The ZenWiFi XT8 AX6600 Whole-Home Tri-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System (model XT8) is a souped-up version of the CT8. Both are part of the new ZenWiFi family Asus announced earlier this year.
The only differences between the two, albeit big ones, are that the XT8 features Wi-Fi 6 and a multi-gig WAN port. Other than that, they share everything else, the appearance, setup process, features, how they work as mesh systems, and even some shortcomings.
This review focuses on these differences. It's intended for those who have already read my take on the CT8.
In all, compared to the CT8, the ZenWiFi AX XT8 has more than enough to justify the extra $100 you'd need to spend. Though not a must-have, it's a reasonably-priced, flexible Wi-Fi 6 AiMesh system with a ton more to offer than its more expensive rivals.
Table of Contents
Asus ZenWiFi XT8: Everything the CT8 has and a lot more
As a mesh system, the ZenWiFi AX, like the CT8, includes two identical routers. From the front, you can't tell the hardware of the XT8 and the CT8 routers apart. The two look the same, sharing the single-slot-toaster design, and are available in white or charcoal colors.
Familiar design, now with Multi-Gig WAN support
On the back, though, you'll note that the XT8's WAN port is now a Multi-Gig port that works either at either 1Gbps or 2.5Gbps. Also, the USB 3.2 Gen 1 port is on the right side instead of the left.
Like the CT8, the XT8 features Dual-WAN -- you can turn its USB port or another LAN port into a second WAN port if you want it to host two broadband connections at a time for load balancing or high availability.
By default, there's no Multi-Gig LAN port. And that's disappointing since that means locally, the best wired-to-wireless connection you'd get out of the XT8 is 1Gbps.
But when working as a node, the XT8's 2.5Gbps WAN port now works as a LAN port. However, generally, in real-world usage, it's not a good idea to count on the wireless backhaul to reliably deliver the same speed as a wired Multi-Gig LAN connection.
Also, you'll need to have a second node unit before you can see the value of this port. With a 2-pack, the speed is limited by the other Gigabit ports anyway.
High-speed backhaul band, presently no 160MHz channel support for clients
Each XT8 hardware unit is an AX6600 tri-band router with one 2.4GHz and two 5GHz broadcasters. The router dedicates one of the 5GHz bands, the 5GHz-2, as the dedicated backhaul, which works solely to link the two hardware units to form a mesh system.
The 5GHz-2 is the most powerful band, featuring 4x4 Wi-Fi 6 to deliver up to 4800Mbps. It also supports the venerable 160MHz channel width. Thanks to this strong backhaul connection, you can place the XT8's hardware further from each other and still have a fast mesh system.
The other 5GHz band (5GHz-1) uses 2x2 Wi-Fi specifications and generally caps 2400 Mbps for Wi-Fi 6. Unfortunately, however, the XT8's front-haul doesn't support 160MHz channels. As a result, Wi-Fi 6 clients can connect at 1200 Mbps at most in a wireless setup, while Wi-Fi 5 devices will get 867 Mbps.
Update: Asus told me on February 11, 2020, that it
would might release a new firmware update that opens up the front-haul to support 4x4 160MHz specs, effectively doubling the XT8 satellite's Wi-Fi speed for clients. This never turned out to be the case, however.
Many mesh routers don't support 160MHz channel width for end-users. Examples of these include big-name products like the Ubiquiti Alien and the Netgear Orbi RBK 852.
Wired backhaul support
Like all AiMesh routers, the ZenWiFi AX support wired backhaul -- you can use a network cable to hook one router to another.
In fact, if you have a Multi-Gig switch, it's one of a few Asus broadcasters that supports Multi-Gig backhauls. But there might be a catch.
Extra: Important note on using wired backhaul
Since the XT8 is purposely built for a wireless setup, its firmware might not be tuned for a wired backhaul setup. As a result, new firmware might cause issues if you use wired backhaul with it.
Generally, in my experience, if your (wired) network is stable, it's a good idea not to upgrade the firmware right away but only after the subsequent version of the new version is available.
In other words, a new major upgrade tends to include issues that need to be ironed out by a minor version. If you're aware of this, then it's OK to use this mesh with wired backhauls.
In a wired backhaul setup, by default, the XT8's 5GHz-2 band is still not available to clients -- it remains a hidden dedicated backup backhaul in case the wired connection is lost.
So, when you use SmartConnect, this 5GHz-2 band is not part of the main Wi-Fi network. In short, it will not be available to clients at all.
There's a way to make use of this band, however. You can manually create a new unhidden SSID with it, different from the primary Wi-Fi network. This SSID will then be available, throughout the AiMesh system, as separate 5GHz-only full 4x4 Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi network for clients.
In other words, like all tri-band AiMesh systems, with a wired or wireless backhaul, you'll need to do a bit of tweaking to make the 5GHz-2 band available to clients.
Update: With the latest firmware that supports AiMesh 2.0, there's an option to combine all three bands via Smart Connect when the wired backhaul is in effect.
Asus AiMesh and firmware updates
Asus regularly releases firmware updates, a Linux-based operating system called Asuswrt, for its routers. Many of these updates add new features to the hardware -- they do more than patch security vulnerabilities.
Some updates may inadvertently cause a particular model to go haywire, likely because the company tries to do so much with its routers.
As a result, firmware is a tricky thing with Asus. When it comes to updating -- especially in an AiMesh setup of mixed hardware units using wireless backhauling -- keep the following three items in mind:
- Avoid the initial major release(*): This is the first firmware version of a model where the 3xx number changes, such as from 384 to 386 or from 386 to 388. Generally, the latest minor update of the previous major firmware release is always the most stable.
- Avoid using Auto-Update for firmware: You should update the firmware when you see fit instead of letting the hardware update itself.
- Version consistency (in a mesh system): Generally, it would be best to use the firmware version of the same major release for all AiMesh members. (Mixing hardware of different releases might produce mixed results.)
(*) How to read an Asus router's firmware: As shown in the screenshot below, in a particular firmware version, such as 22.214.171.124.386_47629, the 3xx number in the middle denotes Asus's home-grown major release. The following number -- often includes five digits, such as 47629 in the screenshot -- indicates a minor update.
The part before that -- 126.96.36.199 in the screenshot -- is the Linux kernel version that will also change, albeit much less frequently. It's even more significant and should also be taken into consideration.
On the one hand, moving between major releases might break your AiMesh setup or even your standalone router. On the other, new hardware comes with a specific initial version out of the box -- you have no option to downgrade it -- and some old models won't get the latest release. So depending on the mesh combo, your luck will vary.
AiMesh started as an add-on feature with firmware version 384 in early 2018 -- represented by the RT-AC86U -- and was stable by the latest minor update of this version. In early 2020, Asus released version 386, buggy in the early stages, to add AiMesh 2.0 via the introduction of the ZenWifi product line. By late 2022, version 386 became fully mature, and Asus started releasing version 388, and the history repeated itself. So on and so forth.
As a rule, in a mesh system, it's best to wait for a few minor updates of a major release before upgrading. Depending on the hardware combo, you might need to rebuild the system from scratch or reset and re-add a satellite node if you change the major firmware version (in one or all hardware units involved.)
ZenWiFi AX XT8: Detail photos
ZenWiFi AX XT8: Hardware specifications
|Full Name||Asus ZenWiFi AX AX6600 Router|
|Dedicated Backhaul Band||Yes (5GHZ-2)|
|Dimensions (WxDxH)||6.29 x 2.95 x 6.35 in |
(16 x 7.5 x 16.15 cm)
|Weight||1.56 lb (710 g)|
|5GHz-1 Wi-Fi Specs||2 x 2 AX: Up to 1200 Mbps|
|5GHz-2 Wi-Fi Specs||4 x 4 AX up to 4800 Mbps|
|2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs||2 x 2 Wi-Fi 6 up to 574 Mbps|
|Front-haul Channel Width Support||20Mhz, 40MHz, 80MHz|
|Mobile App||Asus Router|
|Web User Interface||Yes (Full)|
|AP Mode||Yes (as a router or a mesh)|
|USB Port||1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1|
|Gigabit Port||3 x LAN|
|Multi-Gig Port||1x 2.5 Gpbs/1Gbps WAN|
|Processing Power||1.5GHz quad-core CPU, |
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
Familiar settings, features, and shortcomings
Again, other than the more powerful hardware, the XT8 shares the same set of settings and features as the CT8. It also uses the same web interface and the Asus mobile app. That said, you can find out more in the review of the CT8, including how to set the system up.
To avoid repeating myself, I'll recap below some significant points.
Asus ZenWiFi XT8’s highlights
- Out of the box, the two XT8 hardware units are pre-synced. No matter how you change them individually -- like using each as a standalone router for a different home -- once restored to default settings, they are ready to work together as a mesh.
- The XT8 router can work with all other AiMesh-enabled routers, as the router unit or a satellite node.
- You can restore the XT8 router with the settings of any previous Asus router, making upgrading an easy job. Note, though, that it's always better to set it up from scratch to avoid potential setting conflicts
- The XT8 can work as a node for a system hosted by any other AiMesh-ready router. Or it can host one to extend its own network.
- There are lots of network settings, enough to make almost any advanced user happy, and features anyone would appreciate. These include AiProtection (online protection and parental control), Traffic Analyser, Adaptive QoS, VPN (client or server), and an excellent Dynamic DNS.
- AiMesh now has a new section of its own, within the web interface, which makes managing and adding additional nodes easier. You can also make use of the XT8's USB port even when it's working as a node.
- The USB port can do all that you can think of for a router peripheral port. You can use it to host a printer, a cellular modem, or a storage device to deliver all storage-related features you can imagine -- data sharing/syncing/streaming, Time Machine backup, PC-less downloading, and more.
Asus ZenWiFi AX6600’s shortcomings
And like other Asus routers, the XT8 shares the same shortcomings, too. First and foremost is the fact it can be buggy. Due to the sheer amount of features and settings, it seems Asus has had trouble keeping tabs on them all.
For example, a firmware update can cause issues -- you might need to reset the system and set it up or restore settings from a backup file to fix it. Like the case of other AiMesh routers, the Guest networking feature was only available at the router unit and not throughout the system during my trial.
(For the latest on AiMesh, check out this frequently updated post.)
On top of that, make sure you understand the inherent risks of using the DFS channels, which is the only option to make the router's 5GHz band work in the 160MHz channel. Hint: Turn this off if you want to make sure your connection is stable.
Other than DFS-related issues, you can expect most of the system's shortcomings to be addressed one way or another via future firmware updates. However, the excessive amount of settings can be overwhelming for home users and might cause the system to remain buggy in some shape or form.
ZenWiFi AX XT8 AX6600: Excellent performance
For the official scores, I tested the ZenWiFi AX in a wireless setup. The system doesn't have the Wi-Fi specs to be the fastest on the market. Instead, it delivers extensive Wi-Fi coverage and still with excellent real-world throughputs.
I used both 2x2 Wi-Fi 6 and top Wi-Fi 5 clients for the testing. Keep in mind that, in the intended wireless setup, the XT8 is a 2x2 system of both standards on its fronthaul.
Fast Wi-Fi speeds
As a mesh router, the XT8 delivered precisely the kind of performance I had expected from it -- hardware without Multi-Gig LAN or 160MHz channel width support.
(The router will deliver better Wi-Fi performance when you use it as a standalone device or open the 5GHz-2 band to clients.)
My Wi-Fi 6 client connected at 1.2Gbps and had a sustained speed of almost 840 Mbps at a close range of fewer than 10 feet (3 m).
When I increased the distance to 40 feet (12 m), it registered higher than 770 Mbps. Wi-Fi 5 clients fared the worst on the chart. However, that's because the XT8 is the only one among the existing handful of Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems on the market that doesn't feature 3x3 or faster Wi-Fi 5.
That said, its scores of some 660 Mbps and 450 Mbps for close and long-range, respectively, weren't bad at all.
The XT8 did it best when working as a mesh. The node (satellite) unit delivered the best performance to Wi-Fi 6 clients, averaging 850 Mbps and 792 Mbps for close and long-range, respectively. These were faster than higher-specced systems.
Excellent range, reliable signals
With two units, the XT8 could cover anywhere between 4000 ft² (372 m²) to 5000 ft² of residential space in my testing with fast Wi-Fi speeds.
I tested the system with the node placed some 40 feet away. But in anecdotal tests, I could put it some 70 feet away and still get speed fast enough to deliver my 300 Mbps internet in full.
Your mileage will vary, but it's safe to say, thanks to the full 4x4 Wi-Fi 6 backhaul, in a wireless setup, the XT8's range delivers. The system proved to be reliable, too. It passed my 3-day stress test without any disconnection.
Real Wi-Fi 6 speed via (buggy) wired backhaul
The XT8's wired backhaul also worked in my trial -- in this case, the distance between the two units doesn't matter much.
I created a separate network with the 5GHz-2 band and was able to get the full 2400Mbps connection speed from it using my 2x2 Wi-Fi 6 clients.
Note, though, that this connection speed was between the clients and the XT8. So, the only time you truly benefit from the Multi-Gig Wi-Fi speeds is when you have a Multi-Gig WAN connection and the clients connect directly to the router.
Since the XT8 has no Multi-Gig LAN port, clients connected to the node won't get real-world speeds faster than 1Gbps. Still, it's nice to have the option to have a 5GHz band working for high-speed clients. Or is it?
Update: Over additional testing, as it turned out, the XT8 might have an issue with the wired backhaul. Again, it seems the system was tuned for a fully wireless setup and a firmware update might cause problems when you use it in a wired setup -- you might need to reset it and set it up again. Though the issue hasn't been consistent, to be sure, it's better to use it in homes that have no wiring.
Decent performance as a mini-NAS server
Without a Multi-Gig LAN port, the ZenWiFi AC XT8 can't compare to those with one in terms of network-attached storage performance when hosting an external drive. But it was much faster than the CT8 in my testing.
When coupled with the SanDisk Extreme portable SSD, via a Gigabit connection, the router scored 46 MB/s and almost 65 MB/s for writing and reading, respectively.
These numbers are decent enough for casual network storage sharing, but you should think of a real NAS server if you want to do more.
Asus ZenWiFi XT8's Rating
Fast Wi-Fi performance and large coverage at a comparatively affordable cost
Improved and flexible AiMesh
Lots of network settings and useful features, including free real-time online protection for life
Full 4x4 dedicated backhaul band with optional wired backhaul support
Multi-Gig WAN port with Dual-WAN and WAN link aggregation
No 160MHz 4x4 support for Wi-Fi 6 clients in a dedicated wireless backhaul setup
No Multi-Gig LAN port or LAN link aggregation
Only four network ports on each hardware unit
Firmware can be buggy, especially via wired backhaul
Storage performance (when hosting an external drive) could be better
The ZenWiFi AX XT8 AX6600 Whole-Home Tri-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System is one out of more than a dozen Asus AiMesh systems I've tested, and it's one of the best, if not the best to date, for those needing a fully wireless setup.
(If you have gotten your home wired, consider a dual-band alternative.)
The system is far from perfect, though. It's not the fastest, nor does it deliver all features you can get from an Asus router -- it has no game-specific features or Multi-Gig LAN port. And like most Asus routers, it can be buggy, too. You might need to work at it for a bit before it works for you.
In return, it has an excellent combination of everything you'd look for in a mesh Wi-Fi system, which is fast performance and broad coverage. There's hope that it only gets better via firmware updates.
Most importantly, at less than $450, it's a steal. Many other 2-pack wireless mesh systems on the market, like the Netgear Orbi RBK852 or the Arris SURFboard mAX Pro, cost hundreds of dollars more yet have less in features and network customization.
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1,238 thoughts on “ZenWiFi XT8 Review: Asus’s Best Wireless AiMesh Set to Date”
Dong, thank you for the detailed information. I have a question that in my reading you alluded to but maybe didn’t give a definitive perspective. I have a XT8 base station and one wireless XT8 node that have been running well since 2020. Today I turned on the U-NII-4 band for the 5ghz backhaul after reading about the option on your site. I noticed that the 5ghz was not set as a dedicated backhaul but as a shared front/backhaul. Based on my reading of this review and some of your other articles, I think it would be best to set it a a dedicated backhaul on a channel in the U-NII-4 band. Does this sound like the best option to you? Thanks in advance.
It makes no difference, Nathan, since there’s no clients that support UNII-4 anyway. Dedicated only means when it’s not used for anything but backhauling.
Thanks, that makes sense. To clarify, you would recommend keeping the backhaul in the UNII-4 band?
Yeah. It should work better since it’s clean.
I’ve read your XT8 specific stuff and some of your more general things without seeing this addressed: in ASUS WiFi 6 offerings, why is it that some support WPA3 and others (e.g. XT8) do not? Most of my clients would not support WPA3 today, but some would. Where do you think the market is going and should I care?
That’s just a matter of firmware, Al. And no, you shouldn’t care. More here.
Hey Dong! I had XT8s running as 2.5gig backhaul mesh nodes for an AX89X, then a GT-AX6000, and now a GT-AX11000 Pro. They were fine for a long time, but with recent firmware they’ve completely bombed, rendering the main webgui terribly slow and causing random dropouts with clients until they’re either downgraded to 386 firmware or removed from the AiMesh. Any ideas? Does Asus know about this issue? I’ve gone back and forth with their support for weeks and finally gave up as nobody over there seems to care about this terrible bug.
Go back to the previous firmware version, John. More here.
Got it! Thanks 🙂
I recently bought and setup the ASUS XT8 mesh system after my previous AiMesh setup (ASUS Blue Cave and ASUS RT-1900P with wired backhaul) started dropping connections on a regular basis. I opted for the tri-band system (possibly overkill). After setting up the XT8 mesh system, everything is running well and connecting at a faster rate than with the old setup, and I am getting good signal all over my 3 story house. My only concern is when I look at the status of the router, 80% of the available RAM (512 MB) is being used all the time. I have about 15-20 devices in total connected at any one time. My previous setup worked for 5 years and I want this new setup to last at least as long. Do you think it is wise to switch out to a different primary router with more RAM (1 GB)?
Thanks in advance for your help and I appreciate all the info on your site,
You shouldn’t use this set if you have wired backhauling, Tom, as mentioned in the review. I’d not worry about the RAM usage, you should just ignore it.
The problem with dropped connections and general reliability and stability seems to be something that is being reported across Asus routers (in both the standard Asus and Merlin firmware versions) and appears to be endemic to almost all of the firmware releases based on the 388 versions so the Asus firmware. Many people have dropped back to the latest 386 version of the firmware for their particular Asus router. It would be nice if Asus could provide some guidance on what is going on here. Maybe Dong who seems to have good connections with Asus could get some guidance on this.
I already wrote about that, Randall, but most folks don’t have time to read. 🙂
I recall reading that, but my point here is that the 388 based releases is that they are no longer new: there have now been 3 or 4 iterations of the 388 releases going back to October and things don’t seem to be getting any better with respect to this issue. This is no longer a “new major version” problem but something that Asus seems to be having problems getting their hands around. I personally have experimented with all of the iterations of the 388 releases in both the Asus official releases and the Merlin releases based on the Asus GPL versions of the 388 releases made available to the Merlin community, and have given up for now and gone back to the last 386 releases for both the XT8 and XT12 since I needed a stable network.
Yeap. And I mentioned that, too (did you read the whole thing?). Generally, don’t update the firmware just for kicks. In my XP, the 388 version works better with Wi-FI 6E and “Pro” hardware. Hopefully, it’ll get stable eventually, just like the case of 386 when it first came out.
After my recent FW upgrade (main AX11000 and two XT8 nodes), I too experienced dropped connections & unstable mesh.
Finally decided to hard re-set all my devices and set-up the mesh from scratch. Its been more 10+ days, mesh performance have been rock-solid.
(my recent FW upgrade to 188.8.131.52.388_22525, nodes on 5Ghz wireless backhaul)
Currently I have this tri band mesh system set up with wired backhaul and it is working great. 95% of our devices are WIFI 5 devices, but I anticipate more WIFI 6 and possibly WIFI 6e devices in the near future. If I were to get a tri band 6e router like the RT-AXE7800 in the future and set it up with wireless backhaul with 2 XT8 nodes, I believe 50% of the 5Ghz band on the AXE7800 and 50% of the 2nd 5Ghz band on both XT8s would be the backhaul. This should leave me with all 3 bands for devices (5Ghz band at 50% bandwidth). Am I correct in this logic?
Your thinking is correct, Tom, but you might have difficulty syncing the two. I’d recommend against it. It’s not a good idea to mix standards and hardware with different number of bands, the result will be hit or miss. More in this post.
Thank you Dong!
Hi! Really love your informative explanations on networking!
I am thinking of combining my Asus AX11000 and XT8 pairs into a single mesh network (and sunsetting my pld AC2600)
Currently I have 3 network on the AX11000, 2 on XT8 and 1 on AC2600:
– AX11000 2.4ghz – 20 wifi bulbs
– AX11000 5ghz – wifi5 devices
– AX11000 5ghz – wifi6 devices
– XT8 2.4ghz – 20 wifi bulbs
– XT8 5ghz – any other devices
– AC2600 – 20 wifi bulbs
After combining it will be:
– Mesh 2.4ghz – 60 wifi bulbs
– Mesh 5ghz – all other devices
– Mesh 5ghz – wireless backhaul
– one of the XT8 will be wired to my PS5 and wireless mesh back to AX11000 which is the main router. I’m still not sure if this is a good idea as the PS5 is relative near to AX11000 and a direct wifi6 connection might be faster?
Overall I just wanted to make things cleaner and have a lag free setup for the PS5. Not sure if it’s a good idea as I don’t want to make the wifi bulbs connection unstable too.
I don’t see a question, but this post will help.
That’s actually quite helpful! I have not heard about ATF before.
My question is whether or not it is better to keep things separate like how it is now, my worry is whether each router operating on its own will affect each other.
Or is it better to combine them, but still keep the slower clients on the 2.4GHZ SSID.
Oh ya sorry. the other question is on whether it is faster (lesser lag) to use:
A) XT8 wired to PS5, then wireless backhaul to AX11000.
B) PS5 direct connect to AX11000 via Wifi6 (they are just 5 meters away with the AX11000 in a wooden cabinet)
Sorry but I can’t address random/specific questions like those. You should start with this post on how to use multiple broadcasters (and it’ll also explain what a “broadcaster” means) and follow the related ones. Good luck!
Hi Dong – I’d appreciate your thoughts on my situation: I have a 3-storey home. Running cable is not an option.
I just purchased a Netgear Nighthawk MK83 for $300 (despite the poor real world performance) because of the number of Ethernet ports (at least 3 devices will be connected by Ethernet in an office on the second floor) and the three units (so one can be on each floor).
I am now wondering if a 2-pack XT8 for $350 would offer better performance, even though there would be no unit in the basement. Does it make sense to assume that each floor should have its own unit? Do you have any resources on how to position routers/satellites in a multi-store home?
Excuse the length of this post, and thanks in advance for any input.
The XT8 will likely be much better, Jim. This post will explain more about how you can take the most out of a mesh system in general. For the XT8 in particular, this setup guide will help, too.
1. How many devices does this product support?
2. Does this product allow for assigning an access point? If so, what is the process to do so? I have numerous devices, but they primarily connect to the main node. Oft-times, some of the 2.4 devices disconnect.
1. Check out this post.
2. Check out this post.
You should entire each post in its entirety but the table of content will help. Please note the commenting rules. 🙂
You can force devices to always use a particular access point this is the Bind option under the Wi-Fi device. I am not aware of a restriction on number of connected devices, you could run out of ip addresses depending on your subnet configured, but normally this would stop new devices connecting not kick off devices. What version of firmware are you on?
If have north of 65 devices (many are wired). I do separate out the 2.4 GHZ and the 5GHZ to different SSIDs, I have 3 different access points and have seen up to 45 on one of the access points.
Hello Mr Ngo,
So I am considering ditching my tp-link x5300 setup for these ASUS XT8 however is wired backhaul still an issue with these? I have the option to use two XT8s as wired backhaul and a third (possibly a fourth) in wireless backhaul (no ethernet can be easily ran to these locations). I may need depending on the ability for the signal to reach a unit in my barn I may need to run a powerline wired backhaul (same circuit) to the barn XT8.
My problem with other units has been sending signal through our plaster & lathe wall (old 1920s farmhouse) and then out to the barn converted garage (35′ from house). The tp-link setup I using now works great with 2 wired, upstairs unit wireless and then powerline to the garage with a separate tp-link wireless powerline unit.
Switching because of privacy concerns as my wife does telehealth sessions from our home occasionally. Briefly we had a three Netgear RBK 752 units but it was not very stable.
Thoughts & suggestions?
It’s been months, or maybe a year or so, since wired backhauling was last an issue, and that may happen again with new firmware, Matt. But in that case, you can always reuse the old version that works and update the firmware later when a newer (and better version) is out. The key is don’t turn on the auto-update. I’d say go with the XT8, it’s even better now with the support for UNII-4.
I used the link to amazon above and donated a few coffees yesterday. Thanks for your time.
Thanks for the support, Matt. Appreciate it. And you’re welcome! 🙂
One last thing, AiMesh would allow me to XT8 for primary point (router) and then for areas like my barn use a XD4? Any issues going this route to save some $$$ ?
It’ll work — I haven’t tried — but mixing Tri-band and Dual-band can be problematic and will be slow in performance unless you use wired backhauling — make sure you read this part carefully. Actually, read the whole post and follow the related posts (at the top of the page or linked when applicable) if you have additional questions.
I ended up going with 2 RT-AX86U units due to availability and trying to finish this project over the weekend.
WOW! One unit pretty much cover both floors of the whole house with solid fast signal pushing through plaster & lathe walls! I have unit connected using AiMesh (wired backhaul) on the far end of an addition wing that is closest to our barn and it is delivering a solid signal to the barn.
Thanks again for the site and your insight!
Excellent! Thanks for the update!
Well it AX86Us did work and then failed miserably today. Both units went through boot loops and when they stopped the connections never stabilized. Each unit backhaule with cat 6 and lines test clean according to an IT friend. Spent the rest of the day fishing wire; now back to using our old combination of Nest & Google Wi-Fi units (everything is stable again).
I do have a couple of pairs of XT8 arriving tomorrow, but hesitant to give them a go now that our network is working well again. Is it normal for ASUS to be so buggy? I really don’t have the time to play IT guy for my Wife’s telehealth while I have programming projects due yesterday. :/
It can be a lot of things, Matt:
1. Make sure you use Ethernet Backhaul Mode
2. Don’t turn on too many features unless you need them or know how they work.
3. Don’t use the mobile app — you might tap on things without what would happen. Generally don’t mess around too much.
4. Use the stock firmware or Merlin, not both.
Generally, this router works well. I’ve been using many similar combos.
Thank you very much for the informative site, I spent here a couple of hours after discovering…
I am looking for a mesh with wireless backhaul, and I need it to be reliable and not necessarily the fastest. As for the clients, I have two WiFi-6 clients, several WiFi-5 clients, and four WiFi-4 clients. Would you recommend the ZenWiFi AX XT8?
Should I take a pack of 2 Asus RT-AX92U routers instead?
(My work will pay for it, so the price is not an issue)
I’d go with the XT8 between the two, Noam. Or you can get the XT12. Note, tho, that “reliability” is alway a wild card when you use wireless bachhauling.
Thanks. I’ll update how it works.
I have a 3 level home about 5500 square feet. We changed from Xfinity 1 gig to AT&T fiber also 1 gig. I had already been using four of the ZenWifi AC CT8 with decent results. The router was on the edge of the home in the office on the 1st floor. I had a node directly above in the bedroom and another at the other end of the 2nd floor in master bedroom. Finally, a 4th one on the 1st floor near the center. There were none in the basement, but we got decent coverage. I decided to try this ZenWifi AX XT8 two pack, one in office and one center of the house on the main level. I think I’ll return it, because although near the main router speeds around 500+, I could barely get a decent signal upstairs on the far end of the house (my bedroom) with two devices. I added back one CT8 as a node, so with 3 it functions ok, but I was hoping to move away from Wifi 5 router/ mesh completely. I can’t afford another 1-2 of these AX XT8 to replicate my old set up. Does that sound about right based on the specs?
I can’t address specificities, K. But this post will help you out.
I ended up going with another two XT8 (total of four) to essentially replicate my set up with the four CT8s that I ended up selling. I actually made another post testing these four XT8 against two of the XT12 that just went for sale on Amazon. So I’m in WiFi 6 for good, and won’t go back to WiFi 5 routers.
Do you have a link to your post?
Good call. Like I said in this post on Wi-Fi 6, it’s much better than Wi-Fi 5 in a mesh.
Thanks for all the work you put into this fabulous site.
I have 5 of these units installed in a client’s house, 4 in the main area of the house and the 5th in an ADU situated about 100′ from the main part of the house. All the units are connected with Ethernet from the XT8 Router unit to the nodes’ WAN ports. The 4 in the main house work great and are stable and very fast (<500 Mbps download). The 5th unit doesn't successfully join the LAN and actually causes some of the other units to crash. I suspect it's too far from the rest of the Mesh system. Is there some way to put this 5th unit in AP mode and use it that way? When I go to the AP setting in Administration section, it puts all the units into WAP mode. I just want to use the 5th unit in the ADU in this way. Is this possible? Thanks in advance.
@Dong: could you explain a bit how version numbering of Asus’ firmware works?
I see all beta firmwares begin with v9.x.x.x.xxx.xxxxx and all stable versions with 3.x.x.x.xxx.xxxxx. The last 5 digits always seem to be ascending, whether it’s a v3 stable or v9 beta firmware.
Am I correct that I should look towards the last 5 digits? If they’re higher in numbering, then it’s newer?
The changelog isn’t very clear on this, as they seem to have totally other improvements… 🙁
They are two separate lines of update and it only makes sense when you compare the V9 and V3 lines separately, Henk. In other words, don’t put any beta and public versions side by side.
Ah, clear. Thx!
But I would think improvements from the v9 beta firmware is getting integrated in the final v3 versions. In that case I would think a v3 version form a later date and time would be an improvement over an earlier released v9 beta?
Is is that not even so and is the v9 beta line a development for a later v9 stable/final version?
That might or might not be the case, Henk. So beta settings/features might never make it to the final.
You are so right about the FIRMWARE update for the XT8 when using WIRED BACKHAUL. The recent 184.108.40.206.386.48706 created problems on my devices connection; it often CONNECTED WITHOUT INTERNET, especially on the main router. It took me weeks to troubleshoot. And found out that changing the BACKHAUL CONNECTION PRIORITY from 1G to AUTO and DISABLE the ETHERNET BACKHAUL MODE in the AIMESH system settings….Problem solved.
By the way, I have the AX3000 (dual Band) on my node and main is the XT8 (3 band). It run without any problems (WIRED) without any issues until the latest updates for the XT8.
Yes, that has happened before. This set is meant for wireless backhaul. You can revert back to the previous firmware and wait for the next release.
Reverting back to the older firmware seems to be a hassle. I just hope that Asus can make improvements on the firmware updates to support XT8…considering it isn’t a cheap router.
Thank you for your reply
Yeap. My strategy with Asus has been to wait for a second firmware update after a working version before updating. And turn off “Auto Update”, of course. 🙂
My two XT8 on 48706 are stable using wired backhaul. I had some issues more than a year ago, but since then all firmwares were working quite well.
The hardware of different regions can be quite different, K. But this set is best used in a wireless setup. It’ll work, and work well mostly, in with a wired backhaul but expect surprises now and then.
Hi Dong wants to thank you for this detailed analysis. I am in Mexico and here all the walls are made of concrete. I have ethernet wiring and I would like to know which device do you recommend, Asus XT8 or Deco XE75?
If you have wiring, then go with the XE75, or better yet, the ET8 (or ET12), Jorge! Buena suerte!
I bought the XT8 a few months ago on my 1 gig service. Some reason I only get about 300-400mbps on Wifi (39% of the speed) Isn’t that low for a 1gig service?(810mbps) I ended up upgrading to a 2 gig service today to see if it improve. The service I’m getting from a test while logged into the fios modem is 2200 mbps. I’m only getting 37% of the speed At between 650-820 mbps. I was told by Netgear senior support I should be getting about 70% wifi speed of your total hardwire speed. I use a Wifi 6 phone and my new MacBook Air (802.11ax) am I missing something. I have a lot of thing hardwired but some are on Wifi so both are important to me and I want to make sure I’m not getting ripped off by the isp.
More on testing in this post, Adam. Follow the linked posts, too.
650-820 mbps download makes sense. XT8 has a problem with Fios for wi-fi upload speed.
I think Adam was more concerned about getting the speeds he paid for. For that, the only way to figure out is at the ONT.
I was under the impression you should expect 70% of the true speed. So 650-820 about 37% of the 2200mbps I’m actually getting when I log into the modem and do a speed test. So 1100 mbps would be 50% but it’s only about 37%. Also … they installed this this morning and it’s on their modem until they come back out tomorrow. I’m hoping to use a MOCA to be able to use the XT8 or at least test it. I don’t know if I’m expecting to much but I was told by Netgear senior tech as well as frontier that 70% of the speed should be seen while in Wifi. Am I missing something?
You missed basically EVERYTHING, Adam. You should start with this post. READ it. All of it. Or READ the post I linked in the previous reply. Follow the related links if necessary. That’s part of the rules before asking questions, by the way.
I did read it Mr Dong …. Nevermind.
Glad you did. You should have your answers now.
Even in Dong’s test, he has 1.2 Gbps speed and got 835 mbps download. The specs also say:
5GHz-1 Wi-Fi Specs: 2 x 2 AX: Up to 1200 Mbps
Im suffering from paralysis of analysis. Do you still recommend the xt8 as a best solution for mesh for an unwire medium sized house. Coverage and reliablity more important than raw speed.
Yes, C. For your case, make sure you don’t use the 160MHz channel width.
Dong, do you means disabling 160MHz channel width for backhaul SSID Asus_5G-2 so that it’s only 20/40/80 MHz? Why is that?
Follow the link in the review about this bandwidth, Grayson. Generally, follow the related link if you don’t know something mentioned here on this website. After that, put two and two together. 🙂
Thanks for your reply and your website is great. Really appreciate all the info you give out!
I just installed the xt8 and speed is great on phone. One problem is that my new laptop doesnt want to connect to the node a few feet away and always connects to main unit. If I force it to it is much slower. Also laptop barely has any speed if I plug it into node lan port. Sorry for noob question but hopefully you can point me in right direction.
Get a new laptop? Call the tech support of the laptop’s vendor? Or check out this post. This is not a laptop support website, you know. Or any type of tech support website for that matter. 🙂
Hi Dong, I place 2 XT8 units in 2 floors (around 6 meters) and the signal strength of the second one = -56 dBm. Should I leave it wireless backhaul or use an 1Gbs cable as backhaul? Which one should be faster? Thanks.
It’s always better to use wired backhaul, Huy. Also, keeping them too close to each other does more harm than good. More here: https://dongknows.com/mesh-wi-fi-system-explained/
Has there been any firmware update from ASUS that combines all three wireless bands via Smart Connect when the wired backhaul is in effect?
I haven’t tried, Andrew, but that should work now with the latest firmware. Make sure you pick the wired backhaul as the only backhaul link within the web user interface: AiMesh -> System Settings -> Ethernet Backhaul Mode.
Thanks for the quick reply. I haven’t purchased the device yet, hoping to get a confirmation from you to go ahead.
I have another question. Currently I’m using RT-AC86U. Due to the way my home is set up, I can only use wired backhaul in my living room and study room with the XT8. If I want to set up my old router in my bedroom, I can only connect it wirelessly in AiMesh. Does that mean my whole AiMesh will be using wireless backhaul? Or will the two XT8 use wired backhaul, while the RT-AC86U uses wireless backhaul?
Check out this post, Andrew.
I’ve purchased the XT8 and just want to confirm that it can now use tri-band as wireless when using ethernet backhaul.
You can find that out yourself, Andrew. It should work, but I generally recommend it for a fully wireless setup.
I’ve narrowed my choices to the XT8 because I was originally planning on a mesh system, but after researching believe my needs could be addressed by 1 unit instead of a mesh (1600 sq ft home, lots of walls, some exterior brick and need to reach cameras). I do like the multiple ethernet ports this unit has.
However, if I do have dead spots, I would like the option to expand. Should I buy a single unit XT8 ($249 Amazon) and see if that works or commit to a 2 unit system ($399 Amazon)? I’m afraid I’ll create other issues if I “over build”.
Thank you. I appreciated all the articles I read. It helped me learn a lot.
You can start with one, Jim. But in that case, you might want to get the RT-AX86U or GT-AX6000. But the XT8 might work well, too. That depends on your home and where you place it, etc. More in this post.
Thanks for your review. It is why I chose to get the XT8.
Would you have any updates or tips on how to resolve the random latency spike on the XT8? Because of it my VPN (for work) gets disconnected. Prefer not to connect a cable to my laptop to resolve it. My laptop is connected to the satellite, and it seemed not to happen when it is connected to the router…
It’s likely the DFS issue as I mentioned in the review, Joseph. More in this post.
I turned off the DFS, but it was not the issue.
I was looking at the systems log in the Asus admin page, and it did not indicate my laptop disconnecting from the router, so it may be something else. Thanks for the suggestion above.
Just adding onto my comments above as I experimented. The VPN connection is steady and does not break when connected to the XT8 router. So the VPN disconnection only occurs if it is connected to the satellite.
Which is why I mentioned the DFS, Joseph. Check on it again, make sure you pay attention.
Hi Dong, following up with our conversation. I have switch the 5ghz to 80mhz only, auto control channel, and made sure the “use DFS Channels” is unchecked. Unfortunately the VPN is still dropping. Am I missing anything else to ensure DFS is not used? Sorry and thanks.
Try repowering your mesh, Joseph. Unplug it from power, wait 10 seconds or longer, then plug it back in.
So I repowered my mesh and unfortunately it is still disconnecting. I have now also disabled beamforming as well. Any other suggestions is appreciated.
5GHz-1 Wi-Fi Specs 2 x 2 AX: Up to 1200 Mbps
5GHz-2 Wi-Fi Specs 4 x 4 AX up to 4800 Mbps
why it has 4 x 4 for 5GHz-2 but only 2 x 2 for 5GHz-1 ?
That’s the same question as why we don’t have wings but birds do. It is how it is.
Appreciate the super detailed review. Any idea how to account for the lackluster NAS performance compared to other Asus routers with similar specs that also lack a multi-gig LAN port?
For example, your NAS tests show the RT-AX92U and RT-AX88U as having nearly double the read/write throughput. Spec-wise, I don’t see significant difference, and the AX92U in particular is only dual-core versus the quad-core here, so in theory the CPU power should not be the limiter.
I much prefer the “white box” form factor of having the antennas integrated, but these NAS specs are concerning. Might a firmware update resolve this, or is it somehow attributable to the hardware?
It is what it is, M. If you want real NAS performance, I’d recommend getting a NAS server. It’s a router you’re looking at. More on that in this post.
I would really appreciate it if you could help me on this.
I wonder if my AX3000 could work well as a wired router together with my xt8’s acting as 2,5gig AP’s (with a multigig switch off course)?
Or would i be better of with the same or higher specced hardware like the xt8’s for routing?
Would turning off the 58u’s broadcaster (using it as a wired router) lighten it’s cpu load, freeing up memory, making it do routing better?
It’ll work fine, Nils. But i wouldn’t do it. More in this post.
Thank you for replying Dong.
Is it the use of the lower specced ax3000 as wired router you do not agree on?
I thought that highest spec hw first mostly applied to mesh networks.
I thought that it going dark would free up some cpu and ram, compensating for lacking hw.
Also one big reason i would still want to use the 3000 as a “wired” router is the AI-protection that comes with the router.
The RT-AX3000 has no Multi-Gig port, Nils. That’s the main reason I wouldn’t use it with a Multi-Gig switch. On top of that, the XT8 is generally not great with wired backhaul, check its review for more.
First of all, THANK you for your work and detailed explanations!
I would need your expertise and help in order to buy the appropriate equipment for our future home that will be ready in a few months (by the way, I live in the south of France).
Our house is 140 square meters (that’s about 1500 feet) and it has 2 floors with a total number of 4 bedrooms (ground floor has 75 square meters and 65 square meters for the 1st floor)
After carefully reading your post, I believe the ASUS ZenWiFi XT8 system is what I need for my home but I am afraid it is not enough to cover my backyard as well.
As far as I understood, I can’t add a 3rd standalone unit or even a second ASUS ZenWiFi XT8 to have 4 nodes in total (also i guess this option would be a bit overkill).
My idea is to use an Assus host router and to connect the ASUS ZenWiFi XT8 to it as 2 nodes.
That way I can put the host router in the middle of the house to cover the wireless gate door bell outside the house , one of the ASUS ZenWiFi XT8 (first node) close to the exit on my back yard and the 2nd ASUS ZenWiFi XT8 upstairs to cover the 3 bedrooms I have there.
My question is: which Assus host router to buy? I believe I need a tri-band wifi6E.
I was thinking of ASUS GT-AX11000 (it costs 469 euros here in France) but it’s a bit expensive and I am not sure I really need to pay that much, maybe there is a better alternative.
This router will be connected via ethernet cable to my ISP provider box that will be situated in my garage (i have 1Gbit fiber optics).
Can you help me with this? Can you give me one or 2 more models from Assus that are cheaper but enough to hold my 25-30 overall devices I have at home (tablets, phones, pcs, door cameras, outside wifi cameras etc).
Thank you in advance for your reply,
Sorin from France 🙂
Check out this post on AiMesh combos, Sorin.
There is a known issue regarding wi-fi upload speeds with this. Can you add wi-fi upload speeds to your tests?
More on testing in his post, Grayson — it’s a long post. And yes, I did the testing with both upload and download as well as many other things.
Do you have any charts for Wi-Fi upload speed for this router? I can’t get more than around 180mbps and people say that Asus knows about the issue but hasn’t done anything about it.
No, Grayson, and I’m not experiencing this issue with AT&T Fiber as well as some other Fiber services in my area. We got over 300Mbps upload easily which is the max of the plans we tried it with.
Ahh, it’s a fios issue. “XT8 can not go higher than 200 Mbps UL when connected to a FiOS ONT (for WiFi). Asus has known about this for over a year”
Hi Dong, I’ve read many of your comments and posts about xt8 vs xd6 and which scenario to use which.
If I’m going to use wired backhaul, given that the xt8 firmware has been updated to allow the previously dedicated 160mhz / 5ghz-2 backhaul to be used on fronthaul, would you still suggest I use the xd6? Or can the xt8 on wired backhaul be used now too with similar results?
I still recommend that XD6 for your case, Sameer. It’s a matter of tri-band vs dual-band and in your case, the division the 5GHz spectrum is unnecessary.
Thanks Dong! My only issue with the XD6 is that I need aUSB port, which the XD6 doesn’t have but the XT8 does. Is there any way I can configure the XT8 to operate as much as possible like an XD6? e.g. the new firmware of the XT8 allows me to use the 5ghz-2, so am I able to ‘disable’ the 5ghz-1 band on the XT8 when using wired backhaul so I effectively have the same channel-widths as the XD6? Thereby giving myself a XT8-come-XD6 but with a USB port? or am I missing something / making my life more difficult? Is there any other solution if I want a mesh system with a wired backhaul with USB port?
(thanks for your great content)
You can get a router and a different node, Sameer. More in this post.
Cool thanks Dong. I might go for the Asus RT-AX86U as router and XD6 as nodes. One question on this setup though – I notice the AX86U runs 2.4ghz in 3×3, whereas the XD6 runs 2.4ghz in 2×2. Any issues with that – or good to go ahead?
That won’t matter, Sameer. That band is going to be slow, by the way, just how it is.
Hello Dong, thank you for your great website.
I have AX11000 as the main router and 3 x XT8s as wireless APs. One of the issues I have is that they keep ignoring my specified topology, ie Preferred WiFi Uplink AP setting – I’ve tried both 220.127.116.11.386_45934 and 386 rc3-3 firmware to no avail, do you know how to force them to stick to the right setting?
Also, many devices – both IOTs and Macs – choose their AP very weirdly, ie definitely not the closest one/the one with the strongest signal, what can be causing that?
Check out this post on the handoff, Alex. But the gist is Wi-Fi doesn’t work the way you “see” things, since it’s indivisible, to begin with. In your case, just click on the Optimization button in the AiMesh section of the web interface and let the system does its things. (Also, don’t use the mobile app, or use it but don’t trust what you see.)
As for your IoTs, Id’ recommend separating the bands, or creating an extra SSID via the Guest network (you can enable the intranet access for it to work as a non-Guest network — more in this post.)
My house is 3000sq ft and two stories. Currently, I have 600 mbps download blaze plan from xfinity and I use Netgear C6300. I wasn’t getting enough speed or connection hence decided to buy mesh wifi and after reading tons of reviews online, I bought this Asus AX6600.
My question is do I need to buy another modem with 3.1 or can I continue using the current Netgear C6300?
Second question, is it going to be overkill for 600mbps speed. Should I switch to gigabyte plan?
I really appreciate your help in advance. Thank you!
Check out this post, Mukesh.
Thanks for all the help. My XT8 keeps loosing wifi broadcast. I have to power down and power up the node to get wifi again. Happens multiple times a day – sometimes every 10 minutes. Up to date on firmware. Please help.
Check the already answered comments, Philip. It’s likely the DFS issue.
What I realized today after I replied back to Dong is that I wasn’t selecting the backhaul band so I could then modify the settings (see below reply to my comment on Dec 15 2021 where he links to the post that discusses DFS).
You need to go to Wireless->General->Band and then select the “5Ghz– 2 ” band from the drop-down box – this is the backhaul band. When you select this, then you’re able uncheck “Enable 160 MHz” under Channel bandwidth as well as select a Control Channel that is outside the DFS range.
‘ll know in a few consecutive days if this has resolved the issue as my disconnect issues with my XT8 have been occurring every 24 to 36 hours.
Hi Dong, were you able to find out how many concurrent client connections each access point could support?
It’s a matter of bandwidth, Brian. More in this post.
I purchased the XT8 about 6 weeks ago and have had some trouble with it. I’m using ethernet backhaul with both units connected. My speeds are actually very good. HOWEVER, I’m experiencing a very annoying issue: at random times, the units will disconnect briefly for a minute — not a full reboot, but one which causes my WiFi devices to disconnect and reconnect. Imagine all the notifications from smart home devices warning of a WiFi interruption, as well as audio and video buffering.
I’ve raised this issue to ASUS but they haven’t offered a solution yet (they suggested changes to various settings like channel bandwidth, control channel, WAN DHCP query and LAN Switch Control, but nothing worked). In fact, I recently exchanged the units and still having the same issues with the replacement units.
Do you think it’s their firmware? I’m on their latest update.
Check out this post, Jamie. Chances are, it’s the DFS issue.
Thank you, Dong, for the quick reply! After reading this, I think perhaps you may be right, which is why ASUS did advise me to make some changes to the Channel Bandwidth and Control Channel settings for each band. And yes, I reside pretty close to a large airport and military installation, so this might explain the root of the problem with WiFi 6. Hopefully I can do some further fine tuning to these settings (a nice feature of ASUS’ router management vs. other manufacturers). In any case, I really appreciate your detailed explanation.
Sure, Jamie. Good luck!
So, per your article on the DFS issue, after modifying these settings (I’m using channel 36 on my 5Ghz band) I’m still experiencing the problem. Not any worse, but not any better. And ASUS has not offered me any further solutions.
Is just something I’m going to have to tolerate with WiFi 6 routers like this — and in particular this XT8 one?
It’s not the channel number, Jamie. You need to disable the 160MHz channel width on the backhaul band. The first screenshot in this post is shown with that turned on. You need to uncheck the box, save the changes, and restart your router. Take your time, pay a bit of attention, and you’ll get it right.
So after figuring out how to get to the backhaul band and modify its settings (btw it appears the web interface has changed slightly since your original post with the screenshot), I was able to follow your instructions to disable the 160 MHz channel width and then set a control channel outside of DFS. Surprisingly and unfortunately, the WiFi disconnect issue is still present and actually more frequent now (has happened twice in the last 24 hours vs. perhaps once every 24 to 36 hours).
I appreciate that you aren’t ASUS tech support, but I’ve gotten nowhere with them, so just wondering if you have other advice — including how to address this with ASUS. Because this keeps happening, I’m quite disappointed in this XT8 system and may be looking at returning it for an alternative. This is my second set of the XT8 as I had experienced the same issue with the first set (I exchanged it for this 2nd set thinking the first was defective).
Thanks in advance!
I’d recommend resetting it and setting it up again, Jaime. Now, disable the 160MHz on the backhaul, and that’s it, leave the rest alone and see how it pans out. You might have changed so many settings that you don’t even know what causes the issue anymore. Don’t use the mobile app, by the way! Also, make sure the disconnection issue is not Internet-related, it could be your modem or your provider. It’s impossible for me or anyone outside of your home to know. For more, check out this post on troubleshooting.
Well, Dong, I followed your advice exactly (did a full factory reset and unchecked both “Enable 160 Mhz” and “Auto Select channel including DFS channels”). Unfortunately this has failed to resolve the disconnect issue I originally asked you about. I wanted to wait a couple of weeks to see if things improved before asking you for more advice.
One thing that happens when I apply the above settings is that the “Auto Select channel…” option goes back to being checked. Nothing I do stops this from happening.
Anyway… given that I have wired my house (YAY!) and thus have both my nodes connected by Ethernet, I’m wondering if exchanging the XT8 for the XD6 would resolve my DFS problems.
On the other hand, I *could* tolerate this issue…while it is mildly disruptive, it is not what I expected with a top-tier WiFi 6 router like the XT8.
Thoughts? Other ideas? Thanks again — I would have been totally lost without your posts!!!
You shouldn’t have gotten this set if your home is wired. Remember that I answer questions assuming folks have read the post with attention. Maybe you should do that first. For your case, you have plenty of options, more in this post. If you want to keep the XT8, revert it back to an older firmware — *READ* this review for more.
Here’s a postscript to my last post about this: Because of your advice, I exchanged the XT8 pairs for the XD6 (because my house is wired) and voila, all my issues are resolved. No more disconnects. DFS was definitely causing this annoying problem. It’s a shame that the XT8 firmware is so problematic, i.e., it does not really allow for disabling auto control channels.
Dong — if I knew about your review site in the first place, I most likely wouldn’t have erred in buying the XT8 (my purchase decision was based on the NYT Wirecutter and cNET reviews).
Thanks for the reviews. I recently bought Asus xt8 (2-pack) and replaced the Linksys Velop AC6600 (3-pack).
My home is a two storey house, and about 3000 sqft including basement. Since there is only a few minor devices in the basement, I put one XT8 on the main floor and the other one on the second. Two routers are connected wirelessly, and my PC connects to the node on 2nd floor by wifi. I did get faster speed according to speedtest.net. My internet plan is 1000 and I am getting around 500 on my PC(wifi 6 client) instead of 200-300 from the old Linksys setup. I noticed that the speedtest.net now takes very long time(more than 5s) to connect after clicking go, but turns out the ping is low.
I found that some websites is slower than before. It would take a 2-3 seconds to start loading depends on the websites, and some video website(YouTube etc) takes longer time(5s or longer) to be completely loaded(video thumbnails are blank at first and load slowly after). But this doesn’t always happen, sometimes they work well.
Also, I found some of my smart home devices disconnect sometimes. My hue app occasionally stuck at connecting. And my nest cameras take longer time to watch real time, and sometimes lagging when apply settings. None of these happened when I was using Linksys.
When it comes to gaming and downloading, it’s a great improvement over the Linksys. The download speed is much faster and the ping in game is lower.
I am wondering what could cause the problems. I did not use any QoS setting. I tested packet loss and jitters, and the result seems fine. Is this a ‘stability’ issue? What can I do to resolve this? Will it help if I add an Asus Gt-Ax11000 as the main router? Or should I buy Linksys MX12600 instead?
Thank you for time!
That’s likely because you turned on the Network Protection/Parental Control feature (part of AiProtection), Wei. Another possibility is you have the backhaul band (5GHz-2) in 160MHz, which is fast but might take some time to negotiate — more in this post.
Thank you so much for such a fast reply! I’ll try turn the AiProtection off.
If I want to utilize my basement in the future, would you recommend adding another set of XT8 or a AX11000 as main router?
Here’s the review of the GT-AX11000, Wei, and here’s the post on combos. You need to make that decision yourself based on what you want/need.
I am looking at getting a mesh system for our house, and I have narrowed down the choices to either the ASUS ZenWifi XT8 or the TP-Link Deco X5700. I like the features that the XT8 offers, but the performance numbers for the X5700, based on your chart, are very hard to ignore (Router Performance of 1436.24/1116.24 Mbps for the X5700 vs 835.6/792.1 Mbps for the XT8). Since the XT8 was tested before the release of AiMesh 2.0 and the Smart Connect feature, would that improve the performance numbers for the XT8 in a wired backhaul setup? For reference, I currently have Xfinity Gigabit internet service, and a Motorola MB8611 DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem.
Here’s how I test Wi-Fi , Jamison. If you read that post and check out the text of the reviews, you’d know the reason for the big differences in the performance numbers and how they don’t mean much.
Hi Dong. First time I have seen your reviews. They are great, detailed and easy to understand for a noob like me. I live in Melb, Aus. I have a long house, with one area (a rumpus room) downstairs at the back of the house. Brick veneer house with timber stud/plaster walls. My max speed is 250Mbps. My house has been wired so I can connect satellites via ethernet at each end of the house and in the middle if need be. Areas needed for wifi would be more at front and rear of house. I have some devices that need to connect at 2.4 I currently dont have any wifi6 devices but in the future I suppose they will come. Is there any advantage at all to get tri band or is it just wasted because I will be wired. Which unit should I go for? Thanks for your help.
Get a dual-band set mentioned in this post, Adrian.
Thanks Dong. Not sure what to look at here. Is there a need to get a different router, say the RT-AX86U, and a pair of XD6? Or could I just do with a pair (or 3) of XD6? And if I went with the XD6, could I add the RT-AX86U later if I felt I needed to?
You need to read the entire post and pay attention, Adrian. Sorry but I’m not going to address questions that have been addressed.
Thanks, but I am fairly tech illiterate. I’m not sure why a different router would be an advantage rather than just having 2 x XD6’s.
Also, with the XD6, can you tell me if I have the option of selecting the 2.4 band for individual devices that need to connect to 2.4?
Currently I am using Ax86u as aimesh router and two of Ax58u as aimesh nodes. I get my house wired and use ethernet backhaul. Should I switch from this combo to 3 packs of XT8?
PS: are you Vietnamese?
No, Ben, as I mentioned in this review, the XT8 is best used in a wireless setup — but if you need more, check out this post. Speaking of reading you can find out more about it in the About section.
Thanks for the excellent reviews and I’m sorry if this is repetitive.
I’m looking for a 2 pack mesh wifi, RT-AX92U in a 2-pack is $330 while the XT8 is $430. I do not see any reason to choose the XT8 over the RT-AX92U model at this price if I’ll wired backhaul.
Both models will have the same performance if wired backhaul, however RT-AX92U has broader coverage, 2 USBs and is cheaper.
Am I missing something?
If you’re correct, Claudio. But if you have wired backhaul, I’d recommend using a dual-band set instead, like the XD6, or any dual-band combo mentioned in this post.
Thanks a lot Dong, XD6 does not have USB but I will have a look on the link and check the other routers prive.
Thank you for an excellent review, can you confirm if this system allows for a second satellite to be connected? I would have thought this was the case, and I think you are saying this is correct in other comments, but I’ve read elsewhere that it’s limited to 2 units only?
Like all AiMesh solutions, you can use up to 7 units in total, Lee. More in this post on Asus AiMesh.
Hi Mr. I read and read and hands down your are the best.
Sorry about my bad English, is not my primary language.
I am seriously thinking about changing the Mesh that I currently have in the house/office (Google WiFi using a central point plus 3 satellites. It is OK, but in some places I only have some as 40mbps from my 200mbps internet connection in FiberHome, I think about a NETGEAR Powerline adapter Kit PLP2000-100PAS for one of the hubs, but not sure if it can reach 100 or more mbps at all). Unfortunately I cannot make wired connections, so I must only use wireless connections between the hubs.
My incoming connection have 3 internet providers, FiberHome at 200mbps, and two WISP at 20mbps and 15mbps, all comes to a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter PoE (5 ports) in a configuration that if my 200 connection is up is the only one used, in case of drop the two WISP come in a load balance scenario (for my job I need a 7×24 connection).
I’m thinking about the Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) (maybe?) in a 1 + 3 configuration (1 primary and 3 satellites/hubs) , most because the house is big and is full concrete and bricks, extra to that is not a square and 3 floors in total.
There are basic factors that I need/interest me:
1. Ease and convenience to configure (control from my iPhone etc), but that have some pro features that I miss in my Google WiFi)
2. A guest network, if I can limit it in terms of how much bandwidth it provides to guest better
3. If possible to define bandwidth limits to certain equipment’s connected is a BIG plus
4. Statistics of use and speed test of the provider
5. That I can see ho is connected and how much is using the bandwith
6. That can be accessed from outside the house if necessary (remote control or something like that)
7. That does not require rare subscriptions to pay every month or yearly
8. And before my wife kills me, be “decorative” or not visible (big advantage from the Google Wifi, small and can be hidden easy), but I know, nothing is perfect
Some friends talk me about the Unifi Alien, but after read a lot I don’t think it is the best option, so I return to the Asus as option
Any advice and is possible to do all that I like to do with the Asus XT8?
Thanks in advance, regards
Go with the XT8, Dariusz. And your English is excellent!
Thank you so much. Then is time for a change 😉
Now Asus announced the XT12, sounds as a beast but no release date for now 🙁
That one will take a while, probably well into 2022 is my guess.
I think the same.
Thanks a lot again for your help
Can the Asus AX XT8 be used in Access Point mode instead of a router?
I have a situation where I can’t replace the router but I want to replace the routers wifi functionality with a better option and also a mesh system.
Yes, Colin. See the hardware specification part of the review.
Hi Dong. I had a pair of CT8 set up with wired backhaul. One of those units died. I returned it for warranty repair and in the meantime I purchased another pair of CT8. I have one node in the basement and the third unit in a detached garage, both with wired backhaul. ASUS was unable to repair my defective CT8 due to parts availability and did not have a replacement available either. They offered to replace it with an XT8 which I accepted. My question is whether there would be any real advantage to using the XT8 as my main router. My current system is working well and I have no WiFi 6 devices at this time. Cell phone upgrade coming soon so it may be WiFi 6 capable. I think I read in one of your articles that it was not good to mix these two if using wireless backhaul but what about when they are hardwired? Or better to leave my setup as is? Thanks for your great testing and articles.
You shouldn’t mix the XT8 and the CT8 in a wireless setup, Scott. More in this post, which will explain what you should do if you do use them together. Make sure you read it in its entirety!
I read that again and this is the part I was asking about: “Sometimes, you want to mix a router with the best feature set with a more affordable node. Of course, in this case, you’ll get the Wi-Fi performance at each mesh unit according to their hardware specs.
Again, if you use wired backhaul, there’s not much concern here. But if you think of a wireless mesh, it’s best to use routers of the same Wi-Fi standard (Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6) and performance tiers for better reliability.”
I am using ethernet backhaul to both locations. I will probably turn off wireless backhaul and run 5Gz 2 on a separate SSID. Still a bad idea or nothing to be gained doing this? Sorry if I misinterpreted something. Thanks.
That’s a good idea and it’ll work work, Scott. Make sure that the wired backhaul is in use.
Will do. Thanks.
Sure, Scott. I think I missed the part you mentioned wired backhaul — I only have so much time for each comment :). With that you have a lot of options, worse comes to worst, you can always use the CT8 in the AP mode. Good luck! The XT8 is a much better router.
I opened the 5Ghz-2 giving the same SSID as the 5Ghz-1. It seems to work, but maybe this method is not recommended?
It’s generally a better idea to keep it as a separate SSID, S.
I specify that I fixed the 5Ghz-2 on Wifi-6 only.
Great review. I just purchased Asus XT8; however, I realize that there is a restriction in my country that all 5ghz band is only allowed at Ch 149+, which is only available 5ghz-2 (iPhone could not detect the wifi on channel 36-44). So is there any way to swap around the dedicated backhaul to 5ghz 1 instead of 2? or open more channels on 5ghz1? If none of the options are available, would it be ok for some devices to join the dedicated backhaul SSID while keeping the 5ghz2 dedicated for backhaul?
Thanks for the help
Your best bet is opening up the 5GHz-2 band for clients, Allen, as I mentioned in the review. And that means it’s no longer “dedicated”. In your case, there’s no benefit in getting tri-band hardware at all.
Thanks for all the valuable info on this mesh system. On your advice I purchased this about 18 months ago and it has been pretty solid and stable….until today which I can’t figure out for the life of me. I have the main unit in my basement connected to my modem and then one node upstairs connected via wifi. Wifi works great everywhere in the house. IThe problem is i can’t maintain a ethernet connection for devices plugged into the main unit. For example, When I connect my laptop directly to the main unit via ethernet, it works. However when I connect another device to the main unit via Ethernet it won’t connect and also I lose connectivity to my laptop. Once I unplug both devices, then plug the laptop back in, it connects right away. Its almost like the asus will only allow one IP via Ethernet or something. At the mesh node upstairs, like I mentioned, i have that connected via wifi, but there is an IP camera connected via Ethernet, and it functions properly. What brought this all to my attention is that all the devices that were attached via ethernet to my network switch(which is connected to the main asus in basement) like 3 tvs in my basement, all lost their connection today. I have unplugged that network switch from main router so I’ve taken that part out of the equation to try to make troubleshooting easier. If I didn’t explain well enough, please let me know and I will fill in the blanks. I have tried all the simple steps like power cycling the cable modem and ASUS router, unplugging cables and such. Its just seems like the main ASUS unit will only allow one device to connect to it via Ethernet therefore making any other devices unable to connect as well as my switch. Any suggestions please. Thanks in advance! I appreciate it!
That’s odd, Kevin. But you can try using an older firmware version.
Thx for getting back to me.. I decided to do a factory reset and start from scratch and that did the trick. I dont know what happened but its resolved. Keep up the good work. We appreciate it!
Huge fan of yours! Is it possible for me to connect the XT8 straight to the modem, or does it have to go through a router? I was recommended the AX88U as the router/switch to connect to the LAN points, and have the XT8 run through wired backhaul. Is this a good setup?
Thanks in advance!
The XT8 is a router, Nic. So yes, you can set it up just like you do any router — in fact, you don’t want to use another router with it to avoid double NAT. The 2nd unit needs to connect to the first one, though, just like any mesh. More on mesh systems here. You can take the 88U out of the question in this case. More in AiMesh combos in this post.
Thanks so much for the reply! I have 8 network cables at my modem point I need to connect to run wired connections in my house. Can I run this setup:
Modem > Switch > Network Cable A > Network Cable B > XT8?
Thank you again!
Sure, Nic. It helps if you READ my replies though. To answer your question, no, you can’t do that and expect things to work. Check out this post. (Make sure you READ the linked post this time.)
First, thank you so much for all of the work you put into this website. It is by far and away the biggest wealth of knowledge I’ve found on the entire internet as far as explaining the ins and outs of all the newest networking technologies.
I am currently using a Linksys MR9000 Max-Stream AC3000 Tri-Band Mesh WiFi 5 Router along with a Linksys Velop Intelligent Mesh WiFi System, Tri-Band, 3-Pack (AC2200). I’ve got the MR9000 connected to my router and acting as the main router. Then I have the three Velop units setup as wireless nodes.
After reading a LOT of info on your page, I am feeling like this system SHOULD be working a LOT better than what I’m experiencing. I have been considering changing over to one of the new WiFi 6 systems such as the ASUS ZenWifi XT8 (2 pack) or a Netgear Orbi RBK852 system with 1 extender (2 total units) but I’m not really sure if I will even feel like we have upgraded or not.
We have a 4 bedroom house that is about 3,400 sq ft but unfortunately, the main modem and router has to be in the office that is on one end of the house. No possibility of having it in the center of the house. I’m sure that would make a HUGE difference but I have to work around that. And the biggest issue we’re having is that it seems like the number of devices we are using at any one time is overloading the system. We currently have about 50-60 devices connected at any given time. If one of the nodes goes down. We notice it.
Does WiFi 6 handle more devices so much better that it would help fix my issues by upgrading? Or is there a way to tune my current setup to handle them more efficiently?
Would I be better off spending my money on a REALLY good Nighthawk router that could cover my whole home and stop using the additional nodes for now? Such as the RAX120 or the RAX200?
Also, I’ve had a lot of trouble trying to decide whether to keep the three bands combined or going with them separated. Some of our devices don’t want to work with them combined but the overall performance seems better when they are combined otherwise.
And one final thing to add to the equation. We probably screwed up big time with this but we got the Circle Home Plus device thinking it would be the answer to easily deal with having 4 kids and all of their devices but it has been a nightmare to setup and make work with the Velop system. We’ve ended up going with the app version only and leaving the hardware out of the equation completely because of how badly it slows down the network speeds. We like the app and how it works but it won’t help you with things like PS4’s and other devices unless you have the hardware in place. I now see that some of the Netgear devices come with the Circle Parental Controls built-in. Would going that direction with a WiFi 6 system solve those issues? Or should we be able to get the Circle Home Plus device we already have working with the ASUS system?
I probably seem like I’m just out to spend money on WiFi devices. I’m not. I just want our network to work and currently I feel like I have more than I need and it still isn’t working the way I’d hoped.
Any help you can offer about ANY of this mess is greatly appreciated.
You should have read my reviews on this one and the MR7350, Ian. The point is you made a terrible purchasing decision. So yes, go with the XT8, Orbi AX4200, or the Velop AX4200, make sure you read the reviews. But before that also make sure you read this post on mesh systems.
READ is the keyword here. Don’t just scan through and look for what you want.
Thanks for all the great info you’ve provided.
I do have my home wired in the main but will ‘potentially’ want to place a node where it would need to use WiFi and I like the option of being able to utilise the additional 5GHz band if I do go fully wired for the backhaul. With that in mind I have boiled it down to the Asus AX AT8 or the TP-Link Deco X90 (X5700 not available it seems in UK). Of those two which would you steer towards?
Go with the XT8, Nick. Just don’t upgrade the firmware immediately, or be prepared to downgrade it to a previous version when need be and you’ll be find.
Many thanks for the reply Dong
Sure, Nick! 🙂
Thanks for all your great reviews and taking the time to respond to all questions.
Based on your review I am considereing to swap my Netgear R8000 + multiple EX8000 mesh extenders for a couple of Asus XT8.
Reason being that in my fairly large house (thick concrete walls and floorts) I need several extenders, a setup which simply does not work reliably with these Netgear boxes. Connections drop all the time. Roaming from extender to extender does not work seamlessly either.
Netgear mesh extenders can only connect to the router, not to eachother, which means the remote parts of my house will never get decent coverage.
Can you confirm whether the Asus XT8 would works in a setup with a router plus 3 to 4 satellites?
Does Asus support satellite to satellite to router connects?
I only answer questions that have not yet been addressed, Han.
You can use multiple XT8 units (up to 7 in total, I believe, including the router unit), but using a wireless mesh with a daisy-chain setup is never good, though chances are the XT8 will be better than what you have now. You should consider getting the place wired.
Thanks for pointing me towards the daisy-chain part, I somehow missed that. I understand that it is not optimal, but there is no way I can reach part of my house without it – it is on the other side of the street. I have no means of getting a cable across the street, and the router itself is too far away.
So it is either suboptimal daisy chaining, or stick to using a 4G modem there (which is more stable, but expensive).
If you have any other suggestions then please let me know!
One more question. I could get the main house wired but not the annex across the street, that connection would always be wireless.
Would such a hybrid solution work at all? Or will the satellite try to connect to a dedicated wireless backhaul (which is switched off in the rest of the house)?
It will work at all. It’s just a matter of degrees.
If you can’t run wires then using wireless is the only way, Han. In that case, tri-band hardware will help, but the performance will always be fluctuating.
Just tested this with a setup of 4 Asus XT8s. I can confirm that they automatically switch to daisy chain (when needed) and that works just fine.
As you pointed out, performance does drop but I am still getting around 80 Mbps (in the annex across the road), so I am very happy.
Stability has been excellent so far, and the UI is so much better than Netgear. Thanks again!
For the nodes, you can try to select the “preferred wifi up-link AP”, this will ensure that the nodes always connect to AP.
Excellent! Thanks for sharing the result, Han. And I second what Sunny said, though the success rate depends on the placements, of course.
Thanks much for your extensive notes on troubleshooting Wi-Fi dropout issues. I’ve been using my pair of Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 units for a year. Initial performance was very solid. Very few dropouts. But of late, I’m seeing more and more dropouts. I’m starting to suspect a defective ZenWiFi master unit. Is there a simple way to replace the master unit with the slave/remote mesh unit to help trouble shoot this?
I’m seeing frequent drop outs on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz channels. And am seeing the issue with several different brands of IOT devices (Lenova, Honeywell, Google). I currently have four devices, across both channel frequencies, with connect time of under 10 minutes.
I’ve gone through your extensive set of notes on how to fix WiFi drops, but that has not resolved the problem.
One of the Lenova units is located within 5 feet of the mesh master station. And has typical connect time of under 10 minutes. It is set for 5 GHz operation. My Wi-Fi analyzer tool shows multiple signals at 2.4 GHz, but very little at 5 GHz.
I’ve tried powering off the slave unit, and running solely with the master. That did not resolve the issue. I was next thinking of replacing the master unit with the slave unit, but was unsure how to do that.
Very much appreciate any trouble shooting suggestions.
Yes, Arthur, you can back up the router unit, remove the node, reset the router, then restore the settings to the node, then add the former router as a node.
Dong, thanks for the suggestion of back up and restore to do the transfer to my second XT8 unit.
When I recently tried to do back up of the XT8 settings using my Windows 10 PC, I got a message ‘‘Settings_ZenWiFi AX.CFG was blocked because this type of file can harm your computer.’
This may be a Windows 10 change. I have successfully done backups in the past. I’ve asked ASUS tech support for a work around, but they have not yet responded. Net result, I’m not able to create a back up.
You need to actively let the browser save the file, Arthur — take your time and figure that out. That file is safe. If you don’t know how to do that on the current browser, use a different browser. If you don’t know what a browser is, well, I don’t think you can do what I suggested. This is like you’re asking me to help you troubleshoot a car, but you don’t know what a steering wheel is. And I’m not good at teaching folks how to use a computer. 🙂
I also had a lot of drop trouble with IOT devices, mainly Tasmota (ESP32) and Shelly. Setting static IP addresses did not help. Google’s devices actually retain the connection well.
Eventually I just gave up. I added an old TP-Link Access Point as an IOT-only network, with a different band and name, and connected it to the Asus by Ethernet. Did not experience a single drop since.
Dror, thanks for suggestion to move high dropout devices to another router. That worked.
I would agree with you that different designs show a quite different dropout performance. The devices I was having the worst dropout issues with were four Lenovo clocks. I moved three of the clocks to an older ASUS RT-N66U. Connect time went from minutes to 7-9 hours. I’ve left the Honeywell and Google Home devices on the XT8. I’ve seen recent uptime with the Google devices of 18-51 hours, Honeywell 1-8 hours. The one Lenovo clock I left on the XT8 continues to show poor connect time.
Before turning on the RT-N66U, I did swap the XT8 Master and Slave units. That swap did not solve the issue of frequent Lenovo dropouts.
Hi Dong, great review of the product!
I have some questions about this router and hope that you can help me.
1) I am planning to buy it, in a pair mode. I noted in your review, you mentioned that XT8 can turn one of the Gigabit LAN ports into second WAN port. I would like to ask, can I turn the 2.5G WAN port to become a LAN port and has it connect with my NAS (running at 2.5G port too) and turn one of the Gigabit LAN port to WAN port for internet use (my internet is 1Gb speed)?
2) I will be placing the other unit as node in another room, and use a 2.5G switch to connect with the node’s 2.5G WAN port (by right it will be functioned as LAN port now), and wired connect to 2 PCs (both with 2.5G port). Will this setup giving more stable connection rather than to connect as WIFI directly? Most importantly, it’s about the file transfer speed from my NAS to PC. Due to some limitation, I was unable to use wire in the other room, so I came out this idea.
3) From your review, I still not so understand about the 3rd 5Ghz setup (4800Mbps). Will this 3rd 5Ghz wifi connection comes out automatically? Also, is XT8 (router and node) using the 4800Mpbs speed to connect with each other? Can my PC connect this bandwidth (4800Mbps)?
Thank you so much!
1. No, you can’t change the LAN 1 into the primary WAN port. Like I said many times in the review, there’s no Multi-Gig LAN option on the router unit. Period.
2. Yes, the Internet connection still depends on the (Wireless) backhaul between the node and the router. Keep that in mind.
3. There’s no 3rd 5GHz setup but only using the 5GHz-2 (backhaul) band as a separate SSID. It would be best if you reread the review. Your PC can’t connect at 4800Mbps since there are no faster clients than 2×2 (2400Mbps), at least for now. More in this post.
I read your review in other post (https://dongknows.com/multi-gigabit-wi-fi-6-routers-to-bring-home-today/), you mentioned “Also, when using the XT8 as a single router, you can turn one of the three Gigabit LAN ports into a WAN and the WAN port into a Multi-Gig LAN.”. But based on your reply in No.1,you said I cant change LAN 1 into the primary WAN port as there’s no Multi-Gig LAN option on the router unit. I’m confused.
Yes, I meant the 5Ghz-2, so there will be 3 SSID, 2.4G, 5G-1 and 5G-2, right? But do you know which bandwidth that both router and node used for connection? is it the 4800Mbps?
Any news about 4×4 (4800Mbps) wifi card soon? I heard Asus going to launch it last year, but till now, I dont see anything yet.
Sorry for the confusion, Ray. That was a mistake. I was trying to say something about Dual-WAN and mistyped it. The 5GHz-2 is used as a backhaul, as mentioned in the review. I don’t think faster-than-2×2 clients will be available soon, if at all. But more bandwidth also means the broadcaster can handle more clients at the same time. More in this post.
Hi Dong, once again, thanks for your reply!
Based on your review, I noted that the 5Ghz-2 was used as deliciated backhaul, this would means both router and node actually using it for connection, right?
I noted also the 5Ghz-1 is not support 160MHz channel, and it generally capped at 1200Mbps. Is there any new firmware update to open the front-haul to support 4×4 160MHz? or any firmware update to improve the 1200Mbps to 2400Mbps?
For wireless setting, can the 5GHz-2 be used at the same time as dedicated backhaul and connect to my PC (client)?
Thank you for answering my questions.
Read the review, Ray. I answered those questions, specifically at the end of wried backhaul section for the 5GHz-2 band — make sure you follow the link for detailed steps.
I’m very curious on what you mean by your review “ you’ll need to have a second node unit before you can see the value of this port”.
Are you saying that with a 3rd unit of XT8, one will be able to make use of the 2.5gbe port? How does this work?
I presently own 2 unit of the XT8 and I have recently bought an Asustor NAS, but I’m having slow file transfer speed of 20-25MB max. Have tried out various different settings by connecting to the main unit and node unit, but nothing is solving the problem.
That’s likely due to the server itself, Rudran. I’d recommend a Synology. As for what I say, it’s just math, if you don’t have a 2nd unit, there’s no way you can see the full 2.5Gbps locally. But that does NOT specifically apply to your case unless your NAS server has a Multi-Gig port.
Thanks Dong. My NAS server does have 2X 2.5gbe port. Yet the transfer speed over LAN is slow. 🙁
Then it’s likely your NAS. Also, make sure you test via a wired connection, not Wi-Fi.
I’d been trying to find a way to get 2.5gbps wired backhaul, and I think I finally stumbled upon it — but Dong, if I’m missing something here, please let me know.
It does seem that you can use the 2.5gbps WAN port as a LAN port not only when the device is set to be a node, but also when it’s set as “AI Mesh router in AP mode.” So using my old Netgear r7800 as a primary router, one XT8 as a “Mesh in AP” and one as a straight-out node, I wired a LAN port from my R7800 to the LAN port on the “router” XT8, and the WAN ports of the two XT8s together. To my somewhat surprise, it seemed to work — and the UI reflects the uplink on the node at 2.5gpbs.
Just to confirm that the reporting in the UI wasn’t only based on what port I was using, I tried it again, but let a gigabit switch sit in between everything. That time, the UI showed the uplink at 1gbps, as expected. So it appears to be reflecting real uplink speed.
I haven’t tested this at any length, but if it works the way it looked like it did in my quick trial, that’ll be my setup in my new apartment — allowing for 2.5gbps wired backhaul and all three bands to be accessible to wireless devices. Eventually, I’ll put a 2.5gbps switch between things so I can wire my desktop and a NAS that way (I don’t yet own a 2.5-capable NAS, but plan to eventually).
That works, as intended, but it doesn’t make any difference since the bandwidth on either side of the Multi-Gig backhaul connection is Gigabit, Louis. In other words, if you have Multi-Gig Internet or a Multi-Gig server, you won’t experience any difference in performance on any device at all compared to a pure Gigabit wired network. Check out this post for more.
1) Thanks for a reply on such an old post. I’ve only discovered your site in the last week but read a bunch of your posts, and the way you help your community here is really great.
2) If I’m not mistaken (but it’s very possible I am), there’s still some benefit here to my setup. Follow my thinking below, but tell me if I’m missing something …
I only have 300mbps Internet, so I’m not expecting anything on the network to benefit from faster internet speeds.
But I’d think if I wire both XT8 2.5gpbs WAN ports to a 2.5gpbs switch, as well as the R7800 handling the 1gbps incoming internet, then additional 2.5 gbps devices (like a NAS) also connected to the switch get the benefit of being reachable by 4×4 wireless clients (rare as they are) at faster-than-gigabit speeds — since a wired backhaul also frees up the 4×4 5Ghz-2 band to be used by clients. In practice, it may not often achieve those speeds, but should theoretically be able to under very good conditions, right?
And with or without the switch, any two wireless devices connected on that 4×4 5ghz-2 band should then also get potentially faster that 1gbps speeds when talking to each other, even if one is connected to the AI Mesh Router an one is connected to the node, correct? I’m thinking, for instance, one computer with a 4×4 connection remoting in to control or transfer files to/from another.
If you have a switch in between the two then you’d get some benefits locally but hardly anything via the XT8. We don’t have 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 clients. In short, what you have doesn’t hurt but there’s no real benefit until you change the Netgear to a dual-port Multi-Gig router. Also note that the XT8 is NOT ideal for wired backhaul. Read the review for more and existing comments for more.
I have done this. I have 3 XT8’s all connected to at 2.5GBps to a switch and then the switch is connected via a 10Gbps (SFP+) to my RB5009 mikrotik router (which does my routing) my XT8’s are in access point mode and are all connected using CAT6a all XT8’s show connected as 2.5gbps in the app/web interface
Yeah, I’d seen that about the wired backhaul in general. I’m crossing my fingers it evens out with a firmware update, but I suppose the wise move isn’t to plan for it.
I’ll likely wind up with a 2.5gbps switch at some point in the future to support a NAS and a PC, but they’ll be all wired. I’d been trying to work through this to, for instance, maximize the connection between wireless clients and the NAS, in the rare/theoretical/future event I’ve got a 4×4 client in good enough conditions to sustain a 4×4 connection. My new S22 phone says on its spec sheet it does 4×4, but I can’t really see a use case where that matters to me.
Then again, all this future-planning is probably silly because by the point I could realistically have a bunch of 4×4 clients, all the technologies will have moved on and I’ll want something else anyway 🙂
I’d also been thinking about alternate setups, like getting a GT-AX6000 and using both XT8s as nodes. Or maybe I’ll say “F it” to the idea of running ethernet all throughout my new apartment, and just buy a third XT8 to sit between the existing two wirelessly and improve the coverage without wires. I’ve been reluctant about that because I want a good, low-latency connection between my PC and an Nvidia Shield for in-home game streaming, but at least in my tests so far in my current apartment (PC wired to one XT8, Shield wired to the other, the XT8s on wireless backhaul), I’m only seeing 3ms pings as-is, and I can definitely live with that. It’s yet to be seen what I’d get with three units and a bigger space, though.
Great review. When you are comparing the speeds of the various Mesh systems, does the distance you show include things like walls?
This ASUS XT8 seems like a great system. Trying to decide between this, the Alien and Netgear Orbi 6. I was leaning towards this one, though wonder about the Wifi 5 speeds versus the Orbi 6 (AX6000)? And the Alien looks incredibly cool, but again for the fastest speed and reliability, which is your recommendation?
House is an old house. About 5000 square feet (excluding garden). The “internet” connection from the ISP comes in at one end, and on the exact opposite end is my office upstairs and a Smart TV downstairs. There are brick walls inside and at the moment I’m looking for a wireless backhaul mesh system to somehow maximise/utilise the 900Mbps service.
Ideally I’d love to future proof for Wifi 6, or 6E (or 7 at this rate), though I’m guessing only new smartphones can connect that way. I probably won’t be replacing my Mac any time soon (though you never know). And I guess it’s possible to connect via ethernet to the satellite unit of a Mesh system too am I right?
Also, is there any way to know beforehand whether one should be buying a 2 unit pack, or 3 unit pack?
No, Varda. More on how I test Wi-Fi in this post.
It’s impossible to know how many units you’d need. You have to find that out yourself. Start with this post on mesh systems.
Hi Dong, Thanks !
The post is quiite impressive.
Just would like to know, whether XT8 support upnp or not.
Your response will be highly appreciated
Yes, Mukesh. Like almost all Asus routers, you can find the XT8’s UPnP toggle in the WAN section of its interface.
Nice review. Just to clarify, when you were talking about the Wifi 5 speed the client can get owing to it being a 2×2, you wrote in the article “some 660Mbps and 450Mbps”. On the table/chart below that, it says 553 and 450Mps for the XT8 right?
Could you just clarify whether it’s 553, or 663?
Those were the number of the router unit (top chart), Tom, not the satellite.
Hi – great resource on the topic! I have a CT8 mesh system and am thinking of upgrading to an XT8. Can I mix the two in AP mode? I’m assuming if I connect the XT8 to the main router and then add in the CT8 units  as nodes – that will be okay? [We have a large house]. I’m also assuming that anyone within range of the XT8 will get Wifi 6 – but those close to the CT8s will only get Wifi 5?
Yes, Bunzena, you can totally mix the two in the AP mode (for the satellite). And in this case, your assessment about Wi-Fi 5 vs Wi-Fi 6 is correct. More in this post.
Dong, nice review. Are these definitely easy to use to provide a stable connection for the home?
And secondly, do these provide faster speeds than the Orbi AX 6000 if we measure using wireless backhaul with both that and the ASUS? I got the impression from one of your charts that the Orbi was a faster speed?
The ASUS sounded better, but I got confused by the speed chart shared. Would appreciate you clarifying, thanks
That depends on your home, Kristina. Wi-Fi depends a lot on the environment. But I’d go with the Asus.
Hey Dong. Great site. I bought this unit a few years back after seeing great reviews. It has worked great since then after following the advice here after firmware updates. My Node is connected to the main unit via Wi-Fi. We recently finished our basement and I had the basement hardwired for ethernet. I purchased three new TVs and attempted to connect them but none of them will connect to the Internet successfully via Ethernet. I connected my MacBook to each of those ethernet lines with no problem. All of the TVs will connect to the Internet via Wi-Fi. I also have a PlayStation that connected to Wi-Fi previously with no issue and still connects via Wi-Fi but will not connect via ethernet either. I’m at a lost. Just as a reference I have all of these ethernet lines plugged into a switch which then connects to the main router. For testing purposes, I plugged one of those ethernet lines directly into the router by passing the switch to rule our the switch as a problem, but I still cannot connect the TV to the Internet via ethernet.
I’m looking for some advice on your experience with this unit if there is something special that I need to change in the settings To allow the ethernet to work. I don’t think so but I am at a loss here. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again
It looks like an issue with the TVs themselves, Kevin. You need to check with their manual or the manufacturer.
Hey Dong and Kevin,
I had a similar problem with my two units. I would periodically lose connectivity on anything connected through Ethernet. Was unable to fix it working with ASUS so they replaced the 2 units, everything has worked fine since. It is unlikely your problem is with the unit but it could be.
That was my next step. I will give it a whirl. Thank you
I just read your post titled “Double NAT vs. Single NAT: How to Best Handle an (ISP-Provide) Gateway” last night and it was super informative. I currently have a Gateway from my ISP, do you think the Asus XT8 can be used as two APs for the Gateway to get the best coverage for my house?
I was hoping to utilize the cables that run through the house to hardwire the XT8 units on the main floor and upstairs so that they will provide the best wifi speeds.
What are you thoughts on using the XT8 as APs for my Gateway? Or do you have another suggestion that I could potentially look at.
Yes, Ken. The XT8 has the AP mode (as I noted in the review). And it would be best if you used the XT8 as the router of your home and the gateway in the bridge mode. Also, if you run cables, the XT8 is not a great choice (though it’ll work out fine.) By the way, all you asked has been addressed in this review and the double-NAT post. My suggestion is you read anything here in its entirety. 🙂
My AC88U finally bit the dust and can no longer keep a 5Ghz connection. Looking at either the XT8 (2-pack) or the AX92U (2-pack) for the new mesh system. I only get about 400 up/down on my internet so just looking for a solid stable connection across my devices. Which would you go with? I want to ensure if we do get fiber that the router can maximize the speeds across the devices. One is the big difference between these two routers as they seem on paper to be very similar.
-Thanks, love the site!
Go with the XT8, Adam. You want the Multi-Gig WAN port.
all the asus routers including this one has only 16 parental control device list, which is very unfortunate since i have like 30 iot wifi switches which i don’t want to have them ping back home. is there a way around this? here is the feature i am talking about: https://demoui.asus.com/ParentalControl.asp
Also Dong any chance you can suugest any other router which has atleast 30 device which can block internet but allow internal communication?
Parental Controls have little to do with IoT, V. You can just block a domain completely and that will apply to all devices within the network.
Sure, V. Just don’t block dongknows.com. 🙂
Your best option is to just block each of your IOT devices from the internet, directly:
Click on the computer icon under Network Map, then you will get a Client status list on the right. Click each of the IOT devices and toggle Block Internet Access. This can be used on any number of connected devices.
This worked thanks Dror, amazing.
This site is great. Thank you for all this information. I recently rearranged my home where my primary PC is now on wifi (previously it was hardwired and I was getting very close to 1 Gbps (I have a gig connection and gig hardware (switch and Cat 5e cables)). I have an ASUS Blue Cave as my primary router and a ASUS AC1900P as the node which is hard wired and I have good coverage throughout my home. Because I have moved my primary desktop PC, I use a USB wifi adapter and I am getting a 250 Mbps connection. I would like a faster connection to the desktop and I am planning other peripherals near the desktop that I would like to be connected via ethernet. I am thinking of upgrading to WIFI 6 and considering the Zen WIFI XT8 2 pack. I have 3 scenarios and I’d like your thoughts on them, please.
1) Zen WIFI XT8 (2 pack): One would be the primary router and the second would be next to my PC using wireless backhaul to maximize the internet connection. I would not use the other 2 WIFI 5 routers.
2) Zen WIFI XT8 (2 pack): One would be the primary router and the second would be next to my PC using wireless backhaul to maximize the internet connection. I would use the other 2 WIFI 5 routers as nodes connected via ethernet back haul. (I have good coverage in my home currently but perhaps this will give me faster connections?)
3) One Zen WIFI XT8 unit only as the primary router, the Blue Cave as a node (wireless backhaul), the AC1900P as a node (wired). (My home is only 3000 sq ft and should have good coverage with only one XT8 unit. Would the wireless backhaul to the Blue Cave utilize the full 5Ghz band?)
4) I am open to other suggestions involving other ASUS AX routers.
I think the #2 is the best among what you proposed, Tom. But there are mere options in this post on AiMesh hardware.
I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but
your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later.
All the best
I have a problem with the stability of the wifi speed in my XT8.
Both units are connected by cable (the icons in the application confirm it). When I stand at the Nod, the speed is 700/500, then I walk inside the house (e.g. approaching the main unit) and when I return back to the NOD unit, I have a speed of 120/50. The same is true for the main unit (router). For faster speeds to come back, I have to turn off and on the wifi on my phone.
Do you have any idea what it results from?
(I will add that the internet is stable at 950/500).
Thanks in advance.
Separate the 2.4GHz from 5GHz, Marcin. Your device just got to switch to 2.4GHz as you move because this band’s signal is stronger. Or you can wait 5-10 mins each time you move before testing. And no, you didn’t have a problem with stability. Things are just not what you expected.
The first review of xt8 was done in Feb 2020. It’s now Jul 2021. Is the XT8 still worth getting as it’s almost 2 years old model or should I just wait another half year or so in hope of a new model to replace the XT8? Is the XD6 a good option since it’s newer?
Yes, and not necessarily, Dave.
So if xd6 and xt8 is the same price, which would you recommend?
I haven’t tested the former, Dave.
In a one router setup on fios gig speed would you go zenwifi xt8 or rt-ax92u?
I’d go with the RT-AX92U, JD. It’s a lot more fun and comes with more options. But the XT8 has the 2.5Gbps WAN port meaning you can rest assured you get the full 1Gbps.
thanks for the fast reply.
would you go with the rt-ax86u or 88u over one of the triband mesh routers in this situation for any reason?
keep up the good work and info!
Check out this post, JD.
Best reviews on the internet. Before reading through your work, I was just going to go with an Orbi setup. I have gigabit internet, and I got a great deal on some SRK60s ($75 each) and then SRK80s ($165 each!). But while I want a stable connection with minimal restarts, I don’t like the Orbi lag I keep hearing about and would like to do things like band assignments, scheduling, and incremental improvements in the future.
So I found another great deal on several XT8s ($150 each). But in the back of my head, I kept hearing you say “wired backhaul”, so I took another look at my config again and realized I may be able to do just that (getting in the crawl space this afternoon with some fish tape; at least 1 or 2 sats can be wired, 1 is still in question).
If I want fast and stable and am able to wire everything up, should I keep the XT8s or start looking for deals on RT-AX86Us or maybe a GT-AX11000 w some 92s? (Would there be an advantage to using the 2.5gb for the wired backhaul, by the way? I’ll probably put my synology and desktop on a multigig switch with link agg, so not sure what I’ll be doing with the 2.5gb).
If I must do hybrid, are the XT8s the way to go?
Am I being dumb (i.e., is my family going to yell at me often) for leaving 3 or 4 SRK80s and moving into the ASUS platform?
Thanks so much for all the hard work; I’ll keep ad-block off and continue using your Amz links!
It would be best if you moved to Asus, Jeff. The XT8 will work with a wired backhaul. It’s just that it *might* have issues after a firmware update (this has happened). If you’re going hybrid and money is not an issue (it seems like that), I’d use the GT-AX11000 as the main and a couple of RT-AX92U as nodes — you can also go all of the latter. This way, things will be great no matter if you go wireless, wired, or mixed. If you want things to be stable, turn off 160MHz — more in this post. Oh, I can’t say anything about your family yelling at you. In fact, if you find out how to be safe from that, please let me know.
Thank you for this, Dong. Incredibly helpful.
I ended up pulling the trigger on a GT-AX11000. I’m doing my typical sanity check with just one router (always the same location), a wired machine running iperf3 (if you’re not familiar, you might consider it over the file-sending methodology), and tests all over my home. I’m consistently getting 150-250 Mbits/s less than on a single GT-AX11000 than a single XT8. I know you get these questions a lot, and they’re hard to debug, but if you can think of anything off-hand that might explain the surprising difference, I’d love to hear it.
I have all the game priority stuff off on the AX11000 running smart connect across 2.4, 5-1, and 5-2; otherwise it’s a recently-reset router-mode setup.
I’d stop using iperf, Jeff, seriously. I don’t use it for a reason. But it’s your call, just don’t count me in. 🙂
I am in a slightly different situation. I have a GT-AX11000 as my main router, but I want to add some nodes in order to increase range and build a mesh. Overall speed isn’t so important to me, but range is. That is, I could deal with even 10 Mb/s if the range was 100-200+ feet or more.
I have no way to do a wired backhaul so it would be a completely wireless system. I guess I could buy another GT-AX11000, but in an effort to save money I have been looking at the RT-AX92U and Zen XT8 as nodes.
Right now the RT-AX92U and Zen XT8 both cost about the same. Which one would be a better choice? Would another AX11000 be any better? Are there other models to consider?
Thanks so much!
I’d go with the XT8, Dimitri. Make sure you add them as nodes, one at a time, with the other being turned off, as mentioned here.
Thanks, Dong! Based on your recommendation I bought a single XT8 to add to the AX11000. I have really great coverage with these two routers using AiMesh. I was thinking I would need to bridge two buildings 150 feet from each other, but it’s not necessary as the signal is so good throughout both structures and carries quite far even outside. Signal is a little weak (but still quite fine) on the opposite side of the building from where I placed the XT8 so I am going to add another XT8 there, but with just these two routers I am easily covering 100,000 square feet. Granted, there are not a lot of obstructions except for interior walls. I placed the routers in the windows of each building so they have line of sight and don’t need to penetrate exterior walls. Thanks again!
Sure, Dimitri. Thanks for sharing. Yes, outdoor signals can go pretty far. It’s always walls that are problematic. Cheers!
Dong, thanks for the great article and review of the XT8’s! I picked up a set of these and wired them into my AX88U Router. Performance has been great to wireless clients. I have experienced a problem with my NEST thermostat falling off the network (and have noticed the ping going to 57K ms)! Rebooting the XT8 node clears it for an hour or so but it keeps happening. I swapped the other node with the one closest to the NEST and voila! no more problems. Do you think I have a bad node?
Not really, Robert. It might have been the Nest has been connected to the same node in the first place. It’s a bit tricky in your case to figure things out since you’re using tri-band nodes and a dual-band router. More in this post.
Thx for this review. I have a few questions. I day trade from my home office ( 3k sq ft and on the 2nd floor) I have AT&T internet 1000 fiber 1gb. Would I need two units or may I do just one unit? Amazon has 1 or 2 unit setups. Also, will this increase my internet speed? My rig is wifi 6 capable. Should I do a mesh system or wifi 6 router? Apologies to Robert for jumping on his thread, but I couldn’t find a way to ask questions.
That depends on your place. More here. But it seems like you might need more than one unit. In that case, you need to understand how things work — more here. You DO NOT want to use the eero. Get one of these mesh systems.
Thanks for the great review.
I’ve got a 2.2 Gigabit internet connection with the Cat 7 ethernet from my modem going into the 2.5G on the WAN port on the XT8, the problem is, my router is connected to the node using wired backhaul from the routers Gigabit port so my node wont be getting full speeds and the gigabit port becomes the bottleneck. Is there anyway to do link aggregation for wired backhaul between both units?
Thanks for your help.
No, Raju. For now there’s no way to have Multi-Gig wired backhaul yet, unless you use the RT-AX89X as the main router and the XT8 as a node. But even then you might still need a Multi-Gig switch.
I took your earlier advise and split the bands on my xt8 router. I have the 2 pack set, with on primary and 1 AI mesh over the 5ghz wireless band.
I move specific devices to 5ghz and the iot devices to the 2.4ghz. All seems to work well except on robot vacuum clear. It’s meant to connect to the 2.4ghz only, yet it’s not discoverable and just won’t connect, even after factory reset to the vacuum device.
I know it’s me router because I Hotspotted my mobile and managed to connect the vacuum easily.
I read on a forum that sometimes ports need to be open, so I added those specific ports, and still no luck.
Any thoughts on what on my router can be blocking this device from being discovered?
Any specific setting that may need to be enabled or disabled?
It may be worth while noting that all wifi6 setting are off since I have minimal wifi6 compatible devices and iot devices work better with wifi6 off.
Check out this post on the connection issue, Thasigan. You might just need to name the 2.4Ghz band something simple or use the Guest network for it in case you don’t want to change the current name.
Don’t, just took the plunge on the ax88u and 2 xt8s. The xt are hardwired to the 88u. I’m having a problem with one of the xt8s. Whenever I walk to the part of the house that is closest to the xt8 I get full signal on my iPhone but no web pages load. If I turn Wifi on and off it loads fine.
Hi Dong! Just got a pair of XT8 the other day after the Deco X60 3-piece system didn’t exactly live up to my expectations in terms of speed and coverage. Allthough the XT8 was faster on the node unit, the system delivered a weaker or no signal far away in the garden and had worse coverage in the house than the X60 did even though i put them in exactly the same place. I only split the bands and used the 5GHz-2 as a hidden wireless backhaul in the setup. I only really got wifi-5 units to test the router so far and I guess that 200mb/s on the Deco node is a decent speed for my sons gaming on our 500/500 fiber line (I refuse to use wired backhaul). Do you think I can get better wifi-signal on the XT8 by changing the settings some more or should I go back to the X60?
You need another XT8 unit, Chris.
Thanks for the input. I should say that the third Deco unit only covers a small piece of the front side of the house. The other 2 units cover the back side of the house and the garden, as do the Asus. Do you rellay think I get a better signal in the garden by placing another TX8 in the front side of the house?
adding another unit in the front of the house will likely not affect the signal in your garden. its surprising as my xt8s are giving me the ability to connect on the main road!! i stay on the second floor in an apartment building inset about 10m from the street, and the router isn’t really on the edge of the network – although there are no major walls impeding the signal to the road.
perhaps a solution would be to place one node much closer to the garden, and give the node in the front of the house a little more work to do? also i wonder what the wireless backhaul signal strength is like, how many walls/how much space is there between the main mesh router and the node in question? I use wired backhaul, so im not really sure about how signal strength is affected by placement, or how one can test it.
Theres also an option to optimize the network once the nodes are all set up in their final locations. Maybe try that?
Hope that helps,
Hi again Dong! Just compared my Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact to my wifes iPhone 8 and she has a much stronger and stable wifi connection to the XT8. So maybe the problem is with my phone. Gonna test the router some more before i decide. And perhaps get another unit 😉
It’s not a food idea to use phones to test the speed of a router, Christoffer. You only get the speed of the phone. More on testing in this post: https://dongknows.com/how-to-do-an-internet-or-wi-fi-speed-test/
I am upgrading my Wifi. I have an old AC5300 router.
I just got a AX88 router (Came with topup for re-contracting my Internet)
So I am wondering if I should get 2 units of XT88 to connect to the Main router AX88. Downside is the AX88 is only dual band, not sure if it is a good idea.
The other method will be to buy a Powerline and use the XD4.
Here is a picture of my proposed setup with floorplan. I am usually in bedroom 3 but it doesn’t have a cable connectivity.
Use the old AC5300 as a wired backhaul node of the AX88U (or in the AP mode), where you’d place the wired XT8, and you’re set, Nick. There’s no need to get a new set of XT8. More in this post.
Hi Dong, I have a question about guest mode and wired/wireless backhaul. My setup is a ASUS GT -AX11000 with 2 ZenWiFi AX in wireless mesh mode. The main unit is on the top floor (3rd floor) with the 2 Zen units directly below on the 2nd and 1st floor almost directly below each other. I can do wired backhaul on the 2nd floor unit but not the 1st floor unit. The question is can I place the 2nd floor unit in wired backhaul and turn on its guest mode? What’s odd is the two zen units always connect directly to the main router but never to each other.
I’ve never been to your home, Carmine, so the floors you mentioned don’t mean much in terms of showing the spaces between the hardware. However, if you have a wired backhaul from the router to one of the XT8s, then there’s no need to worry about placement or to which device the other node connects. That makes no difference.
I want to thank you for all the reviews that you do, and the help that you give your readers and fans. You do a great job, and are really appreciated out here in user land.
I do have a question about the ZenWiFi. If I use wired backhaul and can now access the 5GHz-2 radio as a result, does it make sense to use just the 5GHz-2 radio, since it’s a 4X4? While I see an option for smart connect for 2.4GHz, 5GHz-1, and 5GHz-2, I don’t see an option for just 2.4GHz. and 5GHz-2. What I see when I use the tri-band smart connect is that most clients end up on the 5GHz-1 radio, with one or two on the 5GHz-2 radio. I’d like it to be the other way around, I think, since the 5GHz-2 radio has twice the horsepower that the 5GHz-1 radio has, as it were.
Do you have any comments on this, whether I should make the 5GHz-2 radio my main client radio with wired backhaul or not? Or is there a speed advantage to having 2X2 clients on the 2X2 radio? Not clear to me, I’d really like to hear what you think about that.
I’m using two xt8 as nodes and one ax88 as main router. In this configuration it ist possible to deactivate each band separately. I’m only using the 2,4 and the 5ghz-2 at the moment. The 5ghz-1 uses the lower channels. I’m actually using no device which needs these lower channels and to give the neighbors some space on the 5ghz.
You can only if you use each XT8 in AP mode via wired backhaul, Marcus. More here. https://dongknows.com/best-aimesh-routers-and-combos/
Are you sure that the wired backhaul option isn’t available if one xt8 is in router mode. It’s located at the main router AiMesh>Settings(at the top of the overview)>wired backhaul
By default this setting is off.
I never said it was not available. Read the review again, Marcus, and other related posts.
I have an XT8, live next to an international airport, and can’t access 160mhz for backhaul. Would I be better off with a different mesh system?
Yes, D. Either that, or you need to turn the use of the DFS channels off completely via the web interface — configure the 5GHz-2 band to use only the 80MHz. It’s a bit of work to get that done but it’s doable. 2400Mbps for backhaul is plenty.
Dong – thanks so much. I locked it on 80 and am getting much higher speeds. Really appreciate it. -D
Sure, D. Glad, it worked out. 🙂
I don’t use smart connect but I do have wired backhaul between my two xt8 nodes. All my 5ghz clients use the 5-2 band (wifi 6 clients – macbook, dell, etc) and the 2.4 ghz bands (ring, nest, sonos, etc). I have the 5-1 band enabled but It’s normally unused. I do see in the professional tab for wireless that there is an ‘enable radio’ switch for each band. I haven’t tried to disable the normal 5-1 band though – it may or may not work.
Would like your thoughts regarding how I can boost the standard settings on my Asus mesh system with 3 Asus zenwifi ax xt8. I have fiber 1000/1000 in and all connections are via wifi. I have a lot of IoT devices and other devices in total 40. Some are using 2,4 hz and most 5 hz. How can I boost my mesh? I have the latest firmware.
There’s no such thing as a “boost” for Wi-Fi, Zoran, that’s a terrible marketing term designed to fool people. Don’t use it. You can only “extend” a network. When doing it wirelessly, you generally will lose speed. More on that in this post.
A short feedback from me.
I’m running the Ax88u as main router. i got two xt8 for a low price and wanted to integrate them into my network as node. Adding them as node with a wired connection is pretty easy. The only challenge was to get the second 5G available for clients. By default the 5G-2 is used as Backhaul connection which is not necessary if they are connected by wire. After couple of hours testing an searching I got the 5G-2 finally released. The Ax88u is running with both 2,4 and the 5G. Both xt8 are running with 2,4 and the 5G plus 5G-2 merged together as a single 5G without smart connect enabled.
“By default the 5G-2 is used as Backhaul connection which is not necessary if they are connected by wire. After couple of hours testing an searching I got the 5G-2 finally released.”
So how did you do this?
You have to go to AiMesh>system settings(which is located at the top of the page above the “add aimesh node” and “optimization” button)>Ethernet backhaul mode and turn the toggle on.
Thereafter the 5ghz-2 is available for clients and each radio (2,4, 5ghz-1and 5ghz-2)can be enabled separately for each node
Follow the link in the post, Mike.
Thanks for the post.
I have had the ZenWifi AX for 3 months now, but I tend to have Wifi stability issues.
* The 2.4G is dedicated to connected home devices (light bulbs, door lock, thermostat, etc.). There is about 20 clients on the 2.4G network over the 2 nodes. But many times, turning the lights on/off some devices are delayed by >15seconds.
* The 5GhZ network is used by phones, laptops and music streamers. When running a speed test with Wifi 5 MacBook Pro (6 feet from the router, direct line of sight), I noticed that the first 5-6 seconds of the speed test stall at 60-70Mbps, before gradually increasing to 300Mbps down / 600Up (sometimes with a big dip back to 70 along the way).
Same test wired to the router I run at 600Mbps down, and 800Up, and I reach those speeds almost instantly and keep them.
Any idea what could be happening? Any diagnostic tips and tools ? Optimisation guides ?
Likely somet DFS-related, Leo. Including for your backhaul. Check out this post. https://dongknows.com/how-to-fix-wi-fi-dropping-and-disconnection-issues/
Your site is by far and away the defacto source of quality information. In formation. Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge. In my case I know have too much information and I’m hesitant on making a wrong decision. My home is old 1923 brick house with thick walls, A basement, 2 floors and an attic that all need top notch wifi. I was looking at the XT8 for my solution. I want to use a wired backhaul. Two questions. You mention that the XT8 is only good for a wireless backhaul but now with AiMesh 2.0 exposing the second 5G network to clients is not a good solution? Also I don’t believe a synced pair would suffice. Are there any issues in combining 2 sets of XT8 in one mesh network? Thank again!
If you use wired backhaul, it’s better to go with one of these AiMesh sets, Dino. The XT8 will work but new firmware updates *might* cause issues, that has happened before. But to answer your questions, you can also open the 2nd 5GHz band to clients, no matter what. And four XT8 units will work fine together.
I’ve read both of your XT8 & CT8 reviews, & I’m still unsure on which one to get. I am moving into a new home, & will be just getting Verizon Fios 500mbps internet service. The house is about 1700sqft: two floors, a basement, & backyard. What I’m mostly looking for is great speed & coverage to all the ends of the house, & want to get all, if not most, of the mbps I’m paying for from both the router & satellite. Also, the router & satellite will be connected wirelessly. I don’t have many devices that will take advantage of the WiFi 6. Can’t go wrong with either one, but would love your input! Thank you for your work as well.
Reading both of your reviews on the CT8 & XT8, I’m still kind of unsure which one to get. I am currently moving to a new home & will be just getting the 500mbps Verizon Fios internet service. The new home is roughly 1700 sqft; two floors, a basement, & backyard. What I’m mostly looking for is great coverage & speed on all ends of the home, & getting most of the mbps I’m paying for from both the router & satellite. Also, both the router & satellite will be connecting wirelessly. I don’t have many devices that will take advantage of the WiFi 6. Pretty sure I can’t go wrong with either one, but would love your input! Thank you for your work.
You already got the answer, Chris. Either will work out well considering your place is relatively small. But with the yard, you’re better off with a 2-pack. I’d go with the XT8, which has a better backhaul range, just to be sure, but if money is tight, go with the CT8. You probably won’t see the difference.
Thank you for all your reviews. I have been your follower since many years and I appreciate your work a lot.
My new house is about 8000sft on a single level. I have previously used Asus Rt86u along with Merlin and it is the best router I have used.
My new house has ethernet cables running all over so I can run a wired backhaul.
My question is: will 2/3 more 86u routers with merlin be a better choice than the XT8 for mesh benefits.
My primary need is seamless transfer of wifi when I move around the house.
Don’t use the XT8, Sai. It’s only good for a wireless setup. For your case, you can get a few dual-band Wi-Fi 5 units and it will work out well. Or go with the XD4. More AiMesh options in this post.
Thank you for you insight. I’ve purchased the xt8 a few months ago however I’m experiencing a few issues which I believe could be configuration related.
1. My wifi cameras often lose connectivity for a few seconds? Is this related to the aimesh finding the best channel and closest node?
2. My Google home devices don’t work with snooping turned enabled. They lose connectivity
3. Wifi bulbs sometimes disconnect and need to be reset to reconnect
I mainly have wifi 5 devices and I’m using smart connect (2.4 + 5ghz). If I use individual network Google devices act up.
Any guidance on the optimal configuration?
Other than getting the latest firmware etc, Thasigan, I’d recommend:
1. Separate the two bands.
2. Use simple Wi-Fi names.
3. Use a string of numbers as the Wi-Fi passwords.
4. Use compatibility Wi-Fi settings, instead of speed-favored.
You can read more on how to deal with those IoTs devices in this post.
The connectivity issues you’re experiencing are frequently related to DHCP.
Besides upgrading the devices to the latest firmware, define static IP addresses for them in the router, and configure the devices to that IP address, rather than fetch it from the DHCP server.
thank Dror – all smart home devices are on static IP’s and have been provisioned
I posted before that I was having problems with my second XT8 node connecting to the router and you suggested that I wait for the next firmware and reset the system. Since then I have tried multiple firmware versions including the latest version, reset the system multiple times by holding a paper clip in the reset buttons, swapped the second node with the router, all to no avail. And it doesn’t matter how far the the node is from the router either, I’ve tried from inside the same room and multiple rooms. All I get is it goes from a Great connection, to eventually a Weak connection to Not Connected at all and back again. I was just wondering if there is anything I can try that I haven’t tried yet. I wonder if the system is actually being fully reset as sometimes the second nodes blue light is quickly blinking when it says it is connected. I’ve tried calling Asus but their wait time is long which is why I am asking here. Again, I truly enjoy your site. Thanks for any possible ideas.
Try the 30-30-30 reset on all units, Mark. That’s when you press the reset button for 30 seconds, then unplug the router from its power source for 30 seconds, then plug it in with the reset button still depressed for another 30 seconds. In all, you press and hold the reset button for 90 seconds. Note that might put the routers in the recovery mode. In this case, you just need to load the firmware on them via the web interface, so make sure you download the firmware on your computer first.
Hi Don, Firstly thanks so much for your website it is a recent find and has been an invaluable source of knowledge.
I am wondering if it is better to get a ready Mesh system like the Asus Zenwifi AX XT8 Mesh-system or alternatively I have been really close to getting an Asus RT-AX86U that you have recommended and adding another one to create a mesh in my house. Which would you recommend?
Really appreciate any answer!
That depends, Eddy. More in this post. https://dongknows.com/best-aimesh-routers-and-combos/
Hi Dong, thanks for the great review!
I want to upgrade my Airport Time Capsule to WIFI 6 system, currently airport covers my house well, and I get usable 5G signal in all locations except for two far corners where the speed drops down to 20Mbps.
I have 1Gbps fiber connection with ISP router in one corner of the house, and I essentially need an AP in my living room (which is the centre of the house). I know there are better standalone routers, but I need something that also look nice in my living room. So my questions:
1) Do you think a single XT8 or Linksys MX4200 can cover my house? In your test which one has an edge in coverage?
2) Does XT8 support bridge mode and I can later add more mesh nodes (I’m pretty sure Linksys does but not sure about Asus)?
3) Do you recall the length of power cord of XT8 and MX4200? I ask because I need to place the router 2,2 meters away from the power supplier.
Thank you in advance!
1. That’s impossible for me to know, I’ve never been to your house. You should read this post, it’ll help.
2. Yes, I mentioned that in the review. I assume you know what bridge means, if not the post linked above will explain that.
3. It’s generally about 4 feet (1.2m). You’ll need an extension cord.
Thank you! Did you find MX4200 or AX8 has better coverage (if anything obvious)?
They two has about the same coverage, Mai.
The XT8 power input is spec’ed as 19V with max 1.75A.
Any 19V power adapter of 33W or above with a 4*1.35mm connector would do, e.g. https://amzn.to/3u6W9DV, or official Asus laptop power adapters
Has anyone tested the new .42095 firmware ? Has it been stable?
So far no issues…👍
Also no known problem with update. Does anyone know if ASUS provides a more detailed README or other file providing more detailed information on what each update does other than simply listing the CVE’s fixed? What is on their website is pretty basic, and a somewhat more complete update history file would be very useful. Any pointers would be helpful. Thanks
Not very stable. Reboots at random intervals. And this is after I have my router set to reboot every night @ 3:00am.
Make it reboot once a week or so. Not everyday. 🙂
Couple of weeks of continuous uptime on 42095 at this point. This firmware version has been stable, no problems. There is one repeating message in the system log “not mesh client, can’t update it’s ip” as I recall, but apparently doesn’t have any effect. Mesh is working fine. It would be nice if Asus would fix that, and no spontaneous reboots, disconnects, etc.
Oh yeah, I don’t use scheduled reboots, haven’t needed to.
I did upgrade and found that it was stable – except that Sonos equipment would not connect in a stable manner. Apparently with Asus you need to do a hard reset and manually reconfigure the system for it to work with Sonos. Once I did that all my Sonos equipment started working perfectly again.
I suspect the source of the issue is some sort of carryover misconfiguration/corruption after upgrades that makes this necessary. It’s unfortunate that Asus’s firmware has such issues.
Thanks for your review. I just ordered a pair of XT8s and I’m planning on using them in AP mode, connecting my existing ‘gateway’ (Cisco ASA) to a LAN port of the nearest unit. Could you confirm that I won’t be able to use the guest network feature since these units won’t be routing traffic?
I hope that the traffic inspection/security features will still work, or are they bound to the WAN port, which won’t be used?
Finally, I couldn’t find any reference to VLANs in the user manual except for ‘VID’ on the IPTV setup page. Is there any way to map a SSID to a particular VLAN? That’s what I’m doing today with the AP the XT8s will replace.
Thanks again for your in-depth review.
None of what you mentioned will work, Dan. In the AP mode, the mesh will do nothing but broadcasting Wi-Fi signals. However, if you use each XT8 unit as an individual AP, then you’ll be able to control each’s Wi-Fi settings as well as using its Guest network/USB features. No other features are available.
Thanks for your reply. Looks like it might not be the best system for my use case. Do you have a recommendation for an AP-only mesh system?
For now, I’d recommend getting one of these mentioned in this review, Dan. It’ll work out well. You likely won’t need to the controller.
Thanks a lot, th