Your suggestions needed for router upgrade

QMax

Regular Contributor
Hi all,
I need your suggestion for a router upgrade.
Actually I'm using an RT-AC66U (Mipsel/Single Core) with Entware-NG.
All worked fine, even if I'm stuck to last Merlin fw 380.70, until I upgraded from VDSL 100/20 to FTTH 1000/300.
My RT-66U starts soffering...
A PC connected to new modem can download from my FTP server @office at about 850Mbps, but connected to 66U slow down to 450/500Mbps... so I think it's time to upgrade.
After a long search for a device supported by Merlin, compatible with the little phisical space available I have (not enough for a vertical shape router like 68U/86U), my choices are limited to 2 models only:

RT-AC66U_B1
RT-AC87U


There's also the RT-AC88U, but it's more expensive and I don't need 8 LAN ports, cause I have switches all around my house.

My main LAN is cabled, so I don't have particular needs for speed on Wireless.

Again, I'd like to continue using Entware, maybe on a USB3 port instead of the
REAAAAALLLLLYYYY SLOOOOOOOOWWW USB2 on my actual RT-AC66U.

Is it worth the difference of about 50US$ to buy an AC87U instead of an old AC66U_B1?

Thanks in advance for your help.

Max
 

QMax

Regular Contributor
Ouch! Very nice (scaring...) thread...
If someone can suggest me other options it will be appreciated.
 

QMax

Regular Contributor
AC86 is most likely the best "bang-for-the-buck" router from Asus if we are to consider some sort of future proof?
I know, and this was my first choice, but it has vertical shape, it doesn't fit where I have all my network devices...
 

Grisu

Part of the Furniture
take a cheap 66U_B1 and wait for new generation AX models to be released in 2 years for good price. Or if you got the money you could try an RT-AX88U/AX6000.
 
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bbunge

Very Senior Member
I have my RT-AC66U_B1 mounted on a wall in our storage room with the modem and NAS on a shelf near by. Am very pleased with features and performance with Merlin, currently 384.13a2. Using DoT and DNSSEC. Have the USB3 port set to USB2 performance for a USB2 stick with swap partition and ext2 file system. Very good router for the price!

Sent from my SM-T380 using Tapatalk
 

dasus

Occasional Visitor
I think in terms of Asus the 86U is the no brainer because of the 1.8ghz dual core.

I know, and this was my first choice, but it has vertical shape, it doesn't fit where I have all my network devices...
I would think placing it against the wall would actually save more space, but why not just lay it on the front side if you insist on not having it vertical?

take a cheap 66U_B1 and wait for new generation AX models to be released in 2 years for good price. Or if you got the money you could try an RT-AX88U/AX6000.
In my experience out of the box 2.4/5 the AX88U had slower bandwidth and range coverage from the AC86U so clearly the AX makes zero sense unless you have AX devices and if you really "need" AX devices then you probably really need an Ethernet cord anyway. I think it had to do with the 86U vertical design enhancing the antennas, thus how you place your router and position it's antennas in this case has more to do with bandwidth and coverage than a $200 "upgrade". (I'm sure if I placed the AX88U higher and adjusted the antennas a little more I would get better coverage but the thing is if you stick them strait up and compare them in the same spot you will find the AX86 has better or the same coverage/throughput)
 

heysoundude

Very Senior Member
I would think an rt-ac68 at minimum for your fast connection. the AX stuff is just too expensive at the moment, and you've proven you don't need to be on the cutting edge of technology...but it really depends on your network requirements.
 

QMax

Regular Contributor
I think in terms of Asus the 86U is the no brainer because of the 1.8ghz dual core.
I would think placing it against the wall would actually save more space, but why not just lay it on the front side if you insist on not having it vertical?
Thank guys for your suggestions, no way for me to put an 86U on the wall, too many ETH cables, same problem laying it on front side. The router is in the middle of a living room, very visible, and my wife will kill me if cables are visible.

During this week I also added to my shortlist the RT-AC3100, horizontal, good specs with Broadcom BCM47094 (1.4 GHz, 2 cores)
128 MiB/512 MiB, better than AC3200, AC87U AND AC66U_B1. It seems an AC88U twin, with only 4 LAN port (is what I need).
Found router page here on SNB, but it's not updated since 2016.

Is someone here using this model?

Thanks again.
 

Adamm

Part of the Furniture
Thank guys for your suggestions, no way for me to put an 86U on the wall, too many ETH cables, same problem laying it on front side. The router is in the middle of a living room, very visible, and my wife will kill me if cables are visible.

During this week I also added to my shortlist the RT-AC3100, horizontal, good specs with Broadcom BCM47094 (1.4 GHz, 2 cores)
128 MiB/512 MiB, better than AC3200, AC87U AND AC66U_B1. It seems an AC88U twin, with only 4 LAN port (is what I need).
Found router page here on SNB, but it's not updated since 2016.

Is someone here using this model?

Thanks again.
Imo you would be silly to buy anything besides an AC86U or AX88U, at which point your decision would come down to price and how long you want the device to last (the latter being a quad core, twice the ram, AX support, WPA3 support coming soon)
 

gattaca

Senior Member
Thank guys for your suggestions, no way for me to put an 86U on the wall, too many ETH cables, same problem laying it on front side. The router is in the middle of a living room, very visible, and my wife will kill me if cables are visible.

During this week I also added to my shortlist the RT-AC3100, horizontal, good specs with Broadcom BCM47094 (1.4 GHz, 2 cores)
128 MiB/512 MiB, better than AC3200, AC87U AND AC66U_B1. It seems an AC88U twin, with only 4 LAN port (is what I need).
Found router page here on SNB, but it's not updated since 2016.

Is someone here using this model?

Thanks again.
Correct. The RT-AC3100 is the twin to the RT-AC88U just sans the electronics for 8 ports. Both are supported on the current revs of Merlin's firmware. I've owned a RT-AC88U for several years and it's been reliable as a WAP. Every few years, regularly waterfall my routers from Internet facing to WAPs as the technology warrants a change. I just recently swapped out an RT-AC1900P and RT-N56U.

Today I use the the RT-AC86U as my main Internet facing router + RT-AC88U and RT-AC1900P as WAPs in both ends of the house. I'd avoid the AC87U. Way too many issues as was posted earlier.

I agree with the earlier posters - the RT-AC86U is about the best router out there right now for the $.

Goodluck with the WAF. ;)
 
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Klueless

Very Senior Member
I too am enamored with "Merlin". It was key to nailing more than a couple problems. But now that the problems have been fixed I don't bother loading "Merlin" unless ...

So, with great trepidation, I bought a non-Merlin Asus. I bought a brand new "Blue Cave" that was on sale. My wife thinks it's cute. So cute she let me move it to a better location. I now have "whole house" coverage.

Will it keep up with a Gigabit service? (Damn, I sure wish I had Gigabit!) Check out the THiggins Review.
 

heysoundude

Very Senior Member
Today I use the the RT-AC86U as my main Internet facing router + RT-AC88U and RT-AC1900P as WAPs in both ends of the house.
NICE!!! I'll bet you're keeping an eye on the 384.13 thread, so that when it's a release you'll have one nice meshnet. I would be...
 

azilko

New Around Here
I'm new to ASUS & Merlin. However, I am looking to replace an enterprise router w/ one that's more consumer friendly.

Can someone explain why the AC86U is better than the AC3100?
 

Val D.

Very Senior Member
Can someone explain why the AC86U is better than the AC3100?
RT-AC86U is a newer and less expensive model based on much faster hardware with AES-NI support. Offers excellent OpenVPN router performance for the price. You can see >200Mbps speeds through VPN, for example. Real life wireless performance of AC2900 is identical to AC3100.
 

azilko

New Around Here
RT-AC86U is a newer and less expensive model based on much faster hardware with AES-NI support. Offers excellent OpenVPN router performance for the price. You can see >200Mbps speeds through VPN, for example. Real life wireless performance of AC2900 is identical to AC3100.
Is there a better router that ASUS makes that's been reasonably issue free, and supports the most common equipment (and not just one phone on the market)?

I'm assuming that that's this product, but I'd be curious to know if there's a more powerful, better built unit.

As I understand things, the current AX models are essentially useless at this point, and riddled with issues. Furthermore, they don't support Merlin. But I might be wrong here.
 

Val D.

Very Senior Member
Is there a better router that ASUS makes that's been reasonably issue free, and supports the most common equipment (and not just one phone on the market)?
All ASUS routers support standard WiFi technologies and are compatible with all devices using standard WiFi technologies, plus some extra with manufacturer specific performance enhancements like TurboQAM, NitroQAM, etc.

I'm assuming that that's this product, but I'd be curious to know if there's a more powerful, better built unit.
More powerful in what sense? RT-AC86U has a dual-core 1.8GHz ARM CPU with almost desktop performance. The flagship GT-AX11000 has a quad-core 1.8GHz CPU of the same type. Quad-core may sound "more powerful", but it depends on what tasks. Both routers have similar performance with OpenVPN due to the fact OpenVPN uses a single core only. Both routers are capable of processing Gigabit traffic. From this point it depends on what devices you are going to connect to the router. Do you need 2 x 5GHz bands? Do you have any AX devices? What's the speed of your Internet connection? Is it worth it to spend 3X more money for something you can't actually use?

Here is an example: In my specific case anything "more powerful" than RT-AC86U will be waste of money. Why? Because I don't have any AX devices; my Internet speed is up to 250Mbps; I have about 20 devices only on my network (some wired, some not connected all the time); my slower device connects on AC 433Mbps and the faster one on AC 1300Mbps; I don't use any 2.4GHz devices. My internal network is already very fast for my needs, files regularly fly between computers with speeds >20MB/sec up to 90MB/sec in some conditions. Even if I spend $600 on the latest and greatest ASUS router, nothing much is going to change, even if it's "more powerful" on paper.
 

azilko

New Around Here
All ASUS routers support standard WiFi technologies and are compatible with all devices using standard WiFi technologies, plus some extra with manufacturer specific performance enhancements like TurboQAM, NitroQAM, etc.



More powerful in what sense? RT-AC86U has a dual-core 1.8GHz ARM CPU with almost desktop performance. The flagship GT-AX11000 has a quad-core 1.8GHz CPU of the same type. Quad-core may sound "more powerful", but it depends on what tasks. Both routers have similar performance with OpenVPN due to the fact OpenVPN uses a single core only. Both routers are capable of processing Gigabit traffic. From this point it depends on what devices you are going to connect to the router. Do you need 2 x 5GHz bands? Do you have any AX devices? What's the speed of your Internet connection? Is it worth it to spend 3X more money for something you can't actually use?

Here is an example: In my specific case anything "more powerful" than RT-AC86U will be waste of money. Why? Because I don't have any AX devices; my Internet speed is up to 250Mbps; I have about 20 devices only on my network (some wired, some not connected all the time); my slower device connects on AC 433Mbps and the faster one on AC 1300Mbps; I don't use any 2.4GHz devices. My internal network is already very fast for my needs, files regularly fly between computers with speeds >20MB/sec up to 90MB/sec in some conditions. Even if I spend $600 on the latest and greatest ASUS router, nothing much is going to change, even if it's "more powerful" on paper.
Great points!

So I have a 1GB/35MB connection. I don't have any AX devices, but run quite a lot (50+) of components throughout. I do a lot of internal streaming of 4K content to mostly wired locations, but at the same time, am likely streaming external services (Netflix, etc). I have an Orbi system that's being used as an AP only as it couldn't keep up as a router (was overheating and restarting). I'm running a PAN 3020, but I need a consumer based router for UPnP and things like external Apple HomeKit access. I'll have most traffic intensive items on a switch however. I'm also in a 5550+ sqft house. I'm fine with keeping the Orbi's in AP mode if needed as I doubt the ASUS would reach. I'll likely find a better option for AP's at some point, and am happy to test the ASUS. Also, I don't care what the unit costs, I just don't want to mess w/ issues.

Knowing this, would the 86U be the best bet here?
 

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