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.
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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.
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 so that each of them has a direct wireless connection to the main router.
Asus Lyra Trio: Hardware specifications
|Model name||Asus Lyra Trio (MAP-AC1750)|
|Hardware||Three identical units|
|Chipset||Qualcomm 9563 (2.4Ghz Wi-Fi and CPU), |
Qualcomm 9880 (5GHz Wi-Fi)
|Network standards||IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, |
IEEE 802.11n, IEEE 802.11ac, IPv4, IPv6
|Wi-Fi specs||3×3 Wi-Fi 5 5GHz: Up to 1299Mbps|
3×3 Wi-Fi 5 2.4GHz: Up to 450Mbps.
|System memory||128MB of RAM and |
32MB of flash memory
|Ports||1x LAN, 1 WAN/LAN (each unit)|
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 serves clients with 2×2 Wi-Fi.
In Lyra Trio’s case, each hub is a dual-band 3×3 router. In a wireless setup, not all clients will 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 a top ceiling speed of up to 1300Mbps.
Unique and effective antenna design
Lyra Trio hubs shape like 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.
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 Asus 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 significantly increase the coverage with even faster Wi-Fi speeds.
Easy setup, useful mobile app, no Asus account needed
Setting up the Lyra Trio is similar to 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.
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 using 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 with a web interface.
Point a browser from a connected computer to the Lyra Trio’s default IP address, 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
Full feature set
But you will want to use the app once in a while.
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 the system’s settings and features. And like any other Asus router, the Lyra Trio has many 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 flagship features. These include VPN (it can work both as a VPN server or 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. This feature is powered by Trend Micro and 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 and other Asus routers.
I’ve never worked with any other canned mesh system that even comes close to having the same level of features and settings as 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. Considering 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 version 188.8.131.52.384.45122 firmware that added AiMesh support to the Asus Lyra Trio system. The firmware enables each system unit to function as an AiMesh node, not as an AiMesh router.
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, Twitter, or other popular websites. However, all Asus routers share this weakness.
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, clients connected to a satellite unit will experience a signal loss in a wireless setup, meaning they will have just about half the speed of those directly linked 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.
When I used network cables to link the hubs together, all clients had similar Wi-Fi speeds, no matter 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.
The Lyra Trio worked well in access point mode. Keep in mind that most of its features in AP mode, 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.
Asus Lyra Trio's Rating
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
Setup, firmware updates, and configurations can be a pain
Minimal Wi-Fi settings
Not able to block secure (HTTPS) websites
The Asus Lyra Trio is an excellent Wi-Fi solution with 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.