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Best 10 Router NAS Options: Add Practical Network Storage to Your Wi-Fi Today!

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You probably already know how a router hosts a home network and simultaneously delivers Wi-Fi to multiple devices. That's generally how a Wi-Fi router works.

But there are also "router NAS" options where a USB-enabled Wi-Fi broadcaster can work as a mini NAS server -- that's when a Wi-Fi router hosts a USB drive to provide storage for the entire network.

In other words, add a good external drive, and your router will also work as a file-sharing, media server, or even more.

So, if you want to dabble into network-attached storage, a good Wi-Fi router is the best way to start before a real NAS server.

In this post, we're talking about using a router as a NAS server, not actual dedicated NAS servers.

Generally, all routers work similarly to all real servers. But in terms of performance, those with Multi-Gig LAN port(s) are better fits.

This post includes the performance chart of most USB-enabled routers and the current best 10 candidates for the network file-sharing job.

Dong's note: I first published this post on October 29, 2020, and updated it on February 18, 2023, to add more options and relevant information.

Asus RT AX89X as Router based NAS Server
Router NAS: When hosting an external drive, a router can work as a mini NAS server.

Almost all Wi-Fi routers with a USB port can work as a mini NAS server, at least for simple file sharing. However, it's the actual performance that counts.

Below is the chart of NAS performance of popular home Wi-Fi routers I've rested, listed in alphabetical order.

Network storage performance of all Wi Fi routers by Dong Knows Tech Write SpeedsNetwork storage performance of all Wi Fi routers by Dong Knows Tech Read Speeds
Router NAS: Popular Wi-Fi routers’ NAS performance when hosting an external portable drive. These charts are updated each time a new USB-enabled Wi-Fi router is reviewed on Dong Knows Tech.
Router NAS Write PerformancesRouter NAS Read Performances

I tested each using a wired Gigabit connection. With those that feature a Multi-Gig port, I tried that, too.

As for storage devices, I've always used portable SSDs, which are much faster than the router's USB ports -- most use USB 3.2 Gen 1 (a.k.a USB 3.0) with a 5Gbps max ceiling speed.

USB standard: Speed grades vs connection types

Note that the scores on the chart are in megabytes per second (MB/s), not megabits per second (Mbps). The latter is generally used for network connection speed. Open the drawer below if you're new to digital data and connection speeds.

Digital storage and data transmission in brief

As you read this page, keep in mind that each character on the screen, including a space between two words, generally requires one byte of data.

The phrase "Dong Knows Tech," with no quotes, requires at least 15 bytes, and likely more since the formatting -- such as capitalization and font -- also needs extra storage space.

Byte -- often in megabytes (MB) or gigabytes (GB) -- is generally used to convey storage space. For data transmission, we use bits.

One byte equals eight bits.

One million (1,000,000) bits = 1 Megabit (Mb).

Megabits per second (Mbps) -- the number of megabits being manipulated in one second -- is the common unit for data transmission nowadays. Based on that, the following are common terms:

  • Fast Ethernet: A connection standard that can deliver up to 100Mbps.
  • Gigabit: That's short for Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) and generally means transmission speeds in Gigabit per second (Gbps). This is currently the most popular wired connection standard. 1Gbps = 1000Mbps.
  • Gig+: A connection that's faster than 1Gbps but slower than 2Gbps. It often applies to 2x2 Wi-Fi 6/6E or Internet speeds.
  • Multi-Gigabit: That's multiple Gigabits -- a link that's 2Gbps or faster.
  • Multi-Gig: A new BASE-T wired connection standard that delivers 2.5GbE, 5Gbe, or 10GbE over CAT5e (or a higher grade) network cables, depending on the devices involved, and is also backward compatible with Fast Ethernet and Gigabit.

Multi-Gig explained: Faster-than-Gigabit and beyond


Best Wi-Fi router NAS solutions: The list

Again, any routers on the chart above will work as a mini NAS server. But you're in the market for a new USB-enabled router; find my recommendations below.

These routers deliver the best performance or have a great feature set when hosting external storage. I've personally used them all.

This list is sorted based on the NAS read performance using the fastest wired connection each router supports. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see their performances.


1. Asus RT-AX89X

Best Multi-Gigabit Wi-Fi 6/E Routers: Asus RT-AX89X 10Gbps and USB Ports
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Asus RT-AX89X has two 10Gbps network ports and two USB 3.0 ports occupying two sides, making it one of the best Wi-Fi 6 router NAS servers.

The RT-AX89X is the top-tier dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router from Asus, and it's the first router on the market with two 10Gbps network ports. That, plus two USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, can deliver ultra-high-speed router NAS performance.

Like all Asus routers, including the GT-AXE16000, GT-AXE11000, RT-AX86U, and GT-AX11000 Pro below, the RT-AX89X can deliver all storage-related applications you can consider, including local and cloud-based data sharing, PC-less download app, Time Machine backup, and a lot more.

The storage-based feature set is the same across all Asus routers released in the past decade. And that also applies to other Asus routers on this list.

If you want to see how Asus routers compare with one another front the performance front -- including network storage performance --, check out this post.

Asus RT-AX89X's Rating

9 out of 10
Asus RT AX89X Box
Performance
9.5 out of 10
Features
9 out of 10
Design and Setup
9 out of 10
Value
8.5 out of 10

Pros

Excellent Wi-Fi performance

Uniquely cool design with two 10Gbps network ports

Eight Gigabit network ports with Dual-WAN and Link Aggregation

Super-fast network-attached storage speed when coupled with an external drive

Tons of useful features, including free-for-life real-time online protection and AiMesh

Cons

A bit buggy at launch, relatively expensive

Bulky physical size with an internal fan -- potential heat issue in hot environments

Web interface needs work

Not wall-mountable, no universal backup restoration


2. Linksys MX8500

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E with hand
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Linksys Links MX8500 comes with a USB 3.2 Gen1 port and a 5Gbps WAN port.

The Linksys MX8500 is an interesting case. It's part of the MXE8400 Wi-Fi 6E mesh system.

As a standalone router, the MX8500 doesn't have a Multi-Gig LAN port. However, when working as a satellite in a mesh setup, its 5Gbps WAN now functions as a LAN. That, plus the super-fast 6GHz band, means you can get excellent NAS speed out of it.

And like the case of any Velop mesh set, you can use one external drive per MX8500 uint, meaning you can host more storage in a mesh setup.

Out of the box, the Linksys doesn't officially support Time Machine backup, but you might be able to make it work with some tweaking.

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max's Rating

7.1 out of 10
Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E with power adapters
Performance
8 out of 10
Features
7 out of 10
Ease of Use
7.5 out of 10
Value
6 out of 10

Pros

Wi-Fi 6E-ready

Reliable performance, extensive coverage

5Gbps WAN port

Excellent NAS performance when hosting external storage device(s)

Separate SSID for each band

Cons

Expensive

Comparatively slow mesh Wi-Fi speeds in homes with walls

Limited Wi-Fi settings and features, mobile app coercion

No Multi-Gig LAN port (main router), Dual-WAN, or Link Aggregation

No setting backup and restore


3. Netgear Nighthawk RAX120

Netgear RAX120 Ports 1
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: With a 5Gbps network port and two USB 3.0 ports, the RAX120 delivers excellent NAS performance.

This router is the latest from Netgear and has the fastest network storage speed among its cousins, thanks to its 5Gbps port. But even when you use its regular Gigabit connection, the NAS performance is still outstanding.

Like most Netgear routers, the RAX120 is about sharing that storage space in as many ways as possible when hosting an external drive.

You can share that locally or via the Internet using Netgear's ReadyShare software. The router also supports local backup for Windows and Mac's Time Machine.

Netgear Nighthawk RAX120's Rating

8.1 out of 10
Netgear RAX120 Router
Performance
8.5 out of 10
Features
7.5 out of 10
Design and Setup
9 out of 10
Value
7.5 out of 10

Pros

Powerful hardware, fast performance

Beautiful design

Multi-Gig network port (5Gbps)

Well-organized web user interface

Ultra-fast network storage performance

Cons

Expensive

No online protection, gaming, or mesh features

A bit bulky


4. TP-Link XE300

TP Link AXE300 Wi Fi 6E Quad band Router UTP Link Archer AXE300 Ports
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The TP-Link AXE300 comes with a USB 3.0 and three Multi-Gig ports.

With three Multi-Gig ports -- 2 of which are 10GbE -- the TP-Link AXE300 has a lot of potential as a mini NAS server. While the router didn't live up to expectations in my testing, it proved to be one of the fastest mini NAS servers when hosting a portable SSD.

And its excellent performance as a Wi-Fi router doesn't hurt.

TP-Link Archer AXE300's Rating

8.5 out of 10
TP Link AXE300 Wi Fi 6E Quad band Router other retail box
Performance
9 out of 10
Features
8 out of 10
Design and Setup
8 out of 10
Value
9 out of 10

Pros

Top-tier hardware with excellent performance; three flexible Multi-Gig ports and LAN Link Aggregation support

Robust web user interface; lots of network and Wi-Fi settings and a handful of valuable features for home users

Comparatively cheaper than competitors

Wall-mountable; useful optional mobile app; OneMesh-ready

Cons

No option for Gigabit WAN, Dual-WAN, or fast mesh with wired backhauling

HomeShield Pro requires a subscription, mobile app, and login account

Bulky design, the USB port's performance could be better


5. Synology RT6600ax

Synology RT6600ax Wi Fi 6 Router 15
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Synology RT6600ax has one 2.5Gbps LAN and one USB 3.2 Gen 1 port.

The Synology RT6600ax isn't the fastest in NAS performance -- though its performance is up there -- but it has comprehensive network storage features similar to that of a Synology server.

And the fact it's one of the best Wi-Fi 6 routers doesn't hurt.

Synology RT6600ax's Rating

9 out of 10
Synology RT6600ax Wi-Fi 6 Router
Performance
9.5 out of 10
Features
9 out of 10
Design and Setup
8.5 out of 10
Value
9 out of 10

Pros

Fast and reliable Wi-Fi with support for 5.9GHz UNII-4 spectrum, mesh-ready

Robust, comprehensive yet user-friendly SRM 1.3 firmware with excellent web interface and DS Router app

Lots of useful built-in settings and networking features, helpful add-on packages with accompanying mobile apps

Can work as a full-featured NAS server

Practical design, wall-mountable

Cons

Only one 2.5Gbps port

No Link Aggregation, awkward Multi-Gig WAN, rigid default WAN port

Only client-based QoS, 5.9GHz clients are scarce


6. Asus GT-AX11000 Pro

The Asus GT-AX11000 Pro has one USB 3.0 and one USB 2.0 port.Asus GT AX11000 Pro 1 2
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Asus GT-AX11000 Pro comes with 10GbE and 2.5GbE Multi-Gig and two USB ports.

The GT-AX11000 Pro is the upgrade version of the GT-AX11000. It works well as a mini NAS server with two 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig ports and a USB 3.0 port.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Pro's Rating

8.8 out of 10
Asus GT AX11000 Pro Close up
Performance
9 out of 10
Features
9 out of 10
Ease of Use
8.5 out of 10
Value
8.5 out of 10

Pros

Excellent Wi-F performance; UNII-4 support

Lots of free and useful networking features and settings, including all gaming features collectively found in Asus routers

Two Multi-Gig ports with excelling port configuration; supports LAN/WAN port, Dual-WAN, and LAN/WAN Link Aggregations

No vendor required login account; improved design

Cons

UNII-4 clients are nonexistent; no 6GHz band

Only one 10Gbps port

Bulky design, not wall-mountable


7. Asus GT-AXE11000

Asus GT AXE11000 USB PortsAsus GT AXE11000 Network Ports
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Asus GT-AXE11000 comes with two USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) ports and a 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port.

The GT-AXE11000 is Asus's first Wi-Fi 6E router, and it's the upgraded version of the previous GT-AX11000. As such, its network storage performance is among the improvements.

Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000's Rating

8.4 out of 10
Asus GT AXE11000 Top View
Performance
8.5 out of 10
Features
9 out of 10
Ease of Use
8.5 out of 10
Value
7.5 out of 10

Pros

Tri-band with Wi-Fi 6E support

Excellent 5GHz and 2.4GHz performance

Excellent set of game-related, online protection and monitoring features, full AiMesh 2.0 support

2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port, Dual-WAN, and LAN/WAN Link Aggregations

Cons

Expensive

Wi-Fi 6E is not fully available

Only one 2.5Gbps port, no 10Gbps port

Bulky design, not wall-mountable, buggy firmware (at launch)

8. Netgear Nighthawk RAX200

Netgear RAX200 Ports
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Netgear RAX200's Multi-Gig port caps at 2.5Gbps.

The RAX200 is a tri-band router with the same storage feature set as the dual-band RAX120 above. It also has a multi-gig network port, but it caps at just 2.5 Gbps, so it's not as fast as its cousin. Still, it's speedy.

Netgear Nighthawk RAX200's Rating

8 out of 10
Netgear RAX200
Performance
9 out of 10
Features
7.5 out of 10
Design and Setup
8.5 out of 10
Value
7 out of 10

Pros

Reliable and fast performance

Eye-catching design

Helpful mobile app, robust web UI

Multi-Gig support (2.5Gbps)

Cons

Comparatively super-expensive with nothing extra

Shallow Wi-Fi customization, spartan feature set

Comparatively low CPU clock speed

No 5Gbps or 10Gbps LAN port, not wall-mountable


9. Asus RT-AX86U

Asus RT AX86U
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Asus RT-AX86U comes with two USB 3.0 ports and a 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port.

The Asus RT-AX86U has a 2.5Gbps LAN port and two USB 3.0 ports. It performs well as a regular router and a mini NAS server.

Asus RT-AX86U's Rating

9 out of 10
Asus RT AX86U 12
Performance
9 out of 10
Features
9.5 out of 10
Ease of Use
8.5 out of 10
Value
9 out of 10

Pros

Fast performance, excellent range, reliable

Tons of helpful networking features and settings

Useful settings for online gaming

Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app

Multi-Gig, WAN/LAN Link Aggregation support

Excellent NAS performance and features when hosting a storage device

Comparatively affordable

Cons

Single, low-speed (2.5Gbps) Multi-Gig port

Not wall-mountable

Gaming features turn Adaptive QoS off

No support for WTFast Gamer VPN


10. Asus GT-AXE16000

Asus GT-AXE16000 Quad-band Wi Fi 6E Router's USB and switchMulti-Gig Wired Backhaul AiMesh: Asus GT-AXE16000 Network Ports
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The Asus GT-AXE16000 has a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, and three Multi-Gig ports.

Like the case of the TP-Link AXE300 above, the Asus GT-AXE16000 has one USB 3.0 and three Multi-Gig ports, two of which are 10Gbps.

It, too, has great potential to be an excellent mini NAS server, yet it delivered lower-than-expectation performance when hosting a portable drive. Still, it manages to rank among the top 10 on this front.


Best Wi-Fi routers with built-in NAS features: The performance

The charts below are part of the ones at the top of the page and include only the top ten routers mentioned on the list above.

Best Wi Fi Routers for NAS Write PerformanceBest Wi Fi Routers for NAS Read Performance
Best Wi-Fi router NAS options: The network attached storage performance of the top 10.

It's important to note that I performed the tests with just one client connected to the Wi-Fi router via a network cable. When multiple clients write or read from the router's connected storage, the speed will reduce accordingly. But that's the case with all servers.

How to turn a Wi-Fi router into a mini NAS server

The final thoughts

There you go. Any of the routers above will work well as a mini NAS solution. Apart from them, any of those mentioned in the charts at the beginning of the post will work, albeit with slower performance.

In any case, keep in mind that you're using a router whose main function is to deliver network performance. The storage portion is not its primary function.

If you're serious about network storage, consider a real NAS server.

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56 thoughts on “Best 10 Router NAS Options: Add Practical Network Storage to Your Wi-Fi Today!”

  1. hi Dong, i’m unable to find a solution in the web, so i’m thinking whether you’ll be able to advise on this.

    I’m using a D-Link DIR-868L, running on dd-wrt. It’s not my main router – I’m using it just to connect my HDD (via usb3) to the internal network. All wireless bands have been disabled.

    My issue is that the HDD does not sleep/spindown/hibernate at all. It keeps running, unless i manually eject the HDD from the router and switch the router off.

    Is there a way / or a setting / or another custom firmware that can do that? Similar to how a NAS’ disks sleep after a set timing. Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    • You have to check with DD-WRT, Leon. Generally, if you choose to use third-party firmware, you’re ready to tell the world that you’re an advanced user who doesn’t need support. πŸ™‚

      Also, there’s no point in having your HDD spun down. Most of the time, the issue is the opposite.

      More about using your router as a mini NAS server in this post.

      Reply
  2. Great summary, Dong! I decided to keep my Amplifi Alien and replace my NAS with a $54 Raspberry Pi. It is on my 1 Gb LAN and is fast enough for daily use.

    Reply
  3. Hi Dong,
    Hope your well.
    Can you point me to any router that has at least 2 multi-gig ports.
    my internet comes in at 1.2gb and i would like to connect my multi-gig switch direct to the router without having to do link aggregation.

    id prefer not to have to buy adapters for SFP+ ports and like them to be Base-T if possible..

    Thanks
    Si

    Reply
  4. Hello Dong, Thanks a lot for your post. It gives a lost of options to choose. I bought a QNAP NAS and just trying to get a good Wifi Router as i will connect the SSD’s to the network and would like to access them by all the latops in the house. could you please suggest the best/affordable router with Multi gigibit port ?

    Reply
      • There are a few but I need something which covers the whole two level house which is a 259 Sqm. Do I need access points or extra ASUS routers for better signal as I have thick insulated walls in all rooms. I was thinking if the ASUS RT-AX8RU. Also do I need to do anything else to get a better speed from laptop to NAS or NAS to devices using this router? Y

        Reply
          • Hey Dong,

            My question is more on the access points if I buy RT AX8RU. Do you have an idea if I can add access points to this router or should I be only buying ASUS routers only to add more signal to the two level house. My question to you on the speed is, if I connect my laptop to NAS to the 2.5GbE port which will be connected to the same 2.5GbE gigabit port on the router. Should I be using a gigabit converter on my laptop or a gigabit car reader to get the appropriate speed as I only have a Ethernet port on my laptop?

          • Read the first linked post in the previous reply, Sunny. Again, the rule is you need to read before asking questions. I generally don’t comment on specific situations, nor do I offer one-on-one consulting.

  5. Hi Dong,
    Thank you for helping clarify this issue. A lot of information.
    So, my need is simple. I have 3-4 MacBook pro’s on wifi and a iMac on Ethernet and want the Time Machine to run on the router. I bought a Linksys mx5300 thinking this would work per their posted information. Wrong, it does not work with Time Machine, verified by Linksys on two phone calls. So, what do you think is the best way to proceed?
    Thank you for your time.

    Reply
  6. I’ve had a lot of experience with router based NAS over the years and I’ve found none of them to be reliable. The fastest ones I’ve had were the Linksys based ones, but they never really offered all the features I’ve needed.

    If you’re really interested in a NAS I suggest you just buy or build your own and get a decent router. I just built an Unraid setup based on a used Lenovo Thinkstation P300 w/Xeon e3-1226 v3 and 12GB I picked up for $75 off eBay. Stick a few hard drives in there and Unraid and you’re off to the races.

    Speaking of which, Dong, can you recommend any inexpensive, decent 10G (or 5/2.5G) switches? I don’t have a 10G wired setup yet but I picked up 2 Mellanox Connectx-3 cards off eBay and I’d like to do something with them.

    Reply
  7. “Note that the scores on the chart are in megabytes per second (MB/s), which is eight times the megabit per second (Mbps) measurement generally used for network connection speed. ”

    I think there’s an error there, which makes it unclear what you mean. Are the speeds in megabits/s or megabytes/s? Because there’s the other way around, there are 8 megabits in one megabyte and not vice versa as it’s implied in the above sentence I quoted. Thank you for your comprehensive review, sir.

    Reply
    • I don’t think it was unclear, Erick. But I revised the original text to make it clearer. Thanks. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  8. Hi!

    This is a great article, thank you. I found your Time Capsule alternative article and came here. I currently have a modem router combo bought from my ISP. It doesn’t have NAS capability but I don’t have the budget to replace it with a standalone modem and router. Another article I found suggested disabling router of the combo and use another router. The router I have doesn’t have that capability. Do you have a suggestion what kind of a product I should get? Maybe getting a router is not the solution I need, if so I am open to any suggestions.

    Thank you

    Reply
  9. Hi Dong,

    I am experiencing a connection loss from my router to my Arris/Comcast modem a few to a dozen hours after plugging in a USB drive. This happens with both n Asus RT-AC86U and a Netgear RAX78 and using either a 1.5 TB Seagate GoFlex Drive or a 6 TB Seagate Backup Plus, though faster with the 6TB. There is no drive activity when the drops happen, affecting wired and wireless connections, and it requires the router to be rebooted.

    Is there anything I can do to prevent this, like use USB 2.0 mode or just use a flash drive? I only need a lightweight NAS for security cams and video transfers. Both routers are new and I can still return them if something else would work.

    Thanks,

    Brandon

    Reply
    • You should go with a portable SSD, Brandon. The hard-drive-based portable drive can use a lot of power and that might affect the router’s stability. Or get a drive with its own power adapter. More in this post.

      Reply
  10. Hi Dong,
    I have a ASUS RT-AX86U that I am using for NAS server. Asus shows the USB ports as USB 3.2 Gen 1 x 2 which (if I understand) can run at 10 Gbps using 2 lanes. Have you done this or do you know how to do it ? Might require USB-C cable??? Seems this would be great for fast SSD (ext USB) drives. I am planning to upgrade PC to 2.5G Enet as well.
    Thanks for any help!
    John

    Reply
    • No, John. It’s a 5Gbps USB. Also, the speed would be limited by the network port anyway. It won’t help in your case since the router has no Multi-Gig port. Read the review.

      Reply
      • Thanks Dong.
        USB is a bit confusing, and I appreciate your article “Device Connections Explained: Thunderbolt or Not, It’s All about USB-C” that helped me a lot.
        Some references to USB 3.2 Gen 1 X 2 (Link removed) indicate 10Gbps over USB-C (dual lane) . Seems the key is the cable with dual lanes.
        Asus site specs show the RT-AX86U has USB 3.2 Gen 1 x 2 which probably refers to quantity 2 ports. They are not USB-C connectors, just standard type A.
        The RT-AX86U does have one configurable (LAN/WAN) 2.5Gbps ethernet port though, which might help the NAS speed a bit. I’ll let you know if I see any difference after I install 2.5G PCIe card in my I7-8700K.
        I’m very pleased with NAS performance on this router now, but “more is better” ! πŸ™‚

        Reply
        • As I mentioned in that post, the naming of USB 3.2 is a mess — by the way, there’s no such thing as USB 3.1 Gen 1×2. Also, USB-C has nothing to do with speed. So, no need to add more references. That only makes things more confusing. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, though, John.

          Reply
  11. Took a few minutes to write up the prices, sorted up – down. Looks like the offering from Synology is the best in terms of price/speed of file transfer. The prices are enormous for the rest :O
    Though even 130 for the Synology would be a hard bargain. Still better than having to get a proper NAS for a single drive.

    Netgear RAX200 599
    Asus GT-AX11000 422.99
    Netgear RAX120 412.41
    Asus RT-AX89X 411.77
    Linksys MX5 399
    TP-Link Archer AX11000 365 Ebay
    TP-Link Archer C5400X 249.99
    Asus RT-AX86U 249.99 limited avail
    Asus RT-AX68U 199.99
    Synology MR2200ac 130.99

    Reply
      • What’s interesting is that even though they are all very expensive – they aren’t that widely available. Nor are they discontinued, which would be a good reason if they were.

        Any thoughts on why?

        Reply
  12. Dong,
    Thanks for the great article. Very helpful as I have been desperately trying to figure out how to setup some NAS without buying an actual NAS server.
    Quick question after reviewing all of the routers on your list and a much smaller set of requirements.
    Reqs:
    – no mesh
    – no gaming
    – small environment (750 sq ft)
    – streaming/playback of mp4 h.264 video via VLS over 5Ghz wifi

    What unit would you lean toward for requirements like this that are not as high?

    Reply
  13. Hi Dong, came across a few of your articles that really helped me decide on my next router. So I went from this…
    – “Ok” Frontier Fios Arris Wireless with a older Netgear AC1750 for NAS set up. I couldn’t use the AC1750 directly since it produced horrible speeds no matter what tweak I did. Then an Airi 2.4/5Ghz in AP mode + a switch.
    To this…
    – AX82U only, eliminating the Frontier router, the Airi & switch. For the life of me, couldn’t find the AX86U anywhere for the life of me.

    However, I really hate how Asus do their USB storage set up. With my old Netgear, I could plug in 5 external HDs via plugging in a USB hub into the router’s USB 3.0. Then when I accessed “readyshare” via any comp or my Android TV, I’m able to see all HDs separately and enjoy easily accessing anything from any drive. On the other hand, my new AX82U simply combines everything into a single location……. thousands of directories and files.

    So the question is, do you know if Asus have this same ability? To distinguish between drives and keep them as separate views (drives)?

    Reply
      • Thanks for your awesome feedback! Unfortunately, I was afraid that you’d hammer home what I already speculated lol.

        Ya, each drive is how I keep my media categorized and organized. I’ve looked into something like the Synology before but I’m unwilling to take the leap…. since after all, I feel I have “perfectly good” external drives with “ok” networking streaming abilities… notice all the quotation marks πŸ˜‰

        Thanks! I look forward to following your articles.

        Reply
        • Sure, Drew. You’re the perfect candidate for a Synology NAS. I mean it. Get one, you can start with an older model year (2013 or newer). You can get one used or refurbished for relatively cheap. You’ll love it.

          Reply
  14. Great review Dong! I decided to keep my Amplifi Alien and use a $54 Raspberry Pi as my NAS. It is on my 1 Gb LAN and is fast enough for every day use.

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  15. Are you sure about the RT-AC86U numbers? I have seen reviews claiming it has around the same performance as RT-AX86U.

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  16. Hi Dong,

    So I finally upgraded my RT-N66U with a RT-AX86U. Everything seems to be working great except for my portable hard drive I plug into the back of the router and use SMB within Kodi to play them. I have both H264 and H265 MKV files that played fine with my old N66U router. However, I’m finding that only the H265 files are constantly skipping/buffering now with the AX86U router which I don’t understand since it’s a way more powerful router. Are there any settings that I need to look at or change within the router that could be causing playback issues? During initial setup of new router I updated it, then reset it as suggested. Even though I don’t have any AX products, I chose the 802.11AX/Wi-Fi 6 Mode that was recommended settings when first setting up the router. Should I not use that option or will that not make a difference? Also, I already completely reset Kodi a few times and started from scratch for SMB, then tried some settings within, but still got the stutter/buffering although sound worked great and picture was crystal clear. Note: Same thing happening on 2 separate Amazon Fire TV boxes that had no problems before. I did try a Raspberry Pi 4 with Openmediavault to host the portable hard drive and added that to Kodi, but that skipped video too. Everything is hooked directly by ethernet too in case you need to know that.

    Sorry for the long message, just trying to get this fixed since my old router worked fine on these same files. Thanks for any help or suggestions you can give to try.

    Reply
    • Try playing the movie file straight on your computer using VLC player, via regular SMB file sharing. If it still skips then it’s the connection issue. If not then it’s Kodi’s fault. That’s as far as I can suggest. I’ve never tried Kodi with routers before.

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    • Hi Dong, I know this is an old review but I’d like your input. By the way, I really enjoy reading your reviews. I am interested in the Wiim music streamer, I’m sure you know it. However, my only disappointment is that one cannot attach an external USB 3 flash drive or hard disk to play local music files. Buying a dedicated NAS drive is costly so that is not an option and I do not want to go through the trouble of building a NAS Drive using Raspberry Pi and Open Media Vault because it is still costly. I have access to reasonably priced routers by TP-Link and Tenda although I do prefer TP-Link. Would it be possible to share music files on a 64 or 128GB Flash-stick via a TP-Link router that has DLNA function? Is DLNA easy to setup? The Wiim Mini is compatible with DLNA. I will appreciate your input and help.

      Reply
      • If a router has the media streaming server function then it supports DLNA, Samazar. That’s a given. All you have to do is turn the serving function on, pick the shared folder(s) that contain the media, and the frequency it scan for new content.

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        • Thank you Dong, I really appreciate your input. I will look into routers that have media streaming function. I have access to Tenda and tp-Link routers and will do a bit of research.

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        • How would I add more music files to the shared folder. Is it possible to access the drive on my computer considering I’m using an apple laptop. I suppose the drive or flash-stick could be formatted as a FAT32 or exFAT to retain compatibility.

          Reply

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