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How to Build a Multi-Gig Wired Backhaul AiMesh Combo that Makes Sense

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This post will work you through the steps to set up a Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh system using a few supported broadcasters. As you can see in the box below, it’s part of my series on Asus’s AiMesh.

If you’re new to AiMesh, I’d recommend starting with the first post on the list.

Also, keep in mind that Multi-Gig is still a luxury right now — you’re getting into the territory that can be more expensive than necessary. You can feel that from the cost of the latest Orbi RBK960 series from Netgear.

Going the AiMesh route might not dig as big of a hole in your wallet, but still this doesn’t apply to the budget-minded.

In any case, ensure you have gotten your home wired — we’re talking most about wired networking here. Also, make sure you brush up on what Multi-Gig means.

Dong’s note: I first published this post on October 29, 2021, and since then, I have tested more Multi-Gig combos. This update, posted on June 27, 2022, aims to reflect that.

 Multi-Gig Wired Backhaul AiMesh: Asus GT-AXE16000 Network Ports
Multi-Gig Wired Backhaul AiMesh: With three Multi-Gig ports (two are 10Gbps), the Asus GT-AXE16000 is currently the best candidate to host a top-performing AiMesh system.

Multi-Gig wired backhauling: The why

Originally, the “mesh” notion in a Wi-Fi network means that you have multiple broadcasters linked together wirelessly. That’s still true today — I mentioned that in this primer post on the topic.

Generally, when you use multiple Wi-Fi broadcasters — like in the case of a mesh network that includes a primary router and satellite unit(s) — there are two types of connections: fronthaul and backhaul.

Fronthaul is the Wi-Fi signal a mesh hub broadcasts outward for clients or its network ports for wired devices. That’s what we generally expect from any Wi-Fi broadcaster.

On the other hand, backhaul, a.k.a backbone, is the link between one broadcasting unit and another, be it the primary router or another satellite unit.

This link works behind the scene to keep the mesh hardware units together as a system. It also determines the ceiling speed of all devices connected to a satellite unit.

But this wireless backhaul link has many issues, including slow speeds due to signal loss/degradation and unreliability due to the elements. That’s just the nature of any wireless connection.

And this is where wired backhauling comes into play. Still, some online “experts” — there are a lot of them these days — have scolded me, privately or publicly, that using network cables negates the mesh notion. “It’s not a mesh anymore!” they say, and they might be right.

But I’m not about being right. I’m about being real. In my experience, wired backhauling is the best way to build a (mesh) Wi-Fi system. Take “mesh” out if that suits you.

Most importantly, if you need true Gigabit (1Gbps) or faster connections, no wireless backhaul link can handle that reliably. In this case, using Multi-Gig wired backhauling is the only way.

And that’s why I maintain this post, in addition to the previous one on getting the best (sub-Gigabit) AiMesh combo, which I assumed you have read.

AiMesh combos: The real-world experience

With that, let’s move on to the best Multi-Gig wired AiMesh combos we can get today.

Asus Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh combos: Everything you need to know

In early 2022, with the releases of the ZenWiFi Pro ET12 and GT-AX6000, both have two 2.5Gbps ports, we’ve had a decent selection of AiMesh options that can handle Multi-Gig wired backhaul.

And things got better as the year progressed. In early June, I published the review of the GT-AXE16000, which has three Multi-Gig ports (two are 10Gbps). There’s also the GT-AX11000 Pro down the line.

The point is: It’s safe to say from here on out that there’ll be more and more Multi-Gig wired options within Asus’s AiMesh ecosystem.

Multi-Gig wired backhaul sweet spot: 2.5Gbps on the satellite

When it comes to a wired Multi-Gig network, 10Gbps is the fastest speed grade, and it never hurts to have it. However, in a mesh network, it makes sense to use satellites with the lowest grade of Multi-Gig, which is 2.5gbps.

Multi-Gig explained: What it is and why it’s hot right now

That’s because the fastest Wi-Fi connection (2×2 Wi-Fi 6/6E at 160MHz) has sustained speeds of around 1.5Gbps at best. As a result, there’s generally no benefit in performance when the intake port of a satellite is faster than 2.5Gbps.

GT AXE 16000 Internet Speed
Here’s generally the fastest Internet speed you can get out of the currently fastest Wi-Fi adapters (2×2 Wi-Fi 6/6E at 160MHz). They are called Gig+ adapters for a reason.

Again, it doesn’t hurt to use 10Gbps-enabled hardware throughout a mesh system, but generally, there’s no return on investment in this case on the Wi-Fi front. For wired clients, it’s better to use a (10Gbps) Multi-Gig switch.

Rules on using (Asus) wired hardware

With wired backhaul — that’s when you use network cables to link the hardware units — it’s generally a good idea to avoid using traditional Tri-band hardware.

This type of Tri-band broadcaster comes with an additional 5GHz-2 band, like the ZenWiFi XT8, GT-AX11000, or the ZenWiFi Pro XT12.

While they all work in a wired configuration, they are designed for a fully wireless environment, where the 5GHz-2 band functions as the dedicated backhaul.

Consequently, they might have unexpected issues when using network cables to link them. Furthermore, this Tri-band provides no added benefits in a wired home, despite the comparatively higher costs.

That said, for a fully wired system, especially one with Multi-Gig speed grades, it’s best to use Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 or Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E broadcasters. Quad-band is an exception — it’s applicable in both wired and wireless setups.

Dual-band vs Tri-band vs Quad-band Wi-Fi: What’s the deal?

Finally, generally, it’s not a good idea to mix Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E hardware in a mesh system.

Multi-Gig Backhaul AiMesh Combo: ZenWiFi ET8 AiMesh Node
Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh combo: Here’s the ZenWiFi ET8 working as a Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh satellite node for the RT-AX89X.
Note how its 6GHz band is not available to clients — it’s there, but you can’t configure it. That’s why it’s not a good idea to mix Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E in an AiMesh setup. But if you insist on using these broadcasters together, there’s a way to make their 3rd band work — more below.

With that, let’s check out the list of the current hardware we can use right now. You’ll note that I skip all Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 routers.

Multi-Gig AiMesh combos: The current hardware and real-world combos

In an AiMesh setup, we have the main router and satellite nodes.

Ideally, the router should have two Multi-Gig ports — one for the broadband (WAN) and the other for the local network (LAN). However, we only need Multi-Gig on the LAN side for a home with sub-Gigabit broadband. But it never hurts to have Multi-Gig on both the WAN and LAN sides.

The hardware only needs one Multi-Gig port for the satellite, though having a second Multi-Gig port means you can add a Multi-Gig device, like a server, to it.

In short, it never hurts to have more Multi-Gig ports. But for now, two per device are the most we can have. If you want more than that, you need to get a switch.

The table below includes all current hardware that can work as a Multi-Gig wired AiMesh router, satellite, or both. (There will be more as time goes by.)

For the reasons mentioned above, the table doesn’t include any traditional Tri-band router, such as the ZenWifi XT8, ZenWifi Pro XT12, or GT-AX11000/Pro.

RouterMulti-Gig PortsAiMesh RolesNote
RT-AX86U1x 2.5Gbps LANRouter or satelliteThe router role is only suitable for homes
with sub-Gigabit broadband
RT-AX89X1x 10Gbps Multi-Gig
1x 10Gbps SFP+
Router or SatelliteAn SFP+-ready Multi-Gig switch
is needed for homes with Gig+
or faster broadband unless the SFP+ port
can be used for WAN connection
GT-AXE160001x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN
2x 10Gbps LAN/WAN
Router or SatelliteThe ultimate AiMesh hardware with Multi-Gig (up to 10Gbps out of the box) wired backhauling
GT-AXE110001x 2.5Gbps LAN/WANRouter or SatelliteThe router role is only suitable for homes
with sub-Gigabit broadband
GT-AX60001x 2.5Gbps WAN
1x 2.5Gbps LAN
Router or SatelliteReady for Multi-Gig out of the box
ZenWiFi Pro ET121x 2.5Gbps WAN
1x 2.5Gbps LAN
Router or SatelliteReady for Multi-Gig out of the box
ZenWiFi ET81x 2.5Gbps WANSatelliteNo Multi-Gig LAN option as a router
Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh hardware

Generally, you can use any combination of the above routers to get a system with Multi-Gig wired backhaul. I’ve tried most of the possible combos, and they all work.

However, some combos are better than others. Below are those I’ve used with success for an extended amount of time and tips on setting them up.

The Ultimate Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E Multi-Gi AiMesh Combos: GT-AXE16000 as the primary router

The GT-AXE16000 has everything one would look for in a standalone router. And thanks to its three Multi-Gig ports, it’ll also make an excellent AiMesh router.

While you can get multiple units to have a mesh system with 10Gbps wired backhauling, that’d not make sense financially, considering the sweet spot note above.

That said, it’s best to use it as the primary router and 2.5Gbps-enabled hardware as satellites.

Those with sub-Gigabit broadband can substitute the GT-AXE16000 with the more affordable GT-AXE11000 as the primary router to have a similar Multi-Gig wired backhauling AiMesh system.

Asus GT-AXE16000 and AiMesh

The GT-AXE16000 is a Quad-band router. Similar to the Orbi RBRE960, which is the router of the Orbi RBKE960 series, its 5GHz-2 band can work as the dedicated backhaul.

However, considering the cost and the temperamental nature of Wi-Fi connections, it’s not a good idea to get multiple GT-AXE16000 units to form a wireless mesh.

Asus GT-AXE16000 vs Netgear RBKE960: A solid pair of Quad-band Wi-Fi rivals

Unlike the Orbi counterpart, the GT-AXE16000 can work with any AiMesh broadcaster. In this case, you should use it as the primary router. Here is the breakdown of what will happen with its Wi-Fi bands in an AiMesh system:

  • Via wireless backhauling (not recommended):
    • With Dual-band satellite(s): There’s no dedicated backhaul. The router’s 5GHz-2 and 6GHz bands remain at the router. The former must have a different SSDID from the rest.
    • With Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E satellite(s): There’s no dedicated backhaul. The router’s 5GHz-2 band remains at the router and must have a separate name.
    • With traditional Wi-Fi 6 Tri-band satellite(s): The 5GHz-2 band functions as the dedicated backhaul (with a separate SSID). The 6GHz remains at the router.
  • Via wired backhauling (and Ethernet Backhaul Mode turned on):
    • With Dual-band satellite(s): The 5GHz-2 and 6GHz bands remain at the router.
    • With Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E satellite(s): The 5GHz-2 band remains at the router.
    • With traditional Wi-Fi 6 Tri-band satellite(s): The 6GHz remains at the router.

All things considered, the GT-AXE16000 should only be used in a mesh with wired backhauling.

The best performance option: GT-AXE16000 as primary router + ZenWiFi Pro ET12 as satellite(s)

GT-AXE16000 + a ZenWiFi Pro ET12 (or a 2-pack) is the best wired backhauling AiMesh combo.

The router can handle two Multi-Gig satellites on its own, but you can also daisy-chain the hardware — no switch is needed. But depending on the house’s layout, a switch might be necessary when you want to place the satellite where the original cable can’t reach.

Asus Multi Gig Wired Backhaul Mesh GT AXE16000 and ZenWiFi ET12
Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh combo: Here’s the GT-AXE16000 hosting two ZenWiFi Pro ET12 satellites.

In any case, you’ll get the full gaming features from the primary router, the best performance throughout, and the fancy lighting of the hardware doesn’t hurt.

That said, here are the detailed steps (all done within the web user interface of the GT-AXE16000):

  1. Set up the GT-AXE16000 as a standalone router. Depending on your broadband speed, you can use any of its ports, 1Gbps, 2.5Gbps, or 10Gbps, as the WAN port. Upgrade the router to the latest firmware (when available).
  2. Optional: Connect a Multi-Gig unmanaged switch to the router’s applicable Multi-Gig port (2.5Gbps or 10Gbps.)
  3. Add a ZenWiFi Pro ET12 as a wireless satellite node. (Detailed steps in this post on AiMesh.) Important: If you use a 2-pack ET12, keep the other ET12 unit off during this process.
  4. Repeat step #3 above to add the second ET12 to the mesh.
  5. Connect the ET12(s) to the main router’s Multi-Gig port(s) using their 2.5Gbps WAN port. You can daisy-chain them or use a Multi-Gig switch in between.
  6. Open the AiMesh section of the GT-AXE16000. Change the backhaul to prioritize the 2.5Gbps port for each satellite, and turn on the GT-AXE16000’s Ethernet Backhaul Mode. Manually restart all the hardware units.

And that’s it. Your mesh is ready.

Though not recommended due to cost and hardware design, you can use the GT-AXE11000 as a satellite, in the place of a ZenWiFi Pro ET12, to have a similar Multi-Gig wired backhauling AiMesh system.

The more affordable option: GT-AXE16000 as primary router + ZenWiFi ET8 as satellite(s)

The ZenWiFi ET8 is also available as a 2-pack.

This combo might require a switch if you want to use both ET8 units with Multi-Gig wired backhaul — you can’t daisy-chain them since each has just one 2.5Gbps port. In this case, the Zyxel MG-108 is an excellent fit.

But in most cases, you can plug them directly into the GT-AXE16000’s Multi-Gig ports.

Asus Multi Gig Wired Backhaul Mesh GT AXE16000 and ZenWiFi ET8 Combo
Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh combo: Here’s an Asus GT-AXE16000 hosting two ZenWiFi ET8 satellites.

The setup steps are similar to the case of the ET12 above (all done within the router’s web user interface):

  1. Set up the GT-AXE16000 as a standalone router. Upgrade it to the latest firmware (if applicable).
  2. Connect a Multi-Gig unmanaged switch to the router’s 2.5Gbps LAN port (optional.)
  3. Add the first ET8 as a wireless satellite node. (Detailed steps in this post on AiMesh.) Important: Make sure you do not turn on the other ET8 unit this time.
  4. Repeat step #3 to add the second ET8 unit.
  5. Connect both ET8 units into power and connect their WAN port to the network, directly to the router or the Multi-Gig switch.
  6. Open the AiMesh section of the GT-AXE16000. Change the backhaul to prioritize the 2.5Gbps port for each satellite, and turn on the GT-AXE16000’s Ethernet Backhaul Mode. Manually restart all the hardware units.

Best standard Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh: The ZenWi-Fi Pro ET12

The ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is the readiest Multi-Gig system you can find. The system is currently available as a 2-pack, and it’s ready right out of the box.

All you have to do is set up one unit as the primary (or standalone) router. After that, connect the second unit’s WAN port to the router’s 2.5Gbps LAN port using a network cable, and your Multi-Gig system is ready.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 Wired Backhaul
Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh combo: Here’s the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 running with a Multi-Gig wired configuration.

Since each unit has two 2.5Gbps ports, you’ll get Mult-Gig on both the WAN and LAN side. What’s more, if you get more units, you can daisy-chain them without a Multi-Gig switch.

Best standard Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh combo: RT-AX89X + RT-AX86U

You can have a Multi-Gig wired backhaul mesh system right away when using this combo. But if you want to use two RT-AX86U satellite nodes, you’d need a Multi-Gig switch.

A switch with an SFP+ uplink port will also come in handy if you have a Gig+ or faster broadband that requires the router’s 10Gbps BASE-T port. In this case, the Zyxel XGS1250-12 is a good option.

(You can also consider the TP-Link TL-SX1008 or the Zyxel MG-108 if you don’t have Multi-Gig broadband or can use the router’s SFP+ for the WAN side.)

Multi-Gig Backhaul AiMesh Combo: RT-AX89X and RT-AX86U Multi Gig Backhaul Setting
Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh combo: Here’s the step to change the backhaul of the satellite into the Multi-Gig connection using the router’s web interface.

With that, here are the steps to build this Multi-Gig AiMesh system:

  • Set up the RT-AX89X as a single router. Update it to the latest firmware.
  • Add the RT-AX86U as a wireless node. (Detailed steps in this post on AiMesh.) Update it to the latest firmware using the router’s web interface.
  • Open the AiMesh section of the RT-AX89X, select the node, and change the Backhaul Connection Priority to 2.5Gbps first.
  • Now, plug the RT-AX86U’s 2.5Gbps port into the 10Gbps LAN port of the RT-AX89X or the Multi-Gig switch connected to that port.
  • Repeat step #2 to add more satellite nodes if applicable. Turn on the router’s Ethernet Backhaul Mode. Manually restart all routers. Mission accomplished.
Multi-Gig Backhaul AiMesh Combo: RT-AX89X and RT-AX86U Multi Gig Backhaul
Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh combo: Here’s an RT-AX89X hosting an RT-AX86U satellite.

Alternatively use the RT-AX89X (router) + RT-AX89X (satellite) or GT-AX6000 (satellite). I haven’t tried these out extensively, but they worked, and the former is currently the only option for 10Gbps backhaul.

Best Gaming Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 Multi-Gig AiMesh Combos: GT-AX6000 as the primary router

With the GT-AX6000 as the primary router, you’ll get a network with all features and settings available to any Asus router, including those designed for gamers.

In this case, you can use any Dual-band routers for the satellites, including another GT-AX6000, RT-AX89X, or RT-AX86U. In all cases, you’d get a robust system with a 2.5Gbps wired backhaul.

Asus GT AX6000 Multi Gig Wired AiMesh Setup with RT AX89X
Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh combo: Here’s the GT-AX6000 hosting a few other Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 routers, including the RT-AX89X, in a Multi-Gig wired backhaul setup.

Depending on the number of satellites, you might or might not need a Multi-Gig switch. But if you do, the Zyxel MG-108 is a good fit.

Extra: Mixed Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh combos

As mentioned above, you shouldn’t mix a Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router with a Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E satellite.

That’s because AiMesh doesn’t have a practical way (yet) to control the node’s 3rd band. As a result, this band is not used, which is unacceptable.

Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12
The Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 (right) and ET8 can work well as satellites in the AiMesh AP mode on top of a Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router.

But if you have mixed hardware like this for some reason, there’s a way to make the best out of them. Specifically, you can use the Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E hardware in the AP mode on top of another router.

That is not the best way to get a Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh setup, but it will work quite well.

In this example, I used an RT-AX89X as the primary router and a 2-pack ZenWiFi ET8 as the satellite.

The steps are similar if you use any Dual-band router — including a non-Asus one — as the primary router and any other Tri-band AiMesh hardware as the satellite, such as the ET12. I’ve used RT-89AX + a 2-pack ET8 and RT-AX89X + 2-pack E12 combos, each for an extended amount of time with great success.

Here are the detailed steps with a 2-pack ET working in AP mode on top of an RT-AX89X — applicable to when you use any Tri-band ZenWiFi set, such as the ET12:

  • Set up the RT-AX89X as a router.
  • Connect a Multi-Gig switch to the router’s Multi-Gig LAN port.
  • Set up the ET8s set as APs to the RT-AX89X. Two possibilities:
    1. If you get a 2-pack (pre-synced hardware):
      • Connect the first ET8’s WAN port to the Multi-Gig switch.
      • Open its web interface and choose the AP mode.
      • Set up its Wi-Fi with the same SSID and password as the RT-AX89X. (You can use a different SSID for each band, especially the ET8’s 6GHz band.)
      • Connect the 2nd ET8’s WAN port to the Multi-Gig switch. Mission accomplished. The 2-pack ET8 now automatically works as an AP-mode AiMesh system.
    2. If you get two ET8 units separately (they are not pre-synced):
      • Set up the first ET8 as a router — use the same SSIDs and password as the router — then add the 2nd unit as a wireless node.
      • Use the first ET8’s web interface to switch the operation role into the AP mode.
      • Connect both ET8 units’ WAN ports to the Multi-Gig switch. Mission accomplished.

And now you get a standalone router (the RT-AX89X) and an AiMesh running in the AP mode (the ET8).

Multi-Gig Backhaul AiMesh Combo: Asus ZenWi Fi ET8 Multi-Gig Backhaul Satellite
Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh combo: Here’s my Asus ZenWi-Fi ET8 set is working in AP mode via a Multi-Gig wired backhaul connection.

In this case, you can not control the ET8 via the web interface (or mobile app) of the RT-AX89X. But in return, you can use all of the ET8’s bands and connect all hardware using Multi-Gig wired connections.

Hopefully, Asus will release firmware at some point that allows for better controlling of tri-band satellites via a dual-band router — which has been the case in Synology Mesh from the get-go. Until then, if you intend to use a dual-band router with tri-band satellites, this is the only way.

The takeaway

There you have it. These are possible options in Multi-Gig wired AiMesh systems that proved to work well in my extended hands-on trials.

As time goes by, there will be more hardware options, but the principles remain: You generally only want to use Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 and Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E together.

Again, traditional Tri-band hardware — those with an additional 5GHz band — might work, but it’s not ideal to use them in a wired backhaul setup.

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116 thoughts on “How to Build a Multi-Gig Wired Backhaul AiMesh Combo that Makes Sense”

    • Thanks, Dong!

      I’m just struggling to justify the dramatic difference in price. As you point out there are 2×2.5GHz ports oj the ET12 and 1×2.5GHz and 2x (effectively) 10GHz ports on the AXE16000. The only other difference seems to be Quad band vs Tri band. Performance-wise, did you notice any difference?

      • Note the performance on the chart, Mark, — the GT-AXE16000 is one of a few that you can get if you want to make the most out of a 10Gbps broadband connection. Again, please read the review of each unit. But yes, in the end, it’s all subjective. Many things won’t make sense if you try to make sense of them while insisting on your own perspective. Still, you’d recommend you keep yours and buy whichever router (or anything) that fits your needs. I have no comment on why a vendor prices a particular product. I take it’s a matter of demand and supply, but I could be wrong.

        PS: It’s 10Gbps (not 10GHz)

        • Hey Dong,
          I looked at the charts more closely and see the performance difference. I’m not pushing any perspective, just curious if you thought the leap in price was worth the 10Gbe port, additional band and slight performance increase. Of course, the best of the best doesn’t mean it’s the best for everyone. Networking is as much an art as it is science, particularly when you’re dealing with Wifi.

          I appreciate the responses and your hard work from which we all benefit a great deal.

          Cảm Ƒn nhiều nhé.

          P.S. Sorry about the GHz. Spent the day looking at Moca splitters and PoE filters then fiddling with the bands on my XT8’s.

    • Hi Dong, very good job with the article.
      I like the zenwifi et12, but it is too expensive. Do you think I could use Et12 as a router and et8 as satellite? Have you tested?
      Thanks in advance.

      • In part of my transition from XT8’s to ET12’s, I was able to have an ET12 in router mode with 2 XT8 nodes using wireless backhaul. It was shockingly seamless. The XT8’s were running Merlin too.

  1. Hey Dong,
    Long time reader, first time poster.
    For your Ultimate solution of 1 GT-AXE16000 router and 2 ET12 nodes, why not just have 3 ET12’s with one acting as the router? What is the advantage of using a GT-AXE16000?

  2. Hi Dong! Thanks for the article and the comprehensive information. I would like a house, but we live in an apartment )) the internet cable and router itself are at the front door, most of the time we spend in the living room, which is the furthest one, and the signal can barely get there through the walls. I would like to install a switch or a router at entrance door to transmit the signal via ethernet and then to install a decent router in the living room. The layout is as follows: Internet cable at the front door, and then 1 cable per room (bedroom 1, bedroom 2, living room) where the network sockets are installed. What would you recommend as the optimum set-up? Thank you!

  3. Hi Dong, I am looking to upgrade my network stack. I have a 2 gbps connection from Frontier. Using their router, feeding my own Ubiquiti router and two older Ubiquiti APs for my 4000 sqft house. I have wired backhaul.

    Wired performance is my primary concern for a couple of systems in my office which won’t have an AP, but also want to expand my over all coverage for wifi as a few rooms are pretty spotty.

    Im thinking pulling all of it out and dropping in a AX11000 Pro for the main router a multi gigabit switch but want to get two satellites and I’m really not sure what would be best. I was thinking the XT9 would be good enough. I don’t need multi gig ports in the rooms the APs would be put in. The other option would be XT12’s for multi gig ports in those rooms but not really needed.

      • hi Dong,
        I am in a similar situation as the original comment here except I have a 1gig fiber from Wave Rural. I have been in IT for 17yrs & lazily have rented the proved dual band router from the isp. I have 3-4 xbox consoles, multiple streaming tvs as I have cut the cord, & I work remote for Texas A&M. I have been thinking about getting the AX11000 Pro primarily for the gaming features but have been on the fence as to which 2pack of nodes to get in addition. I will be running a wired backhaul & want scalability from when my pipe from the isp increases. I have read the reviews of the XT12, XT8, ET12, & XT9 but my concern is that I don’t want to lose the gaming features from the AX11000 pro for the Xbox consoles that are off the nodes

        • For your case, Chris, I’d get the GT-AX6000 as the primary router and a couple of RT-AX82U as the nodes, Chris. But almost any combo will work since you have wired backhauling. If you want Wi-Fi 6E, though, then the GT-AXE11000 + ET8 is great — make sure you use them in the 386 firmware for now — more here.

  4. Hi Dong, thanks for a great in-depth article.

    I’m just about to refurb an old setup in an apartment with Ethernet ports in every room (yay!)

    One wrinkle however is that the ingress point for the FTTP modem is curiously in the ceiling. It’s a fibreboard ceiling point though, so not too thick. AFAIK, it can’t be moved.

    To make life simpler, it would be ideal to put the main router in that ceiling access point alongside a switch that will feed the satellites. (I’ll also be using another switch in the media area so that Ethernet is used as much as possible).

    This is a sub-gigabit setup, so is there a router that you would suggest for that ceiling area? The plan is for the satellites to be XD4’s as they will generally be going in bedrooms.

    There is an offer on a two pack of XD6 on at the moment too, so that could be a possibility.

    Any help appreciated!


  5. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for all the information you have provided on this website. I am renting a new 3 storied house where I am planning to use Coax cables with MoCA 2.5 adapters for wired backend. I currently have AX86U and 2 QNAP 2.5 switches. I would like to get XT8 as satellite nodes for AX86U and cover the house through AiMesh. I went through all of your AiMesh posts but didn’t find a situation where AX86U is host and XT8/ET8 are satellites. My main purpose of using XT8 is to get 160hz band and 2.5 Gbps WAN port. I would like to get 2.4 Gbps wifi speed across my wifi devices which allow me data transfer at 2.4 Gbps with my NAS. Is this possible with XT8’s WAN port?

  6. Hey Dong,

    I appreciate all the work you put into the many reviews you provide. I’m getting ready to move into a new house and am trying to figure out the best network setup. It’s wired with Cat 6 cables to the relevant locations in the house. I’d like to do an AIMesh system to cover everything well and extend a ways outside the home for external Nest cameras, garage door openers, etc.

    Right now I’m leaning towards 3x GT-AX6000s. I will have a gaming PC setup in the basement that is wired to the primary router and two satellites (one on each end of the house) upstairs in a wired backhaul setup. My question is about how to connect them. my understanding is the 2.5G port on the AX6000 is the “game port” where that traffic is prioritized first. If that’s the case, it would be nice to have my primary gaming PC plugged into that port by itself. That leaves me with just the 1G LANs to connect the satellites. Would that be the way to go, or should I be looking at a 2.5G switch to connect the main PC and satellites via the 2.5G port on the primary router?

    Internet speeds will be capped at 1G, but I’m thinking more in the realm of hooking up network storage and having in network transfer speeds >1G.

    I guess the ultimate question I’m getting at is, is there value to the “game port” for gaming, or will it not hurt to have that wired to a switch going out to the gaming PC and satellites. FWIW, my PC has a ROG Apex motherboard, which I believe there are settings in the AX6000 to prioritize other ROG hardware. Maybe that would achieve the same prioritization as sole possession of the game port for the gaming PC.

    Thanks again!

    • I’d not worry about the game port, Brian, it’s better to prioritize by games, or specific consoles anyway. For your case, it’s overkill to get three GT-AX6000s, using the RT-AX86U as the satellite will do the trick. But it’s up to you. πŸ™‚

  7. Hi there Dong,

    Thank you for your posts, very educational! I have a question, I live in Hong Kong and the buildings are all built with thick concrete, currently my whole apartment is wired with cat7 cables and have 2x ET12s, I was contemplating on getting a third router for the mesh, should I get another ET12 or get a AXE16000? The latter is nearly double in price, does the performance justify it? Or another ET12 would get around the same performance anyway?

    Thanks a lot in advance!

    • It’s a question of how to spend your money, Smoothie and I don’t think I’m qualified to answer that. This post has answers to other questions you had — give it a good read and follow the review of related items.

  8. Thanks for the great write-up, Dong!

    For the recommendation against using more than one GT-AX16000, is it mostly due to the price? I’d have thought that having a dedicated backhaul channel would make it ideal, similar to the Orbi 963, but with generally better specs and the free gaming features.

  9. Would it be correct to say that AiMesh using 2.5Gbps ports on the router and the satelites (wired backhaul) you would achieve higher wifi speeds with 1Gig fiber, than you would using 1Gbps ports?

  10. Hello Dong,

    I recently returned XT8s and bought ET12 for future proofing (at least for now) and I would like to build a solid wired back haul Aimesh system and my house is fully wired with Ethernet jacks in almost every room. So I have Asus AX89X router that I am hoping to use with pair of ET12s and form an AiMesh , however, I read in one of your articles that one should never mix wifi 6 and wifi 6e devices and that would be doing that as AX89X is wifi 6 and ET12s are wifi 6e.

    So what I am wondering here is: if I mixed these devices together, will there be any issues with my aimesh ? Or could I simply use one of ET12 as a main router and then use the second ET12 as an AiMesh node connected back to multigig switch via wired (this would be the same multi-gig switch that my first ET12 would be connected to and passing Internet to all my wired devices )

    Asus AX89X router has 10Gbs port which I could use to pass internet signal into multi-gig switch and I should get the full speed of my 3Gbs fibre internet connection to all my wired devices that support that speed. And this setup would give me additional 2 mesh nodes (pair of ET12s) but I am wondering if this is an overkill perhaps as my house is 2400 sq. feet ? Could I get by with just pair of ET12s (one being the main router and second one being the only aimesh node ? Can I have only one aimesh node or do i need at least 2 ? With that I am loosing 0.5Gbs from my 3 Gbs internet provider but it may be a small price to pay ? This option would be all wifi 6e devices (not a mix)
    And there is also AP mode that may be a 3rd choice as well – Asus AX89X as a main router and two ET12s as access points but once again I would be mixing wifi standards ? πŸ™

    So decisions, decisions – this is tough for me to decide, which one do you think , would work better in my situation ?


      • I get it that I could use the mixed mode hardware from your article but you have not really answer my question πŸ™‚

        Which setup is better i.e best practice/scenario from your point of view. Can I just use 2 ET12s by themselves forgoing the Asus AX89X router and avoiding the mixed mode ? One ET12 as a main router and then a second as either AP or Aimesh or just use two ET12s as access points exclusively from my ISP provided router.

        You can sense that I ma trying to reduce hardware ( Asus AX89X router ) if results would be similar πŸ™‚


          • Perfect – thanks for that πŸ™‚ Just curious , is there a way that you know off to use two ET12s as access points exclusively from my ISP provided router. Or I have to make one of them a main router and the second one either AP or Aimesh node – just curious ? Here is Canada is it very hard to get rid of BELL ISP supplied router πŸ™ as they don’t provide bridge mode and when you use PPPoe mode the wired speeds drop significantly compared to what I am subscribing (3Gbs fibre) so it is a bummer really! I was hoping that I could use ET12s as access points from my multi-gig switch that my ISP router is feeding the internet signal in via its 10Gbs capable out port. Is that even possible, I am not sure but it would be very nice to achieve that .

          • Do me a favor and read this post CAREFULLY — check out the related ones when need be. Also, the ET12 only has 2.5Gbps ports. No more questions until you’ve done so, please.

  11. In addition to your suggested choices can I use RT-AX89X as a main router with 2 -10Gbs ports and then XT8 2 pack with wired backhaul ? Would that work and provide a very good Aimesh solution for wired multi-gig ?


      • Hi Dong,

        I have read all the posts (to best of my abilities tried to make sense of all that great info) and have to be honest with you , I am still confused as probably I don’t have same level of knowledge as you and other in these threads have.

        So I am going to ask straight up πŸ™‚ and if there is no further answer from folks here than it is what it is. I have a pair of XT8s that I got for really good price and I would love to utilize them in my home setup ( i.e. I can return them still and buy something else but the price was really attractive and don’t necessary want to do that unless I can but a better equipment fitting my needs for a similar price which most likely be though to match ) I feel that I don’t need 6E equipment at this time ?

        So based on the info Dong you pointed me to on how to best choose router, I have gathered that I need to bypass my ISP router and have a dedicated router that will be doing the routing in my home. Which I totally understand and agree with. So I would like a recommendation from this forum what router should I choose that would work for my scenario keeping in mind that I would like utilize and maximize benefits of my XT 2 pack. I am sorry but with all these options that you Dong explain in your reviews/posts, once again, I don’t have enough knowledge to make this determination so I need some specific help and guidance please πŸ™‚

        I would love to get a router that has 10Gbs ports as I would like to utilize my internal wiring to have 10Gb local network at home and I do have some Qnap 10 GB/2.5GB switches that I would like all the internal Ethernet jacks to connect to. At the same time I would like to improve my wifi speeds as well and perhaps XT8 would allow me to so ?

        I could potentially use them in the AP mode, can I not with the right router selected as my primary router (bypassing the ISP router and getting rid of ISP Pods at the same time) Since I already have Asus XTs most likely I would assume that I need Asus router as my primary router , right ? So that narrows down some options I believe . And if possible use wired backhaul or wireless is fine as well (as long as my wifi speeds improve.

        Any help/recommendations are appreciated at this point πŸ™‚ Thanks!

          • Great thanks Dong! Much appreciated as this simplifies my setup tremendously and I just need to purchase router with 10Gb port(s) πŸ™‚

            Just to clarify I am assuming that I could I also use any of these routers as my main router, right :

            Netgear Orbi RBKE960 Series
            QNAP QHora-301W
            Zyxel Armor G5
            Asus GT-AXE16000

            I am leaning towards either Asus RT-AX89XQ with 2 10GBs ports or QNSAP QHora-301W with two 10Gbps ports as I have QNAP QSW-M2116P-2T2S-US multi-gig switch already ?

            Any word of wisdom about choice of router from your experience ?


  12. Hiya, Thanks for the work you do. I am in a bit of an odd spot and figured I would ask you what I can do. I don’t have any wired connections ran through my house. I want to do some but I need to learn what I have to do for it to be done well. Eventually I plan to do so but for now I have a Firewalla Gold going to a ET12 and another ET12 as wireless meshed using 6ghz and I get great speeds from it. A family member got me a AXE16000 for my birthday and I am not sure what to do with it. Should I replace my ET12’s with it? My house is 2400 SQ but very vertical. Its 3 floors and not that wide. Or do I stick with the ET12’s doing wireless mesh and sell the AXE16000. Or I can use the AXE16000 as the primary and wirelessly use the two ET12’s as satellites. Your post about it seems to focus on using them wired, which I want to do eventually when my health permits me to do the actual install. But with this setup wirelessly used, is it even worth it to try?

  13. Dong,

    Your reviews and insight are such high quality and so informative. You are a gift to the Internet!

    Currently, we have a single AXE11000 (purchased based on reading your previous reviews!) and are in the process of wiring our house. With that we’d like to create a wired-backhaul mesh network with 1-2 other access points. Would your recommend the getting the AXE16000 as our main router (and using the current AXE11000 as an access point) or the upcoming (hopefully soon!) AXE11000 Pro as our main router? Is the UNII-4 Spectrum of the AXE11000 Pro worth waiting for over the AXE16000?

    • I don’t think UNII-4 means much when you have wired backhauling, Kuti, considering the scare support on the client side. For your case, what you’re thinking will work. Or just follow the suggestions in this post.

  14. Hi!
    I already have an AX86U and will soon be moving to a bigger house with 1Gbps+ WAN. I was planning on getting the AXE16000 to use as the primary router in an Aimesh with wired backhaul.

    Are there any downsides to this setup? Is there a tangible benefit to replacing the AX86U with a triband Wifi 6E router?

    My goal is to fully take advantage of the bandwidth AXE16000 offers, while having good signal strength throughout the house.

    • The only benefit would be you’ll also have the 6GHz band at the satellite’s end (where the RT-AX86U is), Rohit.

      • Thanks Dong! I had a few follow-up questions on setup:
        1) Can i use only one common SSID in quad band router? I plan on using Mac address filtering to direct few specific devices to a particular band.
        2) Do I get full advertised Wifi bandwith of both routers in Aimesh with wired backhaul i.e. 16000Mbps of AXE16000 + 5700Mbps of AX86U = 21700Mbps? Curious if Aimesh is essentially providing addional channels like an AP or using the same channels like a repeater.
        3) Is there a scenario where AP Mode would be more desirable compared to Aimesh? Assuming in both cases. a wired connection to the primary router.

        • 1. Yes. But it’s better to separate them in my opinion.
          2. Absolutely not for Wi-Fi — you have to discount AT LEAST 30%. 50% OR MORE is the general case. And by that, I mean the actual speed of a single band, not the nonsense numbers you mentioned. More here.
          3. No. But more in this post.

          Make sure you read the related posts that are normally linked within any post.

  15. I just replaced my Gig setup (Netgear RAXE500 + 2 Wired EAX80s) with a Multi Gig wired setup (Asus GT-AXE16000 + 2 Wired ET12s on a multi gig switch). Performance at the AXE16000 was great but once I added the ET12s my wifi performance has been very poor (constantly dropping out, high ping and slow speeds). All the wired devices are working fine. I followed all the steps above, adding one at a time wireless then turning on ethernet backhaul mode. Smart connect is on. I have tested with smart connect on and off, and Ethernet backhaul mode on and off (with priority to ethernet 2.5G WAN in that case). All firmware is up to date. The router web interface tells me everything is perfect, but alas it is not. Does it take time for Aimesh to get settled? Any tips? Thanks very much.

    • I’ve been using the same setup, Mike, and things are fine. Try manually restarting all hardware and give it fine minutes or so. Also, make sure you use the switch in the unmanaged mode if it’s a managed switch.

      • Thank you. I did that a few times with no luck. On the switch, it is the Zyxel XS1930-12HP. I did not change anything on it just left everything default which I think acts as unmanaged? I then called Asus and they had me default the 2.4 GHz channel to 40Mhz and a higher control channel and the 5GHz-1 channel to 160 MHz and a higher control channel. Seems to have improved things a lot. Is this good to stick with long term if working well or is there a reason to use different settings? Thanks again.

        • I have the same switch. πŸ™‚

          Not sure what I did but you should log into its interface — the review will help — upgrade both boot images to the latest firmware, reset it to factory default and then manually restart it.

          What Asus suggested is good too, and I used that. Also, separate the band (no smart connect) — you can name the two 5GHz bands the same.

          Good luck, Mike!

  16. What are good tri-band satellite(s) for the GT-AXE16000 if I want the satellites to show two separate ssid (5g-1 and 5g-2). Trying to keep one 5Ghz channel range for VR.

    • If you read the post, I generally don’t recommend using this router in a wireless mesh setup — it’s just too expensive for that with little in return for the investment. But if you’re adamant, the satellite options that make sense right now are the ZenWiFi Pro XT12 (not yet available the US) (or XT8), GT-AX11000 and RT-AX92U. In that order.

  17. Hi Dong,

    I have an Asus rt ax88u as the main router and ax86u as a node with 600 Mbps of internet. All with backhaul wired internet. I want to buy another router. What would be the best options for a third router thinking about faster internet (Gigabit)? What would be the best routers combo? All wired.

    Thank you

  18. Hi Dong,

    Many thanks for updating this article. I was trying to figure out the best Ai-Mesh combo for a pair of AXE16000s and two AXE11000s when I saw it. I do have a question in this potential set up though, The main AXE16000 will go to my 10G unmanaged switch and from there to the AXE16000 node’s 10G port. Then then two AXE11000s’ 2.5G ports will be connected to the main AXE16000 and satellite AXE16000’s respective 2.5G ports. Thus we have the Ai-Mesh in a tri-band Wifi 6E configuration. In your opinion, is it worth sacrificing the AXE16000’s quad-band capability for the aforementioned set up? Asking this as I see in your detailed Wifi testing that the two 5Ghz bands had higher sustained outputs than the 6Ghz band on the AXE16000. Thanks again in advance.

      • Thanks for the tips and reading material Dong. I haven’t had the opportunity to use the AXE16000 as my primary router yet due to the nature of my ISP’s 10G broadband hardware (SFP+) provided. I’ll go test this all out once my SFP+ to 10G Base-T media converter arrives.

          • The SFP+ to 10G Base-T media converter finally arrived. It runs hot but is fanless and compact enough to place on the office desk. And it works so I can finally use the AXE16000 as my main router. Some wired speed issues with the main router and AiMesh node which I will shift over to the AXE16000 review thread.

  19. Hello Dong,

    Thanks for the detailed post. I am currently looking at doing a wired backhaul – my house was wired already for Ethernet back over a decade ago. I’ll definitely need to wire two Ethernet cables together because I need about another 10 feet to get the the modem. I am no expert in rewiring Ethernet as I always get it wrong but I’m hopeful I can figure it out.

    Here it is https://ibb.co/Zxh9Bhp

    Question – is there anything that you think I am missing or what I should be aware of?

    Thanks again for your awesome contribution to the internet!

  20. Hi Dong and community,

    First of all, thank you as always for your awesome write-ups and blunt advice. Always very helpful!

    I need your thoughts, please. I read through this blog post and others and am still not sure about a few things.

    In a nutshell:

    Since I already have an ASUS GT-AX11000 as my main router, My thought is to standardize on ASUS to extend my network via wired ethernet AP or wired AiMesh, and have the same hardware mfgr for compatibility. I am open to spending additional money, time and effort to β€œbolster” my environment. I just want it stable and rocking, at least for a while! I am also onboard with a little β€œfuture proofing”

    – Challenges I am trying to overcome:
    – Maximizing speed and β€œhorsepower”/cpu to power my network with minimal β€œbog-downs”
    – Improving stability of wifi calling and handoffs throughout the house with our iPhones. It is our only way to connect to the cell network.
    – Improving wifi signal distribution, strength and perceived speed by my family
    – Possibly adding USB drive to perform Apple Time Machine backups (which has crashed the ASUS in the past so I gave ups )

    Here’s what I have currently:

    * ASUS GT-AX11000 as my main router largely based on your (Dong’s) reviews to replace my β€œchoking” TP-link Archer C5400.
    * Network supports about 40 devices β€” the usual laptops, 3 printers, iPhones, security, Amazon dots, Apple TV 4k, COVID everybody online in Zoom and MS Teams calls, etc.
    * Gaming is hardwired, as is my basement home office and ROON/Tidal/QOBUZ audio streaming.
    * I added my old TP-link Archer C5400 gaming router (as an AP) on a different floor to help improve distribution of the wifi signal, which is still spotty at times. iPhones Wifi calling can sometimes be unreliable as well.
    * Hardwired CAT 8 Ethernet β€œbackhaul” to the ASUS.
    * All Ethernet runs are CAT 8, either directly up to the router or via Trendnet TEG-S80g Gigabit switches.
    * Wired connections directly into ASUS = 5 plus WAN to ONT. 2 of the 5 are feeding additional nodes via switches
    * Our house is not huge, but it is old, plaster walls and on 4 floors, so wifi strength and speed still varies within the house…

    To improve on what I currently have, In your opinion, would it be worthwhile to:
    – buy a new beefy main router e.g. ASUS GT-AX11000 Pro, Quad-band GT-AXE16000 when available (or an existing ASUS offering), and use the existing ASUS GT-AX11000 as a bridge/AP or mesh? I do not need wifi β€œgaming” tricked out per se but I do like the QoS, and horsepower of the gaming unit CPUs…
    – You mention Dual band and Tri-band WiFi 6E broadcasters versus tri-band are better for hardwired backhaul. I only need wired backhaul, – so –
    – Sell the ASUS GT-AX11000 and standardize on beefy new dual band ASUS and an AP or two? Which ones?
    – ideal backhaul config? I am still confused on how to setup and leverage Multi-gig etc.
    – Ai-mesh or AP?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!

    • For your case, Bryan, it’s best to get the GT-AXE16000 (my guess, it’s not out yet) and two ET12 if you want to have a Multi-Gig backhaul and Gig+ WAN. If not, the GT-AXE11000 + ET8 will do. Traditional Tri-band + wired backhaul can be problematic (though not always so). As for call quality, it’s mostly on your broadband. If you use Fiber (looks like you do), it’ll be great, if you use Cable, it’s not that great. (I speak from experience, I have both). That’s in the quality of the connection, as mentioned here.

  21. Dong,

    I have the Asus CT8 as my main router and one node and an Asus AC 1900 as my second node. It is setup as a wired backhaul. When it works, it is great. However, more and more, the internet goes offline and I have to redo the the setup all over again including the mesh to get internet. How do I alleviate the problem? Do I need to ditch the CT8 and get the 86u or the AX86u or both? My current setup drops offline a lot and it has become a real chore to recreate the mesh and get the network going again every 3-4 weeks. I appreciate your help!


  22. Another combo that has been working well for me is the RT-AX89X as router and GT-AX11000 as satellite. I am using the copper 10g port for Internet and I have the SFP+ connected to a switch which provides 2.5g to that port on the satellite for wired backhaul.

    • Thanks for sharing, Ben. You can’t use the satellite’s 2nd 5GHz band in that case, though, unless you use it in the AP mode.

      • I’m confused! Let’s say I have my own router and want to use 2 x GT-AX6000 in AP mode. Would be able to wired the bachaul and keep to use the 2.5GBS LAN port for wired connections on both? If so please how? Thanks!

  23. Hi Dong,

    Thanks so much for this resource. I was intending to create a wired backhaul with two GT-AX6000s, one in the living room by the terminal point and another in my entertainment room.

    To create the wired backhaul, how should I be connecting my cables from the first GT-AX6000 to the second GT-AX6000? (i.e. which port should be connected to which?)

    Sorry if this question comes off as ignorant!

  24. hi Dong, does this mean we can ‘upgrade’ the AX89X with Wifi 6E broadcasting?
    Just use a 6E AP and connect it to the multigig port? Preferably from Asus family.

    • Not really an upgrade but, yes, you can do that and I’ve used that for a long time and it worked. Clearly, you still won’t have 6GHz coming from the RT-AX89X itself.

  25. Hi Dong, love the site!

    I live in a ~2500sf 2-storey wood frame house. My internet connection is ~900Mbps bidirectional fibre, and the ISP “modem” is in bridge mode.

    I currently have four Google Wifi (AC1200) units and have been very happy with their reliability, and mostly happy with their performance and feature set. Currently, one of them is acting as the main router, two of them are on wired backhaul in other rooms, and one of them is in mesh mode, mainly acting as a bridge for a couple of desktop PCs that are in an older part of the house not wired for Ethernet.

    Now that I WFH and my “office” is right beside the “NOC”, my work and personal computers are on gigabit Ethernet, so I don’t really have a rational reason to make changes, but nevertheless I’ve been thinking about messing with things:

    Some features I’d like that aren’t offered by Google Wifi… All motivated by the desire to help kids focus on school work. πŸ˜‰
    * selective user-defined site blocking, not just blanket Safesearch
    * temporarily disallowing connections from unrecognized MAC addresses, or ideally getting prompted to allow/deny new ones (e.g. when guests come over)

    It’d be nice to improve performance, but it’s not that bad currently.

    I’m leaning towards AiMesh for my next upgrade, mainly on the strength of your reviews, and I’m wondering what you think a good topology would be… Since I have a mixture of wired backhaul and mesh, there doesn’t seem to be an agreed-upon best practice.

    I’ve been leaning towards a pair of XT8’s for my two wired backhaul spots, mainly because they’re small and not incredibly ugly, although I guess you don’t suggest paying for tri-band in that kind of configuration. For the base router, since it’s hidden in a closet, I don’t care about aesthetics, so something that looks like a quadcopter is acceptable. πŸ˜‰

    Finally, for the mesh/bridge side of things, I guess that’s where a tri-band satellite might make the biggest difference… I don’t foresee caring about multi-gig anytime soon, at least not for wireless.

    The fact that a pair of XT8’s is currently on sale for the same price as XD6’s isn’t really making my life easier, but anyway, how would you rank these options?

    * 3 x XT8 ~$800 CAD — uniformity is nice, but expensive
    * 2-pack XT8’s for satellites + RT-AX92U base, $750 CAD — not much cheaper
    * Anything else? πŸ™‚

    I had been considering TP-Link X60, as they’re nice and cheap ($400 CAD for a three-pack) but it seems they don’t support MAC address allow-lists, so I wouldn’t be able to block my hacker kids. πŸ˜‰

    Anyway thanks for reading, keep up the good work! πŸ™‚

  26. Really enjoy your articles. I currently own the Asus GT-AXE11000 router and it works great. I have always been interested and waiting for the right mesh system to come along, something little better then what you have reviewed in this article and I’m curious if you could do a review and comparison on the new Asus Mesh ZenWiFi Pro XT12 model and having that connected to the GT-AXE11000 router in a wired backhaul, how would the performance look compared to these others in this article.

      • Are there any 6E systems I can use as a mesh setup to connect to my current router. I have a spot or two if in a pack that would be perfect if I could find something. Was hoping this newer mesh system from asus was going to be it, buy doesn’t sound like it!

  27. Hi Dong,
    I’m running a wired backhaul of a 1.2 Gbps internet connection in my 3 story building approx 1800 sqft. I’m running a pair of deco ax5700. My current problem is that my office on the 3rd floor is about 20 ft away from my nearest router and my pc and gaming hardware is only getting about 200 Mbps of speed. I’m thinking should I switch to aimesh hopefully the individual routers would have more range. Or is there a wire/wireless backhaul setup so that I can put one mesh node in my office.

    Thanks in advance

  28. Hi Dong,

    First time poster here and like literally every other person, first I need to thank you for doing all of this. Your site is THE best resource for this stuff. πŸ™‚

    So here’s my “wondering”…

    I’m slowly trying to build my own “home lab” and a better WiFi around the house and trying to future proof it with 10Gig (or at least multi-gig option, at least for LAN). I do not have tons of devices but right now there are about 10+ connected and in the future there might be a few more (20-30 max I think).

    Note that my house is not huge, however, it’s European built so it’s concrete + steel. I think one good WiFi AP might cover the thole thing pretty OK (something like WAX620), but I’m a bit anxious if in the future I can easily add smaller APs to cover backyard, front, … And it seems like the best choice for this would be ASUS since nearly everything that comes out of their shop supports their AI Mesh nowadays.

    So alternatively I was thinking about this setup wired back haul setup:
    – Main router RT-AX89X
    – – WAN goes into my modem (500Mbit cable)
    – – SFP+ 10G goes into Zyxel XGS1250-12 (to which my main PC would connect, my server and my little Synology DS220+ with Link aggregation 2x1Gig)
    – – 10G Base-T goes into another Mesh AP (not decided yet which one, but most likely a AX86U, although I might not need to connect many, if any devices on this end)

    So which option would you suggest (I’m not very limited with price) and does WAX620 really needs the monthly subscription?

    Thanks in advance for your time! πŸ™‚

    • Your current Asus combo is exactly what I’ve been using for months, Matjaz — here’s my review of the switch. You should pay me the royalty! j/k. That said, it will definitely work. After that, you can use any AP but in that case, note that you’ll have to manage the AP individually. Going with AiMesh hardware means you can manage the entire network via the router unit. And no, Netgear APs only require a subscription if you choose to use its Insight app for remote management. By the way, kudos on getting your home wired, that’s the only right way to go.

      You’re welcome.

  29. Hi Dong, had a quick (probably silly, sorry) question. I followed your guide and overhauled my home network- ditched the supplied router/modem combo and got an RT-AX89X w/ an RT-AX86U setup in AiMesh. I also wired my home w/ ethernet to use ethernet backhaul.

    Anyhow, I noticed the node (AX86U) 90% of the time has a “normal” connection quality, I’ve seen it at “great” only once. I have no idea what changes the quality as nothing has changed as far as location of the node. Is this something I should worry about and/or troubleshoot? Since it’s connected via ethernet I was surprised the connection wouldn’t always be “great”- but I’m certainly no expert. Thanks!

    • “Great” generally only applies to wireless backhaul, Caleb. That 10% is likely when something is wrong with your wired backhaul.

  30. Hi Dong. Thank you for all the amazing reviews. Please excuse this simple question but I can’t seem to get a satisfactory answer. I have a whole house wired with ethernet cat5e and it is a very large house. Is there any performance advantage to setting up my wifi as wired backhaul mesh (i.e. a mesh where everything is wired) versus just installing some wired access points everywhere and some things wired directly (TV’s computers etc). I think this is called a star set-up. I know that I have to manage each access point under this scenario. This is a very basic question but thank you for taking the time to reply.

  31. So the new XT12 announced at CES also now provides another interesting (maybe lower cost?) option esp. if 6E isn’t important to you. With a second 2.5 gbps port you could in theory attach this to a (managed?) 2.5 gbps switch and then use that switch for wired capable ethernet devices at 2.5 gbps and also to use your XT8 satellite mesh nodes 2.5 gbps WAN port to connect to the switch. Doug, do you know of any issues with sharing a switch between end-user wired enet nodes and satellite mesh nodes? In theory, this should work, or at worst set up a VLAN (assuming you purchased a managed switch) for the satellite nodes to keep them separate from the end user nodes. With this option you can keep existing XT8 nodes as satellite nodes but give them wire speed access to your gbps plus ISP connection (up to 2.5) There are an increasing number of 2.5 gbps switches including managed and unmanaged ones at attractive prices.

    • The name is Dong, Randall.

      Yes, you can have switches in between. I actually mentioned that in this post, even specific switches — also more in this post about AiMesh. But generally, an unmanaged switch is recommended. If you use a managed one, you need to know what you’re doing. Else it won’t work. Asus first unveiled the X12 a while ago, and it’s not available yet.

  32. Hi, Dong. As always, thanks for your website and knowledge. I may have missed it in the write-up, but do you have a preference on how these devices are mounted? Should they be in the ceiling or wall, or is having them on a table sufficient? Thank you.

    • They are all omnidirectional broadcasters, Brad, so, however, you mount them is fine. Just make sure you put them out in the open.

  33. Hi Dong, You usually refer to an *unmanaged* multi-gig switch. Apart from cost and updating the firmware, are there significant problems with using a managed multi-gig switch as if it were unmanaged (if one happens to have one available)? Thank you! Nick

    • Generally no, but some managed switches will never really work as an unmanaged one, so when you use a mesh system with one in between, your satellite might not see the main router.

  34. Thanks for this timely article Dong, I was just thinking of getting another RT-AX89X to try out 10Gbps wired backhaul. My current RT-AX89X is already hooked up to a 10Gbe unmanaged switch via the 10Base-T RJ45 port. Was also considering the 2.5Gbps backhaul through the switch to my pair of AXE11000’s. I’m currently using them both in an AiMesh combo on a separate 1Gbps network. Will hold off any purchases until firmware updates fix the issues or when Asus finally decides to release a Wifi 6E tri/quad band version of the RT-AX89X next year. Fingers crossed.

      • For what it’s worth, Asus launched a ‘new’ Wifi 6 router in mainland China, the ROG GT-AX6000. https://rog.asus.com/us/networking/rog-rapture-gt-ax6000-model/ The router features two 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN ports as well as four 1Gbps ports. So multigig backhaul for AiMesh is possible. It’s also got most of the gaming features from the ROG GT-AX11000 and ROG GT-AXE11000. The CPU appears to be a Broadcom 16nm Quad-core 2.0GHz SoC. A post on SNB Forums indicates it’s a BCM4912 chip and this router originally shared the same specs as the RT-AX89X but with a different design. If it follows a similar launch schedule to the RT-AX89X from 2019, it should be available in North America by 1Q22.

        • Thanks for sharing, Richard. Yeap, different regions tend to have different timelines in terms of chipset approval, and the US is often the slowest in this regard (for good reasons.)

  35. Is there any serious use case of a multi gig network for a normal home?

    I mean how often does one download very large files and even then we are talking about 5 min vs 1 min wait time under ideal conditions.

    The only country I know of which has affordable 10 Gb internet is Switzerland where this is the standard plan by Salt Fibre(World’s fastest ISP as per Ookla) and even there I know of no one who has any idea of what to do with this bandwidth except very few who buy 10 gbps nic card for one desktop run speedtests and show off.

  36. Hi Dong,
    Since the satellites in these setups are limited to 2.5Gbps, a less expensive alternative for the switch would be the TL-SG105-M2 (or TL-SG108-M2). This would limit the total bandwidth to the main router to 2.5Gbps, rather than allow an aggregate, however the price difference is significant.

    • Yes, I mentioned them in the post, Dror. Those you mentioned only work for those not needing Multi-Gig WAN or can use the RT-AX89X’s SFP+ for the WAN connection.


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