There are many reviews regarding the RT-AX92U routers that have a lot of either dis- or mis-information, so I''d like to clarify things with this review. First of all, I''ve been dealing with networking of all sorts for several years -- even have a degree in this...
There are many reviews regarding the RT-AX92U routers that have a lot of either dis- or mis-information, so I''d like to clarify things with this review.
First of all, I''ve been dealing with networking of all sorts for several years -- even have a degree in this stuff (though, presently, I''m in the world of quality assurance, so I really do understand what it means to not only break things but also why something is breaking). This doesn''t mean I know it all, but it does mean I''m pretty familiar with the intent behind much of the tech being dealt with here.
Next, the hardware itself is at least to the caliber of pro-sumer with this product -- it appears to fit somewhere on the high end of consumer and very low end of professional. Admittedly, I had been skeptical that something the size of one of these routers could really pull off any sort of practical, whole-home WiFi, but that''s exactly what it does. In fact, the only downside to these routers that I''ve found is they do get pretty warm as they work, but that''s why they''re designed the way they are -- with enough venting to keep the devices from locking up (and after having ran them for several weeks, they''re still doing quite well).
Out of the box, you''re going to have to update the firmware on these devices. It''s as simple as that if you want the latest in bug fixes and security to be applied. Fortunately, ASUS makes this a pretty simple process if you know how to navigate their UI (which, by the way, is a pretty nice UI, though it won''t win any grammar awards, hence my four star rating on that aspect).
Further, on the UI part, since this really is more of a pro-sumer product, if you don''t already understand the differences between 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz networks and which standards of the IEEE 802.11 apply to which band, you''ll likely want someone you trust to go through and really help you set this thing up. Granted, the "intro wizard" (as I call it) will get you through the very basics of setup when first turning on or resetting the router, you''ll really want to know what you''re doing if you want to expand/customize the system to your own liking. I prefer to follow along with folks over at snbforums.com (where they even have forums that ASUS employees frequent) to really get into the nitty-gritty of settings.
However, in the interest of those of you who are trying to decide which is the best router for the money, I''ll let you know in the following paragraphs, because you likely are wanting a setup similar to how I''ve set my own pair up.
Our setting? A 4k-square-foot house across two floors. Plenty of walls that really attenuated (broke down) the signal of the previous mesh system we used that I tested from at least 5 years ago (Linksys Velop). They were good for a while, but after we moved into our present house, even with gigabit fiber Internet to the house, they couldn''t keep up with internal demands. So, it was time for me to look.
I set up the first router pretty much straight out of the box with little customizing (as much as I just went on about it, it''s nice to know they''re highly configurable). We''re choosing to keep one SSID for all three bands. However, on attempting to set up the second router as an AIMesh system, that''s where personal preferences had me back off. It isn''t that the mesh topology doesn''t work; it''s because I would have had to use the second 5Ghz band (the band used for 802.11ax, the latest wireless standard) as both backhaul (direct communications between both routers) as well as a separate SSID for devices like our iPhone 11 devices that take advantage of the AX standard. Further, while it is true that you can set up a wired Ethernet connection between the two, there''s currently no way to "make" the routers use this as main backhaul and completely "let go" of the 5Ghz band. Some folks might not care about that, but single SSID convenience was better for us.
Also, even with a singular router, we were able to get twice as much coverage as we had with our previous mesh system, so even if we had to stick with one router, that would have been more than sufficient for multiple Apple devices, such as phones, TVs, watches, a few IoT (Internet of Things) devices, computers, etc., and not a blip of buffering anywhere.
After performing some searches on the aforementioned snbforums.com, there was another alternative whereby the second router could be set up for AP (Access Point) mode. Since I wanted to use Ethernet backhaul exclusively for router-to-router communications, I thought I''d give this a shot. This setup allows your primary router to handle all administrative functions (more on that shortly) while the second AP node essentially handles device (or "clients," as they''re called in networking) WiFi needs from a "roaming" perspective.
Regarding Ethernet backhaul, I chose to use our unused coaxial cable outlets to make this happen. I used two Ethernet over Coax (MoCA 2.0) adapters from Actiontec (they work flawlessly) in order to then connect CAT5e cabling between the adapters and the LAN port on the main router to the WAN port on the AP router (important to plug into the right ports). After setting all of this up, we are now more than fully blanketed with WiFi throughout our house, and even have excellent 2.4Ghz range outside on our driveway for when we watch movies outside under the stars :)
An important note to customize the AP setup between both of these routers. If you click on the Professional tab in the UI, make sure that you disable roaming (there''s a specific setting for this) under each of the radios that you''re using (all three bands in our case). While this might sound unintuitive, the truth is that ASUS has integrated the standards 802.11k/v/r (roaming standards) into the router, and I have to say -- roaming is flawless with our "clients!"
The included AiProtection Pro is great for us -- has already protected from a potential attack or two. This is an anti-virus/intrusion service provided by Trend Micro for free for the life of the product. Also, baked in is parental controls, which we absolutely love and work well.
Also, the QoS (Quality of Service) functionality is great. If you ever have "that" much traffic on your network, ASUS allows you to set either categories of traffic type (such as for work from home, learning, gaming, etc.) that it can prioritize, and/or you can also assign specific devices on a scale of who would get the available bandwidth first. Again, after monitoring our own network traffic when we go full-tilt (even at gigabit Internet speeds), we''ve never come close to really maxing this out. This also includes a security system with cameras and that barely puts a dent into our usage.
Speaking of which, how''s the Internet coming into the router? Typically we''re reaching speeds of ~800Mbps which, for a gigabit WAN port, is what you''d expect (we use the router as a PPPoE modem as well, so there are no intervening devices to our service provider).
There''s a lot more functionality that''s available with this device, but the above can get you more than going for whatever your needs are. For those who have had major issues with the device, I''d suggest that (1) they might be "astro-turfing" for competing products; (2) didn''t plug the right cables in the right ports; (3) haven''t properly customized their own settings; (4) haven''t properly updated to the latest firmware; and/or (5) could have a legitimate hardware issue (as good as ASUS is, they''re not perfect).
I would not hesitate to recommend this set to anyone looking for a router that should cover your needs for the next five years. And the great thing is that if you''re willing to learn, ASUS has a fantastic array of features that you can learn about as you''re using the router. Just make sure you back up your settings before making changes (which can be done over PC, Mac or mobile device).