Thursday, February 25th, 2021

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

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

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.

READ NOW!  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 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 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, for now, in a wireless setup
  • No multi-gig LAN port or LAN link aggregation
  • Only four network ports on each hardware units
  • Not enough instructions on network settings

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.

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

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.

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.

READ NOW!  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 XT9 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 if you 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
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.)

READ NOW!  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 CXT8: 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.

READ NOW!  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.

This is a little Commercial Break
Looking for something worthy of your hard-earned coin? ☕ Support Dong with a Ko-fi! 💚

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.

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

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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!

            Reply
  9. 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.

            Reply
            • 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.

              Reply
          • 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?”

            Reply
            • 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.

              Reply
              • 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.

                Reply
      • 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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.

            Reply
    • 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. 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).

            Reply
        • 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
  30. 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?

            Reply
  31. 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
  32. 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
  33. 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.

            Reply
  34. 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
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. 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
  38. 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
  39. 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
  40. 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
  41. 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,

            Reply
          • 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.

            Reply
            • 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.

              Reply
  42. 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
  43. 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
  44. 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
  45. 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
  46. 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
  47. 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?

            Reply
  48. 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
  49. 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
  50. 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
  51. 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?

            Reply
  52. 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
  53. 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
  54. 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
  55. 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!

            Reply
  56. 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
  57. 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
  58. 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
  59. 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
  60. 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?

            Reply
  61. 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
  62. 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
  63. 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!

            Reply
  64. 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
  65. 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
  66. 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 ?)

    Reply
    • It works fine, David. I’ve used one from day one without any problems. The key is don’t mess around too much with the settings. There are many of them and they are tempting.

      Reply
  67. Hello Dong, thank you for another great review from you. im still unsure because of my predicament. I have an cat 6 running from one side of the house to another. I need wifi in the loft (that doenst have cat cable) for security cams so im thinking i will need 3 units, ground, 1st & loft. is it better to have 3-off AX XT8, or 1-off GT-AX11000 downstairs and 2-off AX XT8 (only one wired) or could i bring a RT-AX92U into the equation. RT-AX92U £166,GT-AX11000 crazy money £360, AX XT8 2 pack £400 single £220? thank you in advance.
    Regards,
    Warren.

    Reply
  68. Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Opera.
    I’m not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with web browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let
    you know. The layout look great though! Hope you get the
    issue fixed soon. Many thanks

    Reply
    • Thanks for letting me know, Maribel. Yes, Opera has a lot of issues and is not on the list of my supported browsers. Try Brave, Chrome, Edge, or Firefox instead.

      Reply
  69. Excellent review Dong. I currently have two Asus AC88u’s running in AI Mesh. I recently stepped up to 1 Gig fiber and want to start taking advantage of wifi-6. so i was thinking of upgrading to Zen wifi AX. Would there be any benefit to using my AC88u’s with the Zen wifi AX set or should i try use the Zen alone until maybe i could get an Ax11000 down to he road. thanks

    Reply
  70. Hi Dong,
    I currently have GT-AC5300 as my main router with 02 XT8 Zenwifi as nodes (5Ghz2 as a dedicated backhaul).
    To exploit full usage of AX band, I am thinking of upgrading/replacing GT-AC5300 with AX-11000…and 02 XT8 Zenwifi will remain as nodes.
    Will this set-up provide better signal coverage / speeds, I am not an avid gamer though, so game related settings take a back seat in terms of preference.
    Can you advise any alternative main router to complement my two XT8 as nodes.

    Regards

    Reply
      • Hi Dong,
        Thanks
        Finally Asus AX11000 was delivered, have setup as main router and two XT8 as nodes.
        One thing that’s puzzling me is….
        When I added XT8 as nodes, both nodes got connected to AX11000 is ‘star’ format. But when I reboot any of the nodes, the node then auto connect in daisy-chain mode (AX11000>XT8>XT8).
        Is there any way to force the ‘star format’, or the system is supposed t auto-select the topology by itself to deliver the best performance.

        Thank you….

        Reply
  71. I’ve read through many, many posts and read numerous reviews and thought I was sold on the Zen Wifi, until I read all of these comments. We are upgrading to Cox Gigablast as we’ve been having lots of internet issues. Our current gateway won’t work for that, so we are getting a new modem and router separately. The router part I’m struggling with. We have a two-story 2800 sq ft house with lots of devices and four people at home (one who is hard wired to the gateway for online gaming). I thought one Zen Wifi unit might be enough coverage and that I could add a node later if needed. But if its buggy and has issues that will be a problem as I have no networking knowledge. Also, we cannot do wired backhaul (which we presumably wouldn’t need with only one unit anyway). Budget-wise, I was hoping to stay around $250, but will spend more if needed to have the coverage, speed and reliability we’ve been lacking Is the Zen Wifi the one or should I look at a standalone router instead? The AX86u got good reviews and might be perfect, but it’s not out yet and I’m not sure we can wait another month. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
      • Thanks for your reply. I can get two XT8 for $400 (or 1 for 250) or Costco has the Orbi RBK753S 3pk for $440. I know this a version of the “budget” Orbi , but given the similar price, which is the better overall value for speed, coverage, reliability, features? Also, can our current Netgear AC1900 combo modem/router be used in any way with Orbi or Zen Wifi to provide more wired connections (or for any other purpose on the new network)? Thanks again for your insight!!

        Reply
  72. I was surprised too. But it seems like as soon as I get about 15-20 feet away from one of the nodes, with a couple of walls (drywall) in between, many of my devices switch to 2.4ghz. These are wifi 5 devices. I’m not sure if wifi 6 clients would exhibit the same behaviour.

    The backhaul between the nodes is showing up as ‘Great’ in the ASUS UI.

    Reply
    • @ John – See my other comments and feedback in the comments section under the name “Rocky”. I have had the system in place for over a month with ZEROOOO issues. GT-AX11000 Main and two XT8 nodes (Dong’s favorite combo recommendation is what I went with). Pricey but worth the money if you have this for 10 yrs.

      Recently, I updated firmware on GT-AX11000 two days ago and still no issues. Important to note that I have my devices on scheduled reboot every other day at night. Next morning, all devices function normally.

      I also changed my laptop clients to Wifi 6 buying Intel AX200 cards. Have all phones with wifi 6. Even Wifi 5 clients have no issues.

      Reply
  73. Hi Dong,

    I’ve got a pair of these in my 3200 Sq Ft (wireless backhaul), and find that there are still a few places in the house where the 5Ghz band doesn’t reach (the devices fall back to 2.4).

    I’d like to get another node, but don’t think they sell these individually. Would I be better off getting another set of XT8’s (and having 4 nodes total), or going with an AX1000? Is there another option I should be looking at? I don’t have the ability to used a wired backhaul.

    Reply
      • Thanks Dong. These don’t seem to be available where I’m located (Canada), though it looks like I could get one shipped from the US for an additional $50.

        Given that, the price difference between the third XT8 and an GT-AX11000 would be relatively small. Would there be any performance advantage going with the GT?

        Reply
    • I have a AX11000 plus 4 XT8 nodes connected by 2.5G ethernet in AiMesh in a 3450 sq ft house. Overkill? Maybe, but I would rather be 100% sure I’m getting maximum and best coverage than find dead zones in my house.

      Reply
    • I’m surprised it doesn’t handle your house … mine is larger and the 5ghz covers the front and the backyard too. I’ve got one unit on top floor towards the front of the house, one unit on main floor towards the back of the house. I am using wired backhaul though and using that free’d up backhaul band as my main 5ghz band for my devices.

      Reply
      • I have a 3100 sqft house and my iphone and ipad routinely drop the 5ghz and revert back to the 2.4ghz. my backhaul is wireless. Other than that coverage seems good throughout.

        Reply
  74. hello: i have been having troubles with the xt8, but exceeded the 30 day return, so I am stuck with it. If i were to use them in an aimesh with another router, what is the best choice? Ax11000 or ax88u or something else? Live in 3 story house w gigabit connection from fios. Tom

    Reply
    • Update it to the latest firmware, Tom. Then reset it and set it up again. Use the web interface (not the mobile app) and refrain from making too many changes. It should work fine now.

      Reply
      • I feel like this tip needs to be shared a ton. While it’s totally frustrating, this has saved my Asus AX6000 experience. I was running 3 nodes and having nothing but issues. Nightly reboots were not fixing. We were seeing a ton of drops, a ton of network blips. (a ton may not be a proper metric). I switched back to my eero for a while. But I didn’t want that to be long term. Was about to go buy the Orbi (and I’m still tempted to) but I reset the entire group, redid the mesh. Probably overkill but I did each node as a standalone and then reset them again. And then redid the entire solution. We’ve been absolutely rock steady ever since, and my performance to my clients has improved.

        I will say this is why I’m still looking at leaving as it seems firmware is an issue here. I don’t want to rebuild my network with every update. But I will say this: DON’T use the app. Just wire in and use the web page. It’s much better.

        Reply
  75. It is supposed to. ATT tech did there test and showed 930Mbps download and upload. But, when I plug in my laptop directly to a LAN port it only gets or shows 245-394Mbps download speeds. I’m skeptical of their equipment but maybe I’m a conspiracy guy for large cable internet companies.

    I’ve asked to replace it with a different modem and they continue to send the same Pace 5268AC time and time again. I’m sending back two of them today.

    Reply
  76. I’ve had the XT8 running in the house for a couple weeks now. Coverage is great. Some issues with devices transferring from node to node but not really an issue. Speed is good. Now if I could only get my dang AT&T gigabit to spit out more speed than 250-294MB download. This is the same thru wifi or even when hard wire connected to the gateway. Ugh, I’m on my third Pace gateway. 🙁

    Reply
  77. I’ve had zero issue since I opened up the 5G-2 network, turned on smart connect for 2.4G and 5G-1, and only have WiFi 6 devices on the 5G-2 network.

    Reply
  78. I have a Gigabit internet provider and I am trying to maximize my speeds and coverage, but I also am considering the ease of use/UI. Would you recommend the ASUS ZenWiFi AX or the Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine?

    Reply
  79. Just an update regarding my old WAN disconnection issue. I can confirm that I have not had that problem for weeks now, after disabling the OpenVPN server in the router. The firmware has not changed at all. So, I think there is a bug or a vulnerability somewhere that is exposed when certain settings are changed, like the enabling of OpenVPN.

    Reply
  80. I am having these same issues with my Asus zenwifi. I have had it about 2 weeks and now I am constantly getting reboots/reconnections from my Centurylink modem. Were you able to figure out a solution?

    Reply
  81. Does anyone know how many device connections the XT8 system is rated for? I can’t find this spec anywhere.
    Thanks
    Bernie

    Reply
    • Like all routers, that’s 253, but it’s impossible to say, Bernie. It’s all depends on usage. If you hear anywhere else a specific number, that’s just a rough estimation (or pure bullshit.) More on that here.

      Reply
  82. Hi Mr. Dong.

    Do you remember when I asked you if I can choose between Zenwifi and Orbi 852. Well I have bought the Orbi 852 and it is working great and I am very happy with it compared with the Asus AX92u that I returned for unstable wifi speed. Since I bought the orbi 852 2days ago do speed test regularly. the speed test using Iphone11 which supports Wifi6 and the result from the satalite is great(note that the satalite is not connected by wire to the main orbi router which is also used as an access point.When I did the test it gave me the full speed that I paid for which is 520Mb (Download Speed). So I really would like to thank you for your suggestion^^

    Reply
  83. Based on the info here I purchased the XT8 which is replacing a Nighthawk since I’m having trouble with signal in the lower level office.
    I need to setup this to work with my ATT Uverse gigabit service. Anything to do different or can I emulate my netgear setup so to speak.
    Thoughts?

    Reply
  84. Nice review! Just to check, I am currently running a couple of AX92U with CAT6 wired backhaul, but still having some blind or weak spots. If I add a couple more XT8 as main, and the older 2 AX92U as satellites (both still running wired backhaul config), will I get WIFI6 @ 2.4Ghz?

    Reply
    • No, Chris, only on the 5 GHz-2 band, more on that here. But that doesn’t really matter since the speed on the 2.4 GHz band has been the same (slow) on all new routers. The differences between Wi-Fi 4 and Wi-Fi 6 on this band seem to exist only on paper.

      Reply
  85. I reached out several months ago about how explainer videos help and the unique issues they solve.
    My team has created thousands of marketing videos including dozens in your field.

    As you know, Google is constantly changing its SEO algorithm. The only thing that has remained consistent is that adding an explainer video increases website rank and most importantly keeps customers on your page for longer, increasing conversions ratios.

    Simplify your pitch, increase website traffic, and close more business.
    Should I send over some industry-specific samples?

    Reply
  86. Day 4 of zero lost connections and continued super fast speeds throughout the 4500 sft home of three levels. GT-AX11000 main in basement with two xt8 on each floor – WIRED backhaul, upnp disabled, WPS disabled, remote access disabled, no trend micro crap – all devices wired and wireless are reporting normal activity. One more thing – unlike my (now returned) Orbi AC which occasionally had trouble switching from node to node, the AIMesh is phenomenal. the switch from node to node for the clients (cell phones and stuff) is seamless.

    As Dong mentioned in response to other post, I did not tinker with any advanced settings too much and I think wired backhaul is helping keep things stable and under control. My experience using asus app has been great.

    I have a TPLink switch to which all wired ethernet connections are plugged in but the two xt8 ethernet WAN wires are plugged directly in to GT-AX11000. I know that Dong mentioned that we could plug them to third party switches for wired backhaul but I did not want to go that route at least for now.

    Lastly, I have a scheduled reboot 4AM everyday FWIW.

    Those of you that are having issues – consider upgrading firmware, resetting all devices, connecting to wired backhaul if possible and then seeing if the issues persist. The setup I have which Dong recommended as perhaps the best combination of zen devices is perhaps also adding to stability.

    Rocky

    Reply
  87. To add a bit to the recent good reports here, my issues with the WAN disconnecting have not happened in the last week. One change I did is to disable the OpenVPN in the router, because I noticed in the logs some strange “reset” signals being sent by foreign IPs before the disconnection. My suspicion is that there is a bug in OpenVPN being exploited remotely. But if course, this is quite a far speculation with my limited understanding of those entries in the logs. Question for the other commenters here is: has anyone enabled OpenVPN and noticed any problem with it?

    The other suspicion I have is the ntp queries, someone else claimed there is an issue with ntp queries, and there is an announcement of a recently fixed bug in ntp.org. But the only thing I have done here was to switch to time.google.com for ntp queries, which was prior to the last WAN disconneciton.

    The other change I have made is change the default t 8443 https port of the interface to another port, but I doubt this has any relationship with stability.

    Lastly, I use FIOS/Verizon, and I googled if there is any issue of compatibility with their ONT. I even called the Verizon tech support and they did not have a clue (or logs) of why my router is disconnected to the ONT. I have, anyway, switched to DHCP Frequency = Normal (Default = Aggressive), but this last thing also was prior to the last WAN crash.

    To sum up, my main suspicion is still a bug in the OpenVPN software. Today was my last day I could have returned the XT8 pair, but I am keeping it with the hope it will continue to be stable.

    Reply
  88. I was one of the early adopters of this system. I got it from microcenter back in Feb. I had all kind of issues and several tickets and RMA was issued. I sent several logs to ASUS support. The last firmware 25524 resolved all issues and system is super stable now.
    I used to get slow internet , signal drops , issues connecting to WiFi from several devices.
    Back in February iPhones worked well with XT8 but when I add more devices that’s were it start to fail miserably. Also realized when my two kids play games the router slows down and fails to balance resources. Software like smartbyte caused serious connectivity issues with XT8.
    Finally got a call from ASUS and it has been 30 days after the last firmware and it has been perfect so we cancelled the RMA.
    So far I give it 10/10 after the last firmware… very stable. I have 25 devices and very happy with it.

    Reply
  89. Indeed. Between a volatile $450 XT8 that “might” work or “might” get rectified in the future and a $700 Orbi that you definitely won’t regret. I think the choice is quite clear.

    Reply
  90. Dong is absolutely right. Asus offers so much more value for the money, but if they can’t stabilize the product it’s all in vain. A shame, because if they offered a premium mesh set, with faster throughput and better signal, I’d be the first to sign up. Cost is only an issue when things don’t work well. Apple kept selling a subpar router for years, but it worked well out of the box and without fail.

    Reply
  91. Thanks! I was really inclined to get the XT8 because of much better affordability against the RBK852. Speed is not a major concern as my ISP max out at 300Mbps, so signal strength and stability is the bigger concern for me. But looking at the comments, it seems like many people are facing issues with the XT8 (connection drop, non-comm between router and satelite etc). So I got worried there.

    Reply
    • I hear you, Chia. I have some friends with the XT8, and they have been OK. I think if you don’t mess around too much, it’s okay. But Asus does need to really work on getting the firmware stabilized.

      Reply
  92. I find the Orbi to be much better for overall coverage. I owned the ZenWiFi for over a month and one set didn’t cover nearly as well as a set of the Netgear Orbi does. It may be just me, but I have better wall to wall coverage.

    Reply
  93. Apart from speed, how would you rate the difference with Orbi Wifi 6 in actual range coverage especially through walls?

    Reply
  94. I’ve had the XT8 one week and it has locked up on me twice. This is using the latest firmware too that I was released on 2nd July so they can’t say I didn’t keep the device updated. Worst part was after the manual reboot of the router, the node lost its security protection so was literally operating as an open access point. Yes, you can connect to it without a passcode (I tried with a new device that had never connected to the network before). As it stands the XT8’s are buggy and potentially security nightmare. Bear in mind I saw the node lose security last week when I had it auto reboot mid week; this is a real issue that should never, ever happen.

    Reply
  95. Thank you for answering my questiion. I am going to use it as wirless setup. I tried the AX11000 but i didn’t like the range of it because it was not long enough. so what is the best tri band routers to combine wirlessly to give me the best range and speed between the following (zenwifi ax, Ax92u, Arris Max Pro or any other combination in your point of view ?

    Reply
  96. Can You please help me to choose. The long range coverage and high speed system is to buy 2 ax88u routers and connect them together via AImesh is that right? and that would be better than buying the zenwifi?

    Reply
  97. Dong, I’ve got 2 x XT8 and a AX88U router. All are wired. Any idea why the list of wired clients connected to each of the XT8s is more than just the clients actually physically connected to those mesh devices? I’m seeing clients appear on the Asus web interface that are connected to the network ports on the router or other switches I have in my wired network.

    Reply
  98. Hi, I purchased the Asus Zenwifi AX for my new house for the mesh system since its a big multi-story home. I’m getting AT&T Fiber installed soon and understand that I will have to use their gateway. What’s the best way to set up the mesh Router/Node on top of the gateway? The house is prewired for ethernet. Thanks!

    Reply
  99. I’ve read several good reviews for this XT8 Mesh setup – but surprised to read about all the problems.

    As an alternative am I considering the Asus GT-AX11000 router and two ASUS Lyra Trio Mesh nodes – the price is nearley the same. The AiMesh should give me coverage(and ease) and the router a good connection/speed for my NAS.

    Can anyone recommend anything better for the price?
    Thanks….

    Reply
  100. I’ve been a staunch supporter of the ZenWiFi AX from the start, and as a developer, understood some of the challenges that ASUS was going through with the release of this system. However, after two months of trying my best to make it work, I jumped back to Netgear. As bad as NG’s customer service is, I actually think Asus is worse.

    That said, I ended up with Netgear’s AX6000 solution because two nodes (router/satellite) accomplished what the Asus ZenWiFi couldn’t do with four nodes – good coverage and high speed in all locations.

    I miss the configurability and features on the ZenWiFi, but in this work from home time, with four kids pulling at bandwidth, I couldn’t deal with the types of drops I’ve experienced this past two months. So, no parental controls, no free protection through TrendMicro, no elegant router set. Just plain ugly but functional.

    For you guys’ sake, I hope all of this gets resolved. Personally, I just don’t have the time or patience to wait that long.

    Reply
  101. Hello,

    I install the router last week and my WAN internet was also disconnecting … ik works and later disconnect.

    What I found was the following solution.

    GO to the WAN option.

    DHCP query frequency > I changed it in normal mode .
    Default was it Aggressive mode … but after changed it in normal mode. the Internet WAN is stable.

    Reply
  102. Hi Dong,

    Well I am not happy!!!! After a good a start I began to run into trouble with slow internet speed at less then 30% of I should be getting. All was good until I need to update my firmware. Well a very no descript error message keep coming up…” internet cant connect to server, try later after you connect to the internet..??”

    After 12 hours and a few tries I started to get the feeling something was wrong…duh! They said I needed to manually update my firmware. I followed the directions including restoring to factory defaults!!! NOT want I wanted to get into. That is when the problems started.

    After 6 days of only one communication per day (by email) and with no call backs the final determined that I needed to to send in the RT- AX88U for repair!

    Need something that works with good customer service!!

    Carl

    Reply
    • Sorry to hear, Carl. I don’t test customer service. But things have been hard for all companies with folks working from home or laid off, etc.

      Reply
  103. Hi Dong, yes I used the web interface. Kept the default setting for the first two weeks, and then turned off Smart Connect for the last two weeks. No other settings were changed.

    Reply
  104. I bought the XT8 and month ago and have been frustrated ever since! Handoff from one router to the other is inconsistent as you mover around the house.

    Disabled Smart Connect and setup two different SSID’s and now my connection keeps dropping. Very disappointed.

    Do you have any guide with “recommended” settings? Using the latest firmware (3.0.0.4.386_25524)

    Reply
    • Sorry to hear, Al. I’d recommend two things:

      1. Do not use the mobile app. I’ve never used it myself. You can use the web interface on the phone’s mobile browser instead.
      2. Do not change the settings for the hell of it. Set the Wi-Fi network up and then leave as much as the default as possible.

      You can reset your router and try those and see.

      Reply
  105. I tried 2 times to send a failure report and I am not sure it is taking it, Dong. Please let me know how I can post some logs here. My router collapsed again last night, second time since the purchase 2 weeks ago. I wanted to send some logs maybe someone has an idea what is going on.

    Reply
    • Looks like it worked in your previous post. But if there’s more, you can send it to me via a message in the About menu at top of the site, and I’ll update that post for you.

      Reply
  106. Dong, a network collapse occured again with ZenWifi (latest firmware 25524). Same symptoms as before. No internet from any device, Wan seems down, link with node is yellow. Rebooting fixes the issue. I have a hard time thinking why you are not having any of the many issues people have reported here. I have another 1-2 weeks to return the product. But I like the connection outside the totally failed status. These are the logs, if you understand what is going on (interruption occurred around 1.50am, I was using internet, and did not fix itself until my reboot in the morning):

    Jun 24 01:24:52 roamast: determine candidate node (D4:5D:64:A1:CA:10)(rssi: -41dbm) for client (C4:9D:ED:04:56:AE)(rssi: -71dbm) to roam
    (repeated 2 times)
    Jun 24 01:25:03 nat: apply redirect rules
    Jun 24 01:25:09 WAN Connection: Ethernet link down.
    Jun 24 01:26:02 roamast: determine candidate node (D4:5D:64:A1:CA:10)(rssi: -41dbm) for client (C4:9D:ED:04:56:AE)(rssi: -71dbm) to roam
    (repeated 10 times with different rssi)
    Jun 24 01:45:59 wlceventd: wlceventd_proc_event(461): eth5: Deauth_ind C4:9D:ED:04:56:AE, status: 0, reason: Deauthenticated because sending station is leaving (or has left) IBSS or ESS (3)
    Jun 24 02:06:05 wlceventd: wlceventd_proc_event(461): eth5: Deauth_ind 46:32:9F:FD:6E:AC, status: 0, reason: Deauthenticated because sending station is leaving (or has left) IBSS or ESS (3)
    Jun 24 02:06:05 wlceventd: wlceventd_proc_event(461): eth5: Deauth_ind 46:32:9F:FD:6E:AC, status: 0, reason: Class 3 frame received from nonassociated station (7)
    Jun 24 02:29:55 wlceventd: wlceventd_proc_event(461): eth5: Deauth_ind 48:D6:D5:0C:0C:20, status: 0, reason: Deauthenticated because sending station is leaving (or has left) IBSS or ESS (3)
    Jun 24 02:30:24 wlceventd: wlceventd_proc_event(497): eth5: Auth 48:D6:D5:0C:0C:20, status: Successful (0)
    Jun 24 02:30:24 wlceventd: wlceventd_proc_event(526): eth5: Assoc 48:D6:D5:0C:0C:20, status: Successful (0)
    Jun 24 04:29:07 WATCHDOG: (FAUPGRADE)(auto_firmware_check:(6627))retrieve firmware information
    Jun 24 04:29:07 WATCHDOG: (FAUPGRADE)(auto_firmware_check:(6644))no need to upgrade firmware
    Jun 24 04:29:37 WATCHDOG: (FAUPGRADE)(auto_firmware_check:(6627))retrieve firmware information

    Reply
  107. I have had the XT8 for 3 weeks and no matter what i have tried, i have not been able to connect to my work’s server through VPN PPTP (PPTP passthrough is on). If I have both my internet provider’s modem/router in router mode (it’s on different subnet so no clashes there), they both crash completely whereas if i change that to modem mode only then the connection cannot be made… I have spoken to ASUS support (they are very slow to respond) and they have not been able to determine the problem…

    Also, the NAS functionality seems to be slightly unreliable, with file transfers often crashing, the time machine function being slow and i have had to reconnect the drive in the time machine preferences 3-4 times so far as it keeps dropping the connection.

    Other than the above, when my modem/router is also working as a router (double nat) i constantly have reconnections and reboots.

    I really wanted to like this and it is really fast when it works, but i don’t think it is reliable enough.

    Have you had any similar experiences while testing? If i were to simply use it as an access point with my internet providers modem/router (fairly bad modem/router) as the only network router would I be slowing down my network? If so, I will be sending it back and maybe going to Ubiquity path.

    Reply
  108. Hi Dong, I’ve got a couple of questions on this, if you wouldn’t mind. Firstly, I cannot seem to find the two pack for sale anywhere at the moment but I could buy two single devices (for a similar price). I would want to use them as mesh devices (hard wired) to an RT-AX88U router. I presume the only difference I’ll have with buying 2 x single devices is that I would have to manually add each to the mesh network as they won’t be ‘factory linked’ and I also assume they are identical in the two pack? Secondly, I also have an old RT-AC68U router, which I’m currently using as a mesh device linked to the RT-AX88U (but I still get wifi dead spots – hence the want for 2 x XT8s). My question is whether one XT8 will provide a better coverage than the RT-AC68U I currently have in place. Thanks in advance. Great website!

    Reply
  109. HI Dong, as it turns out not so odd. I have had a stable setup for over a month but just today my ethernet ports just quit working. I noticed a speed decrease to my wired devices (1 gig service which usually comes in at ~700Mbps) to around 250 about 3 days ago but now just quit working. I tried reinstalling the latest firmware since a reboot didn’t work. I haven’t reset the modems yet but that’s net. Steve if you are still out there did you resolve things?
    What could cause this problem?
    Carmine

    Reply
    • That’s odd, CJ. Try backing up the settings, resetting the routers, and setting it up again. Also, restart your modem.

      Reply
      • Hi Dong,
        I continue to have the problem with my wired ethernet ports disconnecting (going down) randomly. Everything else works fine with wifi signal strength and coverage. I tested all my Cat 6 connections and connected a line directly to the modem and a laptop when it is down and I get no signal. I finally contacted Asus and after several back and forths they want me to RMA the units. Fine right? But I don’t think they reviewed the cfg and log files since each time they responded they asked for the same thing as if they were not sent. This happened 3 times. Can you think of anything else that would cause this problem. Sending the 2 unts back for repair will be a pain since I need the wifi coverage for work.
        thanks,
        Carmine

        Reply
  110. Thanks for the review. I am currently using my Asus AC88u as my main router with the AX pair in AP Operating mode because it has the AC88u has more ports and is placed near my patch panel to the rest of my home network. What is the most optimal configuration to get better network performance and Wifi throughput. Should I change from an AP Operating mode to recreate a 3 node Aimesh.

    Reply
    • I think you should it the current setup, Jimmy. It allows you to use all bands of the AX. Using the AX in AiMesh with the 88u will turn them into dual-band broadcasters.

      Reply
  111. After a long two months with the ZenWiFi AX, I’ve decided to go back to Netgear. Believe it or not, the system was quite stable in the house, but the drop in throughput from my gigabit connection was way too much. I had Comcast here running tests and while I was getting 950Mbps at the source, the highest I could get on any client was 450 (with just one client on the network).

    There’s so much I’m going to miss from the Asus setup, but speed is necessary. We have three people working from home and three others streaming and gaming. The Zenwifi just wasn’t performing well enough for that type of demand.

    The search continues.

    Reply