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Asus RP-AX56 Review: A Solid and Versatile Budget Mesh-Ready Broadcaster

I’d get the Asus RP-AX56 AX1800 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Repeater in a heartbeat. At $100 apiece, it’s a steal.

And that’s a grand statement since, for years, I’ve made it clear that I’m no fan of Wi-Fi repeaters, especially dual-band ones. But the RP-AX56 is much more than just a range extender.

(You should not get one if you intend to use it as such — opt for a tri-band instead.)

Indeed, this little puppy works much better as an AiMesh node, especially if you can use it via a wired backhaul. Or, if you don’t have an AiMesh ready router, you should use it as a wireless access point (WAP).

To cut to the chase, if you’re an Asus AiMesh fan, this one is the least expensive way to extend your network effectively. And if you have wired your home, this modest piece of hardware will also deliver the type of Wi-Fi speeds I’d call excellent, considering how little you pay for it.

Asus RP-AX56 AX1800 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Repeater has the plug-in design
The Asus RP-AX56 AX1800 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Repeater has a plugin design.

Asus RP-AX56: The Wi-Fi 6 mesh add-on for the budget-minded

At a glance, the Asus RP-AX56 resembles that of TP-Link OneMesh’s RE300. It’s a snap-on Wi-Fi extender designed to work with any existing Wi-Fi network or as part of an intended mesh system.

The idea is you plug it somewhere the range of the current network is about to wane, and it will extend it farther. Being a dual-band device with modest Wi-Fi specs, it sure will suffer from signal loss — it’ll be slow.

Flip it up, though, and you’ll note that the RP-AX56U has a Gigabit network port, and that changes everything.

Apart from an extender, the RP-AX56 can also function as an access point or a media bridge. And that means, via a wired backhaul, it can deliver double the speed when working as an extender.

(You can use this port to host a wired device when the device works as an extender or a wireless AiMesh node.)

And here’s the best thing about the RP-AX56: It’s (almost) AiMesh 2.0 ready. It’s the very first non-router AiMesh broadcaster I’ve tested, and it didn’t disappoint.

Asus RP-AX56: Hardware specifications

It’s important to note that the Asus RP-AX56 is the most modest Asus Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster I’ve tested. It’s a 2×2 machine with no support for the 160MHz channel width.

The good news is you won’t need to worry about the demanding DFS channels. On the downside, well, you’ll be stuck at the wireless ceiling speeds of just 1.2Gbps on the 5GHz band and 570 on the 2.4GHz band. As a rule, expect the real-world rates to be significantly lower.

Full NameAsus RP-AX56 AX1800 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Repeater
Dimensions5.91 x 3.43 x 2.83 in (15 x 8.71 x 7.18 cm)
Weight6.7 oz (190 g)
Wi-Fi TechnologyDual-band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX1800
5GHz Wi-Fi Specs2×2 AX: Up to 1.2Gbps
Channel width: 20/40/80MHz
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs2×2 AX: Up to 574Mbps
Channel width: 20/40 MHz
Backward Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac 
Wireless SecurityWPA2, WPA3
Mobile AppAsus Router
Web User InterfaceYes
Available Operating ModeAccess Point (AP)
Reaper (Extender)
Media Bridge
AiMesh Node
Mesh-ReadyYes (AiMesh 2.0) with wireless or wired backhaul
Gigabit Port1x LAN
Multi-Gig PortNone
Release DateFebruary 26, 2021
Price (at Launch)$99.99
Asus RP-AX56’s hardware specifications

Compact yet bulky design

The RP-AX56 is light and quite compact, as you’ll see in the detailed photos below. However, it’s also bulky. Plug it into a wall socket, and it’ll block the adjacent ones, especially if you want to use the network port.

You can use it with a power strip or extension cord, but its design best fits a wall socket.

Asus RT-AX56: Detail photos

Asus RP AX56 AX1800 Dual Band Wi Fi 6 Repeater Out of box
The Asus RP-AX6U and its retail box

Asus RP AX56 AX1800 Dual Band Wi Fi 6 Repeaters Left Side
From the look of it, the Asus RP-AX56 seems like a typical plug-in Wi-Fi 6 range extender.

Asus RP AX56 AX1800 Dual Band Wi Fi 6 Repeater Network Port
But this Gigabit port makes all the difference. It now can work as an Access Point, a Media Bridge, or a wired AiMesh node.

Asus RP AX56 AX1800 Dual Band Wi Fi 6 Repeater from Top
The Asus RP-AX6U AX1800 Repeater is relatively compact and light.

Asus RP AX56 AX1800 Dual Band Wi Fi 6 Repeaters quite compact
But the look can be misleading. Here’s a close-up from another angle. Note the thickness and the extra bulk at the bottom.

Asus RP AX56 AX1800 Dual Band Wi Fi 6 Repeater in AP mode
Here’s the Asus RP AX56U in action. Note how bulky it is, especially when using a wired backhaul or hosting a wired device.

Full web interface, simple setup

Out of the box, the Asus RP-AX56 comes with a clear, quick setup booklet. But chances are you can skip it if you have worked with an Asus router before.

RP AX56 AP Mode Interface
Here’s the web interface of the Asus RP-AX56 when working in the Access Point mode. Note the similarity to that of any Asus router.

Indeed, plug it into a power socket, and you can connect to its default Wi-Fi network, or you can also use its Gigabit port.

Now, access its web user interface by pointing a browser from the connected computer to the known default IP address of the Asus router, (or, and you’ll reach its set up wizard where you can pick its operating mode. The rest is self-explanatory.

Extra: Tips on the setup process

If you intend to use the RP-AX56 as a wired AiMesh node, plug it into the existing network via the network port and follow this detailed guide — you finish the job on the AiMesh router’s end. Otherwise:

  • Don’t connect the device to an existing network via its network port before starting the setup process. Doing so will make it use an IP address given out by the existing router instead of the default mentioned above. That would make the job a bit harder.
  • Do the same when you intend to use the device in the AP mode — you can always connect the cable at the end of the setup process.

As mentioned above, you should use this device either as an AP (with any existing router) or an AiMesh node (with supported Asus routers). I tested it in both roles.

By the way, the RP-AX56 took quite a short time to start up, which was nice for my testing. Generally, you can switch it from one role to another within a few minutes.

Notes on AiMesh and firmware issues

In my testing, the setup process of the RP-AX56U generally went well via a wired backhaul (AP or AiMesh). But like most of Asus’s new hardware, you should expect some bugs. I ran into a few myself during the different setups.

For example, if you choose to use the wireless backhaul, you might not be able to add the RP-AX56 as a mesh node if your primary router works in the 160MHz channel width — the process would fail at the end without giving you a specific reason.

Though that makes sense because the device doesn’t support DFS channels or 160MHz bandwidth — it just can’t connect — it would be nice to get a meaningful error message.

RP AX56 AiMesh Page
Here’s The RP-AX56 working as a wireless AiMesh node hosted by the RT-AX82U.

Also, I tried the RP-AX56 as the AiMesh node with a few routers, including the RT-AX82U, RT-AX58U, and RT-AX89X. It worked well with the first two. With the RT-A89X, for some reason, the RP-AX56’s 5GHz band was not available to clients, no matter what I tried.

(The RP-AX56’s AP mode worked fine with all routers)

Another issue is with certain routers; some features might not work. For example, when working with the RT-AX82U, the Wi-Fi schedule feature will not affect the RP-AX56 — this node continues to broadcast signals no matter what.

And finally, no matter what router you use, keep in mind that RP-AX56 doesn’t currently support a system-wide Guest network — the Guest SSID remains at the router (and other supported nodes).

Asus told me that most if not all of these would change (presumably for the better) via future firmware updates. (I tested it with the initial release, version So, chances are you’ll find the RP-AX56 (even) better before the year ends.

Update: Starting with firmware ver. the RP-AX56 supports a system-wide guest network when working with a supported AiMesh router.

Asus RT-AX56: Solid performance

The Asus RT-AX56 has nothing to brag about in terms of performance — it’s a very modest device. With that low expectation, though, I had a good time testing it. This little thing delivers!

Excellent Wi-Fi speeds (considering the cost)

You can find out how its performance stacked up against other mesh satellites — all of them are more expensive and of higher Wi-Fi specs — in the chart below.

But the gist is generally if you only care about sustained speeds of 300Mbps or slower, you can use the RP-AX56 however you want. Any faster speeds will require wired backhaul, and then you can get close to 800Mbps. Not bad at all.

Asus RP 56U Performance
(โ˜…) A one-off test via wired backhaul — the rest on the chart was via the wireless backhaul.

I tested it both as an AiMesh node (wired and wireless) and as a standalone Access Point.

As expected, as a wireless mesh node (similar to an extender), the RP-AX56 scored half the speed compared to when it works as an AP or a wired mesh node — the latter two had similar performance. Signal loss is a real thing.

Good range, reliable signals

The Asus RP-AX56 passed my week-long stress test with no issue. The repeater proved to be reliable.

As a small device, it also has quite good Wi-Fi coverage. It’s hard to put a number on this, but it’s safe to say it can cover some 1500ft2 (140 m2). You might get even more out of it if your home has a lot of open space.

Asus RP-AX56 Repeater's Rating

8.4 out of 10
Asus RP AX56 AX1800 Dual Band Wi Fi 6 Repeaters Left Side
Ease of Use



Reliable and relatively fast Wi-Fi with good coverage

Can work as an Access Point, a Media Bridge, an Extender, or an AiMesh node (via wireless or wired backhaul)

Convenient design, excellent web interface


No 160MHz bandwidth, modest specs

The Initial firmware is a bit buggy (at launch)

Bulky for a snap-on device


The Asus RP-AX56 AX1800 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Repeater is a safe buy for those with a wired home or looking to extend an Asus AiMesh-ready network wirelessly to deliver a modest broadband connection around 300Mbps lower.

Just make sure you have enough wall sockets around the house for optimal placement. And also, don’t use it as a standalone extender.

To be even more specific, this is an excellent add-on mesh node for a home currently with a budget AiMesh router, such as the RT-AX58U, or RT-AX56U, or ZenWiFi XD4.

If you have a higher-end one, it might not fit in well, at least not without some tweaking or before newer firmware is available.

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55 thoughts on “Asus RP-AX56 Review: A Solid and Versatile Budget Mesh-Ready Broadcaster”

  1. I purchased the ASUS Zen WiFi AX system and set up an AiMesh Wi Fi System with 3 additional nodes. It works great. However, while the node near the pool gets a very strong and fast 400 mbps Download- 35 mbps Upload- within 20 feet outside the signal fades. Does ASUS make a outdoor wifi extender? Should I just purchase another node (while i won’t leave it outside in the winter, it could get wet. Or will theAsus RP-AX56 do they trick? Ideally I would just like to plug in the device and extend my WiFi mesh network

  2. Love your site, Dong! I am setting an Asus AiMesh network with the GT-AX6000 as the main and the RT-AX86U as the satellite. I will be adding a third node which would be right on the mesh boundary, and I’m trying to decide if I should purchase this RP-AX56 or repurpose the Linksys EA8500 which I was previously using as my router as an access point. Due to the location, I don’t know if the mesh aspect is a huge requirement so just trying to get an understanding of the performance comparison between the two. All will be “wired” via Actiontec ECB7250s. If the RP-AX56 is a no-brainer superior performer then I’m happy to spend the $100 otherwise I’d prefer to save the money and use the Linksys until it craps out.

    Any advice is appreciated.

    • Definitely get the RP-AX56, Greg. It’ll work even better via a wired backhaul. The Linksys in AP mode — which Linksys calls “bridge” mode, by the way — will work but the fact that you can’t manage it via the main router makes it not worth the trouble, not to mention it’s a Wi-Fi 5 broadcaster. But since you already have it, it doesn’t hurt to try it out. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Wondering if you may know: In AiMesh node mode does the unit support “Bind”/binding a device so that it is forced to connect to the RP-AX56? I have a multinode setup and sometimes devices connect to further away nodes/router vs the nearest one and binding IoTs to specific nodes can be very helpful. (Thank you in advance!)

          • Read the 2nd post on AiMesh in the related post box at the top of the page, Jesse. You need to adjust the roaming

          • Hi, and thank you for the fast response to address my question! I have an AiMesh with no two nodes alike. I partly chose different models because if one has trouble I don’t have double (or more) trouble. If I read the correct post it is a link to an AiMesh post? I read most of it and then got referred to MultiGig backhaul post but kind of stopped there. Here’s what I currently have: I got the AXE16000 Saturday (two days ago). AXE16000 (router, aka primary node as you refer to it, which I used the replacement money for the Lyra Voice ASUS said they’d refund me to buy), AXE11000, RT-AX86U, and RT-AC68U. I returned a Lyra Voice because I found it defective, no 2.4 G radio. (They can’t replace nor repair it and kindly offered me to buy it back even though the unit had fallen and the SN sticker fell off. I just realized last night it is an End of Life product)… The Lyra Voice does not support Bind function AND does not in the AiMesh. The nodes act more independently based on their specs than following the parent node/router. Or did I read the wrong post? I apologize if I did so. (I do have 2.5 G wired backhaul so maybe I need to read the MultiG backhaul thread)?

  3. Thanks for the reviews/guides (this one and the AiMesh detailed setup). I have a RT-AX86U and the RP-AX56 seems to be working good to extend the signal into the garage and for some wireless security cameras.

    I’m using wired backhaul, which took a little fiddling to get setup. It kept wanting to default to WiFi even though a cable was plugged in.

    Now, I just need to work a bit on placement to make the signal a little bit better.

    • The wired backhaul will work well, Brian. You just need to pick it in the setting and have a bit of patience. It might takes a few minutes for the mesh to work, assuming your wiring is in good shape, not broken, etc.

  4. Hello sir,
    I have the Asus RT-82U and want to add the RP-AX56 and wonder if the wired backhaul feature is available with this equipment and how it would be connected.
    Thank you very much.
    I signed up for your email.

  5. Hi Dong,

    I want to easily extend my AiMesh network to the garden using the RP-AX56.
    Do you know if I can also use the guest network?

    Just a while ago, after an update, the guest network was activated on the node RT-AX55. I would like to be sure that it works on the RP-AX56.


  6. Quick question. I have an Asus RT- AX88U which I bought when it first came out (and it works really well). I have just bought a dog kennel which is in the back garden and out of range so I was looking to purhcase perhaps the RP-AX56 to extend the network for the sole purpose of connecting (wirelessly on 2.4G network) a webcam so I can monitor the kennel. I was intending to use the RP56 just as an extender as nothing else will be connecting to it but wanted to ask if it will affect the performance of the RTAX88 in any substantial way ? I don’t want to connect the RPAX56 in a mesh as I don’t want to take away any channels or reduce the performance of the AX88 and the extender will be used maybe 2 mins a day when looking at the webcam so I want to connect the RPAX56 in the most performance efficient way affecting the AX88 as little as possible. What would you advise in terms of setup for the RP56 ?

    • You can use the RT-AX56 as an AiMesh node, Dave. Using it in the repeater mode works, too, but offers no extra benefits whatsoever while making it hard for you to manage it. As for affecting the RT-AX88U (router), a couple of things:

      1. You’ll first need to use the router in its default compatible mode (Auto setting for Wi-Fi), else you won’t be able to set up the AX56 as a node (or a repeater) as I mentioned in the review.
      2. Update the AX56 to the latest firmware.
      3. Now you can use the router in whichever mode you want. Still, in any case, it’s best to use the router with the Auto settings for its Wi-Fi, wherever applicable.

      • I decided to go with the TP-Link RE650 for the range extender rather than the RT-AX56 (as the TP-link gets much better reviews and seems reliable). Although it is older tech (and only AC rather than AX) it is only for 2.4G web cams outside the property so is quite sufficient for that

  7. Hey Dong, I love reading your reviews. I bought asus ax58u router after reading your review last was a good choice. I’m trying to buy an extender, would recommend this(rp-ax56u) or tp link ax1750? I just ordered asus on amazon for $99, and just found out costco has tp link ax1750 having $30 off sale for $59.99.Is it worth extra $30 for buying asus over tp link? Thanks.

  8. Hi Doug,

    Bit of advice I have an ax11000 as my main router and need a node for my kitchen speeds aren’t that important as only smart lights and plugs will connect to it. One thing that is important though is range as I have a brick outbuilding with quite thick walls that has a smartlight in that needs to be connected. What would you say is the best option?

  9. Hi Doug – I have the RT-AX86U (your recommendation) and love it (I pay for the fiber internet). My apartment is 1200 sf but gf will only allow the router on the far end of one side of the place, so the 5Ghz band has trouble in my office at the opposite endโ€ฆ there are Ethernet ports all over the place, do you think this extender will work for me? Thanks!

    • Yes, Jordan, it’ll work great. Any other dual-band broadcaster on this list. Make sure the network port you use for the node is connected to the one connected to the router.

    • Hi Maciej, I’m not trying to speak for Dong, but I now have v386.42792 installed (since 5/6) on this device and have noticed no issues so far. I’m using it as a wi-fi mesh node with an AX3000, no wired backhaul. I believe its performing better than with the initial release firmware. One improvement I’ve observed is that device binding to the node is now supported which I think is new. I’ll leave it to Dong to confirm any performance improvements or new features.

  10. Is it possible to connect a switch to the rj45 port to connect several devices (2 desktops and a NAS) to internet? I have my old Dlink bridge (wifi n) that way, but I know all repeaters don’t run the same ways. Is this a good replacement? Or the port is only for one device? Thanks

      • Hi Dong,
        I have a RT-AX86U as my main router.
        I am thinking about getting the RP-AX56 and adding it as a mesh node via wireless backhaul but what I’m really trying to do is connect a couple devices (AV receiver, XBOX, etc.) via ethernet cables connected to a switch and then the switch plugged into the the RP-AX56 single ethernet port on the bottom.
        Would the RP-AX56 work for this application?
        Thanks for you great reviews and guidance! Chrys

        • It’ll work, Chrys but your Internet connection to those devices will be slow and of low quality. So it’s a matter of degree. In other words, if you expect to play games on the XBOX lag-free that definitely WON’T work well, if at all. More in this post.

          • Just read your linked post. Very informative and make sense. I didn’t even think about the additional lag that would be created by an extra hop of the repeater and switch.
            I would still like to connect my AV receiver to my network. It has a ethernet port on the back but is to far away to directly connect it to my main router via a LAN cable. I wonder if there are any stand alone wifi units that can extend my network to this ethernet only device..
            If you have any suggestions of a low cost solution that would be great!
            Thank you again!

  11. Hi Dong,
    I am considering about purchasing NETGEARยฎ Nighthawkยฎ 8-Stream WiFi Mesh Extender (EAX80). Now this item is sale for $199.99. Is this item will work with Rt-AX86U much better? than RP-AC56?

    Many thanks,
    James Cody

  12. Hi Dong,
    I can’t find the past review of NETGEAR Nighthawk WiFi 6 Mesh Range Extender EAX80 that I’m considering to buy this item. I had purchased new ASUS RT-AX86U.
    Greatly appreciate your help.
    Many thanks,
    James Cody

    • I don’t have time or resources to review everything, James — considering I really review them. It’s easy to expect something for nothing, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. Hi Dong, would you say the 2×2 performance of an 80MHz Wi-Fi 6 device is comparable between the RP-AX56 and an RT-AX86U? I don’t have any 160MHz devices in my home so I’m not able to take advantage of that. Looking for an extra AiMesh node to add to my house, which is wired for Ethernet, and this looks like something that would be more unobtrusive in a bedroom than a RT-AX58U.

  14. That is impressive performance !!! I tried the TP-Link RE605X AX1800 extender as a wired access point recently and that was disappointing so this is all the more impressive. The RE605X was only doing about 300-450mbps with an AX Samsung S20 FE. For download it matched a Netgear EX6150 AC1200 unit set up also as access point. And for upload the tp link was much slower and had slightly worse range. Same position wall plug and same phone positions and orientation. So not all extenders are made equal! The to link was so bad (in that it could not beat an ac1200 unit) I gave it away.

  15. Thanks for taking time to evaluate this product at the low end of the food chain. Good to know it provides some value even though its a relatively low cost item. I tried to order one from your amazon link above, but it sent me to a TP-Link router page rather than the RP-AX56 you reviewed. If I maneuver from there to an RP-AX56 page, do you still get the affiliate commission or only if I get there on the first try?

    • Thanks for being considerate, M. I really don’t know. But generally, if you get to Amazon from any of my links and then buy something, anything, not just the linked product, and never return it, then I might get a tiny cut, so you can bookmark this link as your Amazon shortcut if you’re so inclined. But it’s Amazon who decides what qualities or not. Hope the device works out for you!

  16. If you look through your article on the RT-AX86U “Asus RT-AX86U Review: The Best Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router to Date”, you will see a few comments from me as I was researching how to build my setup – Thank you! I went with a RT-AX86U as my master and then have an RT-AX55 as an AiMesh node. I’m very happy with this setup! I wanted to add a 2nd RT-AX55 but my wife informed me that everywhere I tried to hide it was an eyesore. This new one isn’t available in Canada yet. But, I’m wondering how would you compare this to the RT-AX55 (AX1800) in terms of range? I see in your Con list that the guest wireless isn’t supported and that will rule this new RP-AX56 out as an option for me unless it is added with a future Firmware updates because I’m hoping to have it located just inside the wall of my house near our backyard deck so that we could enjoy better reception in our backyard, along with our guests. In the end, I’m trying to decide if I should consider this RP-AX56 in place of another RT-AX55 which my wife may need to hind behind a plant or something if she wants better WiFi range ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It’ll likely be the same coverage, Tim. I suspect that the next firmware release will likely include the Guest network, but don’t quote me. Wives are hard to please, ain’t they? ๐Ÿ™‚

      • I have been playing around with Asus AiMesh system.
        My system comprises of the following Items:
        Router RT-AX86U
        Nodes RT-AC68U
        Node RT-AX56U
        Node RP-AX56
        On the 5G channel it seems RP-AC56 is stuck on 44.
        If I change the channel to anything else on the 5G side. RP-AX56 stays on channel 44. Others do change.
        I have seen this on a Wi-Fi analyser.
        I can also add all node are hard wired.
        The problem I have with this AiMesh the Wi-Fi speed test varies a lot. My fiber speed is 100Mbps up and down.
        At times I get the full 100Mbps other time only 1/3 of the speed.


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