ASUS Jumping Into the Mesh Networking Arena

DooKey

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Apr 25, 2001
Messages
11,154
ASUS has decided it's time to jump into the mesh network arena and they are doing it in a big way. According to ASUS they will have higher wifi speeds, the ability to mix and match routers, multiple SSIDs, more setup options and many other features some of the current competitors (Orbi, eero, etc.) don't offer. You can check all of this out and download firmware at their webpage.

AiMesh lets you combine powerful standard ASUS WiFi routers to create a whole-home WiFi system with incredible performance. Each router is capable of superb performance on its own, so when they're working together in an AiMesh system, they're unbeatable. In our own testing using the latest ASUS RT-AC86U router, we achieved 463Mbps speeds at long distances, even after we ran out of signal using a router from an off-the-shelf multi-hub system. This means that with AiMesh, your network can cope with demanding tasks like 4K UHD streaming even at the remotest corners of your home or garden!
 

Shipkiller

n00b
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Jul 21, 2004
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27
I left the 'consumer grade' WiFi two years ago and entered the 'commercial grade' WiFI by going to the Ubiquiti Unifi (https://www.ubnt.com/) system and I will never go back.

No more WiFi routers, because I do not need them (I have a dedicated firewall), just (originally) a single Unifi AC-Pro Access point to service the entire house. I then added a second AC access point to service the back yard. These are a mesh system with band steering between 2.4 and 5g) with total throughput of 1750Mbs for each access point. With over 25 WiFi devices on the network and five Roku devices being fed from a dedicated NAS Plex box and other hardwired computers, there is no slowdown or buffering on the wireless network.

Best WiFi network upgrade I ever did.
 

DukenukemX

Supreme [H]ardness
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Jan 30, 2005
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6,114
That's great and all but can you install DDWRT or OpenWRT? Just acquired a WRT120N and neither DDWRT or OpenWRT is capable of running on that router. It really sucks when your hardware 5-10 years later doesn't get updates and you have security holes that will never get fixed.
 

///AMG

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 19, 2012
Messages
3,633
I left the 'consumer grade' WiFi two years ago and entered the 'commercial grade' WiFI by going to the Ubiquiti Unifi (https://www.ubnt.com/) system and I will never go back.

No more WiFi routers, because I do not need them (I have a dedicated firewall), just (originally) a single Unifi AC-Pro Access point to service the entire house. I then added a second AC access point to service the back yard. These are a mesh system with band steering between 2.4 and 5g) with total throughput of 1750Mbs for each access point. With over 25 WiFi devices on the network and five Roku devices being fed from a dedicated NAS Plex box and other hardwired computers, there is no slowdown or buffering on the wireless network.

Best WiFi network upgrade I ever did.

I got the eero gen 1 because I was lazy and its easy to set up. But more and more it looks like I should have gone this route. The wired performance when transferring things from a NAS is pretty poor but WIFI and the App is really well done. Also very limited controls.
 

Hakaba

Gawd
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Jul 22, 2013
Messages
1,005
I swapped to a Mikrotik swirch/router setup 6 something months ago, it was that point that I thought I made a huge mistake...

A few weeks later tons of reading, chatting, testing, everything is back to normal. But man that was a wild ride.
 
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TwiceOver

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 14, 2003
Messages
2,412
I like my Ubiquiti setups. I don't know if I'd call them "Enterprise Grade" but they definitely aren't "Consumer Grade". Mine have been great.

The gym I go to had some local place install their setup. A bunch of netgear routers with DDWRT installed and the roaming is atrocious at best. I'm not saying it doesn't work, but their setup is not a great showing for people that might want DDWRT.
 

Semantics

2[H]4U
Joined
May 18, 2010
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That's great and all but can you install DDWRT or OpenWRT? Just acquired a WRT120N and neither DDWRT or OpenWRT is capable of running on that router. It really sucks when your hardware 5-10 years later doesn't get updates and you have security holes that will never get fixed.
AsusWRT-Merlin works great on all routers that support it.
 

Makaveli@BETA

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 24, 2004
Messages
2,421
That's great and all but can you install DDWRT or OpenWRT? Just acquired a WRT120N and neither DDWRT or OpenWRT is capable of running on that router. It really sucks when your hardware 5-10 years later doesn't get updates and you have security holes that will never get fixed.

Why would he need to install DDWRT or OPenWRT the Ubiquiti setup is better!

They also are better at keep current with firmware updates.

I'm currently using a R7000 router but with Asus merlin firmware and its the only consumer level setup I will use as merlin updates his firmwares on a regular.

However when its time to upgrade I may also go Enterprise Grade it just can't be beat performance wise with consumer level routers.


I like my Ubiquiti setups. I don't know if I'd call them "Enterprise Grade" but they definitely aren't "Consumer Grade". Mine have been great.

The gym I go to had some local place install their setup. A bunch of netgear routers with DDWRT installed and the roaming is atrocious at best. I'm not saying it doesn't work, but their setup is not a great showing for people that might want DDWRT.

My gym also had a similar setup and performance was ok until you got 60-100 people all using wifi then 56k speeds.

They eventually got smart and went with a Ruckus setup. And now it doesn't bat an eye with 150+ people on the network.
 

Kaizer

Gawd
Joined
Jul 9, 2001
Messages
737
It doesn't matter what they make. I will never buy another Asus router/wifi product again. They have the worst firmware, I can believe how many hours ive wasted just trying to get a simple port forward to work, only to discover it was a bug, one that still seems to exist. Firwmare that cant be rolled back with no warning. Upgrades that actually made my router worse than when I bought it. The forwarding worked before the irreversible update.
 

p05ta1

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
384
My RT-AC3200 runs great over house and handles everything we connect to it.
Kid room and upstairs I have a RT-n66r as a open extender now as well.
n66r is open so NDS and tablets can connect and any guest that stop by.

Kids hate the Asus router app on my phone since I can disconnect them at night .

Very surprised this AC3200 did make list for new firmware.
 

criccio

Fully Equipped
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Mar 26, 2008
Messages
13,977
Can anyone make out from ASUS's terrible website if this system has a dedicated radio in each device specifically for the backhaul between access points? That's a feature I love about the Netgear Orbi system i installed in my parents house. Kinda what "makes" it a true mesh system.
 

biggen

Kyle's Personal Blog is Awesome
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Dec 15, 2011
Messages
75
Can anyone make out from ASUS's terrible website if this system has a dedicated radio in each device specifically for the backhaul between access points? That's a feature I love about the Netgear Orbi system i installed in my parents house. Kinda what "makes" it a true mesh system.

I'm assuming if they are using the term "mesh", it must have a dedicated backhaul channel.
 

criccio

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13,977
I'm assuming if they are using the term "mesh", it must have a dedicated backhaul channel.

You'd think that, however most of them don't. The Ubiquiti Amplifi HD, Eero and Luma for example do not have a dedicated radio for backhaul between satellites.
 

Z3r0k3wl

Weaksauce
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Feb 13, 2014
Messages
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Can anyone make out from ASUS's terrible website if this system has a dedicated radio in each device specifically for the backhaul between access points? That's a feature I love about the Netgear Orbi system i installed in my parents house. Kinda what "makes" it a true mesh system.

The list of supported devices are all tri-band so it's probably safe to assume it has a dedicated backhaul radio.
 

readeh

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 1, 2013
Messages
353
Just ordered a new router today actually.
Decided to go with the Turris Omnia instead of the consumer grade routers from Netgear/Asus (about the same price for their top models), but comes with a lot of features that they don't support.
 

alxlwson

You Know Where I Live
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Aug 25, 2013
Messages
8,410
Will never buy consumer grade stuff again. UBNT is the only thing in my house. AP's, switches, surveillance cam, etc. PoE ftw.
Had an Asus RT66ac or something like that. Worked great, then an update came that all but broke the device(would keep turning the radios off on its own), Cisco E5300 or something like that, broke after an update, had to load Tomato on it, etc...
Going UBNT was the best decision I've made in those regards.
 

Kelter

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 23, 2005
Messages
342
It doesn't matter what they make. I will never buy another Asus router/wifi product again. They have the worst firmware, I can believe how many hours ive wasted just trying to get a simple port forward to work, only to discover it was a bug, one that still seems to exist. Firwmare that cant be rolled back with no warning. Upgrades that actually made my router worse than when I bought it. The forwarding worked before the irreversible update.

I feel the same. I bought the ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 which is supposed to be their flagship router. At $400 the thing is a piece of garbage... it is by far the worst router I have ever used. I still have it and have finally got it somewhat stable, but plan on turning every feature off and not physically using some of it's hardware.. the 2 'gaming' ports cause all sorts of problems, so nothing should be connected to them.

Whole list of issues here:
https://www.snbforums.com/threads/rog-rapture-gt-ac5300-owners.38794/page-51

Merlin also frequents this thread and has stated he won't be supporting the GT-AC5300, so you are kind of stuck with non-working firmware. Apparently there are some Chinese firmwares floating around that have fixed a lot of the issues, but you take your chances with those.

Oddly enough, Merlin mentioned that AiMesh does not work with any of the tri-band routers?
 

lazz

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 15, 2007
Messages
324
This is awesome.. the rt-ac68 routers can be found for cheap as they're all 3 years old now. I've already got one, and adding one more for under $100 means I can finally cover the annoying room in my basement where 5G won't reach.

This comes as I was considering moving to a mesh ecosystem entirely. I just hope Merlin decides to support the 384 fork (with AiMesh) going forward.. his firmware is magic.
 

p05ta1

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
384
I just ordered a RT-AC68 refurb from ASUS for T-Mobile version.(60$)
I got to hack firmware to make it a functioning RT-AC68. I will use it to replace my old N66U route I use for open and guest on main level of house.
My main AC3200 is locked to family still.
 

p05ta1

Limp Gawd
Joined
Mar 19, 2001
Messages
384
Sweet got the hack to work on the T-Mobile Version (60$).
I now have a full fledged RT-AC68U with latest firmware.

Video not best and guy is confusing on a few things but it worked great.
To get newest firmware you need to install xxxx.3763626 to get more space to install larger newer firmware.
 
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Murdock71

n00b
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Jul 15, 2016
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Oddly enough, Merlin mentioned that AiMesh does not work with any of the tri-band routers?

According to the website the firmware for the tri band routers is not ready yet, it is going to be supported 'soon'. No idea when soon it though.
 

Murdock71

n00b
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Jul 15, 2016
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The list of supported devices are all tri-band so it's probably safe to assume it has a dedicated backhaul radio.

When the tri band devices are supported it will use one of the two 5ghz bands for the backhaul radio, it also supports being hardwired. as I understand it with dual band it uses a portion of the 5ghz signal for the connectivity.

I did see a article written by an Asus employee suggesting the Lyra devices are going to be able to connect into the aimesh eventually as well meaning that basically any reasonably new Asus router will be able to play in the pool.
 

tangoseal

[H]F Junkie
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Dec 18, 2010
Messages
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I left Cisco full blown e
nterprise for Ubiquiti.

Unifi is about 200% easier and better even for a professional like me.
 

westrock2000

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Jun 3, 2005
Messages
9,350
I'm not claiming Apple does this, but going back several years, the one thing Apple had as an advantage on their routers was easy bridging of multiple routers. They use a CAT5 cable to communicate between the routers (which I guess is equivalent to the "backhaul" you all are talking about).

I only bring this up, because it really is nice have a system of routers that hands you off as you move around the house. The ease of use on the Apple routers in combining multiple routers is what sold me on them. Glad this is becoming "a thing" now. Especially since the rumor mill is that Apple will no longer develop routers.

My house is only 2400sq ft (single story), but there were weak spots with just one router. But after learning about the Apple stuff (this was like 4 years ago mind you), I have 1 in the front and the back of the house hanging from the ceiling (10 foot) and no signal issues at all.

This isn't an endorsement for Apple, this is an endoresement for having a large wifi area that is easy to set up.
 

Murdock71

n00b
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Jul 15, 2016
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To those of you talking about Ubiquiti do they have a mesh solution without hardwireing? I have done a bit of digging and it is unclear to me.

I don't have the option to wire my 2nd floor without some major cost and mess and if I could get wires up there I really wouldn't need mesh wifi because my single Asus router reaches well enough except for the office up there.
 
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