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Asus AiMesh Setup Guide: Getting Your Wi-Fi System Up and Running Optimally

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This post will walk you through specific steps to build an AiMesh setup and offer tips on how to optimize and maintain one.

This post is part of my series on Asus's AiMesh, a popular way to build a robust home Wi-Fi mesh system. That said, check the related box below to make sure you've followed the coverage in the right order or if you have any AiMesh-related questions.

Dong's note: I first published this post on February 11, 2022, and last updated it on January 13, 2023, with more detailed steps and relevant information.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 vs RT-AX86U
AiMesh hardware: The Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 and the RT-AX86U make an excellent pair of AiMesh systems with Multi-Gig wired backhauling.

Getting an AiMesh system of your own: The hardware arrangement

Generally, we do the hardware arrangement after already logically linking the units to build your mesh system -- via the step-by-step guide below.

I put it on top because I believe we should have an overview of how the system is supposed to pan out physically before setting it up. The whole thing is a chicken and egg situation, and I lay it out according to how my brain works.

With that, here goes:

You need at least two routers to create an AiMesh system. No matter what combo you get, which I detailed in this post, the setup process is generally the same.

Here's the diagram (schema) of hardware arrangement in an AiMesh system:

Internet source -> Primary AiMesh router -> [ optional unmanaged switch(es) ] -> AiMesh satellite nodes.

Specifically, you connect the primary router's WAN port directly to your Internet terminal device -- often, that's a Cable modem or a fiber ONT. (If there's a device in between them, you'd have to think of double-NAT, or something is wrong.)

After that, add your AiMesh satellite to the router, which is always the case in a wireless setup since the (first) satellite always connects (directly) to the primary router's Wi-Fi network.

AiMesh Hardware Connection Diagram Mixed
Here's an AiMesh network consisting of both wired and wireless satellite nodes. Note the Internet to AiMesh router connection; there should be nothing in between the two. Also, avoid the wireless daisy-chain topology.

In a wired backhauling setup, when you use network cables to link them, things need to be more specific. Let's dig in!

AiMesh with wired backhauling: How to connect the hardware units

When you choose wired backhauling, there are two scenarios in terms of hardware arrangement: Standard mode and mesh AP mode.

Standard scenario: Primary AiMesh router + AiMesh wired satellite nodes.

This configuration is generally recommended, and it works best.

In this case, the way you link the hardware units together follows the same rules as that of a standard router, specifically:

  • The router unit must be in your local network's frontmost position, with the rest of the nodes behind it.
  • Use a node's WAN port to connect it to the existing network, namely a LAN port on the router, a switch, or another node.

In other words, the satellite units must be at least one level behind the router unit.

So let's say you have a mesh of one primary router and two nodes. Here's how you use network cables to link the hardware units:

  1. Hook the router's WAN port to the Internet source (modem/ONT/gateway)
  2. Connect the satellite nodes to the router by:
    • Link each satellite's WAN port to a LAN port of the router. OR
    • Connect the 1st satellite node's WAN port to the router's LAN port, then connect the 2nd satellite's WAN port to the 1st's LAN port. Or
    • Place an unmanaged switch (or two) in between them(1). This switch can be between the router and the satellite node(s) or between the satellites themselves. But it also must be behind the router.

(1) Use a Multi-Gig switch in a mesh with multi-Gigabit backhauling. In a direct connection, the wired backhauling speed is determined by the slowest port grade involved -- that of the primary router, the switch, or the satellite.

In a fully wired backhaul setup, you should explicitly use Ethernet Backhaul Mode via the AiMesh section of the router's web interface.

Multi-Gig Backhaul AiMesh Combo: Asus ZenWiFi ET8 Multi-Gig Backhaul
AiMesh hardware arrangement: Here's a ZenWiFi ET8 AiMesh set working in the AP mode.

If the Internet source is a gateway, you also can change the AiMesh router and, therefore, the entire system to work in the Access Point mode. That brings us to the second scenario.

AiMesh system in AP mode scenario: An existing (AiMesh or not) router + wired AiMesh nodes

This configuration applies to the situation where you already have an existing router (like an ISP-provided gateway) and want to avoid double-NAT. Or if you want to use mixed hardware in general, such as when using AiMesh routers of different Wi-Fi standards or AiMesh router(s) on top of a third-party router.

In this case, you can arrange the hardware the same as the standard configuration above. Or you can also connect each AiMesh satellite directly to the existing router. In other words, all AiMesh units (primary and satellite) can be at the same level.

GT AXE16000 AiMesh Router in AP mode
Turning the router unit of an AiMesh system into the AP mode will make the entire system work as in this mode. In this case, you can still manage the nodes via the router unit.

So let's say you have an existing router and three AiMesh nodes. You first set up the AiMesh system the standard way, using a double NAT. After that, from within the web interface of the primary unit, change the whole mesh system into the AP mode.

Now you can connect all three units' WAN ports to the existing gateway (or a switch.)

This configuration is also an option to build a Multi-Gig wired AiMesh system of mixed Dual-band and Tri-band hardware.


With that, let's find out how to build an AiMesh system in detail.

Asus AiMesh Setup: The step-by-step guide

Generally, AiMesh comes in different flavors. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If you get a ZenWiFi set, chances are the hardware units are pre-synced. Consequently, you only need to set up the router unit the way you do any standard router, and your mesh is ready -- you won't need to add the other units manually.
  • The setup process is the same if you get multiple standalone routers or use ZenWiFi hardware of different sets.
  • If you use a standalone router as the primary router and a ZenWiFi mesh set (2) as satellite nodes, keep in mind that you should add one satellite unit at a time and ensure the other satellite(s) are turned off during the process. The same can be said about using multiple ZenWiFi sets together.

(2) In a 2-pack or 3-pack, ZenWiFi hardware units are pre-synced. They would automatically link to one another when turned on simultaneously, preventing them from joining a system hosted by a different router, as satellite units.

With that out of the way, below are steps on getting your own AiMesh setup, no matter what hardware combo you use.

As a rule, I'd recommend the web user interface for these steps. While the Asus Router mobile app is helpful, it might create inconsistency in the setup process.

There are three main steps in setting up an AiMesh system. By the way, for this post, I use the GT-AX6000 as the primary router and a few others as satellite nodes. However, the process is the same if you use any other combo.

A. Set up the primary router

This step applies when you set up a home network from scratch. If you're already using an AiMesh-enabled router, you can jump to step B.

Again, you can set up an Asus router with a web user interface like any standard router. Here are the general steps:

  1. Connect the router's WAN port to the Internet source, be it a modem or a Fiber ONT.
  2. Connect the computer to the router's LAN port or its default Wi-Fi open network, which is "ASUS_xx".
  3. Launch a browser (Chrome, Firefox, or Edge) on the connected computer and navigate to the router's default IP address which is 192.168.50.1 (or router.asus.com.)
  4. Follow the onscreen wizard to set up the router as a standalone router, or you can pick the AiMesh router role -- the two are the same.

The router will restart once or a few times during the setup process. Make sure you give it a few minutes after the final restart for it to be ready.

Asus Router Setup Wizard
AiMesh setup: The initial setup wizard will walk you through the process of setting up an Asus router.
Create a new network: Pick this option to set up the device as a standalone router.
Advanced Settings: This option lets you choose different roles, including picking its role as an AiMesh router or satellite node. You can also upload the backup settings of another Asus router.

Note: Generally, you can upgrade the router to the latest firmware if prompted. But in many cases, such as when you use mixed hardware units in the system, make sure you update their firmware appropriately, as described below. This applies to the satellite units, too.

Making a wrong decision on the firmware version will likely give you big headaches.

B. Prepare the satellite node unit(s)

  1. Firmware update: If you use Wi-Fi 5 hardware, such as the Blue Cave, or RT-AC86U, you must update the firmware to an AiMesh-supported version, which starts with release version 384. Generally, you must set up the hardware as a standalone router and update the firmware via the web user interface. If you want to use version 384 (and not 386), it's also recommended that you manually put the router in the AiMesh node role -- as mentioned in step A.4 above.
  2. Reset: If you use Wi-Fi 6 or newer hardware, all you have to do is reset it to the default setting, which is already the case if you get a brand-new unit.
  3. Placement: Plug the node or nodes into power and place them some 10 feet (3m) from the main router (3).

(3) With some models, you can connect their WAN port to the router's LAN port. However, using a wired backhaul might or might work during the setup process. It's safer to set up the node wirelessly and use the wired backhaul afterward.

Again, as mentioned above, if you use a ZenWiFi pack as nodes, add one hardware unit at a time, with the other being turned off.

C. Adding a satellite node to the main router to form the mesh

This step is entirely on the router unit's web interface.

Note: When applicable, get the main router out of the Ethernet Backhaul Mode for this step. You can put it back in this mode after you've added all nodes.

1. Search for satellite node(s)

On a connected computer, navigate to the main router's web interface -- as shown in step A.3 above.

AiMesh Setup Step
AiMesh setup: To start, click on Network Map, then on the AiMesh icon, and then on Search, as circled in the screenshot above. The screenshot below will show what happens next.

Click on Network Map on the menu, then on the AiMesh icon. Now click on Search. After a few seconds, the node(s) will appear, as shown in the screenshot below.

(Alternatively, you can use the AiMesh section of the interface, but in my experience, using the network map is much better and more consistent.)

AiMesh Setup Step
AiMesh setup: Within a few seconds, you will see all available AiMesh satellite nodes upon clicking on Search. However, you can add only one at a time -- now click on the one you want to add.

2. Add a satellite node to the mesh

Click on a node, and a pop-up prompt will appear. Click on Apply to confirm. Now, wait about a minute for the adding process to complete. This step's progress is in the three screenshots below.

Note: During this time, in my experience, you must not navigate to a different part of the web interface. Doing so might cause the setup to fail, and you'll need to try again from step #2.

AiMesh Setup Step
AiMesh setup: Click on a node and then on Apply to confirm adding it to the mesh system. In this example, I picked the RT-AX89X. The following screenshot shows what happens as a result.
AiMesh Setup Step
AiMesh setup: Here, the node is now being added. This process generally takes about a minute.
AiMesh Setup Step
AiMesh setup: At the end of the process, you'll see this message if the node has been added successfully. Click on OK to finish. (If the process fails, the message will show you the reason, and you can try again.)

And that's it! Repeat step #1 to add more nodes if need be. Otherwise, mission accomplished! (Make sure you give the system a manual restart and a few minutes after to be ready.)

All you have to do now is strategically place the satellite(s) around the house for the best coverage.

3. Rearrange the hardware

Once you've added all satellite nodes to the main router, it's time to rearrange the hardware accordingly.

Specifically:

If a wireless setup, make sure the satellites are placed around the primary router.

In a wired backhauling setup, connect the hardware to the network accordingly. Generally, you want to use the WAN port of the satellite to hook it to the existing network, either to the router's LAN port or to a switch that connects to the router. You can also daisy-chain the nodes.

In a mix of wired and wireless backhauling setups, it's best to have the wireless satellites connected directly to a router or a wired satellite.

After that, you might want to manage them properly, too.

AiMesh setup: Hardware management

Once you've gotten your system up and running, AiMesh has a lot of ways for users to manage the satellite nodes.

Below are those you'll find handy. Let's start with what folks care about the most: Keeping the devices connected to the closest (strongest) node, a.k.a Roaming Assistance.

Understanding roaming assistance

As we move around the house, we generally want our phone (or laptop) to automatically connect to the closest Wi-Fi broadcaster to get the best connection speed instead of the one farther away.

Generally, that's called hand-off or seamless hand-off in a mesh Wi-Fi system. With AiMesh, that's called roaming assistance.

Before continuing, remember that signal hand-off is complicated and almost always hit or miss, as I detailed in this mesh explainer. Another thing is most of the time, the default hand-off settings will work out, and most canned systems don't even allow you to change the settings.

Wi-Fi roaming in real-world usage

Mesh hardware often uses the connection speed as the base for the hand-off.

Specifically, a client would consider jumping from one broadcaster to another only when the connection speed between it and the current broadcaster is no longer fast enough for its general bandwidth needs.

Depending on the situation and varying by hardware or Wi-Fi standard, this threshold can be very low, like 50Mbps, because most clients generally don't need more than that in real-world usage.

In any case, this is the reason why in specific mesh setups, devices are more clingy to a far mesh node -- they don't reach the speed threshold required for the jump yet.

So, having the option to manage hand-off can be nice but might bring about adverse results if not done correctly. Remember that this part is optional, and you should tread lightly.

Step to adjust AiMesh’s roaming assistance

Like everything in an AiMesh system, you adjust this setting on the primary router unit. The screenshot below belongs to an RT-AX89X, but the process is the same if you use any router.

Seamless Hand Off
To customize the seamless hand-off, you need to understand dBm.

1. Log in to the primary router's interface, navigate to the Wireless section (under Advanced Settings), then to the Professional tab.

2. Pick the band you want to customize (2.4GHz, 5GHz, or 6GHz)

3. Locate the Roaming assistant setting; you'll note that there's a default value already in place, something like -70 dBm.

4. Change the value to a new number that fits your situation -- more on this below.

To know what dBm number works best, you first have to understand what dBm means, and I explained separately in this post about received Wi-Fi signal strength.

dBm: Wi-Fi signals' power and signal strength

However, generally, you should keep the dBm value between -60 (more sensitive, clients favor fast speeds and roam faster) and -75 (less sensitive, clients tend to remain to the original broadcaster).

Important note: If you make the roaming too sensitive, a device placed in the middle of two nodes of the same signal strength (or weakness) might have problems staying connected -- it might keep jumping between the two.

5. Click on Apply. Repeat step #2 for other Wi-Fi bands when applicable. Then manually restart all hardware units and give the system 5 to 10 minutes to start up.

And that's it. Your system should deliver the best signal hand-off now.

It's important to note that there's no precise measurement for Wi-Fi range and signal strength since they vary greatly depending on the environment.

That said, mentioned above are my estimates applicable to my situation. The numbers that work for you depend on your environment and the routers you use. It's a matter of trial and error.

Also, roaming is tricky since it depends more on the clients than the router. Networking vendors can't test their products with all existing equipment. As a result, at times, it's a matter of luck.

One thing that almost always works: You can always turn your device's Wi-Fi off and then back on to get it connected to the closest broadcaster.

Adding device to the Roaming Blocklist

This is the opposite of the above: You want a device to remain connected to a specific node for one reason or another.

Asus AiMesh Roaming Block List
Steps to add a device to Asus's AiMesh Roaming Block list.

An example is when you have a device right in between two equally strong nodes, and it keeps jumping back and forth, causing unnecessary disconnections. Or you want to keep the load evenly among different nodes manually.

Here are the steps:

  1. Log into the primary router's web interface and ensure the device is connected to the node you want. You can check on this via the AiMesh section.
  2. Go to the Wireless section, then click on the Roaming Block list tab
  3. Enter the device's MAC address (or pick it on the list of the connected clients) and click on the Plus sign (+). Repeat to add more devices.
  4. Hit Apply.

And that's it. The device will now be locked to its current Wi-Fi node. To undo this, click on the trash icon and apply the changes.

Managing a node’s backhaul and additional settings

Each satellite node uses the Auto setting for the backhaul by default, which should work in almost all situations. But sometimes, you should adjust the settings of this backhaul connection.

Picking the best backhaul

There are a couple of instances where you might want to pick the backhaul manually.

One example is if you use a satellite node with a single Multi-Gig port (LAN or WAN) -- such as the ZenWiFi XT8 (or ET8), RT-AX86U, or RT-AX89X -- in a wired backhauling setup with another Multi-Gig router, you want to manually pick that port (instead of a Gigabit port) as the backhaul priority.

And generally, you should use wired backhaul for Dual-band (or Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E) hardware. I detailed that in this post on how to pick an AiMesh combo.

Another example is if you use a Wi-Fi 6E satellite node in a wireless configuration, it's imperative that you pick the best band for the backhauling job. The 5GHz band is generally a safer choice, while the 6GHz band is the best if you can put the hardware near the router within a line of sight.

RT AX89X and RT AX86U Multi Gig Backhaul Setting 1
In the AiMesh section of the interface, you can pick a node to view its information and change other settings, including selecting the backhaul priority.

In any case, to manage the backhaul, go to the AiMesh section of the primary router's web interface, pick the node in question and change the setting accordingly. Here you can also manage a few other aspects of the satellite, including its LAN ports, LEDs, and USB ports.

Disabling the use of DFS (when necessary)

When using the 5GHz band as the backhaul and you live in an area with frequent RADAR signals, it's recommended that you turn off the use of DFS channels for this band.

In most cases, turning off DFS means you can no longer use a 160GHz channel which cuts the performance in half, but you'll get a much more reliable connection.

If your hardware supports UNII-4, like the case of the ZenWiFi Pro X12 or ZenWiFi XT8, you can use the 160MHz for backhauling without having to use DFS.

Asus ZenWiFi XT8 AiMesh 5GHz 2 Band Settings
The settings to turn off DFS channels and a 160MHz channel width. Generally, when you apply the former, the latter is no longer an option unless the hardware supports UNII-4.

To manage the use of DFS channels, go to the Wireless section of the router unit's web interface, pick the band in question (5GHz or 5GHz-2), and uncheck the box that reads "Auto select channel using DFS channels." as shown in the screenshot above.

Using the Ethernet Backhaul Mode (when applicable)

If you use a network cable to link the router and the satellites throughout -- a pure wired backhauling setup -- it's best to choose the Ethernet Backhaul Mode explicitly.

Note: Don't use this mode if you mix wired and wireless backhaul. Also, turn this mode off when adding more satellites to the system or during troubleshooting, such as when changing the backhaul port of a satellite unit.

Here are the steps:

Asus RT AX89X Explicit Wired Ethernet Backhaul Mode
In a fully wired backhaul setup, it's best to use the Ethernet Backhaul Mode.
  • Log in to the router's web interface.
  • Go to the AiMesh section, then to Systems Settings.
  • Move the slider of Ethernet Backhaul Mode (EBM) to the On position (right).

Depending on the router, you might be asked to set up the Wi-Fi network names (SSIDs) -- picking between Smart Connect and separate SSIDs -- before you can turn EBM on. In any case, you can always customize the SSIDs afterward. If you have a Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 (or Quad-band Wi-Fi 6E) router, it's a good idea to unhide the 5GHz-2's SSID and give it a meaningful name, different from the default.

The router will restart to apply the changes. After that, it's a good idea to give all hardware units in the system a manual restart and a few subsequent minutes to be ready.

This mode allows for better performance and easier management of the system's Wi-Fi settings. If you use Tri-band hardware, you'll also be able to lump all bands into a single SSID known as Smart Connect.

Removing a node

If you want to remove a satellite node from the system within the web interface, go to the Network Maps, then click on the AiMesh button. Click on the trash bin icon next to its name, as shown in the screenshots below.

That will also reset the node to factory default.

AiMesh Setup Step
AiMesh setup: Here's a complete mesh system with one main router (GT-AX6000) and four satellite nodes (RT-AX89X, RT-AX82U, RT-AX86U, and another GT-AX6000). Note the trash bin icon by their names to remove them from the mesh.

AiMesh firmware update

The last but most important thing is to manage the hardware's firmware.

Asus regularly releases firmware updates, a Linux-based operating system called Asuswrt, for its routers. Many of these updates add new features to the hardware -- they do more than patch security vulnerabilities.

Some updates may inadvertently cause a particular model to go haywire, likely because the company tries to do so much with its routers.

As a result, firmware is a tricky thing with Asus. When it comes to updating -- especially in an AiMesh setup of mixed hardware units using wireless backhauling -- keep the following three items in mind:

  1. Avoid the initial major release(*): This is the first firmware version of a model where the 3xx number changes, such as from 384 to 386 or from 386 to 388. Generally, the latest minor update of the previous major firmware release is always the most stable.
  2. Avoid using Auto-Update for firmware: You should update the firmware when you see fit instead of letting the hardware update itself.
  3. Version consistency (in a mesh system): Generally, it would be best to use the firmware version of the same major release for all AiMesh members. (Mixing hardware of different releases might produce mixed results.)

(*) How to read an Asus router's firmware: As shown in the screenshot below, in a particular official firmware version, such as 3.0.0.4.386_47629, the 3xx number in the middle denotes Asus's home-grown major release. The following number -- often includes five digits, such as 47629 in the screenshot -- indicates a minor update.

(A firmware version that starts with 9.x.x.x instead of 3.x.x.x is a beta release meant for testing purposes only.)

Asus firmwaremajor minor release
The major release (3 digits) and minor update (5 digits) in an Asus router firmware version.

The part before that -- 3.0.0.4 in the screenshot -- is the Linux kernel version that will also change, albeit much less frequently. It's even more significant and should also be taken into consideration.

On the one hand, moving between major releases might break your AiMesh setup or even your standalone router. On the other, new hardware comes with a specific initial version out of the box -- you have no option to downgrade it -- and some old models won't get the latest release. So depending on the mesh combo, your luck will vary.

AiMesh started as an add-on feature with firmware version 384 in early 2018 -- represented by the RT-AC86U -- and was stable by the latest minor update of this version. In early 2020, Asus released version 386, buggy in the early stages, to add AiMesh 2.0 via the introduction of the ZenWifi product line. By late 2022, version 386 became fully mature, and Asus started releasing version 388, and the history repeated itself. So on and so forth.

As a rule, in a mesh system, it's best to wait for a few minor updates of a major release before upgrading. Depending on the hardware combo, you might need to rebuild the system from scratch or reset and re-add a satellite node if you change the major firmware version (in one or all hardware units involved.)

AiMesh Firmware Update 1
In an AiMesh network, you use the primary router's web interface to manage the node(s), including firmware updates. You can update the firmware of each hardware unit manually, or you can opt for auto-update, which you generally shouldn't since it might upgrade to a major lease and break a (mixed hardware) system.

In any case, for firmware updates, go to the firmware section of the main router -- you can jump directly there by clicking on the router's firmware version running at the top of the web interface.

Asus also allows for going back to an older firmware version. So if a new firmware breaks things, you can always manually go back to the previous version that works.

To return to a previous firmware version, download the desired version and upload it to the router via the button that follows "Manual firmware update:" in the screenshot above. For detailed steps, check out this post on Merlin firmware.

Final thoughts

An AiMesh setup is not the easiest way to build a mesh system, compared to other canned alternatives like Orbi, TP-Link Deco, or Amazon's eero.

However, getting it done right will give you an excellent mesh with little or no privacy risks, which is a rare commodity these days.

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125 thoughts on “Asus AiMesh Setup Guide: Getting Your Wi-Fi System Up and Running Optimally”

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  1. Hi Dong thanks for this great tutorial. Aside from simplicity is there a significant performance advantage to configure my Asus router in AI mesh vs. Access point?

    To prevent interference between the nodes I was considering to set each acces point on a different channel (which I can do in AP mode but not AI mesh). would this deteriorate hand-over speed or the Access point stickiness?

    also read your post about roaming assistant (thanks). curious if setting APs on different channels has downsides vs setting up each AP (albeit a little more manually)

    Reply
    • Using separate channels means zero seamless handoff, Leonard. Also, if you set up your system properly, there shouldn’t be interference. More in this post. Make sure you pay attention to the details and not make assumptions.

      Reply
  2. Hello,

    Just a quick question. I have followed your steps for setting up GT-AXE16000 (router) + 2 ZenWifi Pro ET12 Pro (satellites) to hope to receive the top performance via a 2.5Gbps wired back-hauling.

    However, I am not sure if I missed anything as I am getting at best 500-600MBs on Wi-fi. Which is not bad but a far cry for getting 1Gg plus speeds on wi-fi. Which you alluded that one should get with the above setup that costs around 2K πŸ™

    So unless I am missing something – I am at a loss what else to do. So from the beginning. I am in Canada so have ISP router (don’t have a choice ) and I am subscribing 3Gb Fiber internet connection (so 3Gb up and down) Since this provider (Bell) doesn’t have bridge mode, I am using PPPOe method to pass-through my credentials to pass internet to my Asus GT-AXE16000 (router) . I should mention that am connected from ISP modem/router to Asus via 10Gb out to Asus AXE16000 10Gb LAN port and then from Asus AXE16000 to Qnap 10Gb/2.5Gb switch which all my connection from the whole house come in via Cat 6a cables (house is fully wired) . So far so good, I don’t think I am double NAT as the Asus router gets public WAN IP address (not the public one) and Asus creates its own network with 192. 168.50.xxx subnet. And my desktop on the 3rd floor gets the full speed to it 3Gb (up/down) wired as it has 10Gb network adapter.

    On the first floor, I have attached one of ZenWifi Pro ET12 Pro nodes and connected it via 2.5Gb LAN port and then through the wall (Ethernet jack) into my Qnap switch. And I see that node in the Asus iMesh section of the router interface no problem and I see that it is linked as 2.5Gb Uplink Type Ethernet so I am assuming that is using wired backhaul via 2.5Gb back to the Asus router. When I test speed close to the first node (using iphone 14 Max pro) I get the most 600-700Mbs but once again , not near the 1Gb plus speed that are advertised.

    Now here is where things get really interesting πŸ™‚ The second ZenWifi Pro ET12 Pro node, when I try to connect it using the same method as I did with the first one node but using 2nd floor Ethernet jack in the wall and connect to 2.5Gb on the node, and then via walls back to Qnap switch. What happens is that I actually do not see the second node in the Aimesh section of the router and I actually do not see any topology map for both nodes. When I disconnect the ethernet from the second node, I am seeing the both nodes under the topology map in the Aimesh section and they showing corrected : i.e. first one is connected via Ethernet 2.5Gb uplink and the second node is Wireless. Which is the way it should be but however, as soon as I connect the second node to 2.Gb Lan port, the both nodes are not showing under the topology in Asus, howver, it tells me that I have 2 nodes added. What seems to be the problem ? I have tried different Ethernet jacks in my house with this second ET12 node and even took the second node to the basement where the Asus AXE16000 is and connected it to it directly – still the nodes disappear from Asus topology map and I cannot set them up at all (even though it shows that I have 2 nodes added and detected) So can you please help me with figuring this one out πŸ™‚ Am I doing something wrong here? And the outstanding issue is the Internet speeds that I am getting from this Aimesh setup are mediocre at the best. I was expecting around 800-1000Mbs wireless speed or higher. I think that you had a speed test in your post that showed 1.5Gbs wi-fi with the similar setup ? Is there anything I omitted , setting wise etc… that is preventing me from seeing teh 2 nodes and getting better wife speeds? I have read a few of your posts but cannot figure this one out ? I want to keep this setup but I am not gaining any advantages for mi wi-fi speeds utilizing that. I am thinking about returning ET12 Pro node ?

    Thanks for your help in advance!

    Marek

    Reply
      • Hi,
        I am not sure what you mean to use a different client ?
        Is my setup OK ? Why am I not seeing 2 nodes when trying to connect both of them via ethernet?
        I appreciate that you are trying to educate people by telling them to go through your vey valuable content, but I did this extensively and no dice 😦 I am at a loss here ?
        And why would I use a different client to test wifi if O am using 6e device already i.e. my phone ?
        With my ISP provided mesh ( pods) that same iphone shows more speed?
        Sorry, I am confused and lost here. Thanks

        Reply
  3. Hello mr. Dong,

    I am using the RT-AX55 router with two nodes: RP-AX56 and RP-AX58.

    For my friends I have a guest network. This works fine on the router and on both nodes when I use the wireless backhole.

    However, if I connect the nodes with a cable to the router, to create a wired backhole, the guest network doesn’t work any more on the nodes. It only works on the router.

    Can a do anything about that?

    Greetings,
    Peter Blom

    Reply
    • The first Guest network should work, Peter — you might need to make sure you turn that on for the entire network. Make sure you’re not using the nodes in the AP mode but the AiMesh node mode. Also try the Ethernet Backhaul Mode, too. More in this post.

      Reply
  4. Many thanks for all this incredible content! I plan on purchasing the ET12 pair, but I’m not 100% sold on the configuration, even after reading this article. I currently have a 2gb fiber connection going to a Nokia device (XS-250WX-A). It’s an ONT/Router combo with 1x 10G LAN ports and 4x 1G LAN ports. My entire home is already wired for ethernet and I’m utilizing all 5 ports today. Would I continue to use this device as a router? Just trying to figure out what the setup will look like.

    Reply
  5. Hi Dong, very helpful post. Followed the guide and was able to setup hardwired backhaul: isp gateway > AX86u > switches on two floors > XD5s. I changed AX86u to the AP mode as per your post but was wondering if there was a way to get the firewall feature back? Is it necessary? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Not in the AP mode, HT. But it’s not necessary since the gateway should has one of its own. Or you can turn the AX86U back to the Router Mode, and turn the gateway into the bridge mode, or get a separate mode/ONT. Or you can use a double NAT. More here.

      Reply
  6. Hi Dong,
    I have an aimesh system with a tuf ax6000 as a main and ax92u, ac86u as nodes with wired backhaul. The issue I’m facing is when I try to deactivate the 1st 5ghz band (the ac only one) on the ax92 and leave the other 2 active(2.4ghz and 5ghz-2) seem to work initially but as soon as I reboot the mesh both 5ghz band on the ax92 get deactivated.
    Firmware is latest 388 for ax6000 and ax92u.
    Any ideas?

    Reply
    • You’ll have to deactivate it again. But why do you want to deactivate it in the first place? You can name it as a different SSID.

      Reply
  7. Hi Dong

    Reading your articles, especially this one, 1a month ago I setup an AiMesh system with a ROG AX6000 as the main router and 2 zenwifi XD6 units as nodes, with wired backhaul.

    It was working perfectly fine until a day ago, when both nodes’ indicator lights started flashing red and the nodes got disconnected.

    I did a hard reset and tried to reconnect but that didn’t work.

    I read from your articles and reddit that firmware updates are a common culprit. But I have auto-update off, and have not updated any firmware since setting up the system – all were on the latest 388 release (including the AX6000).

    Any thoughts on what could have happened? Thanks!

    Reply
      • Thanks for the reply Dong. That’s exactly what I did for the 2 units as per your post, but it didn’t work.

        Any other tips?

        Reply
        • Reflash them using an older firmware — the latest 386 version — and try again. The XD5′ latest 388 firmware was available last month — clearly somethig going on with your firmware update — and it was its first 388 version which should be avoided, especially in mixed hardware, as mentioned.

          Reply
          • Much appreciated. As it was, mine are XD6. But after playing around and unsuccessfully the firmware to .386 with no result, I realised the problem – I had missed out this step which you in your post “Note: When applicable, get the main router out of the Ethernet Backhaul Mode for this step. You can put it back in this mode after you’ve added all nodes.”

            Once I did that, I could readd the nodes, and the Aimesh system worked again, even with the .388 firmware.

            Though, I still have no idea why they both initially started blinking red. Perhaps I accidentally disconnected the WAN cables while spring cleaning, thus leading to this problem.

  8. Hi Dong,

    Last year i baught a Zenwifi xd6 ax5400 set after Reading through your site. It would work fine because the main router and node are wired. I didn’t get a connection on the Third floor, because of the floor between (always a problem in my home), but also didn’t need it.
    Sinds last week I’ve got fiber internet. Now the Third floor is a problem, since tv is only available over the internet. We tried to switch the coax for utp, but there is no movement in the cable at al. It’s stuck. SO no cable. I tried watching with chromecast, but the connection to the first node is just to weak.
    Would adding a xd6 node, wireless, have an influence on the main router and first node? I mean, they Will have to Connect to the second node right, and would have to use bandwith that I’m not using now because now its only using wired backhaul. I don’t need 700mb internet on the Third floor. Like 200mb or something would be enough, but I don’t want that to impact the speed or connection on the first and second floor.
    I think it would stil try to Connect to the main router. I tried putting the first node on the Third floor. It connects to the main router, but signal is just ok, not great and the speed Goes down to 100-120mb (from like 700 mb downstairs). Is it possible to make it Daisy chain to the second (wireless)? That would be closer. Or would you advise not to use a second node at al and just a repeater, like Asus RP AX58? Or use the coax with moca (would be wired then).
    Right now I have like one bar and 10-40mb connection on the Third floor when connecting to the first node on the second floor. The connection is a bit better in the hallway with the stairs (speed isn’t), SO I think its best to put the second node there (or something else).
    I hoped to wire it and just put in a xd6 wired, but its just not an option anymore.

    Reply
      • Thanks for awnsering so fast. One last Quistion. In most shops in the Netherlands the xd6 isn’t available anymore. They only sell the xd6s. When I look at the specifics it look the same except there are only two ports. So I would be able to use the xd6s instead of the xd6 right?

        Reply
  9. Hi Dong,

    First, thanks for sharing your knowledge for the public. Your site has been a great resource!

    I’m trying to figure out how to make my setup work. Currently, I have 2 x AX86u routers, one as main in my study that has 2 lan wall ports; the other node router (ethernet backhaul) in my living room. The cable modem and network junction box is situated inside my master closet. I have gig-internet and I don’t know if my current setup of sending the backhaul line from my main router in the study all the way back to the network junction box and then to the living room node is optimal or if there’s a better alternative.

    Thanks and much appreciated!

    AJ

    Reply
  10. I am currently using ASUS RT-AX82U as my wireless router. I would like to set up a node in an AIMesh set-up. Can you recommend a good compatible router to do this? I am new to setting up AIMesh, so prefer something on the simpler side. Thanks

    Reply
  11. I’m currently using AI Mesh but need to add another node. Current setup is: AX1800s as the primary and an AX86U (non-pro) as a node. I was considering picking up either the AX86S for a node OR an AX86U Pro to replace as the primary due to the faster processor and higher amount of RAM. Which would you recommend? I have a 1.2 Gbps coax connection. Thanks.

    Reply
      • Thanks for the feedback. The location I’m adding isn’t wired and Cat6 can’t easily be ran there. So I was going to be setting this one up as AP. In your experience, what produces better results, Range Extenders like the AX3000 or a router like an RT-AX86?

        Reply
  12. Hey Dong,

    I might need your advice.
    So I have a TUF AX5400 (as main router at the moment) and a single pack Zen-Wifi xt8 as a node.

    Since the xt8 is TRI band , should I use this as the main router? It also has a better CPU if I am not mistaken.

    My only concern is that the TUF router doesn’t look as pretty on my desk as the Zen-Wifi πŸ™‚

    So how would you set up these 2 routers? I live in an approx. 100 sq meter house and the two routers are in the opposite parts of the house with wired backhaul.

    Reply
    • If you read this post carefully, all of those questions have been answered, Balint. But in your case, it’s best to use the TUF as the primary router and the XT8 in the AP mode. Or just exchange the XT8 for another Dual-band AiMesh router.

      Reply
  13. I’ve read everything and i cannot make mesh work.
    router gtax16000 (ap mode ai mesh)
    node axe7800

    i spent over 4 hours to get always the same result:
    1 someone is trying to update aimesh
    2 devices should be 3 m of each others (they are)
    3 powered on yes
    4 ai mesh node has been reset to default it has

    has anyone any idea? can it only be done?
    i guess i could try “repeater mode but it kinds a defeat the purpose…

    if anyone can help πŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌπŸ™πŸΌ
    cheers
    Matt

    Reply
    • Follow this post, Matt — make sure you READ. The gist is you turn the mesh into AP mode AFTER the mesh has been created.

      But you should read that entire post, unless you have wired backhauling, the RT-AXE7800 is not a good satellite for that router.

      Reply
  14. Hi Dong,
    Thanks for your article.
    I am looking for to buy either 2 Asus RT-AX86U routers or Netgear Orbit AX6000 (RBK853).

    Which one do you refer?
    Thanks a lot.

    Reply
  15. Hi Dong,
    I currently have an ax-82u as a main router and am able to take an extra XT9 from work. Since the XT9 is a tri-band router and the ax-82u is a dual-band, my idea was to use one of the XT9’s 5GHz bands as a dedicated connection to the main router in AiMesh. However after reading your article it seems like that isn’t really possible unless I use AP mode and not AiMesh?
    I would appreciate a suggestion if you find the time. Thank you for your quality and detailed content all those years.

    Reply
  16. Hi Dong,

    I recently upgraded to a ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Pro and I leveraged a couple of RP-AX56 I had to create my mesh network. Unfortunately, when I upgraded the firmware on the GT-AX11000 to the latest 388 version, I couldn’t connect the RP-AX56s which are on the 386 firmware release. I don’t see anything newer for them and it looks like the latest version is from 2021.
    I was just wondering if there was a way to find out if ASUS has this incompatibility issue logged and if they were going to be working on a new firmware update for the RP-AX56s

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Check out the firmware and mixed hardware sections of this post, Craig. Use the table of content if you can’t find them.

      For your case, make sure you set the GT’s 5GHz-1 band in the compatible mode (Auto), that’d help.

      As a rule, please make sure you read the entire post before commenting. πŸ™‚

      Reply
      • thanks for that – I meant to mention in my original comment that the information in that section helped me realize what the problem was and gave me the idea to roll back the GT firmware which got everything happy again. πŸ™‚

        Reply
  17. Hello Mr. Ngo,
    After reading this as well as one of your other posts about best combos for router and nodes, i went ahead and purchased and setup an AXE16000 with the ET8’s as well as made use of an older AX55 and AX1800S as additional nodes, all with the latest firmware. The entire setup went rather smoothly over wired backhaul for all nodes, however when I enable guest1 to all nodes so that I could segment my iot devices, I can’t get IP’s for any of them. Any ideas? Security is WAP2. Not sure what is going on, but the whole point of my setup was to keep my iot devices separate. Very frustrating and I am out of ideas on why this is not working for me. I have tried various levels of security as some of my devices are RING cameras etc….but still nothing.
    One other question concerning aimesh is would the signal between two (wireless nodes) trying to connect to each other be weaker than the same two devices connecting as router and repeater?
    Thanks for all you do and for any guidance you can give on my main topic.

    Reply
  18. Thanks as always for the information. There are so many features in Asus’ routers that when I check some settings while reading your articles, I find other features that are good to know about.

    Reply
  19. Thanks for all the great info, Dong!

    You know how in the Asus router software you can give each client a name? Is it possible to save these names and then restore them after a factory reset (like after doing a firmware update)? I know you can save all the settings and restore them, but I figure it’s not ideal to restore all settings following a reset after a firmware update.

    Reply
      • So doing a restore of all the router settings after a reset (when you reset following a firmware update) would be okay? I thought generally when you reset something after a firmware update, it’s best to start from scratch with the settings and change them back to what you want manually (for example, with a motherboard bios). It just seems tedious to have to do that with dozens of client devices each time you reset a router.

        Reply
        • That’s what backup and restore are for. Not sure where you got what you thought from, but it’s *generally* not correct. And you don’t need to reset after a firmware update, either — seriously, where have you been reading about all that weird stuff?

          The only time you don’t want to restore from a backup is when you know there are bad settings (such as bad DNS etc.), but even then, you can always restore and remove the bad settings (and back up and restore again.)

          In any case, I’ve done that countless times with no issue.

          Reply
  20. Are there any other settings other than the RSSI threshold (default -70) to improve roaming? My Samsung S21 Ultra stubbornly stays connected to more distant node with connection strength of around -80 dbm even when I sit in my office close to the main router (Asus ET12). This is despite having the -70 dbm threshold. I didn’t have this problem with my Nest, where roaming with my phone worked quite well. I know that this can sometimes be more up to the client, but I can’t find any settings on my phone to help with this. A quick search of online forums reveals that other people have had this issue with AIMesh at times. I know I can just disconnect and reconnect which isn’t a big deal, but just curious if there’s any other settings to play with.

    Reply
    • No, there are no other settings, James. Nor should you mess too much with them.

      As mentioned, roaming is complicated and depends on many factors. Most clients won’t switch when the connection with the original broadcaster is still “good,” as in still fast enough for what it needs, and this threshold can be very low. For this reason, compared with Nest, which has terrible range and speed, can be counterintuitive — More here.

      By the way, you don’t need to disconnect/reconnect. If you just don’t use the phone and the switch will happen. The issue you experience generally happens when you’re actively looking to “see” the switch by using the phone as you walk from one place to another. In reality, when you’re using the connection, a lot of times, it’s when the system tries not to make the switch since it would disconnect you from an application.

      Reply
  21. Hello Dong,

    Between the Asus GT-AX11000 and XT12(single node) which would you recommend be the main router and which should be the node? They are both connected VIA Ethernet backhaul.

    Is there any advantage to replacing my Gt-Ax11000 with a second XT12?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  22. Hi Dong,

    I have the RT-AX86U and the RT-AC86U. I followed your instruction. Both routers are at the latest firmware. I have no problem finding the RT-AC86U as the AiMesh node. Once the RT-AC86U is added to the AiMesh, it will show weak and eventually disconnected after a minute. The 2 routers are not far apart at all, it’s only a few feet away. Once I connect network cable to the WAN port in the RT-AC86U, I will get a Great connection quality but I can’t connect any devices to the wifi in the RT-AC86U. In my iPhones, it will try to connect but nothing happens. In my Windows 11 laptop, it’s prompting for my password and after entering, I get can’t connect to network.

    I enabled the ethernet backhaul mode in the RT-AX86U but that didn’t matter. I rebooted both routers, no difference either. I setup the RT-AC86U to prioritize the 1GB ethernet, no difference. If I setup RT-AC86U to prioritize the 5G wifi, it will no longer connect to the AiMesh. I would have to reset and start over again.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    Reply
    • You’re mixing Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5. Generally, that’s not recommended in a fully wireless setup, Jian, — but read more on that here. Even with wired backhauling, seamless handoff might not work across standards. Generally, it’s best to avoid mixed standards of the same band (5GHz) in a mesh system — your luck will vary.

      Reply
      • Dong,

        Today the RT-AX55 arrived. Guess what? It was easy peasy setup. LOL. I have another question though. I have the RT-AX55 connected via ethernet. I set the backhaul connection priority to the 1G WAN first, do I still need to enable Ethernet Backhaul Mode in system settings?

        Reply
        • Nice!

          You don’t need to, Jian, but you might want to if you want to be sure that the system only uses wired backhauling.

          Reply
  23. Hi Dong, I have 3x ET12 in a wired environment but I only get wifi 6e from the main router and not from the two nodes.
    If tried already many many things but no luck.
    It’s a shame because that’s the main reason I went for the ET12 instead of the XT12.

    maybe you have an idea to help?

    Reply
    • It works, Vin. I have a GT-AX16000 + 2 ET12 and no issues with this band. Try this:

      1. Make sure you use the Ethernet Backhaul Mode.
      2. When you’re switching, it’ll ask you to manage the bands, and choose to separate them — now you’ll be able to give the 6GHz a separate SSID. Apply the changes.
      3. Give the system a few minutes. Now restart all of the units. Give them another few minutes.

      Now, you’ll see the 6GHz in all nodes. Now if you want to use all of the band in a single SSID, just turn on SmartConnect. In that case, which band a client uses depends on the situation.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the swift reply. I’ll give it a try now.
        does it matter whether the nodes are connected via the 2,5Gbps ports or just the normal 1Gbps Lan ports?

        Reply
          • Hi Dong,
            I tried all morning, swapped node/router, used the 2,5G connection, set up as you described and I also read the articles but still Wifi 6e is only available at the router end. The node just shows the 2,4ghz and 5ghz networks.
            This is quite odd, that it doesnt work out of the box. what is the logic behind that?

          • I’ve reached out to Asus directly and they think it’s a firmware issue. They forwarded my complaint to Asus Taiwan for further investigation.

          • Try using an older firmware version, Vin. If that solves it, then wait for another release before upgrading again.

  24. Thanks for this writeup–your articles were a huge help in helping me select the 2-pack of the AX92u.

    I’ve just gotten them set up in my house, with wired backhaul from the main AX92u to the AiMesh satellite. I have “Ethernet Backhaul Mode” enabled in the System Settings under AiMesh. However, I notice that if I go to the Management button for the satellite node, the “Backhaul Connection Priority” dropdown menu is stuck on “1G WAN Only”. If I click the dropdown menu arrow, nothing happens. Is that normal? Seems odd to show the dropdown menu as if it’s active, but not allow anything to happen with it.

    Reply
    • That’s not odd at all, Dave, you have to use the WAN port on the satellite unit to connect to the router unit as mentioned in this post. And since you have the Ethernet Backhaul Mode, that port is the ONLY option and since it’s the only choice, the notion of “priority” is no longer applicable. It’s just logic.

      Paying attention is the key. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  25. I have two asus routers the RT-AX86U as primary and a RT-AX56U as the node in a aimesh network. Using hardwired cat5e cable as the backbone. I have 500meg service through spectrum.

    How do i determine best placement for my wifi coverage. Is there a radar or mapping type software i can do from my desktop ont he network? dont have laptop

    2nd how do i decide which node to bind a wifi device to. I have a few devices that i know switch back and forth and if i bind them i also can perform a poor mans blanceing of device use.

    Thanks

    Reply
  26. I have two RT-AC68U’s routers with the latest Asus firmware on them. I have them connected via ethernet backhaul and set the priority to use the ethernet first. Everything runs smoothly except a wireless client that connects to the 2nd router via wireless 5GHz randomly disconnects frequently. (the router that has the ethernet connected to the WAN port). Windows 11 says my connection has max bars (a good connection). I placed this client PC on the roam block list and it still hasn’t solved the disconnects. I can’t figure out why it’s happening. Any ideas?

    Reply
  27. Thank you very much for your article. I had an issue where my devices were not automatically switching between the router and the mesh nodes unless I toggled WiFi on and off. I’ve been waiting for over a week for 2nd level support at Asus to get back to me but your advice on the Roaming Assistant worked for me. I changed it from the default of -70 to -60 and it works great now!

    Reply
  28. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for the continued content, definitely some of the best hands on tech content on the Internet. I am about 5 months into using a wired backhaul with 3 GT-AXE1600 (satellites plugged from the 2.5gb to the lan of the main router). Performance is great, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why 6ghz isn’t broadcasting – all of the settings are turned on, but my wifi 6/ 6e products can see the band (or a wifi-scanner).

    Reply
    • If you “can” see on the scanner, then the band is broadcasting, Joey. But if you meant “can’t”, then it’s likely you have the band turned off in the Professional portion of the interface, or you just didn’t set the SSID correctly — so it’s there but just not what you expect.

      Reply
        • It’s likely broadcast in a different name (SSID) from what you expect, Joey. Or you picked a 6GHz channel that’s out of the range of your scanner. Use Auto for the Control Channel and enable PSC. Hope that fixes it.

          Reply
  29. I currently have an RT-AC68/U as main router, and an RP-AC55 as mesh node, but signal is weak in one are of the house, so I’m thinking of purchasing an RT-AX86/U as the main router, and demoting the RT-AC68/U to being a mesh node. The AX86 supports WPA-3, while the AC68 does not. Do you know whether as a mesh node the AC68 would be WPA-3 compatible?

    Reply
  30. Hi Dong,

    I have read this section on Aimesh and router setup etc.. I believe very thoroughly πŸ™‚

    Yet, I am facing a strange issue and wonder if you can help ? My ISP router/modem is passing Internet signal into Asus RT-AX89X via 10Gbs port , and RT-AX89X is configured in WAN PPPoe mode and I am getting internet connection to my own Asus RT-AX89X router and I don’t think that I am getting Double Nat issue as my RT-AX89X is getting an IP from my ISP (which is different than IPs on my local network ) I am not sure if that even matters ? From RT-AX89X I am feeding Ethernet cable via 10Gbps port into my Qnap L2 multi-gig switch and that works (almost) well as majority of my wired devices that are connected to this switch via various Ethernet jacks throughout my house are getting the internet. So that’s great, however, some of my NAS devices are not accessible anymore at times ??? And they were before – so what gives, is it because I now have 2 seperate networks ? I got a message that my computer and a device are on the 2 different sub-nets ? Is that normal and is there a way to fix that i.e. how can I have access to all devices on both networks ? I believe that one set is 192.168.2.x and the second is 192.168.50.x – is that a problem ? I would think that this multi-gig switch would manage all that as it is L2 switch or is there anything else that I should be doing with that switch or on my Asus RT-AX89X router ?

    I am really puzzled here πŸ™ My next step is going to be to add 2 ET12 nodes to the Aimesh off of RT-AX89X but I really would like to be able to log in and access all my devices. What gives ?

    And I am hoping that I will be able to use wired backhaul through 2 different Ethernet jacks (on 1 and 2 level of my house) which then will be connecting via Ethernet wires inside the walls back to the switch – would that even work as the Ethernet backhaul? . Sorry, I read everything that you recommended that I read and I am still puzzled πŸ™ So confusing!

    Thanks,
    Marek

    Reply
    • Clearly, you have a double NAT, Marek. Where it happens, you have to figure that out. Chances are you’re using a MANAGED switch that creates a network of its own. If so, put that switch in the UNMANAGED mode. For more on Double NAT, check out this post. For more on network basics, including what a switch is, check out this post. I think it’s confusing because you want quick answers. Just read those posts carefully and you’ll figure things out. Or you can hire a local professional.

      Reply
  31. Dong, hello again – I am having some issues with IoE devices. I’m assuming AiMesh can only provide one non-guest SSID on 2.4, do you recommend splitting the 2.4Ghz to a different SSID than 5GHz and then setting everything that can use 5GHz to the 5GHz (and eventually 5 and 6GHz) SSID? In that configuration, do you recommend using Smart-Connect on dual-band 5GHz or Dual/Triple band 5 and 6GHz? I unfortunately believe that I will be needing a 3rd router (2nd node) hooked via TP-Link Powerline units to provide WiFi to my concrete block garage, because by the time my signal goes through the wall of the house and the concrete block it isn’t strong enough. I’m currently using a pair of RT-AX92U routers, so I was thinking of snagging an ASUS 6e router when I find one under $300 (I don’t mind refurb, etc., or maybe on Black Friday), and moving the 6e to my primary.

    Reply
      • Dong – I will read the Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 compatibility. Last question, I can wire the satellite node but it will be sitting 5’ from the primary router upstairs. Does a secondary router sitting only 5’ from the primary router impact the speeds of device connectivity downstairs at all or is that self defeating?

        Reply
  32. @dong

    I have a specific wireless AiMesh satellite node question. My Asus RT-AC88U primary router is wired to my modem upstairs. Downstairs, I would like to setup an Asus RT-AX86U or S router as a wireless extension to create an AiMesh and increase speeds to my devices downstairs. I don’t have my house pre-wired so is an obvious challenge to have to move forward with any wired AiMesh solution. Other than plug-in Xfininty nodes, I’m hoping to buy the Asus 86U/S and set it up wirelessly as a satellite node. Is that possible, acknowledging it is not the ideal setup? Thanks!

    Reply
    • That might work, Brian, but even then it’s not going to be great since you’re mixed Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6. In your case, it’s much better to get a pair of the RT-AX92U or XT8. If not, get an RT-AC86U.

      Reply
  33. Dong,
    I broke down and bought another AC2900 (RT-AC86U) so now I have two but when I added the second as a node it first connects and shows weak signal and then drops to offline completely even though it is very closed (within 8 ft of my primary mesh router). Why is the signal so weak? Any ideas on how to trouble this? This is the same issue I had with the other node I was trying to add I figured I’d try to buy a better node but it seems I’m having the same issue regardless.

    (2) RT-AC86Us both running firmware 3.0.0.4.386_48260

    Reply
    • Likely because the client is connected to the primary router and not the closest node — you can see that in the AiMesh section. Check out the hand-off part of this post for more. Also, don’t use Smart Connect to make sure the correct band is being used. 2.4GHz is always slow.

      Reply
      • Smart connect is completly off and it still fails to hold a connection to the primary once it’s added via wifi. Literally holds for seconds once ita added (indicated weal signal sitting 8 ft from the router and then goes compelty offline. Ironically I plugged in a Powerline ethernet adapter and faked like it was wired up for a backhaul and it works flawlessly. So I don’t know why it won’t hold onto the connection wurelessly.

        Reply
        • Asus has put more effort on Wi-Fi 6 and later hardware, Jon. If you want to use Wi-Fi 5, chances are you’ll be behind. But I know it works — I have a few similar setups — it just takes a bit more work.

          Reply
          • So are you suggesting that wifi 5 setups just don’t work at all under aimesh when a node is connected via wifi and only connected via ethernet? That shouldn’t/doesn’t make any sense. The AC86U is a more than capable router even with wifi 5. It already is doing a decent job covering 3,500 sq ft i’m just looking for a little more coverage. It’s clearly not the hardware because it functions with an ethernet backhaul and I test it in a repeater mode just to see and it’s completely fine. I wonder if it has something to do with firmware for the AC86Us? The Aimesh 2.0 on the primary picks it up for seconds and then it goes offline when it’s added via wifi. As you noted in plenty of your posts wifi 5 via wifi 6 is no really that giant of a leap and it’s certainly not going to bail anybody out in a backhaul situation.

  34. Dong,
    Thanks for the post. I’m working with ac86u as my primary mesh and I bought a cheap ac1750 to be a node but after I got the firmware updated and got it connected as a node it constantly shows offline even when it’s a few feet away from the ac86u ? Any thoughts. I tried reboots on both devices to no avail.

    Reply
  35. Hi Dong, I have 2 rt-ax92u aimesh wired. Is it possible to run another cat 6 between them to link aggregation between them?

    Reply
  36. Thank you Dong as always. Your update of this post couldn’t come at a better time. I installed a new Ring device which unfortunately was further from my RT-AX86U than it wanted to be and Live View wouldn’t work. I thought I could get by with just the one router but I’m off now to buy the GT-AX6000 and the AiMesh will then help a few devices. Thanks!

    Reply
  37. Hi Dong,

    Do you have any views on the order (sequence) for firmware upgrades, eg Router followed by nodes (or the other way) and any things to consider when daisy chaining nodes (ie order of update).

    I have encountered a bug on the latest stock GT-AX6000 (and Merlin 386.7) which I have reported to ASUS pertaining to daisy chained nodes disappearing after firmware updates to those levels.

    Running solid on Merlin 386.6 at the moment but stuck here for the foreseeable future.

    Reply
    • If you use Merlin, you’re on your own, Mario. More in this post. πŸ™‚

      Daisy-chaining is never good wireless but with wired, it should work. You might just need to restart the hardware, or reset and re-add the satellite.

      Reply
  38. I have the BGW210 modem/router for an AT&T Gigabit account. The issue is traditional mesh setup. Most how-to’s detail setting up IP-Passthrough Mode since it doesn’t have Bridge Mode and IP-Passthrough is the accepted method put forth by AT&T.

    {link removed}

    Google Fiber doesn’t seem to have these issues as the signal comes into its Fiber Jack interface and no longer requires a modem which they got rid of in the last year or two. Is this correct and is there a better way to set up at&T Fiber for Mesh or to extend the signal around a large or difficult home?

    Thanks!
    JoeL

    Reply
  39. I have purchased a WiFi 6 router and a set of three aimesh nodes. An IT guy is insisting I MUST assign individual channels to each node. I am not finding that requirement in this system. Unfortunately, the new system did not like my many-year old password. It is taking a while to change the password in all of my connected devices. I am having trouble accessing one smart plug. Instructions say my smart phone and the device must be on the same band, in order to change its settings. My phone is connecting to 5g, whereas the device only runs on 2.4g. I am using smart connect in my sysrem, and am not able to change my phone’s connection. Any thoughts?

    Reply
  40. Hi,
    I have an ASUS RT-AX86U which perfectly covers my whole house except for one room, the guest bedroom.
    Luckily I have an ethernet socket in this room and I decided to implement what is described in this post by adding an ASUS XD4 AIMesh node.
    And it works perfectly, thank you Dong.
    Just an issue with Guest Network when I disable intranet.
    It works perfectly on AIMesh router but don’t give IP adress on AIMesh node. If I enable intranet, it works fine on both but that’s not the point for a guest network.
    Any idea ?
    Perhaps a bug of firmware ? Both router and node use 3.0.0.4.386_46061-g9a06866
    On WEB interface ASUS propose to update AIMesh router with 3.0.0.4.386_48377-g3e428e2 but it’s not available for XD4.
    I always heard that with AIMesh all nodes need to have the same firmware to work properly. What do you think ?

    Many thanks
    Jean-Marc

    Reply
    • The firmware versions of different hardware units tend to have different build numbers, JM, so that’s normal. It looks like what you experienced might have been a bug. But I’d recommend restarting manually the hardware after you’ve made the changes. That can help sometimes.

      Reply
      • Hi Dong,
        Thanks for your answer.
        In the meantime new firmware for main router disappeared from ASUS interface, so strange.
        ASUS support is in mute mode.
        Anyway, I forgot to say that there is a Netgear Switch GS108E (manageable Plus Series) between RT-AX86U and XD4.
        Perhaps I need to parameter something on it or just use an unmanageable one.
        Please suggest.
        JM

        Reply
  41. I am trying to set up aimesh and have a AX86U as the main router and today got an AX5400 as the add on. We have set it all up and when I went into the router page I have noticed in the systems status on wifi. the 2.4ghz and 5ghz have the same password now and all the details are identical apart from the titles of 2.4 and 5. The 2.4 is no longer showing when i search with my phone to find it. I’m really struggling my way around this. Is this normal? I have tried googling and am i missing something obvious? Sorry if this is on the wrong page, i have read so much and confusing myself more!

    Reply
    • Sorry but it’s unclear what you were talking about, KH. I guess you’re using the system as SmartConnect. You can turn that off if you want to use the 2.4GHz and 5Ghz as two different networks (SSIDs).

      Reply
      • Hello Dong. thanks for your reply,
        I’m sorry for the confusion. I think I have confused myself googling for so long and I am not describing very well.
        Smart connect is off and I have rebooted just in case
        Before I added the AX5400 I had both 2.4 and 5ghz showing in the settings on ASUS router page. Different SSID names and passwords.
        Now when I log in I see them listed separately on the network map page, system status. but the 2.4 has exactly the same details as the 5 with the SSID name and password. When I search WIFI on my iPhone only the 5g and guest channel comes up. By adding the node does this mean its using 2.4 and that’s why i cant see it? It was definitely there earlier and the only difference is we added the AX5400.

        Reply
        • Then just change the name of the two bands to whatever you like. Your phone won’t tell you which band an SSID is and it seems you have the two bands sharing the same name (SSID). If you don’t want to get confused, just add “2.4Ghz” and “5GHz” to the SSID of the bands accordingly.

          Reply
          • Thank you. I will change them. They were differently named earlier, I just couldn’t understand why they would change when i didn’t change them. I thought i had done something wrong.
            Karen

          • Take your time and pay some attention, Karen. Note that the name change will take up to 5 or 10 minutes to apply, especially on the 5GHz band.

  42. Hi,

    I have an RT-AX88U as the primary router and two RP-AX56 units as nodes.

    The Topgraphy Map in the RT-AX88U router MESH interface, shows the RP-AX56 node that is furthest away from the main router, connected in satelite postion one, followed by the RP-AX56 that is just a meter from the RT-AX88U, in satelite postion two.

    I have tried connecting the node that is nearest first and then the node that is further away later, but the visual Topgraphy map continues to show the connections as the furthest away node first and the nearest node in second place.

    Does the Topography Map show the real order of netwrok connection?

    Do you have any comments?

    Many thanks,

    Stevie

    Reply
    • That map is not always immediately correct, Steve — I’ve experienced that many times even in wired backhaul, but eventually it’d correct itself after some time. Make sure you use the star topology. After that, you can also force a satellite to connect to the router or the other satellite by clicking on it then choosing the preferred Uplink AP, or using the Optimization button.

      Reply

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