Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) review

One minute look back

Arguably the best router the company has produced, the Asus ZenWifi AX (XT8) is one of the best mesh router systems and Wi-Fi 6 routers we’ve tested.

As for coverage, you have a single unit or a double pack depending on what your home looks like. The two-part network system we’re discussing here covers a larger area of ​​5500 square feet and costs a pretty hefty AED 2,699. For smaller homes, a single package of just one 2,750 square foot unit costs AED 1,599. That’s impressive coverage, but of course you need to take into account how many walls and obstacles there are around your house that can reduce that WiFi coverage.

It’s available in black or white – but don’t confuse it with the cheaper Asus ZenWifi AC (CT8), which is practically identical but, as the name suggests, still uses the older 802.11ac version of WiFi.

The ZenWifi AX (XT8) can also be used with other Asus-specific routers that support the company’s AiMesh system to expand an existing Wi-Fi network.

Design and functions

(Photo credit: future)

Specifications:

Wireless connection: Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax), tri-band 2.4 GHz and 2x 5.0 GHz
Processor: Quad core Broadcomm BCM6755 @ 1.5GHz
Reminder: 512 MB
Warehouse: 256 MB flash
Broadcast: Implicitly and explicitly for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
Ports: 2.5 Gbit WAN, 3x Gigabit Ethernet; 1x USB 3.1
Dimensions (HxWxD): 161 x 160 x 75 mm

It’s expensive even by the standards of newer Wi-Fi 6 routers, but the Asus ZenWiFi AX makes its money on an impressive combination of features and performance.

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The two routers support tri-band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) in the 2.4 GHz and two 5.0 GHz bands with a total speed of 6600 Mbit / s (6.6 Gbit / s). That’s much faster than most current routers that use 802.11ac Wi-Fi, and even faster than many newer Wi-Fi 6 routers.

However, Wi-Fi 6 is still compatible with millions of devices using 802.11ac Wi-Fi, so you can easily use it with your existing computers and mobile devices.

There are hardly any home broadband services that come close to the speeds supported by Wi-Fi 6, so Asus is putting one of the 5.0 GHz bands aside to use as a backhaul to provide a high-speed connection between the two mesh routers while The remaining 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz bands are still available to send data to your computers and mobile devices.

To make the most of the router’s performance, each router also has a 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet port for high-speed Internet connections, along with three additional Gigabit Ethernet ports for devices that require a wired network connection, and a USB -3.1 port for sharing a USB port. Storage device on your network.

Lineup and performance

(Photo credit: future)

Benchmarks:

Ookla speed test (multiband SSD)
Within 5 feet, no obstacles: 570.0 / 75.0 Mbit / s (download / upload)
Within 20 feet, three partitions: 498.0 / 67.0 Mbit / s (download / upload)

Download 20 GB Steam 20 GB
Within 5 feet, no obstacles: 29.7 MB / s
Within 20 feet, three partitions: 19.6 MB / s

The Asus router app and the setup process are not as straightforward as we know it from other mesh systems, but once you have everything up and running, the app offers an impressive range of features.

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Most mesh systems first use an Ethernet cable to connect the first mesh router to your existing broadband router, and then move the other mesh routers farther away in other rooms in your house. And, somewhat unusual, both routers should first be plugged in and set up together in the same room – ideally within three meters of each other.

The Asus app then uses a Bluetooth connection on your iOS or Android mobile device to set up your new mesh network. And unlike many routers and mesh systems, we were pleased that it immediately starts with the question of whether you want to create a single network that combines the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz bands, or two separate. want to create networks with different names and passwords. Once that’s done, you can unplug the second ZenWifi router and move it to another room to complete your new network.

Again, the app doesn’t help you any further and forces you to flip through the printed manual to find this information. It also tends to toss around jargon like “dynamic DNS” without explaining what it means, so Asus could do a little more to explain the installation process for those not that familiar with mesh technology.

Thankfully, however, once you’ve got your new mesh up and running and with good parental controls and other features, the Asus app is easier. For family members under the age of 18, you can create profiles associated with the devices they use. These profiles allow you to schedule internet access and use content filters to block inappropriate adult content, gambling, or messaging apps for younger children.

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There’s also a simple QoS option – Quality of Service – that lets you prioritize bandwidth for specific services like streaming video or games, and even a bandwidth limiter that limits the bandwidth used by individual devices. can be used restricted.

The app also includes Asus’ AiProtection features that keep an eye out for malicious websites, malware, and other third party attacks on your home network. Many routers and mesh systems charge an additional subscription fee for security features and parental controls like these, so it’s good to see Asus offer these features at no additional cost. Advanced users can also use a web interface, but most of the tools can be used within the app itself.

The performance of the ZenWifi AX did not disappoint either. It’s not cheap, of course, but it took our 500Mbps internet connection to the limit – even up to 570Mbps at one point. And most importantly, it was able to maintain that speed in other parts of our home that often struggle to get a good WiFi signal. Downloads from Steam hit 29.7MB / s for devices in the same room as the first ZenWifi and barely flickered when we left it, with the download speed steady at 19.6MB / s.

(Photo credit: future)

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