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Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Review (vs. XT8): A Choice Mesh For a Demanding Home

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The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is worth the wait. And that's a good thing considering it has been a bit of a tease.

Asus initially and quietly unveiled this tri-band mesh system in August 2021 with the ZenWiFi ET12; both were slated to be available in the US in early 2022.

In February 2022, the ZenWiFi Pro ET12 arrived and proved in my testing to be quite formidable, especially for a wired home.

At the time, Asus said the XT12 would also be available "soon", only to reverse course a month later, informing me it no longer had plans to sell the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 in North America. Since then, the mesh has been available in Europe and Asia.

Earlier last month, a year after the announcement, Asus changed its mind again, and now you're reading my hands-on review. It's a happy-ending saga.

Here's the bottom line: If you've been holding your breath while chewing the nails of your crossed fingers for it, this dark and shiny set of Wi-Fi 6 broadcasters won't disappoint you.

At the $799.99 suggested price for a 2-pack—$100 less than the ZenWiFi Pro ET12—the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 has everything to justify its cost, possibly more. If you live in a large home with Gigabit or faster broadband and are too lazy to run network cables—yeah, you know who you are!—get a pair today!

While the new hardware is also available as a 1-pack for $399.99, you should only consider that option if you intend to wirelessly expand Wi-Fi coverage later or if you have a UNII-4-supporting client (there's none at publication.) Otherwise, a standalone ZenWiFi Pro ET12 makes more sense.

Dong's note: I first published this post on January 22, 2022, as a new piece and last upgraded to an in-depth review on September 8 after thorough hands-on testing.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Pair Standing and Laying
The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 mesh router looks the same as the ZenWiFi Pro ET12. Here are the two placed next to each other, but one could claim that this is a 2-pack of either, and nobody can prove it one way or another.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12: Non-compromising tri-band hardware, first purpose-built UNII-4-enabled mesh

In more ways than one, the new ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is the souped-up version of everything the ZenWiFi XT8 (or the upcoming XT9).

It has non-compromising Wi-Fi specs, supports top-tier 4x4 specs on all three bands, and is one of a few mesh routers with two Multi-Gig ports.

Per Asus's router naming convention, the number in the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 indicates the number of streams the router has.

Specifically:

  • The ZenWifi Pro XT12 is a 12 stream router: 4x4 (2.4GHz) + 4x4 (5GHz-1) + 4x4 (5GHz-2).
  • ZenWiFi XT8 is an 8-stream router: 2x2 (2.4GHz) + 2x2 (5GHz-1) + 4x4 (5GHz-2).

The new Pro XT12 has non-compromising Wi-Fi specs—4x4 on each band, the highest for a traditional tri-band Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster.

Dual-band vs. tri-band vs. Quad-band: What's the deal?

Most importantly, like the case of the XT8 (via its latest firmware), the XT12 also supports the new and exciting UNII-4 portion of the 5GHz spectrum.

ZenWi-Fi Pro XT12 UNII-4 Support
The ZenWiFi Pro XT12's support for UNII-4 is turned off by default, like the case of all similar hardware.

The support for UNII-4 might have been the reason the new mesh was delayed for the US market, but it sure is significant for a fully wireless system. Among other things, this previously unused portion of the spectrum allows for a free 160MHz channel to work as the backhaul on the router's 5GHz-2 band.

5.9GHz: What UNII-4 is and why it's hot

So in a ZenWiFi XT12 vs. ZenWiFi XT8 real-world matchup, the former laterally encompasses the latter entirely in networking specs. Or does it?

Wi-Fi air space is regulated and varies from one region to another. Information on this website is generally based on US regulations and applicable to the United States.

The use of the UNII-4 portion, or even its definition, might not be the same or available in other parts of the world, but the concept of Wi-Fi bands and channels is applicable worldwide.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 vs. ZenWiFi XT8: Hardware specifications

Like the older cousin, the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is available as a single router or a 2-pack. In the latter case, you use one as the primary router, and the other will work as a satellite in an AiMesh Wi-Fi system setup.

But the similarities end there.

The XT12 comes in a different shape, looking like a square tube instead of a mini toaster.

ZenWiFi Pro XT12 vs. ZenWiFi XT8ZenWiFi Pro XT12 vs. ZenWiFi XT8 Ports
ZenWiFi Pro XT12 vs. ZenWiFi XT8: The two routers looks totally different from each other. Note the USB port that the former doesn't have.

It's also much larger and heavier and comes with a bit of a designer's touch with a clear top that covers an ample fancy status light. And like the case of identically-looking ET12, the new design proved to be a conversation starter in my experience.

ZenWiFi Pro XT12
Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router
ZenWiFi AX XT8
Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router
ModelXT12XT8
Mesh-Ready Yes (2-pack)
Dedicated Backhaul Band
(optional)
Yes (5GHZ-2)
Wired Backhaul Yes
Dimensions 
(WxDxH)
4.53 x 9.45 x 4.53 in
(11.5 x 24.1 x 11.5 cm)
6.29 x 2.95 x 6.35 in 
(16 x 7.5 x 16.15 cm)
Weight3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)1.56 lbs (710 g)
Wi-Fi DesignationAX11000AX6600
5GHz-1 Wi-Fi Specs 4 x 4 AX 
Up to 4800 Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
2 x 2 AX
Up to 1200 Mbps
(20/40/80MHz)
5GHz-2 Wi-Fi Specs 4 x 4 AX
Up to 4800 Mbps (20/40/80/160MHz)
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs 4 x 4 AX
Up to 1,148 Mbps
(20/40MHz)
2 x 2 Wi-Fi 6 up to 574 Mbps
(20/40MHz)
5.9 GHz band Support
(UNII-4)
YesYes
(Firmware ver. 3.0.0.4.386_49873 or later)
Backward Compatibility 802.11ac/n/g/a/b
Mobile App Asus Router
Web User Interface Yes
AP Mode Yes
(as a router or a mesh)
USB PortNone1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1
Gigabit Port2x LAN3 x LAN
Multi-Gig Port1x 2.5Gbps WAN
1x 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN
1x 2.5 Gbps WAN
Link AggregationYes (WAN and LAN)No
Dual-WANYes
Processing Power2.0GHz quad-core CPU, 
256 MB Flash, 1GB RAM
1.5GHz quad-core CPU, 
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
Release DateAugust 2022January 2020
Firmware Version
(at review)
3.0.0.4.386_497233.0.0.4.386_24926
Power AdapterAC 100-240V
Power Consumption
(over 24 hours)
≈ 335 Wh
(measured at the router unit)
not tested
US Price
(at launch)
$799.99 (2-pack)$450 (2-pack)
$250 (single router)
Hardware specifications: Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 vs. ZenWiFi XT8

The XT12 also comes with two 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig ports instead of just one. As a result, it can deliver faster-than-Gigabit speeds on both the WAN and LAN sides. Most importantly, it's another option for Multi-Gig wired backhaul without the help of a Multi-Gig switch—you can daisy-chain the nodes.

So in all, the X12 has everything to promise much better performance than the previous model—more in the performance section below.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Ports
Each Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 mesh router comes with four network ports, two of which are 2.5Gpbs Multi-Gig ports.

But the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 does have one shortcoming compared to its older cousin: It has no USB port. And that can be a big downer for those looking to turn it into a mini NAS server.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12: Detail photos

The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 comes in a 2-pack or a single router. The hardware is virtually the same as the ET12.

You can only tell it apart from the Wi-Fi 6E when turning it—the lighting shows the model name—on or looking at its underside.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Retail Box
The Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12's retail box.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Retail Box Open
The box itself is pretty fancy, designed to deliver a good presentation.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Box Set
The 2-pack Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 includes two identical mesh routers, their power adapters, and a CAT5E cable.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Pair
Here's the pair of a 2-pack Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 set. They are identical.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Hand
Each Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 outer is quite large, with the same physical size as the ZenWiFi ET12. It might seem small in the photo above due to my large right hand.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Side LightZenWiFi Pro ET12 Lighting
ZenWiFi Pro XT12 vs. ET12: Only upon turning them on you'd see that which is which, thanks to the light that shows its model names.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Top Light
And here's the ZenWiFi Pro XT12's top light in action. From this angle, it's the same as the ZenWiFi Pro ET12.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 vs. ET2 Underside
Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 vs. ET2 (top): Here are the undersides of the two mesh hardware.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 top
The Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12's top is transparent, showing its "internal" antennas.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Tops as a Pair
Here's a 2-pack Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 mesh set.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Plastic Wraps
It's worth noting that the Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 comes with many unnecessary plastic wraps. Not a good thing. But that's the case with most home gadgets.

ZenWiFi Pro XT12: A familiar and robust Asus experience

Despite the non-compromising hardware and the support for the latest UNII-4 spectrum, the ZenWFi Pro XT12 is a typical experience for anyone who's used an Asus router before.

That's because, on the inside, it runs the robust AsusWRT open-source firmware that includes a comprehensive web-user interface and a well-designed mobile app.

ZenWiFi Pro XT12 AiMesh
The two routers of a 2-pack ZenWiFi Pro XT12 use AiMesh to link to each other. By default, the 5GHz-2 band is used for the backhaul, and you can make it dedicated by using the UNII-4 portion or not connecting any client to it.

Most importantly, as a mesh system, it's part of the flexible AiMesh ecosystem, meaning the hardware itself can work as a mesh (when you get a 2-pack), or you can use it with any AiMesh-enabled routers to build a system—users have lots flexibly in terms of performance grades and Wi-Fi coverage.

The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 shares the same Asus core feature set as others in the ZenWiFi family, including the ET12, XT8, ET8, XD6, and XD4, with some minor nuances.

If you haven't used an Asus router before, the extra content below will give you some highlights. Or you can close the box to skip it.

ZenWiFi Pro XT12: Sharing all Asus router core features

While this extra content was largely available in the general post on Asus Wi-Fi broadcasters, it contains specific information about the ZenWiFi Pro XT12.

Universal setting restoration

You can interchangeably restore most Asus Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 routers' backup settings, except for the RT-AX89X and Blue Cave. That's also the case with the ZenWiFi Pro XT12.

I tried restoring backups from multiple routers and mesh systems to it, and that worked. Clearly, considering different hardware specs, you can only expect the common settings to be ported over. For example, if you import the backup file of a dual-band router, such as the RT-AX86U, the third band of the XT12 will still have the default settings.

In any case, this optional feature can be a huge time saver—you won't need to program the new router from scratch in an upgrade or replacement. Instead, most of your network's configurations—including those of an AiMesh system—will migrate from the old router to the new one.

Note, though, that it's always better to set up the router from scratch to avoid possible setting conflicts.

Tip: After the migration, adjust applicable specific settings, such as the router model name, bands, etc., to make sure they match the new router and perform a deliberate backup and restore. This step will make the old setting "native" to the new router.

ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Web User Interface
The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 has the familiar Web interface available in all Asus routers.

A robust web user interface

Asus is one of a few networking vendors that stays true to the web interface and doesn't coerce users into a cloud-based web portal, which is excellent for those caring about privacy.

(All Asus routers allow remote management, which is turned off by default via Dynamic DNS mentioned below.)

The interface allows access to a router's tons of settings and features—some are listed below. Savvy networking enthusiasts will love that though it can be overwhelming for novice users.

Dynamic DNS

Dynamic DNS (DDNS) is a relatively common feature of all home routers. It's excellent for those wanting to dial home remotely via other advanced features, including remote access or VPNs.

ZenWi-Fi Pro XT12 DDNS
The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 comes with a free Dynamic DNS domain with a free TSL certificate from Let's Encrypt.

What sets Asus's Dynamic DNS apart is that the networking vendor also includes an entirely free DDNS domain—you won't need to get a third-party one. On top of that, this domain also comes included with an SSL certificate.

That said, if you need DDNS, Asus is by far the best option. (Read more about DDNS in this post.)

Standard setup process

Thanks to the web interface, all the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 share the same standard setup process as I detailed in this post on building a home network from scratch.

However, here are the general steps:

  1. Connect your router's WAN port to the Internet source, be it a modem, an existing gateway, or the Fiberoptic ONT. Turn it on.
  2. Connect a computer to the router, either via a network cable to one of its LAN ports or the default open Wi-Fi network, generally named "Asus xx".
  3. Open a browser and navigate to the router's default IP address which is 192.168.50.1 (or router.asus.com).

The rest is self-explanatory. The first time you get to the web interface, you'll run into a wizard that walks you through a few steps.

Alternatively, you can also use the Asus mobile app in step #3 if you use a phone or tablet instead of a computer. However, I recommend the web user interface even when you use a mobile device for the setup process.

Helpful mobile app, no login account required

Again, the Asus mobile app works for both the setup process and ongoing management.

This app is common for all Asus routers and is quite comprehensive. It's one of the best mobile apps for routers you can find on the market. But, still, it's not as in-depth as the web interface.

ZenWifi Pro XT12 Mobile AppZenWifi Pro XT12 App
The ZenWiFi Pro XT12's mobile app in action

The best thing about it is that you can use it to manage the router remotely without a login account. Instead, just like the web interface, it operates the remote management via the router's built-in support for the Dynamic DNS feature.

However, one thing to note is that using the app can inadvertently turn on or off specific settings that could cause the router to behave unexpectedly. In this case, you'll have to reset the router and set it up from the beginning.

So, while this app is convenient and fun to use, it can cause issues if you mess around too much.

AiProtection and Parental Controls

The AiProtection is a feature that adds so much value to an Asus router.

It includes a free-for-life real-time Network Protection powered by Trend Micro and a Parental Control engine.

ZenWi-Fi Pro XT12 AiProtect
The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 has the complete set of Asus AiProtection

Network Protection is designed to keep the entire local network safe. In many ways, it's somewhat like a strip-down version of an add-on firewall, like the Firewalla or the subscription-based Armor from Netgear.

Still, for a free product, it's excellent. I've used it for years on multiple networks, and it has proven effective against many malicious websites and malware. Don't expect it as total protection (there's no such thing!), but just a helping hand, and you'll love it.

On the other hand, the Parental Control portion has been a bit too rigid, in my opinion, and the way Asus defines categories for web-filtering is a bit vague. On top of that, you can't use it to block a particular website. This simplistic approach is not a big deal for me since I don't believe in Parental Controls anyway.

Adaptive QoS

The Adaptive QoS is a common feature available in all Asus routers and is one of the most easy-to-use QoS features among all home routers.

QoS: How Quality of Service betters your online experience

ZenWi-Fi Pro XT12 Gaming
The ZenWiFi Pro XT12's QoS feature is similar to that of most other Asus routers. You can drag and drop different categories around to set the priorities.

"QoS" stands for the quality of service, and it enables users to prioritize Internet traffic to support different applications or services.

Asus's Adaptive QoS requires minimum work from the user and is quite effective. It also includes a Bandwidth Monitor, Web History, and an Internet Speed test if you want to know more about your resources and keep tabs on your network's online activities.

Flexible port configuration: WAN vs. LAN, Dual-WAN, Link Aggregation, and wired backhaul

All Asus routers generally have a lot of flexibility in their port configurations which vary from one model to another.

ZenWi-Fi Pro XT12 Port
The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 has flexible network ports

On this front, the following are what you can do with a ZenWiFi Pro XT12 working in the router mode.

In other modes—AiMesh satellite node, access point, repeater, etc.—all ports work as LANs.

  • The default 2.5Gbps WAN always works as the WAN port. There's no way to change this. Specifically, you can't use it as a second 2.5Gbps LAN port by making another port work as the WAN.
  • In a Dual-WAN setup, you can use any other LAN port including its 2.5Gbps LAN as the secondary WAN.
  • In a WAN Link Aggregation, you must use both of its 2.5Gbps ports to deliver a combined connection of up to 5Gbps or 2Gbps.
  • The router supports LAN Link Aggregation. In this case, you can combine the two Gigabit LAN ports (LAN1 and LAN2) to deliver a 2Gbps connection. In a mesh setup, you can also do that on the satellite unit.
  • In a wired backhaul mesh setup, you can daisy-chain the hardware units (if you use more than one satellite node), but always use the 2.5Gbps WAN port to connect a satellite to the main router, the (Multi-Gig) switch, or another satellite (at the lower level.)

Other useful features

Other than the above, you can also expect the following from all Asus routers:

  • Networking tools: Wake on LAN, Ping, Netstat, and Smart Connect Rule can come in handy for advanced users.
  • Auto-reboot: You can set your router to restart by itself on a schedule.
  • Traffic Analyzer: A set of tools and statistics for those wanting to find out what's happening in the network.
  • The standard set of network settings and features: These include IP reservation, Port-forwarding, VPN (server, client, and Instant Guard,) and some Alexa Skills.
  • Frequent firmware update: Asus pushes out firmware updates regularly to fix issues and improve its routers' performance and function. You can choose to update manually or turn on auto-update.

Asus routers and privacy

By default, all Asus routers don't require users to use a third-party login account or provide personal information to the vendor.

However, turning on specific features that require scanning the hardware's traffic, such as Traffic monitoring, AiProtection, or Parental Control, or binding the hardware with a third-party account would increase the privacy risks.

Privacy and security are a matter of degree, and data collection varies from one company to another. Here's the Taiwanese hardware vendor's Privacy Policy.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12: Excellent performance

I tested the Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 for over a week as a standalone router and a wireless mesh set, and it didn't disappoint. It proved to be one of the fastest in either case.

ZenWiFi PRO XT12 Router Long Range PerformanceZenWiFi PRO XT12 Router Short Range Performance
The Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12's Wi-Fi performance when working as a standalone router

It's worth noting that I didn't use the router's second 5GHz band (5GHz-2)'s UNII-4 portion as a single router for the official tests.

The reason was that I had no client to test it. By this review, there was no UNII-4-supported client on the market. Consequently, the 5.9GHz portion of this band is only applicable when you want to use the mesh system in a dedicated wireless backhaul. That's the case for all existing UNII-4-enabled broadcasters.

Current Wi-Fi broadcasters with UNII-4:

And in my 2-pack wireless mesh trial, I did use this portion which worked as intended. The backhaul speed, however, was the same as when I used a DFS 160MHz channel—where I live, the issues with radar signals have been seldom.

Wi-Fi and Internet testing: How to figure out the correct numbers

But for the official mesh satellite test scores below, I also used the 5GHz-2 with a non-UNII-4 channel so that my test clients could work with it—the band was no longer dedicated to backhauling. And the numbers on the charts showed the expected signal loss.

ZenWiFi PRO XT12 Satellte Long Range PerformanceZenWiFi PRO XT12 Satellte Short Range Performance
The Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12's Wi-Fi performance when working as a satellite mesh node

As for coverage, the XT12 was excellent, on par with the ET12 or the GT-AXE16000. If you have a home of 2500 ft2 (232 m2) or so, place a single unit in the middle, and it likely can cover that all. That said, a 2-pack can double that. But Wi-Fi coverage depends on the layout of a home, so your mileage will vary.

The XT12 passed my 3-day stress test with no disconnection. It proved to be reliable. I'm now using it in a wired backhauling setup and will report if I encounter any issues later.

A bit of extra on wired backhaul

(This portion is an update added on September 13, 2022)

The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 system worked well with wired backhauling, where I connected the satellite's 2.5Gbps WAN port to the router's 2.5Gbps LAN port. At one point, I used a second set—four hardware units total—and they all played nice together.

ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Wired Backhaul
The ZenWiFi Pro XT12 in action via Multi-Gig wired backhauling

The setup also supported the Ethernet Backhaul Mode well. In this case, I could use all the bands freely by grouping them together via Smart Connect or separating them as different SSIDs.

It's worth noting, though, that I couldn't use an XT12 as a satellite for the GT-AXE16000 or the ET12. This might have just been some firmware issues that will likely be resolved via updates. (There's no practical reason for these combos anyway.)

ZenWiFi Pro XT12 vs. ET12: A pair of solid mesh options

Fast Internet speed, a bit buggy Dual-WAN

In my trial, the ZenWiFi Pro XT12's 2.5Gbps WAN port could deliver close to 2.5Gbps of broadband speed with a 10Gbps Fiber-optic connection.

But to experience the high speed, you'd have to use its other 2.5Gbps LAN port. That's because Wi-Fi clients generally cap at Gig+, which was the case in my trial.

I generally got between 300Mbps to 1.4Gbps out of the said broadband on my 2x2 Wi-Fi 6 or 6E clients when walking around the house—the expected rates after signal degradations and overhead.

What is Gig+

Gig+, or Gig Plus, conveys a speed grade faster than 1Gbps but slower than 2Gbps. So, it's 1.5Gbps, give or take, and it's not speedy enough to qualify as Multi-Gig Ethernet or multi-Gigabit. Intel coined the term to call its Wi-Fi 6E client chips—the AX210 and AX211—to describe their real-world speeds.

Gig+ generally applies to the sustained speeds of Wi-Fi 6 or 6E—via a 2x2 at 160MHz connection, which has the 2402Mbps theoretical ceiling speed—or Internet speed. It's generally not used to describe wired network connections.

It's worth noting that you should manually restart the router unit after connecting it to faster-than-Gigabit broadband. Otherwise, the router's WAN port might be stuck at 1Gbps. That happened in my case when I moved from a Gigabit Cable connection to a 10Gbps Fiber-optic in a single-WAN setup.

I also tested the XT12' in a Dual-WAN setup, and it worked as expected, albeit a bit buggy. Specifically, I couldn't turn this feature off (to move back to single-WAN) when I used its default 2.5Gbps WAN port for the Secondary WAN connection.

It turned out that all I had to do was make this port the Primary WAN first, which was the default. But it was a bit frustrating—I just wanted to quickly move on to different tests.

Overall, I was happy with my 2-pack ZenWiFi Pro XT12's performance as a standalone router and its intended wireless mesh set. The hardware seemed mature and predictable—no crazy unpleasant surprises.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12's Rating

9 out of 10
Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 out of Box
Performance
9 out of 10
Features
10 out of 10
Ease of Use
8 out of 10
Value
9 out of 10

Pros

Excellent Wi-Fi performance and coverage, UNII-4 support

Dual Multi-Gig ports with multi-Gigabit wired backhaul, flexible port configurations

Tons of useful features and settings, flexible Wi-Fi customization

AiMesh 2.0 full support, helpful mobile app, no login account required

Cool design with pretty lighting

Cons

No 5Gbps or 10Gbps Multi-Gig, bulky, no USB, only four network ports

Buggy Dual-WAN, not wall-mountable

The Conclusion

In terms of Wi-Fi performance and features, the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is everything you'd wish the previous, the ZenWiFi XT8, had. On top of that, with an additional 2.5Gbps port, it now has the powerful Mult-Gig backhaul feature.

That said, if you're looking for a non-compromising Wi-Fi 6 system that will deliver the best possible Wi-Fi 6 performance in a completely wireless- or wired-backhauling setup, the ZenWFi Pro XT12 is an excellent buy at $799 for a 2-pack or $399 a single unit.

This new hardware will last you well into the time when Wi-Fi 7 is available, and the use of the 6Ghz band is more meaningful than it is today. But if you want to enjoy 6GHz today and have a wired home (or one that only needs a single router), consider the ZenWiFi Pro ET12 instead.

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289 thoughts on “Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Review (vs. XT8): A Choice Mesh For a Demanding Home”

  1. Hey folks. I am looking to switch back to Asus routers from the eero Pro 6E. The eero’s work fine, I’m missing customization and have a desire to move back to Asus/AiMesh/Merlin.

    The part I’m debating is WiFi 6 vs 6E. I only have 1 device currently that supports WiFi 6E, so there is that. Yes, I may upgrade my iPhone or eventually buy a device that has WiFi 6E support, but I don’t feel like I’m missing out. Also, the reviews of the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 suggest its as good, if not better, than the XTE12.

    For now my main router will be an AX86U Pro (will put the eero’s in Bridge Mode until I sell them and decide on it’s replacement).

    Lastly, WiFi 7 is too new, too expensive, and I have no use case where it benefits.

    Reply
  2. Good morning Dong. Thanks for the helpful reviews.

    I have a Mesh system (all WiFi) comprising:
    > 3 ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4);
    > 1 ASUS RT-AC68U
    > 1 ASUS RP-AX56
    > 1 ASUS RP-AX58
    The Broadband comes via a 1Gb cable connection to one of the XD4. It is a modern house.

    My problem is that one of the XD4 keeps dropping out although the Alexa devices in the same location do not. I installed the AX56 in the same room and it keeps the connection.

    I have two questions:

    1. Would the ASUS XT12 or ET 12 improve the connectivity?

    2. If I installed one of those as the Router would giving it the same SSIDs as the existing XD4 (I have 5GHz and 2.4 GHz networks and a 2.4GHz Guest network which I use for IoT devices) automatically reconnect all the existing devices (I have 40+). I would retain all the existing Mesh devices if possible

    Thank you

    Reply
      • Good morning Dong. Thanks for the many reviews and much more replies to comments.Now I have read also your topic about ideal mesh placement and I saw your diagram and your insight on this 2 asus products,which you have extensively reviewed,would be much appreciated!

        Which of the below hypothetically scenarios is better for the end client? let’s for the sake of argument, assume that we are standing in an completely open field with no interruptions

        1)ASUS 2*XT12 scenario

        modem connected through ethernet with the first node, then a second node(satellite) is placed 40 feet away THEN another 40 feet away stands the client

        2)ASUS 3*XT8 scenario

        modem connected through ethernet with the first node, then a second node(satellite) is placed 40 feet away THEN a third node(2nd satellite) another 40 feet away and next to it(0,5 feet) stands the client

        So basically, with no interruptions in between them in a 40 feet away scenario from the satellite node

        is it better for the client to stand next to a xt8 node(2nd sat) which is not connected to the primary xt8 node BUT daisy chained to another xt8 node which in place is daisy chained to the primary xt8 node
        OR
        is it better for the client to connect at the xt12 sat node which is 40 feet away BUT is directly connected to the primary xt12 ??

        Reply
  3. Waiting for WiFi 7. I guess it’s a waste of money to invest in the lost 6 or 6E generation. I’m doing 1gbit on a decade old AC standard, old rotten router, without fighting for frequency, via mobile phone. So I need some real improvement. Need to match at least retail WAN speed (what a ridiculous request!) which is now 2 to 25Gbit in Europe. Our home LAN speed is 25-50gbit and growing each year. And yet, in the current market we should be glad to receive few “fast” 2.5gbit ports on a product. Unbelievable.

    Can’t wait for the new ASUS review! All Wifi 7 routers seem to have proper 10gbit ports which is welcome. And 2.5gbits too. The scandalous prehistoric 1gbit speed must go away now.

    Reply
  4. Hello Dong,
    First of all – a great respect for your work, knowledge and everything! I am a keen follower of this website and it really helps much.
    My configuration is: 2 pairs of ASUS XT12 Pro – one XT12 as a main wireless router and 3 units XT12 Pro, configured as wireless nodes. The dedicated AiMesh backhaul is 5GHz-2, channel 100, SSID is hidden, backhaul band is AX only, 80 MHz bandwidth, 160 MHz disabled (in order to avoid DFS channels).
    2.4 GHz and 5 GHz-1 are fronthaul bands and they both work OK.
    The whole AiMesh system (although a bit pricey), is doing the job just fine – wide coverage, great speeds… 600 mbps download plan, 600 mbps download speed throughout the house, all wireless, no messed-up cables.
    One thing itches me though – this Roaming Assistat setting on main router webpage.
    I tried different values, I switched it off – I can see absolutely no difference. Maybe even a bit faster network is noticed with Roaming Assistant disabled.
    So, I wonder – what exactly does this Roaming Assistant in AiMesh environment and do I need this feature with my 1 main router and 3 AiMesh nodes?
    Thank you for your time,
    D. Cheng

    Reply
      • Thank you for your quick response, but I don’t see UNII-4 seting anywhere on XT12 page. Could you please advise how to enable it?
        As for the roaming – I will read carefully the link you stated.

        Reply
          • Well… after rigorous testing, XT12 Pro – 2 x 2 units, is likely to go back. The system started dropping and freezing and there is nothing I can do to prevent it. Tried different settings – no luck. Moreover, yesterday I discovered that no torrenting is possible over AiMesh – connection freezes in just seconds. I think the AiMesh idea is great, but further development is needed and there is a lot to be desired from ASUS at such a high price. Waiting on for new improved AiMesh solutions and going back to my good old ironclad RT-AC86U.
            D. Cheng

  5. I have purchased the xt12, does the backhaul ethernet need to be connected directly to each other or can these go via a lan switch ?

    For example I will use one unit as nbn modem with wifi and second unit to extend the wifi.

    Cheers

    Reply
  6. Hello,

    I don’t know where to comment and I hope it’s fine here. I’d like to get a new router that will be compatible when my ISP bumps my connection up to 2.5Gbps (for main PC), while getting good bandwidth and latency via WiFi (smartphones, Xbox series X, PS5, Steam Deck, 2 TVs streaming, 2 laptops). My apartment is not that big, 70sqm, so faster transfer speeds are my priority. I also have 2 connections from 2 different ISPs, although both offer only 1Gbps for now. I am keeping the second one mainly as a backup.

    After reading your reviews for both ET12 and XT12, I understood why you recommended ET12 as a standalone router. But I also found that there is another router with similar specs at a lower price (2.5Gbps wan/lan, WiFi 6 although not 6E, USB3). It’s the ASUS TUF Gaming AX6000 and I don’t see a review for it here. Looking at the specs, it has similar hardware, 6 external antennas instead of 10 internal ones, as well as most of the features of ET/XT12. I’m in the EU, so I can get the TUF router for around 200 euro or a bit less, the XT12 for about 300-350 and the ET12 for 400. Do you think the TUF router is enough in terms of speed and coverage or should I pay extra for the ET12/XT12? Thank you for understanding and sorry if this is a stupid question.

    Reply
  7. Dong love your take on things. I currently have 2 xt8’s but need more coverage in the corners and outside for a 4500 sqf house. Was thinking of getting the xt12 2pk and the adding the xt8’s as additional nodes giving me better coverage

    How well does mixing and matching work within the xt series?

    Reply
      • Dong,

        Had a follow up question to see if you know. I went ahead and did purchase the 2 XT 12’s. I went ahead and followed your backup and restore recommendation and made 1 of the XT 12’s the primary router and moved the other one to the same spot my other xt 8 was. I then reset both xt 8’s and moved them to other areas. My biggest issue has been stability. My nodes flash blue constantly. The signal strength in the backhaul lists as great but then they will just go offline. This wasn’t an issue with 2 but with 4 its happening all the time. Are you aware of an issue around this? Am I oversaturated on the backhaul band somehow?

        The connections all seem that the nodes are connected to the primary router and are not daisy chaining their connection. I just can’t keep stability and its driving me crazy. While signal strength is now better in corners of the house I have had the nodes them selves down for over 3 hours of the 24 hours they have been online

        Reply
        • I’d recommend making sure they use the lastest firmware version of the same major release (366 vs 388) and use UNII-4 for the backhaul, Simrin. More here. Good luck!

          Reply
  8. Hi Dong

    I thought your review was great, and I have used a lot of your other articles for my home network here, so thank you for that. 🙂

    I ended up buying two of these XT12, and they are great, but i am now thinking that I would like to have a router as well that has a USB port, and then use the two XT12’s as satellites (wireless at first, but eventually wired). I need a usb port because i like to run MerlinWRT and I like to tinker and install other packages than what Merlin offers out of the box (like Adguard for example). I would run the three in AIMesh.

    Are there any Asus routers that you can recommend that works particularly well with the XT12s?

    Reply
  9. Hi Dong.
    Great article; I’ve learned a lot!

    I have a house with brick walls (and some concrete) and no way of running wires.
    I wonder if a set of three XT8s would do better than two XT12s when using a dedicated wireless backhaul (UNII4).

    On the one hand, the XT12 is more powerful, so it might go thru walls better, and wifi coverage should be good with two pieces, but on the other hand, having a “middle” piece between the two far nodes might boost the signal for each one of them.

    What will be better in your opinion?

    Reply
    • Three XT12s are for sure better than three XT8s, Daniel. That’s the only sure thing I can confirm. As for which of what you mentioned works better, only you would know since you’re already there. This post on using mesh will help.

      Reply
      • I wouldn’t go for 3 XT8s using wireless backhaul, I was not too impressed how it worked in my case. Try stretching your budget and go for 3 XT12s.

        Reply
        • Or even go to the point of using GT-AX11000 Pro as the main and having the x2 XT12 as satalite nodes since it uses and shares the same 3 band frequencies

          Reply
        • I tested 3 XT8 vs 2 XT12 and went with the XT8s, in a 3 story house. Two on the main level and one upstairs. It may have more to do with where I have all my 70 devices. If you buy from somewhere with a good return policy you may be able to test both combinations.

          Reply
      • Would it be possible to use them as APs and have a different router?
        They’re sold as a pair and I can’t figure out if I can pair a third and fourth one (I don’t think they’re sold singularly).
        Many thanks for your work👍

        Reply
  10. Hi Dong,
    it would be wrong to connect an XT12 or XT9 to the modem on the ground floor (where FTTH arrives for now 1Gb but soon up to 10Gb) and an XT9 on the first floor, however, connected with an ethernet cable (cat 6A or 7) coming from another LAN port of the modem (for now 1Gb) of the ground floor to have strong and stable wifi on both floors? Thank you

    Reply
    • If it’s actually a modem, that wouldn’t work (unless you have two Static IP addresses.)

      If it’s a gateway, then you’ll have two separate local networks, or things won’t work at all if you’re using the two Asus routers in a mesh.

      Check out this post first and be mindful of basic terms. And then this one will give you more info on how to set up an AiMesh system. Generally, you can’t use the ports willy-nilly and expect things to work as intended.

      Reply
      • In reality it is a gateway equipped with 3 LAN ports and 1 WAN (1Gb) currently free + an SFP that receives the Fiber connection.
        Active Wifi dual band type 5 (no AX).
        I would like to keep it (cordless phone connected), disable wifi and connect XT12 through the LAN/WAN port so as to have more range and WiFi6. Upstairs place another XT12 for Wifi on the whole floor and, only if better, connect this to the gateway via a network cable that I would pass. In this case the networks would become 2 (ground floor + first floor) but would that be possible? Obviously if WIFI worked well I would only connect WIFI …. and the cable directly to a client ….
        Thanks so much for your patience

        Reply
          • Thanks Dong, so if I understand correctly:
            – my gateway does not allow for the “bridge option” to be selected, but it does however allow you to disable NAT, Firewall, DHCP and Wifi.
            – if I disable everything, I connect WAN XT12 to LAN gateway (ground floor) and satellite XT12 (first floor) via WiFi, do I get a single mesh network with devices all visible on the same network?
            – will the gateway’s VOIP ports still work?

            Alternatively, if I pass a network cable from the LAN gateway to the first floor and connect it to a wifi6 AP (for example RP-AX58) do I still get a significant improvement in the signal on the first floor? will it be Wifi6 (since it is connected by cable) even if the gateway’s WiFi is 5 ?
            Thanks again.

          • Give the double NAT post I linked above a good read, Andrew. In your case, using an AP is the right way to go.

  11. Hi, Dong, I am currently having ax86U as main router, and ax82U and several XD4 as satellites. All wireless backhaul. Have been thinking to upgrade with a pair of XT12. The question is should I use one XT12 as the main router, or still using the ax86U as it is?

    Reply
  12. For mesh systems that consists of two routers such as this, in a two-story home is it generally better to place them both on the second floor or one on each floor? Thanks Dong

    Reply
  13. 2k square foot house. Currently have Orbi 750 rbr and it’s failing.

    Ordered Xt9 and it’s on way but seeing this, wondering if I could get away with one xt12 or two.

    Two story- 2k square feet and router is on top floor front of house and 2nd node is diagonal by the back of house.

    I just want stable internet and wifi, because I can’t run drops due to the construction and need wireless backhaul.

    So Xt9 or just spring for xt12? If the 12 one or two nodes?

    I really won’t go back to netgear and luckily I bought at Costco so will get a refund.

    Thanks!

    Reply
      • Thanks for the quick reply.

        I guess I can see how the Xt9 works out or upgrade to the xt12. I’d prob get two to start and only use one and test ranges.

        Other option if amplifi aliens if you think they even qualify in the same convo. Can get them locally for 279 at Best Buy but I feel the xt12 is going to be the next thing I try. I’ve heard the Xt9 has questionable disconnects so I’m
        Already worried I’ll be experiencing my Orbi 2.0.

        Any thoughts on the Xt9 vs 12 vs aliens? Thanks!

        Reply
        • Have tons of thoughts on those, Josh, which is why I wrote about them.

          Use the site’s search and give each post a serious read. Also, please respect the comment rules.

          Reply
  14. Hello Dong, thanks for the detailed reviews. We currently have the AX XT8 setup and after moving to a larger house with thick sandstone walls I found that I needed to add another. Stupidly, it didn’t register that in order to daisy chain you need hardwired and we run wireless. It has helped but not as planned!

    Anyway I am finding it very buggy over the last 4 months or so with all the updates and it’s led me to consider alternatives.

    I am assuming the XT12 will suffer from the same issues or do you feel it’s a worthwhile upgrade?

    Thanks

    Terry

    Reply
    • The XT12 will be better, Terry, but it’s never good to daisy-chain if you go wireless — there are so many things that can go wrong. More in this post on mesh in general. Try upgrading the XT8 to the latest firmware and use UNII-4 for its backhaul band (5GHz-2). That’d help if UNII-4 is available where you are. Good luck!

      Reply
      • Hi Dong, I upgraded to the XT12’s and they solved all the problems I was having – until now! We are installing a ring doorbell at a rear access gate 50ft from the main XT12 and it’s causing drop out. I’ve tested it out moving one of the nodes to the garage and it allows it to run as intended. I was wondering if now need to pay for an additional XT12 or could I get away with a lesser model given it will live out in the garage which is certainly open to some of the elements. Thanks. Terry

        Reply
          • Thanks for the link, I guess I’m mostly out of my depth with all of this and I know wired is the way ahead. but wireless is the unfortunately the only realistic option in this old house. I was hoping that a lesser XT8 would do the job as it’s just to boost the signal enough so I think that’s my first stab at a solution.

          • Wiring sure helps, but your issue is mostly the fact that you can’t expect to use Smart Wi-Fi devices without losing Wi-Fi bandwidth (for the entire network). No amount of investment in new hardware will help on that front — it’s about the nuance. Give the linked post another read.

          • I cant be explaining it very well, bandwidth is not the issue. This has thick sandstone walls that the signal has to make it through before reaching the device 50 ft away. No different to only picking up the signal for so long in any house. I’ve already tested an XT12 node being placed in the gas has which was enough to get the signal to the device 50 foot away. My question was more a case of do I need to spend more for another XT12 or could I make a lesser cheaper model work

          • Network cable is not possible Dong, cost prohibitive to say the least. Thanks for the info, I’ll proceed as planned.

  15. Hi, I am curious if a dedicated mesh system like this has any advantages over aimesh? Personally I am debating on this system vs 2 ax86u pros in aimesh.

    Thank you

    Reply
  16. Hi Dong, great review. Thanks for this.
    I’m in Sydney, Australia and currently use Deco M9+ 3 pack connected to a Telstra 5G modem in my 3200 sqft house. WiFi coverage and speeds are not a problem, however I’m experiencing WiFi dropping frequently. It’s not an issue with Telstra signal loss, but an issue with WiFi getting overworked. Restarting the main Deco unit solves the issue. I think this had to do with WiFi congestion, however Deco doesn’t allow me to change the WiFi channel. I’m planning to buy the XT12 2 pack to replace the Deco. Would this solve my issue of WiFi dropping? Keen to know your thoughts on this.

    Reply
  17. This was a great review – thank you, Dong!
    I just purchased the XT12 for use strictly as an AP (wireless mesh because I am in a rental apartment in NYC) after upgrading to 2gb FiOS. I built a pfsense router that supports up to 10 gbps (locally iperf verified) and get full internet speeds on wired devices that support 2.5gb+.
    I am noticing that right next to the main XT12, I am not able to get a speed test higher than about 800mbps up/down on both a Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro. A wired computer speed test performed right after gets the full 2 to 2.5 gbps. Based on your speed tests, I feel like I should be getting higher speeds near the main unit (5 ghz-1).
    Do you think this could be solely due to how congested things are in a large NYC apartment building? My phone sees 33 WiFi networks.
    Thanks!
    Gabe

    Reply
    • Yeah, Gabe. Definitely the congestion. The system uses 80MHz in your case and 800Mbps is as good as can be on a 2×2 device.

      You likely get similar speed simultaneously on a second device. Try it!

      Reply
  18. I need to get a WiFi 6 mesh system and am debating between obtaining a pair of Synology RT6600ax or get the Asus xt12. Based on these reviews, it appears the Asus system has better performance (although both are good). However, what I cannot determine is whether the Asus system allows for the creation of 3 or more separate wireless networks with different SSIDs, e.g., a primary network, an isolated network for IoT devices, and another isolated network for guests. I know the Synology system allows for this but am having difficulty getting this answered with respect to Asus. Anyone happen to know? Thanks,

    Reply
    • I mentioned that in this post, Steven, but the gist is that with Asus, you can create only one (additional) Guest SSID per band system-wide. (You can have three per band as a single router.) By the way, more on Guest Wi-Fi and IoTs in this post.

      Reply
    • To better clarify, it appears that the Asus system can break out the 3 frequencies (2.4, 5 and 6 GHz for the latest ET model) into 3 separate SSIDs. However, I am hoping a high end router such as this allows for the creation of multiple networks over multiple frequencies, e.g., a primary network that can use both 2.4 and 5, an IoT network that is limited to 2.4, and a guest network that can use both 2.4 and 5 GHz. I believe this can be done on Synology but cannot find an answer with respect to Asus. Thanks

      Reply
      • What you mentioned and Guest networking are the same thing. Give what I linked earlier on Guest networking a serious read. Or not, but please respect the comment rules.

        Reply
  19. Hi Dong, good review, is the xt12 system good for homes that have thick cement walls? currently using google nest mesh setup and my master bedroom that is two cement walls away from my main router often have spotty signal. been looking for a replacement for my current mesh. I was considering xt8 given its good review of able to punch through walls, however noticed its like 2-3 yrs old system and found this xt12 which seems to be a newer one.

    Reply
      • Thanks Dong! Finally pulled the trigger on the xt12 2 packs and my wifi transmission in my masters bedroom which is about 10-15 m away with 2 concrete walls in between increased from around 40-50mbps (download), 100-120mbps (upload) (with the occasional drop in connection) to 400-600+mbps download , 450-600mbps upload and stable connection. Last question, do or anyone know the Supported IEEE Standards of the 2.4 ghzs band of the guest network? Is it using 802.11ax or n? As i cant seem to get my old IoT LED ceiling lights to connect to my SmartLife App after i deleted them and tried to move them to the guest network. They were immediately detected by SmartLife when i online the xt12 as i ensured to use the previous 2.4 ghz SSID and Password from my old dlink router.

        Reply
    • My house as 2 internal block walls and I am finding the XT12 to ber very good. To the point that almost all devices are remaining connected to the router as the signal is strong enough even in the farthest point (staying at circa -60-67) , this is actually a little annoying as I would rather they switched to the stronger node but I just cannot get roaming assistant to work.

      As a standalone router my observation is that the the XT12 is better than the Nighthawk RAX200, others mileage may vary.

      Reply
  20. Thank you for this in-depth review! I have a 2 story home with no attic/basement so wireless backhaul is a must-have atm. I used to have the Netgear Orbi RBR50 which worked well enough, but now that we have gigabit speeds at our location finally, it just didn’t give the speeds that I wanted. So after reading your review, I upgraded to the XT12. For both the Orbi and X12, my computer is hardwired into the node which is then backhauled to the router across the house. The Orbi maxed out around ~400 Mbps while the XT12 is hitting 1005! Very satisfied with the XT12 so far!

    Reply
  21. Hi Master Dong,

    I am currently using RBK752 (2 pack) at my new 3 stories home, but having problem with my CCTV running 2.4 Ghz installed on external wall (behind 2-3 walls), their link speed ranged 10-30 Mbps (fluctuating) and sometimes lost connection. Other than this, the 5Ghz can actually cover the whole house (inside) reasonably.

    Considering RBK752’s 2.4 Ghz band only 600 Mbps, which I think is abit lack of power, thus I am thinking of upgrading to RBK852 (1200 Mbps for 2.4 Ghz) which my friend currently using and commented good signal wall penetration but recently I found that you high rated the new ASUS XT12 Pro Mesh which seems much higher spec than RBK852 at almost same price.

    I viewed some other comments on XT12 Pro, some says its signal wall penetration is weak due to antenna design and Broadcom chipset. This worry me alot.

    Can you recommend me which is better for my case?
    Thanks alot and wishing you Happy New Year and Chúc Mừng Năm Mới.

    Reply
    • None of them will work well, Benedick. Generally, the 2.4GHz band is only a backup in Wi-Fi 6 and newer hardware. Check the reviews and the performance numbers on this band for more. Generally, you shouldn’t use any device that only uses the 2.4GHz band. More in this post.

      Happy new year! 🙂

      Reply
      • Hi Dong. so are you suggesting that for smart devices that 5ghz is now the way to go?

        I just ordered the ACX12 and have a Ring alarm and camera system, probably me not keeping up to date but I always had 2.4ghz as better for range and therefore better suited for things like this where speed really is not important.

        Reply
        • If a device supports more than just the 2.4GHz band, chances are it’s a general Wi-Fi device — no matter what its purpose is — and not the type of “smart” device I lamented about. The better level of Wi-Fi support a smart device has, the less problematic it is for a network. This applies to any device, actually.

          Reply
  22. Hi Dong
    Can you please advise on which router to choose XT8 or XT12?
    I have read carefully your review and still it is difficult for me to make a right choice. They are quite similar, but I understand that XT12 is faster and more powerful. Plan to use it a single router + switch for ethernet clients. My current tariff is 1Gb
    What do you think, which is better variant to purchase? Current New Year pricing is as follows: XT8 190$ and XT12 340$.
    Is there anything really significant in XT12 why it worth to choose it?
    Thank you in advance for your kind help, I am little bit tired of searching for the right solution))

    Reply
    • XT12 is all around better, it should allow you to maximise that 1Gb broadband via wireless backhaul. Whether you really need it over XT8 depends on your environment and set-up though – for my use 2xAX11000 + 2xXT8 would not work well enough, and now 4xXT12 do wonders.

      Reply
      • Hello,are u still using the 4xXT12 and if yes what are your thoughts after a year of using them?

        Secondly is your whole setup completelly wireless backhauled?

        Thirdly if yes on the above are you daisy chaining the 3 nodes or are all of them connecting to the 4th which you use as the router?

        Thanks!

        Reply
    • I’d go with XT12 if you have a Multi-Gig switch or XT8 if a Gigabit switch. Only the former can give you full Gigabit.

      Reply
      • In my case I have simple Gigabit switch. And I have only one wire to a place where the switch is.
        Is it the only important benefit I will get from that?

        Reply
        • Read my previous reply, Alek. I was talking about single router senario. You need to make up your own mind. 🙂

          Reply
          • Dong, thank you! As I understand from your comments, if I want to have really strong and fast network, XT12 is better choice.
            By the way, what do you think about Ubiquiti Amplifi Alien? Is it better than XT12?

  23. Dong, great review on the XT12. I have a question about choosing between this, the ET12 and the Orbi 963 in terms of a Mesh system with Wireless backhaul (unable to use wires).

    We don’t have any 6E devices right now and were thinking about getting a good Mesh system to last a few years and take it from there when Wifi 7 Mesh systems come out in force (and if needed). I read your article about the benefits Wifi 7 will bring which seems impressive. We just had Gigabit internet installed. I had a look at your ET12 versus Orbi review as well and the XT12/XT8 and Orbi 963 reviews.

    1. My initial conclusion was to go for the XT12 and probably two packs of two (so 1 router and 3 satellites in total) to cover our property since the 5Ghz band is the dedicated backhaul. Correct me if I’m wrong, but is there any reason you’d go for the Orbi 963 over the XT12? From what I’m understanding, the XT12 seems to be better overall in terms of speed and ease of use. The Orbi 963 does seem impressive though, but I’m not sure if “by paying more you get more” for Wifi 5 and Wifi 6 devices with the Orbi?

    2. In terms of the XT12 versus ET12, I understand that one of the 6Ghz band’s disadvantages is its range and the ET12 also doesn’t technically have a “dedicated backhaul”. However, I was wondering in our case, since we don’t actually use any 6Ghz devices, if you set that band as the backhaul on the ET12, would there be any material advantage to using an ET12 Mesh system versus the XT12? I hope my question makes sense. For instance, even if you had to buy an extra ET12 unit and position the units closer than the XT12 system of units to cover the same household, would having the ET12 with a 6Ghz backhaul actually be better in terms of latency across the whole home network (versus several XT12 units using a dedicated 5Ghz backhaul? In terms of overall speed at each satellite.

    I read each of your articles about each system. Hope you could provide some advice on these matters!

    Reply
  24. Hi Dong,

    I am a huge fan of your work and i got pair of XT12. They work super fine on wifi backhaul, but for the life of me they can’t seem to work on wired backhaul. Is there a way to get this going as i have a wired set up throughout my home. Both XT12 are even on the latest 388.1 Merlin software. I have my ONT going into the 2.5 Wan then ive connected my ethernet cable from the 2.5 Lan into the 2.5 Wan of the 2nd unit and turned on the ethernet backhaul mode to no joy whatsoever. Am i doing something wrong here? i nearly decided to sell one of them and then purchase a pair of XT8 to backhaul ethernet those to one of the XT12

    many thanks
    JB

    Reply
    • As I mentioned in the review, Jay, this one is best used with wireless backhaul. You can use a wired backhaul, but that might need some work. Try using the 386 version of the firmware for now. (By the way, if you’re using Merlin, generally, you’re on your own. That’s the deal. 🙂 )

      More in this post on how to set up an AiMesh set (you should read it.)

      Reply
      • Thanks for the reply, much appreciated. It’s funny you said that, i’m just as we speak downgrading the firmware to version 3.0.0.4.386.50350 as 386 caught my eye when ii was reading your review LOL. I initially installed Merlin out of desperation in all honesty. I couldnt find any ET12 for a decent price so settled for the XT12 instead. Is the XT8 a good compliment for the XT12 for a 3rd node or X2 XT8 wired to X1 of the XT12’s? or is it best to stick with the both XT12 for now?

        Once again thanks

        JB

        Reply
        • It’s best to stick with the same hardware, JB, but the XT8 will work — it also got UNII-4 via a firmware update, and that helps. Good luck! 🙂

          Reply
      • Wait what, does this comment just apply to Merlin FW? The review references wired backhaily working fine or did I skip a part? 🙂

        I just ordered a 2 pack of these fully intending to use wired backhaul so am a little worried I have missed something now! I have no intenstions of straying from stock FW.

        Thanks

        Reply
        • That’s correct, Neil. If you use Merlin, you’re on your own. But this mesh set is also best used via wireless backhauling. If you have run network cables, the ET12 makes more sense.

          Reply
          • Thanks, is that in a gigabit connection scenario or across the board? My connection is sub-gigabit (circa 500)

            My house has 2 solid internal walls that do a great job or blocking wifi. I’ll start off with wired and see how it goes.

  25. Hi Dong,

    In aimesh there is possibility to enable 5ghz Wi-Fi 1 and 2. In case i will connect 2 pcs of xt12/xt8 via cable (and set up use cable without support of Wi-Fi), can backhaul Wi-Fi be used as ordinary Wi-Fi (4×4) – mainly in case of xt8?

    Thanks for info.

    JP

    Reply
  26. I have the XT12 mesh setup (1 router and 1 node) and it is working flawlessly. I have a new Ethernet only device (a WirelessTag manager/hub) and it would be in a location difficult to wire for Ethernet. If I were to run an old router I have in bridge mode and connect to my mesh setup, would it degrade my mesh network in any way? Would I be better buying a new range extender and run it in bridge mode only? I only need this setup for a single Ethernet port for the tag manager. My mesh system is running so well, I don’t want to do anything to degrade its performance. If it would degrade in any way, I could reluctantly wire in an Ethernet cable to main mesh router. Thank you in advance.

    Reply
  27. Dong
    I have read your review of the ZenWifi pro ET12 and have a question. I currently have 2 -AX6100s set up in mesh with wired backhaul and have good coverage in my 3200 sq ft single story house. A friend has asked me to help him get better wireless coverage in his similar home. Would it make any sense for me to purchase the a 2 pack of the Pro ET 12 and each of us use 1-Pro ET12 and 1-AX6100? If so, would I use the Pro ET12 as the main unit and the AX6100 as the mesh node, or does it matter. My house would be wired Backhaul and his would be wireless. Thanks, Steve

    Reply
    • I don’t know which one the AX6100 is, Stephen, but generally, if you have run network cables, it’s best not to use Tri-band (5HGz+5GHz+2.4GHz) hardware. More here. Make sure you read that post and related ones before asking more questions.

      Reply
      • I am using the RT-AX92U (AX6100) as my 2 units for the mesh system. So my question is would it work using the RT-AX92U as the mesh node with the main unit being the ZenWifi Pro XT12?

        Reply
  28. Hi Dong, please forgive my lack of wifi knowledge, but I have a question after searching here & being unable to find an answer.

    My set up is one XT12 with two XT8 nodes with 2bd 5g band as dedicated backhaul. Above you speak of the UNII bands being turned off by default. You show a picture of the web GUI with an arrow to an unchecked box that says “Auto select UNNI 4 band”. Is this how you turn this feature on? By checking that box? I did check the box on web GUI & my speeds immediately diminished to well under half my normal ISP speed. Several system reboots & optimizations did nothing to increase performance. Normal speeds only returned after I unchecked that box & rebooted the system. Thanks so much for for your input!

    P.S. I plan to purchase 2 more XT12 shortly & use the XT8’s at my mother’s house (she has a horribly performing ISP router & super-thick plaster & metal lathe walls).

    Reply
    • I need to clarify what I said in the above post. It was my wifi speed (not isp speed) that dropped significantly when I checked the “Auto select UNNI 4 channel” button.

      Reply
      • Your self-claimed lack of Wi-Fi knowledge is forgiven, Ken. Since you clearly can write and read, though, I’d recommend you start with this post. It’ll help.

        To answer your question: It generally takes more than just checking or unchecking a box. But you can always uncheck yours and leave it as that. Or you can read about UNII-4 to find out what you should do. And here’s the post on speed testing, etc. It’s more complicated than you might think.

        Make sure you read every post in its entirety — starting from the top and walking your way down slowly without skipping around. When you run into something unclear, chances are there’s a link to explain it further — follow it. Or you can read the articles in the Related Posts box at the top.

        Please, no more questions until you’ve done that.

        Reply
        • Hi Dong,
          I have read (and reread) everything. Not sure I completely understand everything, but I am getting there. What I gather is using UNII-4 causes compatibility issues in most (or all??) cases for fronthaul and there aren’t any devices out yet that even have the capability of using it. So it’s really only good for use as the backhaul in a fully wireless setup, which is exactly what I have. I now understand why, but confused as to how to try this out on my XT12. I picked up my XT12 two pack today and will be replacing the XT8’s with those tomorrow or this weekend (so I can get the XT8’s to moms house). They had the XT9 two pack at the store too. I was going to just get that and save $300 but I decided to go with the mac-daddy XT12 (still may take back and exchange, not sure yet). I’d like to test out the UNII-4 backhaul before I break the current system down and setup the new. I guess I am asking an XT12 specific question here. Anyway, any other advice to point me to I’d appreciate it. I’d like to try this out and report back my findings.

          I am just a tile contractor. I have been in the tile business over 30 years. I know tile installation inside out, upside down and sideways. I own what I truly believe it the best high-end residential tile contracting business in the Midwest. Ask me anything about tile, I will tell you the proper way it should be done. But this WiFi stuff is a bit over my head! 🙂

          Reply
          • Your assessment is correct, Ken. UNII-4 is new, so if you use it, it’s generally best to stay with the same mesh hardware, XT12, XT9, or XT8, instead of mixing them up. If you have sub-Gigabit Internet, I’d recommend using the XT8 or XT9 to save some dough.

            I’m more of a hardwood floor kind of guy but tiles are always great for bathrooms etc. 🙂

          • I’ve been using my X12 Pro duo with all wireless/UNII-4 backhaul, and it’s pretty good, except that for some reason it slowly slows down over time. I lose ~40% speed over a few days time. Reboot, and it comes back. So no just schedule overnight reboots every night and it’s always pretty much full speed. Don’t know why it does this, but it does… I’m hoping a firmware update fixes it in the future.

  29. The xt12 2 pack is currently $100 cheaper than the et12 2 pack. I’m going to use a wired backhaul – is it really worth the extra $100 to go with the et12 for 6ghz support?

    Reply
    • Read the review, Jason. And by that I mean you should start from the top and end at the bottom without skipping around. Do it for once and you’ll see the difference.

      Reply
  30. I have a newer MacBook M1 Pro 14″ MacBook, when I connect to a U6-LR I can get a transmit rate of 1200mbps but with the XT12 I can only get 720 highest with the txrate when I hit the option key .

    Reply
    • That indicator doesn’t mean much, Chris, which you might have found out already. Also, you can get a different laptop. 🙂

      Reply
  31. Hi Dong,

    I have read your reviews before posting but I cannot find an answer to my doubt. What would be a better wifi only mesh system in between the PRO XT12 and the Orbi RBK852? In my home country the RBK852 has gone down in price to around 500 dollars. Based on your reviews is clear that the PRO XT12 has a better rating by 1 star, but taking into consideration the price drop of the Orbi making the PRO XT12 cost to be almost the double I am a bit unsure if I should prioritise the economical aspect before the overall value and performance of the units.
    Many thanks!

    Reply
  32. Hi,

    Do you maybe know why some clients can’t see the 2,4GHz network anymore? I did upgrade from my XT8 to the XT12. Settings are the same and I’m using WPA2 (did a factory reset).

    In one other review I read that the tester had the same situation with lights.

    Reply
      • Hi, thanks for your fast reply!

        I did return the XT12. The problem with not finding 2,4GHz is fixed by turning off Wifi 6 on that band. Since I haven’t done anything different than always.

        Why did I return the XT12? Well, Asus it’s FW is not as it’s promoted. My 2nd node which is connected by dedicated wifi backhaul disconnects (very fast blinking blue light) after a few days and sometimes it’s even crashing. Only solution to fix this is to reset the 2nd node and start all over again.

        Does this sound familiar to you? I had the same problem with my XT8. I haven’t find any solution. I don’t have ethernet connection in my room, so I do rely on wifi backhaul.

        Connection between main and 2nd node is amazing. So that’s not the problem….

        Reply
          • And what if I say: there’s one beta FW which Asus released for the XT8 which is stable as a rock! No crashes.

            There’s just 1 little wall (a thin, no concrete) between my main and node. Like 8 meters as the crow flies.

            I did move the 2nd node to another spot. Same problem. So I don’t understand why my XT12 had the same problem. I did test the set also in another house. Same problem after a few days…

            I do setup the main router first. After that I plug the node in within 1 meters to the main so it can connect.

            I hope you can help me..

          • I can’t help with this specific situation, unfortunately. Wi-Fi is invisible so sometimes the things we can see are not the issue. Try using the Auto settings and turning off the use of DFS channels… that might help. Check out this post for more suggestions. Keep in mind that I reviewed the US version of the hardware. Good luck!

  33. Hey Dong! I got this ZenWiFi Pro XT12 set based on your review and my needs. I had previously used 2x RT-AX86U (main with Merlin, the node with stock) in an AiMesh setup with wireless backhaul at my parent’s house, and had great success with it. I was able to get up to 2.4Gbps with my Samsung S21 Ultra and Intel AX201 adapter laptop, and maintain strong/consistent connections with both in various locations.

    Anyways, at my new place, I got gigabit fiber and set this XT12 system setup. I did the same things I did with the RT-AX86U setup (main with Merlin, node with stock), basically using the same settings, etc. The only thing I did differently for the XT12 setup was make the 5GHz-2/backhaul band to 160MHz/Channel 173 to take advantage of the UNII-4 capability for AiMesh (which worked fine).

    Now, the issue I am having is I am seemingly getting a constant fluctuation with connection speeds to the nodes. With ONLY me connected with my AX201 laptop, I’ll see 490Mbps one second, then 2.4Gbps a few seconds later, then 1.1Gbps, etc. Also, my Samsung S21 Ultra only connects at half speed/1.2Gbps when I’m not DIRECTLY next to the node. If I walk away after being RIGHT next to it and connecting at 2.4Gbps, I can walk 15-20 feet away and maintain 2.3Gbps for for about 2 minutes, then it drops right back to 1.2Gbps. If I try to connect with the phone from scratch from that 15-20 feet away, it connects at 1.2Gbps right off the bat.

    I have no idea what is causing these fluctuations/changes. I tried updating my Intel drivers to the latest generic Intel after removing the old ones, rebooting, etc. Restarted my S21. No dice. Any ideas?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Use latest stock firmware and separate the bands, Josh. Generally if you use Merlin, you’re on your own.:) Also, don’t use Merlin on newly released hardware.

      Reply
      • The XT12 has been out outside the US for over a year and Merlin has been released for it for almost 5 months? Of course I separate the bands. I guess I’ll just be waiting for their 388.x release.

        Reply
        • Hi Josh – you mention you’re outside the US, which country is that? I only mention because channel 173 isn’t available in the UK for the XT12 (on Asus firmware).

          Reply
  34. Hi Dong. Thanks for your insightful reviews as always. I am looking to set up a new mesh network for my home. I currently have 5 Linksys MX4200 running a wired mesh in my apartment (my rooms have thick walls and signals get mostly blocked). My Linksys crash frequently, hence I am looking to switch to something more reliable. My apartment is all CAT6 wired, I plan to use Asus XD6 as my satellites (all hardwired) but am still deciding on which should I get as a main unit. I am not a gamer, would the GT AX6000 or ZenWifi Pro XT12 make more sense? They seem be about the same price. If I don’t use the gaming features is there any advantage with the ROG GT AX6000? I don’t care too much about the tri-band function as I find it create more conflicting traffic for my satellite units.

    Reply
      • Thanks Dong for your advise. One more question on the practical front. My wireless network mostly support Apple iPhones, iPads, Macbook air/Pro clients. As far as I understand these clients Wifi are all limited to 2×2 only. All the other Mac desktops, and a bunch of home appliance and media steamers are all hardwired. Given this use case is there any advantage to go for Asus XD6 satellites at all? Or would something like xd4 do the same job? The same question applies to the main unit, is there any advantage with using more higher end Asus units like GT AX6000 or ZenWifi Pro XT12? Does the higher processing power manage the satellites better? Additional features they will have over lower end units? I am not into gaming so won’t use those features much.

        Reply
  35. Good review.

    Do military aircraft/helicopters flying overhead cause issues for the backhaul channels?

    I ask because our house isn’t near an airport at all (over 50+ miles away!), but sometimes you do get military aviation flying about. Will the 160Mhz channel work well for the XT12 backhaul in such a case?

    Reply
      • Hi Dong,

        Our place is in the UK, so I don’t think we have the UNII-4 backhaul in the XT12 here.

        We’re many many miles away from an airport, or base. So if any RAF helicopters, or planes happen to fly over, does that mean the backhaul would just drop?

        Right now, just been using an (old) wifi extender and it doesn’t result in a drop out.

        But in our case, if we buy the XT12, do you have to turn on/off any specific setting, or does it automatically sort itself out regarding its wireless backhaul?

        Thanks in advance!

        Reply
        • Aircrafts are not the issue, Hilary, it’s the RADAR signals which can go very far (miles) but they tend to go in a certain direction. In any case, if you just turn off the 160MHz and avoid DFS in the backhaul band, you’re fine. And yes, the wireless backhaul is on by default, you have to customize stuff if you want to use wired backhauling. More here.

          Reply
          • Right, but we’re not near an airport or anything!

            What I am asking is if a military helicopter happens to fly overhead over a house, does that cause the Mesh system to experience a drop out?

            I’m looking to buy a Mesh system for wireless backhaul and was considering this XT12.

          • Helicopters are aircrafts, Hilary, so you’re probably fine as mentioned in my previous replies.

    • It’s meant to be Wh, Carla. Thanks for reporting the typo. Next time you can just highlight the text and hit the red box that jumps out on top.

      Reply
  36. Is it ok to mix two XT12 with AC88U as nodes? Since AC88U can’t do dedicated backhaul I’m not sure how that would work.
    What about mixing XT12 and XT8?
    thanks!

    Reply
    • I haven’t tried but that likely won’t work, D. And even if it does mixing Wi-Fi standards is never good in wireless setup.

      XT12 and XT8 seems a better combo, but i haven’t tried.

      Reply
      • Thank you Dong! I really appreciate all your detailed analysis and reviews. I’m wondering what would be the most cost efficient way to properly expand from a pair of XT12?

        Reply
        • Just reporting back that I have XT12 x 3 and a RT-AC88U using wireless Aimesh set up. It’s working surprisingly well. The AC88U is used to connect to an area of the house that’s rarely used but so far it’s working better than I expected since it’s AC and dual-band vs the AX and Tri-band of the XT12.

          Reply
    • I am considering this mesh set as my next wifi. My only doubt is the power consumption.

      The 335wh per 24 hours as mentioned, is this for one unit or is the power consumption of the set (2 units)?

      And is the power conumption for the xt12 high in relation to other sets or is this normal?

      Thanks!

      Reply
      • That’s a single unit, Martin. The specs table is for a single router. The satellite unit might use slightly less power. And that power consumption level is average for the specs, equivalent to a LED light bulb.

        Reply
        • Hi Dong,

          Thank you for your quick response. Can you help with advise / a suggestion for the wifi mesh kit to upgrade to?

          I live in a 10 year old terraced house (neighbours connected on both sides) with good isolation (thick walls). Currently i have a TP-Link P7 (which is comparable to a M5 although with powerline function). Our garden is 18 meter deep and at the back of the garden is our tv (with i think weak wifi) in the summer. It can make connection to the wifi but it is troubling and buggy/laggy at some times. Placing the nodes on a better spot did not help. In the summer we also a have a large pool and large trampoline with safety net (and metal posts) in our garden that may interrupt the wifi signal. The TP-link will not let you choose the node a client is connected to so that may be part of the problem.

          At first i was looking to add a better powerline adapter from TP-link to our garden shed. However, the shed becomes very hot in the summer and the powerline can not be added to the mesh. And powerlines are expensive.

          I also want wifi 6 so i can use it for my oculus quest 2 (streaming from PC).

          The new wifi set can be paid by my employer so cost is not super important but power consumption (24×7) is since the KWh price is 0,90 dollar/euro right now.

          At first i was looking at the Deco XE75 mesh set. However i saw in your graphs that the 2.4ghz speed drops to low rates on long distance.

          Then i was looking at a TP-link router with one mesh. This way i would be able to add TP-link powerline adapter in the future if needed. However, Onemesh does not support wired backhaul! Very strange but i read it on their website.

          Then i was looking at the ZenWifi XT8. A nice set but also the 2.4ghz long range has low speeds. I think my tv only has 2.4ghz.

          Then i saw the superb performance of the ZenWifi XT12. However the power consumption was sort of a bummer. I thinks my P7 and the XE75 have halve the power consumption.

          What would be your advise? Thanks!

          Reply
          • PS for two nodes (XT12) the additional cost per year would be around 100 euro/dollar compared to my P7 or the XE75….

          • I really don’t know what to tell you, Martin — maybe get a solar panel? $100/year is not that bad, though I know that’s relative. It’s worth noting that I tested the energy consumption — crudely via a simple meter — during my testing where the router worked intensively all the time. In a general case, it might work less… But ultimately it’s your call.

            A couple of things to note:

            1. OneMesh DOES support wired backhaul, it’s just that there aren’t many hardware options — most TP-Link extenders do not have a network port. More here.
            2. Don’t count on the 2.4GHz band — no matter what router or mesh system you use — and generally stop getting devices that uses just this band. More in this post.
            3. You need wired backhauling and good hardware if you want to do VR. More in this post.

            For your case, strictly from your needs, I’d recommend using the ZenWiFi XT12 or ET12 with wired backhauling.

          • I think no one but you can decide if the higher energy bills, if your calculations are correct, are worth it. XT12 work really well in my house, in fact I use 2 pairs as it’s a 160 year old house with 4 floors.

        • I wonder if wired backhaul uses less power than wireless? Logically you would think so but maybe not.

          Maybe an interesting article Dong? maximising router/power performance in these days of rip off electricity!

          Reply
          • Interesting point, Neil. But that’s likely impossible to test since the difference, if any, will be very small and requires a long time to test. During an extended period, it’s impossible to control the traffic to know what causes the difference, the network traffic, or the nature of the backhauling.

            I generally measured the real-world power usage of the router unit — it’s in the hardware specs table in each review — and that is only the ballpark of what the device actually consumes.

  37. Dong, thank you for doing this. I’ve been waiting and looking forward to this review for a long time!

    This seems to tick all of the boxes for a great wireless backhaul mesh system. And I like the fact there isn’t a “login” for the ASUS app when it comes to privacy. I actually thought the XT8 looked quite nice personally rather than the grilled design of the XT12, but the lighting is a neat touch. This ASUS XT12 seems mightily impressive overall.

    1. May I ask, is the UNII-4 advantage for wireless backhaul between the nodes something that is active/available in the UK, or is that just a US feature?

    2. I was fairly impressed by the Netgear Orbi RBKE963 system after reading your review, though it has a very “interesting” price shall we say. Of course technology is always going to be improving and any of these systems should (hopefully) last for a few years. Is there any material advantage going for the ASUS XT12 or that particular Orbi and vice versa at THIS point in time on the Wifi 6/6E/7 cycle? The quad band Orbi has Wifi 6E and seems exceptionally fast as well on the non 6E bands. On the one hand, I wonder whether having a 6E band will prove a sound investment to justify the additional expense in the years to come, or whether one can wait for several years and just do a full update to whatever is on the market then. Your thoughts on which would be best between those two systems would be much appreciated!

    3. Given your knowledge of the industry, any possibility of the Amplifi Alien getting a new model to compete with the likes of this new XT12?

    Many thanks in advance.

    P.S. This is for a setup that has to be wireless backhaul and the incoming FTTP line speed is a Gigabit.

    Reply
    • Hi Harold, UNII-4 is mentioned by Asus in firmware notes as available in the US only.

      FYI, I am also based in the UK, I’ve been using 4 x XT12 for the last 4 months via wireless backhaul and very happy so far – they have native Merlin firmware support and have been much more stable in my environment than a combo of 2 x AX11000 and 2 x XT8 I used before.

      Reply
      • @illuminatus

        Thanks for the info. Yes, I couldn’t find much about it on the ASUS website for the UK and UK based tech magazine reviews for Mesh Wifi can be somewhat few and far between for these mighty systems, or a little late to the party (or test with sub 100Mbps WAN speeds?!) .

        Glad to hear it’s stable! Yes, I’m definitely interested in the XT12 system as it sounds great. Shall be keeping a close eye on the price and any potential VAT drop.

        Reply
  38. Hello,
    For +3000 sf, 2 stories + basement + detached garage (15ft from the house), 1GB Fiber, I’m considering XT12 x2 (or with XT8 as Seattleite) or Synology RT6600ax + MR2200ac (half the cost than Asus). Can’t run wires. Mesh must be warless.

    What do you think would work best?

    Thanks

    Reply
      • Just FYI – I did go with the X12. Really like the flexibility of the AiMesh. BUT, apparently, this router cannot communicate properly with Fiber gigabit Ethernet ports, causing upload speeds to be basically ZERO and download speeds to less of what they should be. Totally defeating the entire purpose of having a high speed mesh network.
        In terms of help, Asus support was worthless, only offering basic troubleshooting for the router settings. They read off a screen without having any idea what they’re talking about

        Reply
        • That’s strange. I used it with a 10Gbps Fiber-optic and and 1Gbps Cable and it worked fine. Try restarting your ONT. Or maybe your provider has some special requirements.

          Reply
          • If I use switch between the router and the ONT I get normal speed.
            BTW – if I used the XT8 as main router, again, speed was normal (as expected).
            Everything else was great 🙂

  39. Correct me if I am wrong–I thought I read from one of your earlier articles that a particularity with Asus mesh products is that when using a wired backhaul, the second 5Ghz channel cannot be used for clients; it only exists as a backhaul channel.

    If this is the case, as I consider an Asus mesh system to purchase–and my desire for multi gig ethernet–it seems like the E products make more sense over the X products for wired backhaul in order to get the 6Ghz channel, ever though I don’t have 6E devices (yet), because a second 5Ghz channel is not available for use.

    Thanks.

    Reply
      • I humbly stand corrected. I have one followup question as mesh wifi and Asus are new to me as opposed to old-school Linksys access point setups: I like to set up band steering so that the 2.4g has its own SSID, and combine two 5g bands into one SSID. Is this still possible in an Asus Smart Connect mesh setup?

        Reply
        • No, but, when applicable, you can name whichever band however you want separately. If you name them the same, you’ll get the same effect. As for when it’s applicable, make sure you *read* the post I linked in the previous reply — you’ll find all AiMesh-related answers there. Please no more questions until you read, that’s one of the comment rules, by the way. 🙂

          Reply
  40. I think I already know the answer to this question since its AiMesh but could you add a 3rd XT12 to this setup if you wanted and it be compatible?

    Reply
      • Thanks for the reply Dong, as I figured, awesome. I got my XT12 system (router/node) setup this past weekend. Holy cow it has incredible range. Highly recommend this to anyone reading. I have a 19,200sqft lot and can stand in the corner of my backyard at the fence (80ft from main router) and get 300mbps download on the non dedicated 5Ghz band. My neighbors could jump on my wifi I bet! Also my main router is in the attic to prevent issues with the brick wall interference. Node router is in the living space above the garage, I get near 300mbps up there and another garage next to that garage and I get 250mbps in that garage. I have 3 bars everywhere I go. Dong I have 900mbps service but am only getting just shy of 600mbps over wifi standing near the main router. Do you have any threads that go into detail on this or how I could resolve? Keep it up you have a great site sir. I bought this system based on your information and have no regrets.

        Reply
  41. Just like everything most prices come down. The ASUS ET12 is now $795 on Amazon for the pair. I bought the single ET12 but for that price I would have bought the pair.

    Taz

    Reply
  42. Hi Dong!

    Thank you for your excellent reviews! It helped me a lot to understand the world of Wifi and network related topics.

    Do you know if U-nii 4 is supported in Europe/ Netherlands? I can’t find any information online. The Asus XT12 is already available here, but there was no mention about the U-nii 4 feature in their marketing campaign or the specs sheet.

    Also, does a mesh setup have the same distance limitation as the distance from a single router to a client? Is the wireless connection between two mesh devices stronger and more stable than between a single router to a laptop?

    Hope you can help me because I have to decide if I’ll have the GT AX6000 or the XT12.
    Thank you!

    Reply
    • I can’t say, KY. I only keep tabs on stuff in the US. And yes, the XT12 was available in the EU a long time ago. As mentioned, the support for UNII-4 might have been the reason why it took this long to be available in the US. More on UNII-4 in this post.

      Reply
      • Hey Dong;

        Great review …

        Just FYI though … While I can’t say if the lesser Samsung S22 Smartphone models can. The S22 Ultra at least is capable of using the 5.9 GHz (UNII-4) band.

        Reply
  43. I moved on from a set of 4 ASUS CT8 (sold for $300) after converting from Xfinity 1 Gig to AT&T fiber 1 Gig. I got another 4 of the XT8 as well as a 2 pack of the XT12 for roughly $750 each. For my 2 story home with finished basement (5500 sq ft), I feel that I am getting better speed / coverage to cost ratio on the XT8s.
    I used Speedtest app on iphone 12 mini and ipad mini for testing. I tried to place the XT12 router in various areas on the main floor, and the satellite wireless either in the opposite of main floor or somewhere upstairs. The speeds are OK in the nearby (600s) but drop substantially on the sides/ corners of basement and upstairs ( 400 for PS4 and 50 -> 90 for Nintendo). Otherwise I would have put the upstairs XT8 on a shelf in the hallway so it wouldn’t be behind a wall (still rated as “Great RSSI = -58 dBm on ASUS app where I have it now.)
    Since I could, I went ahead and tried two XT12 + two to four XT8 spread throughout the house. Increased costs aside, I found this implementation to be glitchy with frequent drops (incompatible?) It was so bad the kids banned me from testing for one week. Per my daughter “medium WiFi that works is better than fast WiFi that doesn’t.”
    I’ll wait for the review, but I was hoping for at least some evidence for the XT12 to clearly outpace the XT8 in my setup, and I couldn’t find any. I’ll probably send back the XT12 within the return window, which makes me kind of sad as an amateur tech enthusiast. For what it’s worth, the wife was not enthused with the XT12 aesthetics, and preferred how white XT8s blends in to our furnishing. I would be interested if anyone else is “upgrading” from XT8, and / or adding XT12s to other ASUS mesh. And no, I’m not looking into wiring the home at this time.

    Reply
      • Hi all – Dong, great site. Was wondering if there are others around with experience adding XT12s to an existing XT8 mesh network. I have a 4 XT8 mesh to cover my home – currently connected by wired backhaul – does decently well, but there are 2 areas where I don’t have ethernet jacks, the house wasn’t wired, and the wifi coverage isn’t as good either (there is coverage, but speeds are a bit slower). I’d like to get an additional unit or two to add to the mesh. Am I better off sticking with XT8’s across the whole mesh to keep things uniform, or invest in one or two XT12’s – perhaps putting them in the more central portions of my home that have more devices connected and move the XT8’s to unwired parts as satellite?

        Reply
  44. Hi Dong Ngo,
    Please give me an advise for my use case. My system inculdes a robot moving in a 1000m2 yard with a lot of sensors. I need an wireless solution to connect only the robot with a laptop as far as possible. The bandwidth needed to transfer data from all sensors is about 800Mbps. Could the XT12 be a good choice?
    Thank you.

    Reply
  45. Hi Dong,

    I currently have a set of ET12’s wired and getting about 1400gbs download speed. I have one corner of my house that I am having a hard time getting decent speeds. Usually coming in around 30-70 Mbps download wirelessly. I am trying to put together a solution cheaper than buying a GT-16000 router and making that the main router with the 2 ET12’s. I do have it wired to that corner of the house where I could put a node. Any recommendations on a solution around $400-500 range? What would be the best options?

    Reply
  46. Any luck on acquiring the XT12 yet? I haven’t seen it available anywhere in the US yet. Although it is available for pre-order a few places. Looking forward to a full review!

    Reply
  47. Thanks for pointing out that the XT12 is finally available in the US.

    Now that the XT12 is finally, does this proposed ASUS XT8/XT12 topology make sense? Trying to leverage an existing XT8 mesh that still mostly meets my needs but taking advantage of the 2.5 Gbps second LAN port on the new XT12 and also that my XT8 mesh nodes have an unused 2.5 Gbps LAN port:

    I have an existing 3 node XT8 AIMesh system with wired 1 Gbps backhaul (cat 5E) to the router XT8 from the two mesh nodes. The router XT8 is connected to Xfinity internet via a 2.5 Gbps cable modem, from which I get about 1.45 Gbps actual measured bandwidth as Xfinity overprovisions its nominal 1.2 Gbps service, as measured by the Asus XT8 internet speed test. 
     
    In addition to many wireless nodes, I do have a Synology NAS and a number of wired ethernet PC desktops that I would like to all upgrade from 1 Gbps to 2.5 Gbps as this roughly doubling of speed would be noticeable for things like transferring large video files, etc. which I edit on the PCs and do a lot of.

    Now that the XT12 is available (now in a single node offering as well), I would like to get one of these to replace my XT8 used as the base router, add an 8 node 2.5gbps switch and plug it into the 2.5 Gbps LAN port on the XT12, and then run both the pre-existing XT8 mesh nodes from their 2.5 Gbps WAN ports as well as my wired desktops and Synology NAS (with upgraded 2.5 Gbps NICs) all into the 8 port 2.5 Gbps switch.

    My argument for this new topology is that for a modest expenditure (about $750 for the new XT12, 8 port 2.5 Gbps switch, and NIC upgrades) I get:

    1) 2.5 Gbps nominal transfer speed between the wired ethernet nodes and NAS
    2) 2.5 Gbps wired backhaul between now three XT8 operating as mesh nodes and the XT12 base router instead of only 1 Gbps backhaul
    3) an added XT8 mesh node for a part of my home with poorer coverage
    4) ability for all 2.5 Gbps wired and wireless nodes to (in theory) get access to the full 1.45 Gbps available bandwidth I’m getting from Xfinity instead of being limited by only 1 Gbps wired thruput through the existing XT8 being used as the router.
    5) leverage existing XT8 investment while still getting the advantage of an almost network-wide upgrade to 2.5 Gbps since the existing XT8 nodes all have a 2.5 Gbps WAN port currently underutilized that can be used to build the wired mesh.

    Does anyone see any holes or weaknesses in this proposed new topology or better ways of accomplishing what I want to do? I assume that sharing a 2.5 Gbps switch with both PC clients and mesh nodes is ok? Part of me is debating simply biting the bullet and going to full 10 Gbps switching and NICs but this would cost significantly more.

    Randy Frank

    Reply
  48. Dong,

    After a week living with my ET12 single unit. I am happy with that decision. I do have to say how honorable it was for the winner of your #2 giveaway to turn it down. I had thought about what do I do if I get something I won’t use. I like my neighbors so definitely would hook that up for someone. Lol. But I am most excited for giveaway #3 Asus?

    Back to my main point ET12 vs XT12 is it worth the $100? I went with the single because I value the ET12 single higher than if I got 2 XT12 or 1 XT12 unit. Unless I get lucky help you clean out your closet of Asus gear I will wait for Asus Wifi 7 router and put my ET12 as a node.

    Any good WPA3 wifi cameras out there? Now that I have my router I am on the look out to for cameras, doorbell and door locks to make the wife happy.

    Mahalo, Taz

    Reply
    • Yeap. it’s always inspirational to see folks being honest and honorable.

      Most cameras don’t support WPA3 but you can always pick WPA2/WPA3 settings.

      Once I’m done with the current giveaway — it’s actually more work than I’d imagine — I’ll start a new one and it’ll be an Asus. 🙂

      Reply
      • Hey Dong …

        Good article and indeed looking forward to when you can actually get your hands on an XT12 for a full “hands-on” review.

        Just one note of correction to the piece though …

        The XT8 now has 5.9 GHz band (UNII-4) capability a well at least since its latest firmware update 3.0.0.4.386_49873.

        As I’m using the option right now for the 5GHz-2 band @ 160 MHz on my XT8 mesh system (with 3 nodes).

        Reply
  49. Hello Dong,

    I see Asus is now selling the XT12 in the US. Do you think you might be picking this up for review and comparing it to the the ET12? I would be interested to know how the addition of the UNII-4 bandwidth compares to having a dedicated 6GHz band.

    Thanks,
    Mario

    Reply
    • I second this as I am completely wireless mesh and curious. The marketing does say dedicated backhaul option for wireless 🙂

      Reply
    • I’ll see what I can do, Mario (and Mike). But I don’t think the XT12 supports UNII4. That’s the GT-AX11000 Pro. But, as mentioned in this post, this set is definitely for those needing a dedicated wireless backhaul — you can’t count on the 6GHz in this role. See my review of the ZenWiFi ET12 for more.

      Reply
      • It does in fact support it :). I can’t wait until you get your expert hands on it. I would probably take it from you when you were done (Buy) as long as you liked it 🙂

        Reply
        • I don’t know where you got that info from — I still don’t think it supports the 5.9GHz portion of the band — but I ordered it just now. We’ll find out in due time. 🙂

          Reply
          • You are probably correct. I am just reading their marketing (and we know how marketing goes and I do see it only mentions the “5Ghz Band). From the site:
            Expanded UNII-4 Spectrum*
            ASUS ZenWiFi Pro XT12 supports an expanded UNII-4 spectrum, which features a third and clean 160 MHz channel on the 5 GHz band. This increases mesh backhaul capacity to deliver reliable and high performance for your wireless devices.

  50. Hi Dong,
    Would like to seek your opinion, which of ZenWifi Pro XT12 and ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 performs better as a router?

    Reply
    • For a single router, I’d go with the GT-AX11000, Hoeseng. That said, I haven’t tested the X12 yet, it’s not (yet) available in the US.

      Reply
      • Thanks Dong.
        The reason I was in dilemma is that I might end up using a wireless backhaul mesh setup. And in that case, I will go with one of the following setup. Not sure if that changes anything.

        1. GT-AX11000 + XT12
        2. XT12 + XT12
        3. GT-AX11000 + GT-AX11000

        4. Least favorable : use XT8 node (for sleeker look due to wife acceptance factor)

        Reply
        • I think 1 and 2 make more sense, HS. 1 will give you more game-related features, but 2 will give you Multi-Gig WAN *and* Multi-Gig wired backhauling in case you’ll get your home wired later. 4 makes more sense with 1. XT8 doesn’t look as good as XT12, which looks like the ET12, but your wife is *always* right.

          Reply
  51. I’m thinking of getting the xt12 in Italy if I do can I use in the US? Would I be able to change the language to English in the web Guide?

    Reply
    • I wouldn’t recommend it, Chris. You need to wait till it’s officially available in the US first. The lack of the English user interface (which it likely already has) is the least of the possible trouble. More here.

      Reply
  52. Dear Dong Ngo,

    I do have a question related to the XT12 and I hope it isn’t nonsensical.
    Current setup since 2015:
    2 ASUS AC88U routers with 2 separate 1Gb lines (each having its own static IP address). I did so far not use a mesh system. The flat is L-shaped. The routers are located at either leg of it. The walls are brick/concrete outer walls and I got 1 cat6 Ethernet cable across the flat connecting the 2nd line to the 2nd router.

    Intended setup:
    Upgrade to WIFI 6 and mesh with the XT12.
    At present I can’t use WAN aggregation as no local ISP provides an Ont supporting Wan aggregation.

    Hence my question is regarding whether the intended setup is a workable solution:

    Using Dual Wan with load balancing on both 2.5 Gb ports and using 1GB Lan port for Ethernet backhaul. Because of the layout of the flat a WIFI backhaul might be too weak. Just hoping it might work with WIFI backhaul would be a quite expensive way to find out.
    As I have never used a mesh system before, I am not sure about this setup and link to and I hope to get your always excellent advise.

    Also, if that setup is ok, do I need to deactivate one or both static addresses as I don’t know whether they will be a conflict with use of Dual Wan. The status addresses were free and I thought may be useful later should I connect networked cameras or an electronic door lock with wifi/internet access.

    As always, many Thanks in advance for your kind support and help!

    Reply
    • Link Aggregation is to create a single connection out of two ports (so 2Gbps via two 1Gbps ports), Guenter. That’s like combing two lanes of a road into a single larger lane. It’s not about combining two service lines into a single broadband connection, which is like combining two separate roads of different directions into one — you can never do that.

      For your case, I’d use a single router with Dual-WAN. Since your home is wired, you’d best use the ET12, check out its review and related links for more. You don’t need to disable static IPs, you just need to enter the info in each WAN connection.

      Reply
      • Dear Dong Ago,
        Amazing as always how fast you do respond with good advice.
        Dong, just as an alternative with mesh – would be my intended setup workable? I ask as with a mesh system it is more convenient regarding making it one WIFI across the house.
        Thanks for all the fast and good advise you are providing – an absolute exception from what I ever experienced before. 🙂

        Reply
  53. Hey Dong,

    Big fan.

    Quick question on these. I already have a GT-AX11000. I was thinking of adding a couple of these XT12’s in my new home in mesh. Which would I want to set up as the actual AiMesh router? I can’t tell if these nodes will have higher specifications than the AX11000.

    Thanks in advance good sir

    Reply
    • I’d like to add that this would be fully wireless mesh in a multi level home. If these do not make sense to pair with my router, I’d love some direction.

      Reply
      • I replied to my own comment but you beat me to it. I don’t think I have the option of going wired right now. Is there a setup you recommend for wireless mesh in a multi level home?

        Reply
        • What you’re thinking should work, though I haven’t tested the X12 — it’s not available in the US yet. But you can also use the XT8 in its place.

          Reply
  54. Would you go for this Asus XT12, or the Netgear Orbi AX6000, or Netgear RBKE11000?

    In terms of a Mesh system for a large house (receiving 900Mbps internet) using wireless backhaul and simplest to use/manage.

    Great reviews on your site btw!

    Reply
  55. So this is now available to buy in the UK at least. I’ve just ordered a pair (arrive tomorrow apparently).

    Reply
    • Did you happen to notice is it available for just 1 unit? Any info would be great. Good to hear there coming out.

      Reply
      • I can only see it being sold as a 2-pack at the moment, for £699.99. Interestingly, the supplier I bought it from has now sold out so I’m guessing there’s bit of demand for it.

        Reply
          • Thanks, Ken.

            First impressions – much bigger than the ZenWifi XT8. I’ve replaced my two XT8 routers with the XT12 and re-used one of the XT8 devices as an additional AIMesh node to cover a wifi black spot.. All configured with ethernet backhaul, and Tri band Smart Connect enabled. The range of the XT12 devices does seem to be perceptibly better than the XT8 – not by much, but one of my remote security cameras on the 2.4Ghz band now connects with 2 bars rather than 1. 🙂

            Seems stable so far apart from one thing – the QoS bandwidth monitor constantly reads zero, despite plenty of traffic. Probably requires a firmware update, I’ve logged a ticket with ASUS and we’ll see what they say.

          • Thanks for the Info, I have the XT8’s also and want to use them has nodes, so its good to hear they work with the XT12.

          • By way of an update (to my previous reply), ASUS supplied me with a new firmware (.47251) and the QoS bandwidth monitor is now working. So probably my fault for buying these so early after release 🙂 That said, these routers continue to be rock solid and high performing. No disconnections, nothing. Can’t fault them really – other than the price! I tried configuring wireless backhaul for the fun of it, but was only getting 1 GBps (through two walls and some distance; so understandable).. So in my case, the 2.5Gbs ethernet backhaul remains preferable…

          • Thanks, again, for the update Peter. I’ve been using it since the review and so far it’s great. But yes, it generally takes Asus a few rounds of firmware updates to get things right.

          • ##
            Thanks, again, for the update Peter. I’ve been using it since the review and so far it’s great. But yes, it generally takes Asus a few rounds of firmware updates to get things right.
            ###

            do you feel any difference among the xt12 and xt8? for example signal range, some other timings like the ping, or maybe something else?

          • My experience is exactly that – the range of the xt12 is more than the xt8, but not by much. That said, it is definitely perceptibly better.. The biggest improvement (for me) is stability. I’ve not had a single outage with these, but the xt8 would have a problem every now and again and require a reboot..

          • #They are totally different. Here’s the review of the XT8, which is more similar to the XT12 than this ET12. As about range, the ET12 and XT12 (likely) are slightly better than their ET8 and XT8 but not by much. Their ranges all follow these rules.#

            ok, but doing some tests and using it in every day tasks might be totally 2 different scenarios. and i have read that article before asking.
            i have read almost all ur introductory articles about routers and related things.
            btw, do u know why the router brands are not saying the max dBm that a router from that brand can have?

          • I do a lot more than “doing some tests.” For example, I used the ET12 for almost a month before publishing the review and have been using it since. That’s the case for most other reviewed products here. Here’s more on testing. As for your dBm question, check out this post on dBm and this one on dBi, you might mistake one for another. Next time, you can use the site’s search (it’s the magnifying glass at the top right corner on a desktop browser.)

  56. Haha, I wish this XT12 came out before the ET12. Interesting. Wonder if Asus will release a Quad band Mesh system like Netgear. The XT16 perhaps?

    Reply
  57. Asus just put the price up, $899. A few outlets have started opening preorders so I suspect we’re days/weeks away from showtime.

    Dong, do you suspect this is going to be the new best-in-class WiFi 6E solution? I’m moving to a new 4000 sq ft home this week where I will be able to use a wired backhaul mesh system. Just need to pick one.

    Reply
  58. There’s also an ET12 version that’s coming too. I’m looking forward to that one, as well as your review of it too!

    Thanks for the great reviews and info.

    Reply
  59. Do you think that the ET12 could have the same backhaul connection issues than the ET8, due to the short wifi 6E range? Apparently the model potentially available in USA is only the ET12 and not the XT12. Do you have any confirmation from Asus on this matter?

    Reply
  60. That would be a nice upgrade for my XT8, I could just get one XT12 for my office and keep the XT8 in the front room has a mesh satellite. The 2.5 gig ports is what I’ve been waiting for. Hope you get more info!

    Reply
  61. Unfortunately, another one bites the dust for removing the USB port that the XT8 had 🙁

    I just bought the XT8, and for now I am happy and have no regrets or XT12 envy 🙂

    Reply

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