1. OCAU Merchandise is available! Check out our 20th Anniversary Mugs, Classic Logo Shirts and much more! Discussion in this thread.
    Dismiss Notice

ASUS RT-AC86U

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

  1. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    There's a whole thread on Whirlpool about it or just start a dedicated buying thread. It typically runs for fifty pages before concluding that for official warranty and support buy Harvey Norman, increased risk of warranty or other dramas buy elsewhere. Nuff said.

    Now... Merlin looks good but typically runs a little behind the official firmware when updates come out (understandably). But looks worthwhile.

    Wow one could lose a whole weekend tinkering with this thing which I will resist.

    I think I'll just set up Merlin and leave it at that for now.
     
  2. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,059
    Location:
    Canberra
    There's a dedicated recommended purchasing location thread on whirlpool for the AC86U, but yes, basically the units not sold by Harvey Norman are either grey imports, or even worse, Australian stock which has been stolen/is otherwise dodgy - the ASUS rep can't find the serial numbers of the cheap Australian units in the ASUS database. So you're SOL if anything goes wrong.

    I just use my iPad or iphone for quick access to the router UI and the free Termius app if I want to SSH into the router and run any commands. Why does it have to be a dedicated terminal?
     
  3. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    Curiosity.. Would be interesting to see a live refresh of connections or just geeky stuff - IDS activations etc in real time ... I just like the idea of having a screen and keyboard permanently open to it so it can scroll the logs or something.
    So I have Merlin installed, looks great. I have never had a router this powerful before. I will clearly have a lot of fun.
    First thing I did was enable DNSSec and Google DNS.

    Now for the big test which is a walk around with the phone to see how the range is.
    I did end up putting it up sorta high with the aerials pointed slightly down but I'll optimise that later (it will eventually go in to a high central cupboard with a large drive hooked up).

    ---- Progress ----
    After a few borks and reboots and resets (gee I have a way of screwing things) - it's up with Merlin with AI Protection enabled but DNS filtering disabled - I'll have to look in to that one (any advice appreciated). Basically, my partner is about as secure as a drunken sailor in a whore house and we have already had 'incidents' involving, no less, emergency cancellations of our cards due to phishing sites. That was a good day. So while she is an 'adult' I would like to if at all possible to offer some phishing or scam protection or whatever. I am also tempted to lock her system DNS down to the router if that's possible at all.

    Re: UPnP - Traditionally I have disabled this and the security scan suggests I do but is it really that big a risk? I wonder what 'secure' UPnP is too.

    With everything set up and most things enabled from AIProtection, VPN, DDNS etc, 70% RAM is used. I hope that's ok.

    It seems traffic stats can be saved to disk so I'll look at that too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2018
  4. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,059
    Location:
    Canberra
    Even though the AC86U has twice the RAM of the AC68U, it also appears to use more according to this thread, so that seems normal. Makes sense that if you have the extra RAM on board, the system uses it :)
     
  5. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    68,475
    Location:
    brisbane
    how did you go for range interested to hear if the 86U inherited that from the 68U
     
  6. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    Thanks PI for the link - interesting reading. Conclusion seems to be yeah it's normal even if RAM maxes out. I'd like to learn more about that though.

    Power - as for range - OMFG! This thing is INSANE.... 5GHz all over the semi-large house ok, and 2Ghz out the back garden just fine (at least for WAN, not sure about file transfer). It's a massive improvement over both my previous consumer junk and then ISP provided router when the last one died. My last routers barely covered the house end to end, let alone with 5GHz so how it manages that is beyond me. Seems to defy the laws of physics.

    Asus clearly have put a lot of thought in to these devices. I am so impressed (so far) when for other devices like the Netgear Nighthawk I just saw horror stories all over the forums and Ubiquti is a bit of an overkill (modular) - this just nails it.

    Got Merlin and VPN running so now I'll research how to fine tune everything. Popping down to JB to nab a large HD too.

    Keep the advice coming although everyone seems pretty happy with this - not too many 'gotchas' to consider. Just seems to work well.

    Very impressed.
     
  7. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,059
    Location:
    Canberra
    Since you're having fun with the router, here are some more tidbits from my own experience and research:

    For the hard drive, see this ASUS Compatibility chart for the drive sizes and formats your router supports. My largest drive is 4TB with a single partition formatted in NTFS, no problems.

    Your AC86U seems to have 1x USB 2.0 and 1x USB 3.0 port like our AC68U. Be aware that if you're connecting multiple drives, and you're considering using an unpowered USB Hub/splitter like I did, that (a) the USB 3.0 port doesn't necessarily detect some USB hubs, and (b) even if it does, it defaults to USB 2.0 speeds. I'm using this this 3.0 hub and it won't work when plugged into the USB 3.0 port (no drives detected), but it works fine when plugged into the 2.0 port.

    In any case, at 10-12m distance from the router on the 5GHz band (I've disabled my 2GHz radio altogether), I get around 130mbps (16MB/s) upload speeds and 185mbps (23MB/s) download speeds when copying files to and from my PC to the networked drive, so I'm fine with USB 2.0 drive speeds. Even the highest bitrate 1:1 Blu-ray rips don't exceed 40mbps, and UHD Blu-ray bitrates max out around 128mbps so again, that sort of speed is fine for multimedia of all sorts.

    Lastly, there's a download manager built into the ASUS firmware if you're into torrents and want to download stuff overnight while the PC is off. I don't use it but I tested it once, and it works reasonably well. But the caveat is that once you install the download manager on your attached drive, even if you don't use it, it will keep the drive spinning 24/7 and not let it spin down. So make sure you uninstall it if you don't use it.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    Oh so looks like I need to format as EXT3 to use more than 4TB (I'm looking at a powered 6TB drive)... Does this not support EXT4?

    Will that then share ok to Windows?

    Thanks for all the other info.. I won't run torrents. Horrid things. But I am interested in other means such as Usenet or other single direction transfer.

    I will only use powered hubs and devices.
     
  9. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,059
    Location:
    Canberra
    The table says EXT4 is supported but the maximum supported partition size for your router is 4GB (same as EXT3), so just create a 4GB and a 2GB partition.

    I'm not sure, I've never tried it. You may have problems with Windows reading an EXT4 partition and have to use a third party utility to view its contents. Which version of Windows are you using? If you're using Windows 10, you can set it to SMB 2.0 in the router and that will allow Windows to see your network shares without having to install SMB 1.0.

    The download manager supports NZB.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2018
  10. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    Thanks.. I'll get a 6TB drive and partition it with a Windows partition manager I have for 4+2 EXT4 partitions. I assume the router will share this out just fine to Windows or other clients via Samba (FS independent).

    What sort of transfer speed should I expect for the initial load-up? Say only around 150MB / hour or something? 40MB/s (I think I read somewhere that's what to expect) x 3600 = less than 150MB / hr (geesh).

    In which case it may be better to just fire up a Linux live disc and leave it running overnight (if that's any faster).
     
  11. Doc-of-FC

    Doc-of-FC Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2001
    Messages:
    3,396
    Location:
    Canberra
    once you mod the bootrom and re-flash it, the power output from the AP can be boosted considerably ;)

    mod the region with a hex editor, set the power values and retain the existing mac addresses.

    Asus won all the range tests when it first came out because they exceeded the 250mw ceiling. From memory the 5G amp can run up to 720mw.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    ok well modding the bootrom sounds pretty damn dangerous so I'll skip that :)

    Also - maxing out power may harm the RF amp if it's not suited to it, and won't improve the uplink from the device, so I am not sure how much it would improve range exactly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  13. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    68,475
    Location:
    brisbane
    yeah i had a suspicion they did this - as long as they don't "fix" it with f/w i'm happy to use the ASUS f/w.

    You use other consumer gear from the last 4-5 years and yeah shit all range.
     
  14. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    Too right, the range on this thing is insane.. loving it!!! I am amazed it gets 5GHz all over the house.. Up to now across a range of devices I had practically given up on 5GHz except for use in a single room and even then it never flipped over so just gave up. With this I get strong 5GHz across the whole house and 2.4GHz across the yard outside even through brick (WTF??)
     
  15. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,059
    Location:
    Canberra
    One thing I’ve noticed is that I often get a weak signal indicator for the 5GHz wifi, and confirm with tools like inSSIDer that the RSSI is poor (>70)... yet I still get full speed from speed tests and actual downloads. So there’s definitely some voodoo magic or divine intervention involved when using these routers.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  16. power

    power Member

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2002
    Messages:
    68,475
    Location:
    brisbane
    i'm sure it's frying my balls but it's worth it.
     
    PersianImmortal likes this.
  17. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    I hear you brother.. It's so worth it after all these years of consumer junk.
     
  18. PersianImmortal

    PersianImmortal Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    9,059
    Location:
    Canberra
    The AC86U seems to have some additional 5GHz capability compared to the AC68U, according to its promotional blurb:

    Now's a good time to send a big "thank you" to Gerry Harvey and ASUS for locking this router into an exclusivity deal with Harvey Norman, so that its price remains around $450 due to lack of competition :thumbup:
     
    bitmonster likes this.
  19. chainbolt

    chainbolt Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2001
    Messages:
    113,122
    Location:
    Tokyo_Munich
    Yep, and always the latest Merlin is installed, although I don't use the additional features. But the updates are more frequent than the original BIOS. Can vouch for this router and for Merlin, never any problem. Before I got the AC86U I had a AC68U running. Frankly, I could have stayed with the latter. I did not measure any difference in the 5 GHz signal strength or bandwidth. However, I use it only to cover the space of a 90 square meter flat. It might be different when you have to cover more space or maybe a second floor w/o using an extender.

    I tried all sort of configurations for the antennas. No difference. :D Now I keep them straight up. Again: This is for a relatively small flat. Might be different for a larger place.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  20. OP
    OP
    bitmonster

    bitmonster Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2017
    Messages:
    52
    The same Gerry Harvey constantly whining about 'unfair' GST exemptions and the like on overseas competition. The guy's a d... JB HiFi manage to be competitive quite well so I'm not sure what his problem is.

    Yes Merlin is great. loving it..

    Now just to work out how to get Samba and UPnP shares working on my PC.. All enabled and should be sharing but now showing on my Windows 10 system yet...

    Thinking of popping in to JB or OfficeWorks tomorrow for a $200 4TB WD drive (which is far cheaper online but ... anyway).
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018

Share This Page

Advertisement: