You cannot copy content of this page

Asus Lyra Trio Review: Versatile Mesh at a Friendly Price

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

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: 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.

RELATED: What is a mesh and how it works.

The LAN/WAN port only matters in the router unit. On the other two, these ports always as 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.

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

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.
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. Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

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.

READ MORE:  What Is an IP Address and How to Figure out Yours

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.

RELATED: How to figure out your IP addresses.

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.

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.
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. Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

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

Minor shortcomings

None of the other Wi-Fi systems I’ve worked with have even close to what the Lyra Trio has to offer in terms of features and settings. 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.

RELATED: All you need to know about Asus’ AiMesh.

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

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.

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.

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.

Asus Lyra Trio’s photos

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 dedicate back-haul 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 with super substantial Wi-Fi coverage.

Ω Found a typo? Please report it by selecting the text and pressing Ctrl + Enter. Thank you! ❤️

You May Also Like

About the Author: Dong Ngo

Before Dong Knows Tech, I spent some 18 years testing and reviewing gadgets at CNET.com. Technology is my passion and I do know it. | Follow me on Twitter, or Facebook!

24 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

    1. Yes I have done that though not on the Trio. However I believe that’s possible with this system. You just need to set that up on the router unit.

  5. 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!!

  6. 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?

  7. 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.

    1. Yes, that’s the best. But you need at least two cables. As for the issue you’re having, try updating the firmware and not placing them too far from one another.

  8. 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.

    1. Yes you can. But first you need to setup them with one being the router. Once that’s done. Long into the router’s interface and change it into AP mode.

  9. 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.

Leave a comment (no spam or profanity, please!)

Get Dong Know Tech's Updates:

Spamming is NEVER included!

Thank You For Subscribing!

Don't forget to wash your hands regularly with soap! Stay Safe! ❤️

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: