ASUS RT-AC86U

Discussion in 'Networking, Telephony & Internet' started by bitmonster, Sep 26, 2018.

  1. bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    I have myself a ASUS RT-AC86U arriving today..

    Anyone else have one? How are you finding it? Have you installed Merlin?
     
  2. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    67,561
    Location:
    brisbane
    have had one for years, very solid unit i just use the asus f/w i don't need much out of it just use the inbuilt qos and port forwarding.

    range is supreme
     
  3. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,059
    Location:
    Canberra
    You're thinking of the RT-AC68U, which I also have. This is a post about the RT-AC86U, which was only released a year ago :)

    EDIT: In terms of Merlin, on the RT-AC68U it's excellent. It just takes the standard ASUS firmware and adds several useful features, without radically changing anything. It's definitely worth trying, as the firmware's author tends to focus on stability instead of just jamming new features into it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  4. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    Still quite relevant though and good to know how happy everyone is with the previous unit... Thanks for the info!
    Merlin looks to have a few new features although I may miss AIMesh if I want to use that. Apparently any old Asus AP will do, which is an interesting concept. I assume I could just use a switch and a bunch of cables for that.
     
  5. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    67,561
    Location:
    brisbane
    haha, didn't realise they'd done that - I see the one you are talking about now.

    i don't know how much more stable you can make it my uptime is months and months at a time. I do tend to hammer it a bit too so it does get a workout. asus also regularly update fw for security mostly i think.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    No way, so you are STILL getting updates? That's seriously impressive support and something 'premium' phone companies should learn from! (here's looking at YOU Samsung!).

    This has something powered by TrendMicro so I assume that's carried with the life of the unit. Only the Gamer Network needs a subscription (pfft, why bother).

    Looks like I chose a good device.

    How's the range?

    I have a brick wall between the router and the backyard BBQ area at the other end of the yard. It will be interesting to see how this reaches out there if I need to use this Mesh thing and find some cheap second hand Asus AP or something.
     
  7. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    67,561
    Location:
    brisbane
    yes i receive updates still, the last one was some time this year.

    It is now 4 years old.

    the range for my device is this.

    I live on the top floor of a 3 story unit block which is brick.

    I get reception in my garage straight down through three floors - out on the street, across the road and down the street - i would estimate at least 100m. not an exaggeration.
     
  8. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,059
    Location:
    Canberra
    Yes the original RT-AC68U is a superb router in my opinion, and based on most people's feedback.

    Range is incredibly good. My router is in my living room where the NBN FTTP NTD was installed by the previous owner of this house (grumble..), but my computer room is roughly 10m away through several walls/windows and 3 feet higher (sunken lounge). I have incredible interference on the 2.4GHz band. My wonderful neighbours seem to have dozens of wifi-capable devices, with many set to use intermediate channels and 40MHz channel widths - which screw up everyone's reception. This makes 2.4GHz virtually useless for me; my 50/20 connection drops to 10/2 after a few meters, and in my bedroom it drops to less than 1/1.

    Yet, because of how good the AC68U is, I'm now using the notoriously low-range 5GHz band for my PC and all of my devices, and amazingly get 100% of my sync speed (48/19) in my PC room all of the time, and around 38/16 in my bedroom. That's superb performance for 5GHz, given the distance and multiple obstructions. I should note that I use a matching ASUS PCE-AC56 Wifi card on my PC, so that helps.

    ASUS supports these units amazingly well with regularly firmware updates virtually every few weeks, typically hardening security and also adding new features.

    The RT-AC86U is simply an improved version of the RT-AC68U, with a much better chipset and more memory. The main reason you won't see as many people using the 86U is because in Australia, ASUS made Harvey Norman the exclusive distributor, and they sell it for $450. Which makes the older 68U, selling at around $200-$250 at most places, seem a much better deal.

    Sorry, I put that clumsily. What I mean is that Merlin focuses on adding features in a stable manner, so his priority is to maintain stability first and foremost, not that his firmware improves the 68U's stability.

    The additional features in Merlin which I personally value are:

    - SMB 2.0 support
    - improved external USB drive management
    - more details about the chipset, including info on the current temperatures of the radios and the CPU
    - "stealth mode", which turns all the lights on the unit off (already possible using the switch on the back of the unit) - but importantly, keeps them off even after a reboot
    - a rudimentary wireless site survey showing you the access points in your immediate vicinity

    Merlin claims to also improve performance and efficiency, but I can't necessarily comment on that because I already got good performance with the stock firmware. Still, I think it's worth trying out merlin as it is almost identical to the stock firmware in terms of appearance, so it isn't hard to get used to. The most important thing to do if you do install merlin is to clear your NVRAM and old settings by doing a factory reset first.
     
  9. O-B-E-L-I-X

    O-B-E-L-I-X Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    973
    Location:
    SYD, 2036
    Last official fw updated for the 68U was around one week ago.
     
  10. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    Wow I really did hit a winner then. I *was* going to look at a Netgear Nighthawk and forums were just overwhelmed with issues and poor support. Ubiquiti looks nice but is expensive to really get benefit due to the modular design. This seems to fit the bill and the firmware looks very interesting. I will install Merlin then, may as well off the bat although I will have to revert if I need AIMesh later (I think that's all you lose by going to Merlin). It seems entirely possible that I may get good reception out in the back BBQ area anyway. If not, then I'll invest in 50 or so metres of cable and an Asus AP to mesh with.

    So the antennas should be aligned kinda on a slant toward each area?

    Any advice for someone stuck with crappy routers all his life who only just now thought of investing in a proper router? I'm looking forward to tinkering more than anything.
     
  11. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    67,561
    Location:
    brisbane
    enjoy it just working, fiddle with the options but no need to go nuts.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    Thanks yeah I will. I won't touch detailed wireless setting for example. But I will fiddle with the rest.

    I wonder how they manage to get good 5GHz reception? I thought it would just be rubbish due to the nature of 5GHz being obstructed so easily.
     
  13. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    67,561
    Location:
    brisbane
    5GHz is designed to go through walls and shit like that - pair it with the Asus wireless cards and yeah - feckin' great. 5GHz normally has less range.
     
  14. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,059
    Location:
    Canberra
    Technology like beamforming/Airadar helps to target the signal better, especially if the receiving unit uses the same proprietary method (like my ASUS wireless card).

    That's what ASUS recommends, but I found the best results in two different homes by having all the antennas pointing straight up. The antennas radiate a horizontal doughnut-shaped signal; tilting the antenna tilts that "doughnut", so I believe ASUS recommends that configuration to cover receivers that may be located above and below the router as well. Try the ASUS-recommended method first, but ultimately if you're on a single floor, I think aligning the antennas straight up might work best.

    Start off by leaving most settings at their defaults, even letting the router choose your wifi channel and bandwidth automatically to begin with. The only real tweaks I made was to select an upper channel (149) for my 5GHz radio as that uses more power to increase range, and even then I left the 20/40/80MHz setting on auto as the router adjusts that for each device appropriately (I have an older non-ac iPad air). Otherwise it's just research, research, research before changing any setting, as typically the changes people casually recommend often do more harm than good.
     
  15. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    Yeah thanks will do... Had any fun with the IPS and logging? Would be interesting to see what security logging I could get out of this... I'm just looking forward to something a little more secure than the consumer junk we typically have.
     
  16. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,059
    Location:
    Canberra
    Nope, I have little to no expertise or interest in router-based security features, so I've chosen not to fiddle with that aspect. I trust merlin and ASUS to keep me safe with their default settings :) On a serious note, there's a bit of a privacy concern with using some of the logging/analysis/QOS features. ASUS says this in the Administration>Privacy section of the firmware UI:

    There's a lot of potential with these routers. You can set up a router-based VPN, you can setup remote access, cloud storage, all manner of logging, bandwidth prioritisation, etc. - or as I recently did, you can create a ghetto NAS. Mine has 3x WD My Passport USB drives (2x older 2TB units I had lying around, and a new 4TB unit), plugged into an unpowered USB Hub/splitter, connected to the USB 2.0 port on the router, giving me a total of 8GB of network-assisted storage running on SMB 2.0 network share. Combined with the interference-free 5GHz wireless, I get faultless streaming of media, up to and including high-bitrate 1:1 Blu-ray rips, anywhere in the house:

    IMG_0019.JPG

    Yes, I'd prefer not to have my router sitting right next to my metal and glass entertainment unit, and certainly not right next to a speaker. But as I said, the person I bought the house from decided to place the NBN box smack dab in the middle of the main wall in the lounge room :( Fortunately, everything in my house is to the right of the router, so the speaker and the entertainment unit don't directly interfere with reception.
     
  17. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    67,561
    Location:
    brisbane
    mines up high antennas are basically straight up too.

    up high is best but i think these things would work wherever you put them.
     
  18. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    I guess you could move it with long network cables if you really wanted to.
    As for antenna placement, I will probably eventually put it high in a central cupboard so may need to tilt it down slightly.
    I wonder what that privacy stuff is about and what precisely is shared.
    Well here's looking forward to replying via my new flashy router tonight.
     
  19. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,059
    Location:
    Canberra
    The data sharing is discussed on the merlin sub-forum of SNB forums here.

    Have fun with your new router :)
     
  20. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    Thanks for the link...

    Has anyone installed 'Diversion' and how's that working out...

    Holy cow so you can even pull up a Linux like command terminal on this thing... This router is insane.

    I wonder if I can set up an old Netbook as a dedicated small text interface or GUI.
     

Share This Page

Advertisement: