend to have a mixed (wired and wireless) setup, Hoang, the RT-AX92U is a much better buy. Get a 3-pack or a 2-pack and the GT-AX11000 as the main router. But what you envisioned will likely work, too. Note though that wireless is never good for gaming — more in this post.
Thanks again for your great articles!
I have recently bought a Asus XT8 set and having some problems since with some IoT devices. The new beta-firmware has helped some, but my Shelly WiFi devices keep loosing connection after some time. My both nodes have wired backhauls.
When searching the internet I see more problems with IoT devices with this XT8 set, as with other mesh systems. It seems it all comes down to the CoAP(CoIoT) integration. I know you can’t go 8nto my specific situation, but can you give some general tips perhaps for avoiding problems with CoAP and IoT devices?
I mentioned that in this post on Airtime Fairness, Henk.
Read it, very clear. Too bad there isn’t much I can do, other than connecting my Shelly’s to another WiFi network… 🙁
Thanks again for your help and quick reply!
thanks Dong for all your articles. As an engineer myself, your work here is great!
I own an AC86U, and I recently for upgraded to 1Gbps line. It is located in the centre of the house and coverage is great and I don’t need more than a single router to cover it all.
However I noticed over wifi ac I never see more than 6-700Mbps, even combining multiple devices.
I was thinking of upgrading with a router that would allow me to see 900+ Mbps speeds.
I saw the GT-AX6000 seems to have great throughput, but it’s dual-band, is that enough for wifi only gigabit lines?
– tri-band router to have more total available bandwidth or, related to this guide,
– I can put the GT-AX6000 next to (literally next to) the old AC86U configured as wired mesh node, to act almost like a tri-band or that would be overkill or even worse, interfering over the wifi bands?
tried researching, but for those sort of scenarios experience is more valuable than anything
obviously I can buy and return if not happy, but wanted to have a plan first
The GT-AX6000 will work out great for you. However, remember that the speed depends on both ends. Just because you get a new router doesn’t mean your device is up to snuff. More on that in this post where I talked about Gigabit Internet. You don’t need a tri-band router though that doesn’t hurt. But it only makes a difference, if at, all if you have lots of active 5GHz devices — the faster a connection is, the shorter a device remains active. More in this post on dual-band vs tri-band. And finally, no, you should place the two next to each other, but more on that here. If you have a network cable, you can use the AC86U as a wired AiMesh satellite for a far area of the home, though.
Thanks for all you have detailed for us, it has helped immensely re product selections, setup, understanding and more !!
My XT8 setup was a breeze even just with app alone.
I have already experienced something I don’t understand though…very often if I am between router and node on a wifi signal strength perspective, I find that speed tests when device bounced between them is exponentially higher from the NODE !?
For eg if I’m upstairs (node), I’m still physically closer to router (floor below) but walls/ceiling result in signal strength from both being same (-71) I was recording 495 node and 338 (or lower !!!) from router. Speeds standing next to each are about 800…ie same/similar. Do I have to account for other connections a d activity specific to the router to explain loss or what accounts for it when hardware and strength same ??
I would care a lot less about which box aimesh has decided to connect devices to if I thought speed would be same/similar. (for full disclosure there is another pair of XT8’s operating in house on other different network (there were no apparent channel conflicts at that time as per Airport Utility app scan)
Your message is a bit confusing, Mike. However:
1. You should stop testing using your phone — more on testing here.
2. More on-hand off in this post.
3. More on dBm in this post.
Most importantly, chances your phone doesn’t have any application that needs more than even just 50Mbps. What you’re doing is like looking at a freeway and wondering why cars are running at different speeds and then getting upset about that fact. Do something better with your time. 🙂
Interest is not about my iPhone use or needs.
I am in the infancy of still SETTING UP the mesh network and was using iPad along with aimesh stats and Airport Utility for monitoring network signal levels.
If I simplify my initial concern…I guess I’m saying it concerns me that speed tests results on node from that spot can be 400-500mbps yet speeds…if device pivots onto router, then speeds are like 200-350 when signal level from both node and router are IDENTICAL !! ( there is zero other wireless activity connected to router during this test)
Demands on network as a whole here are considerable in the household including heavy busy activities so was just hoping for better understanding of it…in case…I needed to consider any BINDING or transmitter strength modes to steer it a bit better.
OTHER…..noticing device(s) on 2.4ghz network absolutely will NOT roam even if you are one foot away from other box and signal is like -10dbm. The only way to get any devices onto the other box is to reboot the one they are connected to. That is not consistent with what I have read….any thoughts or experience with that ?? (fyi….roaming on 5ghz-1 happens as you would expect…maybe even to a fault LOL)
LASTLY…your most recent notes re XT8 seem to suggest that 5ghz-2 was restricted from device use when used as wireless backhaul. That no longer seems to be the case and you need to turn off SSID broadcast for firmware to interpret intent as being DEDICATED. (just thought I’d mention since that might have been perceived as a negative (til now) by anyone looking at acquiring XT8s for their mesh solution)
Thanks again !!
Since you didn’t read what I linked in the previous reply, Mike, let me put it in a way that might work.
Imagine you (a Wi-Fi device) are romantically (or sexually) interested in two individuals (that’s two Wi-Fi broadcasters). No matter if that’s two ladies or two men or a mix (you pick the Wi-Fi band combo!), you’d easily realize that the physical distances you have with them (within reason) have little or anything at all to do with how much you feel attracted at any given time. Specifically, you might feel more attracted to the one who wants to leave you. You bring that to your current BFF (that’s your Apple app), and they would provide you with whatever bullshit they have at hand with the goal of keeping you coming back because they want to be relevant even when they are not.
Then you ask your logical mind (that’s me), and it’d tell you that emotions don’t work the way you can use logic to explain. You’d say “ah-ha!” for two minutes, and then you’d open a bottle of wine and not want to believe it because it’s inconvenient but mostly because you’re emotional. You keep second-guessing yourself. Repeat.
Believe it or not, that’s your Wi-Fi situation. I’ve run into that a lot.
Here’s my suggestion:
1. Read the post(s) I linked with an open mind and pay some attention.
2. Read the post(s) I linked with an open mind and pay some attention.
3. Read the post(s) I linked with an open mind and pay some attention.
1. This post on testing.
2. This post on mesh systems.
3. This post on AiMesh.
TBH…a bit ticked with that response.
It’s a little condescending at best…as well as insulting to suggest that efforts were not made to reference any recommended material. I had already indicated at the start that I had read NUMEROUS related writeups on your site…which already happened to include most that were subsequently recommended. NONE of them appear to clearly explain away circumstances I have experienced and detailed, hence the question or two I raised in an effort to reconcile the perceived oddity.
You might remind yourself that just because someone opts to seek you out for some technical guidance, it doesn’t automatically mean they’re an idiot…and even WITTY sarcasm is still sarcasm and there is nobody here for that. You could likely have offered people more direct assistance on numerous occasions of late from posts I’ve seen on this thread and others but you have seemingly chosen to take a different route with your support.
Deep down I do expect that you are SINCERELY trying to help people while simultaneously educating them and not putting up with any laziness but sadly I am finding the approach a little exasperating. I expect I’ll just sort it alone. I do not have time to comb thru a week’s worth of technical material (again) trying to find some inferred nugget that may explain away my results.
I have identical hardware with no outside influences…if we’re using analogies maybe better way to describe might have been to ask why in the hell I am constantly driving out of town to buy ice cream when the exact same kind is right around the corner ?! Roaming aside…I still have not read one single point in any article written to account for why my IDENTICAL node and router when IDENTICAL signal levels with an assortment of devices, are producing such dramatically lower speeds REPEATEDLY…at the ROUTER compared to the NODE.
IF it is to be expected…apparently I am never going to hear WHY…and if it isn’t normal, again I am apparently not getting an answer as to how to troubleshoot further.
Not trying to mount any kind of personal attack (still a bit in awe)…although I am a somewhat offended and frustrated with the process.
I told you all along your articles have been instrumental aid already…so there’s that : )
Sorry, you took it that way, Mike. It was just my clearly failed attempt to be comical. But if you keep using that Apple app as the standard, it’s tough to continue with any conversation. Sure, you can use it to get an idea, but not something you can rely on so that you keep asking other empirical questions.
Another thing is there’s no such thing as “identical”, seriously. Two things are always different in degrees — oftentimes very much so. Just because you don’t recognize the differences or have the will to do so that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. And if you read my stuff, you’d note that Wi-Fi does NOT work the way we humans generally want to interpret — again, just like love or general emotion. My advice is to take things with nuance. Seeing things as black and white and taking things personally won’t get you anywhere. And unsatisfying Wi-Fi would be the least of your problems.
By the way, I could have ignored your comments, not even published them, or sent them straight to the trash. It would have saved me a bunch of time. I chose to answer because I wanted to help. Probably not a good idea on my part.
I truly appreciate both the help and the added perspective from most recent response !
It need not end with any hard feelings !!
I will continue to try and gain a greater understanding via the site as you have shared a wealth of information there already without even factoring in any additional time you made available to assist individuals.
Sure, Mike. And no hard feelings at all.
Thanks for sharing the review. I am using an RT-AC68U for many years now with merlin firmware.
The router has a weak signal to cover a split level townhouse. I added an extender ASUS RP-N53 which need to manually. I am considering buying another router for the Ai-mesh setup. Any combination recommendations?
Require handling audio, video meeting calls, tv streaming, transferring large files (20GB) between desktop and NAS, not a heavy gamer.
Highly appreciate your advice. Thank you.
You first need to get your home wired with a least one network cable — for your needs, this is a must. After that get another RT-AC68U or another dual-band Wi-Fi 5 router, like the RT-AC86U. More in this post.
Question on wireless back-haul capability
I have 3 of the ZenWifi XT8 units. I have a lot of area and floors to cover in my home. I am considering adding a new unit as the 2 nodes indicate weak signal to the router. I am wondering if the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 would have a better wireless back-haul c ability than the ZenWifi XT8 wireless back-haul.
Could you comment on the wireless back-haul capability of each unit or point me to where I could get that info. I have reviewed the ASUS websites and various google searches, but can’t seem to find out much about the back-haul capability of each unit. The ASUS guidance is 10 – 15 meters between router and nodes. The external, multi-antenna design of the GT-AX11000 would seem that it could be more capable as a wireless back-haul, but I am just not sure it is really the case.
Any help would be much appreciated.
First check out the range section in this post on Wi-Fi, Greg. After that, this post on AiMesh combos will help. In short, there’s no such thing as the general “backhaul capability” — but if you Google for that, you will get lots of answers, so on a side note, be careful what you Google for, don’t just look to validate stuff that pops in your head. 🙂
Thank you very much for the quick reply.
I should have clarified my question.
I would prefer wired back-haul, but have to live with wireless back-haul. Given this, I am trying to see if the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 would be better able to reach nodes far away with its wireless back-haul than the ZenWifi XT8 could with its wireless back-haul.
I did read the article on Wifi range. I also looked over your reviews of each product. It appears that the GT-AX11000 might have better Wifi range than the ZenWifi XT8.
What I am not certain about is if the performance of device-to-router/node wifi connection is the same as the node-to-router back-haul connection.
I know the wireless back-haul will use one of the 3 bands as a dedicated back-haul. What I am not sure is if the back-haul connection is implemented differently such that its performance does not necessarily correlate with the device-to-router/node performance.
Again, your help is much appreciated.
Yes, using the GT-AX11000 as the main router and XT8s as satellite nodes is a good combo, Greg.
Thanks for your help
I am currently running an AC86U as the primary Mesh router and and an AC68U as a wired node. I believe it is not AiMesh 2.0 but everything is working fine. There is a building about 80m away and I would like to include it into the network. A wired connection is not possible. Would I have a chance with two tri-band routers, one in each building?
Thanks a lot.
Check out the range part in this post, Dennis. https://dongknows.com/home-wi-fi-explained/#wi-fi-range-in-real-life
Hi. I have two GT-AX11000. One is the router and the other is a AiMesh node hardwired for the backhaul. Overall, the mesh network works pretty well, but I was wondering if anyone has tried using the 2nd router as an Access Point vs AiMesh. Has anyone tried both? Any advantages to using the 2nd router as an Access point?
I mentioned that here, Jares.
Hi there. I read the brief explanation of the AiMesh node as an Access Point, but I didn’t really see an explanation of how it is more reliable or stable than an AiMesh node. Would you be able to give some examples?
It’s NOT more reliable than a wired AiMesh node. You need to compare apples to apples. That said, an access point is always more reliable than any wireless satellite unit, mesh or extender. More in this post. https://dongknows.com/mesh-wi-fi-system-explained/
Ok, thank you. I might try and reset the 2nd GT-AX11000 and try out Access point mode vs AiMesh. Just one last question for you. Do run a cable from the first GT-AX11000 to the second one and plug it into the WAN connection or just one of the open LAN connections on the second AX11000 that would be the Access Point?
Follow the link in the previously linked post. Please make sure you read before asking questions. Don’t make assumptions and expect somebody to explain things for you along the way. 🙂
I’ve been reading about mesh network systems and I’ve found your articles to be the most helpful I’ve come across to understand all this! Thank you for them. Based on what I’ve read on your site, I’ve purchased two Asus XT8 mesh routers. I have very limited options for internet service. I have an ISP that provides 8mbps down and 1mbps up. I just received a Starlink dish. So, I now have two ISPs. I am planning on setting up one of the Asus XT8 routers up with a dual WAN to ensure a consistent connection. This will leave two LAN ports available. I will plug my PC directly into one of the LAN ports and a gigabit switch into the last available LAN port. Plugged into the switch will be a network printer and a VoIP as well as the wired backhaul from the second Asus XT8 (connecting to this wirelessly would be: another work computer, Smart TV – streaming, cell phones, three Google Smart Speakers, etc.). Would this be the most efficient/correct way to arrange all of this equipment?
Since you have wired backhaul, I’d recommend getting two dual-band broadcasters, Tondy. More in this post.
Thank you for your prompt reply. I did read that article and looked specifically at the ZenWiFi XD6. However, the Asus XT8’s were a better price due to an “instant special.” So, I grabbed them quickly. I thought I might read more about converting the second 5GHz channel into an open channel for devices at some point. But, it may not be necessary. So, while I realize one channel may be redundant, is there any concern with using the XT8’s like I’m thinking (based on your comments in a few articles, I won’t upgrade firmware until it’s well documented as being stable lol).
If you change the router in a mesh system with two satellites I believe the Aimesh software is smart enough to replace a router when you do the discovery ?
In short, I don’t have to start all over again, the mesh system can replace routers too ??
I mentioned that in the related link, Mario. 🙂
Thanks for the article, it definitely clears a lot of things up.
Just two questions if you don’t mind:
1-If I use two AX92u’s as AiMesh but open up the 5GHZ-2 for end clients meaning the backhaul isn’t dedicated, is there any downside to this? Such as unstable connection or lower speed? (The two routers are far apart and wired backhaul isn’t possible)
2-If I connect my computer to 5GHZ-2(want to use WIFI 6), it will be the 5GHZ-2 on the node that I’m connected to (assuming the node is placed in my upstair bedroom) instead of the main router in the basement right?
1. Then the backhaul is no longer “dedicated” and all that implies. It can be many things, really, it’s impossible to speculate. It’s like you have a dedicated driver vs. a driver who also drives for other people and cleans the house, washes your clothes, etc. Use your imagination.
2. I’ve never been to your home. So stuff like “basement”, “bedroom”, “upstir” etc. doesn’t mean the same way to me as they do to you.
In any case, take your time and read the reviews and posts on the products involved. You can start with this post. Good luck! 🙂
How does AI Mesh work if I want to use a separate router/firewall? I really like Firewall Gold and would like to use that for my routing. Do I place the ASUS routers in “Access Point Mode” and if thats the case, is that considered Mesh?
Use the site search, Annas. You can use the AiMesh in the AP mode — more in this post. Alternatively, you can use the Firewalla in the add-on mode as I mentionied in its review.
I have a ZenWiFi XT8 as my main router and I bought an RP-AX56 node to improve coverage. I set it up with wireless backhaul and intially I was disappointed to discover that the dedicated backhaul channel goes unused and my tri-band router was reduced to a dual-band one. I was about to return the RP-AX56 but I decided to try the optimize button before I do that. Lo and behold, it did optimize the network after several rounds of optimization and reboots. Two thing have happened. The router’s dedicated backhaul band switched from a DFS 160 MHz channel to a non-DFS 80 MHz channel and the node connected to this channel and served clients using it. In a way, even though the node is only dual-band it uses semi-dedicated backhaul channel, shared only with the clients connected to the node. I did not have to change any settings to get to that, the AirMesh system figured out this solution on its own.
Good to know. Thanks for the tip, Elad.
I have a RT-AX89x and 2 Asus AiMesh XT8 nodes. Is there a way to know what the new IP address is that a node has changed on a wi-fi device?
1) DHCP static IP set for a wi-fi timer plug = 192.168.10.120
hostname = plug120
2) Network Map/View List – the plug is controlled by a mesh node and the IP has changed to 192.168.101.5, hostname stays the same from what I can tell
Programs updating the plug with new times cannot find it b/c the IP address has changed. “nslookup.exe plug120” reports the original IP (10.20) instead of the node changed IP (101.5).
Without querying the router each time, is there a Windows utility program (such as nslookup) that can resolve the node modified IP with it hostname? Is there any other way?
That’s not a good combo you have there. More here.
For your need, use IP Reservation on the router. It seems you were messing around without knowing what you were doing. 🙂
I currently have the RT-AX89 as my main router; and was wondering if the RT-AX92 as in Aimesh 2.0 setup – with wired backhaul would be compatible to give me better wifi upstairs away from my main router? – or is there something other than the RT-AX92 i should be looking at?
If you read this post closely, you’ll find the answer, Stu, but if you need more, check out this post on AiMesh combos.
Hi Dong, thanks SOOO much for the super valuable resource.
I’ve hunted around and haven’t managed to find the answer to my weird edge case.
Lower floor – wired.
Upper floor – not wired.
I was interested in using AX11000 and AX 92U around my home. A combination of wired backhaul on the lower level – but wireless backhaul upstairs. Is it possible to mix backhaul with AIMesh? Or do all nodes need to be wired OR wireless?
Thank you so much
Check out this part of the post, David. I also talk about mixed wired and wireless in many other posts here.
i will post first the issue and then my message to DONG.
our families live in 3 floors in a building and the apartments are not connected. The router is ROG CAPTURE AX11000 connected to modem and OPERATION as ROUTER.
Through LAN in the first appartment, 2 Aimesh nodes as AX92 via wan PORT wired backhaul. in the Aimesh network i have selected Wired backhaul as a choice and it doesn’t let me have nodes connected otherwise.
Here are my issues. i have Aimesh 2 and the only way to get internet to the other apartment is to get the LYRA (dual band) as Aimesh nodes.
i have 2 More RX 92 which i do not use. i would like to have 2 nodes in the main apartment, 1 in the one below and the last one in the last floor. how many devices can i have on this network?
the most important if i deselect WIRED backhaul and just have it as priority how to setup WIFI in smart tri connect to have the second 5gh as dedicated wireless backhaul?
Read this post again, Stefanos, and then this one on AiMesh combos. I can’t be any more specific than that. 🙂
Hi Doug, You have recommended using the RT-AC86U as the main router and the AC5300 as the node. Is this still the best option to go event with Aimesh 2.0 and new firmwares.
Also, now I have an extra RT-AC86U so now a have two RT-AC86U and one AC5300.
Do you think is better to use the two RT-AC86U instead of the RT-AC86U as the main router and AC5300 as the node?
By the way, I used a wired backhaul.
I don’t remember recommending what I said I recommended, Joy. For wired backhaul, the tri-band hardware is not necessary, and you should use it as the main router.
Thank you Dong. What about the other question.
Do you think is better to use the two RT-AC86U instead of the AC5300 as the main router and RT-AC86U as the node?
It’d make no difference, Joy, but tri-band is not necessary if you have wired backhauls. More in this post.
Dong, Excellent site. I’ve learned a lot here. My question is in mixing wired & wireless backhaul. I currently have an AX82U and plan to purchase a pair of XT8 to create my mesh system. Can I set up the system with an XT8 as the primary using wireless backhaul only to the other XT8 as a node and also use the AX82U as a node with only wired backhaul? I do not want to lose the 5ghz band on the AX82U. Will the Asus software allow me to do so? Is there a better configuration short of buying another tri-band?
You can, Kurt, and you won’t lose the 5GHz band on the dual-band satellite, which will replicate the 5GHz-1 band of the XT8. Have fun! 🙂
Much appreciated and thanks again for the great site!!
These are some very helpful router articles – thank you, Dong!
I’m looking to picking up two AiMesh router. One of the reasons to go for AiMesh is that I have two houses (they’re very close, only 10 meters apart) and would like a wireless bridge between them.
Am I right in thinking that two AiMesh routers will give a wireless bridge, and that you can connect to both the wi-fi AND the ethernet ports on both routers with no limitation?
If I understand right, there is a dedicated bridge mode available which will disable the wi-fi capability(?), but I don’t have to use that mode to effectively get a bridge between the houses as well as being able to connect by wi-fi and wire on all the AiMesh nodes?
Any Tri-band AiMesh system would do that, Are. Read this post again! You can go with the XT8.
Great – As I thought, just needed confirmation as it’s not mentioned explicitly anywhere I’ve seen so far. Thank you!
One additional Q, if I may: Since I’m only going to use wired connections to the remote AiMesh node, and the Router/WAN AiMesh (master) node will only have 2.4GHz wifi and wired devices connecting – could I go cheap and opt for dual band routers, and they would then automatically use the one 5GHz band for the backhaul, possibly even configuring the 5GHz band for use exclusively for backhaul, and then only the 2.4GHz would be free for use by older wifi devices?
Perhaps that could even be “faked”, by setting a different SSIDs for the 5GHz and never connect any wifi devices to it?
Read the post I linked in the previous reply, Are. It will answer these questions and ALL others you might have on this front. Make sure you take your time and follow the related links. But you can use the 5GHz band as a dedicated backhaul if you don’t connect any client to it, but really, you don’t want to do that, the 2.4GH band is really slow in speeds.
I’ve been reading for hours, and I’ve learnt a lot, but didn’t see anything definitive yet about the details of dual band routers dedicating their single 5GHz to backhaul – but it does indeed makes sense that they can do that, at least if you don’t actually connect clients to it.
I’m not at all worried about speed – I’m used to ADSL with 8Mb/s down and 512kB/s up. Also, I started out as a systems developer almost 40 years ago, so the speed I get with 2.4GHz nowadays is still dizzying to me :-)) I’m waiting for the fiber to arrive here, but even then I’ll be perfectly happy if I get 100Mb/s throughout the two houses.
OK, now I know all I need (and there’s still more to read!). Thank you very much for sharing your experience in this area – it is greatly appreciated!
Back with a report:
I’ve just installed 3 RT-AX92U in an AiMesh network. The WAN has a bandwidth of 100Mbps. I’m using 5GHz-2 as the backhaul. The three AX92U’s are arranged in a string with around 15m between them : ROUTER NODE 1 NODE 2. On the second hop through NODE 2 I get more than 500Mbps on the LAN.
This works to perfection, giving almost 100Mbps on every connected device 🙂
Again, thank you for all your advice – and have a merry x-mas!
Sure, Are. Thanks for the update. Merry Christmas!
Absolutelly fanastic and in-depth article.
I (like many others) have additional questions and your insight would be very helpful.
I’m setting up wifi at (not tech-savy) friend. Problem is in thich iron-armoured walls. Current ‘good old’ Linksys wrt54gl can barely penetrate it.
My first plan was to use rt-ax86u (because it has good review on wall penetration) as main router on floor1 and node rt-ax86u on floor2 (all wired backhaul). I would need additional sattelites – thinking of zen ax mini xd4 (requested as they are ‘stylish furniture’ 😀.
1. Is rt-ax92u better option (in comparison with rt-ax86u in case of wall penetration)? This would also make sense in combination with zen ax mini xd4 (same triband, wifi6).
2. There will be 3 zen ax mini xd4 sattelites – since one will note be wired is it possible to set this node to wirelessly conect (wifi backhaul) to another mini xd4 that will be wired to main router (like wifi daisy-chain)?
3. Is mixing rt-ax92u and zenwifi ax mini a good idea?
Many many tnx and BR,
Check out this post, S. Please use the site search if you have more questions. For example, I explained Wi-Fi signals here.
hi dong.. I’ve been using AX56U for quite some time.. i recently notice that there seems to be some kind of maximum number of clients.. that is 30 on my experience..
80% of the clients on my network are IoT..
I tried to setup AI mesh setup with AC66U B1 as the node, yet it doesn’t seem to add up..
the CPU utilization mostly around 0-15% for each core
is there anyway to add the maximum clients?
Check out this post, Tara.
Thanks for the prompt response dong!
I checked out the IP pool starting and ending value on my AX56U.. and it’s already ranged from 2-254.. it’s the router default number i suppose..
any other idea?
Try different parts of that post and the linked post in the part you already read where I explained about bandwidth, Tara. If that can’t fix it, get a new router. You’re pushing it considering the low-end router model and the number of devices you want to use in your network.
I still couldnt get it fixed..
Hmm.. do you happen to have data list of max clients for each asus router?
I couldnt find this information on asus official site
Need to make sure how many device can connect to the router
Read the linked post, Tara. There’s no max clients. It’s about the bandwidth. https://dongknows.com/how-to-pick-the-best-wi-fi-router-for-your-home/
I have a RT-AX82U (1st floor family room) as the primary router and AC68U (2nd floor stairwell and AC86U (1st floor living room) as the nodes. The 86U is going offline a lot and I don’t know why. They are all connected via wifi and are all using the latest ASUS firmware. I recently added the AC86U to my mesh system and have it defined as AIMESH-Node. The 68U was setup as a repeater (a year ago) and have no issues. Furthermore, when I use the Asus mobile app, I can see and change the settings on the AX82U and AC68U as it is setup on the top left corner dropdown, however, I can’t see the AC86U.
Any suggestions on how the 86U can stop going offline? BTW, i already tried swapping the locations of the two nodes and it is still the 86U that goes offline.
You’re mixing two Wi-Fi standards, Thomas, check out this post on how to deal with that.
Will a USB printer on an aimesh node work?
That depends on the printer and the router you use as the node, BC. The general answer is yes if the node supports AiMesh 2.0. But the print serving function is really old, almost obsolete now. More in this post.
I recently purchase RT-AX88U(wireless router mode) and RT-AX86U(aimesh node). I have connected both of them via ethernet backhaul using CAT5E cable. ISP speed is at 300Mbps. Both updated with latest Merlin firmware 386.3.2
However when my devices laptop (LAN CAT5E cable) and phones (5Ghz) is connected to the AIMesh node, my download speed is cut by half (120Mbps). I am getting full speed if I am connected to AX88U acting as a wireless router mode. Is this a known issue? I have read a few forums that reported the same issue. I tried to set AX86U in AP mode, also facing the same issue whereby I am not getting the full download speed. QoS is disabled.
It’s highly likely that something is wrong with your wired backhaul link so:
1. Check to make sure the wired backhaul is used (and not a wireless one) and is at 1Gbps. You can do that in the AiMesh section via the router web interface.
2. Make sure nothing is wrong with the actual cable like it’s not broken, try a new cable, etc. You can place the 86U near the 88U and try with a wired computer.
3. Try moving both to Asuswrt, sometimes, though rare, Merlin can be the culprit.
Having a similar issue – using my old ASUS AC68U as a AiMesh and my new AX86U as my new router. Initially using speedtest on a 1Gbit connection I got the about 850 – 900Mbit speed.
I think the culprit might be one of the firmware updates for one of the ASUS routers.
As for the points above:
1. I’m using the wired backhaul.
2. First of all if any of the wires had an issue it would drop to either 10/100 speeds.
Just to double check I’ve tested:
PC -> AX86U directly = 1Gbit speeds (minus the overhead)
PC -> AC68U -> AX86U = aprox. 500Mbit speeds
3. I’ve been using only the original ASUS firmware. No merlin or other custom firmware.
So the state of AiMesh is not that nice for all of us. Asus doesn’t responds to emails or support (not in constructive way). Maybe you can try your luck reaching out to them.
As of now the last firmware release for AC68U:
You might be right, Cody. Try downgrading the firmware and see if that fixes it.
Yeap…..it seems 126.96.36.199.386.43129 is the culprit. Downgraded and it fixed the issue.
Nice! Glad it worked out. Thanks for sharing, Cody.
I saw that you downgraded the mesh node firmware and the issue was resolved. I have a system with the RT-AX86U as my primary router and three ZenWiFi AX Minis as nodes (along with the wireless signal from the AX86U- four wireless points in total). Anyway, I’m wondering if this reduction in speed with the x.43129 firmware in “nodes” is limited to the AC68U or would it impact any Asus devices serving in such capacity? Thanks.
I got a RT-AX55 and I am thinking of getting the 2x RT-92U as the node.
My place is around 3500 sqft
I can connect all 3 via a wired back-haul.. however, modem is in the store room nearer to the front of the house
I am thinking of using the AX55 as the main router connected to the modem since it is in the store room and wired connected to both the RT-92U one of first floor and one on 2nd floor.
will this be ok ? I understand that the main router should be use as the primary.. but in this case, if I use the RT-92 as the main.. stuck in the storeroom, the wireless would be bad .. thus was looking at using the AX-55 instead.
Meanwhile will this configuration be better than a google wifi ?
No, Nick. Read this post again and also this one for more information. As for better than Google Wifi or not, that depends on what you need.
I’ve recently moved into a very old house (built sometime in the mid-late 1800s,) which also has some new add-on construction from (estimated) the 1980s. Due to the age, many of the walls in the original portion of the home are board and plaster, rather than drywall. Overall the home is 3 stories and slightly over 12000 sq feet.
After reading through this article, as well as your “Get your home, wired: 5 easy steps” article, I would like to go with an AiMesh system. I am considering the “ASUS ZenWiFi AX6600 Tri-Band Mesh WiFi 6 System (XT8 3PK)” on Amazon (https://smile.amazon.com/ASUS-ZenWiFi-AX-Whole-Home-Tri-Band/dp/B08LPSXNMS?tag=dkt-ct-20) I have intentions of using one as the router on the main floor and configuring the other 2 with wired backhaul connection on the 2nd and 3rd floor.
I realize without knowing the exact layout and specifications of the home, nothing is guaranteed, but based on your knowledge and experience, should I be ok with just the 3 units for WiFi coverage throughout, or should I purchase additional units to set up as wireless backhaul AP’s?
That one should work well in a fully wireless for mixed wired/wireless system, Jeremy. If you go full wired, I’d recommend the XD4 though.
Thanks for the reply Dong. I think I will be going with the XD4 recommendation. I’ve spent a large amount of time today reading through many more of your informative guides and have learned quite a lot.
In my area, a fairly rural town in PA, the best we have available is 250 Mbps, and I doubt it’ll be any time soon that anything faster will be available. Based on this I believe I will be going with a Netgear CM600, an Asus RT-AX68U, and the before mentioned XD4 3 pack behind a switch.
One question I do have is, if the 3 XD4 nodes are not sufficient for full coverage in my home, due to the size and material of the walls, will adding additional XD4 nodes have any issue with syncing to the original 3 and router?
Thanks so much for your time and guidance.
That’s a great set via wired backhauls, Jeremy. You can have up to 7 hardware units (including the router), so you’re fine.
I’ve tried to get help from ASUS but their responses are always generic and never helpful. The information here is way more than anything I’ve received from ASUS. Well done.
However I’m having problems tuning the roaming assist and the hand-off doesn’t work.
I have an RT-AC68U and 2 Lyra Trio’s to extend range. They are all hardwired with CAT6.
It looks as though whatever I set the RSSI value it doesn’t change the way the Lyra handles the hand-off. I can stand next to the first Lyra with my phone and walk to the next one at the other side of the house and it stays connected to the first one.
It’s painful when using zoom or facetime as it looses bandwidth when you move away but then wont hand off to the one with better signal.
Help me help me Obi Dong Keknowbi… you’re my only hope
Lol, Andrew. Just don’t move around too much.
I have a Zenwifi xt8 2 pack ai mesh system which was working perfectly when i first bought it. Recently I have realised that some devices have a weak connection and seem to drop off and reconnect. When going into the interface I realised that the devices with weak connection were connected to the main router instead of the node which is much closer to the client device. I have then tried to turn the device off and on and turn wifi off and on and sit 50cm away from the node however one device would still not connect to the node. I then tried to bind the device to the node through the web interface which caused the device to drop wifi connection altogether. I have reboots scheduled every morning so I dont think this is the issue. I’m mainly having the issues with my samsung galaxy s21 ultra and my mothers iphone se and my wifes iphone 10. Any advice you have would be appreciated and happy to provide further info if needed.
You can try separating the 2.4GHz and 5GHz as two SSID and see if that helps, Abu. When this happens, it’s likely because the device gets stuck to the 2.4GHz band. If you can get them on the 5GHz, you can start troubleshooting from there. But it’s always tricky when it happens to just one or two particular devices — it might have nothing to do with your mesh system.
Thank you for your reply. I am guessing if i seperate the 2.5 of 5ghz bands to two seperate ssids then i will not be able to utilise the smart switch option where the connection should automatically switch to the nearest device whether that be the node or the router.
That’s not true, Abu. That’s band-steering which requires Smart Connect. What you’re taking about is seamlessly hand off which works band per band. https://dongknows.com/mesh-wi-fi-system-explained/
I have set up two RT-AC86U in AiMesh with ethernet backhaul and is working beautifully. However, once very few weeks, we get a weak signal from the node and the only way I can fix it is to restart both routers. Is there any way of fixing this permanently? I have paired up an RT-AC86U with a single CT8 (wireless backhaul) and I get the same problem. With that, I manually reboot the RT-AC86U.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
You can schedule a weekly auto reboot, Syed. It’s on the Administration -> System area of the web interface.
Perfect, thank you.
Sure, Syed. 🙂
I currently have an Aimesh setup with the gt-ax11000 as the primary router and 3x ax-92u’s as the Aimesh nodes. 2 of the nodes are wired backhaul but due to physical constraints one node is on a dedicated 5ghz-2 wireless backhaul.
My question is what max speed I should expect if I were to run a wired connection (cat 6) between the client and the node with wireless backhaul. I chose to use the LAN ports for devices close to this node because my assumption was that the 5ghz wifi connection would be capped at 867mhz given the Aimesh combo I used, as opposed to gigabit Ethernet.
As a more general question, given my mixed wireless/wired backhaul set up, would I still be able to use the wifi 6 band for the wired nodes effectively? I guess I could try disabling the dedicated backhaul but my concern there is that it might interfere with the aimesh node connection.
Thank you in advance!
Check my review of the RT-AX92U for the speed number, Mike. But yes, 867Mbps is a good way to put it. You can also open up the backhaul band for clients, in which case, that depends, but you might be able to get up to 2400Mbps. There’s no way to know for sure since this depends on how you place the wireless node and your place’s layout. But it seems you’re on top of it.
How is your setup going for you?
I currently have a GT-AX11000 and want to add a AX92U(wired backhaul) how are your speeds? Are you running your Node in AiMesh or AP mode?
Thanks for the informative article. I have an AC 5300 with several AC68U nodes for Mesh. I have had this system running well for a couple years, but all of a sudden the 5300 needs reset daily… I suspect it is dying! If I replace it, will one of the newer 802.11ax – wifi 6 routers “Mesh” with my existing AC68U nodes? Would there be an impact either way on performance?
That’s not a good idea unless you have wired your home, Dell. More on AiMesh hardware in this post.
Chao anh Dong,
Do you have any idea why Aimesh roaming on my guest network 5ghz works flawless but when I’m connecting to my normal 5ghz network, it doesn’t roam to my node. It only wants to roam when I first let my device connect to the Aimesh node. When I let it connect to the main Aimesh router first, it doesn’t want to roam to the node anymore. Guest wifi works flawless no matter which router or node I first connect to. Tested on multiple devices already. Hope you have an idea and suggestions to try. Thanks
Check out the roaming section of this post, Donny. Or, if you have messed with it, leave it to default.
Thanks for quick response. I’ve read your interesting article including the roaming section before posting. I’ve factory reset both of my routers (ax82u and ax55) many times already to keep the settings default as possible. Before I’ve been testing dBm settings in roaming assistant. Even turned off without success. I just cannot understand why roaming in 5ghz guest network is working flawlessly but normal 5ghz wifi network not. Both routers on latest firmware (188.8.131.52.386). Using WPA2 only. Wired backhaul. I even tried to isolate the normal wifi network to make it look like a guest network without success. Also adjusting tx power and enable/disable beamforming doesn’t seem to help. Anything else I can try?
That’s likely because the Guest network uses the “correct” channel for your environment. You can use that particular Guest SSID (or change it) as your main network by allowing intranet access on it — more in this post — and use another one for guests. Chances are you’ve made too many Wi-Fi changes to your main networks. I’d recommend using Auto for the settings.
U were saying: “I’d recommend using Auto for the settings”. Do you mean the control channel (36, 40, 48…)? I’ve been testing some more this weekend and I found out when disabling “Protected Management Frames”, it solved the problem of roaming. Since I could roam flawlessly before in Guest mode but not in main network, do you see any connection with Guest mode and PMF? Is PMF turned off by default in Guest mode maybe?
I mean leave things as close to default as possible, Donny, which generally works best since it favors compatibility. But Wi-Fi changes greatly depending on where you are, there’s no one-size-fits-all setting. If you figure out the setting that works for you, keep it.
Very interesting article, thanks!
For a start, what can I expect from an Aimesh setup? Should I be able to continue a WhatApp (video) call or a Facetime call while roaming? Answer to this determines relevance of the ask below.
I’m using a RT-AC88U as router, and an RT-AC68U and another RT-AC88U as Aimesh nodes. Backhaul is wired. Settings are default including the Roaming Assistant at -70 dBm. The SSIDs for 2.4 and 5 GHz are different.
The challenge I’m facing is that the above two use cases are not smooth in my case, e.g. the call is interrupted and reconnects after few seconds when not really moving around. I’m wondering if that can be improved. This problem occurs when using iPhones in an area where the signals (dBm) are roughly:
Main router: 2.4: -46 5: -61
Near node: 2.4: -59 5: -71
Far node: 2.4: -85 5: xx
As usual, these signal strengths vary a bit, so the numbers above are averages. They are taken from a tool on a laptop, not from the iPhone.
Any suggestion would be appreciated!
No, John, you can NOT expect smooth transitioning while roaming, period. No matter what hardware you use. More on that here.
Thanks Dong, that is clear.
Asking the question is the first step in solving it. So, did some absolutely none scientific tests by moving around in the house during a WhatsApp video call, forcing the phone to switch from the main Aimesh router to the next Aimesh node. As I can see in the Asus Aimesh web UI.
I noted that one iPhone (XS max) would continue the WhatsApp video call with perhaps a single stutter. Acceptable in my view. However, another iPhone (11) would loose the call, initially single sided. And, only on 2.4. On 5, the experience would be OK.
So, now focusing on what the difference between the two could be. Both run the latest iOS versions.
Thanks again, John.
Sure, John. 🙂
I’m staying in a 2 Storey apartment wired in 2 bedrooms and living room. I have ax1800 mini zenwifi x 2, zenwifi ax6600 x 1 and Rt-ax3000. I like to have the best connection in living room, 2 bedrooms and the dining area( no wired setup) Can advise on the best set up?
Since you have wired your home, that’ll work. Use the the RT-AX3000 as the main router and two Mini as node. You might not need the XT8, but if you do, use it as an AP.
How will I get Triband with wired backhaul? Do I use XT8 as router but the rest as nodes?
Read the posts, JC. U explained that in great detail.
With your recommended setup, will I still be able to enjoy the 5Ghz-2 band from the xt8 if xt8 is put as AP? If not, how should I take advantage of the triband of the xt8? Appreciate your patience in answering this noobie question.
Yes, JC. I explained that here.
Hi, I hope to use ax6600 zenwifi as router and ax1800 mini zenwifi and rt-ax3000as nodes. Is this a good combo?
Not really, JC. More here: https://dongknows.com/best-aimesh-routers-and-combos/
If you use wired backhaul, can you also use the non-main node’s ethernet ports for home networking? It would be silly to have to buy a separate ethernet switch when there’s a perfectly good one on the router already.
Yes, I mentioned that specifically in the post, Steve.
Good article about AiMesh, Have an issue with internet speeds when i changed over from RT ac88u to RT ax88u.
It went from approx 800mbps (ac88u) to 80mbps (ax88u), i was wondering has it got something to do with the firmware or a particular setting in the router
You might want to separate the two bands to makes sure your clients connect to the 5GHz one. A lot of legacy clients would pick the 2.4GHz band if they don’t support Wi-Fi 6, hence the slow speed. Make sure you update them to the latest driver, too.
Thank you for your prompt reply!
Will try it out now!
I thought I would pile on here a bit, since I always find real-world experiences super helpful on this site. I use an RT-AX86U as my main router, and I have a 3000 sq ft house with two stories. The main router is located in the office on the second floor at the front of the house. The AX86U has amazing 5 GHz coverage, and it’s simply great. I wanted to extend the coverage into the outside back patio, so I used an RP-AX56U range extender as an AI Mesh node, placing it in the first floor family room at the back of the house. This did the trick. The exterior of the house is brick, with regular insulation. I find the WiFi6 technology with 802.11ax is a VERY noticeable step-up, for those who have not experienced it. Using a WiFi6 range extender as an AI Mesh node allows you to really catch the 5 GHz signals and keep a strong link connection. The repeater is able to get a -60 dBm signal. The AI Mesh feature of binding devices to nodes, and preventing devices from roaming, is perfect. I think the AI Mesh system does a good job of not pushing devices to the RP-AX56U unless there’s a real benefit, thereby avoiding situations where you just suck bandwidth from the whole Wifi setup with two hops. In my configuration, I bound all of my IoT devices to the main router, too, most of which are on 2.4 GHz only. So far, super happy with the AI Mesh. And, absolutely agree here that AI Mesh is a lot smarter, so using just regular range extension will definitely just degrade your overall WiFi performance.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Anthony.
Thanks for the explanations. Great text.
I am planning to have a wired aimesh network in my new house. For this I bought the first Asus RT-88u router to be the main one. Is this the best choice?
Completing the previous message, I bought a Asus RT-AX88u.
Not really, though that might work, Vlad. More here: https://dongknows.com/best-aimesh-routers-and-combos/
Great article!! I have a quick question though. My main router is a GT-AC5300 and I have 2 nodes added (RT-AC86U and RT-AC68U), both of which are dual-band routers. The entire mesh is hard-wired.
The AC5300 if tri-band while the nodes are dual-band. Am I still ok, since the are all hard-wired to one another?
Yes, you’re, A. The 2nd 5GHz band is only available at the router. More on that in this post about using AiMesh combos.
Do you have the optimal WiFi band settings for an aimesh with an AX92U router as the main unit and an AC5300 router as a node? This would be connected wirelessly using wireless backhaul. Thanks!
As stated in the post, you shouldn’t use them together, Karl, unless you have wired backhaul. More details on the combos in this post. But if you have to use them together, make sure you turn off Wi-Fi 6 on the RT-AX92U’s backhaul band (5GHz-2) and use it only with the 80MHz (or lower) channel width. That will help though it won’t guarantee reliability.
I use all your advise to set-up my system with one GT-AC5300 and two RT-AC5300 connected as Access Points (no AiMesh) and -63db for switching between access points. However lately as I have added more smart devices to my home, the wi-fi signal has degraded. I have three SSID for each the 3 bands, and the name matches on all three Access Points. (All routers are hardwired). Do you recommend changing the system to AiMesh instead of Access Points but keep the second 5GHz band with a different SSID name for additional bandwidth? (Note that I have two apple TV 4K that were connecting wireless before at 600 MB/s but now fluctuate between 200 and 300 MB/s I am not certain if an AiMesh system would help to make the wifi connection more reliable).
Yes, Ricardo, you should use them in AiMesh and open the 5GHz-2 band for clients. Use the 2.4GHz band for low-bandwidth devices.
Thank you for your prompt reply, I thought it would be easy to just switch to Aimesh from the main router, since the Access points were wired but the router cannot find the nodes. Then I realized that I had to exclude the access point ip address from the router dynamic address range when I did the setup. I would like your advise on how to setup the system as a mesh. Do I include the access point IP address inside the dynamic range of the router and keep them wired or do I need to disconnect the access points bring them close to the router reset them, build the mesh wirelessly and then placed them back wired at their original location and set the back haul as wired in the main router. I also have a question on the backhaul setting choices, I am guessing but I am not sure that even if I want to use the second 5GHz band for alternate connection I still need to choose tri-band as my backhaul setup instead of the two GHz bands on the backhaul settings?
You need to reset the APs to the factory default first, Recardo. Check out the setup instruction in this post and try again.
Thank you for the informative write up.
May i know if i can use a non-Aimesh router and then to two Aimesh nodes? Will that still be a Aimesh network.
Nope, Canvas. You definitely need an AiMesh router as the main router of your network. Check out the post on AiMesh Combos (linked in this post) for more.
Thank you for your advice Dong.
How about if i use Asus Non-Aimesh router as main router?
AiMesh is Asus-specific, Canvas. Did you read my previous answer? You need an Asus AiMesh-ready router as the main router. If you need to keep the current router, check out this post on how to make that work.
I have a asus zen wifi ax and an asus ax86u. Which should i use as the main router and which should be the nodes? My current setup is one of the asus xt8 as the main router and a node and the asus ac86u as a node also. Advice which is the best option. Thanks
Check out this post, Ben. https://dongknows.com/best-aimesh-routers-and-combos/
Just found your site, great article (and others im seeing now too)
I just setup my Aimesh with two AC5300’s and one 2 band AC68U. master ac5300 in office on gig internet. other 5300 in kitchen, and 68u in the garage. just updated all firmware to the latest 9…386.
signal level is “great” to kitchen” and “good” to garage. in the Gui the topography shows the garage before the kitchen on the little flow pic. that doesnt make sense. yesterday it showed the proper flow but today its different.
Most importantly, when i do a speed test on my phone from in the kitchen im only getting 20mb/s down at all times. this wifi signal is great and shouldnt be this week. something is going on.
any suggestions on why the speed is so slow and how to address it? also issue with the nodes showing out of order?
This depends on your placement and the distances between the units, but if you have a dual and router involved, it’s better to use wired backhaul. Your hardware might be using the 2.4GHz band as backhaul. More un this post. https://dongknows.com/best-aimesh-routers-and-combos/
Hope you are doing great.
I have three RT-AX92U that I want to use in a mesh in AP mode in a wired backhaul.
How can I connect them physically really?
RT-AX (LAN port) x 3 -> switch -> router
RT-AX (WAN port) x 3 -> switch -> router
RT-AX (WAN) x 2 -> switch -> RT-AX (LAN) + RT-AX (WAN) -> router
Second question, can I use the same SSID for 5GHz-1 and 5GHz-2 bands or not?
Read to the the entire post, Alex.
I did and indeed you cover the second question thank you.
But the physical connection is still not clear here, could you please clarify this?
You need to first clarify your question, Alex. It makes no sense. Generally here’s the normal diagram:
Intenet source -> (WAN prot) Router (LAN) -> (Swiches) -> (WAN port) node(s).
Thank you this is what I was wondering
Hello and thank you for the excellent articles.
Currently I have the ASUS RT-AC88U as my only router and our ISP is supposed to be giving us UP TO 400mbs. I’m currently building an addition to my home and need to rework my network. I’ve been reading the different articles here and have a few questions.
1. Is the GT-AX11000 AiMesh compatible to use as the primary router with the old AC88U as the node.
2. Can I connect a switch to the GT-AX11000 to serve the hardwired devices without losing too much latency?
3. Do outlets with cat6 connections lose latency? I’m debating whether to put network connections on each wall of the 3 new rooms. Mostly for convenience, since all the outlets wouldn’t be used.
FYI. We will have 2 Xbox’s, 2 computers, a network printer and a TV hardwired. We will also be adding a Synology NAS. As well as the 20 or so other Wi-Fi devices (phones, google tv and hubs) most of which will be on the node.
1. Check out this post on picking the best AiMesh combo.
2. Check out #1.
3. No. Wiring is always the best. More here.
Considering your situation, wiring is the way to go.
Thanks for the comprehensive article, Dong, much appreciated.
I have a zen wifi ct8 AC mesh system but am not able to enable triband smart connect across the system, even when I select wired backaul and connect via ethernet cable. Asus have indicated triband smart connect is not currently available once a node is connected via Ai mesh.
Your update note in this article suggested this should be now possible. Is it only possible via the xt8 model?
You can make the backhaul band available to clients as a different SSID, Craig. It looks like Asus has now switched the focus on Wi-Fi 6 broadcasters.
Thanks very much for your response Dong. That makes sense. Ok will activate as a separate SSID then. You are making a fabulous contribution here mate. Cheers
Sure, Craig. And that’s why I made the site. 🙂
I have 2 GT-AC5300
one GT-AC5300 is a main router
last one used to AiMesh via 5.2Ghz radio
in AiMesh node I see have 3 Radio 2.4Ghz + 2 x 5.1Ghz
Could I disable radio 2.4GHz in AiMesh node and my system will work fine ?
You can disable the 2.4GHz band on the router and it’ll be disabled on the node, too, Quang. But you can’t do that just on the node.
Alternatively, you can:
1. Separate the bands and just leave the 2.4GHz alone or use it for a specific set of devices. Or:
2. Use the node in the access point mode. This way you can configure its bands however you like.
A couple questions:
1) Would you tweak any of the default configuration settings on the main router (ie universal beamforming, SIP passthrough, roaming assistance etc)? Or would you only tweak those if you had performance issues?
2) In a wired backhaul AIMesh setup what RSSI signal strength of a 5ghz client (lets say an iPhone) would you recommend to place the second (and subsequent) wired nodes so as to help with client roaming and reduce overlap? Or does overlap not matter as much with AIMesh since the nodes are all on the same channel?
Read several of your articles. Very helpful, thank you.
I have a 6500 2.5 level brick house and want good solid WiFi inside and out. Have gigabit internet. I purchased 4 x Ax82U and currently have them in AImesh mode.
Would AP mode be better or worse in my situation?
The AP mode is only available if you have wired your home, Shawn. And in that case, no, it won’t make a difference. You just have more control over each node. More on that here.
Thank you. I do have them all hardwired.
That said, if I keep them all in AIMesh mode, would there any differences between keeping all 4 of the nodes the AX82U’s or would it help to get the AX86u/AX88u as the main unit and use either these 82u’s as the other nodes (or some other compatible Asus router as the other nodes in AIMesh)?
I’d say it’ll make no difference in your case, Shawn, unless you have Gig+ or faster Internet. Check the reviews for more.
I am using a RT-AC5300 as the main router and 2 ZenWifi AX as nodes and 1 RT-AC68U as a node. I am aware that you recommend using the newest as the main router, but I experienced I get a better result with the AC5300 as the main router (which I also believe is more powerful in certain aspects). Do you recommend that I use another (AX) router as the main router?
Yes, or use the CT8 as nodes instead, Tomas. https://dongknows.com/asus-zenwifi-ac-ct8-aimesh-system-review/
Noted. Thank you for your swift reply. Which on of GT-AX11000 or RT-AX89X do you recommend?
That depends on your implimetation of the mesh, Tomas. More here. https://dongknows.com/best-aimesh-routers-and-combos/
Dong, thank you for the in-depth review and advice. I hope you can help with this question. I have an AiMesh with RP-AC55 “repeater” in my garage, and Ethernet backhaul to an RT-AC68U router in my lower story. For devices in the garage, the repeater signal is much stronger (four bars) than the router signal (one bar). Yet they roam from the repeater to the router. Is there any way to bind the garage devices to the repeater? I don’t fully understand the interaction of roaming assist, roaming block list, and connection binding. I tried decreasing the power output of the router, but and increasing the roaming assist threshold to -55 dBM, but still the garage devices sometimes roam to the router. Even reconnecting a garage device doesn’t cause it to select the repeater. But curiously, if I go through the process of reselecting the WLAN on a garage device, it always connects to the repeater initially. If I could have the repeater (but not the router) advertised two SSIDs, then I could configure garage devices to the one SSID that was unique to the repeater, but this doesn’t appear possible. I’ve thought about putting the repeater in AP mode, with a separate SSID. But then I’d have to configure all my mobile devices with to connect to both SSIDs, and I suspect that roaming between them, as it would depend on the devices’ roaming logic (no roaming assist) would not be so seamless as it is today. ASUS has not been helpful. I’m running the current, standard ASUS firmware on both devices. Any idea?
My idea is you’re being cheap and expecting the world, Randy. Spend a bit more time on the site and you might find out what you should do. Follow the linked posts on this post. Read, pay attention, and invest in a decent set of gear. 🙂
The latest version of AiMesh lets you bind devices to a specified node in your AiMesh network. Click on the chain icon of the device from the AiMesh menu and you’ll be able to select which node you want things to be locked to. Handy for IoT devices/stationary Wi-Fi devices.
I can bind devices to my RT-AC68U router, but not to the RP-AC55 repeater (no chain/link icon appears). Perhaps the RP-AC55 does not support this feature. Yes, it would be handy for my RainMachine, which is an IoT device. I have several other stationary WiFi devices in my house, and have successfully bound them to the RT-AC68U router.
I took a look, and the latest firmware for RP-AC55 is Version 184.108.40.206.384.83130. This is the problem, I believe binding with AiMesh was introduced with AiMesh 2.0. AiMesh 2 started rolling out with Version 220.127.116.11.386. For example, RT-AX86U currently uses firmware Version 18.104.22.168.386.42840, you’d need to wait for an update number like that. I recently got the RP-AX56 and had the same issue, it’s not supporting the latest AiMesh features yet. My very old AC68P router supports binding with latest updates so it may come to your repeater yet, but there’s no telling.
Thank you, Nathan. That explains it then: my unit is running version 22.214.171.124.384_83130-gce033e0, and the router GUI confirms that it is the current version. If only ASUS support (so lame!) could have clarified this, it would have saved me a lot of effort. Now I can turn to lobbying ASUS to bring this feature to RP-AC55 (I hope it’s not a memory limitation that has prevented it.)
Both my ZenWiFi routers run fimware 126.96.36.199.386 (_23003 to be precise), which according to your post means I should’ve got AiMesh 2.0., which, to my understanding, should offer the binding of clients to specific nodes. However, the web UI still doesn’t show the binding option. I saw a screenshot of AiMesh with RT-AC68U with firmware version 386.2_5 (no 188.8.131.52 in front) so I don’t know which version I should have to be able to bind clients.
A Samsung TV is especially stubborn and connects to the farther node all the time, which causes a poor signal that often prevent TV services to work properly. Restarting TV most often helps, but not for long.
Which firmware should I have to get the binding feature? The UI says it has the latest version. Is there a way to get it somewhere and update it manually?
I have a large (4700 sq ft) house where I run two R7800 (one router and one AP mode) connected via hardline right now. I have Gig internet right now (1000/40). My plan is to buy new Asus routers and use AIMesh. If I have a lot of 5GHz devices, do I still want to get Tri-band to have more bandwidth or will having a mesh of dual-band router effectively give me enough 5GHz bandwidth? Does adding more routers give each router the same bandwidth or not because they are on the same channels?
Go with a dual-band, 4×4 set, Sparkle. More here.
Thank you for the incredibly quick reply. Looks like I’ll get two AX86 and go from there!
Just found your page today and I truly appreciate your post. I purchased the Netgear Orbi system on Monday and hate it already. It has had nothing but trouble and their tech support was horrible. That had me researching other options and today I purchased 2 x RT-AC5300 in the hopes that I will be able to get a stable Wi-Fi mesh system going.
Do you think 2 x RT-AC5300 will work well together and be stable as they are both the same. Lastly I have been reading about the people using original firmware or the Merlin firmware. Do you have anything written up on the differences and why people use the Merlin firmware over the standard?
I truly appreciate your time.
Check out this post on Merlin, K. I think the RT-AC5300s will work out well in a wireless or wired setup. I haven’t tested it personally, though. For the rest, check out this post on how to pick an AiMesh combo.
Great site! I need some clarification on the wired backhaul set-up that I couldn’t find mentioned anywhere (so much info!). Your description says the node(s) must be wired through the main AiMesh router on the way to the modem/gateway (main “in front”). This ASUS page shows AiMesh set-ups where the nodes can arrive “in parallel” at a network switch or the modem/gateway as long as the main AiMesh router is in AP mode. https://www.asus.com/US/support/FAQ/1044151 Took some digging to find it. Their other pages only mention scenario 1.
I would like to use scenario 3 as my xFinity XB7 gateway with gigabit service is buried inside a closet where my home cable/telephone/CAT 5e ethernet network all come together in a network cabinet. I already use a RT-AX88U at the front of my house as an access point like in scenario 3 and don’t use the xFinity built-in wireless (turned off).
To improve speed at the back of my house I am considering plugging in one XT8 as a node at an ethernet connection at the back of the house (will look nicer in the open than another 88U) and using the 88U where it is now as the main AiMesh unit still in AP mode. Due to distance and because I am wired already, I don’t want to use wireless backhaul. I also don’t want to stick the 88U in the closet and maybe have to buy a third router to get good coverage in front.
1) Any issues you see with this or why you don’t mention scenarios 3 and 4?
2) In #3 and #4, I see they show the Main AiMesh Router connected with the LAN port, not WAN port. Look correct to you? Why?
Thank you. Scott
Some of the info on the page seems completely wrong, Scott. But you need to bring that up to Asus. Just follow what I said on this page. I can’t afford to address the stuff that other people do.
Thank you. I will take it up with ASUS but wanted to cross check with you due to your extensive knowledge and experience. Will see what they say.
Sure, Scott. Good luck! 🙂
Just following up on what I did in case your readers find this and are also interested in scenarios 3 and 4. I did contact ASUS through their chat system. Wasn’t really helpful as the person seemed to just say what was on the page. Would rather talk to someone. At the bottom of the page I selected “NO” where it asks “Was this information helpful?” and submitted suggested changes for things I noticed as well as asking for more detail to be added, like for one, why does the Main AiMesh Router in scenarios 3 & 4 use the LAN port instead of WAN port? They haven’t updated the page yet per any of my comments. I encourage others to submit comments and maybe they’ll update it.
In the meantime, I went ahead and got an XT8 assuming the general idea on that page was correct. Set-up of the XT8 was a breeze. Ethernet backhaul mode was selected. Then I moved it to my family room and connected by ethernet through a switch that led to another switch where it met up with my RT-AX88U. That switch is then connected to my xFinity gateway. Works great so far. The first time I unplugged it to re-arrange some wires it didn’t automatically re-connect and I had to go into the web interface to have the 88U search for it and connect again. Several times since then I have unplugged it and it reconnected just fine. Being both lazy and in a rush to set it up, I never moved the 88U ethernet connection from the WAN to the LAN port to match their schematic. Doesn’t seem to matter but maybe I am missing something.
Thanks again for your informative site.
I purchased the RT-AX92U and am enjoying the quality of the AI Mesh.
But on the node under management there is a setting called Bonding/ Link aggregation. You can either enable of disable it. Do you know what that setting is for?
I consider the AIProtection to have a strong element of privacy risk. Trend Micro can legally obtain the knowledge of every website the user visits, and at one time the router owner was required to tell those using their system that their emails might be sent to Trend. I spent a half hour digging through multiple layers of what I find to be “shell gamed” EULA and privacy agreements and did not find that, but here is my citation.
Don’t get me wrong, I am running AI protect on the router that this message will go through, and I appreciate you and your site. OTOH ignoring risks does not make them go away. Risks need to be assessed and accepted, ameliorated, or eliminated.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Peter. No spam, though, please. And I’m aware of the privacy issues, that’s the nature of any protection software.
unacceptable according to GDPR
What is? Also, some of us don’t live in the EU. 🙂
I have 2 nodes now on my AiMesh, AX82U with TUF-AX3000 (Asian version only I believe) and AX55U as nodes.
Was discussing about Mesh system in another forum, their conclusion is that having a high end node is unnecessary in Asus AiMesh system, as the main router will handle all the processing and routing. Is it correct?
I have to add, all my nodes are connected by wire to the main router.
That’s correct, S. I mentioned that in the post. Do read it!
I am wanting to increase my wifi coverage and speeds in my house as well eliminating my extender to have only one SSID network. I currently have ASUS RT-AC68R router in my home office, and am using bonded MoCA 2.5 adapters to carry signal to the range extender in the basement.
Would you suggest purchasing a new ASUS router to take advantage of AiMesh, with the new router in the office/cable modem and AC68R in AiMesh mode or AP mode in the basement connected via the MoCA? Or would I be better off purchasing a mesh wifi system?
My internet speeds are 200/10. No Wifi 6 devices. ~10 clients in household.
Thanks for the help!
Check out this post, Ryan. Make sure you read before asking any questions.
Yes I have read that article as well, for my setup, where one router does not provide sufficient Wifi coverage in a home, you suggest using a mesh network solution. With my ability to do wired backhaul via MoCA and sub-gigabit speeds you suggest ZenWifi AX Mini, so that would be a better solution than pairing my current AC68R with a AC86U?
And if I wanted to future proof a bit for Wifi 6 devices and/or increasing internet speeds a pair of Asus RT-AX8xU routers would be recommended.
Update: I purchased AC86U to use as AiMesh router, it is connected to my old AC68U as AiMesh node with ethernet backhaul via MoCA 2.0. I can now get reliable 5 gHz wifi and internet speeds (200/10 with my ISP) throughout the house with one SSID. I am very pleased. More expensive mesh solutions wouldn’t have provided any additional benefit for my household. Your website was very helpful understanding wifi better, thank you!
Sure, Ryan. Great job, by the way!
Dong, thanks much for the great info – it sure helped me get my AIMesh setup and running. Still have to work on keeping the right clients connected to the right nodes!
Do you see AIMesh as the home and smaller system answer to separate routers and distributed APs like in large commercial setups? If so, what do you think about putting the primary router close to the network switches and patch panel and incoming cable modem where a router belongs, and adding (wired) nodes where they belong so radios can give the best signal coverage? Turn off the primary router radios, or just assume they will not do much good in the basement 🙂
Currently using AX86U primary in living room, AC86U node in family room. If I went this way, move AX86U to basement network area, add something like AX92U as living room node? Make any sense?
Read the post again, John. What you want to do works. However, you don’t want to use a tri-band router as the node of a dual-band primary router.
Regarding the anticipated Guest network over nodes, I understand that firmware v184.108.40.206.386 and latter DOES support this. There are comments in forums to work with Guest network#2 and not #1.
This depends on the combo, Liviu. But yes, that works now for most combos, as long as the router unit support system-wide Guest network and all units run 386 firmware or later.
Hi, I just purchased a set of three ZenWifi Mini’s (XD4) and am trying to get the Traffic Analyzer function to work but it does appear in the menu. Does the XD4 support the Traffic Analyzer function?
If you don’t see it on the menu (of the web interface) then it’s not included, Mahlon. Here’s its full review.
Ok, thanks for the quick reply!
Great and informative article. Thanks for your efforts! I have a simple question that may have been answered in the article, but I’ll ask it anyway. You said that it’s possible to mix Merlin and stock FW devices in an AIMesh setup (I did read the article lol), so here’s my question…I have an RT-AC88U (running the latest version of Merlin) currently, and I’m going to add an RT-AC66U B1 as an AIMesh node (it should be here this weekend). Is it better to update the AC66U to Merlin or leave it stock? Obviously, part of the answer has to do with the FW version that is on the device when it arrives, but what is the best practice? IDK if it matters, but I’ll be using ethernet as backhaul. Thanks in advance for your assistance with this.
I’d go with either Merlin OR stock when possible, Kevin. Good luck! 🙂
Thanks for your quick response! I was leaning toward updating the new device to Merlin, so that’s how I’ll proceed!
Thanks to your fantastic and in depth explanation, I’ve had my AIMesh system up and running (merlin firmware) for almost 2 months. It’s been great! I do have another network/fiber internet connection question, but I don’t know where to post it, so I’m posting it here. Sorry if it’s the wrong place. I have AT&T gigabit fiber, and when I run speed tests from the ATT modem interface, I get speeds commensurate to that. BUT, when I run a speed test from my wired PC (or really any wired connection), I get speeds closer to 700Mbps up and down. My router is an ASUS RT-AC88U, and I’m wondering what is a normal level of speed loss between the modem and router. When I had Spectrum cable, I’d usually get download speeds in the 975Mbps area so I know my hardware will work at higher speeds. If I’m out of the normal loss, can you point me to an article that might help me tune the router settings? Thanks, and again I’m sorry if I posted this in an incorrect area,
That’s likely due the Jumbo Frame and MTU settings of the router and your NIC, Kevin. It’s impossible to tell since it’s very specific and none knows what you’ve done. Try resetting things to default and try again.
Thanks! I appreicate your resposnse and the information you put out for us to benefit from
Jumbo Frame was disabled, I enabled it and BIKKITY BAM! testing in the 900s. THANKS again!
Great networking site, fantastic work! I admit I have not read every comment but has there been any mention of the use of “Wi-Fi Agile Multiband” and/or “Protected Management Frames”? I was having issues with the hand off between wire-backhauled aimesh router/node on the 5Ghz band, even after adjusting the roaming settings. I noticed in one of your screen shots you hade those 2 setting off on your 5GHz band and I believe they are off by default on the 2.4GHz band. I disabled them and now I’m changing nodes flawlessly and almost instantaneously. My question is why do they need to be off (or really what the heck do they do)? Is there a short answer or a link that could explain those settings?
There’s no short answer, Jeff. That has a lot to do with what clients you have. But if that works, leave it like that.
Thank you for your wonderfully informative posts, they have taught me a lot. My situation is that my house is between single router and mesh size. I have a 2,500 square foot old house with plaster walls and the cable internet only comes into the house via a single spot against a cinderblock wall in the basement, making wiring/rewiring a burden and putting a lot of barriers on the wifi signal. My previous router (an ARRIS SBG10) just wasn’t cutting it (probably obvious to you). I upped my internet service and got an ARRIS SB8200 modem, with the goal of also strengthening the wifi network and adding parental controls (I did read your post where you proposed they were a gimmick, but for now my kid won’t be able to figure out how to beat it). I also need the new wifi setup quickly . I purchased a Netgear RBK572 system and it’s working great but Netgear hasn’t figured out how to add parental controls to RBK572 yet, a point I missed when I was researching mesh systems. Anyway, the Asus XT8 dual packs are sold out everywhere, so I cant get them quickly. There are single XT8 router units available for the same cost as RT-AX86U routers. If needed I would be willing to eventually swallow the extra $50 to buy 2 single XT8s as opposed to the pair. However, given my in between size, would you recommend buying the single XT8 unit, and seeing if that’s sufficient on its own, knowing I could always add a node or is it better to get the stronger RT-AX86U also with the possibility of adding a node but being stuck with a dual band wireless mesh.
I believe the RBK572 has some blocking features, Dan. If you’re looking for something you can use on your mobile device via an app with a login account, it’s likely doing your children more harm than good. Sure it might be able to keep your kids from certain things, but the app will collect information on your children for marketing purposes. Anyhow, if your home is not wired, I’d always go with Tri-band hardware.
Thank you!!! I appreciate your advice and quick reply. When I chatted with Netgear tech support they said there were no parental controls yet.
Dear Mr Ngo, would the converse be ok? I live in an apartment with thick concrete walls. I have 1 Gbps plan. I currently have an AC88u as my router and an AC66u as a node. Geographically the AC88u is in the middle of the apartment and the AC66u with wired backhaul is in the front. But I have poor wifi signals in the back of the apartment.
I was planning to get a CT 8 and use 1 as my main router, move the AC88u to the front of the house with a wired backhaul and the other CT 8 node in the back of the apartment on a wireless backhaul. Keeping the 2 CT8 as wireless backhaul as per your advice.
Would that work?
That will work, Raj.
I have Asus RT-AC5300 as my primary router and I only use dual band mode.
I’m planning to buy ASUS RT-AC1200 as AiMesh node and connect it wirelessly.
Will it work ?
Read the post, Dino. Also, I don’t think the RT-AC1200 supports AiMesh.
Hi Dong – thanks so much for the excellent website, I’ve learned a lot!
I’m running an ZenWiFi AX XT8 AX6600 combo with dedicated, wireless backhaul (wired backhaul is not possible for that node). I want to add an additional node, which I could connect with a wired backhaul to the router unit. In general, you mention that mixing tri-band with dual-band is not recommended, but I wonder whether in this specific situation I can simply get a dual-band node and connect it directly to a LAN port of the router? Will this impact the existing wireless backhaul & other wifi settings? And do I have to configure the new node specifically (eg. “binding” it to the router or preferable backhaul) to prevent the dual-band unit from slowing down my other node? Finally, any suggestion re. which (dual-band) router to get for my set-up? Thanks a lot & sorry if you already answered these specific questions
It’ll work, Roman. Leave the XT8 as is and add a dual-band node to the router unit. You can get any of the dual-band AiMesh routers, then use its WAN port to connect to the XT8.
Hi Dong, I’m replacing my current AP setup of AC86U primary + AC66U as AP, with AIMesh: new AX86U primary + current AC86U as node. Merlin firmware. Of course will use ethernet between, but the path goes through 2 switches, shared with other traffic, and about 50+ meters of cable total. Is there any concern with using this shared switched path for backhaul? Any good way to check or test if the backhaul path is causing any issues? Pings all < 1 ms.
No, that’s fine, John. I have had the same setup for a couple of months now. The switches won’t cause any issues. Just make sure they are Gigabit (or faster).
Hey Dong, I have a similar set-up, dsl-AC68U as the main router, connected via Ethernet to an RT-AC68U in a garden office 30 meters away. I’m thinking of upgrading my LAN to 2.5g with AX86 units and a new NAS. I’d need a switch between the routers to make use of the 2.5g on the NAS. I tried putting a 1g switch in between my current routers and the mesh failed. The node just seemed to act like a dumb switch with no WiFi. Any ideas?
What you said didn’t make a lot of sense, Rory. Try reading the post again. Using a switch in between the routers should be fine but if course that depends on what kind of switch and how you connect the hardware.
Hello…2 aimesh questions based on the following scenario:
1 Asus RT-AX as aimesh router, WPA3 only enforced (no WPA2 etc allowed)
1 Asus RT-AC as aimesh node, no WPA3 available in the regular firmware
for both questions I am under the node coverage at the 2nd floor
1) will my connection work with WPA3 knowing that the node normally does not support it? Does the Aimesh override this and WPA3 will work?
2) will my connection work in AC with theorical max of 866 mbps or in AX with max of 1201 mpbs for the 5 GHZ band?
You do NOT want to use WP3 exclusively, Ark. Most legacy clients don’t support that, and therefore won’t be able to connect. If you really LOVE WPA3 (why?), use the WPA2/WPA3 mode.
1. No. You can’t even set up the AiMesh system if you use a node that doesn’t support WPA3 (most AC routers don’t support that for now.)
2. No. That’s because NOTHING works at the theoretical speeds. It’s called “theoretical” for a reason. But sure, you can get 2×2 Wi-Fi 5 out of it.
Really appreciate the revisit and thorough updates of all the information on AImesh 2.0. However, one thing I wanted to ask you about was 802.11k/v/r support. According to many of the change logs, 802.11k/v support has just recently been added in the .386 firmware update (12/07/2020) but still lacks 802.11r (which brings handoff down from ~600ms to ~50ms) support as seen on the TP-Link Deco M9+ kit and/or competing Eero, Google Wifi, and other such kits.
Can you comment as to how AImesh has matured in handoff transitions due to this upgrade and compared to the other tried and tested systems (especially on Whatsapp Video calls and Facetime calls).
It’s the nuances, but you should stand at one place when doing a video or voice call, Jign. That’s the ONLY way to make things work well.
First off, thanks for this site. I spent quite a few hours reading through here over the holidays to upgrade my setup. I ended up with an RT-AX86U as my main router in the office (NW corner of the basement) with an RT-AX82U as a node in the loft (SE corner of the 2nd floor). The AiMesh was simple to set up (like < 10 minutes) and I'm using a Cat5e wired backhaul running through the house. Life is good.
I'm really happy with these two devices. In addition to the ease of AiMesh setup AND the Dual-Band Smart Connect AND the (free) AiProtection AND the Roaming Assistant, another feature that I love is the built-in speed test right at the router… no more wondering if speeds are slow at the router or somewhere in the home or at the device. This will definitely help me with network debug if necessary.
Two questions though…
1. Am I correct to understand that AiMesh does not support modifying the Roaming Assistant threshold for all of the nodes? I get an error saying this isn't supported when I try to set the Roaming Assistant threshold from the (main) RT-AX86U when the AiMesh is active.
2. The router-based management of multiple nodes with the Roaming Assistant as well as the Dual-Band Smart Connect choosing 2.4G-vs-5G has been great for all my home devices… except one. I have an older weather station at my home that can only use 802.11-b/g/n. It seems that it can't handle the router testing/trying to change its band. Is there a way that I can tell the main RT-AX86U router to always use 2.4G for this device? The only way I've gotten around this problem to date is to create a separate SSID-hidden 2.4G "guest" network with that weather station as its only client. That DOES work, limiting that network to 2.4G, but it is a hack of a solution.
Thanks for the help in advance.
That’s an excellent setup you got there! About as good as it gets.
1. You are correct. You generally have little control over the node. Even with the latest firmware, you can only do the USB ports and Link Aggregation. But generally, that’s the point of a mesh. If you want total control, use the RT-AX82U in the AP mode. It’s more work.
2. For that, you need to separate the two bands. Or you can turn on one Guest network for the said band. If you allow the intranet access, the Guest Wi-Fi is now a segment of your main network. More here.
Thanks for all of your detailed replies. I appreciate the additional support!
Regarding your response to my recent email—I have reset the AC88U several times, and still no Ethernet signals. I will give the Merlin firmware a try before purchasing a new router….
I was not clear in my reference to recommended routers… What I meant to say was that I intended to follow your recommendation of staying in the same “family” of devices when putting together a mesh setup—as opposed for example, to using an AC88/86U as the primary router and CT8s as nodes/satellites. (Although for aesthetic reasons, I was tempted to do, since the nodes would be located in living areas and the primary in the basement…)
As I mentioned in the tri-band section of this post, Bob, it’s not a good idea to mix tri-band and dual-band routers though it will work. In that case, it’s best if you use wired backhaul.
It helps if you read a post in its entirety instead of skimping over to get what you want. In that case, you’ll likely find incomplete information. Again, networking is a complicated thing. 🙂
Excellent article. Well done but had to re-read a few times.
I have a different setup but currently use a single AC-68U with pretty good results over the past year or so.
ISP modem to a Cisco RV-325 router. Wired to most of the house including the AC-68U. For AIMesh, I want to wire the units direct for backhaul. Not sure which ports but assume their WAN ports.
If I use the central Cisco router (used as gateway/dhcp) across a single LAN, do I need to wire the Primary AIMesh router to the main LAN and disribute cabling from this router to potential AIMesh nodes? If not, then what is your suggestion and what should I use as the main AIMesh router assuming I re-use the AC-68U as a node.
Ideally it would be nice to just use a simple LAN but currently I am doing the Double NAT without too many issues….I assume the above maintains that unless there is something I may have missed.
Great work….and very thorough. Enjoyed the read….and re-reads. Hahaha.
I’d continue with the double NAT setup and wire the main AiMesh router to the gateway, Scott. After that, all the node units (and the rest of your network for that matter) must be behind the main AiMesh router. Since you’re into reading, maybe check out this post, too.
I can see why you have such a wide following given your quick reply…
I’m curious if in your many experiments with AiMesh, whether you have found any performance differences when using these Asus routers in AP mode or Router mode? I’m considering ditching the double NAT and just using a main ZenWiFi AX6600 XT8 router in AiMesh AP mode with another XT8 as a AiMesh node and my old AC-68U as an AiMesh node for my basement lab….
I have a very nice Cat6a wiring arrangement in the house, hence the question about collapsing the second NAT in the WiFi Router.
There’s a big difference between AP and Router mode, Scott. More on that here. (Quick replies are a matter of timing — I do so when I get a chance. It’s best that you *read* and find the answers yourself. Also, I’m not too fond of offhanded compliments :).)
I hope Dong’s link with the only relevant part being 1 sentence in the final note answered your question!?
Definitely do as you suggested!
I ran mine that way for a while before switching ISP to one that allowed a modem that was just a modem and it’s definitely favourable to double NAT.
Brilliant review, thank you. Extremely informative. I would be grateful if you could just confirm my suspicions, regarding mixing and matching dual and tri-band nodes. If I had an XT8 pair and then added a single (for example) XD4 to it as an AIMesh node with wireless backhaul, I would lose one of the channels on the XD4. Would I lose the 5GHz or the 2.4GHz band, and would I have any control over which band was used for the backhaul? I realise this is, in general, a bad thing to do, but I only want coverage for my back garden, which is not worth spending a lot of money on.
This post will answer that question of yours and many more, Dave.
Thanks. So much useful information I missed the key part, which I think is “(when) A dual-band router participates as a node. (In this case, this node will connect to the 5GHz-1 band for its backhaul link.)”
So in other words (I think), adding a dual band node into tri band mesh means that the dual band node doesn’t use the dedicated wireless backhaul, and shares its 5GHz band with both the client connections and the connection into the mesh.
Hi Dong. I have this question too so can you confirm that Dave is correct? I want to add a cheap (ax55 maybe) node to my main ax92 to cover one bedroom and am hoping it will use 5Ghz-1 as backhaul without affecting the availability of the faster 4×4 5Ghz-2 from the ax92 to the rest of the house. Unfortunately I can’t do wired backhaul.
Read the post again, Kieron. The answer is there. Also check out the post on AiMesh Combos, linked in the section of supported routers, for more.
I have spent the last 2 days reading your reviews and comments/responses regarding AiMesh, and I am overwhelmed a bit!
My house has FIOS internet service (300/300) and is hardwired with coax. The house is 2 stories with a basement, ~4,000 sq. ft. total. my plan is to get MOCA adapters and a splitter, and have a Mesh WIFI with wired backhaul. I have multiple tablets/phones accessing wi-fi, and will need a wired connection in 2 separate rooms.
From reading your reviews, Asus XT4 seems to be like a good solution, along with a Asus RT-AC86U, since it’s a two-band solution. If I go this route, I may need to get 2 unmanaged switches for my wired connection needs, and the router will stay in the basement close to FIOS ONT and MOCA splitter. I did read that XT4 may be underpowered/slow. Please let me know what you think a good mesh network solution may be for my case.
Don’t use MoCA, DM. Run network cables then get a few dual-band unit, like the XD4.
Dong, thank you for the reply! I really don’t want to open the walls and run network cables (unless there is an easy way to follow coax runs). Is there a reason you do not recommend MOCA?
MoCA is generally not reliable, especially if you use it also for service signal. But sure it’s better than nothing. 🙂
Thanks again for your quick reply and the insight!
Hi Dong, Hi dm-BK. This is a great post Dong, thank you, very informative. I just wanted to note that I have had great success with MOCA as the backhaul for my AX88U/AC88U mesh on either ends of my house – full 1GB connection showing “Great” on the AX88U’s AiMesh web page. I have Centurylink’s fiber service and that terminates in my study where I have the AX88U. [Side note – if you can get Centurylink’s fiber at your location it is highly recommended – ~1GB up and down, uncapped, no contract, and just $65/month – and it has proven 100% reliable since I switched from Cox gigablast cable internet 5 months ago.] I have an Actiontec Bonded MOCA 2.0 box off the back of my router that provides the MOCA for the house. Our family are TiVo folks with 3 TiVo Bolts (and some Minis) around the house, all connected via MOCA, with Cox providing the Cable TV – hence the coax everywhere. Each TiVo Bolt has an ethernet port that presents ethernet from its MOCA. So in the living room at the other end of the house my AC88U is connected to the TiVo and gets full 1GB speeds. My setup is extremely fast and MOCA has proven very reliable for many years. I originally had the AC88U as the master and an AC68U as the mesh, and upgraded to the AX88U last year. Bottom line – don’t be afraid of MOCA – just get the right components!
Thanks for sharing, Pfly. And yes, getting the right parts is always the key.
Whattup Dong! Long time man. Nice to see you are crushing it as usual here. Wanted to let you know that based on your reviews I bought an ASUS ZenWifi Mini mesh system for my house and it’s great. I wired both nodes and converted my old router (EA9500) into a switch for my hard-lined clients. If we end up here longer term, I may go with a more robust system but this is great for now.
I now have a question for you regarding my father in-law’s set up. He’s got 500mbps Frontier Fios and has their router that they provide. Then he has an EA9500 (coincidentally) but it’s not bridged, it’s just connected. I’m thinking of getting the ASUS ZenWifi AX and running the mini’s as nodes for his house and bridging the Frontier router to retain their landline/voice feature. He’s got a 5000 sq ft 2 story house so I’m wondering if the AX base router is enough or if I should just get a standalone mesh enabled router (Like the Asus RT-AX86U) and get the mini’s as nodes. Or should I try a separate mesh system??
Anyway, this is just a long-winded question / love letter to you my man. Thanks for all the help!
What’s up, dude! Hope you guys are doing well! It’s been crazy.
Anyhow, if the place is wired, you can just start with the ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4). That should do it. Or, if need be, you can get another dual-band router, like the RT-AX86U, as the main. If the place is NOT wired, though, then you need a tri-band set. In that case, the ZenWiFi AX XT8 is a great choice, or the CT8 will do, too. You might need 3 or four units. Bridging the Fios gateway is the way to go. Or you can do a double NAT.
Take care and stay safe! 🙂
Definitely been a wild year! So I’m seeing a small issue with my network now – I’m thinking of just replacing the EA9500 with an unmanaged switch, I’ve been trying to mess with the configurations (Turn of DHCP, change the IP address, and rename the networks) but it seems to create issues and I can’t access my ASUS admin portal. So I end up just keeping reverting back. If I get an unmanaged switch I won’t have to bother with any set up right?
Also for my in-laws place. Rather than getting four AX units, I was going to start with 2 AX units and using 3x minis as nodes. It’s just more cost effective but do you think I’ll get any significant speed/coverage losses?
You should just turn the EA9500 into an Access point and you’re all set, Clay. To do that go to its Intenet setting and turn on the “bridge” mode. You can keep the IP automatic.
For your in-law, read my previous replay again and check out this post.
First of all, thank you for your extension write-ups and responses on this site. After spending several hours reviewing posts over a couple weeks, I ended up getting an Asus system and so far it is running great.
One question that I have not seen a lot about on the site is outdoor routers – my search yielded one post with the word ‘outdoor’ but if there is another post I’ve missed, let me know. Specific to the zenwifi system, I found that the AX mini is so compact that I can fit one in a weatherproof ‘sockit box’ and, although it may get cold, it will stay dry.
Is this AX-mini-in-a-weatherproof-box combo a reasonable alternative to an outdoor router, or should I connect a true outdoor router (like the old RBS50Y from my RBR50 setup I am getting rid of)? More generally, I would think there is a healthy audience of folks that would love to hear your thoughts on outdoor routers in general, even briefly.
Thanks again and take care,
That’s a very cool idea, Paul. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Thanks for sharing.
Can’t find a review of https://www.asus.com/uk/Networking/ZenWiFi-AC-Mini-CD6/. Have you played with them? Not in the US yet? It looks good value. Any ideas if it will play nicely with AiMesh? What do you think? Alex.
This one available (yet) in the U.S., Alex. But belieave it’s similar to the CT8.
Hi from Australia Dong!
First up, tremendous post. I stumbled on to this after many weeks of searching for a solution to my current problem.
I live in a 3 storey house. Our broadband connection terminates in the garage (I know, not the most ideal location!). I currently have an ASUS RT-AC68U anchoring the network. Fortunately we do have ethernet throughout the house.
We were experiencing wifi issues in certain parts of the house casting Netflix etc to non smart TVs thru Chromecast devices. My early research led me to deploying a Google mesh network (one puck on each floor with one of those cabled directly to the RT-AC68U) and turning off the router wifi. This certainly solved our wifi issues but it presented me with a different issue which I’ve not yet been able to solve. That is, the Google wifi network doesn’t recognize anything cabled directly to the router (via a switch) on the network – including the Synology NAS that has all of our digital music and movies stored. I should have done more research in to the ASUS AiMesh at that time!
Which brings me here. Unless you know of some way to fix my current issue then I’m looking at swapping out the Google network and buying a newer ASUS router as the primary and using my current RT-AC68U as a node (backhauled via ethernet) and turning the ASUS wifi back on! I also have a spare NetComm N600 Dual Band and was wondering if I use it on one of the floors – again, backhauled via ethernet. Would that work?
Alternatively, the Zen Wifi looks interesting, using the 68U as a node on one of the floors (Zen 2 pack + the 68U over the three floors).
And finally, if I use a router as a wifi node (backhauled via ethernet) can you still use the LAN ports as a switch?
Your input would be greatly appreciated!
Happy to have you, Gav. First of all, take another pass at this post — take your time! I noted you asked questions that I already addressed. I hate having to repeat myself…
What you have right now is a double NAT. (Read the linked post before continue!) And the Google system is quite terrible because (among other things) you can’t turn it into an access point — you can only do that with a single unit. (Google incorrectly calls this mode “Bridge” by the way). That said, your best bet is swapping it out with a different system. Since you have the RT-AC68U, you can get a few more units more and use them in an AiMesh setup. Basically, you can use any dual-band AiMesh broadcasters. The Blue Cave or Lyra Trio is a great choice. Or you can go with Wi-Fi 6.
Alternatively, you can also use the RT-AXC68U with (non-Asus) access points (or routers in access point mode.) In fact, you can reset the Google system and set up each unit individually as an access point (“bridge” mode). That will work, too.
You have a great chance of making an excellent hone network there — I love the fact you have a Synology NAS server. Take your time and get things done right!
Thank you Dong.
I’ve reread the article, plus the Double NAT and also your Lyra Trio review! I must admit, I did skip over some of the content in my first read which clearly showed in my questions!! I’ll be heading down the swap-out road (Google for Lyra with ethernet backhaul) and repositioning my 68U. It’s the slightly cheaper option to get me into the world of AiMesh’ing. If all goes well, I’ll look at replacing the 68U in time (business case will need to be submitted to the Secretary of Internal Affairs!!!!!).
Many thinks for drawing my attention back to your articles!!
Sure, Gav. Have fun! 🙂
Great article. Thanks for the updates. I have a GT-AX11000 set up as my primary router with a wired connection to a AX92U set up as my node. The issue is that, although it is set up as, and the node shows a wired backhaul connection, the node allows non-ax capable devices to connect to the 2nd 5gh band. What I want is for that 2nd band to be a wifi 6 band that only ax devices can connect to. I do have the UI settings set for that 2nd band to only allow ax connections. It is driving me crazy trying to figure out why the node allows non-ax connections to the second band. I have all three separated with different names/passwords so know that the non-ax devices are still connecting. If the node is taken out of the equation the AX-11000 does not allow non-ax connections on that 2nd band. Any ideas on how this can be resolved? Thanks for any insight you can provide. I do have the very latest updates installed on both.
The real question is, Paul, why did you ALLOW the non-AX devices to connect to the you-want-to-be-AX-only band? (They can’t by themselves if you don’t enter the password!) What are you trying to prove? Isn’t the point of separating the bands as different Wi-Fi networks so you can segment your network ON PURPOSE? But to answer your questions, from the technical point of view, some routers might just automatically allow legacy devices to connect for backward compatibility reasons — devices not being able to connect is MORE of a problem for a router than keeping the AX band exclusive. Also, you can’t change the Wi-Fi settings on the node, and you’re using a mix of different routers.
My suggestion is: Take your time. Read. Pay attention. Try to understand how things work. Don’t assume anything.
Thanks for the response. I get that I can exclude non-ax devices by not connecting them to begin with. The “why” of it is I was excited to move into the wifi 6 world but then, after upgrading, was not seeing any significant difference in speeds on the 5ghz-2 ax only band versus the 5ghz-1 band with the ax capable device (which was the only one connected to 5ghz-2 at the time because I did not think any other device could or would connect because they were not ax capable). This made me wonder why I was not seeing the expected speed increase and in fact was seeing pretty much the same speed as my other non-wifi 6 devices were getting on the 5ghz-1 band. I was just fooling around with a non-ax device when I discovered it would, in fact, connect to what I thought was a dedicated wifi 6 only band. I love the asus routers and have great coverage and speeds where ever I need it, but am just not seeing any increase of any significance for my investment into wifi 6.