Asus RT-AX89X Review: Most Wi-Fi Bases. Covered. And More!

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Asus RT-AX89X looks quite unique.

If you’re the type who gets excited about nice-looking and powerful home networking devices with a ton of ports, the Asus RT-AX89X will hit you like a six-pack of RedBull. At a glance, you know instantly that this Wi-Fi 6 router, at the very least, will give you enough materials for hours and hours of bragging.

And it’s a real deal, too. The RT-AX89X did well in my testing, topping the charts in many categories. It worked well as a single router but could also be part of a top-notch mesh system if your home is ready for it.

Despite some minor issues, the RT-AX89X has more than enough to justify its suggested retail price of some $450. So, If you’re in the market for a fast-performing, feature-laden, dual-band standalone Wi-Fi 6 router, this one is arguably the best you can find right now. And the opportunity to impress your significant other, on things that probably have nothing to do with Wi-Fi, is a bonus.

Dong’s note: I first published this post on January 14th, 2020, as a preview and updated it on March 6th to a full review.

ASUS RT-AX89X AX6000 Dual Band WiFi 6 Router

9

Performance

9.5/10

Features

9.0/10

Design and Setup

9.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Excellent Wi-Fi performance
  • Uniquely cool design with two 10Gbps network ports
  • Eight Gigabit network ports with Dual-WAN and Link Aggregation
  • Super-fast network attached storage speed when coupled with an external drive
  • Tons of useful features, including free-for-life real-time online protection, and AiMesh
  • Universal setting backup and restoration

Cons

  • No game-specific features
  • Smart Connect setting not available at launch
  • Tweaking required to deliver top Wi-Fi 6 speeds
  • Bulky physical size with internal fan
  • Web interface needs work
  • Not wall-mountable

Asus RT-AX89X: Top-notch Wi-Fi 6 router got curves

The RT-AX89X is like no other router I’ve seen, and I’ve seen many. It demands your attention.

While helping me get it out of the FedEx box, my 4-year-old toddler uttered: “Wow, is it a new toy, daddy?”. “It’s a new toy indeed, but not for you, sweetie,” I told her, before withdrawing myself, with the router, to the basement.

Days later, she was still asking about it.

A design that screams for attention

The RT-AX89X comes in a large, almost square box. The photo on the box suggests it’s something that moves, like a robot, instead of a networking device. No surprise or disappointment there.

And the router itself is massive. For an equivalent, in terms of design and physical size, you can think of the Asus GT-AX11000, or especially the TP-Link Archer C5400X. However, the RT-AX89X has more curves, and by that, I mean angles.

That’s because it’s not exactly round, taking the shape of an octagon, measuring 13.52-inch (343.64 mm) wide and 3.15-inch (80.02 mm) tall. Physically, the RT-AX89X is like a rounded, smoothed out version of the GT-AX1100. It also has eight antennas sticking up from its sides.

The antenna themselves are not removable, but they can open outwards or collapse down on the router’s top. Either way, they give the router an intriguing look. At the very least, this piece of hardware sure is a conversation starter.

RT-AX89X’s photos

Out of the box, the RT-AX89X is something to marvel at — it has so many things you’d want to put your hands on. My kids loved moving the antennas back and forth, which is quite understandable. The odd thing is I found myself doing that, too. For no reason.

OK, maybe there are some. The mechanics of the movement is fun. Each time an antenna hits its max position, it makes a satisfying click sound. Also, right them up differently, and you can create all kinds of weird shapes with the router.

The following are a few photos so you can judge it for yourself.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech Asus RT-AX89X Wi-Fi 6 is a massive Wi-Fi 6 router.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Asus RT-AX89X has eight non-removable antennas sticking up from its sides.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech You can collapse these antennas to keep the Asus RT-AX89X a bit more compact.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech You can arrange the antennas to turn the Asus RT-AX89X into all kinds of weird shapes.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The spider that is the Asus RT-AX89X up-side-down.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Asus RT-AX89X’s eight gigabit LAN ports take up two sides of the router.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech And the multi-gig and USB ports occupy another two sides of the Asus RT-AX89X.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech There are two USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps) ports for Asus’s generous set of USB-related features.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Asus RT-AX89X’s two 10Gbps network ports that can work either WANs or LANs.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Asus RT-AX89X next to the RT-AX88U. Both are dual-band Wi-Fi 6 routers.

Asus RT AX89X vs GT AX11000 Routers
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Asus RT-AX89X next to the GT-AX11000.

Asus RT-AX89X: A powerful dual-band router with a ton of ports

While having an original appearance, on the inside, though, the RT-AX89X is similar to the RT-AX88U. That’s because it’s, too, a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router, not a tri-band one. So, it’ll work best as a standalone router, and not as part of a wireless AiMesh system.

The new router supports AiMesh just fine and will work well in one, but since there’s no dedicated backhaul band, it might be a bit inferior to the GT-AX1100. That’s unless you choose to use wired backhaul with it. In this case, it can potentially be the best AiMesh router considering the sheer amount of ports it has.

First router with two 10Gbps ports

The RT-AX89X is the first home router I’ve seen that comes with the support for 10Gbps wired networking — that’s why its name ends in X instead of U like most others.

(By the way, per Asus, U is to indicate that the router has USB-related features. The RT-AX89X also has USB ports, but the 10Gbps capability is much more significant.)

And it includes two 10Gbps ports — the multi-gig runner-up is the Netgear RAX120 that has just one 5Gbps port, and I already considered that a big deal.

READ MORE:  Netgear RAX120 Router Review: The Multi-Gig Age Is Here

One of the RT-AX89X’s 10Gbps ports is an RJ45 10Gbps BaseT that works with all existing home wired devices — you’ll be able to use a regular CAT5e (or CAT6) cable with it. This port also supports all speeds grades — including 1Gbps, 2.5Gpbs, 5Gbps, or 10Gbps — depending on the device you plug into it.

The other is a 10Gbps SFP+ port that requires a different type of network cable. You can use it to connect to a server or select fiber optic internet services.

Versatile multi-gig applications

In terms of usage roles, here are how the RT-AX89X’s two 10Gbps ports work:

  • Both as LAN ports (default). In this case, they don’t support LAN Link Aggregation — you can’t combine them into a single 20Gbps connection.
  • Both as WAN ports. In this case, they don’t support WAN Link Aggregation but can work as Dual-WAN, where each connects to a different service provider.
  • One as a WAN port, and the other as a LAN port.

By the way, as a WAN port, the SFP+ supports multi-mode optical fiber. As a result, depending on the Internet provider, the router can connect directly to the broadband connector, without the need for a fiber modem. With a single-mode fiber connection, however, a modem might be necessary.

That said, again, you can get multiple units of the RT-AX89X and use network cables to link them up to via 10Gbps connections to form an AiMesh setup. In this case, you’ll get yourself the fastest home mesh Wi-Fi system that can deliver multi-gig Internet throughout.

Nine Gigabit network ports with Dual-WAN and Link Aggregation

Similar to the case of the RT-AX88U, the RT-AX89X also has one Gigabit WAN port and eight Gigabit LAN ports. So, yes, it has the most amount of network ports among home routers I’ve seen.

There are also two USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps) ports that can host storage, printer, and USB cellular modem.

Like most Asus routers, the RT-AX89X’s Gigabit ports feature Dual-WAN and Link Aggregation. For the former, you can use a combo of the WAN port and a 10Gbps port or a USB port, and the latter — the LAN 1 and LAN 2 ports — can work together to form a 2Gbps connection.

RT-AX89X’s hardware specifications: The RT-AX88U on steroids

On the inside, the RT-AX89X is a souped-up version of the RT-AX88U. It has more powerful hardware and more ports, as mentioned above. It’s safe to say, the RT-AX89X is the most powerful, dual-band router on the market, to date.

It’s worth noting that the RT-AX88U’s 5GHz is a 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 band, which caps at 4800 Mbps. The RT-AX89X’s 5GHz band also caps at 4800 Mbps. However, Asus calls it an 8×8 band. As a result, when combined both bands, the company calls the RT-AX89X a 12-stream router.

That’s just a marketing ploy, used quite widely among networking vendors, like Netgear with its RAX120, or Ubiquiti with the Alien. In this case, Asus told me that it just wanted to emphasize on the router’s use of the popular 80MHz channel bandwidth. I explained more on that matter in this post about Wi-Fi 6 speeds.

READ MORE:  Wi-Fi 6 in Layman's Terms: Speed, Range, and More

The same feature set

Though unique in shape and specs, at the core, the RT-AX89X is just like all Asus routers released in the past decade.

It has the same web interface, uses the same Asus Router mobile app, and, for the most part, the same feature set. That said, you can set it up like any other Asus router, which is the same way you do any router with a web interface.

During the setup process, you’ll get the opportunity to upload the settings from any other Asus router. So yes, it, too, supports universal restoration. So, for example, if you decide to upgrade to it from another dual-band Asus router, you won’t need to program your network from scratch.

As for settings and features, like other Asus routers, the RT-AX89X has one of the most comprehensive sets on the market. You’ll find standard features, including Dynamic DNS, port forwarding, IP reservation, VPN server (and client), Wake-on-LAN, and a lot more.

Other than that, the router comes with a standard set of Asus’s useful networking features.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The RT-AX89X has the core features of an Asus router, including the handy Adaptive QoS.

Asus RT-AX89X’s core features

Below are the common things you’ll find in the majority of Asus Wi-Fi routers, as well as the RT-AX89X.

  • Universal setting restoration: Asus routers can use the setting backup files on one another. As a result, when you upgrade from one to another, just back up the old router’s settings to a file, then restore it to the new router. Most of your network’s configurations — including those of an AiMesh system — will remain the same with the new router. Note, though, that it’s always better to set up the router from scratch to avoid possible setting conflicts.
  • A robust full web interface: Asus’s web user interface is one of my favorites. It’s intuitive and allows for in-depth customization. But the interface can be overwhelming for novice users.
  • Helpful Asus mobile app: Alternatively, users can use the Asus mobile app to manage and set up their router. It’s a well-designed app with decent access to the router. You can also turn on the Dynamic DNS-based remote access without having to have an account with Asus.
  • AiProtection: This feature includes a free-for-life real-time online protection powered by Trend Micro and a decent Parental Control engine. I’ve used AiProtection for years, with many different routers, and it proved to be quite useful. Parental Control, on the other hand, could use some improvement. The way Asus define categories for web-filtering is a bit vague, and you can’t block a specific website, which is a significant shortcoming.
  • Adaptive QoS: A quality of service engine that allows you to prioritize Internet traffic to support different applications or services. Adaptive QoS requires minimum work from the user and is effective. It also includes Bandwidth Monitor in case you want to know who uses the most Internet at all and Web History that shows web sites a client has visited.
  • Traffic Analyzer: A set of tools and statistics in case you want to find out what’s been going on in the network in a set amount of time, and in real-time.
  • USB-related features galore: 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. You can also use the router’s USB ports to host printers or select USB cellular modems.
  • Frequent firmware releases: Asus regularly pushes out new firmware updates to improve its routers. For the most part, this is a good thing. However, once in a while, new firmware can cause issues. In this case, you should downgrade the router to the previous stable version and wait for the next release. (Asus routers don’t auto-update firmware by themselves.)

It’s worth noting that the RT-AX89X doesn’t have everything you can collectively find in Asus routers. Most notably missing is the unique VPN, called WTFast, that keeps local game consoles in a virtual network with extremely low latency. It’s also a dual-band, and not a tri-band, router.

Asus RT AX89X Game Section
Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The RT-AX89X got a Game section on its interface with some helpful settings for Gamers.

Update: Subsequent firmware adds some gaming features to the RT-AX89X via a new Game section. So, you’ll find the router quite great for games. However, Asus doesn’t designate it as a gaming router.

Some minor issues

The RT-AX89X is not from perfect, and I did note issues that you should keep in mind.

Internal fan

The first is the internal cooling fan. Fans generally translate into tricky maintenance. It’s a moving part that might fail at some point, and when it does, you might have heat-related issues. The way the router is, it seems quite challenging to open it up to replace the fan.

This fan ran constantly my testing even when the router had no loads. It was quiet, though. I could only hear it when I put my head near the router, even in a room with no ambient noise.

To be fair, many other routers I’ve reviewed recently have a fan. The Ubiquiti Dream Machine is an example. But the RT-AX89X is the first of which the fan runs almost all the time.

Tweaking needed for top Wi-Fi speeds

By default, the RTA-AX89X worked quite well in my testing. However, I needed to tweak its settings quite a bit to get things to work the way I wanted.

For example, right out of the bat, my 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients only connected at 1.2Gbps (instead of 2.4Gbps). As it turned out, I needed to disable the Extended NSS setting — you can find this setting in the Professional tab of the Wireless section — to get my client connected at full speeds.

By the way, enabling extended NSS enables the RT-AX89X to have better compatibility when working with specific devices. But it’ll work in 80MHz channel bandwidth, which cuts down the speed for most Wi-Fi 6 clients in half.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The Asus RT-AX89X shares the same web user interface as that of previous Asus routers, and it supports the venerable 160MHz channel width. Note the Smart Connect is currently missing.

Interface needs work

At publication, the router doesn’t have the Smart Connect mode — you need to name its two bands as with two separate SSIDs manually. Asus told me that Smart Connect was actually in effect when the two bands shared the same SSID and password and that in “weeks” it would release a new firmware that includes an explicit Smart Connect option.

Another thing is the router didn’t require clients to use the ancient SMBv1 protocol to work with this NAS function (when hosting an external drive). But the interface still shows that you need to turn that on for the sharing to work.

So, the RT-AX89X feels a bit like a beta or release candidate instead of a final product. However, in my experience, that’s the case of all Asus’s Wi-Fi 6 routers. There are just so many settings and features that it seems the company can’t keep tabs on all. But the networking vendor indeed regularly pushes out new firmware to fix bugs and improve its products.

Asus RT-AX89X: Excellent performance

I tested the RT-AX89X using a couple of 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients and a few Wi-Fi 5 clients and was quite happy with the router.

In Wi-Fi 6 tests, I was able to get the client connected to it at 2.4 Gbps, which translated into the sustained speed of some 1435 Mbps at close range, the fastest I’ve seen. When I move the client to 40 feet (12 m) away, it still registered more than 1150 Mbps, also the fastest.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

The router also did well with Wi-Fi 5 clients. At a distance of fewer than 10 feet (3 m), my 4×4 device was able to connect at 1.7Gbps and had a sustained speed of almost 1025 Mbps, quite impressive. At a distance away, my 3×3 laptop now registered nearly 700 Mbps.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

I tested the 2.4Ghz band only for reference since its performance varies a great deal where I am (and possible where you are, too). The RT-AX89X averaged some 180 Mbps and 120 Mbps for close and long ranges, respectively. That was far slower than the 1300 Mbps in its specs but fast enough for most online applications.

Since I had only one RT-AX89X unit, I couldn’t test its AiMesh using a 10Gbps wired backhaul. However, I tried AiMesh out with other routers, and it worked well, just like any other AiMesh routers.

An overall positive Wi-Fi experience

I tested the RT-AX89X for some three weeks, and over time it grew on me. At the default setting, you won’t get the fastest Wi-Fi speed out of it, but it was still quite excellent. If you take time to tweak its settings, you’ll get even more.

The router passed my 3-day stress test with no disconnection. Its range was about the same as the of the RT-AX88U. Generally, if you have a house of 2000 ft² (186m²) or smaller, the RT-AX88X can handle it with fast Wi-Fi all around, when placed in the middle.

By the way, in my trial, even in extended and heavy loads, the RT-AX89X remained cool. So its internal fan did its job. I also tried out the two 10Gbps ports in LAN mode and was able to get a sustained copy speed of some 850 MB/s. That wasn’t a true 10Gbps speed — my test server likely played a role — but quite close.

Finally, the RT-AX89X worked fine with its antennas placed in any positions. But I did note that it had a shorter range when I collapsed them all on the router’s top. So, opening them all up is the way to go.

Super-fast though uneven NAS performance

The RT-AX89X, when hosting a portable drive, delivered the fastest speed I’ve experienced via a wired 10Gbps but only in reading. Indeed, I tested it with the Crucial X8 and got the sustained read copy speed of almost 380 megabytes per second.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

In writing, however, the router was noticeably slower than reading, registering a bit shy of 150 MB/s — still super-fast but not the fastest. The Netgear RAX120, which has a 5Gbps network port, got almost 190 MB/s in this test.

When tested via a regular Gigabit connection, it delivered around 110 MB/s both ways, similar to other high-end routers.

In all, for a router-based network-attached storage server, the RT-AX89X is quite potent. Get it a decent external USB storage device, and you’ll have yourself a viable NAS solution.



Conclusion

Most Wi-Fi routers are similar, take my word for it! Once in a long while, there comes along one that strikes a wow, and the Asus RT-AX89X is that one. Get it and you won’t be disappointed.

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118 thoughts on “Asus RT-AX89X Review: Most Wi-Fi Bases. Covered. And More!”

  1. I don’t understand why you always hate on routers that support 8×8 on 5 GHz. You claim it’s just marketing BS the router manufacturers made up, but Qualcomm is the ones saying their Networking Pro 1200 chips support that many streams (https://www.qualcomm.com/products/qualcomm-networking-pro-1200-platform), and the router manufacturers are just passing that information along to their customers. And you say it’s useless because there are no 8×8 clients, but there are plenty of 2×2 WiFi clients, so wouldn’t having an 8×8 5 GHz radio still help if you have 4 2×2 clients connected to your network, all downloading at once? Seems like a pretty common scenario… many households have 4 family members or more.

    Reply
    • I don’t “hate” on those, Grayson. They just deliver no meaningful results in real-life unless you have clients of the same specs. 8×8 (80 MHz) has the same ceiling speed as 4×4 (160 MHz). However, the latter is faster with 4×4 or 2×2 clients because they can connect using 160 MHz channel. In other words, despite the higher 8×8 number, this type of specs will deliver just 1/2 the speed for existing Wi-Fi 6 clients, only an 8×8 (80 MHz) client (there’s none) can connect at the faster rate. You can say that “saves” the bandwidth for others, and that might be true but in case you don’t have many clients, you just can’t get the top speed your client deserves. The 4×4 (160 MHz) has the same “saving” effect. More on that here.

      Reply
  2. Hi Dong! Thanks for the great reviews. I am deciding between the GT-AX11000 and RT-AX89X. I was leaning towards the GT-AX11000 to take advantage of the tri-band. Your reviews mention that the GT-AX11000 is a Tri-band 4×4, while the RT-AX89X is a dual-band 8×8. Is it correct to say that both routers at 5 GhZ support the same number of streams, being 8? If that is the case it doesn’t seam like the 2nd 5 GhZ band is advantageous, and it seems to me that the RT-AX89X is faster and support the same number of devices. Is this an accurate conclusion? Thank You!

    Reply
  3. So which one do you recommend for my situation? More ports? or Tri-band? I don’t know anything about the 2.5G port on the ROG one. It looks to be a different size than the rj45 connection. anyhelp would be great. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Hey Dong! It might be an overkill but I was able to get my hands on one of these bad boys, but I am a gamer and I just wanted to know your thoughts on the ax89x vs ax rog ax11000? One has lots of ports, which I love and ROG ax 11000 has 5ish ports? and one has dual band while one has triband. Other than that, Not quite sure which one would be better than the other for my scenario. Thanks for your input.

    Reply
  5. being true pc gamers we always prefer hardwire over wireless… its so tough for me to decide on this… the ax11000 is awesome but am i right its more around console gaming over PC.

    Reply
  6. hey dong me and my roommate are hardcore gamers and streamers mostly pc we are ROG guys which would be better the ax11000 or this one i was looking at the 11000 but now im considering this one. thanks

    Reply
    • Either is fine, James. This one has a Game section, too. But the GT-AX11000 has more, Tri-band is helpful if you have a lot of 5GHz clients, plus it looks the part. I have both so it’s hard for me to say. 🙂

      Reply
  7. Hi Dong, Great Site and great write up. I am on the market for a new AX Router, and this has all the connectivity I am looking for. One use case I didn’t see you test was the processor while using OpenVPN Client. I was wowed by the 2.5ghz processor, but seeing that it is Qualcom vs Broadcom, like many of the other Asus Routers it might be an apples vs oranges comparison at GHZ alone.

    Reply
    • I generally don’t test the processor alone, Mike. As for VPN, I only check to see if that works. But the performance reflects the router’s processing power.

      Reply
  8. I recently purchased the RT-AX89X and was looking to set up a mesh in our 3000+sqft home and detached garage. The home is on a single level and I would connect the mesh via CAT6 backhaul. What would you suggest as the second router, besides another RT-AX89X?

    Reply
  9. Hi Dong,

    Having kept up to date on the Asus router dialogue here and in ZenWifi posts I am leaning to cooling my heels until the AX89X is available in AU, I intend to buy 3 and ethernet wire connect them. I am stuck to using my ISP’s modem so I assume that the set up will be AP mode and the other 2 in AiMesh mode (can you confirm)

    I have a couple of additional queries :-

    1. The additional 10GB ports on the AX89X , are they of any value to me given my ISP only does 80-90 Mbps ?. I do have a WD MyCloud NAS Pro , would that device be able to connect to one of those faster ports and improve thruput ??

    2. When I set up the first AX89X as AP , I assume the other two will ask if it should going the other in AIMesh mode ? (I use Apple and that is how those extra nodes connect).

    Thanking you,

    Mario

    Reply
  10. Hi Dong,

    The more I read your posts the more I am leaning to going full metal jacket and getting 3 X RT-AX89X’s and connect them via ethernet (one each floor). Gear availability in AU is non existent until things get back to normal so I am cooling my heels reading your advice.

    1. I am curious to know if those extra 10GB ports on the AX89X can add performance to a WD MyCloud Pro NAS or will it connect on a regular ethernet port ?? My ISP current speed (about 80-90 Mbps) can’t make use of those links.
    2. Given that I must use my ISP router I assume the 3 x AX89X’s will be set up as AP with one being the main node and the others in a AImesh ?

    Thanking you,

    Mario

    Reply
  11. Great review Dong!

    Can you confirm that the SFP+ (10gbps) and 10gbps (Base T) ports each have their own “lane” so to speak? In other words, not slowed down (saturated) by using 1 port for a SFP+ NAS and the other connected to my computer’s 10gbps baseT port? Assuming no hardware limitations, I need maximum bandwidth.

    I do have a 10gbps switch currently for my PC workstation and NAS, but would prefer to get rid of it for space/electrical plug/convenience reasons (not a must, but would be nice)

    The contenders for me were down to the AX89X and AX11000 (want and also needed to stay with Asus for the AImesh and also having 2 other existing Asus routers for AImesh/huge space/concrete).

    I went with the AX11000 due to the outright faster speeds, triband (many, many, many wireless devices). Expecting it tomorrow… BUT, may still pick up an AX89X as well. Possibly depending on your response!

    Reply
  12. Hello DONG.I currently own the ASUS RU AC5300 TRIBAND ROUTER. I’m looking to upgrade to either the RT-AX89X or the AX11000 TRIBAND ROUTER.Can you assist me with a suggestion. I will most likely use my old router in mesh network but not sure if a duel band router is sufficient.

    Reply
    • Get the GT-AX11000, Mike. You can load the backup file of the RT-AC53000 on it. The upgrade will be a breeze. And the old router will make a great mesh point, too, if need be.

      Reply
  13. Hey Dong
    I’m new at this just purchased the Motorola mb8600 isp comcast speed 150. I have 2 asus rt ac66u. one connected to modem and the other on the other side of the house connect to tv, about a 3500sf house. The comcast cox is only in one room where the modem is. The router ax89x sounds really awesome, but was looking at the zenwifi to use in my house with plans in future to upgrade to higher speed. also there are some dead spots in the house upstairs. sooo I’m not sure now what to get, trying to read everything I could to get a better understanding and than when I know what I want ahhh not sure now. Any help will greatly be appreciated on what will work best.

    Thank you
    Shea

    Reply
  14. Dong, your site and analysis are amazing. I am struggling to understand mixing dual and tri-band with a wired backhaul in the setting of both Wifi 5 and Wifi 6 devices

    I have Verizon FiOS Gb that arrives to the modem in a study at one end of the house, which is a long, narrow shape. In the study, where the fiber arrives, I want to keep my Synology 1019+. From that end of the house, I have one wired connection to the center of the house.

    I’d like to use the AX89X as the main router to get the benefit of the SFP+/10Gbps WAN from fiber. I’d like to connect the 10Gbps LAN RJ45 from the AX89X to the wired connection bring those speeds to a node or node/mesh system at center of the house. Because I have a mix of Wifi 5 and Wifi 6, I’d like to put a tri-band mesh system there at the center of the house such as the ZenWiFi AX because it can take multi-Gig to its WAN and the second in the pack will help me get from the center of the house to the far end. My thought is that it will also help me as a triage-band in the center of the house so the wifi 5 or 6 clients can have a dedicated connection that does not limit the speed that the wifi 6 clients see.

    Am I misunderstanding? Will the use of Wifi 5 devices limit the dual band AX89X router’s performance when its handed off to that one? In other posts, you recommended inverting the system, with one ZenWiFi AX as router, and then wiring a backhaul from there, but that will leave my NAS without the fast speeds I desire.

    Also, I don’t have the sense for how to optimally set these up to dedicate the 5GHz-2 from the tri-band so as to serve either the Wifi 5 clients or the Wifi 6 clients?

    I was not able to understand the point in your other post that: “Using tri-band nodes with a dual-band router will result in no dedicated backhaul, and you’ll likely make no use of the nodes’ 5GHz-2 band.” If wired to an AX89X router, wouldn’t the ZenWiFi AX node mother/satellite each have its 5GHz-2 available if unhidden?

    Hope I am intelligible. First post!

    Reply
    • A couple of things Eric:

      1. Wi-Fi 6 routers work fine with older clients, there’s no need to separate the band for each standard. But yes, they work in compatibility mode in a mixed environment, and depending on certain situations, they will not be as fast as when they work with just Wi-Fi 6 clients. Even when you use all Wi-Fi 6 clients, remember that the bandwidth of each band is shared. More on that here. So don’t expect top numbers at all times.
      2. Using the RT-AX89X as the main router with tri-band routers as nodes in an AiMesh system means you will not have access to the 5GHz-2 band of the nodes. More on that here. You need a tri-band router in the place of the RT-AX89X, like the GT-AX11000.
      3. Dedicate backhaul only applies to a wireless setup where you do NOT use cables to link hardware units.
      4. If you use wired backhaul, a dual-band system will work out fine. Don’t get to hung up on mixed Wi-Fi performance. So you can use the RT-AX89X with a few other dual-band routers. There’s no need to use tri-band nodes since there’s no benefit.
      5. Please read my posts in their entirety. I understand you want quick answers but most importantly you want the right answers, which require attention and time. 🙂

      Reply
  15. Thank you for the response. Just to confirm though, if one of the xt8 nodes connects to the primary ax11000 by wired, and the other connects by wireless, I then would not be able to use the 5 GHz-2 as a high speed network correct? If that is true, would it not be better to just have a dual band ax89x as the primary and ax1100 as the node in a wired backhaul since in either configuration only 2 bands could be utilized?

    Reply
    • You still can, it’s just that the link between the wireless node and another hardware unit (be it the mother XT8 or the GT) is now no longer dedicated. Not a huge deal.

      Reply
  16. Great article. I already have a ax11000 on one end of my 7000sqft home. I want to set up mesh for the first time since my whole house isn’t covered by WiFi. Do you recommend adding an xt8 pack, with one cat6 connected to the main ax11000 and the other xt8 node wireless?

    Or do you recommend spending that $400 on an ax89x and making that the main, connecting the ax11000 via cat6 on the other end of the house?

    Reply
  17. Dong, Asus just released a firmware update for Asus RT-X89X and it now has a full game mode like the features you find in AX1100 except WTFast. Pretty awesome!

    Reply
  18. The beta firmware version that supports WAN LAG is 9.0.0.4.384_81445. The link I have has expired, but if you reach out to ASUS support, perhaps they’ll point you to it. It bonds the WAN & 10GbE ports together.

    Reply
  19. Just curious if you could share your firmware with WAN link aggregation? If not, how did you contact support to get it/try it? Thanks!

    Reply
    • As far as I know, Clabern, Link Aggregation on this router is only available on the LAN side (not WAN) for now. It does support Dual-WAN, which is different from LA.

      Reply
  20. Thank you for the awesome review Dong, I managed to find one on Amazon and ordered it right away, thanks to your review.
    Currently I am connected to my 10g nas via thunderbolt 3 which is giving me roughly 750MBps (~6Gbps). Just ordered an intel ax200 card for my laptop and I am curious to see if it will saturate 2.4Gbps bandwidth after connecting the router to the same nas via 10g. Did you test 10g local network to 5ghz ax wifi speeds with a fast enough local storage on the other end of 10g connection?

    I believe what you tested here is the internet speed right?

    Reply
  21. By any chance you are able to see your system log. I have a AX88U with WAN Aggregation firmware but it is spamming “kernel: protocol 0800 is buggy, dev eth1”

    Reply
  22. Hey Dong! I’ve been following you since you were on CNET and was quite sad to go to CNET and some other person was doing the reviews. So glad I found you again and keep up the great work!

    Reply
  23. Dong, I have the latest firmware. Is there any other firmware with WPA3 available? I cant seem to find it.
    Also I see another big issue with this router. The router webpage slows down a lot with the addition of USD disk with random disconnects. Opened up service ticket.

    Reply
    • Future firmware will include, WPA3, Bent. I don’t know which one but that’s for sure. As for your issue, try resetting the router and setting it up again fro scratch (or you can restore from a backup file.)

      Reply
  24. Hi Dong!
    Do you mind sharing the tweeks you made to get the full speed for your wifi 6 2×2 client using this router. I just got this router, Asus RT-AX89X, and was wondering what else did you change besides disabling the NSS. Thank you for your help and great review!

    Reply
    • Use 160 MHz-only channel width. Disable NSS. Save changes. Restart the router. That’ all, Arnold. Make sure your 2×2 client has the latest driver, too, by the way.

      Reply
  25. I have two RT-AX89X routers connected by gigabit Ethernet. I’m really liking them: great coverage and >800 mbps wireless to my Wifi 6 2020 iPad Pro. I contacted support about WAN link aggregation and was offered some beta firmware that supported it on the WAN & 10GbE ports. I connected them to the two outputs on my Ariss SB8200 and enabled LAG in the modem. I also aggregated LAN1 & LAN2 in the web UI and connected them to my MacBook Pro, using two USB-C-Gigabit ethernet adapters and using Mac OS link aggregation feature (deep in Network preferences). To my delight I discovered that Comcast over-provisions my gigabit ethernet, and got Speedtest results of 1190mpbs.

    Reply
  26. I just ordered the AX-11000, but now I am wondering if I should return it and get the RT-AX89X instead. I am looking to cover a 3000 sq ft house with fast/strong WiFI. I have the MB8600 w/Gigabit service. I have a mix of AC/AX clients as well as the various IOT devices as well.

    What would you suggest?

    Reply
    • The GT-AX11000 is a great tri-band router. Keep it, Sam. Consider the RT-AX89X only if 10 Gbps wired speed is important to you.

      Reply
  27. I just bought this router AX89X, all looks great but I was disappointed to see that there is no WPA3 support.
    Asus support page says WPA3 supported but the firmware didn’t.

    Reply
  28. Hello Dong,
    Why your review summery says there are no gaming features? Was this Asian version of the router?
    Right now on Asus web page, this router called “AX6000 Dual Band WiFi 6 (802.11ax) Gaming Router” and has “key words like: “prioritize game traffic by Gear Accelerator” and “Mobile Game Boost”.

    I want excellent router that also has Gaming features and can help with streaming, uploading and has easy [Unlike my current MikroTik hardware that needs a course to learn everything] to understand options and prioritization system [QOS].
    Im on 1G down / 100MB up fiber and right now its the max in my country but i heard the ISP ordered routers with 2.5G Ethernet ports o they might offer up to 2 or even 2.5GB speeds in near future.

    Regards, Ben

    Reply
    • If you at the screenshot of this router’s web interface, and that of the GT-AX11000, and read the reviews in full, you’ll see what I mean.

      You can play games with ALL routers and the QoS feature helps. However, a gaming router tends to have special features for online games. Vendors call their products in many misleading ways for marketing reasons, like the case of the TP-Link C5400x. In most cases, you don’t need a gaming router to enjoy games.

      Reply
  29. Hi Dong. Thanks for all of your continued hard work!

    Question- Do you have an opinion on which routers are easiest to configure and secure Internet of Things (IoT)?

    My desired goal is to put all of my IoT devices on a password protected 2.4 Gz network separated from each other and the “secure” 2.4 Ghz and 5.0 Ghz computing network. I realize that Guest networks can be ideal for this but not all guest networks are secure and isolated the way I want. I will be replacing my WRT1900AC for both performance and security. For example, the Guest network does not require a password (shocking to me) and network isolation appears to only block access on the guest 2.4 Ghz band and not access to the the 2.4 and 5 secure networks (again shocking).

    I am planning on getting either a RAX120, RT-AX89X, or GT-AX11000. Based on reading the pdfs of the first two, these seem like they will work. I did not research the AX11000 yet.

    Do you have an opinion if any of the three I mentioned will meet my needs?

    Thank you

    Reply
    • The Asus routers will give you what you need and the network protection in case your IoT got hacked, Mike. They are much better than the Netgear in this regard.

      Reply
  30. Thanks for a review, Dong.
    I purchased AX89X as an upgrade to my old RT-AC66 (AC1750). My old router was working just fine for ~6 years. It was my wish to see that it can’t keep up with the number of devices added and all kind of WiFi clients n these devices. Also, I have an issue with the terrain drop on my back yard – the signal was lost.
    Now, with the upgrade I expected better speeds (ISP bumped speeds from 100 Mbps to 300Mbps which were handled okay with mostly AC devices in the household) and range. The Ookla speeds for RT-AC66 were ~335-350 near the router.. same speeds are applicable to AX89X.
    Once I got AX89X I turned off AX since there are no AX clients in the house hold. From an user prospective – some wins, no video lags in streaming. Indoors, the dead spots have some improvements though the terrain drop outside is still dead at 30-40 ft away. It is set to disconnect with -70 dBm and it seems that my non-brick external wall built with plywood and hardiplank kills the signal at 30 ft from it. This was not expected..
    The dual band (when the other comparable models in the same price category have tri-bands) is disappointment over the price paid. Lack of gaming future – I may survive without it, same applies to 10G NAS – my USB 2.0 HDD are simply outdated for such speeds.
    I am somewhat rookie network self learner and not an expert in all tweaks in the menu. I might give a call to a tech support since the performance is quite not that impressive. Was an investment worth it? At this time I am not sure, but will be able to see it in a few years, hopefully the router will be operable.
    Not sure what will be solution with the range. More mesh nodes? Or a different rt-ax11000 router to set AX89X as a node? I was hoping that I am done investing.

    Reply
    • Well, RMP, it’s a matter of expectation. A better router is only one end of the equation. If your clients are the same, chances are you’ll get the same speeds. You can find out more on this post ,this one, and this one. But generally, getting a new router doesn’t magically make your entire wireless network faster. It’s similar to getting a new car doesn’t make the road shorter, or smoother, or the gas price cheaper. The RT-AX89x is great as it is, but it only applies to applicable situations.

      Reply
  31. Hi Dong, as usual, very clear review. I have a 1G fiber connection on a 220sqm apartment and currently use RT-AC87U still with very good speed. I was using my Orbi RBK52 but I was not able to get full coverage in the apartment, however to my surprise, once I set back my RT-AC87U, my speeds improved and got full coverage. Nevertheless, I am now looking to upgrade to Wifi6, so to make the best of my connection speed, which router would you recommend between the RT-AX89X, the RT-AX88U, ZenWifi AX (XT8) or the Netgear Orbi Wifi 6? Thank you

    Reply
    • You can go with the RT-AX89X, Carlos. But honestly, if the RT-AC87U still works well, keep it. Chances are you won’t see much of a difference moving to a Wi-Fi 6 router now.

      Reply
  32. Hi Dong. In your article you write “the LAN 1 and LAN 2 ports, can work together to form a 2Gbps connection”. Can I use LAN 1 & LAN 2 to do WAN link aggregation from an Arris SB8200 to get >1GB from Comcast? I understand that Comcast Gigabit service is often over-provisioned at 1200mbps.

    Reply
    • I think you can do that with the WAN and the RJ45 10Gbps port. Going forward, that might be even possible with WAN+any LAN port. But the WAN port must involve. I haven tried WAN link aggregation at all since I don’t have such a modem.

      Reply
  33. Hello Dong. Outstabmreviews! Thanks for all you effort! I currently have a Linksys WRT1900AC and am looking at upgrading to RAX120 for MuMimo, 5G speed on a 1 GB internet service, and range (3800 sq ft, two floors). I do not need AX at this time. Is this a good choice? Should I consider RT-AX89X? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Thanks, M, and you’re welcome! I remember that Linksys, it was one of the best at its time. Still a good router now. But yes, you’re due for an upgrade. Considering your home is large, I’d recommend the RT-AX89X or GT-AX11000, just in case you need to upgrade to a mesh at a later time. But the RAX120 sure will be better than the current Linksys. Since you have Gigaibit Internet, you might want to check out this post, too.

      Reply
  34. After reading your excellent review I purchased two RT-AX89X routers from Newegg.

    I’d like to connect a 1 Gbps optical device (an audio streamer called a Sonore OpticalRendu). Do you know if the SFP+ port on this router is multi-speed, or only 10Gbps?

    Reply
    • The SFP+ generally supports speeds from 1Gbps to 10Gbps, Andrew. Unfortunately, I only tested it once via a 10Gbps connection so I’m not so sure about the compatibility. However, if your optical drive is SFP+ (and not SFP), it should work.

      Reply
  35. I recently bought two RT-AX89X – tried setting up AIMesh with a 10G wired backhaul. So unfortunately, there’s an issue with the current firmware where it doesn’t support the 10G (RJ45 or the SFP+) port as the WAN port for the AIMesh node. So you end up with a 1G backhaul if you’re using AIMesh or the alternative is to setup two separate APs (which is what I finally ended up doing) until ASUS fixes AIMesh to work with the 10G ports.
    Btw – my setup is – a custom router (running Untangle on it) with an Intel converged 710 network adapter with 10G interfaces and the two RT-AX89X setup as APs. Handoffs aren’t that seamless, but I at least get to utilize the 10G interface.

    Reply
  36. Hi Dong,

    Thank you for the great review. I recently bought a Netgear RAX200 and leaning towards return the same and get this one. One of the reasons I did not go for the RAX120 is because it does not support 160MHz, it is 80+80, and I heard 8×8 doesn’t support 160MHz yet. Do you know this is a proper 160MHz router, or like the RAX120, it is 80+80, as both of them use the same Qualcomm chip (IPQ8074/IPQ8078 ?). Since these routers are at a premium, I would like to ensure this is really future proof, not sure Asus has future plans support all the mandatory wifi6 features (the majority of the routers in the market now are on draft spec). Do you have any insights into this?

    Thanks
    Nair

    Reply
    • Sure, Nair. My take is all Wi-Fi 6 routers now will support the final version of the standard. It’s just a matter of a firmware update. But I’m not one of the parties who can make decisions on this matter. And yes, the RT-AX89X supports real 160 Mhz channel bandwidth.

      Reply
  37. Hey! Thanks for the review! Do you think this router would be adequate for a 2700 sqft home? I was considering a mesh system, but I want 160mhz support and stupid speeds.

    Reply
    • It depends on the home, Jake. Likely not. But you can add more AiMehs routers later. And I hear you on the stupid speeds. 🙂

      Reply
  38. Hi Dong – what exactly is the difference between the ASUS RT-AX89X and ASUS GT-AX11000 Routers? The AX89X does not seem to be available online, so it adds to my confusion as to which one I should buy. Which is the best one?

    Thanks for everything – great work! 🙂

    Reply
  39. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for the great review. I actually purchased the Asus RT-AX89X router and its running way better than my Netgear RAX120. The only thing I believe its missing is WAN Aggregation correct? I see that it has Dual WAN but that’s only for two different ISP connections and not for two 1 gigabit connections coming from my Arris SB8200 modem right? If so do you know if WAN aggregation will be added later or will they push people to only use the multigig WAN and have to upgrade to a new multigig modem to get higher than 1 gigabit speeds? I currently have Comcast 1 gigabit speeds and could get close to 1.2Gbps when I did WAN Aggregation on my Netgear. Thanks

    Reply
    • I think you can do WAN aggregation with the WAN port and the RJ45 10Gbps LAN port, David. All this, by the way, is above me, since my Internet connection is barely 300 Mbps. 🙁

      Reply
  40. Any word on if this router will support 6E when it comes out. seems a bit silly to spend 450 dollars on this if it wont be able to support the spectrum for 6E.

    Reply
  41. Their routers always run pretty hot. Have had to add better ventilation for many of them but it also adds a lot of years and they don’t have to clock back to save themselves. But they’re not alone netgear has a few also and probably many other brands.

    Reply
  42. Nice article. I enjoyed reading. I have Asus RT-AC87U which worked perfect for more than 4 years.
    I will get this new one (AX89X). Just one question. Since this has a built in fan and if fan fails then do I need to change the router?

    Reply
    • Maybe, I think you can probably open the router up and change it, Raj. I wouldn’t be concerned much, really. Most routers have them these days.

      Reply
  43. Good article. I can’t wait for this to release in US. 10GbE interfaces should be standard in WiFi 6 devices.

    IRT your experience with the USB interface (“NAS”), it’s likely you’ve maxed out the pipes/lanes/channels between the device and the processor with all the other various options of the device being enabled. And requiring SMBv1 be enabled – shame on ASUS, for shame.

    Reply
    • No difference in terms of speed, Gregg, but the GT-AX11000 is a gaming router with game-specific features. The RT-AX89X is not. I mentioned that in the review.

      Reply
  44. going to jump into AiMesh with wired backhaul.. can i assume there is no problems connecting the main router and node by ethernet thru switches?

    Reply
    • I feel you, but the GT-AX11000 actually has more features and an extra 5GHz band. If you don’t care about 10Gbps, you don’t miss much. 🙂

      Reply
    • I’m using the GT-AX11000 now and debating if I’d want to switch it out with this one. So, I’m not sure yet. The GT does have a third 5GHz band.

      Reply
  45. Running a Netgear R7000 for 4-5 years, but itching to upgrade. Was debating the Asus RT-AX88u (and maybe a second 88u for Aimesh with wired backhaul). Should I wait to see what the 89x can provide? Also, how would either the 88 or 89 compare to the newest Asus ZenWifi AX (running 2 88s or a mix of 89/88 vs the Zen)? Thanks for any advice!

    Reply
    • Brandon, the ZenWiFi product line uses tri-band routers. It’s good for homes where you can’t run network cable as backhaul. The 88U and 89X are both dual-band routers. They intend to work as single routers, or in a mesh where you can use network cables to link the hardware units. Between the two, the 89X is clearly better in terms of specs.

      Reply
  46. Thanks for all your help Dong, on the asus website it says “the SFP+ interface only operates at 10gbps speed and is not compatible with 1gbps data rate” so I just got a sweet deal of $485 CAD for the GT-AX11000 and could not be happier! Also picked up a TP-LINK Media Converter to hopefully eliminate Telus modem. Thanks again for your help and assistance, its great to see someone that replies to every comment!

    Reply
  47. EDIT: remove multi-gig option i mentioned, i only care about plugging fiber directly into modem to use on device and get rid of the telus one. also forgot to mention that i did read a bit about a media converter, would that help or work in any way? thanks again and sorry for the multiple posts.

    Reply
  48. thanks for your response, if you don’t mind i have a couple more questions (new to fibre) the telus modem/router has a Nokia GPON ONT SFP (G-010S-A) device plugged into it, will this still work in the SFP+ port? i heard this 10gbps SFP+ port will only work with a 10gbps connection, is this true? do i need to use a router with regular SFP port or a multi-gig 1/2.5/10gbps port? also found out telus SFP devices are provisioned so not like i need to but i cant buy different ones if needed. i just want the fastest internet i can get using just one device and not like the asus ax11000 or netgear rax120 or rax200 as i am putting in a space with not a lot of height clearance. i assume you can use this router with the antennas folded down or slightly up. maybe giving you a couple things to test for the review. anyways thanks Dong i appreciate all the help, watched you on cnet for the longest time and now just finding this site!

    Reply
    • SFP+ always connects at 10Gbps, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get, or need to have 10Gbps internet speed. So, my take is you’ll be able to plug the router into that Nokia port termination device. Whether the router will work, without the current modem, only your service provider can answer for sure. But chances are it will.

      You can use routers with the antenna folded (or even without the antennas) but that will affect the Wi-Fi coverage.

      Reply
  49. Hi Dong Ngo I have a question that will make or break me buying this router. I have telus fiber optic 1gbps with the fiber cable plugged directly into the modem/router, can I take that fiber cable and plug it directly into the SFP+ port and get rid of the telus provided modem? Thanks

    Reply
    • You need to ask your provider to make sure, Erik, but generally, if you already have a termination device, the one that give you a SFP+ port, then you can use the RT-AX89X, or any SFP+-ready router, directly with it.

      Reply
  50. Routers are definitely important, I’m just saying there are plenty more options that aren’t this kind of cost. If anything, the modem is the most important thing in the household. Without the correct setup or the modem to handle the speeds up and down you need, you’ll fall short of even the routers performance. If you’re not more than 500 down on a connection. The referenced router above does wonders for multiple systems at less than half the price. For most of us who are tech savvy, you could have an old high end computer replace a router when you’re purchasing a new computer. Some phone’s hotspots are pretty nice too, I’ve used multiple devices on mine while moving and traveling.

    Reply
  51. Unfortunately, like all of these routers that cost as much as a phone, a console, a mid grade 4k TV, a decent gaming monitor, or any other device that I could see the cost justified…I still cannot and will not pay that kind of price for a router, especially when wifi6 isn’t really main stream on a lot of the devices we still currently use. It’s a bummer that the cost is driven so far up to make something that I would think, with all the advancements would keep the same price of my current Asus router (AC1900) when it was new, that lasted with no issues for more than 6 years. I wonder if these new routers are made with the same quality. I find most electronics these days don’t last past 2 years before something inevitably goes wrong. It’s a cool looking router with lots of options… But for 430? That’s a hard pass for me, what about you guys?

    Reply
    • Yes, the price could get lower and it will over time. However, think about it, Micah. All of the devices you’ve mentioned are totally useless if your network is not in order. Invest where it matters. Just because routers are underrated doesn’t mean they’re not the most important thing in your home.

      Reply

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