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Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Preview: Everything You’d Want in the ZenWiFi XT8

In August 2021, Asus quietly unveiled the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 and the ZenWiFi Pro ET12, and since I’ve gotten a lot of questions about them.

This post will answer those on the former. If you’re thinking of the latter, check out this piece on the ZenWiFi Pro ET12 instead.

For the most part, your guess on the XT12 is as good as mine.

That’s because the new mesh system is not available yet, at least in the US. However, judging from its specs, it’s safe to say the new mesh is everything you’d wish to have in the existing ZenWiFi XT8.

That said, this post is my brief take on what you can expect from the new mesh system, based on my extensive experience with the XT8, of which I assume you have read the review.

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

Dong’s note: I first published this post on January 22, 2022, and updated it on January 23 with additional information provided by Asus.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12
The Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 looks totally different from any previous ZenWiFi hardware.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12: Non-compromising Tri-band hardware

One of my complaints about the ZenWiFi XT8 is that its 5GHz-1 band — the default fronthaul that serves clients — doesn’t feature the 160MHz channel width. On top of that, this band is of a 2×2 tier, so it has a theoretical ceiling speed of 1.2Gbps (12000Mbps).

At one point, Asus told me that it would release firmware that opens up the wide channel width on this band, but that never came true.

(In hindsight, that information must have been either misspoken on Asus’s part or misheard on mine.)

In the case of the XT12, there’s no need to pick and choose. The new hardware supports the top-tier 4×4 specs on all three bands. It has non-compromising specs for a traditional Tri-band broadcaster.

Read this  Dual-band vs Tri-band vs Quad-band Wi-Fi: 2022's All-New Bandwidth Question

And that’d be the biggest difference in a ZenWiFi XT12 vs ZenWiFi XT8 real-world matchup.

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 main 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 totally different shape, looking like a square tube instead of a mini toaster.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12
The Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 will be available as a 2-pack.

It’s also much larger and heavier and now comes with a bit of designer’s touch — there’s a transparent top portion with potentially some cool lighting. But it’s still unclear what the final hardware will look like yet.

ZenWiFi Pro XT12
Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router
ZenWiFi AX XT8
Wi-Fi 6 Mesh Router
ModelXT12XT8
Mesh-Ready Yes (2-pack) Yes (2-pack)
Dedicated Backhaul Band Yes (5GHZ-2) Yes (5GHZ-2)
Wired Backhaul Yes 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)
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)
Backward Compatibility 802.11ac/n/g/a/b 802.11ac/n/g/a/b
Mobile App Asus Router Asus Router
Web User Interface Yes Yes
AP Mode Yes
(as a router or a mesh)
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
1x 2.5 Gbps WAN
Link AggregationYes (WAN and LAN)No
Dual-WANYesYes
Processing Power2.0GHz quad-core CPU, 
256 MB Flash, 1GB RAM
1.5GHz quad-core CPU, 
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
Release DateTBD 2022January 2020
US Price
(at launch)
$799.99 (2-pack)$450 (2-pack)
$250 (single router)
Hardware specifications: Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 vs ZenWiFi XT8

What’s clear is that the extras in physical size and weight bring in some tangible benefits: other than the top-tier Wi-Fi 6 specs, the XT12 now comes with two 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig ports.

As a result, it can deliver superfast speed on both the WAN and LAN sides. On top of that, it’ll also be another option to add to the existing AiMesh hardware that’s capable of Multi-Gig wired backhaul.

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

Familiar features

With the top-tier Tri-band specs, you can safely expect the XT12 to deliver better performance than previous models.

Other than that, my take is it will share the same feature set as others in the ZenWiFi family, including the ET8, XD6, and XD4, with some nuances.

That said, you can expect Asus’s core router features out of it. On top of that, it’ll work well as an AiMesh member, as the primary router, or as a satellite.

Read this  Asus Wi-Fi Routers Explained: The Features and the Model Names

The takeaway

There you go. That’s all I know of the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 for now. How it pans out, we’ll need to wait till it’s available to purchase.

From the look of it, though, the XT12 seems like the ultimate Wi-Fi 6 machine before Asus shifts its focus on the future hardware that supports Wi-Fi 6E or the 5GHz portion of Wi-Fi 6.

Update: On March 3, 2022, Asus informed me that it currently had “no plans to sell [the ZenWiFi Pro XT12] in North America right now,” contrary to what it had originally told me that the mesh would make it to the US later this year and costs $799.99 or $100 less than the ZenWiFi Pro E12.

This sure is disappointing news — I already made plans to test and review this souped-up Tri-band mesh.

But the networking vendor might change its mind. I’ll update this post if that turns out to be the case. In the meantime, check out the rating of the similarly designed ZenWiFi Pro ET12 below.

Extra: Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12’s review

This portion of extra content is part of the ZenWiFi Pro ET12’s review.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12's Rating

8.1 out of 10
Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12
Performance
8.5/10
Features
9/10
Ease of Use
8/10
Value
7/10

Pros

Wi-Fi 6E-ready, extensive Wi-Fi coverage with top performance in specific setups with possible fast Wi-Fi performance in certain setups

Dual Multi-Gig pots with Multi-Gig wired backhaul, flexible port configurations

Excellent performance and coverage as a standalone router

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

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

Cool design

Cons

Bulky, no USB, only four network ports

Fluctuating performance as a fully wireless mesh due to the lack of a dedicated backhaul band

Short 6GHz range

Expensive, not wall-mountable

Read this  Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 Review (vs ZenWiFi ET8): A Solid Multi-Gig Wired Mesh

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56 thoughts on “Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 Preview: Everything You’d Want in the ZenWiFi XT8”

  1. 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
  2. Dear Dong Ngo,

    I do have a question related to the XT12 and I hope it isnโ€™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 canโ€™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 donโ€™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. ๐Ÿ™‚

        Reply
          • Hi, Dong,
            Spell checker changed your name, I didnโ€™t notice it, sorry for that.
            You deserved the compliment I made for many reasons, but I refrain from it in future as not appreciated.
            Starting now with your recommended post..
            Cheers,
            Guenter

  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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 ยฃ699.99. 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. ๐Ÿ™‚

            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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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. Iโ€™ve been using it since the review and so far itโ€™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. Hereโ€™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.)

  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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 Iโ€™ve been waiting for. Hope you get more info!

    Reply
  11. Unfortunately, another one bites the dust for removing the USB port that the XT8 had ๐Ÿ™

    I just bought the XT8, and for now I am happy and have no regrets or XT12 envy ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply

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