AI Mesh partner router to my RT-AX88U

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Swindiff

New Around Here
Hi
Just purchased an RT-AX88U to replace the piece of junk BT Homehub and Whole Home Wifi disks (I have Gigabit FTTP in the UK), very pleased with my purchase.
I want to extend my network out to a small outbuilding using AI mesh. I can use ethernet cable for the backhaul. Want to have Wifi in the outbuilding where currently my RT-AX88U does not reach, for security cameras, Amazon Alexa, mobile phones etc, and also to improve the signal in the garden. Would like to be able to use the same SSID's as my existing router and Ideally I would like it to be wall mountable.
What would you recommend as a second AI mesh router, I don't want to break the bank like I did with the RT-AX88U, wifi6 would be nice but certainly not really necessary.
Do I even need another router and AIMesh or would an access point do such as this?

TP Link Access Point

Would this be able to use the same SSID's as my existing router and allow clients seamlessly switch to the strongest signal?

Many thanks
 
Last edited:

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Hi
Just purchased an RT-AX88U to replace the piece of junk BT Homehub and Whole Home Wifi disks (I have Gigabit FTTP in the UK), very pleased with my purchase.
I want to extend my network out to a small outbuilding using AI mesh. I can use ethernet cable for the backhaul. Want to have Wifi in the outbuilding where currently my RT-AX88U does not reach, for security cameras, Amazon Alexa, mobile phones etc, and also to improve the signal in the garden. Would like to be able to use the same SSID's as my existing router and Ideally I would like it to be wall mountable.
What would you recommend as a second AI mesh router, I don't want to break the bank like I did with the RT-AX88U, wifi6 would be nice but certainly not really necessary.
Do I even need another router and AIMesh or would an access point do such as this?

TP Link Access Point

Would this be able to use the same SSID's as my existing router and allow clients seamlessly switch to the strongest signal?

Many thanks
If you decide to stick with AiMesh, consider the RT-AC86U.

Some points:
o Dual-band is adequate since you will wire it.

o The 86U can quickly be repurposed as your main router, if your main router dies.

o The AC86U supports Smart Connect, so you can use the same SSID for both bands. AiMesh does broadcast the same band SSID on the same channel across all nodes.

o Note that AC1900/AC68/AC66 B1 are less expensive options that do not support Smart Connect, so you must use different SSIDs for each band (and AiMesh will still broadcast those across all nodes).

o The AC86U wireless backhaul would be 5.0 4 antennas/streams, while the AC1900/AC68/AC66 B1 would only be 3 antennas/streams... so a bit less wireless backhaul, if you were to use it.

o Only the AC66 B1 is designed to be easily wall mounted.

o AiMesh 2.0 will support isolated guest WLANs on all nodes... for your mates in the outbuilding.

OE
 

Swindiff

New Around Here
Many thanks for your reply
Just to clarify, I have separated my 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands with separate SSID's. But I would like the same SSID's on both Devices. So for example if Router 1 has its SSID's named SSID2.4 and SSID5.0, router 2 also has the SSID's named SSID2.4 and SSID5.0. For this setup are you saying I have to have an Asus device with AIMesh and Smart Connect?
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Many thanks for your reply
Just to clarify, I have separated my 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands with separate SSID's. But I would like the same SSID's on both Devices. So for example if Router 1 has its SSID's named SSID2.4 and SSID5.0, router 2 also has the SSID's named SSID2.4 and SSID5.0. For this setup are you saying I have to have an Asus device with AIMesh and Smart Connect?
Smart Connect band steering is a WiFi chipset feature that is available in many different routers that have WiFI chipsets that support it. AiMesh is not required. Smart Connect allows you to use the same SSID for both bands; Smart Connect 'encourages' the wireless client to connect to a node's better signal/band/SSID when both band SSIDs are named the same... node band steering.

When Smart Connect works, it's more elegant because you have less SSIDs floating around, less WiFi connections defined on each client, and less manual band steering performed by the user.

Using Smart Connect is your preference. You might want to disable it and use different SSIDs for each band and connect clients to a preferred band, to be sure they stick there and/or to allocate clients across certain WLANs. In this case, the AC66U B1 is your cheapest "AiMesh partner" and it wall mounts... but it's about the oldest AiMesh-supported router so it may EOL sooner than later with respect to AiMesh support.

Whether you use Smart Connect or not (same or different SSIDs per band), AiMesh will repeat the router's SSID and channel settings across all nodes. So your SSID-24 and SSID-50 will broadcast from each AiMesh node, as you want.

I can't say how a generic wired AP will perform, but I can point out that an AiMesh router can be a generic wired AP, or a wired/wireless AiMesh node/AP. And again, AiMesh 2.0 is introducing support for proper guest WLANs across all AiMesh nodes.

OE
 
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Swindiff

New Around Here
Thanks again
The reason I separated my bands goes back to to my BT hub and part of the reason I got rid of it. Clients would connect to the strongest signal rather than the fastest speed and stupidly BT disabled separating the band's on their hub you could only turn one or the other off.

So I had a situation where my device would connect to the strong 2.4ghz signal where I might only get 10mb speed. Turn off the 2.4ghz and it would connect to the 5ghz no problem at speeds over 100mb. I have separated the bands on the asus router just so I know that everything that supports 5ghz is definitely connected to it rather than dropping down to the 2.4ghz band.

The 2.4ghz band is just used by devices that dont support 5ghz. Given this situation I don't actually need smart connect then do I?

Is there a particular technology that I need to be aware of that mean that the same frequency SSID's can have the same name on different routers/access points?

Thanks
 

OzarkEdge

Part of the Furniture
Thanks again
The reason I separated my bands goes back to to my BT hub and part of the reason I got rid of it. Clients would connect to the strongest signal rather than the fastest speed and stupidly BT disabled separating the band's on their hub you could only turn one or the other off.

So I had a situation where my device would connect to the strong 2.4ghz signal where I might only get 10mb speed. Turn off the 2.4ghz and it would connect to the 5ghz no problem at speeds over 100mb. I have separated the bands on the asus router just so I know that everything that supports 5ghz is definitely connected to it rather than dropping down to the 2.4ghz band.

The 2.4ghz band is just used by devices that dont support 5ghz. Given this situation I don't actually need smart connect then do I?

Is there a particular technology that I need to be aware of that mean that the same frequency SSID's can have the same name on different routers/access points?

Thanks
No and not that I can think of.

Even given Smart Connect, I would recommend you prove your network and clients with it disabled and with fixed non-DFS channels. Then when everything is stable and you are bored, try out Smart Connect with same SSIDs for both bands.

The BT router may not have supported Smart Connect and may have had its own issues, so don't hesitate to think differently with new equipment when it makes sense to improve how you network.

OE
 

Scottp

Occasional Visitor
If you want to force certain clients to one band you can do that through guest network. Enable smart connect and one ssid for your main ssid on all radios/bands. add guest network on each band, give clients you want to connect to that only the guest ssid. You shouldn't need this, but it may give you confidence if smart connect works for you
 

Vimes

Regular Contributor
If you decide to stick with AiMesh, consider the RT-AC86U.

Some points:
o Dual-band is adequate since you will wire it.

o The 86U can quickly be repurposed as your main router, if your main router dies.

o The AC86U supports Smart Connect, so you can use the same SSID for both bands. AiMesh does broadcast the same band SSID on the same channel across all nodes.

o Note that AC1900/AC68/AC66 B1 are less expensive options that do not support Smart Connect, so you must use different SSIDs for each band (and AiMesh will still broadcast those across all nodes).

o The AC86U wireless backhaul would be 5.0 4 antennas/streams, while the AC1900/AC68/AC66 B1 would only be 3 antennas/streams... so a bit less wireless backhaul, if you were to use it.

o Only the AC66 B1 is designed to be easily wall mounted.

o AiMesh 2.0 will support isolated guest WLANs on all nodes... for your mates in the outbuilding.

OE

Works good for me, what you describe. A single SSID with both AX88U and AC86U using Smart Connect, the 86U being the hard wired node to the 88U.
Seems better overall than when I had the 86U as a primary router and a Netgear 7800 as an AP.

I was thinking at one point of picking up a AC68U, can be had quite cheaply, but that doesn't support SC.
As I was able to pick up a new AX88U for a very good price, with an Asus rebate, that seemed to work out a good option.

I'll have to stop noting this......I do wish that Asus would support VPN Fusion in these routers, rather than just within the ROG type. As they both support AES-NI instructions they are ideal as a VPN client.
 

Swindiff

New Around Here
I think I have narrowed it down to the RT-AX58U (£165) and the RT-AC86U (£153)

The RT-AX58U supports Wifi6 and can be wall mounted with 2X2 TX/RX for both 2.4Ghz and 5Gh. AX 3000 574Mbps + 2402Mbps. 1.5 GHz tri-core processor
The RT-AC86U does not support Wifi6, can't really be wall mounted and has 3x3 TX/RX for 2.4Ghz and 4x4TX/RX for 5Ghz. AC2900 ultimate AC performance: 750+2167 Mbps 1.8 GHz dual-core processor

How would their range compare for 2.4 and 5Ghz?
Is the AX router going to give faster connection speeds with AX clients?

They are both AIMesh routers with Smart connect.

Is there anything else I should consider, am I missing anything?

Many thanks once again.
 

SandmanXX

Occasional Visitor
I may be late to the game here, but did you look at the RT-AX55 as a second router? If so, what were your impressions?
 

Jcquantum

Occasional Visitor
Hi

My understanding of the AC/AX situation is, yes, you can mix the AIMesh connection. But no, the connection of AC/AX will come down to the lesser speeds and you will get mixed results of tests and performances.

You then ask yourself, was the AX worth the upgrade, when in truth it might have been. Only dragged by a lesser speed unit, which has nothing wrong. Only because the protocol is different in handling WiFi signals.
 

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