Asus access point mesh. Asus AiMesh Setup Guide: Getting Your Wi-Fi System Up and Running Optimally

Extending the LAN with a Wireless Mesh Link

Cisco Meraki MR access points (APs) can operate as mesh repeaters, which allows them to extend the wireless network range off of a limited number of gateway APs. Since repeaters also support wired clients plugged into their wired interface, a repeater can be used to bridge a remote LAN segment back to the main network.

Wireless Mesh repeaters can back-haul to access points acting as wireless gateways and:

  • Utilize the same radio as used for mesh to serve wireless clients
  • Utilize non-meshing radios to serve wireless clients
  • Utilize wired uplink for use cases described below

This article explains how the LAN can be extended via a wireless bridge, including limitations and requirements. There are three supported designs for extending the LAN via wireless mesh.

  • Extending the LAN for wired clients
  • Extending the LAN for a mixture of wireless access points and wired clients
  • Extending the LAN and configuring network segmentation

Synchronization between a gateway MR and repeater MR takes several minutes in most scenarios. Additionally, it is recommended to upgrade the firmware and allow the devices to download their configuration prior to deployment.

As a general wireless networking rule, each wireless hop in a mesh network reduces the throughput of the link in half. As a result, wireless mesh networking may not be the most viable solution for environments that are required to support high-bandwidth or latency-intolerant applications. Meraki recommends limiting the amount of wireless hops to one (1) unless more are absolutely necessary to serve additional wireless clients.

Extending the LAN for Wired Clients

Administrators may utilize mesh repeaters to serve remote wired clients.


In order for repeater APs to share their wireless connection over their Ethernet port, the following requirements must be met:

  • At least one bridge-mode SSID must be configured in dashboard (can be an existing SSID used by clients, but must be in bridge mode).
  • Both bridge APs must be configured to broadcast this SSID.
  • If an SSID is in use that uses a VLAN ID, the switch port configuration connecting the gateway MR must be configured to allow this traffic. This can be done via the Allowed VLANs configuration within the switch port configuration. For additional information regarding switch port configuration, please see our MS Port Configuration Guide.
  • VLANs must be pruned to only include those that are required on the remote side of the bridge.

For more information about bridge mode and how to configure a bridge SSID, please refer to our documentation regarding Wireless Client IP Assignment.

By default, a client or device plugged into the Ethernet port of a repeater will gain no network connectivity. Once a bridge SSID has been configured, navigate to Network-wide Configure General Device configuration, find the option to configure Clients wired directly to Meraki APs, and set that option to have clients behave like they are connected to the bridge SSID (as shown below).

  • The authentication type of the SSID does not matter, wired clients will bypass authentication and gain network connectivity as though they had associated to that SSID.
  • It is recommended to use a dedicated bridge-mode SSID that is configured to use device tags for per-AP availability in order to limit the SSID to only the intended APs.
  • Wireless networking is highly susceptible to RF interference. Channel changes will result in a disruption of the link. If the RF environment is noisy, it may be best to disable DFS channels and limit the amount of channels available via an RF profile.

Access points intended to form a wireless link or mesh together must be within direct line of sight of each other.

Wireless bridges running version 27.X or below only support a single VLAN. If support for multiple subnets is a requirement for the deployment, a layer 3-capable device will be required. MR repeaters will only send/receive untagged traffic on its wired interface regardless of the configuration of the SSID in use.

By extension, wired clients across the mesh link do not support the use of VLANs applied by Group Policies.

Example Topology

It is possible to extend the LAN segment off of the repeater, thus creating a larger remote side network. In most scenarios, a layer 2 switch will suffice. The below configuration shows the extension of the LAN using a SSID configured to use VLAN 20.

Only a single untagged VLAN is supported for the repeater side link. This will be the same VLAN the bridge-mode SSID is operating in.

Extending the LAN and Configuring Network Segmentation

It is possible to extend the LAN and support multiple subnets on the remote side of the bridge. However, this does require a layer 3 switch due to the nature of 802.11 frames preventing multiple VLAN IDs from traversing the wireless bridge link. The layer 3 switch will rewrite the frame and place it in the required (transit) VLAN when sending it to the wireless bridge (repeater MR)


  • Configure a bridge-mode SSID as noted in the topologies above.
  • Configure layer 3 interfaces on the switch located on the remote side of the bridge.
  • A transit VLAN (ie. VLAN 20 in diagram)
  • Any additional access VLANs for APs and clients
  • Configure the required static routes both upstream and on the remote side of the bridge.
  • Be sure to prune any VLANs that are not in use.

Example Topology

Additional MRs and clients MUST be in a different broadcast domain than the transit link VLAN (ie. VLAN 20 in diagram) otherwise remote devices, including the MS, may lose uplink connectivity.

The wireless bridge and the additional MR that has been deployed at the remote side must not share any of the same channels. This can be achieved via configuring a static channel or by using RF profiles to prevent auto-channel selection of an overlapping channel.

An additional subnet can be configured in order to deploy additional MRs on the remote side of the bridge. This subnet must be unique and DHCP must be provided on the remote side of the bridge.

Multi-Hop Meshing

It is possible to form a multi-hop mesh relying on existing repeaters to relay the traffic from repeaters that cannot form a mesh to a gateway AP or send data over a wired link. The below scenario describes a multi-hop mesh where the furthest AP is two hops from a gateway.


  • Configure deployment as noted in the Extending the LAN and Configuring Network Segmentation above.
  • Configure additional SSID on MRs that will participate in multi-hop mesh.
  • This SSID cannot be broadcast on the MRs forming the wireless bridge connection.
  • MRs must be in line of sight of their intended mesh neighbor.
  • Repeater/mesh MRs should not be connected to the LAN that the gateway MR is connected to.

Example Topology

Due to each hop reducing available bandwidth in half, it is recommended to use a layer 3 device in order to support at least one gateway MR on the remote side of the wireless bridge as opposed to using either of the bridge APs as the gateway for the multi-hop mesh.

Access points that are intended to form a link via mesh should not be connected to any Cloud managed switches, as the switch will not be able to reach beyond the gateway MR. Access points that are participating in a multi-hop mesh do not support wired clients. IP communication outside of the proprietary mesh traffic will be blocked by the MR repeater, thus remote IP access to switches will be lost. In order to mix IP and mesh extension, a router would need to be introduced as described above.

Unsupported Topologies

Wireless bridging and mesh networking have very strict topology requirements. Below are examples of unsupported topologies.

Unsupported Topology Example: Additional MR on Remote Side

Use of a layer 2 switch and connecting additional access points to the switch will result in unpredictable behavior in most cases. As a result, it is not supported. If additional access points are required, please see the two sections above and select the scenario that best fits the environment.

Unsupported Topology Example: Clients Connected to Multi-Hop Mesh

Repeater APs that are beyond more than one wireless hop cannot serve wired clients. Multi-hop mesh should only be deployed to serve additional wireless clients.

Asus AiMesh Setup Guide: Getting Your Wi-Fi System Up and Running Optimally

This post will walk you through specific steps to build an AiMesh setup and offer tips on how to optimize and maintain one.

This post is part of my series on Asus’s AiMesh, a popular way to build a robust home Wi-Fi mesh system. That said, check the related box below to make sure you’ve followed the coverage in the right order or if you have any AiMesh-related questions.

Dong’s note: I first published this post on February 11, 2022, and last updated it on January 13, 2023, with more detailed steps and relevant information.

On Asus AiMesh

  • AiMesh explained: Asus’s ongoing effort to better Wi-Fi
  • Picking AiMesh hardware: Rules to get the best combo
  • AiMesh setup and maintenance: A step-by-step guide
  • AiMesh for the mass: The sub-Gigabit combos that work well
  • Super-fast AiMesh: Built a Multi-Gig mesh today!

On Asus routers and getting connected

  • Asus reviews: Routers | Mesh systems | Matchups
  • Asus and Wi-Fi 7: New gaming router and more
  • Merlin firmware: Extra magic on Select Asus routers
  • Asus Wi-Fi broadcasters: The summary of features, model names, and more
  • Getting connected: Dual-WAN vs Link Aggregation | Dual-Band vs Tri-Band vs Quad-Band | Fiber-optic vs Cable | Getting your home wired | Multi-Gig explained | Cable modem activation | Routers explained | Mesh explained
  • Wi-Fi standards: Wi-Fi 7 | Wi-Fi 6E|UNII-4 (5.9GHz) | Wi-Fi 6 | What is Wi-Fi? | Wi-Fi antennas (dBi) | W-Fi broadcasting/signal power (dBm)
  • Wi-Fi best lists: Wi-Fi 6 routers | Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems | Wi-Fi 6E

Getting an AiMesh system of your own: The hardware arrangement

Generally, we do the hardware arrangement after already logically linking the units to build your mesh system.- via the step-by-step guide below.

I put it on top because I believe we should have an overview of how the system is supposed to pan out physically before setting it up. The whole thing is a chicken and egg situation, and I lay it out according to how my brain works.

You need at least two routers to create an AiMesh system. No matter what combo you get, which I detailed in this post, the setup process is generally the same.

Here’s the diagram (schema) of hardware arrangement in an AiMesh system:

Internet source. Primary AiMesh router. [ optional unmanaged switch(es) ]. AiMesh satellite nodes.

Specifically, you connect the primary router’s WAN port directly to your Internet terminal device.- often, that’s a Cable modem or a fiber ONT. (If there’s a device in between them, you’d have to think of double-NAT, or something is wrong.)

After that, add your AiMesh satellite to the router, which is always the case in a wireless setup since the (first) satellite always connects (directly) to the primary router’s Wi-Fi network.

In a wired backhauling setup, when you use network cables to link them, things need to be more specific. Let’s dig in!

AiMesh with wired backhauling: How to connect the hardware units

When you choose wired backhauling, there are two scenarios in terms of hardware arrangement: Standard mode and mesh AP mode.

Standard scenario: Primary AiMesh router AiMesh wired satellite nodes.

This configuration is generally recommended, and it works best.

In this case, the way you link the hardware units together follows the same rules as that of a standard router, specifically:

  • The router unit must be in your local network’s frontmost position, with the rest of the nodes behind it.
  • Use a node’s WAN port to connect it to the existing network, namely a LAN port on the router, a switch, or another node.

In other words, the satellite units must be at least one level behind the router unit.

So let’s say you have a mesh of one primary router and two nodes. Here’s how you use network cables to link the hardware units:

  • Hook the router’s WAN port to the Internet source (modem/ONT/gateway)
  • Connect the satellite nodes to the router by:
  • Link each satellite’s WAN port to a LAN port of the router. OR
  • Connect the 1st satellite node’s WAN port to the router’s LAN port, then connect the 2nd satellite’s WAN port to the 1st’s LAN port. Or
  • Place an unmanaged switch (or two) in between them (1). This switch can be between the router and the satellite node(s) or between the satellites themselves. But it also must be behind the router.

(1) Use a Multi-Gig switch in a mesh with multi-Gigabit backhauling. In a direct connection, the wired backhauling speed is determined by the slowest port grade involved.- that of the primary router, the switch, or the satellite.

In a fully wired backhaul setup, you should explicitly use Ethernet Backhaul Mode via the AiMesh section of the router’s web interface.

If the Internet source is a gateway, you also can change the AiMesh router and, therefore, the entire system to work in the Access Point mode. That brings us to the second scenario.

AiMesh system in AP mode scenario: An existing (AiMesh or not) router wired AiMesh nodes

This configuration applies to the situation where you already have an existing router (like an ISP-provided gateway) and want to avoid double-NAT. Or if you want to use mixed hardware in general, such as when using AiMesh routers of different Wi-Fi standards or AiMesh router(s) on top of a third-party router.

In this case, you can arrange the hardware the same as the standard configuration above. Or you can also connect each AiMesh satellite directly to the existing router. In other words, all AiMesh units (primary and satellite) can be at the same level.

So let’s say you have an existing router and three AiMesh nodes. You first set up the AiMesh system the standard way, using a double NAT. After that, from within the web interface of the primary unit, change the whole mesh system into the AP mode.

Now you can connect all three units’ WAN ports to the existing gateway (or a switch.)

This configuration is also an option to build a Multi-Gig wired AiMesh system of mixed Dual-Band and Tri-Band hardware.

With that, let’s find out how to build an AiMesh system in detail.

How to Extend Your WiFi with ASUS AiMesh? | ASUS SUPPORT

Asus AiMesh Setup: The step-by-step guide

Generally, AiMesh comes in different flavors. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • If you get a ZenWiFi set, chances are the hardware units are pre-synced. Consequently, you only need to set up the router unit the way you do any standard router, and your mesh is ready.- you won’t need to add the other units manually.
  • The setup process is the same if you get multiple standalone routers or use ZenWiFi hardware of different sets.
  • If you use a standalone router as the primary router and a ZenWiFi mesh set (2) as satellite nodes, keep in mind that you should add one satellite unit at a time and ensure the other satellite(s) are turned off during the process. The same can be said about using multiple ZenWiFi sets together.

(2) In a 2-pack or 3-pack, ZenWiFi hardware units are pre-synced. They would automatically link to one another when turned on simultaneously, preventing them from joining a system hosted by a different router, as satellite units.

With that out of the way, below are steps on getting your own AiMesh setup, no matter what hardware combo you use.

As a rule, I’d recommend the web user interface for these steps. While the Asus Router mobile app is helpful, it might create inconsistency in the setup process.

There are three main steps in setting up an AiMesh system. By the way, for this post, I use the GT-AX6000 as the primary router and a few others as satellite nodes. However, the process is the same if you use any other combo.

A. Set up the primary router

This step applies when you set up a home network from scratch. If you’re already using an AiMesh-enabled router, you can jump to step B.

Again, you can set up an Asus router with a web user interface like any standard router. Here are the general steps:

  • Connect the router’s WAN port to the Internet source, be it a modem or a Fiber ONT.
  • Connect the computer to the router’s LAN port or its default Wi-Fi open network, which is ASUS_xx.
  • Launch a browser (Chrome, Firefox, or Edge) on the connected computer and navigate to the router’s default IP address which is (or
  • Follow the onscreen wizard to set up the router as a standalone router, or you can pick the AiMesh router role.- the two are the same.

The router will restart once or a few times during the setup process. Make sure you give it a few minutes after the final restart for it to be ready.

Note: Generally, you can upgrade the router to the latest firmware if prompted. But in many cases, such as when you use mixed hardware units in the system, make sure you update their firmware appropriately, as described below. This applies to the satellite units, too.

Making a wrong decision on the firmware version will likely give you big headaches.

asus, access, point, mesh

B. Prepare the satellite node unit(s)

  • Firmware update: If you use Wi-Fi 5 hardware, such as the Blue Cave, or RT-AC86U, you must update the firmware to an AiMesh-supported version, which starts with release version 384. Generally, you must set up the hardware as a standalone router and update the firmware via the web user interface. If you want to use version 384 (and not 386), it’s also recommended that you manually put the router in the AiMesh node role.- as mentioned in step A.4 above.
  • Reset: If you use Wi-Fi 6 or newer hardware, all you have to do is reset it to the default setting, which is already the case if you get a brand-new unit.
  • Placement: Plug the node or nodes into power and place them some 10 feet (3m) from the main router (3).

(3) With some models, you can connect their WAN port to the router’s LAN port. However, using a wired backhaul might or might work during the setup process. It’s safer to set up the node wirelessly and use the wired backhaul afterward.

Again, as mentioned above, if you use a ZenWiFi pack as nodes, add one hardware unit at a time, with the other being turned off.

C. Adding a satellite node to the main router to form the mesh

This step is entirely on the router unit’s web interface.

Note: When applicable, get the main router out of the Ethernet Backhaul Mode for this step. You can put it back in this mode after you’ve added all nodes.

Search for satellite node(s)

On a connected computer, navigate to the main router’s web interface.- as shown in step A.3 above.

Click on Network Map on the menu, then on the AiMesh icon. Now click on Search. After a few seconds, the node(s) will appear, as shown in the screenshot below.

(Alternatively, you can use the AiMesh section of the interface, but in my experience, using the network map is much better and more consistent.)

Add a satellite node to the mesh

Click on a node, and a pop-up prompt will appear. Click on Apply to confirm. Now, wait about a minute for the adding process to complete. This step’s progress is in the three screenshots below.

Note: During this time, in my experience, you must not navigate to a different part of the web interface. Doing so might cause the setup to fail, and you’ll need to try again from step #2.

And that’s it! Repeat step #1 to add more nodes if need be. Otherwise, mission accomplished! (Make sure you give the system a manual restart and a few minutes after to be ready.)

All you have to do now is strategically place the satellite(s) around the house for the best coverage.

Rearrange the hardware

Once you’ve added all satellite nodes to the main router, it’s time to rearrange the hardware accordingly.

If a wireless setup, make sure the satellites are placed around the primary router.

In a wired backhauling setup, connect the hardware to the network accordingly. Generally, you want to use the WAN port of the satellite to hook it to the existing network, either to the router’s LAN port or to a switch that connects to the router. You can also daisy-chain the nodes.

In a mix of wired and wireless backhauling setups, it’s best to have the wireless satellites connected directly to a router or a wired satellite.

After that, you might want to manage them properly, too.

AiMesh setup: Hardware management

Once you’ve gotten your system up and running, AiMesh has a lot of ways for users to manage the satellite nodes.

Below are those you’ll find handy. Let’s start with what folks care about the most: Keeping the devices connected to the closest (strongest) node, a.k.a Roaming Assistance.

Understanding roaming assistance

As we move around the house, we generally want our phone (or laptop) to automatically connect to the closest Wi-Fi broadcaster to get the best connection speed instead of the one farther away.

Generally, that’s called hand-off or seamless hand-off in a mesh Wi-Fi system. With AiMesh, that’s called roaming assistance.

Before continuing, remember that signal hand-off is complicated and almost always hit or miss, as I detailed in this mesh explainer. Another thing is most of the time, the default hand-off settings will work out, and most canned systems don’t even allow you to change the settings.

Wi-Fi roaming in real-world usage

Mesh hardware often uses the connection speed as the base for the hand-off.

Specifically, a client would consider jumping from one broadcaster to another only when the connection speed between it and the current broadcaster is no longer fast enough for its general bandwidth needs.

Depending on the situation and varying by hardware or Wi-Fi standard, this threshold can be very low, like 50Mbps, because most clients generally don’t need more than that in real-world usage.

In any case, this is the reason why in specific mesh setups, devices are more clingy to a far mesh node.- they don’t reach the speed threshold required for the jump yet.

So, having the option to manage hand-off can be nice but might bring about adverse results if not done correctly. Remember that this part is optional, and you should tread lightly.

Step to adjust AiMesh’s roaming assistance

Like everything in an AiMesh system, you adjust this setting on the primary router unit. The screenshot below belongs to an RT-AX89X, but the process is the same if you use any router.

Log in to the primary router’s interface, navigate to the Wireless section (under Advanced Settings), then to the Professional tab.

Pick the Band you want to customize (2.4GHz, 5GHz, or 6GHz)

Locate the Roaming assistant setting; you’ll note that there’s a default value already in place, something like.70 dBm.

Change the value to a new number that fits your situation.- more on this below.

To know what dBm number works best, you first have to understand what dBm means, and I explained separately in this post about received Wi-Fi signal strength.

However, generally, you should keep the dBm value between.60 (more sensitive, clients favor fast speeds and roam faster) and.75 (less sensitive, clients tend to remain to the original broadcaster).

Important note: If you make the roaming too sensitive, a device placed in the middle of two nodes of the same signal strength (or weakness) might have problems staying connected.- it might keep jumping between the two.

Click on Apply. Repeat step #2 for other Wi-Fi bands when applicable. Then manually restart all hardware units and give the system 5 to 10 minutes to start up.

And that’s it. Your system should deliver the best signal hand-off now.

It’s important to note that there’s no precise measurement for Wi-Fi range and signal strength since they vary greatly depending on the environment.

That said, mentioned above are my estimates applicable to my situation. The numbers that work for you depend on your environment and the routers you use. It’s a matter of trial and error.

Also, roaming is tricky since it depends more on the clients than the router. Networking vendors can’t test their products with all existing equipment. As a result, at times, it’s a matter of luck.

One thing that almost always works: You can always turn your device’s Wi-Fi off and then back on to get it connected to the closest broadcaster.

Adding device to the Roaming Blocklist

This is the opposite of the above: You want a device to remain connected to a specific node for one reason or another.

An example is when you have a device right in between two equally strong nodes, and it keeps jumping back and forth, causing unnecessary disconnections. Or you want to keep the load evenly among different nodes manually.

  • Log into the primary router’s web interface and ensure the device is connected to the node you want. You can check on this via the AiMesh section.
  • Go to the Wireless section, then click on the Roaming Block list tab
  • Enter the device’s MAC address (or pick it on the list of the connected clients) and click on the Plus sign Repeat to add more devices.
  • Hit Apply.

And that’s it. The device will now be locked to its current Wi-Fi node. To undo this, click on the trash icon and apply the changes.

Managing a node’s backhaul and additional settings

Each satellite node uses the Auto setting for the backhaul by default, which should work in almost all situations. But sometimes, you should adjust the settings of this backhaul connection.

Picking the best backhaul

There are a couple of instances where you might want to pick the backhaul manually.

One example is if you use a satellite node with a single Multi-Gig port (LAN or WAN).- such as the ZenWiFi XT8 (or ET8), RT-AX86U, or RT-AX89X.- in a wired backhauling setup with another Multi-Gig router, you want to manually pick that port (instead of a Gigabit port) as the backhaul priority.

And generally, you should use wired backhaul for Dual-Band (or Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6E) hardware. I detailed that in this post on how to pick an AiMesh combo.

Another example is if you use a Wi-Fi 6E satellite node in a wireless configuration, it’s imperative that you pick the best Band for the backhauling job. The 5GHz Band is generally a safer choice, while the 6GHz Band is the best if you can put the hardware near the router within a line of sight.

In any case, to manage the backhaul, go to the AiMesh section of the primary router’s web interface, pick the node in question and change the setting accordingly. Here you can also manage a few other aspects of the satellite, including its LAN ports, LEDs, and USB ports.

Disabling the use of DFS (when necessary)

When using the 5GHz Band as the backhaul and you live in an area with frequent RADAR signals, it’s recommended that you turn off the use of DFS channels for this Band.

In most cases, turning off DFS means you can no longer use a 160GHz channel which cuts the performance in half, but you’ll get a much more reliable connection.

If your hardware supports UNII-4, like the case of the ZenWiFi Pro X12 or ZenWiFi XT8, you can use the 160MHz for backhauling without having to use DFS.

To manage the use of DFS channels, go the to Wireless section o the router unit’s web interface, pick the Band in question (5GHz or 5GHz-2), and uncheck the box that reads Auto select channel using DFS channels. as shown in the screenshot above.

Using the Ethernet Backhaul Mode (when applicable)

If you use a network cable to link the router and the satellites throughout.- a pure wired backhauling setup.- it’s best to choose the Ethernet Backhaul Mode explicitly.

Note: Don’t use this mode if you mix wired and wireless backhaul. Also, turn this mode off when adding more satellites to the system.

  • Log in to the router’s web interface.
  • Go to the AiMesh section, then to Systems Settings.
  • Move the slider of Ethernet Backhaul Mode (EBM) to the On position (right).

Depending on the router, you might be asked to set up the Wi-Fi network names (SSIDs).- picking between Smart Connect and separate SSIDs.- before you can turn EBM on. In any case, you can always customize the SSIDs afterward. If you have a Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 (or Quad-Band Wi-Fi 6E) router, it’s a good idea to unhide the 5GHz-2’s SSID and give it a meaningful name, different from the default.

The router will restart to apply the changes. After that, it’s a good idea to give all hardware units in the system a manual restart and a few subsequent minutes to be ready.

This mode allows for better performance and easier management of the system’s Wi-Fi settings. If you use Tri-Band hardware, you’ll also be able to lump all bands into a single SSID known as Smart Connect.

Removing a node

If you want to remove a satellite node from the system within the web interface, go to the Network Maps, then click on the AiMesh button. Click on the trash bin icon next to its name, as shown in the screenshots below.

That will also reset the node to factory default.

AiMesh firmware update

The last but most important thing is to manage the hardware’s firmware.

Asus regularly releases firmware updates, a Linux-based operating system called Asuswrt, for its routers. Many of these updates add new features to the hardware.- they do more than patch security vulnerabilities.

Some updates may inadvertently cause a particular model to go haywire, likely because the company tries to do so much with its routers.

As a result, firmware is a tricky thing with Asus. When it comes to updating.- especially in an AiMesh setup of mixed hardware units using wireless backhauling.- keep the following three items in mind:

  • Avoid the initial major release : This is the first firmware version of a model where the 3xx number changes, such as from 384 to 386 or from 386 to 388. Generally, the latest minor update of the previous major firmware release is always the most stable.
  • Avoid using Auto-Update for firmware: You should update the firmware when you see fit instead of letting the hardware update itself.
  • Version consistency (in a mesh system): Generally, it would be best to use the firmware version of the same major release for all AiMesh members. (Mixing hardware of different releases might produce mixed results.)

How to read an Asus router’s firmware: As shown in the screenshot below, in a particular official firmware version, such as, the 3xx number in the middle denotes Asus’s home-grown major release. The following number.- often includes five digits, such as 47629 in the screenshot.- indicates a minor update.

(A firmware version that starts with 9.x.x.x instead of 3.x.x.x is a beta release meant for testing purposes only.)

The part before that.- in the screenshot.- is the Linux kernel version that will also change, albeit much less frequently. It’s even more significant and should also be taken into consideration.

On the one hand, moving between major releases might break your AiMesh setup or even your standalone router. On the other, new hardware comes with a specific initial version out of the box.- you have no option to downgrade it.- and some old models won’t get the latest release. So depending on the mesh combo, your luck will vary.

AiMesh started as an add-on feature with firmware version 384 in early 2018.- represented by the RT-AC86U.- and was stable by the latest minor update of this version. In early 2020, Asus released version 386, buggy in the early stages, to add AiMesh 2.0 via the introduction of the ZenWifi product line. By late 2022, version 386 became fully mature, and Asus started releasing version 388, and the history repeated itself. So on and so forth.

As a rule, in a mesh system, it’s best to wait for a few minor updates of a major release before upgrading. Depending on the hardware combo, you might need to rebuild the system from scratch or reset and re-add a satellite node if you change the major firmware version (in one or all hardware units involved.)

In any case, for firmware updates, go to the firmware section of the main router.- you can jump directly there by clicking on the router’s firmware version running at the top of the web interface.

Asus also allows for going back to an older firmware version. So if a new firmware breaks things, you can always manually go back to the previous version that works.

To return to a previous firmware version, download the desired version and upload it to the router via the button that follows Manual firmware update: in the screenshot above. For detailed steps, check out this post on Merlin firmware.

Final thoughts

An AiMesh setup is not the easiest way to build a mesh system, compared to other canned alternatives like Orbi, TP-Link Deco, or Amazon’s eero.

However, getting it done right will give you an excellent mesh with little or no privacy risks, which is a rare commodity these days.

Asuswrt-Merlin Firmware: What It Is and How Select Wi-Fi Routers Get Extra Magic

Asus GS-AX3000 Review (vs RT-AX3000): A Solid Gaming Router

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115 thoughts on “Asus AiMesh Setup Guide: Getting Your Wi-Fi System Up and Running Optimally”

Hi Dong, very helpful post. Followed the guide and was able to setup hardwired backhaul: isp gateway AX86u switches on two floors XD5s. I changed AX86u to the AP mode as per your post but was wondering if there was a way to get the firewall feature back? Is it necessary? Thanks! Reply

Not in the AP mode, HT. But it’s not necessary since the gateway should has one of its own. Or you can turn the AX86U back to the Router Mode, and turn the gateway into the bridge mode, or get a separate mode/ONT. Or you can use a double NAT. here. Reply

Hi Dong, I have an aimesh system with a tuf ax6000 as a main and ax92u, ac86u as nodes with wired backhaul. The issue I’m facing is when I try to deactivate the 1st 5ghz Band (the ac only one) on the ax92 and leave the other 2 active(2.4ghz and 5ghz-2) seem to work initially but as soon as I reboot the mesh both 5ghz Band on the ax92 get deactivated. Firmware is latest 388 for ax6000 and ax92u. Any ideas? Reply

You’ll have to deactivate it again. But why do you want to deactivate it in the first place? You can name it as a different SSID. Reply

Hi Dong Reading your articles, especially this one, 1a month ago I setup an AiMesh system with a ROG AX6000 as the main router and 2 zenwifi XD6 units as nodes, with wired backhaul. It was working perfectly fine until a day ago, when both nodes’ indicator lights started flashing red and the nodes got disconnected. I did a hard reset and tried to reconnect but that didn’t work. I read from your articles and reddit that firmware updates are a common culprit. But I have auto-update off, and have not updated any firmware since setting up the system – all were on the latest 388 release (including the AX6000). Any thoughts on what could have happened? Thanks! Reply

Thanks for the reply Dong. That’s exactly what I did for the 2 units as per your post, but it didn’t work. Any other tips? Reply

Reflash them using an older firmware — the latest 386 version — and try again. The XD5′ latest 388 firmware was available last month — clearly somethig going on with your firmware update — and it was its first 388 version which should be avoided, especially in mixed hardware, as mentioned. Reply

Much appreciated. As it was, mine are XD6. But after playing around and unsuccessfully the firmware to.386 with no result, I realised the problem – I had missed out this step which you in your post “Note: When applicable, get the main router out of the Ethernet Backhaul Mode for this step. You can put it back in this mode after you’ve added all nodes.” Once I did that, I could readd the nodes, and the Aimesh system worked again, even with the.388 firmware. Though, I still have no idea why they both initially started blinking red. Perhaps I accidentally disconnected the WAN cables while spring cleaning, thus leading to this problem.

Hi Dong, Last year i baught a Zenwifi xd6 ax5400 set after Reading through your site. It would work fine because the main router and node are wired. I didn’t get a connection on the Third floor, because of the floor between (always a problem in my home), but also didn’t need it. Sinds last week I’ve got fiber internet. Now the Third floor is a problem, since TV is only available over the internet. We tried to switch the coax for utp, but there is no movement in the cable at al. It’s stuck. SO no cable. I tried watching with chromecast, but the connection to the first node is just to weak. Would adding a xd6 node, wireless, have an influence on the main router and first node? I mean, they Will have to Connect to the second node right, and would have to use bandwith that I’m not using now because now its only using wired backhaul. I don’t need 700mb internet on the Third floor. Like 200mb or something would be enough, but I don’t want that to impact the speed or connection on the first and second floor. I think it would stil try to Connect to the main router. I tried putting the first node on the Third floor. It connects to the main router, but signal is just ok, not great and the speed Goes down to 100-120mb (from like 700 mb downstairs). Is it possible to make it Daisy chain to the second (wireless)? That would be closer. Or would you advise not to use a second node at al and just a repeater, like Asus RP AX58? Or use the coax with moca (would be wired then). Right now I have like one bar and 10-40mb connection on the Third floor when connecting to the first node on the second floor. The connection is a bit better in the hallway with the stairs (speed isn’t), SO I think its best to put the second node there (or something else). I hoped to wire it and just put in a xd6 wired, but its just not an option anymore. Reply

I’d try MoCA with a third XD6 or RP-AX58, Syra. If that or running a cable is not possible, you can use either wirelessly, that will not affect other wired nodes. Reply

Thanks for awnsering so fast. One last Quistion. In most shops in the Netherlands the xd6 isn’t available anymore. They only sell the xd6s. When I look at the specifics it look the same except there are only two ports. So I would be able to use the xd6s instead of the xd6 right? Reply

Hi Dong, First, thanks for sharing your knowledge for the public. Your site has been a great resource! I’m trying to figure out how to make my setup work. Currently, I have 2 x AX86u routers, one as main in my study that has 2 lan wall ports; the other node router (ethernet backhaul) in my living room. The cable modem and network junction box is situated inside my master closet. I have gig-internet and I don’t know if my current setup of sending the backhaul line from my main router in the study all the way back to the network junction box and then to the living room node is optimal or if there’s a better alternative. Thanks and much appreciated! AJ Reply

I am currently using Asus RT-AX82U as my wireless router. I would like to set up a node in an AIMesh set-up. Can you recommend a good compatible router to do this? I am new to setting up AIMesh, so prefer something on the simpler side. Thanks Reply

Follow the other posts on the AiMesh series, Carl. Links in the box up top. Make sure you read. Reply

I’m currently using AI Mesh but need to add another node. Current setup is: AX1800s as the primary and an AX86U (non-pro) as a node. I was considering picking up either the AX86S for a node OR an AX86U Pro to replace as the primary due to the faster processor and higher amount of RAM. Which would you recommend? I have a 1.2 Gbps coax connection. Thanks. Reply

I’d go with the RT-AX86U/Pro or S as the primary router, Jeremy. You can get another as node or even the RP-AX58. Reply

Thanks for the feedback. The location I’m adding isn’t wired and Cat6 can’t easily be ran there. So I was going to be setting this one up as AP. In your experience, what produces better results, Range Extenders like the AX3000 or a router like an RT-AX86? Reply

You can’t use an AP without a network cable, Jeremy. I guess you meant a wireless mesh satellite. In that case, any will work just at various degrees. Follow this post! Reply

Hey Dong, I might need your advice. So I have a TUF AX5400 (as main router at the moment) and a single pack Zen-Wi-Fi xt8 as a node. Since the xt8 is TRI Band. should I use this as the main router? It also has a better CPU if I am not mistaken. My only concern is that the TUF router doesn’t look as pretty on my desk as the Zen-Wi-Fi So how would you set up these 2 routers? I live in an approx. 100 sq meter house and the two routers are in the opposite parts of the house with wired backhaul. Reply

If you read this post carefully, all of those questions have been answered, Balint. But in your case, it’s best to use the TUF as the primary router and the XT8 in the AP mode. Or just exchange the XT8 for another Dual-Band AiMesh router. Reply

I’ve read everything and i cannot make mesh work. router gtax16000 (ap mode ai mesh) node axe7800 i spent over 4 hours to get always the same result: 1 someone is trying to update aimesh 2 devices should be 3 m of each others (they are) 3 powered on yes 4 ai mesh node has been reset to default it has has anyone any idea? can it only be done? i guess i could try “repeater mode but it kinds a defeat the purpose… if anyone can help cheers Matt Reply

Follow this post, Matt — make sure you READ. The gist is you turn the mesh into AP mode AFTER the mesh has been created. But you should read that entire post, unless you have wired backhauling, the RT-AXE7800 is not a good satellite for that router. Reply

Hi Dong, Thanks for your article. I am looking for to buy either 2 Asus RT-AX86U routers or Netgear Orbit AX6000 (RBK853). Which one do you refer? Thanks a lot. Reply

Hi Dong, I currently have an ax-82u as a main router and am able to take an extra XT9 from work. Since the XT9 is a tri-Band router and the ax-82u is a dual-Band, my idea was to use one of the XT9’s 5GHz bands as a dedicated connection to the main router in AiMesh. However after reading your article it seems like that isn’t really possible unless I use AP mode and not AiMesh? I would appreciate a suggestion if you find the time. Thank you for your quality and detailed content all those years. Reply

Hi Dong, I recently upgraded to a ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Pro and I leveraged a couple of RP-AX56 I had to create my mesh network. Unfortunately, when I upgraded the firmware on the GT-AX11000 to the latest 388 version, I couldn’t connect the RP-AX56s which are on the 386 firmware release. I don’t see anything newer for them and it looks like the latest version is from 2021. I was just wondering if there was a way to find out if Asus has this incompatibility issue logged and if they were going to be working on a new firmware update for the RP-AX56s Thanks! Reply

Check out the firmware and mixed hardware sections of this post, Craig. Use the table of content if you can’t find them. For your case, make sure you set the GT’s 5GHz-1 Band in the compatible mode (Auto), that’d help. As a rule, please make sure you read the entire post before commenting. Reply

thanks for that – I meant to mention in my original comment that the information in that section helped me realize what the problem was and gave me the idea to roll back the GT firmware which got everything happy again. Reply

Hello Mr. Ngo, After reading this as well as one of your other posts about best combos for router and nodes, i went ahead and purchased and setup an AXE16000 with the ET8’s as well as made use of an older AX55 and AX1800S as additional nodes, all with the latest firmware. The entire setup went rather smoothly over wired backhaul for all nodes, however when I enable guest1 to all nodes so that I could segment my iot devices, I can’t get IP’s for any of them. Any ideas? Security is WAP2. Not sure what is going on, but the whole point of my setup was to keep my iot devices separate. Very frustrating and I am out of ideas on why this is not working for me. I have tried various levels of security as some of my devices are RING cameras etc….but still nothing. One other question concerning aimesh is would the signal between two (wireless nodes) trying to connect to each other be weaker than the same two devices connecting as router and repeater? Thanks for all you do and for any guidance you can give on my main topic. Reply

on IoT devices in this post, Bryan. Assuming you have read that, for your case, try lowering the “IoT” network to WPA and using the 2.4GHz Band for them. It’s best to have three “Guest networks” of three bands with the same SSID, WPA settings, and password. Remember that you can make only the first Guest network of each Band system-wide. As for your second question, check out this post on how to best set up a mesh network. Good luck! Reply

Thanks as always for the information. There are so many features in Asus’ routers that when I check some settings while reading your articles, I find other features that are good to know about. Reply

Thanks for all the great info, Dong! You know how in the Asus router software you can give each client a name? Is it possible to save these names and then restore them after a factory reset (like after doing a firmware update)? I know you can save all the settings and restore them, but I figure it’s not ideal to restore all settings following a reset after a firmware update. Reply

Generally, yes, if you have them in the reserved IP list. After that, just do a regular backup and restore. Reply

So doing a restore of all the router settings after a reset (when you reset following a firmware update) would be okay? I thought generally when you reset something after a firmware update, it’s best to start from scratch with the settings and change them back to what you want manually (for example, with a motherboard BIOS). It just seems tedious to have to do that with dozens of client devices each time you reset a router. Reply

That’s what backup and restore are for. Not sure where you got what you thought from, but it’s generally not correct. And you don’t need to reset after a firmware update, either — seriously, where have you been reading about all that weird stuff? The only time you don’t want to restore from a backup is when you know there are bad settings (such as bad DNS etc.), but even then, you can always restore and remove the bad settings (and back up and restore again.) In any case, I’ve done that countless times with no issue. Reply

Are there any other settings other than the RSSI threshold (default.70) to improve roaming? My Samsung S21 Ultra stubbornly stays connected to more distant node with connection strength of around.80 dbm even when I sit in my office close to the main router (Asus ET12). This is despite having the.70 dbm threshold. I didn’t have this problem with my Nest, where roaming with my phone worked quite well. I know that this can sometimes be more up to the client, but I can’t find any settings on my phone to help with this. A quick search of online forums reveals that other people have had this issue with AIMesh at times. I know I can just disconnect and reconnect which isn’t a big deal, but just curious if there’s any other settings to play with. Reply

No, there are no other settings, James. Nor should you mess too much with them. As mentioned, roaming is complicated and depends on many factors. Most clients won’t switch when the connection with the original broadcaster is still “good,” as in still fast enough for what it needs, and this threshold can be very low. For this reason, compared with Nest, which has terrible range and speed, can be counterintuitive — here. By the way, you don’t need to disconnect/reconnect. If you just don’t use the phone and the switch will happen. The issue you experience generally happens when you’re actively looking to “see” the switch by using the phone as you walk from one place to another. In reality, when you’re using the connection, a lot of times, it’s when the system tries not to make the switch since it would disconnect you from an application. Reply

Hello Dong, Between the Asus GT-AX11000 and XT12(single node) which would you recommend be the main router and which should be the node? They are both connected VIA Ethernet backhaul. Is there any advantage to replacing my Gt-Ax11000 with a second XT12? Thank you! Reply

If you have wired backhauling, neither is ideal, Roederick. I’d go with the GT-AXE16000 or the ZenWiFi Pro ET12 instead. But if you must use those, then use the GT-AX11000 as the primary router — more in this part of the post which you might have missed. Reply

Hi Dong, I have the RT-AX86U and the RT-AC86U. I followed your instruction. Both routers are at the latest firmware. I have no problem finding the RT-AC86U as the AiMesh node. Once the RT-AC86U is added to the AiMesh, it will show weak and eventually disconnected after a minute. The 2 routers are not far apart at all, it’s only a few feet away. Once I connect network cable to the WAN port in the RT-AC86U, I will get a Great connection quality but I can’t connect any devices to the Wi-Fi in the RT-AC86U. In my iPhones, it will try to connect but nothing happens. In my Windows 11 laptop, it’s prompting for my password and after entering, I get can’t connect to network. I enabled the ethernet backhaul mode in the RT-AX86U but that didn’t matter. I rebooted both routers, no difference either. I setup the RT-AC86U to prioritize the 1GB ethernet, no difference. If I setup RT-AC86U to prioritize the 5G Wi-Fi, it will no longer connect to the AiMesh. I would have to reset and start over again. Any help would be appreciated. Reply

You’re mixing Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5. Generally, that’s not recommended in a fully wireless setup, Jian, — but read more on that here. Even with wired backhauling, seamless handoff might not work across standards. Generally, it’s best to avoid mixed standards of the same Band (5GHz) in a mesh system — your luck will vary. Reply

Dong, Today the RT-AX55 arrived. Guess what? It was easy peasy setup. LOL. I have another question though. I have the RT-AX55 connected via ethernet. I set the backhaul connection priority to the 1G WAN first, do I still need to enable Ethernet Backhaul Mode in system settings? Reply

Nice! You don’t need to, Jian, but you might want to if you want to be sure that the system only uses wired backhauling. Reply

Hi Dong, I have 3x ET12 in a wired environment but I only get Wi-Fi 6e from the main router and not from the two nodes. If tried already many many things but no luck. It’s a shame because that’s the main reason I went for the ET12 instead of the XT12. maybe you have an idea to help? Reply

It works, Vin. I have a GT-AX16000 2 ET12 and no issues with this Band. Try this: 1. Make sure you use the Ethernet Backhaul Mode. 2. When you’re switching, it’ll ask you to manage the bands, and choose to separate them — now you’ll be able to give the 6GHz a separate SSID. Apply the changes. 3. Give the system a few minutes. Now restart all of the units. Give them another few minutes. Now, you’ll see the 6GHz in all nodes. Now if you want to use all of the Band in a single SSID, just turn on SmartConnect. In that case, which Band a client uses depends on the situation. Reply

Thanks for the swift reply. I’ll give it a try now. does it matter whether the nodes are connected via the 2,5Gbps ports or just the normal 1Gbps Lan ports? Reply

Make sure you really take time and read this post or any post on this website carefully, from top to bottom, Vin. You’re reading the right post. For more, this post will help, too. Reply

Hi Dong, I tried all morning, swapped node/router, used the 2,5G connection, set up as you described and I also read the articles but still Wi-Fi 6e is only available at the router end. The node just shows the 2,4ghz and 5ghz networks. This is quite odd, that it doesnt work out of the box. what is the logic behind that?

I’ve reached out to Asus directly and they think it’s a firmware issue. They forwarded my complaint to Asus Taiwan for further investigation.

Try using an older firmware version, Vin. If that solves it, then wait for another release before upgrading again.

Thanks for this writeup–your articles were a huge help in helping me select the 2-pack of the AX92u. I’ve just gotten them set up in my house, with wired backhaul from the main AX92u to the AiMesh satellite. I have “Ethernet Backhaul Mode” enabled in the System Settings under AiMesh. However, I notice that if I go to the Management button for the satellite node, the “Backhaul Connection Priority” dropdown menu is stuck on “1G WAN Only”. If I click the dropdown menu arrow, nothing happens. Is that normal? Seems odd to show the dropdown menu as if it’s active, but not allow anything to happen with it. Reply

That’s not odd at all, Dave, you have to use the WAN port on the satellite unit to connect to the router unit as mentioned in this post. And since you have the Ethernet Backhaul Mode, that port is the ONLY option and since it’s the only choice, the notion of “priority” is no longer applicable. It’s just logic. Paying attention is the key. Reply

I have two Asus routers the RT-AX86U as primary and a RT-AX56U as the node in a aimesh network. Using hardwired cat5e cable as the backbone. I have 500meg service through spectrum. How do i determine best placement for my Wi-Fi coverage. Is there a radar or mapping type software i can do from my desktop ont he network? dont have laptop 2nd how do i decide which node to bind a Wi-Fi device to. I have a few devices that i know switch back and forth and if i bind them i also can perform a poor mans blanceing of device use. Thanks Reply

How to Setup Wired Connection between AiMesh Routers? | ASUS SUPPORT

Generally, Wi-Fi signals come out as a sphere and you have more flexibility in terms of hardware placement when using wired backhauling. Check out this post on mesh for more. Reply

I have two RT-AC68U’s routers with the latest Asus firmware on them. I have them connected via ethernet backhaul and set the priority to use the ethernet first. Everything runs smoothly except a wireless client that connects to the 2nd router via wireless 5GHz randomly disconnects frequently. (the router that has the ethernet connected to the WAN port). Windows 11 says my connection has max bars (a good connection). I placed this client PC on the roam block list and it still hasn’t solved the disconnects. I can’t figure out why it’s happening. Any ideas? Reply

Thank you very much for your article. I had an issue where my devices were not automatically switching between the router and the mesh nodes unless I toggled Wi-Fi on and off. I’ve been waiting for over a week for 2nd level support at Asus to get back to me but your advice on the Roaming Assistant worked for me. I changed it from the default of.70 to.60 and it works great now! Reply

Hi Dong, Thanks for the continued content, definitely some of the best hands on tech content on the Internet. I am about 5 months into using a wired backhaul with 3 GT-AXE1600 (satellites plugged from the 2.5gb to the lan of the main router). Performance is great, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why 6ghz isn’t broadcasting – all of the settings are turned on, but my Wi-Fi 6/ 6e products can see the Band (or a Wi-Fi-scanner). Reply

If you “can” see on the scanner, then the Band is broadcasting, Joey. But if you meant “can’t”, then it’s likely you have the Band turned off in the Professional portion of the interface, or you just didn’t set the SSID correctly — so it’s there but just not what you expect. Reply

It’s likely broadcast in a different name (SSID) from what you expect, Joey. Or you picked a 6GHz channel that’s out of the range of your scanner. Use Auto for the Control Channel and enable PSC. Hope that fixes it. Reply

I currently have an RT-AC68/U as main router, and an RP-AC55 as mesh node, but signal is weak in one are of the house, so I’m thinking of purchasing an RT-AX86/U as the main router, and demoting the RT-AC68/U to being a mesh node. The AX86 supports WPA-3, while the AC68 does not. Do you know whether as a mesh node the AC68 would be WPA-3 compatible? Reply

No, you should use WPA2, Randy. Not much of a difference between the two anyway and many existing clients do not support WPA3. In your case of mixed Wi-Fi standards, it’s best to use wired backhauling. in this post. Reply

Hi Dong, I have read this section on Aimesh and router setup etc. I believe very thoroughly Yet, I am facing a strange issue and wonder if you can help ? My ISP router/modem is passing Internet signal into Asus RT-AX89X via 10Gbs port. and RT-AX89X is configured in WAN PPPoe mode and I am getting internet connection to my own Asus RT-AX89X router and I don’t think that I am getting Double Nat issue as my RT-AX89X is getting an IP from my ISP (which is different than IPs on my local network ) I am not sure if that even matters ? From RT-AX89X I am feeding Ethernet cable via 10Gbps port into my Qnap L2 multi-gig switch and that works (almost) well as majority of my wired devices that are connected to this switch via various Ethernet jacks throughout my house are getting the internet. So that’s great, however, some of my NAS devices are not accessible anymore at times. And they were before – so what gives, is it because I now have 2 seperate networks ? I got a message that my computer and a device are on the 2 different sub-nets ? Is that normal and is there a way to fix that i.e. how can I have access to all devices on both networks ? I believe that one set is 192.168.2.x and the second is 192.168.50.x – is that a problem ? I would think that this multi-gig switch would manage all that as it is L2 switch or is there anything else that I should be doing with that switch or on my Asus RT-AX89X router ? I am really puzzled here My next step is going to be to add 2 ET12 nodes to the Aimesh off of RT-AX89X but I really would like to be able to log in and access all my devices. What gives ? And I am hoping that I will be able to use wired backhaul through 2 different Ethernet jacks (on 1 and 2 level of my house) which then will be connecting via Ethernet wires inside the walls back to the switch – would that even work as the Ethernet backhaul? Sorry, I read everything that you recommended that I read and I am still puzzled So confusing! Thanks, Marek Reply

Clearly, you have a double NAT, Marek. Where it happens, you have to figure that out. Chances are you’re using a MANAGED switch that creates a network of its own. If so, put that switch in the UNMANAGED mode. For more on Double NAT, check out this post. For more on network basics, including what a switch is, check out this post. I think it’s confusing because you want quick answers. Just read those posts carefully and you’ll figure things out. Or you can hire a local professional. Reply

Dong, hello again – I am having some issues with IoE devices. I’m assuming AiMesh can only provide one non-guest SSID on 2.4, do you recommend splitting the 2.4Ghz to a different SSID than 5GHz and then setting everything that can use 5GHz to the 5GHz (and eventually 5 and 6GHz) SSID? In that configuration, do you recommend using Smart-Connect on dual-Band 5GHz or Dual/Triple Band 5 and 6GHz? I unfortunately believe that I will be needing a 3rd router (2nd node) hooked via TP-Link Powerline units to provide Wi-Fi to my concrete block garage, because by the time my signal goes through the wall of the house and the concrete block it isn’t strong enough. I’m currently using a pair of RT-AX92U routers, so I was thinking of snagging an Asus 6e router when I find one under 300 (I don’t mind refurb, etc., or maybe on Black Friday), and moving the 6e to my primary. Reply

Your situation seems a bit of a mess, for lack of a better word, and I don’t know where to start. But you can with: 1. This post on Powerline. Hint: Forget about it. 2. This post on Aimesh. Hint: It’s complicated. 3. This post on troubleshooting different Wi-Fi issues. Hint: You have to figure things out yourself. I’m sure you’ll find your answer in them. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution and I don’t know what else to tell you. Good luck! Reply

Hi Dong – really trust your perspective so what do you recommend to setup a wireless AiMesh network? Reply

Asus RT-AX55 review

The Asus RT-AX55 is a very affordable Wi-Fi 6 router with a user-friendly app, good performance and can also be made into a mesh system.

Best Today: Asus RT-AX55

It’s 2021, and the Wi-Fi 6 cat is out of the consumer technology bag. and more phones and laptops, from the Apple iPhone 12 Pro to the Dell XPS 13 9310, now come with speedy Wi-Fi 6 aerials packed underneath their shiny metal and plastic hoods.

However, to take advantage of the faster and more reliable speeds the Wi-Fi 6 standard offers you, you’re going to need a Wi-Fi 6 router. While these devices haven’t always been the easiest on the wallet, that starting to change.

The Asus RX-AX55 is one of the cheapest Wi-Fi 6 routers available right now. In addition to being a standalone device, this router can be set up to work as the main node in a mesh system, so you can add more devices if you don’t quite have the budget to stretch to a fully-fledged mesh Wi-Fi network system just yet.

Note that like most routers, the Asus RX-AX55 does not include a built-in modem so you’ll still need to plug it into your existing modem or modem/router to connect your network to the internet.

Design Build

Like the TP-Link AX50 Archer, the Asus RT-AX55 keeps a low profile, measuring 56 x 230 x 134mm and weighing a mere 374g.

asus, access, point, mesh

Four adjustable antennae, which can be pushed back and moved side-to-side rise out of the back of the router. The antennae sit above four gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, and one WAN port, plus the usual reset button, WPS switch and port for the mains adapter.

There is no USB port, so you can’t attach things like external hard drives to the RT-AX55. At this price, that’s forgivable and not everyone wants or needs this function anyway – especially if you already have a NAS drive.

In terms of style, the RT-AX55 is a fairly typical-looking router, a flattened trapezoid with a slightly aggressive insectile look about it. Air vents on the front, rear, sides, and the bottom mean that any warm air generated by the components can easily escape.

There is no option to wall mount the RT-AX55, which may be an issue for some, but given its relatively small size and lightweight, you should easily be able to find a suitable spot for the RT-AX55 in your home.

Setup Features

By now, pretty much any home networking manufacturer worth their salt will have spent time making the set-up process as easy as possible for newcomers, usually by way of some very polished mobile apps, but Asus has gone one step further with its Asus Router app (available on iOS and Android).

The app interface is, dare I say it, rather cool-looking – perhaps not surprising considering Asus makes some of the best gaming laptops you can buy.

While most router apps feature clean and minimalistic lines, Asus’s app is lavishly decorated with a lot of sci-fi inspired artwork that wouldn’t look out of place on a panel in the USS Enterprise’s engine room.

As the Asus RT-AX55 has no modem of its own, you’ll need to connect it to one. In the UK, this will mean making sure Openreach has supplied you with one, or enabling Modem Mode on your ISP supplied device, such as the Virgin Media Super Hub.

Either way, newcomers won’t feel out of place, as the Asus Router app will make you do all of the things you’re supposed to do, from powering down the modem before connecting it to the router via Ethernet, turning on the router and then powering the modem back on.

The entire process itself took about two minutes – but then I had to wait for a massive firmware update to install, which took considerably longer. While I made several cups of tea in the process, it’s good to know that Asus isn’t waiting around to make sure its customers have installed the latest patches.

Once you are all set up and good to go, you can tinker with various things via the app. Getting to grips with this is really quite simple thanks to the logical layout. At the most basic, the Asus Router app gives you a quick overview of your network and all of the devices on it.

Tapping on icons for each connected device lets you refresh connections, useful if something’s playing up, or throttle connections – handy if someone is hogging a lot of the bandwidth. If you want to block any devices entirely, you can do that here, too.

Parents wanting to assign homework hours to specific devices can do so via the Family tab. Age-related content filters can be applied to devices, too, but there’s no way to fine-tune these with block or approve lists – even diving into the desktop control panel doesn’t give you the ability to block specific URLs, which is something that a lot of other routers allow you to do.

As is often the case with modern routers, if you want to tinker further, and enable things like port forwarding and configure VPN support, you’ll need to open the control panel on a desktop machine. There’s a QoS (Quality of Service) mode, which will see things like streaming traffic prioritised at certain times, but it’s not really configurable – your options are simply ‘on’ or ‘off’.

There’s also AiProtection, a security feature that uses Trend Micro software to scan for viruses in real-time and isolate and block compromised devices on your network. A very welcome feature, but no substitute for a dedicated antivirus software package.

The AiMesh menu, which lets you add more Asus networking gear to your network, can be accessed here too. Without having another AiMesh-certified device to hand, I can’t comment on how easy this is to use, nor how the Asus RT-AX55 functions as part of a mesh Wi-Fi system but the availability is there.


To demonstrate how the Asus RT-AX55 got on with different generations of devices and, more broadly, the difference between Wi-Fi 5 ( and Wi-Fi 6 (, I ran a series of speed tests on a Huawei Mate 10 Pro (an older phone with Wi-Fi 5 radios) and a Realme X50 Pro (a newer phone Wi-Fi 6 phone) with the Wi-Fi Speed Pro Android app.

Averages of the results of the tests, recorded at distances across a two-storey terraced house, are displayed below.

I set the RT-AX55 up close to my Virgin Media Super Hub 3, which I’d set to Modem Mode. As with most modems, this device sits close to the master socket, which is at the front of the house.

In testing and everyday use, I found the Asus RT-AX55 to be very good in terms of speed – especially on Wi-Fi 6 devices – and in terms of coverage. In particular, connections on the 5GHz Band, which usually give up after I walk two or more rooms away on any device, remained strong on the Wi-Fi 6 device, though inevitably, walking out into the garden would see me hop over to the slower, but more widely-reaching 2.4GHz frequncy.

While I wasn’t able to get much joy upstairs on the Huawei, it was pleasing to see that I could make use of a decent 5GHz connection on the Realme phone.

That said, I feel like I could only just about work upstairs on such a connection, and as with the Linksys MR7350 and TP-Link AX50 Archer, I’d really want to get a Powerline adapter or better yet an AiMesh satellite so that I could make the Asus RT-AX55 part of a mesh Wi-Fi network.

On the subject of the TP-Link AX50 Archer, I feel like it’s worth mentioning that that device supports 160MHz-wide channels, and so is theoretically capable of delivering much faster speeds than the Asus RT-AX55, which just supports 80MHz channels.

For the great majority of customers, this will likely not be an issue, as the results above demonstrate the kind of speeds you can expect on most devices.

I would love to be able to talk about pairing one RT-AX55 up with another and seeing how handing over between two access points works, but it’s currently not possible for me to say how easy or effective this is.

Price Availability

The Asus RT-AX55 is available to buy now with an RRP of £149.99 but you can easily find it for less.

Amazon UK is currently settling the RT-AX55 for £120, while Box and Very are both selling it for under £100.

You should also be able to pick an RT-AX55 up from Scan for £99, although at the time of writing, the router was listed as only being available to pre-order.

Buyers in the United States can get the Asus RT-AX55 from Amazon and Walmart for the US RRP of 129. Although the RT-AX55 is currently out of stock at BestBuy, it is priced the same there, should they refresh their stock.

Check our chart of the best routers to see what other options you have.


The Asus RT-AX55 is a very cheap and capable Wi-Fi 6 router that works well as a standalone device – plus it can cleverly be paired with another to create a mesh system.

This means it competes very well on price with more established mesh Wi-Fi systems like Eero, Netgear Orbi and Asus’s own ZenWiFi devices, although some buyers after a complete solution that works out of the box may prefer to go large on a bigger (and more expensive) option.

Downsides here really are negligible with the lack of a USB port one of the only standout cons.

asus, access, point, mesh

If you’re looking around for a cheap Wi-Fi 6 networking solution, you will likely be happy to overlook things like no wall mount or 160MHz support, the Asus RT-AX55 will satisfy.


Asus RT-AX55: Specs

  • 802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6) 2×2 dual-Band with MU-MIMO and OFDMA
  • 4 x Gigabit Ethernet and 1 x Gigabit WAN
  • Remote control and management with Asus Router app (iOS, Android)
  • Guest Wi-Fi
  • Alexa support
  • Parental controls
  • Wi-Fi management
  • Traffic management
  • IPv6
  • WPA2 (Personal and Enterprise)
  • WPA3 (Personal)
  • 56 x 230 x 134mm
  • 374g

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Six Mistakes To Avoid When Setting Up Your Mesh Wi-Fi System

Updated April 2022

Don’t Buy The Wrong System For Your House

When consumer grade mesh Wi-Fi launched a few years ago, there were only a couple options, but today there are over ten systems available for purchase. So how do you know which one to get for your house? First of all, take the square footage rating with a grain of salt. Manufacturers that claim 4,000 square feet of coverage may give you some signal throughout the house, but you certainly won’t get the full speeds your internet service provider promised you. In general, it’s better to overbuy. sometimes you need more than the two to three access points that come in the box.

Dedicated Backhaul Is A Must For Big Homes

There are several things to look for in a mesh Wi-Fi system, but try not to pick solely based on aesthetics and price if you can help it. Small mesh access points that look cool may be pleasant to look at, but they often suffer from performance issues compared to bulkier systems with larger and more plentiful radios.

Make sure you get a system with a dedicated backhaul radio for communication between access points, especially if you have a larger home. Netgear’s Wi-Fi 6 Orbi line of products has this dedicated channel. These work better if you have to jump to more than one access point from the main router. For example, if the main router is in the basement, the signal may have to travel to the access point on the main level, then up to the access point on the second floor before reaching your device on the third floor. In this case all those hops will lead to degraded performance in systems without a dedicated channel for backhaul.

Turn Off Your ISP Modem/Router Combo’s Wi-Fi Radios

The modem/router combo unit your ISP gave you isn’t particularly good at being either a modem or a router. If you’re paying monthly for it, you should definitely buy your own modem (without Wi-Fi radios inside). But if your unit is included or you don’t want to buy your own modem for another reason, you can turn off the Wi-Fi radios to improve the performance of your mesh system.

Whether you choose to turn off the Wi-Fi radios manually or put the modem/router combo into bridge mode, it’s important to make sure you aren’t broadcasting two or more Wi-Fi networks. That’s because those signals, especially on the farther reaching 2.4 Ghz frequency Band, can cancel each other out and reduce performance.

Poor Placement Leads To Poor Performance

The placement of your main router and satellite access points (APs) can be the difference between speedy wall to wall coverage and a slow, spotty signal. One mistake many folks make is to rely on the guidance of the mobile app they use to setup the mesh Wi-Fi system. Often times, the app will say “placement looks great!” even when the AP is in a fair position, at best. It’s up to you to try a few positions and test your speed and connectivity, rather than relying on the app.

To prevent frustration, most manufacturers apps will accept your placement even if it only allows 50% signal throughput, which is not acceptable when you’re looking to get access to your full bandwidth (internet speed) through the whole house.

Start in the Center

For the placement of your modem and main access point, aim for the center of your house. If you start in the corner of the basement, you’re more likely to take multiple hops to get from the main router to the end user device. Ideally, your setup will resemble a star layout, with each satellite access point connecting directly to the main router/AP.

Place Access Points Where You Already Have A Strong Signal

Each satellite AP should be about 30 feet away from the main router. Put APs between where you have and want a good signal, not just where you want it. If you are struggling to get a signal in your kitchen, your AP will struggle too. The hallway just outside the kitchen, closer to the main router, will give the satellite AP a strong signal. That AP will then broadcast the strong signal to your devices.

Resist The Urge To Hide APs In Cabinets Or On The Floor

Placing your access points out in the open, as high up as possible, leads to the best results. If you insist on hiding your APs, get system with more powerful, plentiful APs to make up for it. The Orbi is a good choice here. It’s not pretty, but it is powerful. Don’t take this as a license to hide your Orbi though, you will still get better performance by keeping your APs elevated and out in the open.

Don’t Ignore Existing Ethernet Wiring

Even the best mesh Wi-Fi system using wireless backhaul between access points won’t stand up to the reliability and speed you get from using an ethernet cable. If your home has ethernet cables installed, use that infrastructure for wired backhaul (to connect your APs to each other). Several mesh systems, including the Netgear Orbi AX4200 I mentioned earlier, can use ethernet cables for wired backhaul.

If you have ethernet running through the house but it ends in a mess of wires in the basement, you may want to call a professional to sort it out. Or, if you’re feeling handy, buy a wire toner and start sorting through the rat’s nest of wires yourself.

Don’t Use A Consumer Grade System For Enterprise Grade Tasks

If you’re running a file server, 100 devices, a VPN, and have mission critical systems that need to be working at all times, don’t choose a consumer grade system. You need enterprise grade equipment to predictably and securely handle that kind of load.

I recommend the UniFi line from Ubiquiti, which is very reasonable in price and has fantastic performance. For anyone moving to a semi or permanent Work From Home status, Ubiquiti products (paired with reliable internet) will give you performance closer to what you were used to in the office. Ubiquiti has released several capable Wi-Fi 6 Access Points including the U6 Lite, U6 Long Range, and the U6 Pro. All are excellent and will be relevant for many years.

Don’t Buy A Wi-Fi 5 System In The Age Of Wi-Fi 6

Now that Wi-Fi 6 is widely available, skip the Wi-Fi 5 systems of the past like the first generation Linksys Velop and Wi-Fi 5 Netgear Orbi. Wi-Fi 6 will stay future-proof longer and support more simultaneous devices and higher speeds.

Wi-Fi 6 is a must for gigabit internet connections. I recommend the Netgear Orbi AX4200, which comes in two or three packs. You can find it on Netgear’s website, Best Buy, and other retailers. Wi-Fi 6E is just coming out now but I wouldn’t recommend investing the 1500 it costs to get the 6E version of the Orbi. The Wi-Fi 6 version is just fine.

Glossary of Terms

Access Point (or AP): In the context of mesh Wi-Fi systems, a physical device that broadcasts and receives Wi-Fi signals to communicate with end user devices (like phones and computers) and other access points. The main access point is called the router and connects directly to the modem. A satellite access point does not connect to the modem directly, but instead communicates with the main access point (or router) or another access point via Wi-Fi or a wired connection.

Backhaul: Communication between access points in a mesh network. Backhaul can be wireless (using Wi-Fi signals) or wired (using ethernet).

Bandwidth: The amount of data transmitted over a period of time. Think of it like a pipe coming into your home: as you increase the bandwidth, or size of the pipe, you get more speed and support for more simultaneous data usage.

Mesh Wi-Fi: Refers to a Wi-Fi system with multiple access points connected via Wi-Fi or ethernet cables. One of those access points serves as the router and connects to the modem with an ethernet cable. The system intelligently switches devices like computers and phones to the AP with the best signal.

Modem: Supplied by your internet service provider (ISP) or owned by the customer, this piece of hardware takes the signal from outside the house and decodes/translates it to something your devices can use. A modem by itself only supports one device, so a router is used to distribute that signal to multiple devices.

Wi-Fi 5: 802.11AC, which is what most devices support now. It supports some simultaneous streams but can struggle under heavy loads.

Wi-Fi 6: 802.11AX. New iPhones, Macs, and most mid to high end electronic devices use this standard, which is much better at simultaneous high bandwidth tasks.

Casatech is an IT company providing on-site computer and network services to individuals and small businesses in Ann Arbor, Michigan and remote service and consulting anywhere. Contact information available here.

Casatech does not have a business relationship with any of the brands, products, or retailers mentioned. Buying decisions should be based on your research and/or the advice of a hired professional. Trademarks are the property of their respective owners.