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Asus RT-AX86U Review: Arguably the Best Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router to Date

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The RT-AX86U AX5700 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router is the more powerful option out of the two new gaming routers Asus announced late last month. And it proved to be a stellar contender in my testing.

Unlike the GT-AX11000, the RT-AX86U is not a full gaming router, in my opinion. First, it doesn’t include the Asus ROG signature lighting or fancy theme decoration. (For that, you need the RT-AX82U). Also, it doesn’t have every game-related feature found in the tri-band cousin.

But gamers sure will still have fun with it. Most importantly, no matter how you view it, the Asus RT-AX86U is an all-around excellent standalone (and mesh-ready) Wi-Fi 6 machine that truly delivers. So, at a current price of $250, it’s a steal. Get it!

Update: In early 2022, the GT-AX6000 decidedly took this router’s spot as the best Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router.

Asus RT-AX86U On Standing
The RT-AX86U is a large router with a relatively small footprint.

Asus RT-AX86U: The RT-AC86U’s worthy upgrade

The RT-AX86U reminds me of the RT-AX88U that came out last year. For the most part, both are the Wi-Fi 6 version of Asus’s Wi-Fi 5 counterparts, the RT-AC86U, and RT-AC88U, respectively.

While the RT-AX88U didn’t have much to qualify as a must-upgrade—it’s basically like the older cousin plus the support for Wi-Fi 6—the RT-AX86U now is an entirely new beast that will tempt you.

To put it in perspective, the RT-AC86U is a great router I still recommend today. And I will keep doing so for as long as Wi-Fi 5 remains relevant.

With that in mind, I have no problem calling the RT-AX86U an excellent upgrade, especially if you have a Gigabit-class broadband connection.

Asus RT-AX86U: Hardware specifications

NameASUS RT-AX86U AX5700 
Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router
Wi-Fi TechnologyDual-Band Wi-Fi 6 
(802.11ax) AX5700
ChipsetBroadcom BCM4908
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs3×3 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 861 Mbps
5GHz Wi-Fi Specs4X4 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 4804 Mbps
Backward Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac
AP ModeYes
Mesh-readyYes (AiMesh)
160MHz Channel SupportYes
Gigabit Port4x LAN, 1x WAN
Multi-Gig Port 1x 2.5 Gbps LAN/WAN
Link AggregationYes (LAN 1 and LAN 2)
Dual-WANYes (WAN + LAN4 or USB)
USB2 x USB 3.0
(storage, modem, printer)
Mobile AppAsus Router
QoSYes (Excellent)
Parental ControlYes 
Processing Power1.8 GHz quad-core CPU, 
256MB Flash, 1GB RAM
Built-in Online ProtectionYes 
(AiProtection powered by Trend Micro)
DimensionsWith antennas: 9.52 x 3.93 x 12.79 inc. 
(242 x 100 x 325 mm) 
Without antennas: 9.52 x 3.93 x 6.45 inc. 
(242 x 100 x 164 mm)
Weight1.8 lbs (814.5 g)
Firmware Version
(at review)
Asus RT-AX86U’s hardware specifications

Compact footprint, multi-gig ready

The RT-AX86U shares the same upright design as its Wi-Fi 5 version. It’s not a small router but still manages to have a relatively compact footprint. In return, it’s not wall-mountable—you need a surface for it. The router has good heft and will stay put. It won’t topple easily.

Asus RT-AX86U 18
There’s an array of tiny LED lights on the router’s front.

The RT-AX86U comes with three removable antennas that you can swivel around its top. Asus insists that there’s a fourth one hidden inside the chassis, but nobody cares. There’s an array of tiny status lights on the front for the router’s Wi-Fi bands and network ports.

On the back, there are the usual four Gigabit LAN ports (for local wired clients) and one Gigabit WAN (Internet) port. What makes the RT-AX86U special is the new 2.5 Gbps port that can work either as a LAN (default) or a WAN.

And you can do a lot of things with the router’s network ports, including:

  • Combine the LAN1 and LAN2 ports into an aggregated 2 Gbps LAN connections. This feature, available in most Asus routers, is great to host a NAS server or any devices that also feature Link Aggregation.
  • Use LAN1 as the game port. A wired device connected to this port will automatically get prioritized for online games.
  • Combine the WAN port and the LAN4 port into an aggregated 2 Gbps WAN connection. This configuration works great for those having a 2 Gbps Internet connection via a modem with WAN Link Aggregation.
  • When you choose to use the 2.5 Gbps port as the primary WAN port, the original WAN port now works as LAN.

With these options and flexibilities, one might wish there were more network ports—I sure did—but six is a decent number. And the router also includes two USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) ports that support a host of USB-related features, just like any other Asus router.

Asus RT-AX86U’s detail photos

Asus RT-AX86U 2
The Asus RT-AX86U’s retail box.

Asus RT-AX86U 3
The router comes with three detachable antennas.

Asus RT-AX86U Ports
The Asus RT-AX86U comes with six network ports and two USB ports.

Asus RT-AX86U 15
One of those ports is a 2.5 Gbps LAN/WAN port.

Asus RT-AX86U Hand
The Asus RT-AX86U is quite compact and relatively light, or maybe I’m just strong.

Asus RT-AX86U 7
You’ll find the LED on/off switch on its right side.

Asus RT-AX86U 8
And on the left, there’s the WPS button.

Asus RT-AX86U 11
The red ventilation grille on the underside is just that and not a fancy light as one might hope.

Asus RT-AX86U 25
You can swivel the antennas all around on the router’s top.

Asus RT-AX86U On Back
The RT-AX86U laying on its back.

Asus RT-AX86U 16
The RT-AX86U is the first Asus router I’ve seen that comes with a modular power adapter, making it easy to fit in different parts of the world.

Asus RT-AX86U 1
The only lights you’ll see on the Asus RT-AX86U are those tiny ones on its front.

Asus RT-AX86U: All those familiar features you’ve been enjoying

The RT-AX86U comes with a host of common functions and settings available in most, if not all, of Asus routers. Even though I’ve collectively mentioned them all in previous reviews, they worked so well on the new router that it’s worth going through them again here.

The time-saving universal setting restoration

The RT-AX86U can take the setting backup file of any other Asus router. And it did so very well.

Indeed, I tried restoring it with backups from many Asus routers—including the RT-AC86U, RT-AX300, RT-AX92U, GT-AX11000—and they all worked flawlessly.

The restore process automatically ignores irrelevant settings of the old router and applies the rest. For example, when I used the backup file of a tri-band router, such as the GT-AX11000 or RT-AX92U, the configuration of the 5 GHz-2 bands was ignored. That happened both when I used the routers as a standalone or the host of an AiMesh system.

By the way, even if you’re using your old router as the main one in an AiMesh setup, the whole mesh setup will migrate over to the new RT-AX86U—all the node units will remain. In my case, I didn’t have to re-add them at all.

Interestingly, the settings of unique features—such as the VPN server or Dynamic DNS—also migrated in my case. What’s more, the data of certain features moved over, too, as though I had been using the same router. Basically, the way I experienced it, everything moved over beautifully.

Since my network has lots of customization, including a ton of entries for port-forwarding and IP reservations, this universal setting restoration proved to be an incredible time-saver. If you’re using an Asus router, keep this in mind the next time you upgrade.

RT-AX86U Network Protection
The RT-AX86U comes with the standard web user interface and includes lots of useful settings and features. Note the dates of the Network Protection feature. Those were ported over from the old router.

Of course, the router works well, too, if not better, when you set it up anew from scratch. And note that using the backup file of another router can also carry over erroneous settings. So make sure to back up your old one when it’s working well.

The robust full web interface with a standard setup process

The RT-AX86U shares the same web user interface as that of other Asus routers, including the RT-AC86U. So if you have used an Asus router before, you’ll feel right at home with this new one.

You can get to the interface by pointing a browser on a connected computer to the router’s default IP address,, or

Together with this interface, you can set up the RT-AX86U the way you do all standard routers. I could get it up running in less than 15 minutes, including upgrading it to the latest firmware.

But the interface has a lot of options and settings, which can be overwhelming for novice users. In this case, they can opt for the mobile app.

The helpful Asus Router mobile app

Unlike the mobile app of other routers, the Asus Router doesn’t require a login account with the vendor.

By default, the app only works locally—your phone must connect to the router’s Wi-Fi network. However, you can turn on remote access via Dynamic DNS so that you can manage your home network when you’re out and about.

There are two scenarios.

  • If you haven’t set up DDNS on the router, the app will do that for you using Asus’s own free DDNS service, as I detailed in this post. In this case, it will pick up a domain name in the form of, where xxx is a random string of text.
  • If you have already set up DDNS separately, including when you use a popular third-party host such as or, the app will automatically use the domain name you picked.

In either case, there’s little or no privacy concern. The DDNS host generally only has the information of your WAN IP and not much else. Your Internet traffic doesn’t go through it.

Overall the app is well-designed and responsive. It also has in-depth access to most of the router’s settings and features, including those of an AiMesh system.

With the RT-AX86U, the Asus Router app has an additional feature: the Mobile Game Mode. Available only locally, this allows you to quickly tune the router, via one tap, for mobile gaming.

Asus Router App
The Asus Router mobile app is a convenient way to control a single router or a mesh system.

In all, while I personally still use the web interface, the Asus Router is one of a few mobile apps I’d recommend for your Wi-Fi network. It’s a bit geeky, in a good way, and overall a pleasure to use.

The valuable AiProtection feature

AiProtection includes a Parental Control feature and an online protection engine called Network Protection powered by Trend Micro.

The latter is free-for-life and protects the entire network in real-time against online threats and malware. It worked as expected on the RT-AX86U during my trial.

Note on privacy: When you turn on Network Protection, certain Internet traffic will pass through Trend Micro. However, that’s the only way the system can protect you.

The Parental Control feature could use some improvement, though. It was easy to use, but the way Asus defines categories for web-filtering is a bit vague, and you can’t block a specific website, which is a significant shortcoming.

The Flexible Adaptive QoS and helpful Traffic Analyzer

Asus’s Adaptive QoS is one of my favorites in the Quality of Service. It’s super flexible in prioritizing the Internet since it does so based on the type of traffic rather than connected clients.

You can set it up with minimum effort, and the router will take care of everything for you, including figuring out your download and upload speeds. The RT-AX86U also features another way to manage QoS if you choose to use its gaming features. More on this below.

The Traffic Analyzer, on the other hand, is a set of tools and statistics. It’s super helpful if you want to find out what’s been going on in the network during a period or in real-time.

This part is true for all Asus routers that have a USB port.

When hosting a storage device, the router has all the features you can imagine—from data sharing (locally and over the Internet) to backup (including the support for Time Machine) to a personal cloud.

On top of that, you can also use the router’s USB ports to host printers or select USB cellular modems. By having two USB ports, the RT-AX86U allows you to have two USB-based applications at a time, and with the multi-gig port, it also delivers excellent NAS performance, as you will see below.

By the way, the RT-AX86U also supports the Merlin firmware which has several enhancements over its stock firmware.

Merlin: The enhanced firmware for select Asus routers

Asus RT-AX86U: An interesting set of gaming features

As mentioned above, the RT-AX86U doesn’t have everything the GT-AX11000 has in terms of online gaming support. But it also has something of its own.

Specifically, the new router doesn’t include the support for WTFast GPN, which is a VPN for gamers. In return, it’s the first from Asus that’s certified for NVIDIA GeForce NOW.

It’s worth noting that the latter is just a tweak in the router’s QoS, and you can probably achieve that manually on the GT-AX11000. So, if you’re a real hardcore gamer, the support for WTFast is perhaps a better value. But then again, you can also use WTFast at the computer level, independently from the router.

Adaptive QoS vs. Game features

Without the support for WTFast, all of the RT-AX86U’s game-related features, including Game Accelerator, Open NAT, and Mobile Game Mode, are just special QoS settings and port-forwarding tweaks.

(By the way, while the Mobile Game Mode starts with the RT-AX86U, it’s available retrospectively to other gaming Asus routers, including the GT-AX11000, when you upgrade them to the latest firmware. That was the case in my trial.)

RT-AX86U Game Features
The RT-AX86U’s game-related features basically include easy ways for users to tune the router’s port-forwarding or QoS features.

In other words, the gist of how the router’s gaming features work is like this: Tell the router which game or games you want to play, and it will configure all the related settings for you.

(As opposed to you having to do that manually, which is possible but requires more work, and then you’ll have less time to play).

The objective here is to get the games, or the console, the highest possible priority to the Internet.

And while that worked as intended in my trial—I’m no hardcore gamer and have relatively low expectations on this front—one thing is clear:

If you choose to use the RT-AX86U’s game features, that will generally require a different QoS mode instead of the user-friendly Adaptive QoS. As a result, other critical applications, such as video conferencing or Voice over IP, might suffer. So, you have to choose between gaming and working.

On the other hand, if you keep using Adaptive QoS, which has a gaming section of its own, chances are you can keep everything to co-exist peacefully, though not all applications will work at their best.

The point here is that the router’s game-related features might not necessarily be all good in all cases. I hate to break it to you, but the router will not give you everything you want all the time.

Mobile Game Mode
The Mobile Game Mode only works locally and will turn Adaptive QoS off.

Asus RT-AX86U: Stellar performance

What’s always great, however, is the RT-AX86U’s performance.

With the 2.5 Gbps port and the 160 MHz channel width support, you can expect the top speeds out of this router. And that was exactly what I got in my testing.

Excellent Wi-Fi speeds

My 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 client connected to the router at 2.4 Gbps quite easily and consistently and registered the sustained speed at 10 feet (3 m) of some 1250 Mbps.

At 40 feet (12 m) away, it now still averaged almost 1080 Mbps. These were among the fastest I’ve seen.

Asus RT-AX86U Wi-Fi 6 5 GHZ Perfomance Chart
(W-W): Tested done with two 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients.

Just for kicks, I decided to test the router using two 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients by copying data from one to another. In this case, the router still delivered some 600 Mbps and 520 Mbps at close and long ranges, respectively.

Asus RT-AX86U Wi-Fi 5 5 GHZ Perfomance Chart

The RT-AX86U did well with Wi-Fi 5 devices, too. At a close range, my 4×4 test client got a sustained speed of some 870 Mbps. And at 40 feet away, my 3×3 laptop managed to connect at some 670 Mbps. There were also among the fastest on the charts.

Asus RT-AX86U Wi-Fi 6 2 4 GHZ Perfomance Chart

On the 2.4 GHz band, which has always been slow where I live, the RT-AX86U did very well, too. Again, it was one of the fastest, registering real-world speeds of more than 260 Mbps and some 180 Mbps at close and long ranges, respectively.

In all, while the Asus RT-AX86U isn’t the fastest Wi-Fi 6 router I’ve tested, it’s up there on the charts. Most important, among similarly-priced routers, it’s definitely the fastest one.

Excellent reliability and and range

The RT-AX86U delivered excellent range in my testing, edging out the GT-AX11000 by a small margin. It’s hard to put the Wi-Fi range in a specific number, but at certain locations where I only got 3 bars with the GT-AX11000, I had full bars with the RT-AX86U and slightly faster real-world speed.

So it’s safe to say if you have a home of some 2000 ft2 (186 m2) or smaller, this router will be able to handle it when placed in the middle.

Dongs AiMesh Network
Here’s the RT-AX86U working as the primary router in an AiMesh system.

The router also passes my 5-day stress test with no issue at all. Let me put it this way; I’ve always used the GT-AX11000 as the primary router in my personal AiMesh system since I first got it for my review. It’s been a great router!

Now, after switching it out with the RT-AX86U for testing purposes, I don’t want to put it back anymore. And that’s really something.

Totally fast NAS performance

With the 2.5 Gbps port, the RT-AX86U has no excuse for network-attached storage (NAS) performance when hosting a portable drive. And it didn’t need one.

Asus RT-AX86U NAS Perfomance Chart

I tested RT-AX86U using the Crucial X8 and the WD My Passport. It did well with copy speeds.

Via a 2.5 Gbps wired connection, the router delivered sustained speeds of some 150 MB/s and 140 MB/s for reading and writing, respectively. And via a regular 1 Gbps connection, it averaged around 110 MB/s for both, about the max speed of Gigabit.

That said, if you want to dabble into network storage, the RT-AX86U sure will make an excellent mini NAS server, especially when you consider its generous amount of storage-related features.

Asus RT-AX86U's Rating

9 out of 10
Asus RT-AX86U 12
9 out of 10
9.5 out of 10
Ease of Use
8.5 out of 10
9 out of 10


Fast performance, excellent range, reliable

Tons of helpful networking features and settings

Useful settings for online gaming

Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app

Multi-Gig, WAN/LAN Link Aggregation support

Excellent NAS performance and features when hosting a USB storage device

Comparatively affordable


Single, low-speed (2.5Gbps) Multi-Gig port

Not wall-mountable

Gaming features turn Adaptive QoS off

No support for WTFast Gamer VPN


The RT-AX86U AX5700 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router is in no way the first Asus router I’ve reviewed, nor is it the last.

However, it’s the first that I found problem-free in Wi-Fi performance. And that’s big, considering Asus routers are known to be buggy at launch. (The RT-AX88U was a prime example.)

More importantly, this router has everything one would want from a Wi-Fi 6 machine, including the multi-gig support, top Wi-Fi specs, a robust interface, an excellent mobile app, and a ton of features and settings. And then it has the performance to match all of those.

Of course, there are always more I’d want the Asus RT-AX86U to offer, like tri-band, more network ports, faster multi-gig speeds, and a nice bottle of wine. But, still, when I say it’s the best Wi-Fi 6 router to date, I mean it. This router is worth every penny of its $250 price tag.

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528 thoughts on “Asus RT-AX86U Review: Arguably the Best Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Router to Date”

  1. Hi Dong,

    I’m considering these 3 routers for a 100m2 apartment with 2 bedrooms and the wall are all concrete and the second bedroom is a bit far from the modem and the wall are all concrete as mention above and I have only a 350mbps internet speed though. I would blindly take your recommendation to purchase new router. Please advice if possible.

    The 3 router that I consider are:
    1. Asus RT-AX86U
    2. Asus RT-Ax92U
    3. Linksys MR9610

    If there is any other recommendation from you, that would be great.

    Thank you.

  2. Hello Dong,

    any idea why the difference is so huge?

    Copying 5GB .mkv file (both directions).

    RT-AX86U USB connected device (ICY BOX M.2 NVMe USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 – 1TB Sabrent Rocket inside, PCIe 4.0) via 2,5 Gb ethernet connection:

    – download (from Router’s USB to PC’s NVMe 1TB Gigabyte Aourus PCIe 4.0): 123 MB/s
    – upload (from PC’s NVMe 1TB Gigabyte Aourus PCIe 4.0 to Router’s USB): 144 MB/s

    The same file, the same NVMe’s via 2,4 Gbs WiFi connection.
    Intel AX210 using drivers, WIn11Pro, PC 2 meters away from the router, connection stable (2,4 Gb up/down)

    – download (from Router’s USB to PC’s NVMe 1TB Gigabyte Aourus PCIe 4.0): 63 MB/s
    – upload (from PC’s NVMe 1TB Gigabyte Aourus PCIe 4.0 to Router’s USB): 46 MB/s

    Any hints what coulb be the reason?

  3. Is it possible to set the router in wifi bridge?

    I see it is possible the “media bridge” which is not what I want.

    I want to connect the RT-AX86 2.4G with my main wifi router and let the RT-AX86 5G and 6G available to the wifi devices.

  4. I have read through looking for specific detail but can’t determine if using a Synology DS NAS server is suitable albeit compatible using the USB ports. In my case a Asus RT-AX86U. From the ASUS specs they can only support 8 partitions of 4TB per partition. This was stated for a FTP server on so I don’t know about SAMBA.

    Can you advise on whether it is possible to use eg; the DS1522 using 10tb drives via the USB interface to provide up to 5gb/s or should I just stick to using the 2.5Gbe LAN port?



  5. So, we’re in the process of building a new home and plan to have CAT 6 through the house. We will also have wireless for those areas where we may be away from a jack. I’m wondering about the distinction between a wireless “gaming router” and a regular “wireless router”. Does it make much of a difference in the router I would use if I’m planning to have my gaming systems and streaming devices hard-wired and would only need wireless to support my and my guest’s handheld devices?

  6. Hey everyone,

    I just ordered the router and now I’m a bit confused.
    I have a local, recently upgraded 2gbit connection from my ISP, will I be able to utilize this speed via wired ethernet connection using this router? (My pc also has a 2.5gbit NIC) As far as I understood, the router only has one 2.5gbit port.



  7. Hi Dong,

    I am now using a RT-AX86U as main router and in my gaming room the AX wifi seems having good download but weak upload on gigabite service (Up/Down 1000/1000Mbps on router, on 2×2 intel AX201wifi 700-800Mbps download and only 150-300Mbps upload).
    I am planning to get another AX86U or a AX86S in bridge mode since I expect the upload wifi signal would be greater plus it can use full 4×4 rather than the adapter 2×2 to get wireless full gigabit speed.

    Now 2 question arises:

    1) if in bridge mode and hard wiring to my PC if it will likely go near real 1000Mbps with a gigabit ethernet on motherboard?

    2) with that config, will it affect other users (wife/kids) connection to the main router through 5Ghz? I am guessing if only one user the inter router (main and bridge) to go full 4.8Gbps link speed but say if 2-3 smartphones are using the wifi also it will drop to say 2400Mbps?

      • Thanks, I will try out and see, but one more question, in my understanding, since both router and the medium bridge router are the same model, they have equal no. of streams (4×4 for both). and since they are both always on, or even at quite a high data rate (e.g. online gaming). will it fully occupy the bandwidth of the main wifi and make other devices being really slow or even unable to connect? or it would just slow down a bit for the bridge router and let other devices work as usual

        • Hi there, got the RT-AX86S in media bridge mode,

          speed improved drastically from using AX201: 650Mbps Download 150Mbps Upload
          900Mbps Download 700Mbps Upload.

          That’s done when both router having antenne hidden behind monitors and TV (Wife approval) and with a wood door in between ~10m apart

  8. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I installed the latest ASUSWRT firmware a couple days ago and if QOS is ON in any configuration at all, I get 10/10 speed. I have 300/10. Turn QOS OFF and it’s fine, 300/10 everywhere on my network. Any QOS tips for this new firmware? I just turned it OFF:)

      • I needed it for the last year and it’s been fine. But….with this firmware update, and/or an ISP speed upgrade from 100/10 to 300/10, no matter I set QOS I get 10/10. I get 300/10 on the router speedtest, but any other speedtest shows 10/10!! Simply turning QOS off fixes this. Seems pretty odd!!

  9. OK, it seems the WiFi and LAN on the Asus RT-AX86U are NOT connected??? NO ping..

    help out the stupid guy please… 🙁

      • Thanks for reply :), but no one else seems bothered!!! (seriously!)

        I may have to get through the very long and complex ASUS website, or even phone them..

        I tried the ‘superuser’ website that has always got answers, but they are too obsessed with my grammar, and ‘not enough detail’ to to let me post a simple question!!! :O :O

        I will see if anyone who bought from amazon can tell me a way to connect the WiFi section to the LAN section..

        Thanks!! 🙂

        • I think it’d help if you could spell out exactly what the issue is and what you need/want. With tech, “speaking the same language” is a lot more than throwing out random information arbitrarily in English. Maybe start with this post and the related ones. In any case, good luck, Illiad. Hope you manage to figure it out.

  10. Got my asus ax68U router set – works great!! 🙂

    But.. I am trying to use ‘Airdroid’ to transfer stuff to my android mobile..
    the router says it has ‘established’ the IP airdroid asks to put in browser.. but browser says cannot connect… 🙁
    firewall switched off, IPV6 on.. do I need to reboot router???

      • It does though… 🙂 🙂 It seems the VM hub3 (or my one at least) has gone a bit ‘doolally’ in modem mode.. ASUS thinks it DHCP is ‘wrong’ though internet is working… ??

        So I put Hub3 in router mode, switched off its wifi, and asus was alot happier! 🙂

        – switched everything off, factory reset ASUS then switched it off for at least 5 mins!

        then switch on ASUS first, wait 5 mins for its startup.. then switch on hub3, and wait 5 mins…

        you will have to use wifi to access ASUS at this stage.. and remember pwds for 3 or 4 locations!!!

        also switch off wifi6, to put back on later, if your wifi card is hispec enough!!!

        when you get in, switch of NAT, firewall, and switch off ‘aggressive’ search..
        you can then save all your settings in case!!

        • I’m not entirely sure I got what you wrote there but glad you figured it out. Generally, don’t mess around wth the settings too much unless you know what you’re doing. 🙂

          • the settings are very well laid out and clear, the only problem is getting there… ~:(
            Its a bit like ‘buying a car’ – you just get a very large box of components, and are expected to know how to build it!!!
            the last WiFi I set up decades ago was ‘already made’ you just had move a few settings…
            I wish ASUS had done that, much easier.. 🙂

            at least the Virgin forum has some good help!:)

  11. Really appreciate your site and insights.

    I have the RT-AX86u and am going to get a Synology DS 1821+ in the near future. Does it make sense to connect the two using their Multi-Gig ports? I.e., because the router port is 2.5Gbps and the Synology would have a 10Gbps port installed, would the connection drop to 1Gbps or could it support 2.5Gbps speeds? Or perhaps a USB connection between the two devices would offer a better NAS experience?

    • A couple of things, Khurram:

      1. You can’t use USB to connect the NAS to a router. Those ports are only for the NAS server to host USB devices (for storage purposes only starting with DSM 7).
      2. Yes, it totally makes sense to use the router’s 2.5Gbps port with the NAS’s 10Gbps add-on port. You’ll get a 2.5Gbps connection out of it per Multi-Gig starndard.
      3. If you don’t have 10Gbps add-on on the NAS you can also use Link Aggregaion between it and the router.

  12. Hello Dong,
    Congrats for your site full of good things. I read most of wifi7 router reviews and, considering my needs of the moment, I bought a AX86U for my house network and I am very pleased with it so far. I am using merlin at the moment, seduced by the dark side of tweaking and anti-ad features of amtm.
    I have a 1000/400 subscription from my provider’s box (FTTH) that is now just used as a bridge, and the AX is router (wifi and cabled). As I have a 2,5gbe port on my main computer, I am using the AX 2.5gbe port for it for getting nice numbers. I know that I can’t really get gigabits numbers from my subscription (tested 880/500 avg), but still wanted to get some figures from the USB Nas functionality of this router, but there is a bottleneck I can’t explain:
    I can’t get more than 1.31gbe on this port. Tested first with samba file transfer, it get definitely over 1gbe but the HD performance is quite close from it, same thing with a m2 SSD connected to USB3 port.
    Getting farther in the debug, I tested the 2.5gbe interface with Iperf (server on the router – thanks to merlin and iperf client on the PC connected by its 2.5gbe port). Needless to say (but it’s better saying it) windows reports 2500/2500 on the ethernet link, and I have cat6 5meter cable. The computer is game spec’ed (5950x/rtx2080ti/x570 chipset/64G RAM)… I have disabled all protection or QOS, but I still cannot go over 1.31gbps.
    On snb forum, some says that it is linked to the routing power of the AX CPU. I am questioning this because on a LAN-LAN port, I don’t think there is routing of the packet – but i’m not an expert.
    If you have any clue on this, I would be pleased to hear it.

    • There’s no Wi-Fi 7 router, Greg. Not yet. As for this router, I got similar numbers from testing its USB NAS performance, as you can see in the performance section. And no, you can’t expect it to deliver top performance on this front because it’s NOT a real server — more in this post. Also, since the router has just one Multi-Gig port, there’s no way to meaningfully test the true speed of its 2.5Gbps port and, most importantly, there’s no reason to do that, either. Since you got 1.35Gbps of sustained speed, that clearly meant the port worked at the 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig grade. I’d leave it as that.

      • Sorry for the wifi7 typo, I actually meant 6 but I think you came to this.

        I read that article and do fully agree of what we can expect from a NAS functionality on a router – that is very good by the way and sufficient for my use. I am just exploring then this 2.5gbe port.

        With the performance I got, I just wanted an insight about what can prevent this 2.5gbe port to run this speed using Iperf, that is only testing the interface speed.
        The main goal of this reconfigurable port is to serve as a WAN on a 2G+ subscription.
        May be routing things makes it different when operating as a 2.5gbe wan port: e.g. managing 3 large dataflows from computers linked in ethernet 1G and a wifi 6 client (that could sum up around 2.3gbps).
        It just looks like the port itself cannot handle more than 1.35gbe with Iperf. I am probably mistaken on that.
        (once again, let’s be clear, it’s just chasing figures).

        • You need a pair to test a connection, Greg, and without a 2nd Multi-Gig port, you can’t have that pair, no matter how you want to test it. There are more things in between the router’s USB 3.0 and its network ports than you can see, so you essentially measure the speed of *those* things and not the Multi-Gig port or the USB 3.0 port individually — your current speed conclusion could be applied to either. The result is valid when you want to gauge the router’s NAS function’s real-world performance but not when you want to measure the speed of the USB 3.0 port or the Multi-Gig port.

          Your test is somewhat like playing tug-of-war with a tank and a truck by hooking both to a building, letting them pull in two opposite directions, and concluding that neither wins.

          • Hello Dong,

            Huge fan since Cnet days.

            I have the Eero Pro 6 (I hate it, cant customize it and doesnt have many ports also you made it clear they are into hardcore data collecting) and wasnt sure if i am downgrading routers by looking at the Asus AX86-U.

            -I live in a 1k SQ Foot Apartment.
            -We have 200Mbps internet.
            -We have 3 Alexas and 4-5 smart lights.
            -Wife is usually streaming TV
            -I am either on Computer (sometimes teams or zoom) or playing PS5 (PS5 is wired) at the same time.

            Do you think this would be ok for Dual Band? I think this router (86u) is pretty nice but also dont want to go too far backwards. My Eero Pro 6 is Triband but at the same time I cant put devices where I want because you cant separate the bands into distinct networks. I would if i had the option.

            When shopping ive been between a single router (I Wont need Mesh) like:
            -Synology RT6600AX
            -ASUS ZenWIFI 6600ax T8 (single)
            -ASUS GT AX11000 (Seen it on a deal for $330)
            -ASUS AX86U (Love reviews but unsure of dualband)
            -Asus AX92U (But some people said it gets hot)

            Do you have any suggestions based on this?

          • Dual-band is great, Brian. Tri-band is a mess, more in this post. I’d recommend the RT-AX86U (or the GT-AX6000) in your case, but any of those you mentioned will do. The Synology is a bit too early and is more of a business router.

  13. This router kind of pissed me off.
    They don’t make it clear AT ALL that you cannot get multigig internet through the multigig port.
    Technically you can- but for some reason it is capped at 1Gbps.
    WHY would they do that?! The only way to get multigig speed INTO this router is with link aggregation and most modems don’t support that.
    If you have 2Gbps internet- you should probably NOT buy this router.
    It is a good router, but the multigig part of it is nothing more than a tease. You need to buy something that actually has a multigig WAN port.

    • It has a single Multi-Gig port, Rob. That’s quite obvious — you’ll only have Gig+ or faster on either the WAN or LAN side. But it seems you learned the lesson. Pay attention to the details and not some marketing hype or how handsome something looks. 🙂

      You need the GT-AX6000, the RT-AX89X (watch out for the SFP+ port!), or the ZenWiFi ET12.

  14. Hey Don…

    Amazing reviews – have been loving your site the past few days. Looking for your suggestion… For a gamer with a lot of tech toys.

    Currently using Nest Mesh (router main floor + upstairs mesh + detached garage/backyard mesh) to get coverage in my 1000sq foot home, and equally cover the backyard and detached garage. (10 feet from house, total size of maybe 1400sq feet outside/garage) We have a TV, nest cameras and smart locks that need good wifi from the garage. I also play VR in there sometimes – so wifi 6 in the garage would be great. About 30 wifi devices and 6 hardwired right now. I have a PC with a 2.5GB lan port, and I also have 1.5gigabit internet available in my area. (Currently on 1Gig)

    Trying to decide between the Asus GT-AX11000 and the Asus AC86u. I think the AC86u is better bang for the buck, but I wonder if it will out perform the GT-AX11000? Do you think with either I will need AiMesh, or would one be enough?

    Thanks Don. Open to other suggestions if you have them.

    • The name is Dong, Sean.

      I generally don’t comment on specific cases. Actually, I can’t, I’m not that good. Also, here’s the review of the RT-AC86U. It’s totally different from the GT-AX11000, so you can’t compare them. That said, I think you should start with this post. My only advice is that you pay a bit of attention and don’t buy into commercials and hype.

      • Thanks, Dong, I am going to blame that one on the spell-check.

        I mistyped the router, I was comparing to the RT-AX86U.

        I just finished your articles on dual band vs tri and quad band. As well as your article about VR and how a tri-band can be important for Air Link.

        I will also look at the other post you just recommended. Thanks!

        • No worries, Sean. Speaking of paying attention, I actually linked a wrong post previously — I fixed that — but here’s the right one. Stay a while, you’ll figure things out yourself. That’s my objective anyway.

  15. What is the difference between the RT-AX86U and the RT-AX86S? And would it be better to go for a AX86S or AC82U? Thank you!

      • I finally decided to buy the ax86u to see if it really is faster vs. the ac86u that I have used for the past year. It’s not. Same locations, same client device (iphone 1 Pro). I am consistently getting above 530+ both up and down on the ac router vs. mid 400s on the ax router. Interesting…

  16. Interested in buying the RT-AX86U I have a question…

    My laptop has the Intel(R) Wi-Fi 6 AX200 which is if I am correct 2×2.

    What will be concretely the benefit for me to have this 4×4 router rather than a 2×2 wifi router?

    Thank you

  17. Bought this almost for $220 each on Deal, Almost 4 days with TP-Link AX11000 and 1 week with RT-AX86U…as I bought both for Upgrading my N/W.
    I am on 400 MBPS package The range, speeds with AX11000..seems more Far reaching & Better compared to Asus RT-AX86U,
    Even with couple of walls (Drywalls) in between router & my testing, ..speeds with AX11000 are much better and Range can come to my driveway around 50-80 ft from router
    Of course, Software, UI with Asus is smooth & better, where as with AX11000 manageable and sometimes not smooth, anyways you don’t spend always with those Setups & UI for router, Not sure which one to keep, will see after 1 week.

    • The TP-Link is a higher-tier, Veera, so what you experienced is sort of expected. But the Asus shouldn’t be that far behind. If you’re looking to expand later via AiMesh, keep it.

      • Got it Dong, (TP Link AX11000 vs Asus GT-AX11000) and Asus RT-AX86U vs similar one in Tp Link/Netgear) but since RT-AX86U and TP Link AX11000 are at same price ($220) currently, will see. Ai-Mesh is however excellent feature, value added as you suggested plus Software/UI is another nice feature on Asus. Appreciate your website for such a Wonderful deep dive in tech.(I ended up spending almost 2 weeks+ reading your analysis on routers & Model Y road trips 🙂

  18. Hi Dong, love your great reviews. I picked up the RT-AX86U to replace an old RT-AC68P. Everything has been working great with the exception of the NAS feature. I’ve tried to match your USB speeds but best I can get is 75-90 MB/s. Everything is hardwired via 2.5G port, both on my PC and Router. Windows 10 network confirms 2.5G connection and I’m using Samsung NVMEs. I’ve attached a WD Black SSD NVME (formatted to NTFS) via a good USB C enclosure to the router. I’ve transferred all types of files, ISO, MKV, RAR, ZIP, MP4, etc., and I’m only able to get a little over half the speeds you got on your test. Is there something I’m missing?

    Thank you in advance.

  19. How do you feel about the rt-ax86s? Asus has combined them both on the same page, but the S version only has a dual core cpu and removed the 2.5g port. I cant find any reviews other than a retail sites.

  20. I just got 1.5gbps fibre service through my ISP (Bell Canada) with their Home Hub 4000 which is apparently a SAGEMCOM BROADBAND SASFAST5689. It has a 10gb WAN port that I have connected to my 2.5gbps WAN port on my RT-AX86U. I selected that port in the Asus GUI as the primary WAN. When I do a speed test via the ASUS GUI it shows the full 1.5gbps service speed. When I had connect to the standard Asus WAN port it capped at just under 1gbps, which is understandable on a 1gb port. But, when connected via the Asus 2.5gb port I do a speedtest on wireless devices it seems to max out at 100-300mbps with wildly varying speeds. I did the same wireless test when connected via the 1gb WAN port on the 86U and wireless devices get about 600mbps and are rock solid. I just don’t understand why the wireless speed seems to be so negatively affected when connected via the 2.5gbps port and getting the full 1.5gbps service speed to the router from the ISP.

  21. Hey there!

    I’m looking at this router to replace the ISP supplied one, I’m not bothered about WIFI as I currently have 2 Ubiquiti Unifi AC-Lite AP’s which work just fine.

    What I AM interested in (which nobody seems to test once you slap an antenna or two on a router) is the WAN-LAN throughput speeds. I have a gigabit fibre to the premises connection but I’m stuck with the ISP provided modem so I literally just need the ethernet routing side of the box. Any idea what those figures are for this router?

  22. Hi Dong,

    My RT-AX86U shows 96% memory (RAM) usage. Is this a concern for you? Is there any detailed information on memory usage? I am using the latest Merlin firmware. I have an AiMesh system with AX86U as the main router and two RT-AX55’s as mesh nodes.

    Shi Feng

  23. Dong, great reviews as always, I was about to refresh my old Ac88 to the new Ax88, but changed the order after reading your review on the AX86U instead.

    are you aware if the ‘smart connect” function works better on the new units. I had to disable that function as I have some 2.4g sensibo Aircond IR controllers that kept disconnecting.

    looking around at various forums, the smart/auto connect looks to be typicaly disabled by most users settign up their router

    • It’s about the same on this front, Brett. I’d recommend separating the two bands. Much easier to manage things that way. 😜

      • cheers, whilst the “smart connect” sounds great, in practice it prone to slow down wifi enrty point.

        My old 2.4g products really had some issues, requiring some major tweaking to provide reliable comms for the lower connect spec devices

  24. Hi Dong,

    I’ve seen some of your review rightfully concerned about privacy for devices like eero. What would be your response to this top Amazon review for the Asus routers

    “ I got an ASUS RT-AX86U recently. Little did I realize there are lot of Privacy issues going on with this router and ASUS in general. If you enable any of their AiProtection, Traffic analyzer, Apps analyzer, Adaptive QoS and web history, they are collecting a ton of data. Since their terms are very open, its hard to find what data they are limited to in collecting. If you turn off these features, its not worth the money.”

    • Hi Mike,

      1. I generally don’t address stuff you read elsewhere.
      2. Those features are turned off by default. And no you can’t have a bodyguard without somebody accompanying you. Those features must look at your traffic to find out what’s good or bad and when you turn them on, you’ll be informed of what will happen. It’s a matter of degrees.

      • “You can’t have a bodyguard without somebody accompanying you”.

        I’ll be using this one in the future!

  25. Hi Dong and Everyone else,

    I have had my RT-AX86U a few months now , and am generally very happy with it.
    The only issue I have encountered is that I have noticed internal Lan performance , ie streaming or copying from one of my servers to others devices on my home network is quite poor , and I get buffering etc. however, Streaming from External sources out of my home network is 100% fine and as before.

    I presume this is a issue with one of the “QOS” settings , I have messed around with these and cant seem to get LAN performance any better.

    Can anyone suggest what the issue could be here or what settings to try?

    Thanks in Advance


    • That has nothing to do with QoS, which generally only manages the Internet, Friz. Likely it’s something with your “server” device, check its connection and settings.

      • @Dong,

        Thanks for your reply…

        I doubt it , as All was fine until I swapped the older Asus Router I had for this one.
        When I say “server” , I meant other Windows machines on my Network , that act as storage devices.
        Basically internal Lan speeds dropped considerably when I installed the new router.. I thought QOS dealt with prioritizing data to different devices?

        • You can turn QoS off and see, Friz. That was my assessment from the information given. From what you said, it’s either your server or your streamer. But it can be anything else.

          • @Dong,

            Very grateful for your help.
            I am still on the Original F/w , I will put the latest one on and see if there is any difference..

            warm Regards


  26. Hi Dong. Great review. Three years ago I purchased a trio of rt-AC86u routers and configured them in AI mesh and have been pleased. Do you think upgrading them to the rt-ax86u’s will make PS5 remote play to my 2021 iPad Pro in my home better for streaming games. I’m home game streaming is getting more popular and my current setup is good, but I’m not sure if the upgrade is worth it. I currently use Ethernet backhaul. I was looking at the Orbi RBK853, Linksys atlas 6e and the new tplinks x68, x90 and the unreleased Tplink x78 and x98. So many choices. Not sure if Wi-Fi 6/6e is worth it or to just stick with these AC routers.

      • Hi Dong,

        The streaming I’m talking about is video signal streaming over LAN. Take the internet out of the equation. Game streaming like remote play on Sony’s PS5 machine can be done from the local machine to a local client (iPad, Win 10 machine, etc) over LAN by itself. The WAN line doesn’t even have to be connected. If you unplug the WAN from the back of the router, for example, to remove “internet” out of the equation, the two devices will still handshake and video will be transmitted. My question was, do you believe the AX86U device…given the heightened cost involvement… provide that much better of a video transmission experience than the AC86U Mesh?

        • Got it. In that case, it’ll be much better if all involved parties support Wi-Fi 6, especially the party that hosts the data. In most cases, you want the hosting party to be a wired client connected directly to the router. So for your question, the short answer is that it depends. It’s all about the nuances and not black and white.

          • Hi Dong,

            Understood. Thank you so much for the input. The PS5 had Wi-Fi 6 but the Xbox series machines I believe are Wi-Fi 5 only. Those AX86U devices are tempting! Have a good one!

  27. I heard this router doesn’t even use AX technology when it’s not hooked up to another router via mesh, is that right? So with just the 1 router would i still expect 800 mbs download from 40 ft away? The ASUS RT-AC86U AC2900 is only $170 vs $300, is that a better value if I don’t have a mesh? How much slower would my downloads be?

  28. Hi dong, Im interested in this router but am unsure if i should go with a router that has wtfast built in. Gaming is primary function and was really hoping this would have support because of the zaku edition. Any insight would be great!

    • WTFast only applies to certain games, Michael. So if you need or want it, this is not the router for you. Go with the GT-AX11000 or RT-AX92U instead.

  29. Hi Dong –

    Thank you for all your great reviews.

    I’ve been running three AX86U’s in an AI mesh w/ hardwired backhaul for a year now and they have been great.

    That all said, I just got back from holiday and was reading your (great) article about securing a Synology NAS. After updating the settings on my NAS, I decided to check in on my AI Mesh and here’s where I could use your help / advice regarding some strange behavior with my network:

    1) I cannot get to or I’ve tried connecting from my desktop computer (hardwired into one of the nodes) and a laptop plugged directly into the the ‘primary’ router. I’ve also tried from a wireless laptop. I normally “check in” on the router once a week from my desktop computer – this has been consistently working for the past year, but now will not. The only changes I’ve made were to my NAS since coming back from holiday… I do have the router locked down fairly tight security wise including removing remote admin access and (I think) limiting admin access to two fixed hardwired IP addresses (both devices I tried using)

    2) To debug the above, I power cycled all three nodes (as well as my cable modem). One of the secondary nodes (home office) powered back on and then reset once or twice and then all the lights went off. This keeps happening over and over. What’s even odder, is that even with all the lights off, it’s still acting as a switch – my hardwired devices that are plugged into it (including the computer I’m typing this post on) are still connected to internet though the router looks like it’s off. If I turn the power switch off on the office router, I lose connectivity to my hardwired devices – so it seems the router is still on in some capacity (at least in acting as a switch). I’m a bit handicapped in figuring out what’s going on because I cannot get to the admin page…

    Any suggestions / help would be gratefully appreciated.


    • Hi Mark,

      The default IP is (check the numbers carefully!). But if you have changed it, you can always find out what it is via this trick. With a certain setting, the URL won’t work. Worse comes to worst, you’ll need to reset the main router and set the whole system up from scratch. After that, don’t mess around too much. 🙂

  30. Hey
    1. I got asus AC 59u on 1st floor room, and right bellow this room is my fire tv stick (ground floor) it looses WAN speeds to 300mbps on 5GHz so does my pixel phone how to position antenna to get coverage on groud floor from this 1st floor room or If AX88u will give good coverage ?
    I don’t wanna get into AI mesh, would prefer one router.

    2. Also all the time it’s got only 10mb ram free with hardly any CPUs usage so is it bottlenecking? is it causing other smart devices to not perform ?

  31. Hi Dong,

    First, let me say how much I love your website, which is full of GREAT information, useful tips and advices! Thanks for your amazing work!

    I followed your advice and bought the RT-AX86U and made it the main router in my house. I connected my existing router (RT-AC86U) as a node and an SUPER HAPPY with this setting. Both run Merlin btw…

    Please let me know if it’s possible to add a XD4N as a second node to cover a small part of my house with bad reception. I know that there’s no Merlin firmware available for it, but I need to verify if it could work with the original firmware…
    Perhaps the RP-AX56 is a better choice?

    Thanks a lot…:-)

  32. First of all, I’m loving your reviews. I’ve spent days now researching and reading them.

    I just upgraded from 200 mbps to 800mbps with my IPS. I’m still using an old Apple airport router. My house is about 1500sqft not counting my basement and attached garage. I’m getting about 1 bar in my basement and pretty much 0 in my backyard.

    I’ve been debating between the AX88U or AX86U and if they don’t give me good enough signal, getting a second one at some point for Aimesh. But I considered going with the AX92U and putting the second one in the basement since it’s a walkout for my back yard. My house is not wired so I would be going wireless if I did use Aimesh. What would be your recommendation? Thanks

  33. Hi Dong,
    I purchased the AX-86 as a replacement for my trusted AC-86. I have AI Mesh set up with the AC-86 (3 x Lyra Trio nodes and 1 x old AC-68U) From reading a article, I noticed that I can save my current setup, such like port forwarding etc and I have done this with the old AC-86.
    Upon purchasing the AX-86 I upgraded with the Merlin firmware.. no dramas there… and uploaded the “old” AC-86 config file into the AX-86. So far so good….. I did this all “off” the internet at my work so I could get the router as much configured as possible for a quick power down of the old and power up of the new when I get home tonight.
    One thing I noticed was that I could not see the AI Mesh nodes… do you think this is because I was not connected to my home network? I remember you mentioned that when you uploaded a config file, the AI Mesh was there when you booted up?
    It’s just that setting up the nodes is a real pain and an exercise in patience… and I’d like to avoid as much of that as possible. Any tips welcome. Cheers Rene

    • You likely need to add the nodes manually, Rene. It’s probably not possibly to migrate them that way since they are of different Wi-Fi standard, especially when you mix Asuswrt and Merlin.

      • Thank you for your super speedy reply.. I thought it would be the case. Anyways, at least the bulk of the configurations files are done. It just takes a LONG time adding the nodes.. sometimes hit and miss.. I wish they could come up with a better way.. Ohh wishful thinking.

      • Hi Dong.
        I’m happy to let you know that it worked a charm. I just installed the AX-86 at home and the mesh nodes were there. No reinstalling mesh nodes.. just worked flawlessly. I’m impressed with how far Asus has come with their mesh integration.

  34. Hi Dong,

    Thank you for the review.

    I want to ask that if I could get this RT-AX86U and the Netgear RAX120 at the same price, which one should I pick?
    They are on sale for the same price at the place I live, so I would like to know your thought on which is better.

  35. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for the helpful review and I also have checked out your post on the best WiFi 6 routers available now. You mention in that WiFi 6 router post that this is one of the best all-around WiFi 6 dual-band routers available. Specifically, I know WiFi 6 introduces OFDMA and TWT capabilities and was wondering if this router supports those two technologies?

    Also, if I am in a small apartment and have no need for mesh at the current time (but also don’t want to run ethernet cables), just curious if you would suggest the dual-band AX86U or tri-band AX92U? (Money isn’t a deciding factor, but I might pair a AiMesh unit with one of these later down the road when I move into a house)

  36. I currently have the Asus AC3100 (RT-AC88U) Router and have had it since it came out in 2015. It has been great for my house as it covered it all over and some, but I think it may be going out so I need to get a new one. I was looking at this router (RT-AX86U), but would it be as good or better? I have a 2 story house around 2900sf. I also have around 35 to 40 devices so since this is a wifi 6 would that help hold more devices as my current router has dropouts at times? If there is a better suggestion than the AX86U router that would benefit me more please let me know.

      • Thanks for the reply. The RT-AX88U doesn’t have a 2.5 multi gig port, do I need this? My Arris modem has one so I wasn’t sure if I needed to get a router with it as well. If not, the AX88U would probably be a better fit for me then. If it would be better to get a router with a 2.5 multi gig port then maybe the AX86U or AX89U would be a better fit for me?

  37. Hi Dong,

    I was wondering what the up time was like on this Asus. I have had some routers in the past that required rebooting every other day in order to achieve proper speeds.

    My current router does not ever need to be rebooted. It runs fine month after month. I want to upgrade to WiFi 6, but I really don’t want to have to reboot my router on a regular basis.

    • Generally, it’s months, Anon. I have a setup that’s been running for more than a year now. But that carries by the model and what you do with it. Personally, I restart mine a few times a month because of what I do. Generally, I recommend restarting it once a month or so.

  38. Hey Dong,

    I have an RT-AX86U with three AIMesh nodes, two RP-AC1900’s and one RT-AC88U, works great but for one thing. I have 4 or 5 computers all wired, three on 24/7. Those three randomly lose internet connection several times a day, only for moments, and seldom more that one at a time. I have Glasswire Elite on all three and have been keeping a spreadsheet with date/time of disconnects and all three disconnect at random times. At first I thought it might be the cable modem, so I bought and authorized a new Motorola MB8600, way overkill for my 100/10 ISP (Spectrum). So it has to be something in the router, or at least inside the cable modem. I’ve disabled all QOS, that didn’t fix it. No WiFi issues, but also no PC’s connected via WiFi. Any ideas on anything else to check on the router to try and figure this out? I’m stumped!!


      • Nope, all wired backhaul. Sorry, should have mentioned that. My house is pretty wired, why there are NO WiFi connected PC’s. Wires everywhere and pretty good consumer grade switches here and there. All said PC’s with the issue are on different switches, too!!

    • I’m going to reply to myself here just for curiosity. I took the AC-88U OFF the AIMesh and disabled guest network and haven’t had a disconnect in days!! For the past month at least 5 disconnects a day over 3 always-on PC’s. So which is the suspect, the AC-88U in the mesh or the guest network? The AC-88U DID have Merlin and the rest ASUSWRT, so maybe that?

      • Likely the mix for the two firmware was the culprit, Tom. At most, you should use Merlin on the router unit, but using either consistently is the best.

        • OK, I hard reset the AC-88U and installed ASUSWRT so I’ll put it back in the mesh and see what happens. My bad on that one, I didn’t realize the AC-88U had Merlin from when it was my main router!! Shoulda known.


  39. Hi Dong. Thank you for the great article. I am looking for a AX/wifi 6 router with parental controls, stability, can saturate gigabit broadband, hardware firewall, and great wifi throughput. Would you say that the RT-AX86U is the best option at the $250 price point or is there a comparable router(s)?

    Also, do you happen to know what’s the WAN to LAN throughput with hardware firewall on?

    My home has anywhere from 3-5 devices streaming/playing/surfing, and maybe 20 smart devices connected at all time.

    Thank you in advance for any suggestion you can provide.

    • I’m not a big fan of Parental Controls, Wen — more here — but this router does have this feature. I’m not sure what you mean by “WAN to LAN” throughput.

  40. Hello,

    I have bought the AX86, as it’s 4,804Mbps on the 5GHz band ! and I’m wondering if my testing are correct !

    I have connect two laptop (1000Mbps)wires,and two phone (1200Mbps) 5G 80Mhz(I can’t connect to 160Mhz because of the radar ) and done some testing with iperf3:

    laptop-1 to laptop-2 . i get max at 900 Mbps
    laptop-1 to phone-1 . I get max at 600 Mbps
    laptop-1 to phone-1. I get max at 300 Mbps
    laptop-2 to phone-2. I get max at 300 Mbps
    laptop-1(wifi -ac 860 ) to phone-1. I get max at 150 Mbps
    laptop-2(wifi -ac 860)to phone-2. I get max at 150 Mbps

    for test 3 and 4 , I shouldn’t get more speed as it’s 4804Mbps

      • Thanks ! I have read your post. but still I don’t understand the result of my test-3
        laptop-1 to phone-1. I get max at 300 Mbps
        laptop-2 to phone-2. I get max at 300 Mbps

        it should be each one around 600Mbps, the route wifi 5G is upto 4804Mbps, each phone have 2×2 and router is 4×4.

        • You can never use a phone to test Wi-Fi and get the correct result, Ali. At best you’re testing the speed of the phone, not the router. Read the post again. 🙂

    • Using iperf and 80mhz I got 975mbps download to phone from laptop wired to the ax86, and 950 download with ax200 client. My upload from phone to laptop peaks at most 375mbps. With an AX200 client upload is 650mbps.

      So yes, one is much faster than the other. Your speeds are less than the router can do. I am disappointed with the 375/650 upload speeds.

      A dark night n900 router that I have had almost ten years (9 years I think) was doing 250-190mbps down and up about 190 in the same situation for same test.

      • wow !
        my testing phone are note10+ and s21 ultra, could you share with me your wifi and wifi professional settings ?

        • Phone is S20 FE. Laptop is a quad core intel with gigabit intel LAN. AX200 is integrated on desktop motherboard and has an external aerial.

  41. Hey Dong, thanks a lot for that excellent library of ASUS router knowledge! Given we need a new WiFi setup for our home, I read quite a lot of your articles over the last few days.

    I do have some favorites already, but I would surely appreciate some feedback on my thoughts so far. 🙂

    Our home is rather small (two levels, approx 130 sqm total) but old, with some wifi dead spots and instabilities. With home office and all, that can be quite annoying. We have a NAS up and running and we also need a second router to act as DHCP (my wife works in R&D and has some LAN-dependent devices at home currently). Most wifi devices are wifi 5 and our internet caps at roughly 200Mbps.

    Right now, my favored setup would be an AiMesh consisting of an ax86u as the primary with the NAS connected to its 2.5 Gbs port, and an ax82u as a secondary to eliminate remaining instabilities/dead spots and provide the necessary LAN ports for my wife’s devices (which don’t need multi-gig ports). Backhaul will be wireless for now as wiring the house is no easy task (but may happen eventually).

    I figured that this setup might give me good stability and sufficient bandwith for all things home office while still remaining fast enough for quick access to the NAS despite dual-band and wireless backhaul, thanks to both routers running high-bandwith Wifi 6.

    I’ve also looked at two ax92u units or two Zen XT8, but with the ax92u I don’t like the fact that wifi 6 is only available with wired backhaul, and the Zen XT8 didn’t impress me in terms of NAS read/write speeds…

    Do you think the ax86u / ax82u combo is a sensible choice, or would you recommend another setup?

    • The NAS read/write speeds are for the router’s USB port, and not when you use a NAS server, Thomas. And no, you either run a network cable for wired backhaul or use the tri-band hardware. More here.

      • Thanks for the reply!
        True, you even emphasized the USB part in text for the read/write speeds… Well, I guess at some point I was just looking at figures and forgot about the text…

        As for the linked article: I had a close look at it and actually, it’s the reason why I’m favoring the AX86U / AX82U combo. You state “acceptable wireless mesh performance when paired with same tier routers” for both of them. Given we don’t have that many devices and our internet is capped at 200 mbps anyway, I figured it might be an acceptable solution that albeit not working to its optimum might still be fast enough for what we need and what our internet can provide. If performance should be too bad, I’ll bite the bullet and install a wired backhaul.

  42. Hi Dong and all. I have the ax86u. It is set up on an uncontested 5ghz channel and at 80mhz. The lan ports are aggregated and paired to aggregated switch ports. On iperf3 at close range download is approx 975mbps, but upload is only 350-400mbps. Is there any reason for such a disparity? Using a Samsung S20 FE.

      • Thanks. The iperf3 server is on the LAN wired via the switch over gigabit. The WiFi phone is running iperf3 client. Perhaps my phone just simply can’t upload faster. I will try and source a second wifi6 client, and if that doesn’t improve will directly wire the iperf3 server to the router.

      • Ok, I have used another wifi6 client, unplugged all other clients, and also plugged in a quad core intel laptop with gigabit lan running iperf3 server into the router directly. using udp, no bandwidth limits, no firewalls, no QOS or other setting and my results at close range (not too close though!) are:
        Samsung S20FE – 975mbps DL / 375mbps UL;
        Intel AX200 – 950mbps DL / 650mbps UL.

        I still think the upload is a little slow. Any ideas? I think people can do more towards gigabit upload on wifi.

  43. Bought this to upgrade from my Netgear R7000 which is a few years old and has had some hiccups lately when my wife and I are both working from home. The only issue I have is that for some reason it is invisible to my Honeywell T9 WiFi thermostat. The thermostat sees the old router’s SSID, my neighbors’ SSID’s, my phone’s hotspot when it is on, etc, but no matter how I configure the RT-AX86U the T9 doesn’t see it. Even when I manually type in the SSID and password. Using Smart Connect, not using Smart Connect, etc. Dedicated 2.4Ghz guest network. I’ve given up and returned it and reconnected the R7000 and am in analysis paralysis as to what to try next. 1500 SqFt house, but router is in one corner. Wife and I both work from home, two teenagers with their laptops and phones, Roku, PS4, etc. Any ideas on what the issue with the thermostat is? I also tried a TP-Link AX6000 but really didn’t like the interface, even though everything connected just fine.

    • You probably just needed to config the Asus’s Wi-Fi to use lower channels width and turn of the support for DFS or Wi-Fi 6 mode, Justin. The thermostat uses Wi-Fi 4 so I won’t support certain features of Wi-Fi 6.

  44. I just picked up the AX86U. I noticed you were able to get speeds over a Gigabit in certain scenarios. So far I haven’t been able to reach those speeds. Usually it tops out around 650 Mbps. The AX82U I tried actually managed to hit 700+ Mbps. I know the AX86U is supposed to be better so I’m trying to figure out why I’m getting slower results. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  45. Is there any router out there which is/has 6+ streams, AX (which presumably is ofdma), wpa3, tri-band, 160mhz, usb port, free vpn/virus security if thats a thing but not important, (and while i write this, surely i missed another variable), and in the $200-250 range? If Im buying a new router, might as well buy the one with close to the latest tech. Ive now been going over routers for a few weeks… I remember those days of driving to a store and picking up from what was available right in front!

      • Thanks. I have still been using a router I bought in 2008 (dlink dir 825). Dual band may have been new at that time. Served me well (considering all i do is use the internet) but it started dropping every few minutes in the last couple of months.

        Anyhow, thanks for the links. Looks like wifi 5 is best for me now. Now to restart the search, this time looking at wifi 5s. Fun.

  46. Hi Dong,

    Over the years I’ve set up a combination of 2 Asus AC68U routers (RT+AP) in about 7 locations of friends and family. First manual, later via AI Mesh. All running nicely.
    Same setup for my home, with the exception of running Merlin-WRT as that allows me to run own scripts and replace the router from my ISP to push combined internet/interactive TV in my network.

    I checked the AC86U when it was released but decided it did not have enough advantages to upgrade. The AX86U has a more futureproof offering with wifi6 and now with Merlin support I think it’s might be time to upgrade.

    Also because I’ve read that the AC86U is more powerfull and I’ve read comments of users saying they were happy with the move from the AC68U to the AX/AC86U but I still have the same question as I did when the AC86U came out. That is that after a peep-load of reviews, that I still have a hard time translating the advantages to practical improvements in stable range/distance.
    In my case, I have most devices wired via a 1-10GB switch. Faster wifi is a “nice to have”. More stable and especially more range (horizontally and vertically) is what I’d like to improve without having to add yet another AP.

    So I would care if the AX86U would offer clearly more stable connections at 15m away, where the AC68U can not. Those kind of arguments. We have a house from the 1930’s, storm-proof but can be a challenge for wifi;-)
    From earlier reviews/comments I do read that coverage is good and offers better WiFi 5 range, but also reading comments that in comparison to the AC68U, that coverage would not be “that” much better with the AC86U or now AX86U. And ‘better’ is rarely translated to concrete distances. For instance, ‘the AC68U delivers 200mbps at 10m horizontally, the AX86U delivers 200mbps at 15 meters horizontally’. Something like that (hope you get my point)

    I haven’t seen the AC68U listed in the graphs and I don’t know if you have personal experience with that type, but given your practical way of looking at these routers what would your insight be?

    • I reviewed the RT-AC68U in my past life with CNET, Peter. Google its model and my name, and you’ll see the review. As for your case, no wireless is better than wired. As for wireless, what you’re looking for is totally arbitrary. A connection depends on both sides, the broadcasters, AND the receiver. You can’t just change one side and expect things to be better magically. More on that, check out this post.

      • Thanks for the quick follow up! Indeed always wire where possible and improve wireless where wired isn’t possible.
        I don’t feel it’s that arbitrary at all (also not after looking at the post you refer to;-)) and certainly I’m not looking for or expecting any magic;-)
        It’s always up to me as the reader of reviews to translate the findings to my own personal situation, so that’s not what I’m asking you to do. What I merely saying is that I’m looking for statements/findings that I can use to make that assessment.
        Just to get a sense in what the replacement of (in this case 1 component) could actually yield in real-life. Sometimes you need a system overhaul and replace both transmitter and receiver, but sometimes upgrading just 1 component can certainly give good improvements. But sometimes you end up with disappointments and I always like to have a sense for practical expectations vs specs and graphs.
        Thing is that most tech reviews are focussed on comparing current models side-by-side. For instance CPU gains from this year compared to last years. But sometimes it’s good to have a practical comparison between current stuff and the precedessors from years ago to better judge what the expected gains are for those not upgrading all components every year.

        But thanks for your thoughts. Certainly helpfull. I’ll do some further searching to see if I can get the info I’m looking for.

        • It’s not possible to cover specific situations, Peter. That’s for you to find out yourself or hire a professional. I’ve seen lots and lots of instances where folks don’t spend time and find out what’s best and make their own decisions. Instead they ask questions with rediculous expectations (plus the lack of understanding which wouldn’t be there if they just read the damn article) and then even hold me accountable for my advice. Networking is like relationship, there’s no one-size-fits-all parter. You have to work on that yourself.

          • Exactly, the noble task of translating reviews and specs to my particular situation is up to me. Hence my question to get further generic input I can then translate to my situation. Networking in that sense is really no different then most other product categories in tech. There are always multiple (and external) variables in play. Best thing I as a user can do is do my homework on the whole and on the indiviual various parts to make a guesstimate on the outcome.
            What however is tricky in WiFi land is that there is no benchmark or standardized measurement on one of the most important aspects for end users, which is distance. Which makes it very difficult to compare over (generations of) products and user situations. Manufacturers state “large” or “very large” homes, or “good” vs “excellent” distance coverage. But what does that actually mean in real-life when comparing between routers?
            Simple example for instance for PC builds (also dependent on many variables and components). You can run own benchmarks and based on that estimate what changing certain components will change for you in a practical real-life sense and time gained. Just to make it less subjective.

            While it’s nice that router x delivers a 30% bandwidth boost over router y when sitting right beside the router, the question I now get the most from non-tech users is “will replacing my router with a new one at the same location in the house allow me to have stable video conference calls in the backyard;-)”. A simple, fair and practical question.

            Anyway, back to my initial and particular question: I e-mailed some users that apparantly made the upgrade from an AC68U to the AX86U to hear their hands-on experiences on whether the stability/bandwidth has improved over longer distances. Some more input to translate.

  47. Hey dong,
    Thanks for this review, it helped me make my purchase decision to buy this router as it corresponds to my needs. I have a question concerning the connection speed: I connected the router to my modem with a 1G Ethernet. I’m using it in wifi 6 mode with a laptop that’s capable of receiving wifi 6, the theoretical maximum speed or link speed I get is 2.4Gbps but the actual speed I’m getting is only about 650 Mbps at best.
    I was expecting to get the full 1Gbps from the Ethernet connection through Wifi6. From your test, it seems like you are getting 1245 Mbps from the 2.5G port.
    I know that usually the ratio between actual and theoretical speeds should be around 2 thirds at max. I also checked the channels used in my area if it was from signal interference but I am the only one on 160Mhz and on the used network channel.
    Thank you in advance

  48. hi Dong,

    i want to upgrade my local network for a little bit. currently i am using a netgear x4s (r7800) as main router with ca 10-12 devices (3 on cables).

    my biggest problem, i cannot make a cable connection to the next room. the nas is in a different room, than my two work stations. currently i use an asus pceac88 card, which is not really linux compatible (much slower than in windows).

    my idea – i replace the main router to the more modern ax86u, then i create a bridge/mesh connection with a secondary router to the next room, and i would connect the two work stations by cable to the router (no linux issues).

    what would be the best secondary router to the ax86u for this task? i do not want to use the wifi part for any another devices on the secondary router, it should serve just these two computers fast as possible.

    maybe is there any cheaper solution? eg cheaper ax routers, or just keep the r7800 for this task?

    i already tried out the dual r7800 setup, but the max speed was not more than 80 mbyte/s in bridge mode (with the asus 4×4 card is around 100-110 mbyte/s). it would be nice to reach the gbit lan speed, or slighly over, i have seen 1300mb/s between the ax + 2×2 ax clients.


    • A couple of things Arn:

      1. Make sure your desktop has Gigabit (1000Mbps) and not Fast Ethernet (100Mbps). The numbers you posted are those of the latter. (Also make sure you got the unit correct, it’s Mbps and NOT mbyte/s. 100mbyte/s = 800Mbps which is about the speed of Gigabit.)
      2. You try to run a network cable. If that’s not possible use Wi-Fi another RT-AX85U (or a 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 router) in bridge mode.

      • thx for the answer.

        1. sorry for to mix the values – where i write mb/s as mbit/s anyway mbyte/s.

        so currently i have between the r7800 and pce-ac88 800-880mbit/s in win10. my problem, the linux drivers are not so good for the wifi devices, and the speed is just around 240-400 mbit/s there with the same hardware.

        i measured between the two r7800 (in bridge mode) ca 640mbit/s. it should be 3×3 and not 4×4, which is interesting for me.

        i would like to get the gigabit speed (or over it, if it is possible) with wifi routers between the two rooms.

        2. unfortunately cables are not possible, anyway i would go in this way. every 4×4 router should be fine? eg the ax82 is cheaper, theoretically the same speed, but you measured slower compared to the ax86.

        • 1. It’s Mbps (megabits per second) and MB/s (megabytes per second), Arn. 1MB/s = 8Mbps.
          2. Get another 4×4 router that can work in the bridge mode and use the 4×4 band as the link to the main router.

  49. Dear Dong,
    I took your advice and purchased the router a few months ago, and I am indeed very pleased and impressed. With that said, I stumbled upon two issues that bug me:

    1. I have to restart the router every now and then (about once a month), when there is a sudden unexplained drop in speed. I assume that this is a firmware bug. I could not find the reason for that situation, which I would rather avoid in the future. That hardly ever happened with my previous TP-Link routers over the last 5-6 years or so.

    2. I have recently purchased an external hard-disk in order to use is as a network drive. I have figured out that it would be best to get a desktop hard-drive, since it is 7200 rpm, and utilizes an external power source. To my disappointment, I found out that the desktop hard-drive works much slower than my previous mobile hard-drive, at 5400 rpm, and with no external power. This mostly comes to an effect when I try to stream data heavy video files: It was possible before, and now it is laggy. Both drives are 4tb, use the same file system (NTFS), and are at least USB 3.0 compatible. Is there a reason for that gap in performance?

    Thank you so much for sharing your incredible knowledge and research!

    • Hi Yoav,

      1. That’s not too bad. The Asus has a lot more to do than older routers so a restart might be needed. This depends on the settings, though. Also, you can schedule a periodical restart so you won’t need to do that yourself. You can find that in the Administration -> System area.
      2. That might be the issue with the desktop external drive. I’d stick with the portable one. But make sure you use the router in the USB 3.0 mode and the drive itself supports USB 3.0. More here.

      • A Development –

        First of all, thank you Dong for your kind assistance and swift response.

        I have taken your advice, but first, tried something else with my hard-drive. I have enabled AiCloud, downloaded the correlating app, and noticed that if I am accessing my drive trough the remote address – everything works as it should. With that said, I would rather not have my USB drive connected to the web for security reasons, and the app’s interface is very limited anyway. I was previously accessing my files by either smb or cifs on my Mac, or by smb through file management apps on my iPhone. I don’t understand how local access is way slower than remote access, I was surely doing something wrong. Should I get to my files by logging in Finder to smb:// This is my local (default) address for the router. It works fine, but slow. I don’t get it.

        • Then it’s likely something to do with your MAC’s support for the SMB, Yoav. Apple is pretty terrible when it comes to supporting Microsoft’s protocols. Try a Windows computer and you’ll see the difference.

  50. Hi Dong,
    I really have problems with this RT-AX86U router. After last SW update today, my 2.4GHZ band have such bad signal strength that it does not accept the connection. Only when coming closer to the router it accepts it. At same position 5GHz band is excellent. Am not satisfied with the 2.4GHz performance from the beginning already. Its much worse than old RT-N66U. Any advice what to do? Any setting to review? ECO mode is off.

      • Dong, how to set it to USB2.0 mode. I guess I first need add for instance USB stick before I can change mode? And you believe its helpfull to play around with the Wifi 2.4GHz settings like choose fixed band or disable AX mode or other change of setting ?

        • See the screenshot in the post I linked earlier, Mark. Like I said, this band is generally not the focus of Wi-Fi 6. You can play around with it but it might be better to get a Wi-Fi 4 access point for that, like turning your RT-N66U in to one. As for how to do things in detail, try the site search or the product’s manual. Don’t just ask for specific things that you can figure out yourself with little effort.

        • Administration/System/USB Mode, there! That said, maybe we shouldn’t use an AX86U for 2.4Ghz, BUT, most of us have lots of little things around the home that are 2.4Ghz only!! So we’d like at least OK 2.4Ghz! I have two RP-AC1900s in my Aimesh system and quite a few of my things, garage door openers, small cameras, door bells, are on these, but are they REALLY on them, or just on the AX86U? I assumed they were on the AC1900’s. I guess learning of the poor 2.4 on AX routers needs to be the catalyst for rethinking my setup!!

  51. First, Dong thank you so much for all your reviews, they have been a big help!

    I was all set to get the RT-AX86U based on your review until I realized you can’t lay it flat. The cabinet where my router lives along with some switches for my wired connections doesn’t have the height to stand the 86U up AND have the antenna upright. I could put it in there with the antenna all horizontal but I understand that wouldn’t be optimum for signal coverage.

    Could you recommend a similar router to get in lieu of the 86U?


  52. Great review as always. So good I went and bought an RT-AX86U to replace my AC88U. Saved the config from the 88U, put it on the AX86U, installed Merlin, and it just worked!! All 55 clients got the same IP and everything just worked, cameras, doorbells, Alexas, TiVos, Fire TVs, garage door openers, EVERYTHING!! I come from the old days where getting a new router was a dreadful thing and took two days even in the hands of an “expert” to get configured and get everything going with new IP’s and all. No longer, amazing.

    One question, I set the old 88U to AIMesh node mode to go with my other two nodes, wired backhaul, all works great. The 88U has ASUS firmware. Can I manual install Merlin on that as the node and if so, do I gain anything or not really?

    Thanks for the great site,

    • It doesn’t matter what firmware you use on the node, Tom, unless you use Asuswrt on the router. In that case, the node should use Asuswrt, too. More here. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  53. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for the thorough review! I have been struggling to figure out whether this is possible or not. My internet provider provides me 2 x 1gbps fiber network. From your review, I see that the AX86U supports dual WAN connection on the WAN port & LAN 4 port. I am thinking of getting 2 AX86U to form a wired backhaul mesh network at home.

    Since I am still quite new to these routers, I am not sure whether doing the wired backhaul by using the 2.5G ports of both main router and node works. As I am trying to figure out whether it is possible to deliver the 2gbps network for both main and nodes. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Appreciate it Dong.

      • Thanks Dong.

        With that said, do you think a pair of AX86U with wired backhaul or XT8 would be better? For XT8, I could take advantage of unhiding the dedicated 5G band for more clients. Is there any update whether ASUS would allow 160mhz for clients with 4×4 that was dedicated for backhaul WITH wired backhaul set up?
        Or is the 5G band good enough with AX86U with the 160mhz?

  54. Dong, just want to let you know I appreciate your thorough review. I bought this router and have been very pleased with performance. I had my concerns with it being dual-band, but it’s been great so far. Best router I’ve had. And it was easy to setup with CenturyLink fiber with a direct connection to their ONT.

  55. I’m a little confused on the differences between this unit and the XT8 as a single unit. Right now I have 2 AX86Us, 1 AX3000U, and 1 AC68P, the last one I’m trying to replace. With a wired backhaul and gigabit Internet, am I better off getting a single pack XT8 for the tri-band or another AX86U? Which one was more reliable in your testing?

  56. Hi Dong,

    Firstly , thanks for all your reviews and all the work you put in to help us all. I for one, am VERY grateful for your efforts.

    Thanks to your review , I have pretty much decided on the RT-AX86U.
    Not being super knowledgeable at networking , I just am a little confused by one thing..

    Here is my setup:
    I have a 1.2gig RJ45 cable coming from my ISP’s Cable modem. This is my internet “feed”.
    I have a 2.5 gig Lan card in my main PC.
    The Rest of the network goes to a switch and is all 1gig Lan based.

    My question is: Which WAN port do I use for my ISP RJ45 connection? The 2.5 gig one? or the “standard” WAN port? (the latter will leave the 2.5gig port free for connection to my main pc)

    I would like to get the full 1.2gig to my main pc , but from what i see , this wont be possible if I use the 2.5 WAN/Lan port for my ISP Internet feed?

    Will any configuration be needed in the Router settings?

    Thanks in advance for your help , I am VERY grateful

    • That depends on how fast your Internet speed is, Keith. If you have a Gig+ plan (one that’s faster than 1Gbps) then use the 2.5Gbps of the router as the Primary WAN port — you change that in the WAN -> Dual-WAN section within the router’s Interface. Check out this post.

      • Hi ,

        Thanks for your reply..

        My Net connection is 1.2gig down , so I guess if I do that (plug into the 2.5 gig wan port) , then I wont be able to use any of the Lan ports above 1gig?. and that the only way of getting the full 1.2 will be to use the wifi 6 wireless?

        I guess I cant have it both ways lol

  57. Hey Dong!

    Thanks so much for doing what you do, I have learned so much about networking over the past few days reading over your site! It’s so very hard to find a good source for information on these products and you are undoubtedly #1 from what I can tell!

    Per your recommendation, I purchased the RT-AX86U to go with my new gigabit internet plan. It is paired with a Docsis 3.1 Arris Surfboard and the wired speeds were 940/35 (Exactly what I’m paying for) right out of the box, woo!

    However, I am disappointed in the Wifi speed on my iPhone 12 Pro. (Have also tested with a newer laptop and an iPhone 12 Pro Max as well) Currently, standing 5 feet from the router on the 5Ghz band the max I have been able to pull is just under 500mbps on one specific Ookla server that usually gives me the highest speeds. Most other servers give me results around 300-350Mbps. Now, while this isn’t slow by any stretch it is quite short of the gigabit speeds I was hoping to get via the Wifi 6 this router pushes out.

    I’m not sure if there is something I’m missing, perhaps this is the max I should be getting via wireless? Although many routers show they are capable of providing over a gigabit via the 5Ghz band (and almost a gigabit on 2.4Ghz). The 2.4Ghz connection is another story, I have yet to get a speed test on 2.4Ghz that even hits 100Mbps.

    Sorry if these are amateur questions, I just can’t seem to find an answer anywhere else and figured I’d turn to the master! Also, the router has the default settings enabled, no QoS, all gaming features turned off. Thanks in advance, looking forward to hearing from you!


  58. Hey Dong, great review on Asus RT-AX86U. I’m currently using the TP-link mesh system M5 deco.

    I’m considering to upgrade to Asus Aimesh system using one RT-AX86U (as primary) with one Asus RT-AX82U. what your take on this?

    Also, from your knowledge, will this combination work with the sonos system? (I have 1 sonos sound bar and 1 sonos one speaker. Sonos speakers only run on 2.4Ghz)

  59. Hi Dong,

    In the last 24 hours I have gone through your school of Routers 101 and it has been extremely helpful. Tech wise from your reviews it is very clear the technical features/advantages of each and that has helped in narrowing down my choice. One thing I have found difficult to find on ASUS is a comparison of the software / interface features (gaming / internet security / control features etc.) of the AX86 vs AX88 and AC88.

    Do they all offer exactly the same or is there a site or shortlist of differences to see pros or cons of each that would help in the final decision.



    • The three are very similar in the feature set. You can even consider them the same on this front, Phil. But it would help if you read their reviews to find out more about the minor degrees by which they differentiate. Here are the related matchup posts:

      1. AX88U vs AC88U/a>.
      AX86U vs AX82U.

  60. Hi Dong, I have the RT-AX86U since 2 wks and yesterday suddenly faced issue of extreme slow download speed. Also via cable connection random in the house. I check if ISP provider showed issues but no problems. I found 1 very strange issue. There was 1 cable connected to port 4 of router which was not active. This cable at the other side had an Apple “network to USB-C” converter but was not connected to anything. When I disconnected this cable at port 4 from router and connect my old Macbook pro with network cable directly I get full speed back (250Mbps/25Mbps). Also by Wifi I meet this speed. Connecting this original “faulty” cable back did not lead to any issues afterwords. My speed is now according expectations. Do you understand what could have happened? Want to understand for next time. Greets Mark

    • That cable shouldn’t have done anything, Mark. Keep watching. What happened there was odd and might not have had anything with the router.

  61. Hi Dong, thanks so much for your work on these reviews and recommendations. I had “upgraded” to a Netgear RAX-75 back in Sept 2020 from Costco (from R7000 that started having issues on the firmware it was on). And honestly it’s been a hit and a miss on the RAX-75:

    Randomly I would have devices that would not connect out of the blue. Happened the other day with a 2019 MBP 16”; fine during morning/afternoon doing work, then it won’t connect to the 5ghz wifi network. Then the other day, devices start losing their connection overnight while sleeping: smart home devices, iPads. So thus I’m giving up on the “new” Netgear! Researched and read up on Wirecutter and then found your reviews. So pulled the trigger and ordered this RT-86U from Best Buy.

    Going to return the RAX-75 to Costco; it’s clearly defective regardless of firmware. They don’t even sell it anymore. Newer RAX-120 being sold still does not have great reviews. All I need is reliable Wifi5 for working from home & my kid’s distance learning, and Wifi6 for me and my wife’s iPhones!! Crossing my fingers on this RT-86U….it’ll be my first Asus router 😛

  62. Hi, i have deployed the AX86U and i regularly have issue with 2 smartphones connecting to the Wifi … generally they are working well, but sometime i lose the Wifi, marked as “access rejected’ on my smartphone.
    To make it work again i have to turn the Wifi Off, and turn it on again to reconnect … that may happen several times in a row 🙁
    Anyone having idea ? My phones are normal phones, Huawei P30 & P20, and it’s embarrassing because i need the wifi for calls (VoWIFI)
    Thanks for any good idea to test

  63. Congrats for the review Dong!
    I live in 1000 sq ft apartment which have a “U” shape with an inner courtyard.
    My router, an AC68U is placed in one extreme of the U, close to a wall, so the signal that arrives to the other end is so weak that is useless and I am using a extender to bring wifi to the other side of the apartment.

    I have a 1gb internet connection, and no chance to wire the house.

    I definitely want to upgrade to a better system, and after reading a lot of your posts I was seriously considering moving to an AiMesh with the Asus XT8, because I will have to set it up with a wireless backhaul.

    As my apartment is relatively small, and the AX86U seems to have a much better range than the AC68U, do you think it would be necessary to move to a mesh system or the AX86U should be powerful enough to bring wifi signal to the furthest rooms? I don’t have the chance to place the router closer to the “center” of the apartment.

    Thanks a lot


  64. Just bought one of these on your recommendation, Dong. It’s replacing a Synology RT2600ac which had started to exhibit problems.

    I would have replaced it with another Synology router but they never shipped a WiFi 6 router and have been have been silent about 6e as well so I’m guessing that they’re easing their way out of the wireless router business.

    This router definitely has more range than the Synology in my 3000 sq ft one story house. It has a reasonably strong signal all the way across my house on both 2.4 and 5ghz bands, definitely stronger than the Synology router did.

    I have a bunch of devices hooked up wirelessly and I was using reservations for all of them; this router has a 64 device limit so I might crash into that someday.

    So far, so good. The only glitch that I’ve run into is with HP LaserJet printers; I tried changing the wireless setting on the router to WPA2/WPA3 personal and both laser printers disconnected and would never reconnect to the wireless network no matter how I changed the security configuration on the router or printers.

      • > using a network cable with the printer will fix that for good.
        Yeah, my color laser is next to the router so I have it plugged into the router now and everything works fine when computers print to it wirelessly.

        My monochrome laser printer is across the house from the router so that’s a little more complicated. I currently have it wirelessly connected to my range extender and there are no issues connecting the printer to the range extender. I just can’t do it on the router itself.

        I will look for FW updates for the printers but they are old; the color laser is ~9 years old and my monochrome laser is ~5 years old. HP builds good laser printers that last but their software is just awful.

        • Don’t use the range extender, Bob, which might likely have been the cause of your issues. It causes the printer’s MAC, and therefore its IP, to change each time it connects to the network, resulting in the fact you need to set it up anew on each computer when that happens if you want to print. Ditch the extender, and things will be fine. More here. Do NOT use extenders. Period.

  65. Hi Dong,

    Love your reviews! Would you happen to know why the AX86U is so much faster than the AX88U in your review? I thought they used pretty much the same hardware. I’m guessing you are posting the original tests for the AX88U (done with original hardware and old firmware?)

    If we were to retest the AX88U with latest firmware, do you think it would match the AX86U?

    Reason I ask is in my region, Asus wont sell the AX86U to the general market unless you use a certain telco. The only way to get the AX86U is to buy a limited edition version which makes it more expensive than the AX88U!!!

  66. Hi!
    I am so confused about what to get. So many choices, makes it even harder. I currently have a LinksysEA6900 and have started having issues. Time to upgrade. While a NAS support is nice, it isn’t a deal breaker. I have 2k sq.ft tri level home. Many devices, ring, computers, phones, tablets, but we are not gamers. I want fast complete speed and coverage, is this the one for me? No new 6 devices as of yet, though a phone upgrade is near.

    • I just wanted to reply to this post here, because picking a wireless router drove me completely nuts. I am currently using an Asus RT-AX86U, and I would highlight recommend this unit. Dong highlights this as the best overall WiFi 6 router, but I would suggest it would meet the expectations for those who want great WiFi coverage and performance. I just bought a Netgear RAX50 in September but decided after several glitches and problems (albeit the newest firmware has stabilized things) to go with the Asus RT-AX86U. The WiFi coverage is amazing. I have a 3000 sq. ft. home with two stories and a basement. The router is in on the second floor office in the front of the house. I am getting double the throughput in the 5 GHz band compared with the RAX50. It has a lot of advanced features in wireless and traffic monitoring for those who are curious to get deeper insights into device coverage and traffic. Also, I have a wide range of “older” IoT devices like the Nest Dropcam, and some Lyric leak detectors, and I have not had any problems. Honestly, just get the RT-AX86U. Anyone who is reading this, I would really suggest it even for very large homes. In the hardest spot to reach, the back basement family room, I used my Netgear EAX20 to connect to the 5 GHz band and then wired my PS4, Samsung TV and Apple TV directly to the extender.

      • Just to reply to my own thread here.

        Things I like better about the Asus RT-AX86U compared with the Netgear RAX50:

        – Better wireless performance in the 5 GHz band, almost 3-8 dB increase and 2x data rate in most locations
        – More responsive mobile application, quicker updates and not slow to access status or configuration
        – Configuration changes are applied more quickly, often independently to not disrupt to network link (based on the change)
        – Shows better link status both the data rate and dBm for connected devices
        – Lists devices that are presently connected, but also shows recently connected (online and offline devices)
        – Better traffic usage statistics, including real-time traffic per interface and total traffic per device
        – Shows detailed router performance, related to CPU and memory usage
        – More granular control over QoS for applications, across both WAN and Wireless; e.g., can prioritize not just gaming, but a specific device for gaming, can put gaming behind work applications and Zoom streaming, etc.
        – Can upload customized icons for identifying devices (small thing but useful)
        – Combined 2 Gbps on the WAN port (although I don’t use it now, my ISP is 1 Gbps only)

  67. Once again, Dong, all your reviews and insights are so great. Love your passion for this topic. I purchased a Netgear Nighthawk RAX50 in September, and it took some time to troubleshoot various IoT device and DHCP issues. The WiFi performance has been pretty good, but I have had some intermittent reliability issues with the software; e.g., router becoming unreachable, 5 GHz band just stopped working, etc. Each time a hard reboot was required and resolve the issue. I also tried experimenting with an EAX20 range extender. Owing to some of the challenges, I decided to get an Asus RT-AX86U. For those reading this article, I have to say that the Asus mobile app is MUCH better than the Netgear app. It is far more responsive, quicker, and there are so much more metrics available, such as the RSSI for devices, real time traffic information and more. I did some preliminary tests and I was SUPER impressed with the wireless performance. You mention this in your article, comparing it to the GT-AX11000. The AX86U seems to have very good 5 GHz performance, sometimes getting 6 to 9 dB better RSSI in the same spot, compared with the RAX50. I did some tests with my iPhone XR and Macbook Air. The 2.4 GHz performance is not quite as good as the RAX50, sometimes the same and sometimes a few dB lower signal quality. Has this been your experience? How would you compare these routers? I am just thinking about getting rid of my RAX50 and EAX20, replacing it with one AX86U or two with Aimesh. I have a 3 storey home about 3000 sq. ft. One router has been usually pretty good at getting coverage.

    • Based on some follow-up testing, i would say the 2.4 GHz band is performance is comparable between the EAX50 and RT-AX86U. It’s the 5 GHz performance that’s outstanding in the RT-AX86U. The signal strength is sometimes 3-8 dB higher on the RT-AX86U. I also decided to re-use my EAX20 range extender to extend into my basement, but in a configuration where I just used the EAX20 to connect to the RT-AX86U on the 5 GHz band, I disabled the WiFi range extension, and just connected my three devices in the basement to Ethernet. For dual-band routers, I wonder whether this is a better idea than Aimesh (not having tested it), especially if you are extending into “corners” with poor coverage. In this case, the dual-band configuration would allow you to use 5 GHz to extend back the main router, and if you needed to you could use a “low power” 2.4GHz channel on a non-overlapping channel than the main router to cover your room.

  68. Great info Dong,
    I am replacing a Netgear nighthawk system that has a AP wired too. I was thinking of getting RT-AX88U as my main router with the RT-AX86U as a mesh node. Or should I just go with 2 Ax-86U?

    Thank you

  69. Hi

    Anyone experienced upload WAN issues with the AX86u? I replaced my old Apple Time capsule and this new router won’t max out my connection on either or my ISPs custom speedtest (FibreStream).

    Im in a condo on 500/500 fibre, my download is fine but upload caps out at 50-80mbps. Direct connecting my laptop or desktop max out at ~480 each way. If i make my apple router a switch and put it in front of the ax86u my upload goes over 250mbps. Makes me wonder if its a firmware issue

      • Hi

        Oh sorry, I meant to say wired. If I have my laptop or desktop wired directly to my Fiber connection its full speed (480/480mbps). Once the AX86U goes infront only upload speeds drop. Asus wants me to RMA but I think it must be something else since adding a switch in front of the Asus increases the speeds..its a weird one

  70. Hi Dong,
    I currently have old Asus RT-N66U and just purchased (based on your review and info) the RT-AX86U as a general upgrade. 1Q: do you think I can use the configuration file of RT-N66U to configure RT-AX86U. It saves me some time due to specific settings I used for dhcp- dns- portforwarding (NAS- IP phone- Printer- 3 extra acces points are all on a fixed assigned IP).


    • I haven’t checked with the RT-N660 but the chance is 50/50, Mark. It’s pretty old. You can try, if it doesn’t work, nothing bad will happen, you’ll get a notice or you’ll see that the settings are not ported over and you have to set up the RT-AX86U from scratch. Mot the end of the world.

  71. Excellent review, thank you!

    I just received my RT-AX86U a couple of days ago before coming across this review and it has been reassuring to see so many good comments, reviews and awards for this WiFi router from all over the internet. Your review here has been very helpful and informative.

    I’m quite novice when it comes to networking and it’s many protocols and features, although I have some computer knowledge.

    One thing that I was pondering over, is that I noticed the 160Mhz option is set to “off” as default within the router’s Wireless>5GHz settings section. I have an ASUS ROG Zephyrus GX501GI gaming laptop which has a built network card that shows as “Intel(R) Wireless-AC 9560 160MHz”, therefore I’m assuming it should be turned on to take full advantage of the WiFi’s connection quality — also there’s a couple of other devices that may have 160MHz capability in the home. I already get my ISP’s full speed of just over 200Mbps with the router’s default 160MHz option set to off (because the laptop is sitting only 2 Metres away on a desk), but I’m wondering why it is set off as default. Can it cause problems or signal deterioration to other devices using the lower WiFI frequencies?

    I think I did read somewhere once, that a user had long distance WiFI deterioration and found that turning 160MHz off had helped in their case.

  72. I’ve just got the ASUS RT-AX86U
    but does it need a separate modem to work ( sorry I’m not tech savvy and just want Wi-Fi in house) it’s saying WAN is disconnected ???

  73. Hi Dong,

    Due to some strange pricing going on, the RT-AX86U and GT-AX11000 are almost the same price where I live, so I was wondering if the RT-AX86U had compelling advantages over the GT-AX11000 despite being “only” a dual-band router.

    You say that you’re considering the RT-AX86U replacing the GT-AX11000 as your primary router. Could you elaborate? Is it more stable than the GT-AX11000 despite all the firmware updates the AX11000 has gotten? Is it something else?

    • When I say something, Marius, that’s always within a context. Since you didn’t provide that, check out this post and find your own answer. Make sure you pay attention and don’t just look for something that justifies what you already believe.

  74. Hi Dong,

    I’m planing to buy second RT-AX86U to extend wireless coverage to the second floor using LAN cable. Which LAN port on primary router will you recommend to use for backhaul, put ISP modem cable to 2.5G port and use WAN port now working as LAN for backhaul? Or can I use 2.5G LAN port as backhaul too?
    Also which port on node will be best to use to connect LAN backhaul cable?


  75. Hello Dong,

    Happy new year 🙂

    I’d like to ask you about the curious comparation: Asus Blue Cave vs Asus RT-AX86U.
    You’ll see, actually, I’ve the Asus Cave in my house (around 120m2 split in 2 simetric floors). Nowadays, because the pandemic, the 2.4GHz signals did raise from my nieghbors.
    The WiFi performance has decreased the enough to lose connection in some places in the lower floor. Around -55db and -70db drop…
    Also, the 5GHz signal has dropped but I’ve changed the channel fixing a litle the problem.

    At this fact, I want to re-enforced my wifi signal and I’ve been read all your reviews about Asus Routers: ZenWifi AX, RT-AX88U, RT-AX86U, RT-AX58U; my selection, after create a comparation table is: RT-AX86U or RT-AX88U.

    But, my prime concern is: the strength 2.4GHz signal because I have some IoT devices (they’re some the most affected because the lost signal wifi). Is the RT-AX86U better than Cave even 3×3 2.4GHz streams vs the 4×4 the Cave has?

    In the way, I want to prepare for the next WiFi 6 and I’m interested with Lan Aggregation (for my NAS) and maybe dual-wan too.

    Excuse me for all the details but I really want to invest in a good/better router than the Cave what is very likely I can to sell it.

    Thanks a lot

    Best regards


    • The RT-AX86U is definitely a step up from the Blue Cave, Humberto. Get it! You won’t be able to restore the Blue Cave’s backup file onto the RT-AX86U though.

      • Thank you very much, I really didn’t expect your answer so quickly. It doesn’t matter the backup from the Cave, for me there is no problem to configure again all the customized settings.

        When I buy the new unit, if it’s good for you, I could share the comparation/impressions about my real conditions for both models.


        • Sure, please share, H. Note that the RT-AX86U might not show any improvement in terms of speeds when used with legacy clients.

      • Would you recommend to put the AX86U as the main router over AX88U (use as node instead) ? Is it because of the 2.5 port or other reasons? Would you share your thoughts?

  76. Hi Dong,

    I triedZenWiFi AX but had to returned it due to lag spikes every few minutes which made gaming almost unbearable. Tried everything, nothing solved lag spikes.

    Also it seems like if I will position it in the middle of my house one router would do. One point to consider is that I live near the airport, so I’m not sure if 160Hz band for 5Hz is an advantage or disadvantage here. My internet speed is 200 download and 10 upload and it looks like it will stay that way. So. I don’t really need gygabit speeds. If 160Hz will not be of much use would you recommend looking for WiFi5 routers instead?

    My main goal is to have my Xbox console playable with minimum ping while everyone is watching Netflix.

    Also how would this one compare with AmplifyHD single unit for my purpose? I know AmplifyHD doesn’t have QoS but since you’ve reviewed it too I believe you have better idea.


  77. Ok I think you’ve sold me on upgrading to this router. No router previously has successfully provided WiFi coverage to one end of my house though, so in a recent remodel I had Ethernet wired to that end terminating at a low voltage box in the ceiling. It will require PoE (I have a PoE switch). Can you recommend a WAP that can ceiling mount and be powered through PoE to pair with this router to cover this far end of the house?

  78. I’m having some difficulty getting reliability from my RT-AX86U. Have updated firmware, reset a few times, completely changed SSID (that was a pain changing it on all devices), etc., but I still get random disconnects on my devices. Often times, it’ll require me to disconnect and reconnect the wifi on my devices (this happens mostly with my MacBook Pro and my Windows PC, other devices don’t seem to exhibit this issue). 160hz enabled, Wi-Fi 6/AX mode enabled, and channels set to Auto. I live in an apartment complex, so I’m sure airspace is crowded.

    Additionally, I’m only getting ~500 Mbps on my Wi-Fi 6 devices (I have gigabit, and can get 900+ directly connected via ethernet cable) even right by the router (iPad Pro 2020, iPhone 12 Mini, Windows PC with Wi-Fi 6, etc.).

    Do you have a 2nd recommendation in terms of reliability? I’d rather have reliability over top speed. But also am concerned that I can’t get closer to 700+ on speed.

  79. What a great site this is. I’m replacing a Netgear R6400 from a few years back. I thought I’d just go ahead and spend the money for the Asus RT-AX86U. My question if is you have a guide for setting up a new router while the old router is still being used? I want to copy SSIDs, password, etc. to the new router. Can I plug the new router into my computer to set it up before doing the switch with the old router? Thanks!

    • You have to write down the info from the Netgear and program that into the Asus, Amy. If you have an old Asus, you can port the information over via the universal backup restore support, but you can’t do that between vendors. If you just care about the Wi-Fi settings (network name and password), though, that’s a no-brainer, the setup wizard will work you through. Good choice on replacement, by the way! 🙂

      • Wow, that was quick. I’ll use the wizard. I don’t have an old Asus. But I’m wondering if it’s a problem to set it up before I connect it to the modem. Or am I over thinking this (which would not be unusual).

        • You’ll likely have no problem, Amy. Just check out the post I linked earlier for the standard process. Have fun! 🙂

  80. First of all thank you for keeping up the good work! I bought my current Asus RT-AC88U because of your review on CNET. I also really enjoyed your article explaining the proper use of a guest network. I am strongly considering getting a new router and I’m leaning towards your top WiFi-6 pick, the Asus RT-AX86U. My hesitation is that I only have 2x WiFi 6 clients. Will switching to the RT-AX86U help with sharing my gigabit broadband across 20+ active clients even though they are not WiFi 6? I really want the best router for a small/medium home (~1,500 sqft) with a growing collection of smart home devices. Thank you.

      • Hello Dong, love the articles, thank you. I need help in what feels like it should be basic. I’m having trouble figuring out WiFi 6 being new to this and I feel like my simplistic question is too simple to answer from the fine people at ASUS. I have RT AX86u. I have Netgear Nighthawk CM1200. I have new iPhone 12 and new MacBook Air with the M1. I don’t understand how to connect to WiFi 6…. when I connect to WiFi I see the 2.4 I set up and the 5 I set up, but I don’t see, or never did set up, anything for WiFi 6…. does it work the same way as 2.4 and 5? Will I essentially have 3 ways to connect to my WiFi? Why don’t I see it anywhere on my products when I click to connect to my WiFi? I have ‘ax’ enabled on the router in its setting and have updated it as well. Please help me understand what this should be.

  81. Thanks for this review Dang. I bought this router this week. While testing NAS speeds over WiFi using Samsung EVO 860, I only got like 55-60 MB/s for write and around 75-80 MB/s for read. I tested this sitting 6 ft away in line of sight of router with my laptop (Intel AX200). I am getting 2.4 Mbps when I checked WiFi properties on my Windows 10. I have 500 Mbps internet connection but I don’t think that should come into picture for NAS over WiFi. Did you test NAS speeds over WiFi? Are these normal speeds? What can I do to improve them?

    Also does positioning antennas at different angle help? I am in 2 bedroom apartment and currently have all antennas straight pointing upwards. My router is on top of the cabinate at 7 ft height.

      • Thanks for information. I had to set-up my office in guest room and there is no way to set-up a wired connection between router and my desk in rented apartment so I have to rely on wireless connection for any data upload. However, I got QNAP TS-453D and connected that to 2.5 GbE connection of AX86U. I am getting 60 MB/s over Wi-Fi for write and around 115-120 MB/s for read. I see that my Wi-Fi connection is maxing out at 1 Gbps at my laptop with Intel AX200 inbuilt adapter. AX200 specs shows it’s 2.4Gbps and I have connected router and NAS using 2.5GbE WAN connector using CAT6a cable. This set-up seems good to get 2.5 Gbps over LAN on my laptop but I am stuck at 1 Gbps only. Do you see any issues with set-up or any router setting I need to tweak?

        • A lot to be taken into account here:

          – The speed of the NAS’ internal drive.
          – The sustained speed of your Wi-Fi card.
          – The speed of our laptop’s internal drive.

          Overall, the numbers you saw are that surprising, considering you’re using a QNAP. Try a Synology instead.

  82. Greetings Dong,
    I want to replace my wrt3200acm router with one that has SIMULTANEOUS support for
    1) Android USB tethering (LG stylo4 on Verizon) for ISP backup
    2) NAS server using my Seagate 8TB USB 3.0 drive
    I also plan to add 2.5GBase-T PCIe Network Card to my I7-8700K PC.
    It looks like the Asus RT-AX86U is the ticket!
    Do you see any reason it won’t meet these requirements?

  83. Hi Dong,
    I recently discovered your site and I’m really enjoying all the great info!
    Background: I currently have a NG R7000P that I’ve been using for a couple of years. It served me well until the 5G radio started giving me trouble at which point I loaded DDWRT which helped but didn’t totally fix the occasional minutes-long dropouts. I’ve had 3 NG routers over the years but all had short lifespans so I want to try Asus based on your reviews.
    Now the question: Will the AX86U meet or exceed the range of the R7000P in my 2800sf two story house? If so, I will get it since the R7000P meets my needs when it works. I’m a bit unsure since you wrote that the AC86U could cover 2800sf but the AX86U only 2000sf and I can’t find any comparisons with the R7000P. I suppose when it comes down to it range is the main concern, but reading your reviews I’ve decided against a mesh system.
    Thanks so much for your help!

  84. My home is about 4500 square feet on 3 levels (basement, main and upper). I currently have an Archer C7 in the middle of the basement and an TM-AC1900 set up as an access point, but have a few weak spots in the house. I like the Asus RT-AX86U (thanks to your review). I want to set up AiMesh. Do you think buying two RT-AX86U routers makes sense? Or instead of the second RT-AX86U, should I get 2 (cheaper) Asus routers for my AiMesh network to ensure better coverage? I have Ethernet to each router. Oh, and do you agree my old Archer C7 v2 would make a good network switch?

    • @Dong Ngo, Thank you for the quick response! But now I’m second-guessing. Two RT-AX86U routers would cost about $500 right now. But I’m thinking about one RT-AX86U and the ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) ($270 on Amazon right now). I really like the idea of being able to have the router and nodes spread out more in my house. So, two RT-AX86U routers ($500 total) vs one RT-AX86U and the XD4 ($520 total).

      In a setup with the XD4, the primary router (RT-AX86U) would be in the basement, but a bit closer to the north end to give me better signal there. Then, I’d place one node in my office (main floor, south side), one in the upstairs loft (kind of south/central), and one in my bedroom (north). I’d basically have 4 units staggered throughout the house. Again, that’d be lower north, main south, upper north and upper south/central. All with wired backhaul.

      The specs of the XD4 are not as good as the RT-AX86U, but I’m not sure that matters in my situation. Overall coverage and stability is the priority. Internet speed is next, then node-to-node handoff. LAN speed is lower on the list. I’m not sure we need 160 MHz channel support. Do we?

      Sigh…I know it’s hard to give advice without the whole picture. I really appreciate your thoughts as well as the great reviews and detailed information, though.

        • I just thought I’d give an update. CenturyLink installed their C4000XG modem/router in my home and I connected my XD4 mesh kit, creating a double-nat, which caused remote access issues for my Plex server. I used used your article about this situation (as well as some other sources) and after a few failures, successfully managed to set up port forwarding through both routers. Anyway, even though I have a very large home, with the XD4 router in the middle of the basement and one node in the middle of the upstairs level (wired backhaul), I’m getting great signal strength and speeds in almost every corner. I just picked up a network switch and hope to install more Ethernet cable to the main floor where I’ll put the second node. That should nicely fill in any weak areas. All-in-all, I’m very happy with the Asus XD4 and probably won’t need to get the AX86U, but it’s still on my list in case I change my mind. Thanks again for the great articles.

          • Great job, Jon, especially on the dual port-forwarding! Give yourself a pat on the back. You’re now officially an expert. 🙂

  85. hi, dong i just finished reading your ax86u review and is kind of puzzled why you called it the best Wifi 6 router to date when its performance isnt the best…

    i am looking for a router thats best suited for a 100sq m apartment. i am looking at tuf ax3000, ax88u, ax86u and ax11000. i dont play games but i appreciate good fast stable performance. so the second question here is what routers do you recommend and why?

  86. Greetings Dong,
    I just purchased a RT-AX86U to compliment my RT-AC88U and RT-AC1900. I will redo my network to make the RT-AX86U my main and the others Mesh (Connected via Ethernet backbone). Is there any recommend optimize setting I should set on the router to get the best connection speed, etc? Like 2.4Ghz should I set to 20/40 or 40, should I set 5Ghz all settings or specific one etc.

    Thank You.

    • Not really, you’re getting close, David. If you want to make sure things work the way you want, you can separate the 5GHz and 2GHz into two networks and use the former for devices that require high speeds. I’d leave the rest of the Wi-Fi settings to Auto, do enable 160MHz on the router though. Have fun! 🙂

  87. Hey Dong,
    nice website and I’ve read your best routers guide. I’m a bit torn on my solution. We recently renovated our space and it’s about 2000sqft. We have gigabit and my Fios gateway is on the first floor and my basement’s wifi has been very shoddy. there are a bunch of heavy walls and a closet between the router and my work desk. I think a mesh network is overkill for my space though that’s what the advice I’ve been getting. It seems that getting something like the RT-AX86U would suffice. What do you think?

  88. Hi Dong,

    I’ve been reading a lot of your articles lately. I think my expectations may be too high for internet speeds. I just moved into a new house (coming from an appartment where the internet is all WiFi on the premise, mounted in the wall and not to be touched by tenants). The home is about 1,800 square feet, and has two stories. The office space is the only room where there is an ethernet connection, as the house was built in 1988. I’m just glad they had fiber before I moved in here. I have an AT&T fiber 1000 plan. The modem is seeing speeds well above 900mbps, so I am happy there. The equipment they provided was sufficient to supply a weak signal to every area in my home, but I wanted a stronger and more stable connection in my bedroom upstairs as well as the living area. I went with the Asus RT AX86U. I put my modem in IP passthrough mode and disabled the WiFi, using the Asus router. The speed takes a pretty big hit on the device I have connected to the router, but it’s still above 600mbps. The weaker areas in my home are still noticeably weak (I would say it’s about the same as the Arris BGW210 Gateway from AT&T). I decided to try out another RT AX86U to utilize the Aimesh support. This works better. I get about 300mbps in my bedroom and living area. Very few places are below 100mbps in my home now. I am just curious if the real-world difference is justified in this setup. I considered getting a powerline adapter to utilize the ethernet backhaul on the mesh router and node, but I was wondering if this would really make a difference? Are my expectations too high, or is there something I may be doing wrong? I don’t believe any of the walls are cement, but my mileage seems to be varying drastically from other user’s reports at longer ranges when I only have the one router in use. Thanks for all the great content!

  89. Hi Dong,

    I have an RT-AC86U that I have been happy with for years, but do have some weak signal on the opposite side of the house. I decided to buy the RT-AX86U after reading Merlin was in the last stages of beta testing and build a mesh system. To make a long story short I ended up with (2) RT-AX86U by accident. I have someone coming to pull CAT 6 cable drops on Thursday. I have 940 up/down through my ISP. I’m thinking at this point to keep the AX units and just sell or give the AC unit to family running a stock ISP router. My question is with the 2.5G port should I run my WAN into the router 2.5G and then run from a Lan port into the 2.5G port on the node or is there an optimal configuration I should follow.

    • Using the 2Gbps port for backhaul is not available for now, via Asuswrt, at the node’s end, Jon. I’m not sure if Merlin can make it work. Try it and keep me posted! 🙂

  90. Hey Dong,

    I’m glad to have found your website. It has been incredibly informative as I try to properly network my home!

    My question revolves around providing good wireless coverage to my 3 story 3300 sq ft home. I am liking how this has been reviewing and think it would a great deal for the price and features. I am planning to place this in the middle of my home on the second floor and the biggest barrier to interference would be the concrete wall that essentially vertically divides the house in half into 2 rectangles.

    I’m hoping that having a router like this AX86u will help mitigate my concerns but I am also eyeballing the more expensive Asus Rog AX11000 router. Which would you recommend as the better option? I plan to use my network for a NAS server as well as game streaming like Steam Link or GeForce. I am currently using Google Wi-Fi with too many nodes but I am in sore need of proper QoS support that my current setup sorely lacks.

    Would it be a safe bet to start with the AX86u first to see where I stand and then perhaps eventually get the AX11000 to become the central node with the AX86u then connecting to it via AiMesh?

    I appreciate any help and love the work you do. Thank you!

  91. Hi Dong, do you know if the AX86U supports VPN bypass to exclude devices that you don’t want using it when permanently dialed up?

  92. Hi Dong. Came across your site a couple weeks ago and have been pouring over it like crazy trying to decide the best way to get greater coverage. We are in a 2 story, 2900 sq.ft home. Have a Nintendo Switch and 4 kids, 2 of which are high schoolers forced to do online learning most of the time. I believe our issues are related to neighbours on both sides of us that have an absurd number of WiFi broadcasters – just keep adding repeaters, right?! Our older TPLink router died and I’ve been trying to use our ISP provided router, but it has underperformed (as expected). After a lot of research, I had been leaning towards the Asus ROG GT-AX11000 even though I wouldn’t say we qualify as “gamers”. However, this article in particular has got me thinking I would be better off with an AiMesh setup. Oh, and I will be able to run a wired backhaul between any devices I put in place. That’s the background.

    My specific question is I’m a bit unclear, do I need to go with TWO of the AX86U and mesh them?

    But, I see you have recommended others reuse their older equipment as another part of the mesh coverage and get the single AX86U. If that works well, could I get the one AX86U as my main router and then as a mesh node use something like the RT-AX55? I’m in Canada and our BlackFriday sale price for the AX86U is $279. Whereas the RT-AX55 is just under half the price at only $130. Would I perhaps be even better off to try a 3 device mesh setup with one of the AX86U and then add up to 2 of the RT-AX55 if I’m still not happy with the WiFi stability? Thanks so much for your input! I should have added, that I can run cables. So I will be using a wired backhaul.

  93. I have a 2500sq ft home, using a AX-58u placed near one side of the house where the modem is which works fine for the most part but I do notice weak signals in the opposite corners of the house and by the yard areas. Would buying a ax86u increase the range of the signal in this scenario or would a 2 router mesh make more sense here? I have 3 wifi6 devices(macbookpro, two ax200 cards in pcs) and want to get the best speed and strength possible.

      • Thanks Dong. I setup the wired ethernet backhaul this weekend and bought a AX88u as the ax86u was OOS everywhere. Have you noticed any issues pairing a ax88u with a ax58u(my current router) in your testing?

        • I haven’t tried that combo, Charley, but I’m pretty sure they will work out well via a weird backhaul. Make the RT-AX88U as the main router.

          • Hi Dong. Love your website, has so much fantastic information. I’m looking at the AX11000 as main router, with the AX88U connected via ethernet backhaul in a mesh configuration.

            As the 88U is dualband, and the 11000 is Tri-band how will the primary node advertise the three separate WiFi bands on the main router. Our will put merge them?

            Thanks again