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How to Build the Best AiMesh Combo with Multi-Gigabit Wired Backhauling

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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.

Multi-Gig is still somewhat of a luxury, considering Gigabit is already plenty fast. You're getting into a territory that can be more expensive than necessary. Some options won't dig as big of a hole in your wallet. Still, this doesn't apply to the budget-minded.

Most importantly, have your home wired—we're talking most about wired networking here.

Dong's note: I first published this post on October 29, 2021, and since then, I have tested more multi-Gigabit combos. This update, posted on April 21, 2023, 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, a Wi-Fi network's "mesh" notion meant multiple broadcasters linked wirelessly. That's still true today—I mentioned that in this primer post on the topic.

But due to the nature of any wireless communication, this backhaul link has many issues, including slow speeds due to signal loss/degradation and unreliability due to the elements. And that's where wired backhauling comes into play.

Fronthaul vs. backhaul in Wi-Fi mesh systems

When you use multiple Wi-Fi broadcasters—in a mesh network or a combo of a router and an extender—there are two types of connections: fronthaul and backhaul.

Fronthaul is the Wi-Fi signals broadcast outward for clients or the local area network (LAN) ports for wired devices. It's what we generally expect from a Wi-Fi broadcaster.

Backhaul (a.k.a backbone,) on the other hand, is the link between one satellite Wi-Fi broadcaster and another, which can be the network's primary router, a switch, or another satellite unit.

This link works behind the scenes to keep the hardware units together as a system. It also determines the ceiling bandwidth (and speed) of all devices connected to the particular broadcaster. It's the backbone of the system.

At the satellite/extender unit, the connection used for the backhaul—a Wi-Fi link or a network port—is often called the uplink. Generally, a Wi-Fi broadcaster might use one of its bands (2.4GHz, 5GHz, or 6GHz) or a network port for the uplink.

When a Wi-Fi band handles backhaul and fronthaul simultaneously, only half its bandwidth is available to either end. From the perspective of a connected client, that phenomenon is called signal loss.

A Wi-Fi connection between two direct parties occurs in a single band, using one fixed channel, at any given time. This principle applies to all existing Wi-Fi standards, up to Wi-Fi 6E.

When a Wi-Fi band functions solely for backhauling, it's called the dedicated backhaul. Often, that means no other band will do this job, though that depends on the hardware.

In a mesh system, only traditional Tri-band hardware—those with an additional 5GHz band—can have a dedicated backhaul band without ostracizing clients of the same band.

Generally, it's best to use network cables for backhauling—wired backhauling, which is an advantage of mesh hardware with network ports. In this case, a satellite broadcaster can use its entire Wi-Fi bandwidth for front-hauling.

In networking, network cables are always much better than wireless in speed and reliability.

Still, some online "experts"—there are a lot of them these days—have mocked 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. In my real-world experience, wired backhauling is the best way to build a network, including 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. A Gigabit connection always sustains at sub-Gigabit after overhead.

With that, let's move on to how to build the best Multi-Gig wired AiMesh combos.

Asus AiMesh with multi-Gigabit wired backhauling: Everything you need to know

Since 2022, with the releases of the ZenWiFi Pro ET12 and the GT-AX6000, both have two 2.5Gbps ports, we've had a decent selection of AiMesh options with multi-Gigabit wired backhauling.

There have been even more since. Now there are many combos with 2.5Gbps or even 10Gbps backhaul options. But 2.5Gbps is the sweet spot.

That's because the fastest Wi-Fi connection (2x2 Wi-Fi 6/6E at 160MHz) sustains at around 1.5Gbps (or Gig+). As a result, there's generally no benefit in Wi-Fi performance when the intake port of a mesh satellite is faster than 2.5Gbps.

But a 10Gbps backhaul never hurts and contributes to fast local bandwidth, especially when you have wired clients with a Multi-Gig switch of the same grade.

GT-AXE 16000 Internet Speed
Here's generally the fastest Internet speed from the currently fastest Wi-Fi adapters (2x2 Wi-Fi 6/6E at 160MHz). They are called Gig+ adapters for a reason.

The sensible rules on using Asus AiMesh multi-Gigabit wired hardware

To have a multi-Gig wired backhaul, all you need is a router and a satellite unit that can link to each other via network cable using a Multi-Gig port on each.

In other words, you need Multi-Gig hardware on each end of the backhaul cable. And there are plenty of Asus routers that fit this multi-Gigabit bill.

In reality, not all combo makes sense. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind when going fully wired backhauling:

  • Avoid using traditional Tri-band hardware, such as ZenWiFi XT8, GT-AX11000, or even ZenWiFi Pro XT12, especially in the satellite role (*).
  • It's best to use dual-band Wi-Fi 6 or tri-band Wi-Fi 6E, and not a mix of the two.
  • It's OK, though not great, to mix a tri-band Wi-Fi 6E primary router and dual-band Wi-Fi 6 satellites. The 6GHz band is only available at the router.
  • It's OK, though not great, to mix a tri-band Wi-Fi 6E primary router with tri-band Wi-Fi 6 satellites. In this case, you can use the router's 6GHz band (available only at the router) to manage the satellites' second 5GHz (5GHz-2) band.

(*) While these tri-band routers generally work with wired backhauling, they are designed for a fully wireless environment, where the 5GHz-2 band functions as the dedicated backhaul and might have issues when not used as intended.

Additionally, this tri-band provides no added benefits in a wired home, despite the comparatively higher costs.

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 mixing Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E in an AiMesh setup is not a good idea. 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 current hardware list we can use. You'll note that I skip all tri-band Wi-Fi 6 routers.

Multi-Gig AiMesh combos: Available hardware and real-world combos

In an AiMesh setup, we have the main router and satellite nodes. It's best to use hardware that has two or more Multi-Gig ports. If not, you need at least a router with two of these ports—one for the broadband (WAN) and the other for the local network (LAN)

In either case, with the help of a high-end switch, you will have a full Multi-Gig home network.

The table below includes all current hardware that can work as a multi-Gigabit wired AiMesh router, satellite, or both. Again, I pick only those with two Multi-Gig ports for the router role and their satellites that will create good mesh combos.

For the reasons mentioned above, the table doesn't include any traditional tri-band router, but you can use any of them with two Multi-Gig ports, namely the GT-AX1100 Pro, in the primary router role.

Router
(available backhaul speeds)
Multi-Gig PortsWi-Fi BandwidthRecommended Satellites
(available backhaul speeds)
RT-AX89X (*)
(2.5Gbps or 10Gbps)
1x 10Gbps LAN/WAN
1x 10Gbps SFP+ LAN/WAN
Dual-band AX6000itself (10Gbps),
RT-AX86U (2.5Gbps),
GT-AX6000 (2.5Gbps),
RT-AX88U Pro (2.5Gbps)
GT-AXE16000
(2.5Gbps or 10Gbps)
1x 2.5Gbps WAN
2x 10Gbps LAN/WAN
Tri-band AXE16000itself (10Gbps),
GT-AXE11000 (2.5Gbps),
ZenWiFi Pro ET12 (2.5Gbps),
ZenWiFi ET8 (2.5Gbps)
GT-AX6000
(2.5Gbps)
1x 2.5Gbps WAN
1x 2.5Gbps LAN
Dual-band AX6000itself
RT-AX88U Pro,
RT-AX86U Pro
ZenWiFi Pro ET12
(2.5Gbps)
1x 2.5Gbps WAN
1x 2.5Gbps LAN
Tri-band AXE11000itself
RT-AX88U Pro
(2.5Gbps)
1x 2.5Gbps WAN
1x 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN
Dual-band AX6000itself
GT-AX6000,
RT-AX86U Pro,
Multi-Gig wired backhauling AiMesh combos that make sense
(*) One of this router's two 10Gbps is an SFP+ port. A converter or switch is needed for Multi-Gig backhauling if its 10GbE BaseT port is used for the WAN side.

Of the combos mentioned in the table above, below are those I've used for an extended amount of time with great success and tips on setting them up.

Top-tier tri-band Wi-Fi 6E Multi-Gig 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.

You can get multiple units to build a mesh system with 10Gbps wired backhauling. But that might not make sense financially, considering the router's cost and bulky design.

Extra: Asus GT-AXE16000 and AiMesh

The GT-AXE16000 is a quad-band router. Similar to the Orbi RBRE960, 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, getting multiple GT-AXE16000 units to form a wireless mesh is not a good idea.

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 SSID 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.

The bottom line is this: the GT-AXE16000 should only be used in a mesh with wired backhauling.

It's better to use this router as the primary node and lower-cost 2.5Gbps-enabled hardware as satellites. We have two options, the ZenWifi ET8 or ZenWifi Pro ET12.

GT-AXE16000 (router) + ZenWifi Pro ET12 (satellite)

This combo delivers the top performance via a 2.5Gbps wired backhauling.

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.

If you use two satellites, you can daisy-chance them to maintain multi-Gigabit wired backhauling throughout, or you can use a Multi-Gig switch in between.

Note the detailed setup steps (all done within the web user interface of the router unit):

  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.

GT-AXE1600 (router) + ZenWifi ET8 (satellite)

The ZenWiFi ET8 is also available as a 2-pack, but each unit has just one Multi-Gig WAN port. As a result, this combo requires a switch if you want to use more than one ET8 with multi-Gigabit wired backhauling. In this case, the Zyxel MG-108 is an excellent fit.

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.

Standard Wi-Fi 6E AiMesh with multi-Gigabit wired backhauling: 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 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. Moreover, if you get more units, you can daisy-chain them without a Multi-Gig switch.

Standard dual-band Wi-Fi 6 AiMesh with multi-Gigabit wired backhauling: RT-AX89X as the primary router

The RT-AX89X is the only Asus Wi-Fi 6 router with two 10Gbps ports. If you get multiple units, you can have a system of 10Gbps wired backhauling, though that might not be best in terms of design and costs.

Alternatively, you can use any other Multi-Gig dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router as the satellite, including the GT-AX6000, RT-AX88U Pro, or RT-AX86U.

Of the three, the RT-AX86U is the most sensible pick for a 2-pack system. The other two work better if you want a 3-pack or a larger mesh and do not want to invest in a Multi-Gig switch.

Multi-Gig Backhaul AiMesh Combo: RT-AX89X and RT-AX86U Multi-Gig BackhaulRT-AX89X and RT-AX86U Multi-Gig Backhaul Setting 1
Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh combo: The RT-AX89X as the primary router and the RT-AX86U as the satellite make an excellent combo. Note the extra steps to turn on the multi-Gigabit wired backhaul.

No matter which router you pick as the satellite, here are the detailed steps to set up the system (all done on the interface of the router unit):

  • Set up the RT-AX89X as a single router. Update it to the latest firmware.
  • Add the satellite as a wireless node. (Detailed steps in this post on AiMesh.) Update it to the latest firmware using the router's web interface.
  • (If you use the RT-AX86U as the satellite, open the AiMesh section of the RT-AX89X, select the node, and change the Backhaul Connection Priority to 2.5Gbps.)
  • Plug the satellite's 2.5Gbps (WAN) 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.

It's worth noting that one of the RT-AX89X's 10Gbps ports is an SFP+. As a result, you'll need to SFP+-ready switch, such as the Zyxel XGS1250-12, or a converter when you use its 10Gbps BaseT port for the WAN connection.

Gaming dual-band Wi-Fi 6 Multi-Gig AiMesh Combos: GT-AX6000 or RT-AX88U Pro as the primary router

With the GT-AX6000 or the RT-AX88U Pro as the primary router, you'll get a network with all features and settings available to any Asus router, including those designed for gamers.

If you have difficulty picking between these two, here's the RT-AX88U Pro vs. GT-AX6000 matchup.

In this case, you can use any dual-band router on the table above for the satellites, among them, the RT-AX89X and the RT-AX86U are workable options—they are not the best.

Asus GT-AX6000 Multi-Gig Wired AiMesh Setup with RT-AX89XAsus RT-AX88U Pro Multi-Gig Wired AiMesh Setup with an RT-AX89X Note
Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh combo: Using GT-AX6000 or RT-AX88U Pro to host other Multi-Gig dual-band AiMesh routers will give you a robust gaming mesh Wi-Fi system.

In all cases, you'd get a system with a 2.5Gbps wired backhaul, and the setup process is similar to when you use the RT-AX89X as the primary router above.

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 great fit.

Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh combos: Mixing dual-band (Wi-Fi 6) and tri-band (Wi-Fi 6/6E)

As mentioned above, you shouldn't mix a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router with a tri-band Wi-Fi 6/6E satellite because AiMesh doesn't have a practical way (yet) to control the satellite's 3rd band.

But if you have mixed hardware like this for some reason, there's a way to make the best of the situation. Specifically, you can use the tri-band hardware in AP mode on top of another router. It is not the best way to set up a Multi-Gig wired backhaul AiMesh setup, but it will work well.

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.

In this example, I used an RT-AX89X as the primary router and a 2-pack ZenWiFi ET8 as the satellite. But you can pick any other dual-band router + tri-band AiMesh combo.

In this case, the router only plays its default role of a standalone router—you can use a non-Asus one. Just make sure it has a couple of Multi-Gig ports.

Here are the detailed steps with a 2-pack ET working in AP mode on top of an RT-AX89X—applicable 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. (This switch is optional if you use the Zenwifi Pro ET12—you can daisy-chain the units.)
  • Set up the ET8 system in AP mode on top of 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.

Now, you have a standalone router (the RT-AX89X) and an AiMesh running in 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 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 passes, there will be more hardware options, but the principles remain: You generally only want to use dual-band Wi-Fi 6 or tri-band Wi-Fi 6E hardware together. Mixing hardware of different numbers of Wi-Fi bands or standards can get dicey.

Again, traditional tri-band hardware with an additional 5GHz band might work, but they are not designed for wired backhauling.

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280 thoughts on “How to Build the Best AiMesh Combo with Multi-Gigabit Wired Backhauling”

  1. Hi Dong,
    I would like to thank you for all your post specially on ASUS routers. This site has been a go to for me for a long time.
    I just got my 10G broadband and I got the BE98 (none-pro) which is available in my region.
    Before this I was on a Gigabit broadband with ax89x for the Aimesh main and 2 AC88u satellites. All wired with Cat6.
    The BE98 is a monster in range has been better. Now planning to use the the AX89x as a satellite and retire the AC88u’s. To cover the range missing.
    Should I still go aimesh? Or just use the AX89x on AP? Will still use the 2.5 Ghz as a backhaul from the BE98 to AX89x. Not really concerned on wifi 7 for now as I don’t have any device for it. Got the BE98 for the multigig ports. But still need the AX89x for the 8 gig ports that goes to the gigabit devices like printer and apple TVs.
    Sorry for the long post. Any advise is great.

    Reply
  2. Dear Dong,

    Thank you for your website. The content is extremely useful and you have a lovely writing style.

    I would be very grateful for your thoughts on one question; could I have a Wi-Fi 7 router with two W-Fi 6E nodes in an airmesh setup, or is that not advisable?

    I already have a pair of ET12’s and an old RT-AC-68U in my air mesh system. One of the ET12’s is the primary router. Everything is wired backhaul.

    I was going to retire the RT-68U and add a GT-AXE16000 as the primary router, with both ET12’s then being wired backhaul nodes. I know that combo works brilliantly because I see you’ve tested and praised it.

    But…. that GT-BE19000 you recently previewed, whilst ruinously expensive, sure does look nice and is probably what I’d save for any buy but for your warning that mixing hardware of different standards can get dicey.

    So, do you think I could sensibly incorporate the WiFi7 GT-BE19000 into my system or is the WiFi6E GT-AXE16000 the better move?

    I did read your wider comments about AsusWRT 5.0 using the new 3.0.0.6 kernel and maybe that’s another reason why 6E all the way is the better choice.

    Thank you again if you are happy to share your view.

    Andrew

    Reply
    • You *can* do that, Andrew, but with Wi-Fi 7, mixing hardware of different standard means you’ll lose the MLO feature, among other things. For your case, I’d recommend going full Wi-Fi 7 or get another ET12. Or get the GT-AXE11000 as the primary. Good luck!

      Reply
      • Dear Dong,

        Thank you very much for reply. That’s really helpful. It’s the advice I needed.

        Full Wi-Fi 7 is more than I can justify for my needs, so I’m hoping I can ask a follow-up question.

        Would you recommend the GT-AXE16000 or the GT-AXE11000 as a primary to wired backhaul ET12’s?

        I was going to plump for the GT-AXE16000; I see it has several multi-gig LAN/WAN which I would use, and you’ve listed it as a good match for the ET12 to create a multi-gig wired airmesh network…. but your reply suggests the GT-AXE11000 which I see has a single multi-gig LAN/WAN (though it doesn’t mess around with band splitting, which you’ve described as potentially making things more complicated than necessary).

        So I’m wondering if both the GT-AXE16000 and the GT-AXE11000 were the same price (which they are not, but the difference is less than it was), which would you plump for?

        Looking at my options for a new primary (additional ET12, GT-AXE11000, GT-AXE16000), I’m thinking it might be a case of good, better, best (in that order)?

        Thanks again.

        Andrew

        Reply
  3. Hello Dong,

    Thank you for the great info as always! I was using 2 ASUS RT-AX88U routers in a wired mesh network using the ASUS app. One of them died😔. I got an RT-AX88U Pro as a replacement. Should I use the Pro as the main router, and use the non-Pro as the wired satellite? I do not have a switch or anything else in the network. And which port do I need to plug the cable into if I use the Pro as the main? Thanks for any info you could share!!

    Reply
      • Hi Dong hoping for a pragmatic approach as I hang my head in shame not backhauling 🫣

        I’m using mesh with the following and want to possibly add the GTXAX6000 as a new primary

        Planned Primary: GTAX6000
        Upstairs node: RT-AX57 (8m)
        Garden Office node: TUF AX4200 (10m)

        Aside from not having wired backhaul do you foresee and issues with WiFi assignments? Is there a better WiFi only combo?

        Thanks 🤩

        Reply
  4. Wow what a great writeup and my new favorite networking website. And extra applause for all the work you do answering queries in the comments, Dong!
    Question for you. I am undergoing a pretty substantial remodel of a large 3-story home and will be running Cat6a to all the extremities (can’t wait!). I have a centrally located tech closet on the bottom level and then spots throughout those extremities for 5 wired satellites.
    I plan to use ET8s for the satellites (wife test passed) and feel great about this set up (will also have a good 2.5 gbe switch and only have 1.2gb Xfinity anyway).
    My question is, do I need the GT-AXE16000 as my primary router or is it worth saving the money and just using the 6th ET8 as the primary router since I likely need to buy 6 anyway (3x 2-pack)? Is it worth the extra dough for the super sweet GT-AXE16000 if gaming is not a priority?
    Thanks for your time and keep up the good work.

    Reply
  5. Hi Dong,

    some great stuff and useful information in the article.

    I have read the entire series and need some clarification: I have the GT-AXE16000 as the main router with x4 (four) RT-AX92U satellites in a wired backhaul AIMesh. The system is stable and works very well.

    Reading your various articles you consider the RT-AX92U to be a “traditional” Tri-band and there are mentions that using it as a satellite might mean that the (dedicated) 5GHz-2 band may be unavailable/cause issues. This hasn’t been the case in my setup. The 5GHz-2 band is available to clients and works well.

    Now, I want to add x2 (two) RT-AXE7800 satellites to the mix (I am upgrading my broadband to 2Gbps symmetrical so have already upgraded to a 2.5Gbps wired backhaul, eventually all satellites will be RT-AXE7800). The question is this: I will replace the x2 (two) RT-AX92U satellites initially, in this interim setup which bands are going to be available to clients via the satellites? Considering the GT-AX16000 is a quad band router, will it be able to accommodate all the available bands in the satellites and make them available to clients, i.e. 2.4Ghz (all), 5GHz-1 (all), 5GHz-2 (RT-AX92Us only), 6GHz (RT-AXE7800s only)?

    Thanks in advance and keep up the great work! Enthusiasts all around greet you!

    Reply
      • Hi, thanks for responding so quickly.

        I have read all your relevant articles in detail but haven’t been able to figure out whether the primary quad router (AX16000) will be able to manage both the 5GHz-2 band of the AX92U AND the 6GHz band of the AXE7800 (hence the question) resulting in all bands being available to clients but from mixed model routers.

        I have now ordered x2 AXE7800 and will update with results.

        Reply
          • Thanks for pointing that out, however, it describes the opposite of my setup, i.e. triple/quad satellites with a dual primary (so the additional satellite bands will remain unused). In my case I have a quad band primary (AX16000) that supports all bands of all satellites (2.4Ghz, 5GHz-1, 5GHz-2 and 6GHz), what I am unsure about is whether the primary can manage all the different bands of a mix of different models, i.e. 2.4Ghz, 5GHz-1, 5GHz-2 of the AX92U and 2.4Ghz, 5GHz-1, 6GHz of the AXE7800 with all bands being available to clients.

            I expect delivery tomorrow so will know for sure and will update accordingly.

          • So the AXE7800s have arrived and I am currently running x1 AXE7800 with x3 AX92Us with the AXE16000 as the primary.
            The AXE7800 needed an upgrade to the 3.0.0.4.388_24631 FW before it would do anything useful but then it connected and configured with the Mesh without issue.
            The 2.5Gb backhaul works flawlessly, the band mappings with the AXE16000 are as follows (first value is the AXE16000): 2.4Ghz=2.4GHz, 5Gh-1=5GHz, 6GHz=6GHz. As a result because the AX92U 5GHz-1 band is AC the AXE7800 is running in AC mode for its 5GHz band until all the AXE7800s are in place. Also, clients seem to like the 5Ghz-1 band of the AX92U more for some reason, on the other hand, will connect from a distance to the 2.4GHz band (even from the attic).
            I have also ordered x2 ET12 Pros for the 1st and second floor and will test them with a mix of x2 AXE7800s. Will update with progress tomorrow when I have them all up and running.

          • Final update: after much trial and error I have decided to upgrade all x4 nodes to ET12 Pro and the system works extremely well. The AXE7800 is not a bad satellite, it just isn’t a match for the ET12 in terms of performance (and looks, the ET12 passes the wife aesthetics test). Overall it has been an expensive upgrade (AXE16000 and x4 ET12 Pro) but now I can fully utilise the 2Gbps symmetrical broadband and be future proofed for the foreseeable.

  6. Update from my last comment here: I finally did some stuff!
    I upgraded my home fibre connection to 3Gbps, replaced my core router with a GT-AXE16000 for CAD$500 from ebay, went multi-gig for most of my LAN. {…}

    Reply
  7. Hi Dong,
    Fantastic article; thank you!
    Have had a GT-AXE16000 for a couple years and want to expand with a wired 2.5 backhaul.
    If bulk/size is not an issue, would the best performance and disbursed band utilization come from two GT-AXE16000’s (primary and node), or a single GT-AXE16000 (primary) and single ZenWifi Pro ET12?
    Any specific advantages or disadvantages to either?
    Thanks,
    Gavin

    Reply
    • I’d go all GT-AXE16000 due to the number of bands, Gavin. Check out the post #2 of this series in the related box up top for more.

      Reply
      • Took your recommendation and added a 2nd GT-AXE16000. Its absolutely awesome; shouldve done this years ago. Btw, if it helps others, my wired backhaul is through my wall’s coaxial via a MoCA connection. Realized that Asus (and other brands) now have 2.5 Gbps MoCA so am getting the same top wired speeds from both of the distant routers. Thanks again for all the work you do!

        Reply
  8. Hi Dong,

    My GT-BE98 Pro arrives today so I’m making sure to cover the bases before I jump into setup.

    You may not have tested this yet, but do you see any issues using the GT-BE98 Pro as the router and an AXE11000 as the satellite using a wired backhaul? My plan is to use the 2.5GB port on the AXE11000.

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • I think that will work via wired backhauling and with the latest’s firmware the features *might* work well, too. Of course, none of Wi-Fi 7’s goodies will be avaible at the satellite. Good luck!

      Reply
      • When you say latest firmware it looks like only the non-pro version received the recent update. The Pro is still the Nov 30 release – 3.0.0.6.102_32882.

        I’ll let you know what I run into. I guess if I have issues I can box up the AXE and sell it and double up on the GT-BE98 Pro.

        Thanks!

        Reply
        • I mean the firmware of the old router. The new router has Guest Network Pro, for example, which likely will not work well with the old satellite unless the satellite also uses the firmware that features Guest Network Pro, etc. Obviously, I haven’t tested them all and won’t be able to, but generally, that’s how things work.

          Reply
  9. Hi Dong,

    First of all – great site, super amazingly detailed writeups and guides. I’ve been an avid reader for many years but this is the first time I’ve had to write asking for help.

    I have a wired backhaul Aimesh setup of 3x RT-AX89X. It mostly works great, except for a part of the basement where there is a dead zone in a couple of rooms. I live in a house with concrete / brick walls so range is an issue. I’m trying to figure out the best way to extend the Aimesh into these rooms – unfortunately there is no ethernet port available for use, MoCA is not an option for me as well. Between powerline and wireless backhaul I think wireless backhaul should still be preferable?

    I know you do not recommend mixing wired and wireless backhaul but assuming it is the only option, what hardware would you recommend as a wireless node to connect to a wired RT-AX89X node? Another RT-AX89X? Or maybe a cheaper dual band router, e.g. RT-AX86 Pro? Does it make sense to upgrade my main router and repurpose one RT-AX89X as the wireless satellite? Because of the way the house is laid out and the location of my ONT unfortunately the connection will have to be main router -> wired backhaul satellite -> wireless backhaul satellite.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  10. I’m looking at a dual 2.5G WAN 2.5G backhaul asus Wifi 6E pair, any chance you can update your recommendations please?

    Are the 10G ports on the gt-axe16000 actually SFP+ ports that I can plug a 2.5Ghz ONT into directly?

    thanks

    Reply
  11. Hi Dong,
    After moving apartments, I finally have wired backhaul in place. So I’ve set up my AX89X + 2 XT8s in Ethernet backhaul mode. I know the XT8s have had their share of stability issues in the past, but it actually works very well now, besides a single critical issue: Since the AX89X ignores the 3rd radio of the XT8s, the XT8s create an *unencrypted* network, freely available for anyone to join and mess with your network. The only way around that is to switch the XT8s into AP mode – and lose the ability to have the isolated guest network available on them.

    Reply
      • Right, but it’s far worse than an unavailable band as mentioned there. The band *is* available for malicious clients to connect to, without any password in place. This is a really serious bug, and the fact Asus had not addressed it so far does not speak well of their security consciousness.

        Reply
          • I did read through both.
            The Tips & Rules post says:
            “If you mix hardware of different numbers of bands and use a Dual-band as the primary router, note that you won’t be able to use any of the satellites’ third or fourth bands — they are not available — unless you use the hardware in the AP mode as mentioned above.”
            And likewise, in this post it says “6GHz band is not available to clients”.
            Unfortunately, they actually *are* available to clients, creating a security hole.

            BTW, when used in AP mode, it is best to use the 5GHz-2 band with the same SSID as the 5GHz of the AX89X (and just disable the 5GHz-1 radio), as only that band supports 160MHz.

          • You missed this part, Dror. It’s below the text you read. In any case, the point is it’s not a good idea to mix hardware like that, but you can’t expect to learn all the details by sticking to a single paragraph.

  12. This is an amazing resource Dong. I am trying to set up a similar system with wired backhaul. However, I want to use a Dual WAN setup. I believe the GT Axe 16000 allows that? I want to make sure and have a redundant internet connection in case my fiber connection goes down.

    Reply
  13. Hi Dong,

    I’ve said it before but I still want to repeat that I love your website and your reviews. The best around for home networking advice.

    A few months back I tried the ET12 mesh system for a while, but had to return it because of random (and short) disconnects between the 2 units. Back then, my “main suspect” for the disconnects was my wired backhaul which was a 15 years old, 100 ft. long, CAT5e cable.

    Now, I upgraded my wired backhaul to CAT8 (still 100 ft. long), and I’m debating between an ET12 system or 2 x AXE16000s.
    The price of the AXE16000 is currently $440, so the difference between 2 of those vs. a 2-pack ET12 ($770) is only $110, and I feel the 10G ports on the AXE16000 will make it more “future proof”.

    I currently have Xfinity 1.2Gbps, but who knows what I’ll have down the road.

    Do you have any thoughts or recommendations on what setup to choose?

    Many thanks in advance,

    Ilan

    Reply
      • Thanks, Dong

        One last question:
        Assuming I’m connected to Xfinity with the 2.5G port, is it possible to define one of the 10G ports on the main broadcaster as LAN and connect it to a 10G port defined as WAN on the satellite?

        Thanks again,

        Ilan

        Reply
        • Nope! Make sure you read the first post on the AiMesh series, Ilan, and the rest, before asking more questions. They are in the Related Box at the top of the page.

          Reply
  14. Hi Dong,

    I wanted to first say thank you for this amazing site! The amount of research you’ve done and shared is extremely helpful, and I really appreciate how genuine and thoughtful it is.

    I’m preparing to move into a new house at the end of the month and am taking the opportunity to upgrade our network. For context, the house is 3 floors, built largely with drywall and wood framing. The top 2 floors are above ground and total about 3,400 sqft. The builder installed an ethernet drop in a central-ish location on each of these floors. The last floor is the basement, and this is where all the ethernet drops run back to, so it’s where the modem will be.

    For various reasons, largely related to whatever deals were available at the time, we currently have the 1.2Gpbs Gigabit Extra plan from Xfinity. However, AT&T Fiber is available at the new house so we’re thinking to switch to it and may reduce our speeds as well.

    Based on the configuration of our home and ethernet drops, is there a particular set of devices you’d recommend? We rarely change out our equipment (I don’t even remember how long we’ve had our current fully wireless mesh system), so I don’t mind paying a little more up front for something that will hold up well for a long time.

    At this point, I’m leaning towards the ET12s for the upper 2 floors, although I’m not tied to them if you have a recommendation you feel like would be more appropriate for our scenario. My main concern is about the location of the modem, and by extension, the router. While the basement will get some usage, it won’t be as much as the rest of the house. In that case, it feels like it might be overkill to invest in something top-end, like the GT-AXE16000, to put down there as the primary router.

    Thank you so much for any help or feedback you’re able to provide!

    Reply
  15. Hello Dong,
    Thank you for all the time you put into this research.
    I have the GT-AXE16000 as a primary router connected to 3 Zenwifi ET12s via Ethernet backhaul as you instructed above.
    I have around 860 Mbps download and 435 Mbps upload speeds at the primary router (checked through the ASUS app) but am only seeing a fraction of that by the time it reaches my phone via wifi via the nodes (roughly 30-70 Mbps download, 20-50 upload).
    My internet was faster when I was using a ET12 as the primary router and the other 2 ET12s as nodes via Ethernet backhaul (~200-300 download speeds).
    I have tried turning off the nodes, router, modem and turning them back on in reverse order. Is there a setting or something that I am missing to optimize the WiFi speeds around my home? Feel like I should be getting better performance given the cost of this set up and relatively fast internet connection at the primary router (with Ethernet backhauls on new Cat6 cables).
    Thanks for the advice.

    Reply
  16. Hi Dong,

    I am setting up my network with an AXE16000 as the main router and two ET8’s for the satellites. All three units will connect to the Coax network in the home using MoCA adapters.

    In your post you mention that I need to have a switch to use the full multi-gig capability of the ET8’s since they only have one 2.5G port. My question is, with the setup below how would the switch fit in, and do I even need the switch with this arrangement?

    Room 1: Coax wall jack connects to 2-way splitter. One side of splitter connects to the Modem, other side connects to MoCA adapter. The Modem will connect to AXE16000 using the 2.5G or 10G WAN port. The MoCA adapter will connect to the other 10G port.
    So I basically have a loop: Splitter-> Modem -> Router -> MoCA Adapter -> back to Splitter
    Room 2: Coax wall jack goes to MoCA adapter, MoCA adapter connects to 2.5G port on ET8
    Room 3: Same as Room 2 with the second ET8 unit

    (All three rooms are connected in same coax network using a 3-way splitter in another room)

    With only one coax jack coming into the room with the router, I basically have both ET8’s connecting back to a single 10G port on the AXE16000.

    Am I asking for trouble with this set-up? And if I do add a switch into the mix, it isn’t clear where that would fit since everything feeds to/from the router via the same coax cable.

    Thanks for your help and all of the great work you do on this site!

    Reply
      • Thanks Dong! I found a couple things I had missed before in that article.

        I have one more question.. I am currently using one of the ET8’s as my main router. When I change that to a node do I need to do a factory reset or can I just change it to AImesh node in the settings GUI and connect it to the new router right away?

        Reply
  17. Hi Dong,
    Thanks for your very detailed instructions on how to setup Aimesh: I have followed you setup notes for Asus Router 16000 as main with 2 ET12 Pro satellites running with Ethernet backhaul; and it has been good so far, however, when you advise in your setup the following:
    “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.”
    So if I connect my ET 12s to their 2.5Gbs WAN ports, this doesn’t work, the light on those satellites turn red and I have no connection (I am connecting each ET 12 via wires to switch which is then connected to Asus 16000)
    When I connect each ET12 to its 2.5Gbs LAN port, only then it works and it shows that I have Great Connection and Ethernet Backhaul is on at 2.5Gbs.
    Just curious why that would be or is simply my 2.5Gbs LAN port on each of ET 12 unit is changing automatically to be a designated 2.5Gbs WAN port ? Is that even possible ?
    Regards,
    Marek

    Reply
    • Just to be clear, you use the WAN port of a satellite to connect that satellite to the network. The “network” can be a router, a switch, or another satellite.

      The language in your comment is a bit confusing, so I’m not sure. Make sure you read the setup instructions in its entirety with close attention. It’s part of the series in the Related Post box at the top of this page.

      Reply
      • Hi Dong,

        Sorry about the confusion 🙁 That’s why I need answers from experts like you. And I did follow your guide really closely , I though.

        So what I am trying to say that if I connect 2.5Gbs ET 12 WAN port to the network (as per your instructions) it does not work for me – ET 12 color turns red and I have no Aimesh connection. When I switch to 2.5Gbs LAN port on ET 12 and connect that to the network , everything is working fine and I see my satellites as Aimesh nodes with Ethernet back haul .

        So my connections go like that:

        PPOE from my ISP router – via 10Gbs port on ISP router out to Asus 1600 10Gbs WAN port. Then out from Asus 16000 via 10Gbs LAN port into multi-gig switch 10Gbs port. And then my satellites connect to that switch via in wall wires into that switch 2.5Gbs ports.However my ET 12 satellites are connected to the switch (via wall wires) via 2.5Gbs LAN ports not WAN.

        So not sure what gives 🙁 but it works and I have Ethernet Uplink and BackHaul enabled.

        Thanks

        Reply
        • I got it, I think it should work, you might just have to wait for like 5 mins or so for the switch to complete — make sure you turn off the Ethernet Backhaul Mode PRIOR to the switch as mentioned. But if the LAN ports work then just use it as such. You should be able to use the other port as a LAN.

          Reply
          • Great – thanks.

            Is there a reason for keeping 5_1 band separate from 5_2 in my scenario, I currently have one SSID for both 5_1 and 5_2 bands.

            And one other thing, can you please point me to instructions/write up on optimizing wireless frequency usage for each of the bands. I cannot use 6G band as I don;t ahve any device that is 6E capable but maybe I could optimize 2.4 and 5_1 and 5_2 bands for the fastest speeds ?

            Thanks in advance!

            Marek

  18. Hey! Thanks for great article. Is it still not possible to mix Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E in AiMesh system with wired backhaul? I have RT-AX88U Pro and found it great for my needs. I want also to buy ASUS ET12 and connect it to router’s 2.5G LAN port, but the lack of 6Ghz band in that combo makes it pointless. Do you know if ASUS has any ETA on bringing that feature or maybe can it work on Merlin firmware?

    Reply
  19. Hi Dong!

    Love your work. All the research and testing you do is amazing!

    Quick question on your setup instructions above for the GXE16000 and two ET12 units –

    Would you connect the two ET12s to a switch and then the switch to one of the available LAN ports on the GXE for wired backhaul or can you just plug them each directly into two of the remaining ports on the GXE16000? Say one each into each 10GB wan/lab port.

    Reply
  20. Our home is wired with CAT6a and I go through a Zyxel MG-108. I plan to use a multigig backhaul in the home but I am trying to get our network to the rest of our yard. We have a detached garage that is in range of where our main node would be and I’m wondering if I can mix wired and wireless backhauling. My thought was I’d need to get two triband nodes for the main/satellite in the garage and then I could use my current GT-AX6000 as an additional in home node. Will this degrade my network or simply not work since I can’t tell the network to only use wired backhaul? If it would work is it still a terrible idea.

    Reply
    • The speed will be less ideal at the wireless nodes, Naomi. Read the post and other related ones in the series for more. You’ll find all the details.

      Reply
  21. Right now I have an aimesh with three XD5, but I’d like to add a bit more beefy router instead of using an XD5 as the main router even if AP mode, which one would you recommend to use here? Thank you

    Reply
    • Any Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 AiMesh router will do, Alexi. For your case I’d recommend the RT-AX86U, RT-AX82U or similar.

      Reply
  22. Hi Dong

    Working with 3 ET-12’s at the moment in AP mode for an all wired-backhaul mesh… I have the channel width set manually to 40mhz, but when I look at my wifi scanner, I see “something” being broadcast at 160 in the 5ghz a/n/ac/ax mode…

    I say “something” because while the SSID for this 160 mhz entry is my network, the BSSID address does not match any of the 3 mesh points BSSID’s.

    Also two of the mesh points show an incorrect security mode, and the 160 entry does not show a vendor name

    SSID Channel Width Band Security Vendor
    wdsxxxx 48 40 MHz 5 GHz,a/n/ac/ax,6 WPA2 (PSK) ASUSTeK Computer Inc.

    wdsxxxx 100 160 MHz 5 GHz,a/n/ac/ax,6 WPA2/WPA3 (PSK/SAE)

    wdsxxxx 48 40 MHz 5 GHz,a/n/ac/ax,6 WPA2/WPA3 (PSK/SAE) ASUSTeK Computer Inc.

    wdsxxxx 48 40 MHz 5 GHz,a/n/ac/ax,6 WPA2 (PSK) ASUSTeK Computer Inc.

    I have wiped all nodes clean several times, set up fresh, and rebooted the mesh several times. System settings are Ethernet Backhaul Mode

    Tried three different 2.5 gbps unmanaged switches, with no affect.

    Any idea?

    Thanks

    Reply
      • If using wired backhaul only can/should it be disabled? (As there is enough bandwidth contention to deal with from known sources)

        What’s also interesting is it is not listed as a hidden network…

        Any ideas on the inconsistent security?

        Thanks

        Reply
  23. Hi, I have sub-gigabit internet with a GT-AX6000 as my primary router. I am looking to setup a satellite node, using wired backhaul, and am considering either another GT-AX6000 or the RT-AX86U. From the comments above it sounds like the RT-AX86U will more than suffice. I’m curious though, why is it not listed as a satellite option for the GT-AX6000 in the primary table above? When using as a satellite, is there any material advantage to using the GT-AX6000 over the RT-AX86U?

    Thanks

    Reply
    • You likely didn’t read the text, Jonathan. Give the entire post another try. Also read the captions, too.

      But to answer you question, the RT-AX86U works.

      Reply
      • Early in the post you say “The table below includes all current hardware that can work as a Multi-Gig wired AiMesh router, satellite, or both.” The RT-AX86U is listed as a recommended satellite for the RT-AX89X, but NOT for the GT-AX6000. Later in the post, referencing the GT-AX6000, you say “you can use any Dual-band router on the table above for the satellites, including the RT-AX89X or the RT-AX86U.”

        Why the discrepancy?

        Reply
        • That’s actally called “preference”, Jon. Descrepency would be if I said the router worked at one place and then said it didn’t at another (or vice versa).

          If you wanted to know why I had that preference, other parts of the post (and other posts in the AiMesh series) will help. Try the rest of the paragraph that contains the first text you quoted. It’s about the nuance.

          Reply
  24. Hi Dong,

    I have an AX-16000 (main router) and two ET-12s (nodes) set up in a wired mesh.

    Most features work well, but the ET-12s ignore certain settings changes. For example, I can’t get the nodes to stop broadcasting in 160MHz when I disable the setting, and they stay set to WPA-3 Personal encryption no matter how I try to change it.

    I’ve factory reset everything and set it up from scratch multiple times, but the issues persist and ASUS has been far from helpful. Do you have any suggestions, and have you noticed this yourself?

    Reply
    • You’re mixing Quad-band and Tri-band, Ryan, and generaly it’s tricky to manage the satellite’s Wi-Fi via the primary router. Likely the applicable settings of the router’s 5GHz-2 band apply to the satellite’s 6GHz band.
      You must use WPA3 for the 6GHz band.

      Reply
  25. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for the great post! Just wanted to clarify a few points with you regarding the setup of wired backhaul.

    1) Can we setup wired backhaul in a star topology e.g., Main router with 2 x Lan port each connecting to the WAN port of 2 x satellites?
    2) Does mesh network affect smart home setup?
    3) Any advise or ideal setup to recommend whereby I have all the wired A ending centralized at 1 location while the wired B ending are distributed to 3 different location, namely living room, master bedroom, common bedroom? Internet will come from ONT device at the centralized location as well. I will have fair bit of smart devices & traffic (wifi & zigbee).

    Appreciate any advice 🙂

    Reply
  26. Dong, thank you for your posts. I have a question regarding mixing of WiFi. I now have more devices with WiFi 6 connectivity so I want to upgrade my main router to WiFi 6 my current system is an AiMesh wit a GT-AC5200 as main router and 3 RT-AC5200 satellites all wired through Ethernet CAT 6. Can I mix WiFi 6 with WiFi 5 or should I get a 3 pack WiFi 6 AiMesh and a WiFi 6 Extender to replace my current WiFi 5 mesh. I was planning to purchase a 2.5 GBps AX6000 new router, I currently have multi-Gig switch.

    Reply
    • Yes you can, Recardo. Check out the 2nd post on the AiMesh series for more. Link up top in the box of related posts.

      Reply
      • Dong,

        Thank you for getting back to me. I read your “rules to get the best combo”, and I see that you can mix WiFi 6 and WiFi 5 without any performance issues as long as the satellites are back wired. I am still confused about how the AiMesh behaves. Will WiFi 6 devices connect to Wifi 5 satellites at WiFi 6 speed when they are out of reach of the main WiFi 6 router? Is it still good to have the system as an AiMesh instead of having the satellites connected as Access Points to the main WiFi 6 router? What will be the advantage if any of having an AiMesh system with 3 AX6600 and one AX3000 extender in lieu of 1 AX6600 1 GT-AC5200, and 2 RT-AC5200

        Again thank you for your posts and for sharing your huge knowledge of network systems.

        Reply
  27. Hi, for my personal situation I disagree that XT8/XT12 are not best for wired backhoul. Still in 2023 most of my home devices are supporting only Wifi5: New Samsung TV, Xbox series X, some smart phones. I don’t want them to be stuck with 2.4G band. What I did on my XT8 setup is dedicate 5G-1 for all Wi-Fi 5 devices and set 5G-2 for AX only for all other Wi-Fi 6 equipment. This way I’m utilizing most bandwidth with best for all tech stack. Otherwise single WiFi 5 would make Wi-Fi 6 router be no better than old Wi-Fi 5 router.

    Reply
    • Not best in the sense that they might not be stable. The XT8 has had lots of issues with wired backhauling with previous firmware releases…. Check the full reviews for more.

      Reply
  28. Dong
    I currently have a RT-AX89X and I recently purchased two ZenWiFi XT9s. What are your thoughts on using the RT-AX89X as the main router and the two XT9s as Aimesh nodes, with wired backhaul? (Long story I thought my RT-AX89X was going bad during ASUS recent issue that began May 16, so I ordered the XT9s to replace the RT-AX89X but after a day or so of reading posts about ASUS bad file, I was able to make the RT-AX89X work just fine again by performing a factory reset and re-configuring.
    Thanks
    Sal

    Reply
  29. Hi Dong,

    I have a RT-AX86U, with 300up / 300down from Verizon. I have a streaming computer, a rendering / workcomputer, and a ps5. Our wireless currently started deteriorating, I think partially because of the man WiFi smart devices we have.

    There is Cat5e throughout the house that I have to change from phone to Ethernet, and I’m thinking of moving the RT-AX86u to upstairs to cover more smart devices, and to possibly increase my speeds to Gigabit.

    Based off your recommendations, I’m reading that the RT-AX89X is your recommendation? Will this future proof me for several years? Thanks!

    Reply
      • Dong
        Thanks for the prompt reply. Your suggestion is the best for utilization of the XT9’s capabilities. Is there any downside to using them as AiMesh nodes if you do not care about using the 3rd wireless band? The AiMesh seems like it may be easier to manage and most of my heavy use network devices are connected to the wired network. Just trying to increase WiFi signal for phones and an occasional tablet across the whole house.
        Thanks
        Sal

        Reply
  30. Hey Dong,
    Ive been reading alot of your articles especially in regards to the Ai mesh. I currently own an AX-11000 router that im planning to expand it my adding a node (or using the AX-11000 as a satellite) when i move to my new house (single floor -> two floors).
    I want to create this mesh system using wired backhaul but wanted to get your advice especially because im stuck with the tri-band router.
    Option 1) Use AX-11000 as the primary router, and add a second router e.g. AX92U or another AX11000? (what a good suggestion here from Asus?)
    Option 2) Buy AXE-11000pro or AXE-16000 as the primary router and use AX-11000 as the satellite.
    Let me know your thoughts! And really appreciate all the content and information you provide. Its amazing!

    Reply
    • I’d go with the Pro, Rex. Haven’t tried that combo myself but the two should work well via Multi-Gig wired backhauling.

      Reply
      • Thanks Dong! I also have the option of pairing it with another identical AX-11000 and was wondering if this can work too. Was thinking given the router is the same perhaps it will be more stable(?) vs mix/match. Or perhaps it doesn’t quite matter. This will be the cheaper option.

        Reply
          • Hey Dong,

            Just following up, looks like i need another round of guidance haha

            This is the option of configuration i have using the 2x AX11000s.

            1) Wireless backhaul, ethernet to PC
            2) Ethernet backhaul, wireless to PC
            3) Powerline – ethernet backhaul, ethernet to PC

            To achieve good gaming experience i.e. low pings which would work best? sorry if this is a very broad/generic question! Looks like getting an ethernet port to the place i want is going to be very difficult and compromises need to be made.

            Let me know what you think.

  31. Hi Dong.

    Appreciate the entire breadth of knowledge on your entire site. I recently added an AXE7800 as satellite to my AXE16000 – running wired backhaul via Ethernet as you recommended. Perhaps a bit overkill for my 780 sq ft condo (lol). Was that a decent pick for my satellite vs the AXE11000?

    My one troubling area is still device drops – the drop is usually pretty quick. Is this perhaps related to roaming and signal strength rules?

    Appreciate any and all assist!

    Reply
      • Appreciate it! Guess that return will save me money (lol!). By any chance if there is a dead spot in a portion of the house would looking into an extender be worthwhile if moving the primary router to a better location wasn’t really an option?

        Many thanks!

        Reply
        • Unless you have lots of thick walls, the GT-AXE16000 should do you a solid, Brian, considering your square footage — separate the bands to make sure since you might expreince the 2.4GHz which is super-slow. I’d be very surrised if it didn’t. But if you need just a bit of extra at a weird corner, consider the RP-AX58.

          Reply
          • Dong,

            Sorry to bother! As this is actually the first time I’ve separated network bands on the 16000, I recently have had better connectivity across legacy and newer devices (yay!), however, I am now dealing with a completely separate issue of some IoT/smart plugs that just won’t cooperate and connect to the 2.4 band appropriately. Usually the system times out and boots and error; I’ve got several Wemo and Meross devices that are currently sitting bricks sadly. Anything I can do possibly in settings to remedy the problem?

            Appreciate you!

  32. Is the RT-AX89X still a worthwhile purchase 3 years after its release? My current primary router is a first-gen RT-AX88U, and I need to extend my network into a second building. I figure the 89X would become my primary router and the 88U would become the satellite, using the link aggregation feature to build a 2GB wired backhaul.

    I can’t (or don’t want to) spend on two new routers at once, and also don’t really rely on wireless much beyond basic cellphone usage (surfing, wi-fi calling). That said, I do prefer to buy nice rather than buy twice, so if I should go with one of the newer 6E models, I’d prefer to just do that right off the bat. Unfortunately, none of those seem to have the integrated 8 port switch, which I really do prefer…

    Thank you!

    Reply
  33. Hi Dong,
    Thank you for your valuable information. I so appreciate your posts. A couple of questions:

    I have an XT8 set that is currently wired for backhaul which I know you do not recommend. (I set it up before reading your recommendations.) I am using Cat5 cabling that was put in the home when it was built. I have the router in Ethernet Backhaul Mode and have exposed the 5GH-2 band for client use. Should I leave this set up or go back to wireless backhaul for best results?

    Secondly, I am planning to upgrade to a WiFi 7 quad band mesh system when it is available. As mentioned above, I have Cat5 cabling in place. I have no way to easily rewire and upgrade the cabling to Cat5e or Cat6. In this case am I better off to use wireless backhaul rather than the Cat5?

    Appreciate you help,
    Steve

    Reply
    • CAT5e (not CAT5) is fine, Steve — more here. If you use actually have CAT5, chances are wireless backhauling is better because the wired backhaul is limited at 100Mbps — you can do a test at the current satellite, and if you get over 100Mbps, then it’s CAT5e.

      Reply
      • Thanks Dong, I will do a test, but I am sure they are Cat5 and not Cat5e. The cables them selves are marked Cat5. I don’t think they would be miss marked. So I guess I need to switch to wireless.

        Reply
  34. Hello Dong,
    I recently purchased new hardware to take advantage of my Sonic fiber and I opted for the GT-AXE16000 (used as the router) and the ZenWifi Pro ET12 (used as a satellite). I also purchased a 10G unmanaged switch, which I use between the AXE16000 and the ET12 for a wired backhaul. I followed your steps outlined above in the post for setup.
    All of the wifi clients that are used around the house (pixel 7, iphone 14 pro, 2016 macbookpro, 2018 macbook pro, 2021 macbook pro) rarely switch over to the ET12, even when the client is only a few feet away. And if the client does switch over, it only seems to do so in 2.4G. The router is downstairs and the satellite is upstairs in an office. The AXE16000 does a great job in the downstairs of the house, but the upstairs performance is less than to be desired, hence my decision to add the XT12 as a satellite. The AXE16000 and the XT12 are using their latest respective firmware (non-Merlin) and I have factory reset both devices several times for a fresh setup. The only setting that I have experimented with is changing the Roaming Assistant to -60dBm across all bands (2.4g, both 5g, and the 6g), but that hasn’t altered the behavior. Are there other settings that I should change?
    Thank you for all of the reviews and posts that you make, I find them very informative.

    Reply
    • More on roaming, which is always tricky, in this post, Ethan. I think, in your case, the distance is just not enough to trigger the switch. You can manually do that by restarting the Wi-Fi on the client.

      Reply
      • Thank you Dong for the quick reply. I have tried that on many occasions, even within a few feet of the ET-12, but the clients tend to reconnect to the AXE-16000 downstairs.
        Thanks, Ethan

        Reply
        • Then something is not right, Ethan. I’d check to make sure you have ET12 with the latest firmware or something in the settings, etc. Make sure your AiMesh network is in good shape. Maybe this post on how to set it up will help. I have the same combo, by the way, GT-AXE1600 router and two ET12. It’s been working great. I generally separate the bands as different SSIDs (two 5GHz bands of the router share the same name.)

          Reply
          • After some experimenting, it seems like the trouble starts to come when Smart Connect has 2.4g, both 5g’s, and 6g enabled all at the same time. If I disable 6ghz in Smart Connect, the ET-12 hosts clients in both the 2.4g and 5g, whereas, when I enable 6g as well, the ET-12 reverts back to seldomly hosting any client, and if it does, at speeds of around 80 up and 30 down.
            Is it safe to assume that if I want to use Smart Connect, I should separate 6g? I have to say, the best performance was doing what you suggested and not using Smart connect at all and give each SSID its own name with the two 5G’s sharing the same name.
            Thanks again Dong, you have been invaluable!

          • 👍. I’d generally don’t use Smart Connect. If I want a single SSID, which I don’t, I’d name each bad the same manually.

  35. Hello Dong,

    Great article as always. Could you please explain why the auto (for backhaul) would cause issues in a dedicated mesh setup? I have my two XT8s connected via ethernet and 5GH-2. I thought this was supposed to be the best setup for the mesh system so that the router could determine the best path for backhaul traffic.

    Reply
  36. Hi Dong,
    Of the MANY informative articles on your site, this one is my go-to for my home multi-gig setup. I use the GT-AXE16000 as my primary router and two ZenWifi XT8s (previous primary system) for the AiMesh nodes with wired 2.5Gbps backhaul. Works flawlessly. True, the only Wifi 6E clients in my home are some iPhones that only occasionally connect to that band. And given the GT-AXE16000 is on one end of the home (office), and the two AiMesh nodes are in the middle and other end, the location of the GT-AXE16000 may not be optimized. I also have a Trendnet TEG-S762 switch in the mix. I just wanted to let you know your site is invaluable to me keeping everything working in tip top shape.

    Reply
      • Hi Dong

        Do you have a relationship with Asus? Or more precisely, do you know how I can properly escalate with their tech support team? I have been tossed around for more the three weeks with no continuity or intelligent efforts to help with my 2.4 GHz performance complaints. None

        I now went back to an Orbi 960 mesh and an getting excellent 2.4 performance with the same devices and environment (I know you implied 2.4 would be problematic but it should not be completely unusable, nor is 2.4 with several other branded tests) Asus has a large issue here and I’m stuck with $2500 worth of hardware than I can’t return and they are not supporting (and now reneging on their earlier buy back comments)

        It is super frustrating as this should not be happening

        Thanks again for any guidance to get someone there to take ownership

        Reply
        • I only know a couple of PR folks, Gregory. But yes, Asus’s support is dismal. If you need the 2.4GHz band, though, I’d recommend getting a couple of Wi-Fi 4 APs (or routers in AP mode.) Your situation won’t sustain, no matter what brand you go with. More in this post.

          Reply
          • Hi Dong

            Thanks for the reply… I’ll jump to that post, but the reality is 2.4 is really broken on Asus. With the Orbi 969 and prior AMPLIFI Alien 6, I get upwards of a 100 mbps download tests. Asus, 0-1 mbps or timeouts. So an enormous difference

            To be clear I am not using 2.4 for content browsing or downloads – that’s all 5/6. Any many of the the IoT connections are extremely low data needs (lights, switch’s, thermostats, motion etc.) so very little bandwidth as these are transactional only. Four 2.4 GHz cameras is about it in terms of “larger” packets.

            But with asus these devices drop off the network completely or don’t respond (if thermostat not connect or can control lights)

            I have one Zigbee solution I use with my Insteon control setup, but the reality is 2.4 should work on the asus products like it does on others without needing a separate network (funnily your work around is what I did for a week or two / set up the AMPLIFI again just to use its 2.4 – though I could not disable the higher bands – and that worked. But my house looked like a lab with so many AMPLIFI and asus devices lol)

            Back to the Orbi, (router and three nodes), and everything is covered inside anbd out and working at high speed at all bands.

            My preference is for asus to fix this issue and I would return the Orbi but again I faced with only four days left at Best Buy for the return…

            Anyway appreciate your help

          • The 2.4Ghz band is never good in Wi-Fi 6/6E routers, but that of Asus routers shouldn’t be *that* bad. You might want to check their settings — especially the USB port — and make sure the firmware is good. In any case, the post I linked in the previous reply will help. It’s never ideal to rely on this band too much.

    • Hi Keith. Just to inform you: No current iPhone has Wifi 6E, so unless you meant the iPad Pro M2 or 16 inch or 14 inch MacBook Pro M2, you probably have no 6E device.

      Reply
  37. Hi Dong
    Lots of detailed information on your site, it is appreciated.
    However, I am having nothing but HEARTACHE with Asus and 2.4ghz performance… it is non-existing (0 to .5mbps from multiple devices, after many factory resets and trying all reasonable changes to the 2.4 network options, and using a Wifi Scanner to identify the least congested channels (I actually have little congestion’s I’m in a large home with no close-by neighbors – 200 feet or more)
    I have 6 ET-12’s an have tried ever single one as the main router, and the performance is the same for 2.4 ghz. Although the signal strength is full bars, none of my devices can reliable conntect even locally, much less to the Internet (my iPhone, iPad and a Windows 11 laptop will often say “No Internet Connection in the wifi settings, even though there is full bars)
    5 and 6 ghz performance and range is outstanding, but standard 2.4 or guest 2.4 is abysmal.
    I also tried a GT-AXE16000 as the main routers, and the same issue.
    Now the easy answer is my environment, but I disabled the 2.4 on the Asus Mesh (my using a perpetual 24/7 schedule, as the Enable Radio Yes/No does not function correctly – the Mesh still broadcasts 2.4 even when the radio is disabled from the GUI). Then, I set up my prior Amplifi Alien 6 Mesh, and the 2.4 ghz network is fast and very reliable (80-120 mbps speed test downloads from the same distances away from the testing nodes as I was testing the Asus nodes)
    And my prior Orbi 960 mesh and Linksys Velop Wifi 5 mesh also had no performance issue with 2.4 – (they had different issues, such as no separate SSID for 2.4 {Orbi} which caused a large problem with my 50 or so iOT devices; and random mesh reboots with the Velops which Linksys bailed on every following up on)
    And Asus tech support is HORRENDOUS. Utterly horrendous. Difficult to understand, confusing emails, asking for the same things multiple times, re-stating the incorrection issue, not responding for several days, and to date, no resolution.
    So curious if you have any thoughts on this and anything further to try. Entire mesh is wired,2.5 gbps to a Zytel 8 port gbps switch, Fios internet (no router, just ONT), router mode for Asus mesh. tried various channels, 20, 40, 20/40 mode, disabled 802.11ax mode in Professional, tried various options with beamforming settings on or off, different preamble lengths, etc.
    It is insane. So right now, I have the Asus running for 5/6, and the Alien for 2.4

    Reply
        • You’re right, I mean the GT-AXE1600 router.

          In any case, I use that router and a pair of the ET12 myself, and the 2.4GHz performance has been OK. But this band is not good with Wi-Fi 6 and especially 6E in general, it only works as a backup.

          Reply
          • Thanks Dong, I returned the GT-AXE16000 a few days after purchase, as it had the same issue.

            To me, 2.4 ghz is quite “broken” on this 6e enabled routers from Asus, at least the ET-12 and AXE16000 that I’ve tested extensively, Hopefully they will address and fix.
            I went out and re-purchased the Orbi 960 6e mesh last night, and, using the IoT SSID at 2.4 ghz only, am getting 60-90 mbps download speeds with the router and nodes in the same spot. Along with the Amplfi 6 mesh, and the earlier Velops 5 ghz mesh, all with great 2.4 ghz performance, I am pretty sure Asus has an issue here.

            I’ve sent Asus ANOTHER feedback form from the router, so let’s see. For 5 and 6, the ZenWifi is fantastic. But I think if one has 2.4ghz devices they are concerned about (I have Ring, Simplisafe, Eufy, Novastella Ecobee and other branded 2.4 only devices), the performance is so poor I would make sure people considering Asus at least have a good return policy from their merchant if they are going to try their solution.

            I am outside my return window, so either Asus has to fix this or buy my six units back or I am out of a lot of money…

          • You’re probably not wrong. Not sure why you need the 2.4GHz band so much, but if you use it for many “Smart” devices, you should get a Wi-Fi 4 broadcaster (like an access point) for them instead. More in this post.

            In short, in certain situations, no amount of money or hardware can fix the issue. You’ve been beating the wrong bush, so to speak.

  38. Hi Dong,

    I’m subscribed to my ISP of 2 gbps (1+1). Can i use the same eg. as illustrated by you to achieve up to the desired internet speed of 2gbps with two Asus AX – 11000 routers? Hope to get your advice on this. Thanks

    Reply
    • I don’t know the detail of your broadband subscriptions, Kenny, but that generally means you use Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation on the WAN side. More in this post. If Dual-WAN, you can use two routers, too, though that’s not ideal (Dual-WAN is better, that is.)

      Reply
  39. Hi Dong – love the blog.

    I have a setup question – I live in a 3 floor house (temporary housing – can’t run additional wires) that’s about 3k square feet. The internet comes in at the back of the house on the third floor. The house has one LAN ethernet port at the back of the house on the 2nd floor. I ran a bunch of Cat6 along the molding to get an access point to the front of the house, on the second floor. I’m currently subscribed to gibabit+ internet (max speeds I’ve seen wired are around 1.3Gb/s.

    I recently bought a AXE7800 and have my old RT-AC56u running in AP mode. However, I am barely using the 6ghz band on the AXE7800, and it seems that perhaps I’d benefit from a WiFi 6 router with a multigig LAN port and a more powerful (and compatible) access point. Additionally, WiFi on the first floor is very poor, even with the RT-AC56u in AP mode directly above the 1st floor bedroom.

    I’m debating returning the AXE7800 – the range on the 6Ghz doesn’t give me enough utility, and I think I’d be better off spending the money on WiFi 6 router/AP combo.
    1. Do I buy a wifi 6 dual band router and single wired backhaul access point?
    2. Do I buy a Wifi6 Tri-band router and 2x access points, and run one access point with wired backhaul, and the other wireless? (I know you’ve mentioned hesitation to running Tri-Band on WiFi 6 devices with wired backhaul).

    A dual band with single wired backhaul (with multi-gig backhaul on the main router) seems like it should get me better signal downstairs, but in the event that it fails to, I worry that adding a wireless backhaul AP to that environment is a sub-optimal outcome. Ideally, in our next home, everything is wired and we run wired-backhaul.

    Cheers.

    Reply
  40. Hey Dong, longtime fan, thank you so much for this post and the many others that you’ve made. I want to thank you for these before anything. As a pretty diehard Asus fan, its awesome to see the Asus specific discussions and writing. I recently bought a house, and at the back end we have trouble with the connections sometime, so I started the process of buying a second unit either to use as a mesh or an AP, and I am wondering what your thoughts are. All my multi-gig is wired, so I dont have a huge need there, Im more concerned with the differences in units that I have, as Ive seen you mention that some of the tri-band’s dont play nice with others. I havent seen my current router, the AX88-U discussed at all. I went and bought an AXE11000 which I am planning on using as my primary, and plan to wire a backhaul to the AX88U. I also have the option to use an AX11000 instead of the AX88.
    Im wondering what thoughts and input you have?

    Reply
  41. Dong,
    I just wanted to thank you for all of the information you placed here on the website. My home was wired when I built it with CAT 5E. I have a few connections I need to find for some of the rooms. I went with two AX6000s because of a great price I found on them. I should have them running next week, when the second one arrives. I also got the 5 port version of a multi gig switch and a 2.5 g port for my Asus laptop. I can’t wait to get it all in!
    I will be following your connection advice and instructions on the other pages and will not have any issues. I have Google Fiber at 2 Gig and cannot wait to unleash it.

    Reply
    • 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?

      Reply
      • 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)

        Reply
        • 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 ơn 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.

          Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
  42. 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?

    Reply
  43. 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!

    Reply
  44. 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.

    Reply
      • 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

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
      • I ended up picking up the AX11000 pro and 2 GT AX6000 connected over wired for mesh.
        The second Ax6000 seems to be over kill and unnecessary with how much improved coverage they give from the Ubiquiti ACLR that I had. The AX11000 pro comes with a second 5gz band . Any recommendations? Should I turn it off? I’ve left it on and only have my phone or devices I want to steer toward the main router connect to it.

        The lucky of it I’m Pretty bummed, the week after I get this installed Frontier came out with a 5 gbps connection for only $5 more AND give you and AXE300 for free . So I spent like a grand and now have a bunch of equipment that can’t even match that . It’s not the worst thing. They lowered the monthly cost of 2gbps to $99 instead of $150 . So I’ll take that savings for a bit and hold out for 10 gbps!

        Reply
        • As I mentioned in this post, Jesse, you won’t know anything beyond 2Gbps — most online services cap well below 1Gbps anyway. The TP-Link AXE300 is much inferior to the Asus GT-AX11000 Pro in features and customization. So, you’re not missing out on much.

          As for the 2nd 5GHz, you can name it the same as the 5GHz-1 or keep it separate for other purposes. There’s no need to turn it off.

          You’re doing fine! Congrats and cheers! 🙂

          Reply
  45. 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!

    Thanks!

    Reply
  46. 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?

    Reply
      • Thanks Dong. I saw GT-AX11000 has better pricing than GT-AX6000. It also has 2.5 gbps LAN port. Will this be good to replace AX6000?

        Reply
        • Not for your need since it has just one Mulit-Gig port. Here’s the review of the GT-AX11000. Please don’t keep asking me about different things you see. Use the site search and it’s always on you how you spend your money. Good luck! 🙂

          Reply
          • Hi Dong,

            I just wanted to give you an update on my MoCA set-up. I got new Asus RTX7800 as my main router. It’s an excellent router and I used my current AX86U as AiMesh node. Thanks for all useful articles on AiMesh. I used 2.5gbps MoCA adapters and was able to get around 220-230 MB/s sustained file transfer speed so I was close to 2.5Gbps wired LAN. I am in rented multi-storied house so MoCA was my only option.

            Thanks for all information.

            Regards,
            Prasad

  47. 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!

    Reply
    • 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. 🙂

      Reply
  48. 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!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  49. 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.

    Reply
  50. 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?

    Reply
  51. 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 ? 🙁

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

    Thanks,
    Marek

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

        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 🙂

        Thanks,
        Marek

        Reply
          • Perfect – thanks for that 🙂 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 🙁 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.

  52. 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 ?

    Thanks,
    Marek

    Reply
      • 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 🙂 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 🙂

        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 🙂 Thanks!

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

            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 ?

            Thanks,
            Marek

  53. 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?

    Reply
  54. 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?

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  55. 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.

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

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
        • 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.

          Reply
  56. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
        • I have the same switch. 🙂

          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!

          Reply
  57. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  58. 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

    Reply
  59. 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.

    Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
          • 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.

  60. 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!

    Reply
  61. 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 “bolster” my environment. I just want it stable and rocking, at least for a while! I am also onboard with a little “future proofing”

    – Challenges I am trying to overcome:
    – Maximizing speed and “horsepower”/cpu to power my network with minimal “bog-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 “choking” TP-link Archer C5400.
    * Network supports about 40 devices — 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 “backhaul” 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 “gaming” 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!!

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  62. 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!

    Jerry

    Reply
  63. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
      • 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!

        Reply
  64. 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!

    Reply
  65. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  66. 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. 😉
    * 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. 😉

    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? 🙂

    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. 😉

    Anyway thanks for reading, keep up the good work! 🙂

    Reply
  67. 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.

    Reply
      • 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!

        Reply
  68. 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

    Reply
  69. 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. 🙂

    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! 🙂

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  70. 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!

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

      Reply
  71. 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.

    Reply
  72. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  73. 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.

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

      Reply
  74. 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

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  75. 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.

    Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
        • 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.)

          Reply
  76. 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.

    Reply
  77. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply

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