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Asus RT-AX92U Review: The Cute Little Odd One Out of AiMesh

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The RT-AX92U is the most compact Wi-Fi 6 router on the market to date.

The Asus RT-AX92U, which came out mid last year, is an interesting case that you probably only find during the transition between two Wi-Fi standards, namely from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6. 

On the one hand, this is a cute little tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router, seemingly almost perfect for a small home. On the other, when working as a mesh, its odd specs make things a bit complicated — you might mistake what you’ll get out of it.

In all, if you live in a home of 1500 ft² (130 m²) or so, at a current cost of some $200, the RT-AX92U is a decent standalone Wi-Fi solution, especially if you want to keep your personal space neat and tidy. Just make sure you configure it right.

If you’re thinking of getting a 2-pack or more units to form a Wi-Fi system, though, there are things you should know before pulling the trigger. So, keep reading. At the very least, you’ll know why I didn’t review it until now.

Asus RT-AX92U AX6100 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router

7.5

Performance

8.0/10

Features

8.0/10

Easy of use

7.0/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • Compact design, tri-band specs
  • Good performance, large coverage
  • Excellent set of features, including online protection and WTFast VPN for gamers
  • Link Aggregation and Dual-WAN support, wall-mountable
  • Comparatively affordable

Cons

  • Unreliable Wi-Fi 6 band when used to serve clients
  • No Wi-Fi 6 when working as a wireless mesh
  • Problematic mesh setup when working as the main router
  • No multi-gig port

Asus RT-AX92U: A cute compact Wi-Fi 6 router

The Asus RT-AX92U the smallest Wi-Fi 6 router I’ve tested. It looks like a miniature version of the GT-AX11000, taking the shape of a small square box, measuring 6.1-inch (15.5 cm) wide and 2.1-inch (5.5 cm) tall, with four antennas on top.

You can raise these antennas upward for better coverage or collapse them on top of the router to make the whole thing even more adorable. Either way, the router works. By the away, the router is wall-mountable, which is always a nice touch.

A little tri-band powerhouse

Despite the small footprint, the router comes with the usual one Gigabit WAN port and four Gigabit LAN ports. It even has room for two USB ports to host storage, printers, or a cellular modem.

The router has no multi-gig port, but it does have Link Aggregation (LAN 1 and LAN 2 ports), and Dual-WAN allowing you to turn one of its LAN ports or a USB port into a second WAN connection.

On the inside, the RT-AX92U is a tri-band router with non-conventional specs. It’s a dual-band 2×2 Wi-Fi 5 device that has a third 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 5GHz band. You can lump all these bands together using SmartConnect, or you can name each with a separate SSID (Wi-Fi network).

Having two different 5GHz bands is getting common for Wi-Fi 6 routers. The AmpliFi Alien, for example, is on the same board, though it features faster Wi-Fi 5 specs. 

As for processing power, the router uses a dual-core 1.8 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 256 MB of flash memory. It’s not the most potent router I’ve seen but still quite impressive considering its tiny physical size.

Asus RT-AX92U’s specs

Again, the RT-AX92U is one of a few tri-band routers on the market that use one Wi-Fi standard for each of its three bands.

When you use multiple units in an AiMesh setup, it will dedicate its fastest Wi-Fi 6 band as the dedicated backhaul that links the units up. As a result, performance-wise, it will be similar to a Wi-Fi 5 system.

Specifically, as a single router, current 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients can expect to connect at 2.4Gbps, while 4×4 Wi-Fi 5 can get up to 1.73Gbps. As a mesh, all wireless clients will get the ceiling speed of 867 Mbps. These are theoretical speeds, and real-world sustained rates will vary — more below.

Asus RT-AX92U’s photos

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The RT-AX92U 2-pack set comes in nice packaging.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The RT-AX92U is available as a single router or a 2-pack mesh system that includes two identical units.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The antennas can stand up or collapse on the routers’ top.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The RT-AX92U has the usual five Gigabit network ports, including one WAN and four LANs.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The router also has two USB ports, one USB 2.0 and one USB 3.2 Gen 1.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech If you think the RT-AX92U is cute, that’s not an exaggeration.

The familiar setup process, settings, and features

At its core, the RT-AX92U is like any other Asus routers. You can set it up using its web user interface or the Asus Router mobile app.

I prefer the former, which involves connecting a computer to it and then opening up a browser. You’ll then automatically run into the initial setup wizard that walks you through the setup process. Alternatively, you can always reach the router’s interface by navigating the browser to its default IP address, which is 192.168.50.1 or router.asus.com.

The RT-AX92U shares the same web interface as other Asus routers and has the same set of network settings and features. 

Most notably, it has AiProtection that includes free online real-time protection and a set of Parental Control settings. There’s also Adaptive QoS that allows for quicky prioritize internet traffic for different purposes.

What’s more, the router even has the support for WTFast Gamers Private Network. Available in only select Asus routers, WTFast allows the router, hence the network it hosts, to be part of a proprietary VPN designed to deliver the best online gaming experience given the broadband speed. 

READ MORE:  Netgear Releases $199.99 Budget Wi-Fi 6 Router

The support for WTFast makes the RT-AX92U even more like the mini version of the GT-AX11000, which is a full-featured gaming router.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The RT-AX92U has Game Boost, a venerable feature that gives gamers an edge.

Asus RT-AX92U: Not a real Wi-Fi 6 mesh router

While quite straight forward as a standalone router, as a mesh system, the RT-AX92U is quite odd. That’s because it dedicates its 2nd 5GHz band, the 5GHz-2, as the dedicate backhaul. 

A Wi-Fi 5 mesh system at its core

That band happens to be its only Wi-Fi 6 band. As a result, Wi-Fi clients can only connect to it via the Wi-Fi 5 standard. In other words, when using a 2-pack as a mesh, which Asus calls AiMesh AX6100 Wi-Fi System, the RT-AX92U is about the same as a regular Wi-Fi 5 system.

Having a strong backhaul, though, you can probably place the hardware units further apart to deliver a broader coverage — Asus claims the mesh can handle up to 6000 ft². But in terms of speed, the system’s ceiling speed will cap at 867 Mbps. Real-world speeds will be much lower.

That said, if you have a Gigabit-class internet, as a mesh, the RT-AX92U will not be able to deliver it in full unless you use it via a wired backhaul.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech The hardware units of a 2-pack RT-AX92U are not pre-synced out the box. You’ll have to add one to another to form an AiMesh setup manually.

Non-pre-synced hardware, wired backhaul support

I tested a 2-pack of the RT-AX92U and found that out of the box, the hardware units are not pre-synced, like the case of the recently-released ZenWiFi AX. All this means you’ll have to add the 2nd unit to the first to form a mesh manually, the way you do any AiMesh router.

And adding the second unit, or any other AiMesh router for that matter, to the mesh hosted by an RT-AX92U proved to be a bit problematic. I had to try a couple of times. The lesson I learned is:

  • If you get a 2-pack and set up both units as a wireless mesh system from scratch, you’ll likely have no problem. You’ll note that in this case, the 5GHz-2 Wi-Fi 6 band automatically works as the dedicated backhaul. Asus does this making a separate SSID for this band and hides it from clients. More on this here.
  • If you have used just one unit as a single router and now want to expand the coverage, chances are adding another node via Wi-Fi will fail. Instead, you should connect the node unit’s WAN port to the router unit’s LAN port, using a network cable. Or you can reset the router unit and set them both from scratch. 

I’d say using wired backhaul is the way to go. Because in this case, you can make use of its Wi-Fi 6 band.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech Like other Asus routers, the RT-AX92U has all you can think of when it comes to USB-based features.

Asus RT-AX92U’s performance: Fast, but a bit of a rough ride

I tested the RT-AX92U first as a standalone router and then as a wireless AiMesh system. After that, I also used it as a node via wired backhaul with the GT-AX11000. In all, the router worked out, but not without some issues.

Wi-Fi 6 band could be better

The most noticeable issue is the 5GHz-2, which is its only Wi-Fi 6 band. Despite its high-end 4×4 specs, I had a hard time getting a fast and reliable connection from certain clients.

When using the RT-AX92U as a standalone router, my 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 client (fastest available on the market) never connected to it at its top 2.4Gbps negotiated speed, but only at 1.2Gbps.

And I tried everything, such as forcing the band to use only 160MHz channels, using the Auto setting as well as picking a channel manually, one after another.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

For this reason, you’ll note that, on this 5GHz-2 band, my test 4×4 Wi-Fi 5 test client delivered better performance than 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 counterpart.

However, this band didn’t work well with all of my Wi-Fi 5 clients. At the extremes, my Asus PCE-AC88 card, which I used to test the router at close distance, worked consistently well.

On the other hand, few Google Pixels, iDevices, and most other Wi-Fi 5 clients had dismal speeds, even when connected at full bars.

The bottom line is when you use this band to serve clients (and not as a backhaul) make sure it works only with Wi-Fi 6 ones.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

With most other clients, the speeds fluctuated a great deal. I tried both routers in the 2-pack set, and both had the same issue.

The RT-AX92U’s 2.4GHz band delivered the same performance as that of most routers. There was nothing of note here.

Sightly faster than a Wi-Fi 5 mesh counterparts

I tested a 2-pack RT-AX92U as a mesh via a wireless setup. In this case, from the clients’ perspective, it was no longer a Wi-Fi 6 system, but only a 2×2 Wi-Fi 5.

That’s because the 5GHz-2 band now worked as the dedicated backhaul. And the scores showed just that.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

The router unit of the system had the sustained real-world speed about the same as any other 2×2 Wi-Fi 5 router, averaging about 606 Mbps at close range and some 413 Mbps at long range.

The satellite (note) unit, which I placed 40 feet (12 m) from the router, however, topped the chart, registering more than 560 Mbps at the close range and some 500 Mbps at the long-range.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

It’s safe to say; the 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 dedicated backhaul plays an essential role in RT-AX92U’s mesh performance. Generally, you can expect mostly full speed of the system’s 2×2 Wi-Fi front-haul, which caps at 867 Mbps on papers.

Good range, excellent add-on AiMesh node

I tested the RT-AX92U for a week as a wireless mesh system, and it proved to be quite reliable. Again, at times, some Wi-Fi 5 client connected at slow speed, but most other had no issues at all. There was no disconnection.

As for coverage, a single RT-AX92U router had about the same range as the Netgear RAX40 in my testing, which was not the best I’ve seen but wasn’t too sappy, either. With the two-unit combined, you can expect to cover some 4000 ft² (372 m²), but your mileage will vary depending on the layout of your home and the type of walls.

By the way, I also tried the two RT-AX92U units as add-on nodes to my GT-AX11000 router, using wired backhaul, and they have been working quite well. 

Fast NAS speed

Considering the RT-AX92U has no multi-gig port, I didn’t expect much from it in terms of network-attached storage performance. But the router did well.

Dong Ngo | Dong Knows Tech

I tested it with the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD, and via a gigabit wired connection, it registered the sustained copy speeds of almost 70 MB/s for writing and more than 112 MB/s for reading. 

I already recommend getting a real NAS server. Still, if you want to do some casual network storage, the RT-AX92U will do, especially considering its vast amount of storage-related features.

Conclusion

At the core of it, the RT-AX92U is a Wi-Fi 6 router that can only make a Wi-Fi 5 AiMesh system, despite the fact Asus released it as its first Wi-Fi 6 mesh system. At launch, the router was quite buggy, which is partly the reason why I waited until now to review it. 

Now, after numerous firmware updates, the RT-AX92U is much better. But there are still things I can’t put my finger on. The problematic Wi-Fi 6 band is an example.

That said, still, I’m comfortable recommending it as a single router — just make sure you name the 5GH-2 band separately and use it only for Wi-Fi 6 clients. As an AiMesh member, though, the RT-AX92U works best as an add-on note to another tri-band router, like the GT-AX1100, via a wired backhaul.

And that’s’ because, for a wireless system, you should consider the newer ZenWiFi AX, or even the ZenWiFi AC, instead. After all, a pure RT-AX92U-based wireless mesh won’t give you significantly better performance than a Wi-Fi 5 system anyway. 

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About the Author: Dong Ngo

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

15 Comments

  1. It’s interesting. Now I have gtax11000 as router and ac88u as node. Imac connects to node with 1300Mbs speed and 450-600Mbs internet speed (ac88u is dual band ac only router)

  2. I have never reached 1G wiffi connection with neither router or a node in this kit. The best was 800M with internet speed of 300M on iMac. The whole 5M-2 is busy with backhaul

  3. I assume this will be adequate to get gigabit Internet into my bedroom on wired devices? I don’t have any WiFi 6 devices so if this does the trick it will be a cheaper option than the XT8. I’m going to be using the wireless backhaul and have a pretty small apartment (with brick walls).

  4. Hi,
    I tried it (twice). The first kit was unstable + router part had low connection transfer (forget about connecting ac88u to them). So I replaced it to another kit which kept disconnecting from internet hanging the router (hard reset was necessary). Now I enjoy GT-ax11000 and everything is like a music. I am not sure what’s wrong with ax92u ?hardware ?firmware, but it is so unreliable and waste of $$

  5. Thanks Dong for the promo reply. Regarding set up, I restored the XT8 with the AX92 Settings and it lost the original Mesh node and I had to add it manually. I was able to add one AX92 Mesh node and it used the wifi6 backhaul channel. The CT8, in contrast, would connect its WiFi 5 to which channel of the XT8? I think the AX92 is more flexible, especially that when using a wired backhaul channel, one would get a WiFi 6 channel if it happens that one has a compatible client.

  6. I have both a pair of the rt-AX92u as well as a pair of ZenWiFi XT8, obviously, since I have only wifi5 clients, they are both equally fast!
    My question is, why would you recommend the ZenWiFi CT8 over the AX92u as a wifi5 AiMesh, considering that the ax92u has the faster Backhaul channel?

    1. When you have both up and running, they are kinda the same. But the CT8 is much easier to set up. It also has better AiMesh implementation. If you try using the AX92U as a single router, or if you open the backhaul band to clients when using it as a mesh, you’ll note that its Wi-Fi 6 band doesn’t support mobile Wi-Fi 5 devices very well.

  7. Can these be used as cheap wifi6 client adapters to an ax1100 in bridge mode? I have an iMac that has a gigabit port but with no usb wifi 6 adapters stuck in limbo. How is the performance

    1. It does but I don’t think yo should do that, Chris. For one, it’s too expensive. And secondly, it seems the Wi-Fi 6 band is not tuned to be compatible, so you might get very slow speed if you connect it to a Wi-Fi 5 signal.

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