Asus Lyra Trio Review: Versatile Mesh at a Friendly Price

The Asus Lyra Trio includes three identical compact hardware units.
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Asus Lyra Trio includes three identical compact hardware units.

The Asus Lyra Trio is not your usual run-of-the-mill purpose-built mesh. It’s the first (and so far still the only) 3×3 Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) Wi-Fi system on the market. And with the support for Asus’s AiMesh — available with the latest firmware –, it’s, among other things, the most versatile mesh system yet.

If you want to quickly have an extensive, secure, and fast Wi-Fi network, without potentially compromising your privacy or sacrificing networking features and settings, at the current cost of less than $250 for a set of three units, this is an excellent buy.

Dong’s note: This review was first published on April 25, 2018, and was updated on December 6, 2018, after AiMesh support became available.

Asus Lyra Trio

8

Performance

8.0/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

8.0/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Fast, reliable performance, excellent Wi-Fi range
  • Generous feature set and robust web-interface
  • Easy setup, helpful mobile app
  • Built-in security, no privacy risks
  • Ability to work as an extension of an existing network via the access point mode, or as part of an AiMesh system

Cons

  • Not able to block secure (HTTPS) websites
  • Can only work as AiMesh nodes
  • Minimal Wi-Fi settings

Asus Lyra Trio: A new mesh with a familiar concept

Out of the box, the Lyra Trio resembles many existing Wi-Fi systems. It includes three identical hardware units, called hubs. Each hub has two Gigabit network ports. One is a LAN/WAN port, and the other is a LAN port.

The way a Wi-Fi system works, you pick one of the hubs — any of them in the Lyra Trio’s case — to work as the primary router. This unit needs to connect to an Internet source, such as a cable modem, using its LAN/WAN port. After that, the other two hubs will automatically extend the Wi-Fi network. In other words, you have one router plus two satellites working together to form a mesh.

READ MORE:  This Is How Your Home Wi-Fi System Is a Mesh

The LAN/WAN port only matters in the router unit. On the other two, these ports are always LAN ports. You can use these ports to connect wired devices (like printers or game consoles) to the network.

You also can (and should, when possible) use these ports to daisy-chain the Lyra Trio hubs together using network cables to get the best possible performance. Otherwise, to reduce signal loss, place the satellites in a way that each of them has a direct wireless connection to the main router.

Asus Lyra Trio’s specifications

The first full 3×3 Wi-Fi system

The Lyra Trio is the first dual-band Wi-Fi system I’ve seen that fully uses the three-stream (3×3) Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) standard. The only other system that also uses top-tier Wi-Fi is the original Netgear Orbi. But the Orbi’s 4×4 Wi-Fi is just for its third back-haul band that links its hardware unit together, and only serve clients with 2×2 Wi-Fi.

In the case of the Lyra Trio, each of its hubs is a dual-band 3×3 routers. In a wireless setup, not all clients will be able to enjoy the 3×3 speed due to signal loss — the Lyra Trio doesn’t have a dedicated backhaul band.

However, if you use a network cable to link the hubs together, it’s the fastest system on the market, with the top ceiling speed of up to 1300Mbps.

RELATED: All you need to know about Wi-Fi.

Unique and effective antenna design

Lyra Trio hubs take the shape of a hollow triangle pyramid, with each pyramid leg being an antenna. As a result, when you place a unit on a surface, its antennas stay at an optimal angle for the best Wi-Fi coverage. At least that’s what Asus told me.

The pyramid design helps improve the Lyra Trio's Wi-Fi range.
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The pyramid design helps to improve the Lyra Trio’s Wi-Fi range.

In testing, though, the range was indeed impressive. The router unit by itself, when placed in the middle, could deliver Wi-Fi to every corner of a 1,800ft² (≈ 165m²) home.

Not every corner got the full-bar signal, but the connection was consistently fast enough to deliver a 150Mbps broadband connection in full, throughout. While I’ve seen many standalone routers being able to offer this kind of coverage, the Lyra Trio unit is quite small, just a third the size of most standard routers.

That said, in a wireless setup with all three units, the Lyra Trio could indeed easily cover some 5500ft² (≈ 500m²) of space. If you use a cable to connect the hardware units, you can increase the coverage significantly more, with even faster Wi-Fi speeds.

Easy setup, useful mobile app, no Asus account needed

Setting up the Lyra Trio is similar to that of most Wi-Fi systems, using the Asus Lyra mobile app (available for iOS and Android). The app walks you through the process, step by step. The process is self-explanatory, and you won’t even need to press any button on the hubs.

Using the Asus Lyra app, you can quick view the to which hardware unit a client is connected to and turn on the remote connection and AiProtection via one tap.
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech Using the Asus Lyra app, you can quickly view the to which hardware unit a client is connected to and turn on the remote connection and AiProtection via one tap.

You can also use the app to turn on the remote connection, which allows you to manage your network even when you’re away from home. Important note: this remote connection is very different from that of other Wi-Fi systems.

With the Google Wifi or the Eero, for example, you need to register an account with the vendor and log in before you can use the app. Your home network also connects to the vendor at all times: You manage your home through the vendor’s server — a potential privacy concern.

The Lyra Trio’s remote connection doesn’t require you to have an account with Asus at all. Instead, it automatically sets the Lyra Trio system to connect to a Dynamic DNS service that points you directly to your home network. Consequently, Asus, if at all, only knows your WAN IP address and nothing else.

Alternatively, you can also use the web interface to set up and manage the Lyra Trio. In this case, the setup process is similar to setting up any routers that have a web interface.

Point a browser from a connected computer to the Lyra Trio’s default IP address, which is 192.168.72.1, and follow the onscreen wizard to finish the initial setup process. After that, you can manage the Lyra Trio the way you do any other Asus standalone router via the web interface.

Asus Lyra Trio’s extra photos

The Asus Lyra Trio comes in three identical units.
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Asus Lyra Trio comes in three identical units.
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Full feature set

But you will want to use the app once in a while.

The Asus Lyra mobile app allows for limited access to the system's features/settings but you can use to to quickly view connected clients and change the operation mode of the system.
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Asus Lyra mobile app allows for limited access to the system’s features/settings, but you can use to quickly view connected clients and change the operation mode of the system.

The reason is the app is convenient to use. It shows to which hardware unit, the primary router, or a satellite, a client connects. You can also change many settings via a single tap.

I prefer the web interface because it allows much more in-depth access to all of the system’s settings and features. And just like any other Asus routers, the Lyra Trio has a lot of useful features, more than most routers on the market.

Apart from all the general settings such as port forwarding, IP reservation, dynamic DNS, etc., the system also has all the flagship features. These include VPN (it can work both as a VPN server as well as a VPN client), QoS, AiProtection, and so on. There are also unique tools hardly found on non-Asus routers, such as Ping or Wake-on-LAN.

You’ll love AiProtection, by the way. Powered by Trend Micro, this feature protects the entire network against online threats in real-time, at no additional cost. It proved to be quite useful in my experience, both with the Lyra Trio as well as in other Asus routers.

The AiProtection is a valuable feature of the Lyra Trio.
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The AiProtection is a valuable feature of the Lyra Trio.

Minor shortcomings

I’ve never worked with any other canned mesh system that even comes close to having the same level of features and settings as that of the Lyra Trio. But compared to other Asus routers, it doesn’t have the following:

  • Dual-WAN: You can’t use the Lyra Trio to host more than one Internet connection at a time.
  • Gaming-related features: You can still play online games, it’s just that you can’t tailor specific network settings specifically for certain games.
  • USB-related features: The system doesn’t have a USB port.
  • In-depth Wi-Fi settings: You can only change the name of the Wi-Fi network and its password and nothing else.
  • AiMesh support.

Consider the Lyra Trio is a mesh system, I find the lack of support for the AiMesh feature a bit ironic. Asus told me that this would change via a firmware update, however. Hopefully, that will happen soon.

Update: On November 23, 2018, Asus released firmware version 3.0.0.4.384.45122 that added AiMesh support to the Lyra Trio system. The firmware enables each unit of the system to function as an AiMesh node, and not as an AiMesh router.

READ MORE:  AiMesh Review: Asus's Journey to Fast Wi-Fi and Excellent Coverage

The Lyra Trio has another shortcoming: Its web filtering feature can’t block secure websites (https). Consequently, you can’t make it block sites like Facebook, YouTube, Tweeter, or any other popular websites. However, all Asus routers share this weakness.

Like most Asus routers, the Lyra Trio supports Amazon Alexa.
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech Like most Asus routers, the Lyra Trio supports Amazon Alexa.

Asus Lyra Trio: Excellent performance

The Lyra Trio is among the fastest routers/Wi-Fi systems on the market. When working as a single router, with a sustained speed of more than 500Mbps, rivaling many high-end routers.

Since there’s no dedicated back-haul band, in a wireless setup, clients connected to a satellite unit will experience a signal loss, meaning they will have just about half the speed of those that link directly to the main router.

However, thanks to the 3×3 Wi-Fi, even then, the numbers were still impressive. For example, its satellite unit’s performance was consistently faster than that of the tri-band Linksys Velop.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

When I used network cables to links the hubs together, now all clients had similar Wi-Fi speed, no matter to what hubs they connected. By the way, the seamless hand-off worked well, too. I was able to move around between hubs without being disconnected from the Internet.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

The Lyra Trio worked well in access point mode. Keep in mind that in AP mode, most of its features, including AiProtection, no longer work. If you want to keep your existing router, the Lyra Trio’s AP mode will come in handy.

The Lyra Trio also proved to be reliable. It passed my 3-day stress test with no disconnection at all.

Update: I started with the Lyra Trio back in March 2018, before the launch date. Now, after some nine months of continuous usage, the system proved to be reliable. There were no unexpected disconnections during this period. I also tested out the newly added AiMesh function, and that also worked as expected.

Keep in mind that, to use the system with AiMesh, you first need to update its firmware to the latest, then reset it to the default setting and add each of the units, as a node, to an AiMesh system one by one.



Conclusion

The Lyra Trio is an excellent Wi-Fi solution that has the right balance of features, performance, and cost. If you have run network cables in your home, this is the fastest Wi-Fi system on the market.

Those using it in a wireless setup will have to deal with the signal loss, which happens with all systems without a dedicated backhaul band. But even then, thanks to the 3×3 Wi-Fi setup, the Lyra Trio is still faster than many others, including those that cost more.

That said, this system is a safe purchase for anyone looking to expand their Wi-Fi network quickly. You can also get a high-end AiMesh router and a set of Lyra Trio. After that, link them together using network cables to get the best possible Wi-Fi system to date.

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30 Comments

  1. Just got a Lyra Trio and am generally pleased. Price is right and the performance is VERY good. I have a large house and am getting full coverage with only two units. I was tempted by the newer WiFi 6 units, but now it seems wiser to get a WiFi 5 setup and wait to go to 6E in a few years – which will be a true leap forward.

    I have a few issues that people should be aware of. First, the guest network is still limited to 2.4Ghz and from the main unit only. This has not been a problem for me as all my IoT units on the guest network have been able to connect, even from a fair distance away.

    The other issue is the Trend Micro AiProtection is “Classic”, which lacks any parental controls and monitoring other than an ability to limit access times. It also lacks an Intrusion Protection System. The Lyra Trio is the only Asus router so hobbled.

    In spite of those shortcomings, I’m fairly pleased. Network issues/glitches that I was dealing with before have gone away and the performance has been rock solid. Looks good too!

    1. Thanks for the input, Paul. You’re spot on! The Lyra Trio is great if you have wired backhaul and use a newer router (with a better set of features) as the main in an AiMesh setup.

  2. Hi, am currently using RT-AC66U B1 router, and thinking to expand the wifi signal by adding lyra trio nodes. I’ve read the
    AI mesh setup from asus offical website as follows: https://www.asus.com/support/FAQ/1038071/ and get an impression that the first Lyra Trio needs wired-connection to RT-AC66U B1.. so the wireless nodes are actually only 2 (instead of 3). What a waste isn’t it? thinking that I already have sufficient router.

    Questions:
    1. is there any how I could setup all 3 lyra trio nodes wirelessly connected to RT-AC66U B1?
    2. which one is better? adding lyra trio nodes? or RT-AC66U B1 as nodes? since the current price of these two items are quite similar

    1. 1. Yes, you can set them up normally. You need to update all of the routers involved to the last firmware first, though. More here.
      2. Either way is fine. However, it’s better to use cables to link them together, else the performance won’t be good.

  3. I bought one Blue Cave and 2 units of this Lyra Trio to be setup as AiMesh. However I cant get the Cave to be stable as it keeps dropping my 2.4Ghz band. I tried setting them us as an AiMesh system – Cave as main router and Trio as Nodes. The speed dropped. Running the Cave alone was better. Alas the constant rebooting needed of the Cave, I had to give up. I then set up the Trio as a 2 units Mesh system. I wasnt impressed as I didnt like my devices connecting to the 2.4 band instead of the 5Ghz as I couldnt choose. Finally I set the 2 Trio units in an AiMesh system. Yes it can be done, I set one as router and the other one as node. I get top speed around 500Mbps near the main Trio but at the node, it was half of that speed. I think I will have to return the Cave and keep the 2 Trio units. The AiMesh setup, I can at least separately set the 2 bands apart and 1 guest network (only 2.4GHz guest network available, no 5GHz). I put about 26 IoT devices in the 2.4 guest network. The extra node didnt really help to increase speed in spot that were further away from the main router but at least everything is working so far…..I need some sleep now. I wonder if I can add the Cave as a node? I will try that tomorrow. Both AiMesh and especially Mesh doesnt seems to be what it is cut out to be (for me at least)

  4. Hey there! I’ve been following your site for a long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and
    give you a shout out from Porter Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the good work!

  5. How do you tell whether the other two hubs are linked to the main hub? Does it display on the network map when you are tuning the Asus Lyra Trio app? Mine shows two yellow links on one of the secondary hubs connected to the main hub.

    1. I haven’t looked into this, Andrew. However if you place the hubs around the main router’s, which you should do, then they will for sure link directly to the main hub.

  6. I had a bad experience with latest firmware 3.0.0.4.384.45122 which is AiMesh supported.
    As I have small apartment, in my network configuration, I have only 2x Lyra Trio. 1st Asus Lyra Trio (operating as Main Router, connect directly to ONT) and 2nd Asus Lyra Trio (operating as Mesh node, connect wirelessly to 1st Lyra Trio).
    In this configuration, this work for a while, but frequently the devices that connected to 2nd Lyra Trio loss internet connection. Wifi between devices to 2nd Lyra Trio and also Wifi between 2nd Lyra Trio to 1st Lyra Trio are good.
    This problem was not happened in previous firmware 3.0.0.4.382.20332.
    I’ve feedback this to Asus support email, but we have couples of emails back and forth for last 2 weeks and doesn’t really help.
    Asus Support line just insisted that my configuration is wrong, and Lyra does not support as main router. But I have shown them this configuration was working all the time, until previous firmware before upgrade to AiMesh supported firmware.
    Now, I’m restore back to previous firmware version 3.0.0.4.382.20332 (w/o AiMesh support) and my network is back to work again.
    I’m still awating for Asus, whether they can find any solution with new firmware, or they found any bugs there.

    1. Sorry to hear that happened, Alex. Stay with the current firmware and wait till the next one to upgrade. I didn’t have the same XP as you did but generally, it takes Asus two or three rounds of firmware update for a new feature to work well. Also, the current firmware is mostly for those wanting to use the Lyra Trio units as nodes with another router being the main.

  7. Dear Dong,

    Am interested in having a whole house openvpn client. What are your thoughts on this? Did you do any client with the router acting as a vpnclient? Thank you so much.

  8. Amazing! And thanks so much for the speedy reply. Have followed your advice for years now. Been struggling with an oddly unstable Google WiFi mesh. Will give this a shot and see if things change. Thanks again!!

  9. Will this system work with a service provided router/modem that has a MOCA enabled second unit on another floor with one Lyra connected hardwired to the second (MOCA) unit and one Lyra to the main router/modem?

  10. Can you link all three together with an ethernet cable with one acting as the main router to make a super wifi connection for the house? I’m having a lot of trouble with them staying connected to each other and was wondering if this would be a better solution.

  11. Thanks for the review Dong! You mention that the first unit must operate as a router. Can you run this mesh system in an Access Point only mode? Because of my Internet connection, I have to use my ISP’s router and would prefer to not do dual NAT. I really only need mesh access point capabilities.

  12. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for the great write up. A question…. if I want to hardwire the backhaul will an unmanaged switch between units cause problems? IE Router Unit>Switch>>2nd and 3rd units. Thanks

    1. That will work fine, Peter. I actually do the same thing at home :). Note that you can’t use network cables for the setup process, so set them up using Wi-Fi first.

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