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Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 AX6600 Review: The Best Wireless AiMesh Set to Date

The ZenWiFi AX AX6600 Whole-Home Tri-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (model XT8) is a souped-up version of the CT8. Both are part of the new ZenWiFi family Asus announced earlier this year.

The only differences between the two, albeit big ones, are the fact the XT8 features Wi-Fi 6 and a multi-gig WAN port. Other than that, they share everything else, the appearance, setup process, features, how they work as mesh systems, and even some shortcomings.

See also  Asus ZenWiFi AC Review: A True, and Improved, Wireless AiMesh System

This review focuses on these differences. It’s intended for those who have already read my take on the CT8.

In all, compared to the CT8, the ZenWiFi AX XT8 has more than enough to justify the extra $100 you’d need to spend. Though not a must-have, it’s a reasonably-priced, flexible Wi-Fi 6 AiMesh system with a ton more to offer than its more expensive rivals.

Asus ZenWiFi AX 1
The Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 includes two identical routers.

ASUS ZenWiFi AX Whole-Home Tri-Band Mesh WiFi 6 System (XT8)

8.9

Performance

8.5/10

Features

9.5/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Pros

  • Fast Wi-Fi performance and large coverage at a comparatively affordable cost
  • Improved and flexible AiMesh
  • Lots of network settings and useful features, including free real-time online protection for life
  • Full 4x4 dedicated backhaul band with optional wired backhaul support
  • Multi-gig WAN port with Dual-WAN and WAN link aggregation

Cons

  • No 160MHz 4x4 support for Wi-Fi 6 clients, in a dedicated wireless backhaul setup
  • No multi-gig LAN port or LAN link aggregation
  • Only four network ports on each hardware units
  • Firmware can be buggy

Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8: Everything the CT8 has and a lot more

As a mesh system, the ZenWiFi AX, like the CT8, includes two identical routers. From the front, you can’t tell hardware the XT8 and the CT8 routers apart. The two look the same, sharing the single-slot-toaster design, and available in white or charcoal colors.

Familiar design, now with multi-gig WAN support

On the back, though, you’ll note that the XT8’s WAN port is now a multi-gig port that works either at either 1Gbps or 2.5Gbps. Also, the USB 3.2 Gen 1 port is on the right side instead of left.

Like the CT8, the XT8 features Dual-WAN, you can turn its USB port or another LAN port into a second WAN port, in case you want it to host two broadband connections at a time or load balancing or high availability.

Asus ZenWiFi AX vs ZenWiFi AC
The ZenWiFi AX XT8 and the ZenWiFi AC CT8. Look closely, maybe you can tell them apart.

By default, there’s no multi-gig LAN port. And that’s disappointing since that means locally, the best wired-to-wireless connection you’d get out of the XT8 is 1Gbps.

But when working as a node, the XT8’s 2.5Gbps WAN port now works as a LAN port. However, generally, in real-world usage, it’s not a good idea to count on the wireless backhaul to reliably deliver the same speed as a wired multi-gig LAN connection.

Also, you’ll need to have a second node unit before you can see the value of this port. With a 2-pack, the speed is limited by the other Gigabit ports anyway.

High-speed backhaul band, presently no 160MHz channel support for clients

Each XT8 hardware unit is an AX6600 tri-band router with one 2.4GHz and two 5GHz broadcasters. The router dedicates one of the 5GHz band, the 5GHz-2, as the dedicate backhaul, which works solely to link the two hardware units to form a mesh system.

The 5GHz-2 is the most powerful band, featuring 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 to deliver up to 4800Mbps. It also supports the venerable 160MHz channel width. Thanks to this strong backhaul connection, you can place the XT8’s hardware further from each other and still have a fast mesh system.

See also  Wi-Fi 6 Explained in Layman's Terms: The Real Speed, Range, and More

The other 5GHz band (5GHz-1) uses 2×2 Wi-Fi specification, which generally caps 2400 Mbps for Wi-Fi 6. Unfortunately, however, the XT8’s front-haul doesn’t support 160MHz channels. As a result, in a wireless setup, Wi-Fi 6 clients can connect at 1200 Mbps at most while Wi-Fi 5 devices will get 867 Mbps.

Update: Asus told me on February 11, 2020, that it would might release a new firmware update that opens up the front-haul to support 4×4 160MHz specs, effectively doubling the XT8’s Wi-Fi speed for clients. This doesn’t seem like a sure thing, however.

Many mesh routers don’t support 160MHz channel width for end-users. Examples of these include big-name products like the Ubiquiti Alien and the Netgear Orbi RBK 852.

ZenWiFi AX Web UI
The ZenWiFi AX XT8 shares the same web interface as that of previous Asus routers. Note its 5GHz-2 band’s default setting for the dedicated backhaul role.

Wired backhaul support

Like all AiMesh routers, the ZenWiFi AX support wired backhaul — you can use a network cable to hook one router to another.


Extra: Important note on using wired backhaul

Since the XT8 is purposely built for a wireless setup, its firmware might not be tuned for a wired backhaul setup. As a result, a new firmware might cause issues if you use wired backhaul with it.

Generally, in my experience, if your network is stable, it’s a good idea to upgrade the firmware only after the subsequent version of the new version is available. In other words, a new major upgrade tends to include issues that need to be ironed out by a minor version.


In a wired backhaul setup, by default, the XT8’s 5GHz-2 band is still not available to clients — it remains a hidden dedicated backup backhaul in case the wired connection is lost. So, when you use SmartConnect, this 5GHz-2 band is not part of the main Wi-Fi network. In short, it will not be used at all.

There’s a way to make use of this band, however. You can manually create a new unhidden SSID with it, different from that of the primary Wi-Fi network. This SSID will then be available, throughout the AiMesh system, as separate 5GHz-only full 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi network for clients.

In other words, like all tri-band AiMesh systems, with a wired backhaul, you’ll need to do a bit of tweaking before you can make use of the 5GHz-2 band, which has an SSID of its own.

Update: With the latest firmware that supports AiMesh 2.0, there’s now an option to combine all three bands via Smart Connect when the wired backhaul is in effect.

ZenWiFi AX XT8: Detail photos

Asus ZenWiFi AX 2
The ZenWiFi AX XT8’s retail box.

Asus ZenWiFi AX 3
The ZenWiFi AX XT8 includes two identical routers.

Asus ZenWiFi AX Mesh System
Each router has three Gigabit LAN ports and one 2.5 Gbps WAN port.

Asus ZenWiFi AX Router
The ZenWiFi AX XT8 router is quite light and compact.

Asus ZenWiFi AX 5
But it has enough weight to stay put on a surface.

Asus ZenWiFi AX 4
The multi-gig WAN port is one of a few things that set the XT8 apart from the CT8. It also means the ZenWiFi AX XT8 can deliver a faster-than-gigabit internet connection.

Asus ZenWiFi AX Top
From the top the ZenWiFi AX XT8 routers look like mini single-slot toasters.

ZenWiFi AX XT8: Hardware specifications

ModelXT8
Full NameAsus ZenWiFi AX Router
Mesh-ReadyYes (2-pack)
Dedicated Backhaul BandYes (5GHZ-2)
Wired BackhaulYes
Dimensions (WxDxH)6.29 x 2.95 x 6.35 in  
(16 x 7.5 x 16.15 cm)
Weight1.56 lb (710 g)
5GHz-1 Wi-Fi Specs2 x 2 AX: Up to 1200 Mbps
5GHz-2 Wi-Fi Specs4 x 4 AX up to 4800 Mbps
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs2 x 2 Wi-Fi 6 up to 574 Mbps
Front-haul Channel Width Support20Mhz, 40MHz, 80MHz
Backward Compatibility802.11ac/n/g/a/b
Mobile AppAsus Router
Web User InterfaceYes (Full)
AP ModeYes (as a router or a mesh)
USB Port1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1
Gigabit Port3 x LAN
Multi-Gig Port1x 2.5 Gpbs/1Gbps WAN
Link AggregationNo
Dual-WANYes
Processing Power1.5GHz quad-core CPU, 
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
ZenWiFi AX XT8’s hardware specifications.

Familiar settings, features, and shortcomings

Again, other than the more powerful hardware, the XT8 shares the same set of settings and features as the CT8. It also uses the same web interface and the Asus mobile app. That said, you can find out more in the review of the CT8, including how to set the system up.

To avoid repeating myself, I’ll recap below some significant points.


Asus ZenWiFi AX’s highlights

  • Out of the box, the two XT8 hardware units are pre synced. No matter how you change them individually — like using each as a standalone router for a different home — once restored to default settings, they are ready to work together as a mesh.
  • The XT8 router can work with all other AiMesh-enabled routers, as the router unit or a satellite node.
  • You can restore the XT8 router with the settings of any previous Asus router, making upgrade an easy job. Note, though, that it’s always better to set it up from scratch to avoid potential setting conflicts
  • The XT8 can work as a node for a system hosted by any other AiMesh-ready router. Or it can host one to extend its own network.
  • There are lots of network settings, enough to make almost any advanced user happy and features anyone would appreciate. These include AiProtection (online protection and parental control), Traffic Analyser, Adaptive QoS, VPN (client or server), and an excellent Dynamic DNS.
  • AiMesh now has a new section of its own, within the web interface, which makes managing and adding additional nodes easier. You can also make use of the XT8’s USB port even when it’s working as a node.
  • The USB port can do all that you can think of for a router peripheral port. You can use it to host a printer, a cellular modem, or a storage device to deliver all storage-related features you can imagine — data sharing/syncing/streaming, Time Machine backup, PC-less downloading, and more.

Asus ZenWiFi AX’s shortcomings

And like other Asus routers, the XT8 shares the same shortcomings, too. First and foremost is the fact it can be buggy. Due to the sheer amount of features and settings, it seems Asus has had trouble keeping tabs of them all.

For example, a firmware update can cause issues — you might need to reset the system and set it up or restore settings from a backup file to fix it. Like the case of other AiMesh routers, the Guest networking feature was only available at the router unit and not throughout the system during my trial.

(For the latest on AiMesh, check out this frequently updated post.)

See also  AiMesh in 2021: Asus's Ongoing Effort to Excellent Wi-Fi Coverage

You can expect most of the system’s shortcomings to be addressed one way or another via future firmware updates. However, the excessive amount of settings can be overwhelming for home users and might cause the system to remain buggy in some shape or form.

ZenWiFi AX XT8: Excellent performance

For the official scores, I tested the ZenWiFi AX in a wireless setup. The system doesn’t have the Wi-Fi specs to be the fastest on the market. Instead, it’s one that delivers extensive Wi-Fi coverage and still with excellent real-world throughputs.

See also  Internet or Wi-Fi Speed Test: How You Can Figure Out the Correct Numbers

I used both 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 and top Wi-Fi 5 clients for the testing. Keep in mind that from the clients’ perspective, the XT8 is a 2×2 system of both standards.

Fast Wi-Fi speeds

As a single router, the XT8 delivered precisely the kind of performance I had expected from it. My Wi-Fi 6 client connected at 1.2Gbps and had a sustained speed of almost 840 Mbps at the close range of fewer than 10 feet (3 m).

XT8 Router

When I increased the distance to 40 feet (12 m), it now registered higher than 770 Mbps. Wi-Fi 5 clients fared the worst on the chart. However, that’s because the XT8 is the only one, among the existing handful of Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems on the market, that doesn’t feature 3×3 or faster Wi-Fi 5.

That said, its scores of some 660 Mbps and 450 Mbps for close and long-range, respectively, weren’t bad at all.

XT8 Satellite

The XT8 did it best when working as a mesh. The node (satellite) unit delivered the best performance to Wi-Fi 6 clients, averaging 850 Mbps and 792 Mbps for close and long-range, respectively. These were faster than higher-specced systems.

Excellent range, reliable signals

With two units, the XT8 could cover anywhere between 4000 ft² (372 m²) to 5000 ft² of residential space in my testing with fast Wi-Fi speeds.

I tested the system with the node placed some 40 feet away. But in anecdotal tests, I could put it some 70 feet away and still get speed fast enough to deliver my 300 Mbps internet in full.

Your mileage will vary, but it’s safe to say, thanks to the full 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 backhaul, in a wireless setup, the XT8’s range delivers. The system proved to be reliable, too. It passed my 3-day stress test without any disconnection.

Real Wi-Fi 6 speed with wired backhaul

The XT8’s wired backhaul also worked well in my trial — in this case, the distance between the two units doesn’t matter much. I created a separate network with the 5GHz-2 band and was able to get full 2400 Mbps connection speed from it using my 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients.

Note, though, that this connection speed was between the clients and the XT8. So, the only time you truly benefit from the multi-gig Wi-Fi speeds is when you have a multi-gig WAN connection, and the clients connect directly to the router. Since the XT8 has no multi-gig LAN port, clients connected to the node won’t get real-world speeds faster than 1Gbps.

Still, it’s nice to have the option to have a 5GHz band working for high-speed clients. That said, even though not necessary, it’s a good idea to use a network cable to connect the two hardware units.

Decent NAS performance

Without a multi-gig LAN port, the ZenWiFi AC XT8 can’t compare to those with one in terms of network-attached storage performance when hosting an external drive. But it was much faster than the CT8 in my testing.

Asus ZenWiFi AX NAS

When coupled with the SanDisk Extreme portable SSD, via a Gigabit connection, the router scored some 46 MB/s and almost 65 MB/s for writing and reading, respectively. These were decent enough for a casual NAS solution.

Conclusion

The ZenWiFi AX XT8 AX6600 Whole-Home Tri-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System is one out of more than a dozen Asus AiMesh systems I’ve tested, and it’s one of the best, if not the best.

The system is far from perfect, though. It’s not the fastest, nor does it deliver all features you can get from an Asus router — it has no game-specific features or multi-gig LAN port. And like most Asus routers, it can be buggy, too. You might need to work at it for a bit before it works for you.

In return, it has an excellent combination of everything you’d look for in a mesh Wi-Fi system, which is fast performance and broad coverage.

Most importantly, at less than $450, it’s a steal. Many other 2-pack mesh systems on the market, like the Netgear Orbi RBK852 or the Arris SURFboard mAX Pro, cost hundreds of dollars more, yet have less in features and network customization.

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1,004 thoughts on “Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 AX6600 Review: The Best Wireless AiMesh Set to Date”

  1. Hey Dong. Great site. I bought this unit a few years back after seeing great reviews. It has worked great since then after following the advice here after firmware updates. My Node is connected to the main unit via Wi-Fi. We recently finished our basement and I had the basement hardwired for ethernet. I purchased three new TVs and attempted to connect them but none of them will connect to the Internet successfully via Ethernet. I connected my MacBook to each of those ethernet lines with no problem. All of the TVs will connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi. I also have a PlayStation that connected to Wi-Fi previously with no issue and still connects via Wi-Fi but will not connect via ethernet either. I’m at a lost. Just as a reference I have all of these ethernet lines plugged into a switch which then connects to the main router. For testing purposes, I plugged one of those ethernet lines directly into the router by passing the switch to rule our the switch as a problem, but I still cannot connect the TV to the Internet via ethernet.

    I’m looking for some advice on your experience with this unit if there is something special that I need to change in the settings To allow the ethernet to work. I don’t think so but I am at a loss here. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again

    Reply
      • Hey Dong and Kevin,
        I had a similar problem with my two units. I would periodically lose connectivity on anything connected through Ethernet. Was unable to fix it working with ASUS so they replaced the 2 units, everything has worked fine since. It is unlikely your problem is with the unit but it could be.

        Reply
  2. Hi Dong,

    I just read your post titled “Double NAT vs. Single NAT: How to Best Handle an (ISP-Provide) Gateway” last night and it was super informative. I currently have a Gateway from my ISP, do you think the Asus XT8 can be used as two APs for the Gateway to get the best coverage for my house?

    I was hoping to utilize the cables that run through the house to hardwire the XT8 units on the main floor and upstairs so that they will provide the best wifi speeds.

    What are you thoughts on using the XT8 as APs for my Gateway? Or do you have another suggestion that I could potentially look at.

    Reply
    • Yes, Ken. The XT8 has the AP mode (as I noted in the review). And it would be best if you used the XT8 as the router of your home and the gateway in the bridge mode. Also, if you run cables, the XT8 is not a great choice (though it’ll work out fine.) By the way, all you asked has been addressed in this review and the double-NAT post. My suggestion is you read anything here in its entirety. 🙂

      Reply
  3. My AC88U finally bit the dust and can no longer keep a 5Ghz connection. Looking at either the XT8 (2-pack) or the AX92U (2-pack) for the new mesh system. I only get about 400 up/down on my internet so just looking for a solid stable connection across my devices. Which would you go with? I want to ensure if we do get fiber that the router can maximize the speeds across the devices. One is the big difference between these two routers as they seem on paper to be very similar.

    -Thanks, love the site!

    Reply
  4. all the asus routers including this one has only 16 parental control device list, which is very unfortunate since i have like 30 iot wifi switches which i don’t want to have them ping back home. is there a way around this? here is the feature i am talking about: https://demoui.asus.com/ParentalControl.asp
    Also Dong any chance you can suugest any other router which has atleast 30 device which can block internet but allow internal communication?

    Reply
    • Parental Controls have little to do with IoT, V. You can just block a domain completely and that will apply to all devices within the network.

      Reply
    • Your best option is to just block each of your IOT devices from the internet, directly:
      Click on the computer icon under Network Map, then you will get a Client status list on the right. Click each of the IOT devices and toggle Block Internet Access. This can be used on any number of connected devices.

      Reply
  5. Hi Dong,

    This site is great. Thank you for all this information. I recently rearranged my home where my primary PC is now on wifi (previously it was hardwired and I was getting very close to 1 Gbps (I have a gig connection and gig hardware (switch and Cat 5e cables)). I have an ASUS Blue Cave as my primary router and a ASUS AC1900P as the node which is hard wired and I have good coverage throughout my home. Because I have moved my primary desktop PC, I use a USB wifi adapter and I am getting a 250 Mbps connection. I would like a faster connection to the desktop and I am planning other peripherals near the desktop that I would like to be connected via ethernet. I am thinking of upgrading to WIFI 6 and considering the Zen WIFI XT8 2 pack. I have 3 scenarios and I’d like your thoughts on them, please.

    1) Zen WIFI XT8 (2 pack): One would be the primary router and the second would be next to my PC using wireless backhaul to maximize the internet connection. I would not use the other 2 WIFI 5 routers.

    2) Zen WIFI XT8 (2 pack): One would be the primary router and the second would be next to my PC using wireless backhaul to maximize the internet connection. I would use the other 2 WIFI 5 routers as nodes connected via ethernet back haul. (I have good coverage in my home currently but perhaps this will give me faster connections?)

    3) One Zen WIFI XT8 unit only as the primary router, the Blue Cave as a node (wireless backhaul), the AC1900P as a node (wired). (My home is only 3000 sq ft and should have good coverage with only one XT8 unit. Would the wireless backhaul to the Blue Cave utilize the full 5Ghz band?)

    4) I am open to other suggestions involving other ASUS AX routers.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  6. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but
    your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later.
    All the best

    Reply
  7. Hi Dong
    I have a problem with the stability of the wifi speed in my XT8.
    Both units are connected by cable (the icons in the application confirm it). When I stand at the Nod, the speed is 700/500, then I walk inside the house (e.g. approaching the main unit) and when I return back to the NOD unit, I have a speed of 120/50. The same is true for the main unit (router). For faster speeds to come back, I have to turn off and on the wifi on my phone.

    Do you have any idea what it results from?

    (I will add that the internet is stable at 950/500).

    Thanks in advance.
    Marcin

    Reply
    • Separate the 2.4GHz from 5GHz, Marcin. Your device just got to switch to 2.4GHz as you move because this band’s signal is stronger. Or you can wait 5-10 mins each time you move before testing. And no, you didn’t have a problem with stability. Things are just not what you expected.

      Reply
  8. The first review of xt8 was done in Feb 2020. It’s now Jul 2021. Is the XT8 still worth getting as it’s almost 2 years old model or should I just wait another half year or so in hope of a new model to replace the XT8? Is the XD6 a good option since it’s newer?

    Reply
  9. Hi, Dong,

    Best reviews on the internet. Before reading through your work, I was just going to go with an Orbi setup. I have gigabit internet, and I got a great deal on some SRK60s ($75 each) and then SRK80s ($165 each!). But while I want a stable connection with minimal restarts, I don’t like the Orbi lag I keep hearing about and would like to do things like band assignments, scheduling, and incremental improvements in the future.

    So I found another great deal on several XT8s ($150 each). But in the back of my head, I kept hearing you say “wired backhaul”, so I took another look at my config again and realized I may be able to do just that (getting in the crawl space this afternoon with some fish tape; at least 1 or 2 sats can be wired, 1 is still in question).

    If I want fast and stable and am able to wire everything up, should I keep the XT8s or start looking for deals on RT-AX86Us or maybe a GT-AX11000 w some 92s? (Would there be an advantage to using the 2.5gb for the wired backhaul, by the way? I’ll probably put my synology and desktop on a multigig switch with link agg, so not sure what I’ll be doing with the 2.5gb).

    If I must do hybrid, are the XT8s the way to go?

    Am I being dumb (i.e., is my family going to yell at me often) for leaving 3 or 4 SRK80s and moving into the ASUS platform?

    Thanks so much for all the hard work; I’ll keep ad-block off and continue using your Amz links!

    Reply
    • It would be best if you moved to Asus, Jeff. The XT8 will work with a wired backhaul. It’s just that it *might* have issues after a firmware update (this has happened). If you’re going hybrid and money is not an issue (it seems like that), I’d use the GT-AX11000 as the main and a couple of RT-AX92U as nodes — you can also go all of the latter. This way, things will be great no matter if you go wireless, wired, or mixed. If you want things to be stable, turn off 160MHz — more in this post. Oh, I can’t say anything about your family yelling at you. In fact, if you find out how to be safe from that, please let me know.

      Reply
      • Thank you for this, Dong. Incredibly helpful.

        I ended up pulling the trigger on a GT-AX11000. I’m doing my typical sanity check with just one router (always the same location), a wired machine running iperf3 (if you’re not familiar, you might consider it over the file-sending methodology), and tests all over my home. I’m consistently getting 150-250 Mbits/s less than on a single GT-AX11000 than a single XT8. I know you get these questions a lot, and they’re hard to debug, but if you can think of anything off-hand that might explain the surprising difference, I’d love to hear it.

        I have all the game priority stuff off on the AX11000 running smart connect across 2.4, 5-1, and 5-2; otherwise it’s a recently-reset router-mode setup.

        Reply
        • I’d stop using iperf, Jeff, seriously. I don’t use it for a reason. But it’s your call, just don’t count me in. 🙂

          Reply
  10. Dong, thanks for the great article and review of the XT8’s! I picked up a set of these and wired them into my AX88U Router. Performance has been great to wireless clients. I have experienced a problem with my NEST thermostat falling off the network (and have noticed the ping going to 57K ms)! Rebooting the XT8 node clears it for an hour or so but it keeps happening. I swapped the other node with the one closest to the NEST and voila! no more problems. Do you think I have a bad node?

    Reply
    • Not really, Robert. It might have been the Nest has been connected to the same node in the first place. It’s a bit tricky in your case to figure things out since you’re using tri-band nodes and a dual-band router. More in this post.

      Reply
      • Dong,
        Thx for this review. I have a few questions. I day trade from my home office ( 3k sq ft and on the 2nd floor) I have AT&T internet 1000 fiber 1gb. Would I need two units or may I do just one unit? Amazon has 1 or 2 unit setups. Also, will this increase my internet speed? My rig is wifi 6 capable. Should I do a mesh system or wifi 6 router? Apologies to Robert for jumping on his thread, but I couldn’t find a way to ask questions.
        Thx

        Reply
  11. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for the great review.

    I’ve got a 2.2 Gigabit internet connection with the Cat 7 ethernet from my modem going into the 2.5G on the WAN port on the XT8, the problem is, my router is connected to the node using wired backhaul from the routers Gigabit port so my node wont be getting full speeds and the gigabit port becomes the bottleneck. Is there anyway to do link aggregation for wired backhaul between both units?

    Thanks for your help.

    Reply
  12. Hi Dong,

    I took your earlier advise and split the bands on my xt8 router. I have the 2 pack set, with on primary and 1 AI mesh over the 5ghz wireless band.

    I move specific devices to 5ghz and the iot devices to the 2.4ghz. All seems to work well except on robot vacuum clear. It’s meant to connect to the 2.4ghz only, yet it’s not discoverable and just won’t connect, even after factory reset to the vacuum device.

    I know it’s me router because I Hotspotted my mobile and managed to connect the vacuum easily.

    I read on a forum that sometimes ports need to be open, so I added those specific ports, and still no luck.

    Any thoughts on what on my router can be blocking this device from being discovered?

    Any specific setting that may need to be enabled or disabled?

    It may be worth while noting that all wifi6 setting are off since I have minimal wifi6 compatible devices and iot devices work better with wifi6 off.

    Thanks
    T

    Reply
      • Don’t, just took the plunge on the ax88u and 2 xt8s. The xt are hardwired to the 88u. I’m having a problem with one of the xt8s. Whenever I walk to the part of the house that is closest to the xt8 I get full signal on my iPhone but no web pages load. If I turn Wifi on and off it loads fine.

        Reply
  13. Hi Dong! Just got a pair of XT8 the other day after the Deco X60 3-piece system didn’t exactly live up to my expectations in terms of speed and coverage. Allthough the XT8 was faster on the node unit, the system delivered a weaker or no signal far away in the garden and had worse coverage in the house than the X60 did even though i put them in exactly the same place. I only split the bands and used the 5GHz-2 as a hidden wireless backhaul in the setup. I only really got wifi-5 units to test the router so far and I guess that 200mb/s on the Deco node is a decent speed for my sons gaming on our 500/500 fiber line (I refuse to use wired backhaul). Do you think I can get better wifi-signal on the XT8 by changing the settings some more or should I go back to the X60?

    Reply
      • Thanks for the input. I should say that the third Deco unit only covers a small piece of the front side of the house. The other 2 units cover the back side of the house and the garden, as do the Asus. Do you rellay think I get a better signal in the garden by placing another TX8 in the front side of the house?

        Reply
        • adding another unit in the front of the house will likely not affect the signal in your garden. its surprising as my xt8s are giving me the ability to connect on the main road!! i stay on the second floor in an apartment building inset about 10m from the street, and the router isn’t really on the edge of the network – although there are no major walls impeding the signal to the road.

          perhaps a solution would be to place one node much closer to the garden, and give the node in the front of the house a little more work to do? also i wonder what the wireless backhaul signal strength is like, how many walls/how much space is there between the main mesh router and the node in question? I use wired backhaul, so im not really sure about how signal strength is affected by placement, or how one can test it.

          Theres also an option to optimize the network once the nodes are all set up in their final locations. Maybe try that?

          Hope that helps,

          Reply
      • Hi again Dong! Just compared my Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact to my wifes iPhone 8 and she has a much stronger and stable wifi connection to the XT8. So maybe the problem is with my phone. Gonna test the router some more before i decide. And perhaps get another unit 😉

        Reply
  14. Hi Dong,

    I am upgrading my Wifi. I have an old AC5300 router.

    I just got a AX88 router (Came with topup for re-contracting my Internet)

    So I am wondering if I should get 2 units of XT88 to connect to the Main router AX88. Downside is the AX88 is only dual band, not sure if it is a good idea.

    The other method will be to buy a Powerline and use the XD4.

    Here is a picture of my proposed setup with floorplan. I am usually in bedroom 3 but it doesn’t have a cable connectivity.

    https://s3.cloudstorage.rstorcloud.io/image/639.png?X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Credential=RSTOR17QTD86X1AP7D1T9B6ISM%2F20210601%2FOSA01%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20210601T080253Z&X-Amz-Expires=2476626&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Signature=6182992e5a1753309cb1a014d86f70b4af07eae372b69243501bc25d2e3b548c

    Reply
    • Use the old AC5300 as a wired backhaul node of the AX88U (or in the AP mode), where you’d place the wired XT8, and you’re set, Nick. There’s no need to get a new set of XT8. More in this post.

      Reply
  15. Hi Dong, I have a question about guest mode and wired/wireless backhaul. My setup is a ASUS GT -AX11000 with 2 ZenWiFi AX in wireless mesh mode. The main unit is on the top floor (3rd floor) with the 2 Zen units directly below on the 2nd and 1st floor almost directly below each other. I can do wired backhaul on the 2nd floor unit but not the 1st floor unit. The question is can I place the 2nd floor unit in wired backhaul and turn on its guest mode? What’s odd is the two zen units always connect directly to the main router but never to each other.

    Reply
    • I’ve never been to your home, Carmine, so the floors you mentioned don’t mean much in terms of showing the spaces between the hardware. However, if you have a wired backhaul from the router to one of the XT8s, then there’s no need to worry about placement or to which device the other node connects. That makes no difference.

      Reply
  16. I want to thank you for all the reviews that you do, and the help that you give your readers and fans. You do a great job, and are really appreciated out here in user land.

    I do have a question about the ZenWiFi. If I use wired backhaul and can now access the 5GHz-2 radio as a result, does it make sense to use just the 5GHz-2 radio, since it’s a 4X4? While I see an option for smart connect for 2.4GHz, 5GHz-1, and 5GHz-2, I don’t see an option for just 2.4GHz. and 5GHz-2. What I see when I use the tri-band smart connect is that most clients end up on the 5GHz-1 radio, with one or two on the 5GHz-2 radio. I’d like it to be the other way around, I think, since the 5GHz-2 radio has twice the horsepower that the 5GHz-1 radio has, as it were.

    Do you have any comments on this, whether I should make the 5GHz-2 radio my main client radio with wired backhaul or not? Or is there a speed advantage to having 2X2 clients on the 2X2 radio? Not clear to me, I’d really like to hear what you think about that.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hey,

      I’m using two xt8 as nodes and one ax88 as main router. In this configuration it ist possible to deactivate each band separately. I’m only using the 2,4 and the 5ghz-2 at the moment. The 5ghz-1 uses the lower channels. I’m actually using no device which needs these lower channels and to give the neighbors some space on the 5ghz.

      Reply
        • Are you sure that the wired backhaul option isn’t available if one xt8 is in router mode. It’s located at the main router AiMesh>Settings(at the top of the overview)>wired backhaul
          By default this setting is off.

          Reply
          • I never said it was not available. Read the review again, Marcus, and other related posts.

        • Dong –

          I have an XT8, live next to an international airport, and can’t access 160mhz for backhaul. Would I be better off with a different mesh system?

          Thanks!
          D

          Reply
          • Yes, D. Either that, or you need to turn the use of the DFS channels off completely via the web interface — configure the 5GHz-2 band to use only the 80MHz. It’s a bit of work to get that done but it’s doable. 2400Mbps for backhaul is plenty.

          • Dong – thanks so much. I locked it on 80 and am getting much higher speeds. Really appreciate it. -D

    • I don’t use smart connect but I do have wired backhaul between my two xt8 nodes. All my 5ghz clients use the 5-2 band (wifi 6 clients – macbook, dell, etc) and the 2.4 ghz bands (ring, nest, sonos, etc). I have the 5-1 band enabled but It’s normally unused. I do see in the professional tab for wireless that there is an ‘enable radio’ switch for each band. I haven’t tried to disable the normal 5-1 band though – it may or may not work.

      Reply
  17. Hi,

    Would like your thoughts regarding how I can boost the standard settings on my Asus mesh system with 3 Asus zenwifi ax xt8. I have fiber 1000/1000 in and all connections are via wifi. I have a lot of IoT devices and other devices in total 40. Some are using 2,4 hz and most 5 hz. How can I boost my mesh? I have the latest firmware.

    Reply
    • There’s no such thing as a “boost” for Wi-Fi, Zoran, that’s a terrible marketing term designed to fool people. Don’t use it. You can only “extend” a network. When doing it wirelessly, you generally will lose speed. More on that in this post.

      Reply
  18. A short feedback from me.
    I’m running the Ax88u as main router. i got two xt8 for a low price and wanted to integrate them into my network as node. Adding them as node with a wired connection is pretty easy. The only challenge was to get the second 5G available for clients. By default the 5G-2 is used as Backhaul connection which is not necessary if they are connected by wire. After couple of hours testing an searching I got the 5G-2 finally released. The Ax88u is running with both 2,4 and the 5G. Both xt8 are running with 2,4 and the 5G plus 5G-2 merged together as a single 5G without smart connect enabled.

    Reply
    • “By default the 5G-2 is used as Backhaul connection which is not necessary if they are connected by wire. After couple of hours testing an searching I got the 5G-2 finally released.”

      So how did you do this?

      Reply
      • You have to go to AiMesh>system settings(which is located at the top of the page above the “add aimesh node” and “optimization” button)>Ethernet backhaul mode and turn the toggle on.
        Thereafter the 5ghz-2 is available for clients and each radio (2,4, 5ghz-1and 5ghz-2)can be enabled separately for each node

        Reply
  19. Hey Dong,

    Thanks for the post.

    I have had the ZenWifi AX for 3 months now, but I tend to have Wifi stability issues.

    * The 2.4G is dedicated to connected home devices (light bulbs, door lock, thermostat, etc.). There is about 20 clients on the 2.4G network over the 2 nodes. But many times, turning the lights on/off some devices are delayed by >15seconds.

    * The 5GhZ network is used by phones, laptops and music streamers. When running a speed test with Wifi 5 MacBook Pro (6 feet from the router, direct line of sight), I noticed that the first 5-6 seconds of the speed test stall at 60-70Mbps, before gradually increasing to 300Mbps down / 600Up (sometimes with a big dip back to 70 along the way).

    Same test wired to the router I run at 600Mbps down, and 800Up, and I reach those speeds almost instantly and keep them.

    Any idea what could be happening? Any diagnostic tips and tools ? Optimisation guides ?

    Many thanks.

    Reply
      • Dong,

        Your site is by far and away the defacto source of quality information. In formation. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. In my case I know have too much information and I’m hesitant on making a wrong decision. My home is old 1923 brick house with thick walls, A basement, 2 floors and an attic that all need top notch wifi. I was looking at the XT8 for my solution. I want to use a wired backhaul. Two questions. You mention that the XT8 is only good for a wireless backhaul but now with AiMesh 2.0 exposing the second 5G network to clients is not a good solution? Also I don’t believe a synced pair would suffice. Are there any issues in combining 2 sets of XT8 in one mesh network? Thank again!

        Reply
        • If you use wired backhaul, it’s better to go with one of these AiMesh sets, Dino. The XT8 will work but new firmware updates *might* cause issues, that has happened before. But to answer your questions, you can also open the 2nd 5GHz band to clients, no matter what. And four XT8 units will work fine together.

          Reply
  20. Hey Dong,

    I’ve read both of your XT8 & CT8 reviews, & I’m still unsure on which one to get. I am moving into a new home, & will be just getting Verizon Fios 500mbps internet service. The house is about 1700sqft: two floors, a basement, & backyard. What I’m mostly looking for is great speed & coverage to all the ends of the house, & want to get all, if not most, of the mbps I’m paying for from both the router & satellite. Also, the router & satellite will be connected wirelessly. I don’t have many devices that will take advantage of the WiFi 6. Can’t go wrong with either one, but would love your input! Thank you for your work as well.

    Reply
  21. Hey Dong,

    Reading both of your reviews on the CT8 & XT8, I’m still kind of unsure which one to get. I am currently moving to a new home & will be just getting the 500mbps Verizon Fios internet service. The new home is roughly 1700 sqft; two floors, a basement, & backyard. What I’m mostly looking for is great coverage & speed on all ends of the home, & getting most of the mbps I’m paying for from both the router & satellite. Also, both the router & satellite will be connecting wirelessly. I don’t have many devices that will take advantage of the WiFi 6. Pretty sure I can’t go wrong with either one, but would love your input! Thank you for your work.

    Reply
    • You already got the answer, Chris. Either will work out well considering your place is relatively small. But with the yard, you’re better off with a 2-pack. I’d go with the XT8, which has a better backhaul range, just to be sure, but if money is tight, go with the CT8. You probably won’t see the difference.

      Reply
  22. Hello Dong,

    Thank you for all your reviews. I have been your follower since many years and I appreciate your work a lot.

    My new house is about 8000sft on a single level. I have previously used Asus Rt86u along with Merlin and it is the best router I have used.

    My new house has ethernet cables running all over so I can run a wired backhaul.

    My question is: will 2/3 more 86u routers with merlin be a better choice than the XT8 for mesh benefits.

    My primary need is seamless transfer of wifi when I move around the house.

    Reply
  23. Hi Dong,

    Thank you for you insight. I’ve purchased the xt8 a few months ago however I’m experiencing a few issues which I believe could be configuration related.
    1. My wifi cameras often lose connectivity for a few seconds? Is this related to the aimesh finding the best channel and closest node?
    2. My Google home devices don’t work with snooping turned enabled. They lose connectivity
    3. Wifi bulbs sometimes disconnect and need to be reset to reconnect

    I mainly have wifi 5 devices and I’m using smart connect (2.4 + 5ghz). If I use individual network Google devices act up.

    Any guidance on the optimal configuration?

    Reply
    • The connectivity issues you’re experiencing are frequently related to DHCP.
      Besides upgrading the devices to the latest firmware, define static IP addresses for them in the router, and configure the devices to that IP address, rather than fetch it from the DHCP server.

      Reply
  24. Hi Dong,
    I posted before that I was having problems with my second XT8 node connecting to the router and you suggested that I wait for the next firmware and reset the system. Since then I have tried multiple firmware versions including the latest version, reset the system multiple times by holding a paper clip in the reset buttons, swapped the second node with the router, all to no avail. And it doesn’t matter how far the the node is from the router either, I’ve tried from inside the same room and multiple rooms. All I get is it goes from a Great connection, to eventually a Weak connection to Not Connected at all and back again. I was just wondering if there is anything I can try that I haven’t tried yet. I wonder if the system is actually being fully reset as sometimes the second nodes blue light is quickly blinking when it says it is connected. I’ve tried calling Asus but their wait time is long which is why I am asking here. Again, I truly enjoy your site. Thanks for any possible ideas.

    Reply
    • Try the 30-30-30 reset on all units, Mark. That’s when you press the reset button for 30 seconds, then unplug the router from its power source for 30 seconds, then plug it in with the reset button still depressed for another 30 seconds. In all, you press and hold the reset button for 90 seconds. Note that might put the routers in the recovery mode. In this case, you just need to load the firmware on them via the web interface, so make sure you download the firmware on your computer first.

      Reply
  25. Hi Don, Firstly thanks so much for your website it is a recent find and has been an invaluable source of knowledge.

    I am wondering if it is better to get a ready Mesh system like the Asus Zenwifi AX XT8 Mesh-system or alternatively I have been really close to getting an Asus RT-AX86U that you have recommended and adding another one to create a mesh in my house. Which would you recommend?

    Really appreciate any answer!

    Reply
  26. Hi Dong, thanks for the great review!
    I want to upgrade my Airport Time Capsule to WIFI 6 system, currently airport covers my house well, and I get usable 5G signal in all locations except for two far corners where the speed drops down to 20Mbps.
    I have 1Gbps fiber connection with ISP router in one corner of the house, and I essentially need an AP in my living room (which is the centre of the house). I know there are better standalone routers, but I need something that also look nice in my living room. So my questions:
    1) Do you think a single XT8 or Linksys MX4200 can cover my house? In your test which one has an edge in coverage?
    2) Does XT8 support bridge mode and I can later add more mesh nodes (I’m pretty sure Linksys does but not sure about Asus)?
    3) Do you recall the length of power cord of XT8 and MX4200? I ask because I need to place the router 2,2 meters away from the power supplier.
    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
      • Also no known problem with update. Does anyone know if ASUS provides a more detailed README or other file providing more detailed information on what each update does other than simply listing the CVE’s fixed? What is on their website is pretty basic, and a somewhat more complete update history file would be very useful. Any pointers would be helpful. Thanks

        Reply
    • Not very stable. Reboots at random intervals. And this is after I have my router set to reboot every night @ 3:00am.

      Reply
    • Couple of weeks of continuous uptime on 42095 at this point. This firmware version has been stable, no problems. There is one repeating message in the system log “not mesh client, can’t update it’s ip” as I recall, but apparently doesn’t have any effect. Mesh is working fine. It would be nice if Asus would fix that, and no spontaneous reboots, disconnects, etc.

      Oh yeah, I don’t use scheduled reboots, haven’t needed to.

      Reply
    • I did upgrade and found that it was stable – except that Sonos equipment would not connect in a stable manner. Apparently with Asus you need to do a hard reset and manually reconfigure the system for it to work with Sonos. Once I did that all my Sonos equipment started working perfectly again.

      I suspect the source of the issue is some sort of carryover misconfiguration/corruption after upgrades that makes this necessary. It’s unfortunate that Asus’s firmware has such issues.

      Reply
  27. Thanks for your review. I just ordered a pair of XT8s and I’m planning on using them in AP mode, connecting my existing ‘gateway’ (Cisco ASA) to a LAN port of the nearest unit. Could you confirm that I won’t be able to use the guest network feature since these units won’t be routing traffic?
    I hope that the traffic inspection/security features will still work, or are they bound to the WAN port, which won’t be used?
    Finally, I couldn’t find any reference to VLANs in the user manual except for ‘VID’ on the IPTV setup page. Is there any way to map a SSID to a particular VLAN? That’s what I’m doing today with the AP the XT8s will replace.
    Thanks again for your in-depth review.

    Reply
    • None of what you mentioned will work, Dan. In the AP mode, the mesh will do nothing but broadcasting Wi-Fi signals. However, if you use each XT8 unit as an individual AP, then you’ll be able to control each’s Wi-Fi settings as well as using its Guest network/USB features. No other features are available.

      Reply
      • Thanks for your reply. Looks like it might not be the best system for my use case. Do you have a recommendation for an AP-only mesh system?

        Reply
          • Thanks a lot, the TP-Link Omada seems to be what I was looking for.
            My setup would use one root AP and one mesh AP. I can’t tell if a 5Ghz band is dedicated to the wireless uplink, do you know if that’s the case?
            Also, a controller is required to setup the mesh network according to the tplink website. I’ll be able to run the software version however, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
            Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction.

          • Not sure I understand your comment. The mesh AP will be powered via PoE, but, by definition, will only connect to the network wirelessly (via the root AP). So traffic from stations associated with the mesh AP has to be backhauled wirelessly to the root AP. I am not sure how it is implemented on the EAP245v3.

          • You need a router or a switch, Dan. The APs connect to each other via the wired backhaul. You can make it work wirelessly but the performance is far worse. Try it.

          • Got it. If I had a wired connection available at the second location where I want Wi-Fi coverage, I would just buy another AP. But I don’t, that’s why I’m looking into ‘wireless mesh’ solution. The XT8s looked good because of the features and dedicated backhaul band. But most, if not all of the features, won’t be available to me since I have no use for the router part. I know about dual-NAT and I’m not interested 🙂
            If only TP-Link would add a dedicated radio, it would be perfect.
            At least I know where I stand now. I might still give a try to the TP-Link option, my second location only has a few devices so coverage is more important than bandwidth.
            Thanks again for your feedback.

          • Thanks again. I’m spending way too much time on this 🙂
            Now I’m thinking of upgrading my existing AP to the EAP245 and using the EX8000 for the second location. The EAP245 is 3×3, not 4×4, but I think that I should still get decent backhaul speed.
            Of course, there’s the nanoHD which is 4×4, but twice the price…

      • Dong, IIUC his suggested setup is:
        WWW Cisco ASA (wired only) XT8 ))) XT8
        Isn’t that exactly what “Access Point(AP) mode / AiMesh Router in AP mode” is for?
        The dedicated backhaul should still work for him, as will the guest network etc.

        Reply
  28. Hello, Mr. Ngo,

    I wanted to state my appreciation for your recommendations and also sharing your expertise on routers over the years. I just recently upgraded to the XT8, but I got caught up in thinking that I needed a mesh system. Actually, my house is only about 1800 Sq. Ft. total, so just one standalone router is more than enough. The single XT8 is against the wall in my basement, but I’m still getting the full download speed of my ISP plan (500 Mbps) from the opposite wall upstairs. Thanks again, and stay safe!

    Reply
  29. Hi Dong, I have been running a pair of these AX routers for 4 months and apart from initial issue that I managed to resolve with help on here they have been superb. I have them scheduled to reboot twice a week in the middle of the night and now have backup of my configuration which I would recommend before doing any tinkering. I would know like to try and extend coverage to an outbuilding on property that’s 100ft from closest box. I have a garage I could place a box in to reduce distance to 50 meters. My current speed around house is over 100 and would be happy to get 20 in my outbuilding. Any advice on adding extra nodes to network that would get me this outcome at the most affordable price would be very much appreciated, thanks Andy

    Reply
  30. Hello hope everything is good

    I’m about to get the asus zenwifi xt8 ax6600 but I have a question

    Main router/ modem —— asus Tx8 —- switch—— each Tx8 will be hard wired via Ethernet to the wall and and directly connect to the switch, will it work? And dose the performance going to be better?

    Reply
  31. Will just one unit of Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 as a router cover a house of 110m2, if placed in one corner of the house? I know in theory it will, but
    the distance form the router (on the ground floor) to one of computers on the 1st floor will be around 15m, with walls 2 between. Maybe two units of mini version will work better?

    Reply
    • That depends on the walls around the house, Artur, but it likely will work. Better yet, try to run a cable and move the router closer to the middle.

      Reply
      • Thanks, do you know what signal strength will single router deliver at 15-20 meters away?
        In general which of these options will deliver better signal at that range: single ZenWiFi AX XT8 or two units of AX mini?

        Reply
        • Impossible to tell, Artur. That depends on your place. If you have wired your home, then consider the XD4. If not, the XT8 is the way to go (that’s if a single router won’t cut it.)

          Reply
  32. Hi Dong,

    I am struggling to decide between the Orbi 75x and Asus XT8.

    I am waiting on gig fiber to be installed. My concern with the X8 is stability and with the 750 the lack of features. In my set up will be connecting the mesh network over wifi as it is extremely unlikely to be able to run a cable. The last issue is that i want my work computer to be on the guest network, this looks to not work on the Orbi and on the Asus looks like guest wifi over the notes is relatively new…

    Thanks,
    Kiko

    Reply
  33. Hi Dong,

    Your website seems to be more comprehensive (and genuine) than a lot of big tech reviewer sites… It’s also impressive how you find time to answer hundreds of comments!

    My house is a 3 floor rectangle-shaped townhouse, with just a little less than 2000sq ft. I’ve got a 1Gbps fibre cable coming to my ground floor home office (corner of the building) and then the ISP router giving WiFi coverage, which really struggles with top floor, and has almost no features for security or parental control. It’s a rental property, so I can’t put any cabling in.

    After visiting multiple mainstream tech review sites, I found a great deal on a single brand new XT8 for £180 when it retails for £220 and bought it, but then discovered your website…

    After reading your guides and reviews, key takeaway is that a Tri-Band solution is a must in my case, as I cannot use the wired backhaul, HOWEVER it appears that a single router may be enough for the size of my house, and of course a similarly priced RT-AX92U (there’s actually a set of these for sale at £150 each at the moment) or RT-AX82U seem to have WAYYY more features.

    Have I made a mistake with the XT8, and should I swap it for 82/92? Looking into the future, perhaps sticking with XT8 and adding another unit for a mesh system would be the optimal, but I can’t get over the fact the RT series come with so many more features.

    Reply
  34. Great reviews! I’m hooked and have already bookmarked your site. Thank you! My head is spinning from everything I’ve read. Maybe you can help. I have a 4300 sq. ft. house and I’m considering this XT8 mesh router unless you can recommend something else. Alternatively, I’m considering a combo mesh router and modem in one since I also need a modem, though I sense they aren’t very good. CBK752 is really the only one I’ve seen. I have 100mb internet – may increase to 200mb. I connect through cable. Any personal favorite on a good router and modem or combo unit to buy? Thank you! 🙂

    Reply
    • I think the CBK752 will do, Victoria. It can handle multi-gig Internet so it’ll last you a very long time. And on the Wi-Fi side, it’s basically the RBK752.

      But generally, it’s a better idea to get a separate modem. That way you’re free to use any router/mesh you want. In that case, get one of these modems, then the XT8 if you want a fully wireless mesh system. If you have wired your home, use the XD4 instead. More on how to pick a mesh in general in this post.

      Reply
  35. Great site Dong, first time poster here. I have had the 2 pack XT8 system for around 3 weeks now and it’s been rock solid, that is until today when I updated the firmware to version 3.0.0.4.386.41793 today and it’s been nothing but problems since then. Before updating, the second node’s connection always said Great. Now it goes between Weak and Disconnected. I reset the system to factory settings and the router reset but the node didn’t, so I did a hard reset and then ran the setup again. For a couple of hours it said the connection was Great but it’s gone back to going between Weak and Disconnected. I’d appreciate any advice you or anyone can give me to rectify this issue.

    Thanks,
    Mark

    Reply
    • This happens a lot of this set, Mark. I’d recommend reverting to the previous firmware (you can do that manually, just download the firmware and flash them individually, on the node first, then on the router). Then wait for the next release before updating. 🙂

      Reply
      • I bought zenwifi xt8 2-pack in december 2020 and was working great until I upgraded the firmware to version 3.0.0.4.386.41793. I had the same exact problem as stated here. The wireless backhaul quit working and my node would not connect to the router after this update. It kept going in and out and disconnecting. After much testing and calling ASUS support I ended up going back to the previous firmware version 3.0.0.4.386_26044 on the router and the node and now all is back to normal, working fine like when I bought it. I hope ASUS fixes whatever this problem is in the next firmware update for Zenwifi xt8. They should post something on the website not to update or remove the firmware update.

        Reply
        • Yeah, that happens a lot, Jeff. I’d recommend not upgrading right away but wait for the subsequent release of any new firmware version. Thanks for sharing.

          Reply
    • Thanks for posting Mark. I was going to update my set today however I think I’ll hold off for a while. My system has been fairly solid – I’ve only had to reboot them 3-4 times in 8 months.

      Reply
      • Good call, Bruce! Either that or you might need to reset the router and set the mesh up from scratch with the new firmware. (You can backup and restore the settings.)

        Reply
    • Has anyone else had similar issues with 3.0.0.4.386.41793? I am slightly concerned about upgrading to this version if it is unstable. Admittedly I am only using my 4 XT8 nodes as Access Points and have a 2.5G wired back haul.

      @Dong when I combine the 5-2 and 5-1 into a single SSID, do you believe I will see any performance improvement? Currently I get around 870mbps on Wi-Fi 6 on the 5-2 band but 917mbps via wired connection.

      Reply
      • You can’t combine the two, Jez, you just put them in one Wi-Fi name. It’s a matter of convenience and has nothing to do with performance. You should wait till the next firmware before upgrading.

        Reply
        • Ah ok, my back haul 5-2 ssid consistently out performs my 2.4ghz/5-1 ssid, so if I am just giving them the same name, i am guessing it would be just chance as to which one I am on? I might as well leave it separate so I know I am on 5-2?

          Sorry I don’t know too much about this!

          Reply
  36. I have had the 2 XT8 units for a few days. I have the latest firmware running.

    I have made the 5-2Ghz band visible to clients which is also wired backhaul between the two routers. I have connected my iPhone 12 to the 5Ghz-2 band however I never get about 610mbps download speed. I have a 1gbps download speed and on a wired connection to my PC I get full speed but on wireless my wifi6 client gets no more than 610mbps close by or far away from the router.

    Is there a reason why this might be the case as I’m expecting 800mbps download speeds to my wifi6 iPhone 12

    Reply
  37. A quick question. I have a set of 2 zenwifi ax routers, one at each end of my house, that provide good wireless coverage for my whole house. I also have a second floor that’s above one of the two XT8’s where I have some wired clients. I’m thinking that if I get a third XT8 to provide for the wired clients upstairs that would be too much wireless, there’s already good wireless there from the downstairs XT8, and clients may get confused, and it may cause problems with the mesh. So I’m considering getting something like an RT-AX3000 and configure it as a media bridge upstairs to provide the wired ports I need.

    What do you think of this idea? Would you recommend getting another XT8 and risk having too many wireless nodes, or would you get the RT-AX3000 and use it as a media bridge with the good wifi I already have upstairs?

    Thanks!

    Reply
      • Thanks, helps to get a second opinion *smile*. Just got the AiMesh 2.0 firmware, seems to be working just fine for me as well. Lots of “new” features.

        Reply
          • Just to followup here, got the Asus RT-AX3000 and it works well in media bridge mode. I’m seeing a speed test of about 600Mbps on my NVIDIA Shield upstairs without the MoCA. Using the MoCA, it’s about 800Mbps. The wifi-6 connection between the ZenWifi and AX 3000 appears to work well. Anyways, very happy with 600Mbps for streaming TV *smile*.

            Nice when a plan comes together!

  38. Hi Dong,

    After months of beta, ASUS released stable firmware for the XT8 that upgrades to AiMesh 2.0. Finally, Version 3.0.0.4.386.41793 has many updates including the long promised guest network that broadcasts from both the router and the nodes.

    Reply
      • Now that wired backhaul combined with full bandwidth wireless on the second 5Ghz radio seems fully supported, there is one configuration option which I assume is fully supported but I’ve never actually seen mentioned: If one needs a 3 node configuration in order to get the coverage required, can you easily configure a 3 node wired backhaul configuration using 2 of XT8 LAN ports (on the node used as the router) as wired backhaul connections to the other 2 XT8 nodes? Also, in that configuration can you use the WAN ports on the 2 non-router nodes as LAN ports? Finally in a 3 node configuration, what is the argument for keeping all 3 nodes as XT8s or is there another ASUS router that one could use as the router node that might be less expensive but will still deliver the same functionality and performance? Is there an argument for homogeneity of boxes in an AImesh or is the ASUS mesh product really that seamless across disparate products?

        Reply
          • Let me try a simpler version of the question. If you want to install a 3 node version of at XT8 mesh, can you configure this as all wired backhaul with the node being used as the primary router having wired backhaul connections (via 2 of its 3 LAN ports) to the other two nodes acting as extensions.

          • Yes, how else would you connect nodes through wired backhaul? That’s how wired connections to other nodes are normally connected.

          • You can connect however that is you want AND possible, Randal. The only important part is on the node, you must use its WAN port to connect to the existing network, be it a switch, the router unit, or another node. Take a deep breath, you’ve been over-analyzing stuff. And read this post on AiMesh.

          • That’s what I assumed in terms of an all wired configuration but wanted to make sure. The other option would be to daisy chain the wired nodes (primary router to node A, node A to node B) which may also be supported (?) but in my case isn’t preferred. But depending on where you needed LAN ports for uses other than backhaul I can see where the daisy chained configuration might be useful. For example if you needed more than 2 satellite nodes (and needed to reserve one of the LAN ports on the router node for a switch) you might need to do a combination of configurations to get all nodes attached via ethernet.

            The other part of my original question was “In a 3 or more node configuration, is there an argument for keeping all nodes as XT8s or is there another ASUS router that one could use as the router node that might be less expensive but will still deliver the same functionality and performance? Is there an argument for homogeneity of boxes in an Aimesh or is the ASUS mesh product really that seamless across disparate products?”

          • In theory it shouldn’t matter, but I’ve found more reliability (lately) running 4 XT8 rather than a AX11000 as my main router and 3 XT8 Nodes.

          • This is why you should use tri-band when you CANNOT use wired backhaul. With wired backhaul, use dual-band hardware. The reason is vendors make tri-band mesh systems with wireless backhaul in mind. So firmware updates for tri-band mesh are released based on THAT (the wireless use case) and might mess things up for those using wired backhaul. More here.

      • Hi Dong..

        Today after i update the zenwifi xt8 to new version 3.0.0.4.386.41793, my second xt8 as ethernet node failure connection from my network switch..

        I have to unplug the node RJ45 from network switch and direct plug in to main xt8 router lan port only can work..

        Do you know what issue about that ?

        Appreciate for your reply..

        Reply
        • That shouldn’t happen, Susukim. Try removing the node from the mesh then seting it up again with the switch in between. XT8 router (LAN port) -> switch -> (WAN port) XT8 node.

          Reply
  39. Hi,

    Firmware was released yesterday 2/1/21, which now allows for a tri-band setup when using ethernet backhaul; this makes the second 5GHz band with 160MHz available as part of the mesh network.

    Reply
  40. Hello Dong
    I have recently installed the XT8 pair, and find I still have a dead zone on the 2nd floor of our house (XT8 nodes are on main floor and basement). I read in your review of the Nighthawk EX7500 extender, you tested it with an Asus router. Did this operate as a mesh? Would this extender operate with the XT8 as a mesh? Just looking for a less expensive way to add a 2nd satellite instead of purchasing a single XT8 (which I cant find anyway).

    Reply
  41. Hey Dong,

    Have had these for about a week now, and am very happy with them. Initially just used the app to do set up, let everything default to what the app wanted, and the mesh came right up. Over the next couple of days, made the changes that I wanted, like selecting channels instead of leaving as “auto” (when I saw that it had selected a DFS channel), turning off UPnP, changing the DHCP address pool, etc. Still working great, no down time, just fast wireless without a hard-wired connection, which was exactly what I was looking for. We do have MoCA that works fine, but consider it impermanent, our coax is old and won’t last forever. And I don’t see that I’d get enough better performance to make it a permanent part of the mesh. I do use the MoCA for other things, like reliable TV streaming, and am very happy that the ZenWifi AX has made us independent of it, that was my objective.

    I do have a question *smile*. If I want to add a second “node” (third router), and I add one that has only two radios, I assume that the ZenWifi AX routers will still use their dedicated backhaul radio between themselves. What I’m assuming is that I’ll see is that the added 2 radio router will have slower wireless, but the wireless at the 2 ZenWifi AX routers will still be about as fast as it was.

    Is that correct? Not sure if a less expensive router would degrade the whole mesh and I should pony up for a third XT8? Or if instead just the added node will be slower?

    Thanks!

    Reply
  42. Hi Dong, I currently have two Zenwifi XT8’s and am planning on getting one RT-AX92U. Would it be better to hook up the RTAX92U to the modem and use the other two XT8’s as nodes or does it not matter which one i connect directly to the modem.

    Thank you.

    Reply
  43. On the XT8 if one “only” has a single gigabit/second to your ISP, rather than wasting the only 2.5 gbs on the main router, I assume there is no way to configure use one of the 1 gps ports for the ISP connection and save the 2.5 gbs port for a wired backhaul to the second router being used as an access point? While not knowing the details of the internal hardware architecture, one could imagine that possibly a firmware update could enable this? Do you know if this has been suggested to ASUS and their response? This would be really useful in cases where a significant portion of your traffic is local and only a portion is bound to the public Internet.

    Reply
    • I haven’t tried this, Randall. While you can use the LAN1 as a WAN port in a Dual-WAN setup, I’m not sure if it’s possible to make the 2Gbps work as a regular LAN on the router. I’ll check with Asus and we’ll see how this pans out via future firmware.

      Reply
      • Thanks for checking into this. This would be a really useful configuration option, as I suspect it will be a while before any ISPs start offering speeds above 1 gbps at least at any affordable price, so the 2.5 gbps second port is sort of wasted at the moment on both the XT8 used as the primary router, and also on the access point XT8. But being able to use them for a wired interconnect between the XT8s would be really useful if you have a lot of traffic both going in and out the WAN port but also to local devices such as a NAS. In fact since some higher end NASes allow for link bonding via LACP of 1 gbps ports, since the XT8 also allows for LAN port bonding/LACP you could then attach a local NAS to secondary XT8 for an effective 2 gbps local bandwidth and then still have two spare gbps LAN ports on the primary XT8 for things like a local gbps ethernet switch. This would enable an incredibly powerful local home LAN if all of this worked correctly.

        Reply
        • While what you’re thinking makes sense on paper, Randall, it likely makes no difference in real life. That’s because chances are your end devices are all Gigabit (at best). The router needs to have more than one Multi-Gig port for what you think of to work out. For now, a single Multi-Gig connection to the server (either via the 2.5Gbps or Link Aggregation) still helps in the sense that the server can serve multiple clients better. But keep in mind that most servers cap at 6Gbps (on paper), which is the internal drives’ speed, and therefore likely MUCH lower in real-life, unless you use SSDs… Soon enough, we’ll have all 10Gbps routers and switches. For now, enjoy what you have however you like. 🙂

          Reply
  44. Dong – thank you so much for your informative site and helping (more than you know) those that are learning all about networking. For best coverage of a large area, 7,000 sq. feet ranch – with thick walls – and the need for all wireless backhaul since that’s the only possibility, would you recommend 3x AX92Us or 3x AX AT8s? Connections are fairly standard in today’s world for a family with children – connected TV’s Speakers, Zooms, Rings, Nests, etc. We’re not gamers either. Thank you so much again for your advice and all the details you provide on your site as I’ve learned a great deal since I started reading.

    Reply
  45. Hey Dong,
    I know it’s way to early but do you have any initial thoughts on the ASUS Zenwifi XD6 just announced vs the XT8? Just wondering if I need to wait in buying an router.

    Thanks

    Reply
  46. Hey Dong!

    Thanks so much for the awesome review on the XT8.

    Just wanted to check regarding the 5ghz-2 band. Lets say I’m using a single node as the router and I made the 5ghz-2 available for clients, is the high speed only available for Wifi 6 compatible devices? And would the cap speed for Wifi 5 devices be similar to the 5ghz-1?

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
  47. I found an interesting post on the unavailability of the 160MHz channel width for the backhaul in the UK due to channel 124 (right in the middle) being used by weather radar.

    I suppose the 160MHz channels require the availability of a lot of the DFS channels. Are there many problems in the US?

    Reply
  48. Hello Dong,

    In your review you wrote:

    “Update: Asus told me on February 11, 2020, that it would might release a new firmware update that opens up the front-haul to support 4×4 160MHz specs, effectively doubling the XT8’s Wi-Fi speed for clients. This doesn’t seem like a sure thing, however.”

    My question to you is, can a simple firmware update change the number of streams?

    Reply
      • Thanks for all of the updates and advanced insight as to possible changes/upgrades to the XT8. Since you’re “in the know” to a greater degree than most of us, have you gotten any insights as to when/if Asus will be adding WiFi6E to the CT8/XT8 product line? Seems like if we’ve waited this long to upgrade to WiFi6/ax from our WiFi5/ac class routers, might be worth the additional wait for 6E. Thanks

        Reply
  49. Great review and used it to get my zenwifi xt8 x2 to replace my ageing rt-68u. Only issue i have had is complete lockout of any hardwired connectivity. Internet and wireless continues to work but anything connected to ethernet will not show up and need to reboot device..it messes up my whole network and takes a little time to get everything back to normal. Using current firmware as off Dec 2020 and it setup up as default using th ewireless backaul to second mesh device !! very weird and not easy to bottom out. Not sure if a firmware issue.

    Thank you
    Gary

    Reply
    • I don’t see a question there, Gary. But it’s indeed weird. I’d recommend you reset the mesh and set it up from scratch.

      Reply
    • Hi Gary,
      Had the same problem, went back and forth with ASUS support, finally they had me RMA both devices. It was a hardware issue so they replaced both devices. It will take a little work filling out their forms and sending setup files but stick with it, it’s worth your time.
      Carmine

      Reply
    • thank you both, will do reset but already reset from fresh…wil do it again as it would be less tedious than an rma but I will persist if it happens again as it is so frustrating.

      Thx
      Gary

      Reply
  50. Hi Dong,
    Thanks for a great review. I have been comparing the XT8 with the NETGEAR Orbi RBK852 (which is more expensive).

    The XT8 looks much better value, but I am not sure if the XT8 (W-2-PK) can be extended by adding another two satelittes nodes XT8 (W-2-PK) and still have a single mesh SSID for the whole home i.e allow a client device to roam the home and seamlessly switch to the XT8 node with the best signal. Would that work? I looked at the ASUS site and XT8 config beyond two nodes is not covered.

    I notes that Lars in Norway did this, but I was not sure if it would retain a single mesh SSID.

    The NETGEAR Orbi RBK852 can be extended with additional mesh nodes (RBK853 and RBK854) to extend the range of the mesh SSID for larger homes.

    Reply
  51. With the latest beta firmware, there’s a “Force Ethernet Backhaul” toggle under the “AiMesh” section on the web interface (not the App). When I turn it on, Dual-Band Smart Connect turns into Tri-Band Smart Connect.

    Is it better to have Tri-Band Smart Connect On or Off?

    Reply
    • Hi Azim,

      where do you see the Force Ethernet Backhaul toggle (Ethernet backhaul mode)? It seems to be missing in my web interface.
      Under AiMesh I see only topology as category – no system settings or similar.

      Thanks,
      Kay

      Reply
      • Here’s how, Kay: AiMesh (section) -> Click on the node in question -> click on Network. You’ll see Link Type there which shows the current backhaul. Make sure you use the latest firmware.

        Reply
      • Kay,

        As long as you’re on the latest beta. Go on the Web Interface:

        AiMesh -> System Settings

        In there, there is a toggle labeled “Ethernet Backhaul Mode”. Once that is enabled, TriBand Smart Connect became an option for me.

        Reply
        • Thank you Dong and Azim, appreciate the help!

          I wasn’t aware it was only available in the current beta firmware – the Asus support article is a bit misleading as it says that the feature should be available in firmware version later than 386.xxxx.

          TriBand Smart Connect works perfectly for me now with the beta firmware!

          Reply
  52. I just received mine today. So far so good and I’m impressed. I’m replacing an Orbi RBR50 2 node mesh system.

    One thing that I noticed it actually doesn’t support that the Orbi does is vlans. I wish Asus would add vlan support.

    I’m using the wireless backhaul right now to the second node upstairs in an old house with thick walls. I plan on running a cable between the two in the near future. I’m not sure if I would bother using the 5Ghz -2 with a dedicated SSID but maybe I’ll give it a shot some day.

    I don’t have any WiFi 6 devices yet, but I did notice my WiFi 5 speeds increase slightly especially on the upstairs second node.

    All in all, I’m impressed so far for the price. I almost went and purchased the $700+ Orbi system and I’m not sure it would have been worth it honestly. I could almost purchase two of these systems for that price.

    I’m not sure it would have made sense to go with any other WiFi 6 mesh system, this one seems to check most of the boxes.

    Reply
  53. So far I’ve found the AX 6600 XT-8 to be a completely unreliable router. The first box I purchased had a DOA unit. OK, that happens. The replacement keeps going offline, sometimes for days at a time. There seems to be no way to bring it back up and ASUS support has been less than forthcoming about why this happens. This is not an inexpensive purchase. I expect more from a vendor, but perhaps I should not be so surprised. I’ve seen a lot of posts on the ASUS site about similar issues — just no fixes. ASUS also locked many of those posts so you can’t see the answers – just the questions. So perhaps that DOA unit wasn’t so unusual after all, eh?

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your XP, Capros. The set I reviewed has been working well. Bit it seems there have been inconsistency in the quality of this hardware. 🙁

      Reply
      • Too true. As a former reviewer of tech equipment, I well remember getting very thoroughly pre-tested products from vendors. It normally worked pretty well, but the retail products — well, not so much. I won’t say that’s what ASUS is doing — it’s just very disappointing that a former wonderful company now is putting out questionable products.

        Do *you* know how to get the router back up once the infernal red LED lights up? Rebooting doesn’t work, nor does anything I’ve found when I log into the web interface. Web app is useless.

        Reply
          • Did that about four times. No joy. That’s what’s so frustrating. Two days ago it came back up after been down for over a week — last night it went down and this morning it was back up. Too strange.

            Keep up the good work. I enjoy your reviews.

    • I guess I’m one of the lucky one – mine has been working flawlessly for months now. Main unit downstairs hardwired to second unit upstairs – I’m mostly using the backhaul band (5-2Ghz I think it is) for my clients. My ISP’s cable modem is unfortunately much less reliable.

      Reply
    • Mine XT8 pair is much more stable lately. Up&running for 3 weeks without interruption. There were frequent restarts in the past. In my case, restarts were related to the attached USB disk used for Time Machine. I wonder if anyone else had such an experience.
      I agree Asus support is not much of a help. They do not go deep and after a few interactions, they suggested returning the units.

      Reply
      • Yes, Klemen, the USB drive for sure can affect the router’s overall performance (and stability). I haven’t done and exhaustive testing on this and generally only use one for a couple of hours when I review a router.

        Reply
    • I think you are correct there are some hardware issues. I purchased mine back in April of this year and they worked fairly well, even better with the September firmware upgrade. Recently however I started to have a problem with all the Lan ports shutting down unexpectedly. WIFI continued to work but often at a much reduced speed, also it was never clear what brought them back on line, a router reboot, network reboot, or just waiting. I worked with Asus tech support who when unable to fix had me RMA them. It took about 2 week and then sent me two new units. Never told me what the problem was so I assumed it was hardware. Works great now, ….especially after I purchased a GT AX11000 to use while they were being fixed/replaced.

      Reply
  54. Hi Dong. Thanks for another great review! Will you update this review now that a bunch of firmware updates have surely come out addressing any shortcomings (and new features) noted on the current review? Thank you again.

    Reply
  55. Hi Dong,

    in different reviews in the internet as well as some comments in this thread I can see that some users set scheduled reboot every day, every other day etc. Some do it to fix some bugs they have, others consider it to improve performance considering how sophisticated this system is (small PC). Also considering this function is available in ZenWiFi itself I assume Asus also assumes it may make sence. Do you recommend scheduling reboots for better operation? If yes how frequent?

    Thanks

    Reply
  56. I’ve just setup the system. Router is connected to the Fiber ISP modem through the cable and then Router is connected to the node through 5hZ-2 backhaul. It used connection type as Wireless Router Mode (Dafault). I wander if it’s correct connection? It seems like schematically I should use AP mode as I have ISP router in between. Pls advise. Thanks.

    Reply
  57. Hi Dong,

    if I have many IoT devices, 4K streaming TV’s, laptops, tablets, etc. Would I have better performance separating frequencies 2.4Hz for IoT devices and smartphones and 5Hz for 4K TVs and Xbox console? I read some Amazon reviews which point that separating frequencies gave better speed/performans rather than use them combined.

    Thanks

    Thanks

    Reply
  58. So I’ve finally got my pair, and after fiddling for hours to copy my old setup, the router update (for a reserved IP address) got stuck. Now I’m unable to reach the router web interface anymore, with https://router.asus.com:8443 (and http://router.asus.com) now returning ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED. The Internet is working, but being unable to reach the router is a real problem
    Any suggestion what to do about it, aside from a reset and starting over?
    I tried disconnecting from power for 2 minutes as I read somewhere, didn’t budge.
    Thanks!

    Reply
      • Thank you Dong.
        I’ve tried that as well, but I’m getting the same “connection refused” error. This isn’t a DNS resolve issue, `host router.asus.com` returns the correct IP address.

        Reply
          • Tried that, didn’t work. Logging in through the app failed as well. Eventually I’ve reset the router and defined everything again. I minded to back up every once in a while, which was I really good idea indeed it occurred twice more. I think it might have to do with the fact I was making these configuration changes while being far from the main router (connected by Ethernet to the remote node).

        • I had this exact problem when setting up my mesh. I had to reset multiple times and start over. I changed which unit was my “main” router and everything is fine.
          I saved my config, reset both, set up again with the previous unit as main, and had the same problem where I could not log in through browser or app. I reset and switched back and everything works as it should. It seems one unit is not functioning properly.

          Reply
  59. Hi Dong,

    could you elaborate a little regarding “Multi-gig WAN port with Dual-WAN and WAN link aggregation” as I couldn’t find any specific posts regarding aggregation on your website.

    Say I have two wired fiber modems, one has 100mbps download, 5mbps upload speed and another has 50mbps download and 20mbps upload. Can I connect them both to Asus ZenWiFi AX? If yes what my total theoretical speeds can be for download and upload?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • You have two options load-balance and failsafe, Nazar. In my XP, the former is only relevant when your two WAN connections are of similar speeds (yours are not).

      Reply
      • Hi Dong,

        I have 4x 4k TVs, two laptops, one tablet, about 25 IoT devices, 3 smartphones, 4 Apple TVs and an Xbox console. Would I have better performance with separated 2.4Hz and 5Hz where 2.4Hz will be used for IoT devices and smartphones and 5Hz for TVs, notebooks, Apple TVs and Xbox? Or will have them in one will perform equally good? Also does QoS really do any difference? Thanks

        Reply
    • @Dong Ngo, You can ‘load balance’ the load, so you can for instance send 75% to one WAN and 25% to another. Especially when the WAN speeds are not similar. But my biggest issue with this is that the load balance option will disable QoS.

      Reply
    • @Dong Ngo, thanks, does it mean it will increase download and upload speeds or speeds will remain the same but only the throughput will increase?

      Reply
    • @Dror, thanks, this was useful. But I can’t understand how a USB port can be used as second WAN if modem is not 4.5G but fiber with WAN cable out. Can I use two WAN cables in Asus ZenWiFi AX to aggregate from two fiber modems?

      Reply
    • @Dong Ngo, thanks. But I will have two similar speeds fiber modems, say 100 download and 5 upload, will my download and upload speeds double in load-balance mode or will I only increase throughput? Also can Asus ZenWiFi AX accept two WAN cables for this purpose? (not USB). Thanks

      Reply
    • @Nazar,
      You can do 2 things: or connect one fiber modem to one of the LAN ports and tell the router in the configuration he has to use LAN 3 (for instance) as WAN connection; OR you can buy a USB to ETHERNET adapter and connect the fiber modem to that adapter and the USB in the router.

      Reply
    • @Nazar, I think that depends. For one request it will not increase speed, because that one request will use one of the 2 WANs, but if you have multiple requests, these will be load balanced over both WAN connections and you will be able to use both speeds to the max and that will mean that for your perception you have 2 times the speed.

      Reply
      • Hi Sven,

        thanks. Say I have 2x 100mbps fiber modems connected in balance mode. When I’ll put a torrent file to download which pretty much fills in the whole throuput, what the download speed will be? In torrent download the higher the speed the quicker it downloads.

        Reply
          • Thahanks.

            I have 4x 4k TVs, two laptops, one tablet, about 25 IoT devices, 3 smartphones, 4 Apple TVs and an Xbox console. Would I have better performance with separated 2.4Hz and 5Hz where 2.4Hz will be used for IoT devices and smartphones and 5Hz for TVs, notebooks, Apple TVs and Xbox? Or will have them in one will perform equally good? Also does QoS really do any difference?

  60. Unfortunatly i am unable to connect google chromecast, Google home display(lenovo) to the New netwerk (worked before) they will not connect. Any sugestion is welcome

    Reply
    • @I.spohr,
      Perhaps change the WPA type? When I used WPA2-personal I could connect my Windows 7 laptop, but when I changed it to WPA2/WPA3-personal I could not connect anymore.

      Reply
    • @Dong Ngo, Thanks for your reply

      Before the ZenWifi AX, I used the RT AC5300 in combination with 2 Lyra Mini in AImesh configuration without any problems. Now with the new Zenwifi AX in combination with the 2 Lyra Routers in AImesh None of the google devices (Chromecast audio, Chromecast Video, google home mini, lenovo Clock, Lenovo Smart display) connect to the network, I have on all WIFI bands separate SID’s and try to connect the google devices to the 2.4 Ghz Band SID. All my other devices (laptops 11, Tablets 3, phones 7) connect ) distance to router(s) less than 3 metres ( max 6 meter)

      I Did try with 5Ghz-1 and 5Ghz-2 channel aswell – No Luck
      I Did
      – Switch USB mode from USB3 to 2 – No Luck
      – Diabled 802.11ax / Wi-Fi 6 mode – no Luck

      I hope anyone has similar experience and suggestion to solve

      Firmware Version:3.0.0.4.386_25790

      Reply
  61. Dong, (and Rob please)
    We currently have Xfinity gig service, SB8200 modem and two Asus 3100 routers in mesh config (one router, the other mesh connected via ethernet gig switch). Modem and router are in office at one end of house. Mesh node is in a bedroom to get coverage to two kids on devices for zoom classes, xbox, etc. House is about 2800sf.
    When it’s working well, we get fast speeds on connected devices. From router, I get 948Mbps on my laptop. From mesh, connected via ethernet, I get the same. Wireless is less, of course.
    Problem is with five of us on Zoom/Webex and Netflix, etc. the system is getting bogged down and we are getting slow speeds. Seems the only solution is resetting the modem and routers. We’ve had Comcast out twice.

    A few questions:
    Will wifi 6 mesh solve this problem?
    How many mesh nodes?
    Which vendor?
    From this article, you are rating the Asus tops, but Rob comments On Nov 28, that the Orbi worked better than the xt8.

    Other question:
    Is the XT8 compatible with my 3100 routers? could I use them as additional mesh nodes in different room? That would certainly save the hundreds of dollars invested in those.

    Thanks in advance,
    Marty

    Reply
    • @Dong Ngo,
      Thank you for the reply. I’ll read the article. I’ve just set the QOS to “work-from-home” to prioritize online conferencing. We’ll see how that works plus any other suggestions in your article.
      Thanks again,
      Marty

      Reply
    • @Dong Ngo,
      Thank you for the article. As noted, set to work from home, so fingers crossed. Additional information regarding SIP. Our Comcast VOIP has a separate router w/ wifi disabled, so I’m not bothering to mess w/ the Asus settings w.r.t. SIP.

      Hopefully last question. Is there way or need to change settings on the mesh node, which is an identical Asus 3100?

      Thanks again,
      Marty

      Reply
    • @Marty J,
      well, here’s yet another question. I’m using five of the ethernet LAN ports off the router. Three are showing 1Gbs: Desktop PC, work laptop and a gig switch that distributes to the house. I know that is getting through because the mesh node is receiving and if I plug into that mesh node, I get just shy of full speed.

      Problem: Two are showing 100Mbs. One of those is to a gig switch hooked up to another desktop and the TV. The other goes to feed the Sonos system. It’s less important maybe, but simply puzzling why there are different, at least from the other switch that is transmitting at 1Gbs.

      Thanks,
      I’ll need to Venmo you.
      Marty

      Reply
      • That’s likely because the TV and the Sonos use Fast Ethernet (10/100), Marty. The speed between a pair is that of the slowest party involved. More here. Also, check the cables.

        Reply
      • @Dong Ngo,
        Again, thank you. That is very interesting that the slowest client decides the speed. Makes sense. I checked the Sonos line using only my laptop and the speed increased. So that one is good.

        The other, not so good, even when I only had my laptop plugged in, it was still under 100Mbs. Checked the desktop and it’s supposed to have a gigabit LAN connection, but not getting it. Not sure how to check the TV (Samsung). Maybe I’ll let the TV run off wireless instead of ethernet.

        I saw where someone said they checked the connectors, so that is my next step for that line. Curious as to why it would work at all if the connectors were bad. Anyway. Learning lots.

        Marty

        Reply
    • @Marty J,

      I’m not an expert. I just used what I could figure out based on my own use. The biggest change for me was moving the main router and modem connection to a better center point in the house and then surround it with enough nodes to ensure good coverage in my home, which is actually pretty small.

      A few things that helped. (1) installing the nodes high on walls and without any blockage between them. (2) running a wired backhaul.

      Now that said, with the firmware I had with the XT8s at the time I still struggled to maintain good connection for all the folks needing to Zoom throughout the day.

      Part of that I think is some loss of speed due to the trend micro software, which I loved and hated at the same time. Part of it, I think, is just that the antennas in the XT8 just weren’t strong enough. FYI, you may have read that I was running four nodes. Even with the Orbi being stronger in regards to transmission strength, I still ended up needing one additional node to make my network as strong as possible in the worst room in the house.

      We now run six folks on Zoom all day with little issue and are happy. I still don’t think the cost is justified, but in these times, we don’t have much of a choice.

      Reply
    • @Rob,
      I feel your pain. I am trying to tweak the QOS per Dong’s note(s). We’ll see how successful that is this week when we have five on video calls all day.
      Like you said, we don’t have a choice.
      Marty

      Reply
    • @Dong Ngo,
      Actually turns out my model is teh RT-AC88U. Eight LAN ports.
      So far so good w/ QOS and other settings.
      Thanks,
      Marty

      Reply
  62. My home is 6100 sqft and my Internet is capped at 150mbps. My concerns are maximizing speed as well as coverage for my whole house. I need something that is wireless. I don’t have any wired capabilities. I will have around 40-50 things connected to it wirelessly. One day we may have 1 gig internet available but that will probably be a few years. Which mesh wifi 6 system would you recommend? Thanks.

    Reply
      • Dong,

        What does the “Optimization” button/feature do in the app if you run it?

        If I understand it correctly it will disconnect all nodes and then attempt to find the best connection again.

        I assume this isn’t very useful to the average person with 2 nodes and a wireless backhaul. Am I missing something?

        Reply
        • It’s unclear what it does exactly, Colin. But your assumption is about right. Don’t mess around with things too much just because you can, you might end up making necessary changes and break the system.

          Reply
      • I need reliability and coverage. I have an XT8 system setup in my house, and I have major disconnecting issues. Everyday I need to power cycle the whole system because it just stops working. I have the router and nodes hooked up through Ethernet.

        Reply
    • Azim,

      My personal opinion is the Orbi. I used the xt8 for two months before I had to give up. Not sure if the firmware has improved, but I just wasn’t getting the throughout that I needed in the house, even using a wired backhaul. With the Orbi, I have a family of six on zoom and videogames all day and the system barely hiccups.

      In the worst room in the house, I get 650mbps connected to the satellite ( this one is not wired backhaul). I may hate theirfirmware upgrades but the hardware is solid.

      Reply
      • Rob,

        Yeah I’m debating abandoning my 4 XT8 nodes and picking up an Orbi system. It just seems like such a waste of money leaving those XT8’s now.

        Reply
        • Have you considered the Taotronics ac3000. Recognize it’s WiFi 5, but by all accounts it seems to me capable of providing max speeds and features for more than half the price is the ORBI or Asus …. Mine come tomorrow, paid $199 Canadian dollars for a2 pack: https://amzn.to/3fNEvPi

          Reply
        • Azim, I had your exact setup. First of all, I loved the flexibility that the XT8 gave me in setup, parental controls, and the free Trendmicro protection. However, (a) I could never get close to the gigabit I was paying for and (b) my zoom calls would lag even when close to a node. In the end, the only thing that matters is coverage and connection. The Orbi excels at that. I combine it with the Netgear nighthawk modem that just came out to capture an extra 200 Mbps from Xfinity and my kids are happy as pie. I have plenty of negative stories about Netgear and their support/firmware, but their hardware has generally been top notch albeit not a true mesh.

          Reply
          • Rob,

            I’m getting great speeds, 800mbps on my iPhone 12 Pro Max from multiple rooms away from the closest node. What I need is reliability. Having to power cycle my whole system once or twice a day is irritating to say the least.

  63. Hi Dong,

    Could use your advice. I’m upgrading from a 3 pod Orbi RBK53 system to WiFi6 and purchased the ASUS ZenWifi XT8 2 pack. I have Google Fiber 1GB Internet but what I’m really trying to optimize for is wireless VR link between my Quest 2 (which supports WiFi 6) and my desktop PC which sports 10GB LAN and Intel AX200 WiFi. I’m concerned that by itself, the ASUS XT8 won’t be much of an upgrade from the Orbi, but by pairing it with a ROG GT-AX11000, I can unlock extra performance thanks to the 2.5gb LAN port on the ROG. Does this sound sensible to you? Do I loose anything by pairing the XT8 system with the ROG router?

    Reply
    • Yes, Mark, the GT makes sense in terms of Internet speed, though not much of a difference considering your have 1Gbps Internet (and not faster). I’d just go with the XT8. Note, though that it might not have the same coverage as the old 3-pack Orbi.

      Reply
  64. Thanks for the review. I’m currently trying to decide between the Orbi 852, AmpliFi Alien and this one.
    A few months have passed, did Asus update the firmware so quest network is available also in the mesh?
    And if I’m reading correct at only supports WPA2 and not the new WPA3.Is that also something they could add in a firmware update or does it need different hardware?
    Thanks in advance

    Reply
      • Hi Dong, thanks for the reply about WPA3.

        Could you look into the guest network question? Would be a bummer if the guest network still would not be available on the satellite/mesh.

        best regards

        Reply
  65. Hi Dong,
    I’ve been reading about your posts on the AiMesh and finally installed it today. I used the XT8 as my main router and 6 more to finish the set up. My only issue is that I have a network switch, and it does not allow me to connect the nodes to the main router through the switch. When the nodes are connected to the LAN ports in the different rooms it disconnects the node completely from the mesh system, despite the main router being plugged into the switch directly.

    Reply
  66. I am planning to get 4 XT8 (2 sets) to cover the entire hours. I wanted to know if it is possible to combine 4 XT8s or you need a different solution as I have quite a big area to cover.

    Reply
  67. It’s there an ability to quickly disconnect a specific device? It’s a current feature I have with my ISP through the modem and use with my kids

    Reply
  68. I’ve been using XT8 Zenwifi since June 2020. up till today, i’m still facing a problem of frequent disconnection even after updating to the latest official firmware Version 3.0.0.4.386.25790.

    What happen was, in every device i’ve to disconnect and reconnect the wifi on daily basis. some times more twice a day. My system set up is, 1 router + 1 node.

    Reported to Asus, they gave me the following firmware version > 9.0.2.4.386_25527 which temporarily solved the problem.

    Hope the next firmware will solved the problem.

    Reply
  69. Hi Dong,

    I brought this with confidence after your great review and all my personal laptops and other devices are getting max speed all other my house which is very spread-out. The problem I have is that my work laptop cant find either the 2.4ghz or 5ghz bands so I’m having to connect through ethernet which is a pain as limits where I can work, and with young kids causes challenges.
    I’ve turned off the ‘Hide SSID’ option but still not appearing, interestingly there is a network being shown that’s strong but says unknown, when trying to join it asks for SSID so have tried adding both the names for the 2.4ghz and 5ghz but gives error of not recognised.

    Andy help on what might be causing this issue would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Andy

    Reply
      • Thanks Dong, I had a go with the backhaul advice but it still gave error message of unable to connect so have turned the dedicated backhaul back on. Unfortunately I can’t change network adapters as it’s all locked down, I’m only in this job for 3 more weeks so think I will just cope with wired network for now.
        In doing all this my 2nd node now has a weak signal, I’ve taken it out of network and added again and still the same, this is with boxes next to each other. Before I received your first post advice a friend told me to have the bands under same SSID which I now have with smart connect enabled (also tried disabled) so not sure if this would impact at all.
        Your help again would be very much appreciated.
        Thanks again,
        Andy

        Reply
    • I take it the node is wireless and not wired? How far away from the router is the node? What is your Internet provider speed and what speed are you getting from the node

      Reply
      • Hi John Paul,

        I’m not sure if your reply was for me or not, and you might have seen in my next reply to Dong that I have now got issues with constant weak signal to my 2nd node even when placed next to it.

        My original setup that I couldn’t find network on my work laptop on is 140MBps with an ISP in the UK of EE. My 2nd node was about 25 ft away and not wired. Speed tests were giving me 130+mbps everywhere in house. I’m still getting 140 in rooms near to main node but the 2nd node is not giving much help as now getting less than 20 download in room of 2nd node and room on from this, however what’s weird is I’m still getting 20 upload, even in furthest away room.

        Reply
        • I have my node about 40 feet away through two walls from the router and it’s only dropped out once. Speed is the same as from router when in the room of node.

          I tried resetting everything the other day because an iPad was dropping out(actually both iPads from different generations drop out occasionally but nothing else does). This dropped the speed of both router and node by 2/3rds and that lasted the whole day before going back to normal the next day. I’m with Virgin and there were no reported problems with the line.

          When you set the node up did you have it right next to router? Also, I’m not sure if the node uses separate channels but maybe try changing a channel in case the area is making that channel congested.

          Reply
        • Hi Andy, yes, it was for you, thanks. Dong recommended a wired setup for me using dual band routers which I may end up doing. That said it’s not the just convenient solution as I’d have to run the wires on the outside which I’m not keen on aesthetically.

          So the wireless backhaul is the way I was hoping to explore but your experience gives me pause (something else might be happening). That said, is your node on the same floor?

          Unfortunately my house has lots of walls, 3 levels, and the ISP drop is at the corner of my house and after reading Dongs article on how to set up a router, I realize that might not be the best location. So I might give this a go and perhaps place the main router on the middle floor (center of the outside wall given the Omni directional nature of the signal), and wireless node on the second level, which is about 18ft away vertically / horizontally….. The way our electronic equipment is, most of the main devices that require the most bandwidth will be mostly within a 10 to 15 foot range, even if through standard walls I’m figuring I’ll get respectable bandwidth. It’s also interesting is I think I will separate the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands and connect my smart devices and anything not bandwidth intense to the 2.4 GHz band while using the 5 GHz band for anything I want maximum bandwidth on

          Reply
  70. Hello Dong

    Thanks for this excellent review. I am considering them for my new home. Here is my setup:
    1 GBit internet connection.
    4 bedrooms over 2 floors, all have a wired connection to a central switch in my home, unfortunately only Cat 6 cables (not 6a).

    As you see, Wifi backhaul is not important for me, since I will be using wired as much as I can, but I want to have decent wifi speed in every room, on both floors.

    Would you recommend rather another set of access points which are even faster to create the mesh wifi?

    Reply
      • Thank you Dong! I’ve got a pair of Asus ZenWiFi AX Mini thanks to your great review. At the moment, the WiFi speed is ok-ish.

        Speedtest WiFi connected to the Asus Node via wired backhaul: https://www.speedtest.net/result/10506486371
        Speedtest with direct Ethernet connection to the modem: https://www.speedtest.net/result/10506315596

        The Mac and the Node are very close together, no wall in between, but still a significant speed drop. Any ideas / recommendations?

        Reply
          • Just wanted to say thank you to your reviews and recommendations. Really happy now with my setup. The only disadvantage of using the ZenWifi AX Mini, like you’ve mentioned in your review, is having to add an ethernet switch between the two if you want to have more ethernet ports available AND want to use it in the true AiMesh mode, which gives you more config options and features,

          • So, may I ask you a question. I have the ASUS GT-AX11000 and want to create an AIMESH system. What would be the big difference if I bought the AX1800 (the mini version of the AX6600 if I understand this properly). I can get 3 satellites of the mini for $279 presently rather than 2 satellites in the full-size model for $449. My home is 2082 s.f. I have a 400 mb internet connection and PLASTER walls that mess with signals (although the 11000 is doing great with that). I just don’t understand if I need to spend the $449 or if the minis will give me the same end product for a better price. Thanks in advance, sir.

          • The AX1000, AX66000 etc, are NOT model numbers, Dave. I.e. they don’t represent particular devices, but a whole class of them. But generally, if I catch your drift, the difference is in the dedicated backhaul band. More here.

  71. Hi Dong,
    I bought a Asus RT-AX88U and tried to set up mesh with RT-AC68U as a node with ethernet backhaul.
    It was very hard getting them to pair and the node kept dropping.
    I tried stock firmware on both and Merlin Firmware on both.
    Super frustrated….. About to return AX88U
    (RT-AC68U works like a charm in AP Mode)
    But I like the concept of USB wlan fall back and so I am willing to give asus one more chance.
    This time I think I will go with ZenWifi-AX
    So I had a few questions…
    1. Did they ever release the 160Mhz Fronthaul support?
    2. What’s the difficulty level for setting up ethernet backhaul mesh? I donot want smart connect and can enable the 2nd 5G band for Client. Is such a setup stable?
    3. Can I pair RT-AC68U as 2nd mesh node with the ZenWifi or it is going to be same issues.
    4. Is there any other mesh system that has
    a. 160 Mhz client access
    b. USB Wlan fallback
    c. Ethernet backhaul

    Reply
  72. Hello Dong, thanks you for your review. I’am considering to buy the ZenWiFi ax. My setup is the following. I appreciate your advice.
    I have a Huawei 659 gateway router which I can’t replace. (The h659 has 7 ports, 1 Wan, 2 ethernet network ports, 2 ethernet IPTV ports and 2 IP phone ports.) The WiFi signal is too weak to cover the whole home. Connected to the h659 is a HP 1920s switch and a cat. 6 patch panel. I have a ethernet connection in every room. How best to integrate the ZenWiFi system in my network? Thank you in advance for your advice. Kind regards.

    Reply
  73. Hi Dong, thank you so much for the thorough review!
    I’m currently using 2x Google WiFi with powerline backhaul in my 1300 sq ft apartment with brick inner walls, and the pucks fail to maintains the connections on the Gbps fiber. I have ~40 devices connected, with 3-4 devices in video conferences at a time.
    I’m also building now my new 1800 sq ft apartment (with brick inner walls as well), that should be ready in 2 years, and there I’ll have a CAT-7 backhaul.

    Would you recommend I went for the XT8? I saw that the Linksys MX10 will be sold for $500 in Black Friday, so just $50 above the XT8. Is it worth the difference?

    Thank you!

    Reply
  74. Hi Dong,

    Can I connect the XT8 router to my modem using a USB to RJ-45 cable and use the USB port as my primary (and only) WAN? Thus freeing up the 2.5G WAN for ethernet backhaul?

    Reply
  75. I have a single XT8 that I’m using for an AP. Wondering if it makes sense to try and have the XT8 allocate the 5G-2 radio more than the 5G-1 radio, since the 5G-2 radio is 4X4 and would seem to have more potential throughput than the 2X2 5G-1 radio? I had thought that this would be built into the XT8 firmware, since it makes sense given the context. But I do see the 5G-1 radio being used more than the 5G-2, so I’m looking for a way to change this.

    Since I’m using 5GHz. SmartConnect on the XT8 AP, would fiddling with this allow the 5G-2 radio to be used more? If so, do you know which variables I should fiddle with? If not, is there anything else I can do to get the XT8 to use the 5G-2 radio more within the constraint of having only one SSID? Along this same line, I’ve been trying to find some decent documentation on how to tune SmartConnect and haven’t found it yet.

    Thanks for your help, really appreciate you sharing your experience!

    Reply
  76. Have an RT-AX88U and an XT8 here. Using the XT8 in AP mode, connected via MoCA to the AX88U. Works pretty well, but don’t see the 5GHz.-2 radio being used at all at this point. It was initially, but now it isn’t. Wondering what I can do to get the 4×4 5GHz-2 radio to get used more to share the load. I should mention that I’ve tried both tri-band smart connect and 5GHz smart connect, and neither one seems to use the second 5GHz. radio.

    Any ideas what I might do?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • You should see the XT8’s 2nd 5GHz band in AP mode, Roger. If not, you can set it up as a router (in a double nat setup at first) then switch it to AP mode. Of course, make sure you use it with the latest firmware.

      Reply
      • Okay, I switched the XT8 to “5GHz. smart connect” and turned off the 2.4GHz. radio that I’m not using anyways. Now I’m seeing both 5GHz. radios in use again. I’m going to keep monitoring it of course, but I think that this one’s done and dusted.

        Thanks.

        Reply
        • Good call, Sven! I mean if you have extra routers laying around, it’s fun to try the beta out. Otherwise, your family might get very upset with you.

          Reply
          • I purchased two nodes to use in conjunction with my Verizon router/modem only to find out that they are not compatible. Both ASUS and Verizon support said would need to set up as a bridge that way Verizon would be used to support FIOS TV functionality.

            My question as I wanted to use the two nodes to extend coverage in my house am I better off getting another router to bridge with my Verizon router and then put my nodes where I want them or purchase another ZenWifi AX node?

  77. I just bought a set of XT8s. Not that I have a lot of WiFi 6 devices, but because the wireless backhaul is very powerful (4800Mbit). All WiFi 5 routers did not have a fast wireless backhaul as the XT8. After installing it, the reception in my whole house is perfect. I get around 450MBit, with a 500MBit subscription (on Docsis 3.0). Of course, outside the speed drops to 200MBit, but is still fast enough. I love the security features and parental controls. It even has a feature to have a dual WAN option, for fail-over or load balancing. All in all I really recommend these routers.

    Reply
  78. From reading the review and performance, I am not sure I understand the difference between the RT-AX92U in a 2-pack ($399) versus the ZenWiFi XT8 ($449). It seems that when you reviewed the former, you said that it lost WiFi 6 due to dedicating the wireless backhaul. But is seems that this model (XT8) does the same. Can you clarify and also explain other than looks, why you might choose one over the other when they are close in price? Thank you!

    Reply
      • Thank you for the quick reply!

        I didn’t understand enough about the 5GHz-2 concept and how it uses the radios to understand how the XT8 was different to know that the 5GHz-1 is somehow WiFi6 on the XT8.

        I had actually called ASUS directly prior to my post and they said the difference from a WiFi perspective was only in internal versus external antennas and some software differences in the firewall.

        I think you probably know more about this than their rep since you got into the detail about how the band is used.

        If I read your reviews and comments properly, it seems like the hardware in the RT-AX92U is capable to run like the XT8, but a potential firmware update aside, it doesn’t run the radio that way currently. Hopefully I got this right?

        I actually ordered both systems since the ZenWiFi XT8 is on back order and I’ll be able to see if it makes a difference in my environment.

        I have a follow up question:
        My current setup is a real RT-AC68U with two additional T-Mobile TM-AC1900 flashed as RT-AC68Us in an AiMesh network. Would you repurpose any of the old equipment or keep them off to avoid slowing down the network versus using only the new RT-AC92U or XT8?

        Reply
        • Mixing AC and AX broadcaster is not a good idea, Daryl, in a wireless mesh setup. If you have wired backhaul, the AX routers you mentioned might not make any difference at all.

          Reply
  79. Hi Dong, Great review. I just purchased the 2 pk of the Asus Zenwifi AX and I set it up but I am getting REALLY low numbers according to Ookla and my own test (moving a 3GB file from Desktop to laptop). I am getting about 200Mbps according to Ookla Speedtest with my Google Pixel 2 and my Asus Chromebook and only about 111Mbps with my Asus ROG Laptop (all fairness the laptop is about 10yrs old). I have FIOS internet with 1Gig up and down and when I run Speedtest with my desktop (hardwired to the router) I am getting about 900Mbps so the issue seems to be with the wireless portion of this setup. I did the firmware update after I set up my network, I then reset to factory and set it up again. I did the set up through the webUi and not the app. I tried searching online for anyone else that has this issue and I haven’t found anything yet. I am hoping you may be able to shed some light on this for me. Thanks.

    Reply
    • @Ray,

      hey Ray, I had the exact same problem. You are not alone. I have 9 different divices out of which 3 support WiFi 6 and all gave me same results as yours. Low wirelessly and about 900mbps hardwired. 2.4GHz was even worst at 10mbps or less.

      Tried TP-Link Deco M9 Plus and a Nokia Wifi Beacon router at the presence of an ISP Engineer and both delivered 400~600mbps wirelessly on 5Ghz. 2.4GHz went as high as 70-80mbps.

      Eventually, after much testing and tinkering returned my XT8 with heavy heart.

      Hope you have found a solution for your XT8.

      Reply
  80. Hi Dong, I already have 3 XT8s connected via wired backhaul. I need to add another AIMesh point for a dead spot and that will not be in Ethernet I am afraid. You already answered that I can have a mix of Ethernet and WiFi backhaul which is great. However due to budget, I am considering a cheaper RT-AX55 ( less than half the price of a single XT8!) Still a WiFi6 router but significantly less powerful. Will that cause me any issues?
    Thanks

    Reply
          • Hi Dong – thanks and sorry for checking in again but you are ever so helpful 🙂

            Prime Day here in the UK and Amazon has discounted heavily the older ZenWIfi, the CT8. I only need one unit which comes in at £130 compared to £230 for the XT8. Not terribly bothered about Wifi6 at this point. Are there any terrible disadvantages having a mix of AC and AX units other than performance obviously?

  81. One thing I’d be very curious to hear your opinion on, and which I seldom see commented on in any reviews, is the general stabililty of router software from various vendors over time. I’ll avoid biasing your response by not giving my opinion, but there are several very well known vendors which I now avoid like a plague because while the routers work great out of the box, their software quality control sucks. In reading various reviews and bulletin boards, you inevitably sees comments to the effect that people need to re-boot their routers with ridiculous frequency due to WiFi bands malfuctioning, dropping out, ISP connection failing and manual DHCP renews being required, etc., etc. Virtually all reviewers tend to measure performance and features measured after re-booting, and I see very few comments on the ability of routers to simply continue to work reliably and at boot-time performance levels over weeks and months. I’m about to dump yet another relatively recent high performance router because it’s reliability simply sucks and I’m tired of re-booting it with regular frequency. So I’m really curious if you have any comments of specific router vendors who not only make great products that perform well at review time, but who seem to actually produce quality firmware that that works reliably without rebooting for long periods of time, and also who seem to lead the pack on getting relatively frequent firmware updates that fix reported problems sooner rather than later. Add to that, companies that actually have customer service organizations that actually seem interested in hearing about reliability issues and who response to those issues isn’t simply something like “reset the router” or “reload the firmware”. As one who has worked extensively with both consumer and enterprise class equipment, this is one case where the QC on consumer grade networking software simply is pathetic in comparison to enterprise systems (but of course sells for a fraction of the cost).

    Reply
  82. Hi Dong…I have 3 XT8s working rather well between then and I recently installed a wired backhaul. Instantly my WiFi speeds increased to 500mbs plus on my OnePlus 8 Pro after your suggestion to expose the WiFi6 WiFi network.

    As it happens one of my external Nest cameras is latching onto the wrong XT8 for some reason and is saying a weak signal. No disconnections, just a weak signal affecting video quality.

    I cannot run another Ethernet cable there but if I was to buy another XT8 can I use the WiFi6 as backhaul on that one, i.e. having 1 as a router, 2 on wired backhaul and another on wireless backhaul?

    Reply
  83. Hi Dong,
    I purchased a pair of Asus XT8 today, and I planned to use it with an RT-AC68P I already had as an AiMesh. I have wired networking, so I set up the AC68P as the main router. I ran a firmware update, but then both XT8’s dropped from 80MHz 5GHz coverage to 20MHz 5GHz. In the AC68P, the width was still set to 80MHz, so I didn’t understand what was going on, and I decided to set them up in AP mode instead, since I couldn’t access the settings in AiMesh mode. When I did this, one of the routers wouldn’t let me log in through the admin page, so I tried a factory reset. This led to a boot loop and I tried firmware restoration and hard reset, but it is now restarting every 2 minutes and I can’t pull it out of that loop. Have you heard any reports of this happening? And if I’m going to use them in AP mode, is there a better Wi-Fi 6 alternative? I have to return these units now so I’m considering a different model instead. I was using the Orbi RBK50 previously, but we switched to 1 gig fiber and I wanted Wi-Fi 6 to take advantage of the speeds.

    Reply
    • That’s odd. But you shouldn’t use the XT8 when you have wired backhaul. Get a couple of dual-band AiMesh router or an XD4 set. By the way, getting Wi-Fi 6 doesn’t mean you’ll get the Gagabit Wi-Fi out of it. More here.

      Reply
      • Thanks for your reply, Dong. I just got Ethernet terminated a few days ago with the fiber install, so I hadn’t thought of using dual-band before. I understand about the Wi-Fi 6 and gigabit, but I have seen some great improvements, going from ~300-500Mbps on AC to ~600-800Mbps using Wi-Fi 6, which is good enough for me. Do you see Wi-Fi 6 clients going beyond 2×2 to 3×3 or 4×4 in the near future? I’d like to future-proof the network now.

        Reply
  84. I’m not sure I understand your statement:
    “Also, you’ll need to have a second node unit before you can see the value of this port. With a 2-pack, the speed is limited by the other Gigabit ports anyway.”
    What is the added value of using a 3-unit setup?

    Reply
    • Just use some imagination, Dan. With a 2-pack, there’s no way you can plug TWO multi-gig wired devices into the system since one of the routers already works as the WAN port.

      Reply
      • Ahhhh… I was assuming that with WiFi backhaul enabled, you could use both the 2.5g ports for clients. But if they had thought of that, they would have needed one of the 1g ports to WAN/LAN also.
        That’s disappointing.

        Reply
      • Hi, Dong, extremely good information and review. Quick simple question. I have 2 ac5300’s setup in mesh config. I want to expand and buy a 2-pack (XT-8). Would you hookup an XT-8 or an AC5300 to the main internet router? I will have 3 of the 4 routers on a wired back haul as well.

        Thanks- Andy

        Reply
          • Thanks! I have one more question. You mentioned the best way to connect mesh nodes was “around” the main router. I have a situation where I need to extend coverage in a linear manner from a node. The last node (farthest from the main router) jumps from connecting to the main router to a MUCH closer node. The closer node has a wired back haul. My wireless works much better when the farthest node connects to the much closer node, not the main router (week connection). Can I force a node to connect to my choice for it’s mesh connection?

            Thanks!

  85. If any one in the GTA wants to go splits on the two pack let me know. I just want to use one as an AP, I don’t need both and frankly can’t afford both lol.

    Reply
  86. I see there was a recent firmware up: 3.0.0.4.386_25790-gd414187. I applied the update and everything is working fine, but I’d like to know what changed and if others are having luck with this update, too.

    Reply
    • Hello,

      On my second Aimesh upstrairs, I have some problems with connecting macbook air 2020, it does not received an IP number from the DHCP.

      I need to switch of the Aimesh router upstairs, and switch it back on than it works.

      The strange is other devices like camera etc are connected but not the macbook air.

      Reply
  87. Hi Dong. Thanks for the review. Helped make the decision to get one!

    Just a couple of questions as my expertise runs to being able to plug in and follow basic instructions. The speeds that you tested showed over 800Mbps but later you mentioned you could get your full 300Mbps at 70 feet away. Are these separate tests?

    I haven’t split my two bands but noticed that moving about 20 feet away into the garden my usual speed 0f over 350Mbps dropped to around 50. Following some suggestions in your other articles, I changed the channel too 11 instead of allowing it to choose and also (I assume it was connecting to the 2.5 band)frequency at 20mhz which immediately changed my speed to an average 200Mbps in the same spot. Are there any other suggestions to maybe get full speed? Not the most important thing as it’s unlikely I will need or use full speed anyway!

    Thanks again for all your great articles

    Reply
  88. Good review. Seriously considering purchasing one, but have several questions you may be able to answer:
    1) do you know of any issues with using one’s primary wired GbE switch, in my case a Cisco 26 port GbE switch (same one that will connected to the primary router for wired ethernet hosts) as the interconnect for a wired mesh interconnect instead of a point to point wired connection? Not worried about sharing gigabit port on primary router since virtually all of my high bandwidth traffic is between wired hosts on switch which will remain local to switch and never see the router port.
    2) the cellular modem (either USB modem or RJ45 connection to a spare Android cellular phone) is an intriging Internet backhaul option. Read the manual, but can’t tell: can you configure this as a fallback WAN interconnect in case the primary wired WAN connection fails, or can it only be used as a primary WAN interconnect (or on simultaneously with the primary WAN wired interconnect). I have Comcast Mobile service, so having an extra cellular phone doesn’t cost me anything monthly except for bandwidth used, so being able to use this solely for emergency fallback is intriging as long as no traffic will use the cellular backup unless wired WAN connection is down.

    Reply
    • 1. Check out this post on home network basics, Randall. I’m a bit confused in try to understand what you’re trying to say. Then, since you have wired backhaul, there’s no need to use tri-band hardware. check out this post on AiMesh.
      2. Again, I think you used “backhaul” as something else… But Dual-WAN generally means you can use both Internet connection at the same time for either load balancing (faster speed) or fail-safe (high availability).

      Reply
      • Sorry for the confusion. My first question was basically can you use an existing GbE ethernet switch (that is also used for other wired ethernet connections) to also interconnect the routers in the mesh (instead of a dedicated point to point wired link or the second 5GHz radio). I would rather do this instead of using the second 5GHz radio to link the routers in the mesh or running a dedicated point to point link, so that it is available for a second 5GHz named SSID Wifi network.

        My second question was precisely can you use the dual-WAN solely for fail-safe operation and not have it also used for load balancing. I don’t see anywhere in the manual how you configure the USB/RJ45 attached cellular device solely for fail-safe (i.e., I don’t want any traffic on it except for backup in the case of wired WAN failure.

        Hope this clarifies what I was asking.

        Reply
        • Hi Randall,

          You can use a switch to connect the routers in a mesh, but it depends on your ISP connection. Your ISP gateway/modem needs to be connected directly to a router, and not a switch, otherwise (if it’s a modem) you will run into NAT issues, or (if it’s a router) you can end up with devices on a different subnet.

          Reply
  89. Hi Dong,

    I’ve got an AX89X that I want to use as my main router in an Ai Mesh network. What’s the difference between the XT8 and AX6100 when added as nodes in Ai Mesh? Both are tri-band so suitable to use with wirless backhaul if one of the nodes is wired to the main router. The AX6100 two pack is a fair bit cheaper.

    Thanks for your help!
    Derek

    Reply
      • That’s understood but I was hoping to go wired from the AX89X to one of the XT8 nodes and them chain from the wired XT8 node to the wireless node using the dedicated 5 GHz wireless backhaul. Would this work?

        Reply
        • Read the post, Derek, you’ll find the answer there. And no, the router unit controls the entire mesh. But you can set up a pair of the XT8 in the AP mode to have dedicated backhaul in between them.

          Reply
          • Hi Dong,

            I purchased a GT-AX11000 router and a pair of XT8 routers. I’ve set them up in an AiMesh star topology with the ROG as the router and the XT8 as nodes with one wired and one wireless backhaul. At the ROG I get 850 Mbps down / 600 Mbps up over wireless on my cell phone. At both nodes, I’m seeing about 50 Mbps down / 100 Mbps up on the same cell phone (note that I confirmed I was connected to the corresponding node). I would have expected much better speed at the node with a wired backhaul. I’ve confirmed the Ethernet connection to the XT8 node is good by performing a wired speed test on a laptop (750 Mbps down / 500 Mbps up). Am I doing something wrong? Is this normal?

  90. After reading some of the reviews/posts on this site, and with Dong’s advice, I bought a couple of the XT8s to give me better bandwidth across my rented apartment that has thick concrete walls. I thought I’d share the experience with you folks in case it is helpful:

    * Setup was a breeze. I already have a dedicated firewall device so I put my main router into access point mode and set the other unit as a mesh.
    * A couple of weeks later I bought a third unit to add to the mesh. Installed without problems.
    * Fast forward a couple of months, and suddenly the connection keeps dropping between the mesh nodes and the main router. Not great when I am working from home, and it happens a couple of times per hour.
    * Scratching my head as to what to do, and worrying about my expensive mistake about buying three of these units, I put on my detective hat. I made sure the firmware was up to date, I turned off “smart connect” and used two separate networks, I switched around the mesh and main router units. I tried moving the units around. Nothing helped. It seemed that it was a problem of the mesh units dropping the wireless backhaul connection as the main router never dropped its internet connection.
    * I installed “WiFi Explorer” on my mac computer. I found the MAC address of my wireless backhaul by connecting to the main router’s web interface through my browser, and searched for the network in the WiFi Explorer using its MAC address.
    * I found that there were a few networks that had “Asus Tek” as the vendor. I knew that they weren’t all mine. One thing that was common with these other non-hidden networks and mine, was that they shared the same channel (visible from the “Channel” column).
    * So I went back into the router web interface to look for the channel settings for the wireless backhaul. I saw that it is set to “Auto” by default. So I changed it to a different number to the channel that I saw in WiFi Explorer. It also happens that in Wifi Explorer there aren’t any other networks using this channel.
    * I repeated the process in the web interfaces of all three routers, ensuring they were all on the same channel. Restarted them all.
    * Boom. No more backhaul dropping out! It has been stable since. My theory is that someone upstairs/downstairs bought the same router and they are interfering on the same channel.

    I hope this helps someone!

    Dan

    Reply
  91. Dong, just installed the XT8. Encountered a problem during smart detect. With my laptop only 6 feet away from the main router located in a closet, the laptop would try and connect to it, but message was “could not connect to internet”. Similarly my wifes laptop and her kindle could not connect, located about 30 feet from the main router. We tried connecting near the backhaul node about 75 feet away, and her kindle could connect. To resolve this tech support had me turn off smart connect and separate into three bands with different names and passwords. I can connect now in my office 6 feet away from the router but speeds are only about 65 mbps for both laptops at varying distances whereas lan cable is 900 mbps. All bands have about same low speed. Firmware is most recent version. I called tech support again and they said closet wall was the problem. That’s apparently not right as I have had wireless speeds in 270 or more range with ATTs router. Any insights? Thank you.

    Reply
  92. Hi Dong

    Just picked up a pair of XT8s and an extra single unit XT8. All paired ok but i am getting some significant stability issues. Only 3 days in but i am considering returning. So far a couple of reboots, a nest camera disconnecting when it has line of sight of 10ft from one of the mesh points and my one and only Wifi 6 device sometimes it tests at 200Mb/s and other times at 1 or 3Mb/s. What gives?,My connection is 1GB down and 100 up. I dont expect this speed everywhere but i expected a bit more stability.

    Did not change any default settings.

    If i return it i am thinking of heading for the Unifi Dream Machine but not sure what AP to pair it with as i need some elsewhere in my home.

    Reply
      • Hi Dong – they were brand new units so i dont think a reset to default is necessary as it was set up from scratch. The third unit was also new and it needed a firmware update on day 1 – but not from out the box or during setup which was a bit strange.

        This evening we were having a Duo Call which worked great, but in the meantime our phones, tablets and google nest hubs were disconnected from the wifi!! But the video call on the chromebook was perfect! That is weird!

        All nodes have been updated now to latest firmware so will give them another week or so but not very happy to be fair.

        Reply
          • Hi David…yes I am now upgraded on all 3 units to the latest June firmware.

            I am using a OnePlus 8 Pro that is WiFi 6 and sometimes I will get a connection speed in the KBs let alone MBs! Then a few minutes later my connection will revert back to 200+ MBs!!

            My MacBook refused to connect and had to restart it a few times. Yesterday during a Duo call on a Chromebook all the other devices lost connectivity. My Nest Driveway camera keeps disconnecting for no reason (line of sight) and the list goes on.

            Maybe my One Plus phone is the issue but the fact my MacBook would not connect and now I have an older Windows machine that won’t pick up the WiFi and even my Pixelbook Go refused to connect and had to turn WiFi on and off. This is all behaviour I have not had to do since 802.12g let alone Ax!!!

            I have someone coming to install Ethernet in key locations around the house and that may improve things but then if you have Ethernet…any decent router will perform.

            Will reset everything today and give it another 24 hours but my patience is running very thin.

            I am in the UK and for me this was a £630 purchase!

  93. Hi Dong,
    Great review. I bought the 2 pack XT8’s a few months ago. So far they have been pretty stable with a wireless backhaul. My question is, I have a 3 storey house and the main line comes in the 1st floor. The units are placed in 1st and 2nd floor but I find the wifi signal is not strong on the 3rd floor. Streaming movies on 3rd floor gets choppy sometimes. I’m contemplating another 2 pack of XT8’s (can’t buy one unit in Canada) or should I go with AX11000? Is wireless backhaul with 2 XT8’s and AX11000 stable?

    Reply
  94. Dong,

    Any idea why the XT8 is out of stock everywhere that I’ve looked. It obviously a great system but I didn’t know if there were any short term supply issues or if it would be protracted

    Reply
  95. Thanks for this great review, i read it several times
    I’ve a discount today, and i was going to buy and before a read ALL comments … almost 6 months after being released this WIFI 6 Mesh system doesn’t seems to be stable !!!
    So i’m wondering if i’m going to buy or wait until next black Friday to buy a discounted Orbi RBK753 (or a stabilized XT8 ?)