In late June 2021, Asus quietly released the ZenWiFi ET8 Whole-Home Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6E 2-pack mesh system for a relatively friendly cost of $530. And that brings us to this ZenWiFi ET8 vs XT8 matchup.
On the face of it, the new ET8 seems like a good deal, considering the GT-AXE1000 costs more for a single unit, and other existing Wi-Fi 6E options are much more expensive.
So the question is, do you want to get this new mesh right away? Well, you’ll figure that out when you’re through with this post. That is if you have already read my take on the ZenWiFi XT8.
Dong’s note: I first published this post on July 10, 2021, and updated it on September 8, 2021, after extensive hands-on testing for the in-depth review of the ZenWiFi ET8.
Table of Contents
Asus ZenWiFi ET8 vs XT8: It’s all the latter with a twist
If you mistake the new ZenWiFi ET8 for the ZenWiFi XT8, I don’t blame you. There’s just that little E that separates the two.
Indeed, the two look the same. And this has been a common approach to Wi-Fi 6E hardware across the industry.
For example, the Linksys MXE8400 shares the same design as the MX10. The Netgear RAXE500 is more than looking identical to RAX200. This represents the fact Wi-Fi 6E is just an extension of Wi-Fi 6.
So, there’s a lot more to the similarities between the ET8 and the XT8 beyond their appearances. Let’s check out the specs.
Asus ZenWiFi ET8 vs XT8: Hardware specifications and similarities
The table below shows the specs of the ZenWiFi ET8 vs XT8 as standalone routers.
In each case, you can use one unit as a standalone router or two as a 2-pack mesh. And then you can add more units if need be. That’s how Asus’s AiMesh works anyway.
|Wi-Fi bandwidth||Tri-band AXE6600||Tri-band AX6600|
|Mesh-Ready||Yes (2-pack)||Yes (2-pack)|
|Dedicated Backhaul Band|
|2nd Band (6GHz)||2nd Band (5GHz-2)|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||6.29 x 2.95 x 6.35 in |
(16 x 7.5 x 16.15 cm)
|6.29 x 2.95 x 6.35 in |
(16 x 7.5 x 16.15 cm)
|Weight||1.56 lb (716 g)||1.56 lb (716 g)|
|1st Band||2×2 5GHz AX|
Up to 1200 Mbps
|2×2 5GHz-1 AX|
Up to 1200 Mbps
|2nd Band||4×4 6GHz AXE |
Up to 4800 Mbps
|4×4 5GHz-2 AX |
Up to 4800 Mbps
|3rd Band||2×2 2.4GHz AX|
up to 574 Mbps
|2×2 2.4GHz AX|
up to 574 Mbps
Wi-Fi 4: 300Mbps
Wi-Fi 5: 867Mbps
Wi-Fi 6 (2.4GHz):574Mbps
Wi-Fi 6 (5GHz): 1201Mbps
Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz): 4804Mbps
Wi-Fi 4: 300Mbps
Wi-Fi 5: 867Mbps
Wi-Fi 6 (2.4GHz): 574Mbps
Wi-Fi 6 (5GHz-1): 1201Mbps
Wi-Fi 6 (5GHz-2): 4804Mbps
|Mobile App||Asus Router||Asus Router|
|Web User Interface||Yes||Yes|
|USB Port||1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1||1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1|
|Gigabit Port||3 x LAN||3 x LAN|
|Multi-Gig Port||1x 2.5 Gpbs/1Gbps WAN||1x 2.5 Gpbs/1Gbps WAN|
|Processing Power||1.5GHz quad-core CPU, |
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
|1.5GHz quad-core CPU, |
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
|Release Date||July 2021||January 2020|
|Retail Price |
|$530 (2-pack) |
TBD (single router)
$250 (single router)
As you have noted, take the XT8 and replace its high-end 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 band (5GHz-2) with a 4×4 Wi-Fi 6E band (6GHz), and you’ll get the ET8. Their remaining low-end (2×2) 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands are the same.
And the two have the same bandwidth, too — both have 6600Mbps combined theoretical speed of all bands.
On top of that, they share the same processing power, web interface, mobile app, a ton of network settings, and an excellent feature set.
The ET8 is also available as a 2-pack initially — there’ll be the option for a single router soon.
In a mesh setup, Asus said the new ET8 would use the 6GHz band as the backhaul by default. (The XT8 uses the 5GHz-2).
Specifically, the networking vendor states on its website:
“The new 6 GHz band is reserved exclusively for WiFi 6E devices, so there’s no interference from other legacy devices. This makes it ideal for use as a stable backhaul connection.”
But users can also have the option to use the wired backhaul configuration — opting for a network cable to connect the hardware. They can also choose to use its low-end 5GHz band as the wireless backhaul.
And that brings us to the differences between this new mesh and its older XT8 cousin.
Asus ZenWiFi ET8 vs XT8: The differences
Since you can use the ET8 and the XT8 either as a single router or as an AiMesh system, let’s take a look at both cases based on their Wi-Fi specs.
(We’re talking mostly about the 5GHz and 6Ghz bands from now on since the 2.4GHz band doesn’t have any impact on the choice between the two hardware options.)
As a single router
This is where you use a single router unit of the mesh the way you do any standalone router. If you get a 2-pack, you can split the units for two households.
- The ET8:
- It can support both Wi-Fi 6 (5GHz) and Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz) clients at the same time.
- A Wi-Fi 6 client (currently 2×2) get 1200Mbps at most.
- A Wi-Fi 6E (currently 2×2) gets 2400Mbps at most.
- 6GHz clients generally get better connection speeds but they need to be closer to the router than 5GHz counterparts.
- The XT8:
- It can only support Wi-Fi 6 clients, it doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6E client at all.
- Two Wi-Fi 6 (5GHz) devices (currently 2×2) will get up to 2400 Mbps (5GHz-2) and up to 1200Mbps (5GHz-1).
- All 5GHz clients get the same range.
In short, as a single broadcaster, the ET8 has broader support for clients — it supports all three bands. On the other hand, the XT8 has more bandwidth for 5GHz clients but none for 6GHz ones.
As a mesh system
This is where you use the tri-band ZenWiFis as their intended purpose, namely, 2-pack canned mesh systems.
To understand how the ET8 works as a mesh, you first need to understand Wi-Fi 6E. The gist of it is that this new 6GHz band has better speed but a shorter range. Keep that in mind.
Also, it’s worth noting that you can use the ET8 and the XT8 hardware together in an AiMesh system. However, consider this only if you can use the wired backhaul. Otherwise, per the rules of picking AiMesh hardware, there’s no scenario where they work well together.
In any case, either of the two can work in a fully wireless or wired backhaul configuration.
In a wired backhaul setup
This is where you use a cable to connect the node (satellite) unit’s WAN port to the LAN port of the router unit.
In this case, both the ET8 and XT8 work similarly to when you use them as a single router above — all of their Wi-Fi bands are for the front-haul — with one exception: Their satellite nodes cap at 1Gbps, which is the wired backhaul speed. That’s because neither supports Multi-Gig wired backhaul.
Also, again, the ET8 has better client support — it works with all bands while the XT8 doesn’t support the 6GHz band but can handle more 5GHz clients simultaneously.
In a wireless backhaul setup
This is where you use the mesh systems as their intended use by placing the router and the satellite at a distance from each other with no wire connecting them.
In this case, by default, both systems use their top-tier band (6GHz of the ET8 and 5GHz-2 of the XT8) as the dedicated backhaul band, and here’s how that’s going to pan out:
- Ideally, per my real-world experience, you can place the hardware of the XT8 up to 75 feet or even farther away if there’s no wall in between but chances are the link between them will cap at 2400Mbps. Faster speed is possible, but then you might have reliability issues due to the use of DFS channels.
- Ideally, per my experience, you can’t place the hardware of the ET8 farther than 60 feet within line of sight, or shorter if there’s a wall in between. But in favorable settings, negotiated backhaul speed can easily get as fast as 4800Mbps. Within a viable range, this backhaul is stable since it doesn’t use DFS channels.
- In any case, the 5GHz speed at the satellite nodes of both systems will still cap at 1200Mbps — their low-end 5GHz band.
By the way, as it turned out in my testing, the ET8 didn’t have a dedicated backhaul — no matter which band is used as backhaul, that band is also movable to clients, and therefore, will suffer from signal loss.
Also, if you place the hardware of the ET8 too far away from each other or behind a wall, it’ll automatically use the 5GHz or even the 2.4GHz band for the backhaul, resulting in slow speeds.
In short, in a fully wireless setup, the ET8 proved to be complicated in my testing. Indeed, there was no scenario where it would outdo the XT8, a more straightforward solution, at least in the satellite’s performance.
However, if you use wired backhauls and have many 6GHz clients, the ET8 delivers better performance, as seen in the performance section below. And generally, the ET8 is more reliable since it doesn’t use DFS channels at all.
ASUS ZenWiFi ET8 vs XT8: Real-world performance and ratings
Asus ZenWiFi ET8's Rating
Reliable and extensive coverage with possible fast Wi-Fi performance in specific setups
Wi-Fi 6E ready, Multi-Gig WAN, and Dual-WAN support
Excellent as a standalone router
Tons of useful features and settings, flexible Wi-Fi customization
AiMesh 2.0 support
Comparatively slow performance in most use cases
Modest 5GHz band specs
Short 6GHz range
No Link Aggregation or Multi-Gig LAN port
Only four network ports on each hardware unit
Asus ZenWiFi XT8's Rating
Fast Wi-Fi performance and large coverage at a comparatively affordable cost
Improved and flexible AiMesh
Lots of network settings and useful features, including free real-time online protection for life
Full 4×4 dedicated backhaul band with optional wired backhaul support
Multi-Gig WAN port with Dual-WAN and WAN link aggregation
No 160MHz 4×4 support for Wi-Fi 6 clients in a dedicated wireless backhaul setup
No Multi-Gig LAN port or LAN link aggregation
Only four network ports on each hardware unit
Firmware can be buggy, especially via wired backhaul
Storage performance (when hosting an external drive) could be better
Which should you bring home?
You can check out my full review of the ZenWiFi ET8 for more, but as you can see on the chart above, there’s no wireless mesh scenario where the ET8 is faster than the XT8.
However, if you run network cables and have many 6GHz clients, that’s a different story. So, you should consider the ET8 (over the XT8) if:
- You only need a single router, or you have already gotten your home wired for a mesh setup.
- You have (a lot of) Wi-Fi 6 clients. Currently, there are only the Samsung S21 Ultra and the Intel AX210 that you can use to upgrade your Windows computer. (Note, though that, for now, you’ll need this special driver to open up the 6GHz band. Else this chip will work as a regular Wi-Fi 6 adapter.)
- You don’t need top bandwidth for existing 5GHz clients.
Other than that, you can expect the ZenWiFi ET8 to be the same as the XT8. Whether the few differences above make it worth the extra cost, it’s your call.
One thing is likely: The former will only be more affordable over time. This is the case where patience will pay off.
Looking for other matchups in Wi-Fi solutions? Check them all out here.
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69 thoughts on “Asus ZenWiFi ET8 vs XT8: Pretty Much the Same Hardware with a BIG Twist”
Hi everyone. I am just questioning..
I want to upgrade my wifi at home. My home has 3 floors (ground floor, 1st, 2nd/attic). I litteraly don’t know which to buy the ET8 or XT8? I also want to be futureproof. I have a modem and right now I am using a powerline adapter at my attic but that one is very slow.. I am able to switch off the internet of my modem to setup the Zenwifi. And I am able to wire the dualpack on groundfloor and 1st or maybe even at the 2nd/attic. Please can someone help me?
If you can get your home wired, then go with the ET8, else the XT8. If you read the review of either — linked — you’d have come to the same conclusion.
Thank you for the great review. I currently have the ASUS XT8 (3 units). It’s working nicely but I do need more coverage due to an external Garage that sits one the far side of my property. Another single XT8 node should do the trick but i keep asking myself is there a better solution for me due to some other challenges.
My ISP provider, TMobile Home Internet 5G has a simplistic Nokia 5g Gateway. I have excessive latency and jitter issues (35-230 pings ms) with an add bonus of excess air traffic – I’m less than 2 miles from the FFA Air Route Traffic Control Center which gets priority handling.
Do you have any suggestions? Would a Wifi 6E Router support and improve the current XT8 system? It’s an expensive solution and they don’t offer a single unit. Until more option are on the market or I go down the path of a refurbished Wifi 6E solution I not sure what I should do.
Any suggestions would be helpful. Thank you again for your reviews and feedback.
Read this post again, and follow the linked post on Wi-Fi 6E, Teresa. It’d absolutely make things worse for your case. So another XT8 is your best bet and since you have cellular, that type of Internet quality is expected. Unless you get our home wired and get land-based broadband, there’s no way to improve your situation. Don’t listen to commercials or hype from hardware vendors. 🙂
so, the ET8 doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6 (5GHz-2): 4804Mbps?
The ET8 does NOT have a 5GHz-2 band. Take some time to read this post with some attention.
Hey Dong, great article.
Quick question… My needs are wifi system with a wireless backhaul (main node will be in the attic, and the 2nd point will be either one floor or two floors below). My connection is a 1000 down / 30 up line from my ISP, and the ~$400 is my price range. I found an open box ET8 for $423 or a discounted XT8 for $400, so almost the same price.
Given your note that the ET8’s 6GHz tends wireless backhaul to drop to the 5GHz channel, is the XT8 maybe a better choice for me? Wired backhaul (through MoCA) is an option, but it would be a bit of cost and headache that I was trying to avoid at this time.
Unless you have a wired backhaul (MoCA *might* work but that depends), you shouldn’t use the ET8, Amrith. For more check out the reviews.
No Multi-Gig wired backhaul is disappointing, was planning to upgrade from my XT8 but it’s not worth it just for the WIFI 6E. Simply giving us a Multi-gig WAN port and no Multi-gig LAN ports is sad.
As always, thanks for your article Dong.
You got that part right, Raju. And you’re welcome! 🙂
can you speak to whether either the ET8 or the XT8 support 802.1q VLANs for the LAN? Documentation seems to be a bit thin.
None does, Mike, the way you might think of VLAN in the traditional sense. But both (all Asus routers in fact) features three Guest networks on each band, which can be used with certain VLAN characteristics.
Dong Thank you for the great content and reviews. Found a great price on the XT8’s and pulled the trigger. May be a crazy question but I currently have two RT-ac88u running ai-mesh. Would there be any benefit in still using these with the two XT8’s. I have a wired house and will be using Ethernet to connect them. Thanks
If you have a wired home then I don’t see why not, Rick, unless two units are enough for the coverage. More in this post.
Thank you I have a large home so it may be good to use them. I just wanted to make sure the older routers would cause an issue or if it was worth it. Thanks for the link I searched before posting but didn’t see this. I will go through it now
Thank you very much for the in depth review. I currently live in a ~ 4000 sq foot house that has 2 floors plus a basement. I have the main ET8 router connected to my Verizon FIOS router in the basement and connected to the node via ethernet backhaul (the node is also placed in the other section of the basement). I get amazing speeds in most areas of the house, except in my home office where the speeds drop to ~ 10-20mbps (via wifi) (versus 200-300mbps elsewhere). Any ideas on how to solve this issue? Would buying another node and placing it in the office help? I don’t think I can run another ethernet cable from the basement to the office as that would be a very big job that I am not equipped for. Can you mix and match the ET8 (2 routers connected via ethernet) and an XT8 connected via wireless backhaul? Or will that set up not work very well?
Getting another unit should help, Brian, but you need to place it strategically (not exactly where you need the coverage — more in this post.) I’d stay away from the ET8 — more here.
Thanks for the quick reply! I already have 2 ET8’s, so am a bit invested (I’m somewhat regretting my choice and should have gone with the XT8). I read through your router combo post – thanks for putting that together. Will adding another XT8 node to 2 existing ET8’s work (or should I stick with a 3rd ET8)? My plan is to have the main router and 1st node wired together and the third node use wireless backhaul. Does that make sense?
No, that doens’t make sense. Using an XT8 (or any tri-band AiMesh broadcaster) as a node will mean you’ll waste one of its 5GHz bands. If this new node will be in the open and within the light of sight with an existing ET8, then get another ET8, if not get a dual-band broadcaster. You’re in a pickle.
Thanks – would the GS-AX5400 work well as a wireless node in this setup? Or do you recommend another router for the node?
You can get any dual-band Wi-Fi 6 one on this list, Brian. I’d go with the RP-AX56.
I’ve been quite pleasantly surprised at the speeds delivered by the ET8 in the 2GHz band, specifically 802.11ac, over 200Mbps over reasonable distance/walls.
If you’ve not already done so, try the 2GHz band for the devices in your home office.
That’s the 2.4GHz band, and it’s actually Wi-Fi 6, Bruce. 802.11ac is only available on the 5GHz band. And the ET8 is about as fast as other Wi-Fi 6E routers on this band, but it’s faster than most Wi-Fi 6 routers.
Good catch! I meant to type 802.11ax, but I’m not yet used to the newer “ax” suffix. 😉
And THANK YOU for your balanced and in-depth reviews of the XT8 and ET8. I was able to make a more informed decision in no small part due to you!
Great info on the Asus devices across your posts. However, unless I missed it, I haven’t really noticed any ‘measurements’ of coverage between the XT8 and ET8 systems. Is there any insight you can give on that for direct comparisons between the two? Obviously coverage varies with each location, etc., but if you can perform the ‘same’ test between the two and give a comparison rating, that would be helpful.
Having moved into a larger home (just shy of 3000 sq-ft) than before, I am looking to upgrade from my rather old, stand-alone, Wi-Fi router/AP. It’s long past due. However, due to my available internet service, through-put speeds aren’t as big of a consideration as the overall coverage. I’d like to be sure to have coverage carry outside to the back patio and corners of the house for things like cameras, etc…most of which tend to like the 2.4Ghz band anyway. I’m OK with the signal being a bit weak in such locations, so long as they are present, which they are not, currently. I’m not able to easily run wires for the units, so the backhaul will be using the wireless options. In the case of the ET8’s, I’m hoping the planned locations will be able to utilize the 6GHz band as the backhaul, as the proximity and minimal obstructions should allow for it.
I appreciate any insight you can give on any differences in coverage between the two models.
There’s no way to measure that, Kevin, since coverage is a nuanced matter — it’s what you can do out of that coverage, not just the square footage, that matters. I talked specifically about the ET8’s signals in its review. In short, the XT8 will likely work out well for your place, while the ET8 likely will not.
Superb review of the ET8, thank you! I have a small-ish home, and I am going to purchase either the ET8 or XT8 for use a pair of separate routers (as a paranoid ex-InfoSec guy, I have a ‘people’ network and an ‘IoT’ network).
Setting aside the difference in price for a moment, based on your reviews I beleive my decsion comes down to the following:
* ET8 has an advantage in futureproofing for 6GHz clients
* XT8 has an advantage in case I need to add a satellite node
Do you think that is a fair assessment for my scenario, where I deploy the two units as separate routers? Anything else I should consider?
That’s a fair assessment, Bruce. But this post explains in detail the differences between these two and which one you should consider. 🙂
Just deployed my pair of ET8 as independent routers, wired backhaul ‘natch. So far (touch wood) they’ve exceeded my expectations, supporting your thesis that the ET8 is best used with wired backhaul and the 6GHz band for bleeding-edge devices.
Yes, Bruce, they’ll work well via a wired backhaul — as I mentioned in the review. Thanks for sharing your experience.
I am right in saying that you both the ET8 and XT8 do support a multi gig wired backhaul? With a separate router and all XT8/ET8’s in AP mode, the 2.5GB LAN ports are available to be used as a backhaul – to a multi gig router (assuming the router has sufficient multi-gig ports)
Yes and no Jez. Yes if you use them as satellites, no when either works as the main router since their only Multi-Gig port is the WAN. I talked about that a bit in the review of the ET8.
One slightly offtopic question to you Dong…
All those phones like Asus Rog 5, Galaxy S21 Ultra, One Plus 9 Pro…. Do they connect at 2400 Mbps on 5Ghz and 160 Mhz Width? Or do they need Wifi 6E routers with 6Ghz only?
I would hate to sell my perfectly working and stable setup of dual RT-AX88Us working as mesh just to get Wifi 6E routers.
That depends on the broadcasters. But they can connect using the 160MHz channel width on any band when possible. Keep your current router. There’s no need to rush to Wi-Fi 6E
Great review Dong but my biggest concern is this router will make Intel AX200 wifi cards perform poorly. That is because this router is missing 160 Mhz channel width on 5Ghz channel. So AX200 based laptops or desktops will connect at max 1200 Mbps speeds instead of 2400 Mbps. One will compulsarily need Intel AX210. To be honest, if your area isn’t congested, it makes zero difference between AX200 connected to 5Ghz @ 2400 Mbps and AX210 connected to 6Ghz @ 2400 Mbps. So this is a deal breaker right here.
Thanks for the comment, D. I love it when my reader knows what they are talking about. 🙂 And you’re right on the 160MHz. The thing is, DFS can be a huge headache if you live near a radar station, which you likely do if your home is in a big city. Where I am, I often have to disable it in certain neighborhoods. It’s speed vs stability. I talked more about that in this post about Wi-Fi 6E. But if you live where DFS is not an issue, definitely go with the 160MHz option.
I think Channel 40 and 44 are the ones which are not Radar sensitive and also support 160 Mhz Channel width. So you won’t get disruptions. I have been using Channel 40 160 Mhz setup on my RT-AX88U with zero issues since 2 years.
Those are control channels that are narrow. You can NOT have a 160MHz channel on the 5GHz band without DFS, at least that’s the case in the be US. But some DFS ones are worse than others in certain regions.
I am in India and 160 Mhz width can be enabled for Channel 40 and 44. No restrictions here thankfully.
Good for you! That explains it. 🙂 Stay safe!
I currently have 2 RT-AC87Us with a wired backhaul that kinda need to be replaced now as Merlin is no longer able to provide updates.
Can you confirm what if any downsides there are to going for these Zen models (still with wired backhaul), over replacing with another 2 RT models?
There is an attraction to buying a “matched pair” already in AI Mesh mode and my guess is the cost will be less than 2 equivalent RT’s, but I’d be prepared to pay that if the Zen models have more restricted software or noticeably poorer performance. From your reviews it does not seem the former is true. Is that right? And you have not mentioned any performance issues with the Zen that I have noticed. But maybe I have that wrong??
I definitely am looking forward to having a guest network that includes the 2nd access point but I’m guessing that now works on both Zens AND RTs. is that right??
I’m tempted by jumping to 6E at this point, even though we probably have no 6E clients as we tend to hold onto these things for a while and the 5Ghz network on this should at least match what we have right now and we don’t really push the boundaries of wifi bandwidth, so going “RT” will mean waiting some more months to upgrade, but is probably OK if necessary.
I’d keep the current setup, for now, Jon. Just because there’s no more new firmware doesn’t mean they are useless. But for your questions, standalone routers generally have more features, like gaming, etc, as I detailed in this post. Since you’re having wire backhauls, you have a lot of options. I’m testing the ET8 right now, check back in a while for the full review. 🙂
My concern is there have not even been any security updates for a year now and it will get to a point where that is worrying.
But I’ll take your advice and certainly wait for your full review of the ET8.
I hear you, Jon. I wouldn’t worry about it, though. And you can also get a third-party add-on Firewall device if need be. If the performance is good, which it should be, don’t think about replacing it yet
I was just looking at a 2 pack of XT8 to replace my original version 3 pack Google WiFi pucks, and just saw these ET8’s. I’m wondering which one you think I should be going with due to your walls comments. I’m in a 1900sq foot 2 story house that is sort of long and narrow. Right now I have 1 puck at the back of the house where the cable comes in to the Xfinity gateway (Bridge mode), one at the front in my office, and one upstairs roughly in the middle.
With the two packs the plan was to keep the same config minus the upstairs node. I need a node in the office as my PC does not currently have WiFi either built in or via addin card. Right now it connects to a LAN port on the Google puck.
Besides the obvious office wall, there is a small half bath on the other side of it, but overall the office is about 25-30 feet from where the back of the house node would be, through the office wall and 1/2 bath, and one more “wall” (gas fireplace that does not go to the ceiling) so I could place the back node on top for better signal potentially.
Do you think the ET8 would be ok in that case or should I stick to the XT8. Was hoping to future proof a bit when I read about 6E the other day but maybe I should just go with the XT8?
This is a matter of if your home is wired, Charles. You can think of the ET8 as a “dual-band” set and my follow my suggestions in this post. I’ll review the ET8 and some point.
Hi Dong, thanks for the quick reply wow! Unfortunately no the home is not wired currently, it was built in 2001. I want to get it wired but need to find someone to do it professionally as I don’t want to attempt to wire a 2 story house myself.
Sure, Charles. Don’t get used to it, though. 🙂
You should get it wired. That’s the only way to get the best performance and be “future-proof”. And it can be fun.
But if that’s not possible, go with the XT8. Keep in mind the 160MHz issue as I mentioned in the post. (Disable it for the backhaul band if you want to have stability when living near a radar station).
Great, thanks again for the info. I’ll see what I can find for installers in the area and if I can’t find something that’s not ridiculous on the estimate I’ll go that route since I’ve been wanting to. Otherwise I’ll go with the XT8’s.
I thought about just getting the xFI pods now that they’re tri-band but plugging into a wall socket down low just doesn’t seem like a good idea to me for signal strength. Though it would be less than half the price to get it up and running vs the Asus stuff and I need an xFI gateway no matter what for the Voice service (which is why it’s in Bridge mode to the current Google mesh pucks).
Hello Dong, first of all you have a brilliant website. I have enjoyed reading your guides on Mesh systems, wired backhaul and wireless backhaul. I was reading your reviews of the Alien, the Netgear Orbi AX6000 and the ASUS XT8. I do love the look of the Alien, but feel like the XT8 just edges it…
I now see there is the ASUS ET8 as well! At present I am unable to install ethernet backhaul, so I am thinking about a Wireless backhaul for my home for ease of installation (I am due to receive a Gigabit Fibre connection upgrading from my 1Mbps copper line speed in two month’s time!) . Can you clarify something about the comparison between the ASUS XT8 and the ET8?
When you say the XT8 would have more bandwidth for Wifi 5 devices, how do you mean? When I looked at your comparison table above, I thought the front haul bands are the same speed for the 5Ghz channel (of up to 1200Mbps), with the only difference being the XT8 uses a secondary 5Ghz backhaul band (more range, potentially lower backhaul speed) and the ET8 uses a secondary 6Ghz backhaul band (less range, but higher backhaul speed to satellite).
Wouldn’t the “Satellite” unit of the ET8 therefore have a higher inherent speed delivered to it via 6Ghz backhaul to then send out to devices on the same fronthaul bandwidth as the XT8?
Apologies if this question sounds silly! I felt like if one was choosing between both (for a wireless backhaul setup), you would perhaps need “more” ET8 units placed closer together over the same volume of home space (with internal walls etc), but theoretically would get a higher backhaul speed. Both systems would have the same maximum fronthaul to deliver whatever the satellites were receiving right?
I feel like given the space/walls and need to disperse a good signal throughout the house, I was going to need 3 units in total overall, so was now considering this ET8 over the XT8 (at the rate of progress, next month there may well be an XT9 quad band system!). So would you need something like 4 ET8 units versus 3 XT8 units?
I appreciate you are going to review the ET8 in full with the whole speed tests later on and look forward to that too. I’d just appreciate some clarification on those points! Many thanks!!
I didn’t say the XT8 has more bandwidth for Wi-Fi 5 clients, Standley, I said “5GHz clients”, which is quite different. In any case, if you read the post again with some attention and check out my take on Wi-Fi 6E to know why 6GHz is not a good idea for backhaul, you’ll the whole picture. It’s impossible for me to explain again without basically writing these posts again. 🙂
In any case, if your place is not wired, go with the XT8. (I haven’t tested the ET8, by the way.)
Thank you so much for your website, I’m setting up my home network and your content is invaluable to understanding this stuff. Since everyone at my house has a S21 Ultra and I have Xfinity 1.2Gps internet, i plan to get 4 ET8’s. My question is do they also work as the modem or do i need a seperate modem and if so, which modem do you recommend to increase the likelihood that it will be compatible with the ET8? Most reviews for DOCSIS 3.1 modems only mention Netgear, Arris and Motorola. Would the Asus ET8 work well with another company’s modem? Or should I find an Asus modem and do they make a DOCSIS 3.1? What would you recommend? Thank you in advance
Also i will be hard wiring the network if that makes any difference
I haven’t reviewed the ET8, Omer. But since you have wired your home, I think that’ll work. And yes you’ll need a modem. More on that in this post.
Thank you Dong,
I’m thinking i will order the Motorola 8611 modem and 4 ET8’s. Do i connect all my ET8 nodes directly to the modem with a wired backhaul (are there 4 ports for that on the modem)? Or do i connect the modem to a switch and then to all the nodes. Or do i connect directly from the modem to one of the ET8’s and then hardwire from that ET8 to all the other ET8’s? Is there a benefit in getting a different router (GT-AXE11000?) as the “main” router and the ET8’s all as satellites? All of our clients access the network wirelessly (and no one is into gaming). Thank you
Check out this post, Omer. Just because there are ports doesn’t mean you can connect them willy nilly.
The fact that the WAN occupies the 2.5G is still really annoying for me. I would rather have my WAN on regular 1G to free up 2.5G for my NAS. Any way around this annoyance? Putting NAS on the satellite’s 2.5G is not an option for me as I need it close to the router. Thanks!
You can totally do that on the router unit, Andy. Just go to the Dual-WAN section and change the primary WAN to the LAN port. Now the 2.5Gbps WAN will work as a LAN.
Hi Dong, does this apply to XT8? I only see WAN or USB as options in Dual-WAN section. Once I enable Dual-Wan, then I can select LAN1 as primary, but it still forces WAN to be secondary. I get “WAN port should be selected in Dual WAN” error if I try to assign LAN1 & USB to free up WAN.
You’re right, Andy. I take it back. Doh! It seems the function to change a LAN into the new WAN and make the old WAN a LAN is no longer available. This applies to other routers, too. I remember vaguely being able to do this a while back.
seems like a really bad decision on Asus to do this. Hopefully there will be a FW upgrade to change this. 🙁
I understand that the ET8 is not a great router for 5GHz, is it due to using less antennas for the 5GHz frequency (as they are getting used bi 6GHz)?
It’s in the specs if the bands as mentioned in this post, Ben.
I’m a little confused about the 6GHz dedicated backhaul thing. Assume the two units are using 6GHz as dedicated backhaul, does it mean I won’t be able to connect any future 6GHz devices to the network since there’s no 6GHz for fronthaul?
Yes, if the band is used as a dedicated backhaul, Peter. But you can make it a non-dedicated backhaul as mentioned in the post.
I understand that part, but the whole purpose of using dedicated 6GHz backhaul is for better stability/performance. To me, it’ll make more sense to have a 4th 6GHz band that is dedicated for backhaul, and open up the 3rd 6GHz band for fronthaul. But I guess the cost will go crazy for a quad-band mesh system.
Looking forward to your full review as I plan on buying this ET8 set, but first I need a proper 8-port 6E router to complement the mesh system. Really hoping ASUS upgrades their AX88U to 6E sometime soon.
Why 8-port? My 3-story townhome is lined with ethernet, so all six capable rooms can be connected, while also making use of the ET8’s wired backhaul leaving 6GHz bands freed up for future devices. I’m OK with the 1Gbps limitation using this method since only smart home and mobile devices will be using it. At least they’ll work everywhere! I’m currently suffering with a non-AiMesh RT-AC66R (rev A1) served from the top floor, causing wireless devices to be spotty at best on the ground floor and outside.
Yah I could upgrade now to an AiMesh router like the AX88U or similar but at this point I’d rather just jump to the front of the line with 6E. I can be patient a while longer.
It’ll be a while, Joey. I always take my time with the testing.