Asus ZenWiFi AX Review (XT8 Model): Stylish Mesh Router. Asus zen Wi-Fi

Asus ZenWiFi AX Review (XT8 Model): Stylish Mesh Router

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Is your current router having signal coverage problems in certain areas of your home? Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) is a sleek and powerful tri-Band mesh system with advanced features that will get your Internet to full speed quickly and easily. Here’s my Asus ZenWiFi XT8 review, with Pros and Cons.

If you’re having problems with the Wi-Fi signal in your home you may want to upgrade to a faster router with better antennas. You’ll feel a difference, especially if you choose a top model, but I’m sure that once installed in the same place you’ll see that previous areas with a poor signal are still there.

There’s nothing you can do about it, it’s simple physics. The further you get away from the router and put more obstacles between you and it the faster the throughput drops until you get disconnected. A better router delays that time.

A modern solution to this problem, an alternative to wireless repeaters, are the mesh router systems I have presented in detail here. These systems use multiple routers dispersed in close proximity to better cover a given area with a strong signal.

This means that you can always extend your network coverage in your apartment (or company) by adding a new mesh node. Routers don’t have to be identical, which allows you some degree of flexibility when extending the mesh network.

In recent years, Wi-Fi mesh systems with two or three routers in a package have been appearing more and more often in shops. In the case of Asus, the technology under which these products are presented is called AiMesh. It’s still pretty new, but more and more of the company’s router models are compatible with this system.

In the following chapters, we’re going to take a look at the Asus XT8, a model from the ZenWiFi router family.

Who Is The Asus ZenWiFi AX For?

Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 is a system consisting of two high-performance Asus mesh routers, which together can carry a maximum transfer rate of 6600 Mbps. That’s approximately 825 MB/s between all devices connected to the system simultaneously.

Don’t expect a single device to get close to the 6600 Mbps advertised speed. That’s for concurrent connections from multiple devices and depends on a lot of factors.

The two letters AX in the model name indicate that the routers are Wi-Fi 6 compatible, and Asus has implemented pretty much all the new features of the 802.11ax standard. You get OFDMA transmission, MU-MIMO streaming, more secure WPA3 encryption, beamforming. There’s also support for 20, 40, 80 and 160 MHz bands, with automatic switching between them.

What you need to understand is that slowly, as you change your phone, laptop, Smart TV, home automation devices, and whatever other gadgets you use, they will all transition to Wi-Fi 6, if they didn’t already. The benefits of Wi-Fi 6 will be seen over time. If you choose a ZenWiFi AX your network will be ready for the transition.

In addition, by offering a 2.5 Gbps WAN port (Internet connection) you’re also prepared for that time when internet providers start offering subscriptions with more than 1 Gbps.

I’m almost there, with an 1800 Mbps Internet subscription, but there’s a caveat. I have a fiber connection, so I depend on the IPS-installed router, which comes with just 1 Gbps LAN/WAN ports. So yeah, I’m getting 1 Gbps with my routers, best case.

Looking at the design of the two routers I think it’s pretty obvious that Asus’ target is not gamers. Those interested in looks, who don’t want to visually “pollute” their home with a router that looks like it’s escaped from a parallel universe will love the ZenWiFi.

The two white ZenWiFi boxes are very unobtrusive and have a single front LED indicator. The LED stays White when all is well. The product is also available in black if you prefer that color.

The advanced features don’t need to scare you unless you’re a networking expert. That’s because Asus has made the setup process as simple as possible. It can easily be done from the Asus Router mobile app, without the hassle of a computer wired to the router.

Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) Technical Specs

Below you have a table with the most important technical features of this mesh system:

Model Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8)
Processor Quad-core 1.5 GHz
RAM 512 MB
Flash Storage 256 MB
Maximum Speed 574 1201 4804 Mbps (AX6600)
Antennae 6x internal
WAN connection 2.5 Gbps
LAN connections 3 x 1 Gbps
USB Ports 1x USB 3.0 for each node
Dimensions 160 x 75 x 161.5 mm
Weight 716 grams
Package contents 2x XT8 routers, 2x power adapters, 1x RJ-45 cable

What I Like About Asus ZenWiFi AX

Let’s start with the looks. The two routers manage to fit into the landscape of my apartment very well, perhaps also because I have quite a lot of furniture with white or very light surfaces. I really like the simple design of the two routers.

On the setup side, I have to note the Android/iOS Asus router app, which allows for a quick initial setup, in just a few steps. I also tried the installation from PC, via browser, as you can just use the step-by-step wizard. This is also pretty friendly. Both methods allow you to get the system up and running in just a few minutes. Don’t forget to connect the Internet cable to the jack labeled WAN first.

After installation, you have the option to manage the mesh network also from the application. For some of the advanced settings, you will have to sit at your computer. I would say that the Asus router web interface is a friendly one, but I have to admit that I’ve been using it for a couple of years now because it is very similar to my previous Asus RT-N56U Diamond router.

If you don’t need the advanced features I don’t think you’ll ever need to look into these menus. If you do, however, I recommend you take a look at the manual first.

I would however like to mention a few advanced options that the ZenWiFi AX offers. These are things that are not found on cheaper routers. Some of them mimic very well what a NAS can do:

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  • Guest network – the option to also create wireless networks for guests and acquaintances. They’ll have access to the Internet, but not to the computers from the local network.
  • AiProtection – a set of network security measures that can be activated/deactivated/modified by you.
  • Adaptive QoS – control and limit the transfer speed depending on the type of applications you want to prioritize.
  • Traffic Analyzer – detailed statistics about the traffic recorded by the router (connected devices, applications generating traffic, traffic volume).
  • USB Application – functions for hard drives and external devices connected to the USB port.
  • AiCloud 2.0 – possibility to create a private Cloud, accessible from anywhere.
  • Alexa IFTTT – voice control for router functions using Amazon Alexa devices and integrations with IFTTT automation system (IF This Then That).

Finally, I have to say that I like the performance of the system. It’s not necessarily the top speed, but the stability of the system and signal strength anywhere in the home.

In the two years since I’ve been using the system, I only had to reset it once. It was because the Chromecast got disconnected. I later switched it to 2.4 GHz, after reading on some forums that this is the recommended mode for Chromecast stability. I haven’t had any problems since then.

Also, if you enable Wi-Fi mode 6 for any of the wireless networks created, Asus recommends you update the drivers, otherwise, you might have problems detecting and connecting. I actually had to do this on an older Dell laptop. As long as I was made aware of this possible issue from the admin interface I don’t point it out as a problem.

Real-World Performance Test Results For ZenWiFi AX

I said that the ZenWiFi AX is capable of a maximum cumulative transfer rate of 6600 Mbps. This is split 574 Mbps on 2.4 GHz, 1201 Mbps on the first 5 GHz Band, and 4804 Mbps on the second 5 GHz Band.

The actual speed between a laptop, phone or tablet connected to these two routers will be much lower. It’s especially true in a city apartment where there are already a lot of interfering wireless networks in the vicinity. Add walls and other objects between the NIC and the router and speeds can drop to a crawl.

I tested the connection between the ZenWiFi AX with a Lenovo Legion laptop using an Intel Wireless AX200 2×2 network card. It’s got a maximum transfer speed of 2.4 Gbps on the 160 Mhz Band. I used for all my testing.

My Mesh Node Setup

I’m using both nodes of the system, of course. The main one is placed up high in the hall, at the entrance into the apartment. On the left there’s the bedroom, ahead there’s the open space, L-shaped.

On the left, there’s the living room, where I’ve placed the second router, on the TV stand. The office improvised space is on the left.

Internet Transfer Speeds Results with SpeedTest

  • Router connected by wire to the ISP-provided modem – 918 Mbps Upload / 880 Mbps Download
  • Laptop in open space living room
  • Main router 2.4 GHz – 141 Mbps Download / 141 Mbps Upload
  • Main router 5 GHz – 772 Mbps Download / 774 Mbps Upload
  • Secondary node 2.4 GHz – 126 Mbps Download / 163 Mbps Upload
  • Secondary node 5 GHz – 483 Mbps Download / 473 Mbps / Upload
  • Main router 2.4 GHz – 67 Mbps Download / 67 Mbps Upload
  • Main router 5 GHz – 679 Mbps Download / 658 Mbps Upload
  • Secondary node 2.4 GHz – 36 Mbps Download / 38 Mbps Upload
  • Secondary node 5 GHz – 65 Mbps Download / 25 Mbps Upload

You can quite easily see the difference in performance when using both AX routers and the typical scenario when you are a few walls away from the main router.

It also shows that the 2.4 GHz network works further away without much signal loss. The disadvantage as usual is the maximum throughput.

It’s easy to see that once you add obstacles and distance on the 5 GHz Band, speeds drop significantly if you only use one router.

If you’re using a mesh network, that handles device roaming automatically, you will get much better coverage, no matter where you are.

Wired Transfer Between PC and NAS, Both Connected to the Main Node

I’ve also done some testing to see how well the connection works to my 3-bay QNAP TS-328 NAS. I got close to the maximum 125 MB/s speed of the Gigabit LAN connection.

Transfer Between PC and External HDD connected to USB 3.0 port

I’ve also added a Seagate USB 3.0 external hard drive connected first to the main router, then to the secondary node’s USB 3.0 port.

  • Wired connections to the main router:
  • USB 3.0 (read): 48 MB/s
  • USB 3.0: (write): 41 MB/s
  • PC connected to router and HDD connected to the USB port of the node:
  • USB 3.0 (read): 17 MB/s
  • USB 3.0: (write): 13 MB/s
  • When I used the external hard drive connected directly to the router as NAS I noticed the difference between a dedicated NAS and a makeshift one.

    However, the ZenWiFi AX does much better than the old RT-N56U, with which I was transferring at a maximum of 12-13 MB/s in both directions.

    One last performance-related mention is that I also had access for a while to the ZenWiFi AC system, very similar to the AX, minus Wi-Fi 6, with a total maximum speed of 3000 Mbps (400 867 1733 – AC3000) and half the RAM/Flash memory.

    I ran the same tests as above and the results are within the margin of error. The difference you should expect is better throughput when you connect more devices, as always.

    What I Don’t Like About This Asus Router

    The installation process I scored as a plus because it is very simple if you do a standard setup, i.e. set up the main router for Internet access, add a mesh node and create the local wireless networks.

    I was curious though to see how connecting two new routers, different models, into AiMesh works.

    This is where I hit a wall. I tried many times, in all possible ways, with the mobile app, from the PC connected by wire, with a complete reset of the nodes, repositioning them in the proximity of the existing network, and doing a firmware update, which is everything recommended by the Asus manual.

    I never managed to add mesh nodes to the network until I got the idea to close the already-connected secondary nodes. That was the problem and I had no difficulty adding a new mesh node as long as I closed the ones already connected.

    Finally, I switched them all on and what do we have here: a mesh network with four Asus ZenWiFi AC and AX routers.

    I expect this small problem to be fixed in the software by Asus. However, I think it’s a minor issue, especially since you won’t be doing system installation and adding mesh nodes every day, right?

    Regarding connections, I think I would have preferred four LAN ports, as most routers offer. I say that because I’ve already occupied all the ports of the main router with a PC, NAS, and a Smart TV.

    It would have been more useful if instead of 2.5 Gbps on the WAN Asus had made the LAN ports faster, to connect devices inside the network faster.

    I know, not many home users need such transfer speeds, but in a small company where multiple users connect to the main NAS for example, I think it would have been quite useful.

    Pricing and Final Conclusions

    The only thing that prevents me from recommending the ZenWiFi AX wholeheartedly is the price of about 400. Yes, indeed, AX routers are still very expensive (especially the ones with many features like this one), and not one, but two such routers are indeed bundled in the package.

    What’s important is that you have the option to create an AiMesh network using other high-performance Asus models that cost significantly less, if you opt for AC models, for example.

    The Zen Wi-Fi AC model unfortunately isn’t much cheaper, being even harder to recommend in these conditions, when it costs around 330. That’s why, if you want a high-performance mesh system with many advanced features, that also looks great, I recommend the Zen Wi-Fi AX, even if you don’t have any Wi-Fi 6 devices in your house (yet).

    I think it’s a better and longer-lasting solution.

    Otherwise, you can very easily build your router mesh system based on Asus AiMesh technology, which you can later grow by adding new, faster, more powerful nodes as the price of 802.11ax solutions get to where AC models are now. And if you’re here, read our other reviews too.

    Is the ZenWiFi AX still a good router? It’s been a few years since I got this pair of routers and, honestly, I don’t feel the need to upgrade. The signal is still strong, speeds are still upward of 800-900 Mbps and, what matters most, Asus still issues security, compatibility, and speed updates. What more can you ask?

    Asus ZenWiFi AX XT8 Review: Finally a cure for our Wi-Fi headaches

    “Is the internet down?” That’s a phrase you don’t want to hear at our office. With a growing team and further office space expansion, our bog-standard Mesh Wi-Fi solution from our broadband provider doesn’t cut it anymore. We recently got the Asus ZenWiFi XT8 AX6600, which is one of their high-end Mesh Wi-Fi 6 routers, and here’s our experience after six months of usage.

    Not your typical Mesh Wi-Fi Router

    The Asus ZenWiFi XT8 that we got is the two-pack set in black which claims to provide fast and stable coverage up to 5,500 sq ft. If you want something to match your interior, they are also available in white.

    At first glance, the ZenWiFi XT8 looks more like a Smart speaker or a mini air purifier of sorts. The front looks clean with a discreet “Asus” logo and a simple LED indicator light, while there are air vents at the sides for cooling.

    They are chunkier than our existing AirTies Mesh Wi-Fi router and certainly looks more premium with its brushed-metal like exterior. Each unit houses an array of antennas arranged at different angles as well as a large double-heatsink to keep things cool.

    Unlike most typical Mesh Wi-Fi solutions, Asus is providing a total of four gigabit LAN ports which include a WAN port that can support up to 2.5Gbps. There’s also an extra USB port that can be used to connect a printer, a storage drive or a 4G modem for backup connection.

    A mesh solution is supposed to address wireless dead spots by providing a wider Wi-Fi coverage with seamless connectivity for all devices. Besides having a stronger signal, the bandwidth between the mesh nodes also plays an important role.

    For a more stable connection, the ZenWiFi XT8 features a tri-Band architecture that offers 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, plus an additional 5GHz Band with 160MHz bandwidth dedicated for wireless backhaul. This is like having a dedicated highway with double the number of lanes, which allows more data to pass through with less congestion between the two XT8 nodes.

    The mesh nodes can also support wired backhaul by plugging a LAN cable to connect the two XT8 nodes. You can choose to use the 5GHz 160MHz Band as a backup wireless backhaul or free up the bandwidth to allow other wireless devices to connect to the secondary 5GHz Band. Since it isn’t practical for us to pull a long cable to the other end of the office, we utilised the extra 5GHz Band for wireless backhaul which is the default setting.

    One of the easiest routers to set up

    Our office at GMBB has a floor space of about 3,300 sq feet that’s spread across 16 shop units. The main ZenWiFi XT8 node is placed at where our main router and gigabit switch are located, while the secondary XT8 node is placed about 100 feet away with 4 studios in between.

    We are currently subscribed to Maxis’ 500Mbps Business Fibre plan (500Mbps download and 100Mbps upload) and we connected the XT8’s WAN port to the original router provided by Maxis in order to use the fixed line service. If you don’t need to use the original router’s VOIP port, you can use the ZenWiFi XT8 to replace the router entirely and hook it up directly to the modem. If you’re going to replace the wireless router, you are required to enter the PPPoE username and password which you can obtain by contacting the customer care line of your provider.

    Setting the ZenWiFi XT8 is super easy by using the Asus Router app on your phone. For the initial setup, we just need to switch on both nodes and keep them within close proximity until the setup is complete. Once the LED indicators on both nodes show a solid white, the configuration is saved and we could then move the secondary router to our preferred location.

    For a seamless experience, we went with the option of having a single Wi-Fi SSID that is accessible by all 2.4GHz and 5GHz devices.

    Impressive performance at all corners

    After switching over most of our devices to the ZenWiFi XT8, we are able to get significantly faster Wi-Fi speeds without major deterioration in performance at the furthest end of the office. For our test, we used three Wi-Fi 6 devices – an iPhone 11 Pro Max, a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and the Asus ZenBook 14 OLED. To measure the internet performance, we ran Ookla’s Speedtest to Maxis’ server and Netflix’s which uses its Kuala Lumpur and Shah Alam servers.

    We managed to get over 500Mbps download and over 90Mbps upload across all devices at approximately 15 feet from the main node (Location D) while ping remains low for both test platforms at about 6-7ms. Things started to dip in our studio (Location C) which is approximately 50-60 feet in between both main and secondary nodes. In this studio, we got around 340-430Mbps for downloads, over 90Mbps for uploads while ping is slightly higher between 6-10ms.

    The situation gets more interesting as we move closer to the secondary node located further left of our office. In our left-most studio which is just 5 feet away from the secondary node (Location B) with a wall in between, we managed to get 400Mbps to 507Mbps for downloads, over 90Mbps for uploads while ping is still respectable at 10-13ms. Once we head to the furthest end of the office (Location A), we got higher average download speeds of 440Mbps to 471Mbps, over 90Mbps uploads while ping remains pretty good at around 7-10ms.

    To test a local file transfer within the network, we downloaded a 1.29GB video file from our NAS which is connected to the main node. From the optimal spot at Location D, it took 19 seconds to complete the download while in Location C it took longer at 30 seconds. However, at Location A and B, the transfer took 23-24 seconds, which is not bad considering that the connection has to go through the secondary node. Since we work with large 4K video files a lot, it still faster for us to transfer files via an external SSD drive.

    While it is normal to expect lower performance from secondary nodes of Mesh Wi-Fi systems, the Tri-Band ZenWiFi XT8 stands out for having a robust connection thanks to its dedicated 5GHz 4×4 backhaul. The 160MHz bandwidth supports speeds up to 4804Mbps and we are surprised that the wireless backhaul does a pretty good job in penetrating our studio walls.

    With the two-node pack, we managed to get 90-94% of our subscribed broadband speed at the other end of the office with at least 5 studio walls in between. That is pretty impressive. Looking at the numbers, the wireless backhaul performance is more than enough for us and we didn’t feel the need to consider a wired backhaul. If you need to expand your Wi-Fi coverage further, there’s the option for you to pair a compatible Asus router as extra node using its AiMesh feature.

    For the front-haul connection to your devices, the XT8’s 2.4GHz Band supports speeds up to 574Mbps while the 5GHz Band supports speeds up to 1201Mbps, on a 2×2 MU-MIMO.

    Built-in tools that are pretty handy for home and office

    The Asus ZenWiFi XT8 comes loaded with features such as parental guidance, internet security and bandwidth management. Depending on what online application is important to you, you can set the Quality of Service (QOS) to optimise the connection for streaming, gaming, web browsing and more. Almost everything you need can be managed from the Asus Router app and you can use it to set device-level settings or manage family member profiles for safer internet usage.

    For power users, you can also access the web-based admin which provides advanced options and more details of what’s going on. This includes options for its AiProtection to block dodgy sites, view internet traffic trends and Smart device integration with Alexa and IFTTT. You can also view firewall and VPN settings or setup up Guest Wi-Fi for visitors.

    It does come with a hefty price tag

    Besides having consistent Wi-Fi 6 speeds, the biggest factor to recommend the ZenWiFi XT8 is its reliability. Previously, we had to restart our old router almost every couple of days which is super annoying. Even with 60-80 devices connected simultaneously during peak working days, we didn’t face connection drops throughout our long term usage. The only time we require to restart the router is when there’s a firmware update.

    The Asus ZenWiFi XT8 without a doubt is a dependable Mesh Wi-Fi 6 solution that you should consider if you’re looking for high-performance and reliable connectivity for your home or office. Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced user, you would definitely appreciate the ease of setup, management and the versatility of four LAN ports for each node.

    Of course, all of this comes at a hefty price of about RM1,888 for the 2-pack set which is more expensive than most Mesh Wi-Fi 6 routers in the market. With everything considered, the ZenWiFi XT8 is a worthwhile investment if you’re willing to fork out more to solve all of your annoying Wi-Fi problems once and for all. If you search around especially during online mega sales, some authorised retailers are selling the ZenWiFi XT8 2-pack for slightly less than RM1,700 on Lazada and Shopee.

    Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 Review: Powerful Mesh System

    The powerful modern Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 Mesh system has 10 internal antennas, Wi-Fi 6E support, and an interesting design. It is this amazing networking device that we will review today.

    Mesh systems have proven to be an excellent solution that eliminates the problems with coverage and slow operation of Wi-Fi networks in large apartments and houses. They allow you to effectively distribute Internet access to all rooms and corners of the house. However, not every mesh system works in the same way, and some proprietary solutions offer unprecedented advantages. The Hero of this review is the very fast ZenWiFi Pro ET 12, the latest solution from Asus.

    Positioning and price of Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12

    This year, I tested several Wi-Fi 6 routers that impressed me with their performance in real-world conditions. And now I also had the opportunity to test a Wi-Fi 6E Mesh network system – Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 (AXE11000) – a tri-Band network system with Wi-Fi 6E support. Why is this standard interesting? Simply put, Wi-Fi 6E is an extension of Wi-Fi 6 to the 6 GHz Band. Wi-Fi 6E works according to the same standard as Wi-Fi 6, but with an extended spectrum. 6 GHz is a new Band of frequencies in the range from 5.925 to 7.125 GHz, providing up to 1200 MHz of additional spectrum. Unlike existing bands in which channels are currently concentrated in limited spectrum, the 6 GHz Band exists without overlap or interference. Access to 6 GHz enables greater bandwidth, higher speeds and lower latency, providing resources for future innovations such as AR/VR, 8K video streaming and more.

    When you first look at it, you’re struck by its appearance and size. When you read its specs, you’re amazed at the powerful hardware inside.

    Who needs such a powerful Mesh system with Wi-Fi 6E support? First of all, this router will be a great find for those who follow the latest in the world of technology and want to be in trend, and also understand that Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is a purchase for the future. This Mesh system is also suitable for those who have a large private house or a small office. Thanks to Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12, there will be no dead zones in your home or office, the signal will be stable and powerful.

    asus, zenwifi, review, model, stylish, mesh

    Now a few words about the price. It’s clear that such a modern Mesh system cannot be cheap, and this, of course, is not necessary to explain to anyone. Let us say from the outset: yes, this is very expensive equipment. So far, we know that a set of two units will cost about 900, and a set with one station will cost about 500.

    This router is not for everyone, I’ll even say more – for most people, this equipment will be an overkill. I was also unable to use its full potential, but this is a good thing, because it means that even advanced users will get a product that will serve them for many years.

    What’s in the package?

    The Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 comes in a large, elegant cardboard box with a large image of the two stations that are included on the top lid. On the sides and back of the box, you see a lot of technical details about this mesh Wi-Fi system, including a detailed presentation of the Wi-Fi 6E standard and the dual 2.5 Gbps ports in this kit.

    Everything is well packaged, except for the towers themselves, and there are side sections for accessories in the center. In the box you’ll find: two ZenWiFi Pro ET12 stations and power adapters for them, one RJ-45 network cable, a quick start guide, warranty cards, and other documentation from Asus. A nice fact is that for European markets, this kit comes with power adapters for all types of outlets used in this part of the world.

    The process of unpacking the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 mesh Wi-Fi system is very pleasant, you immediately feel that you have just bought premium network equipment.

    Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is not like a typical router

    Usually, routers of this caliber look like spider-like monsters that have fallen on their backs and are swinging their legs. Not everyone likes this design, so you might want to hide them in a closet and never look at them (and that’s a bad idea, as it suppresses the signal). With the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12, everything is different.

    Each of the modules has dimensions of 115×115×241 mm, and their weight is as much as 1.5 kg. These are two large enough towers to rule your home Wi-Fi like Sauron of Middle Earth. Each of them even has its own “eye” under the plexiglass at the top of the structure.

    The design of the modules has a certain gaming feel to it, with multiple grilles on the side surfaces. This grille system provides good cooling, which is completely silent as there are no internal fans. The top surface is transparent, made of organic glass, which will allow us to see a total of 8 antennas, with two more hidden inside.

    In the center is the Asus logo with a glowing effect, the color of which changes depending on the status of the device. Here’s what each color means:

    • green – indicates that Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is starting up
    • blue – the system is ready for setup
    • white – Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is connected to the Internet and works well
    • red – indicates that the Internet connection is down
    • light green – the mesh Wi-Fi system is performing an optimization process.

    If you don’t like the LEDs or they bother you, you can turn them off in the system settings or in the mobile app.

    The bottom of each Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is made of rubber, which prevents slipping when placed on glass and other slippery surfaces. You can also see information about the device here.

    In general, the design is very attractive and worthy of a premium device, it will fit well into any interior.

    A modern set of ports and connectors, but without USB

    On the back of each Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 module, you’ll find two 1Gbps Ethernet ports with Link Aggregation, one 2.5Gbps WAN port for connecting to superfast Internet connections, and one 2.5Gbps Ethernet port for connecting a NAS (Network Attached Storage), your PC, home server, or console that could benefit from the extra speed. You’ll also find WPS and Reset buttons, an On/Off switch, and a DC power connector.

    Unfortunately, Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 does not have a USB port. Yes, it’s a strange decision for an ultra-modern router of this type, but the developers decided to do so. Perhaps they thought that the 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port would serve as a kind of substitute, but many people may find this decision questionable.

    Features of the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 system

    The core hardware of each unit consists of a 2 GHz quad-core Broadcom BCM4912 processor, which is responsible for Ethernet, hardware NAT, and the system itself. It is accompanied by 1 GB of RAM and 256 MB of flash memory for the system. Data addressing in the three wireless bands is performed by 4T4R Broadcom BCM6712 processors.

    This powerful hardware has to work with many network clients, providing intensive data transfer, such as 4K movie streaming, in parallel and without any glitches.

    The Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is a tri-Band home mesh Wi-Fi system with support for the Wi-Fi 6E standard, with its total maximum theoretical bandwidth distributed as follows:

    • A 2.4 GHz Band with a total maximum bandwidth of 1148 Mbps. This Band can operate in Wi-Fi 4 or Wi-Fi 6 standards
    • 5 GHz Band with a total maximum bandwidth of 4804 Mbit/s. It can operate in Wi-Fi 5 or Wi-Fi 6 standards
    • The Band is 6 GHz with a total maximum bandwidth of 4804 Mbps. It operates on the Wi-Fi 6E standard and is the only Band where this standard is available on the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12. By default, this Band is used for wireless backhaul between stations that make up a mesh Wi-Fi system. If you want to free it up for your Wi-Fi 6E devices, it is advisable to create an Ethernet backhaul link between stations using a standard network cable or configure the Wi-Fi backhaul link to use the 5 GHz Band. This latter choice is not ideal, however, as it limits the speed potential of the entire system.

    A great technical aspect of the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is that it offers 4×4 MU-MIMO transmission on all three bands, not just one or two like other Wi-Fi Mesh systems.

    You’ll also have access to OFDMA technology, which improves simultaneous client connectivity, and BSS Coloring in Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), which allows you to assign a digital signature to each data packet, meaning you can highlight them in different colors without analyzing the entire spectrum. With Target Wake Time, some Wi-Fi clients can be suspended to optimize power consumption and free up spectrum frequencies.

    The system is powered by Asus AiMesh 2.0 technology, which enables compatible routers to connect to create a single mesh where clients move through a single SSID, automatically moving to the best coverage point. Beamforming technology is also present to FOCUS attention on important clients when transmitting data.

    This mesh network features AiProtection intrusion prevention technology with WPA2-Personal encryption at 2.4 and 5 GHz, as well as WPA3-Personal at 6 GHz. There are other technologies such as adaptive QoS management, traffic analyzer, support for guest Wi-Fi in all three bands, parental controls, as well as IPTV, DDNS, DHCP, DMZ, hardware NAT and UPnP capabilities. As usual, it supports VPN client and server configuration in PPTP, IPSec, and OpenVPN protocols. That is, I had the most advanced networking equipment in my hands.

    Easy to set up Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12

    You can configure the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 using a computer and a web browser or the Asus Router mobile app on your smartphone. Usually I choose the web version of the setup, but this time I chose the mobile app setup path.

    After launching, you need to select the device you want to configure, grant the app the necessary permissions, and connect to the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 main unit you choose for the Internet connection.

    The setup process consists of entering the information required to connect to the Internet, setting a Wi-Fi name and password, configuring an administrator account for the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12, and adding a second node (usually detected and added automatically). At the end of the setup process, you will see a summary of your settings and a firmware update check will be performed. If you want to take advantage of the latest fixes and improvements, you should go ahead and install the latest available firmware.

    The setup process itself is very simple and straightforward, and even an inexperienced user can handle it. The main thing is patience, and in a few minutes your Power Towers will be ready to go.

    It is worth noting that ZenWiFi Pro ET12 can work either as a classic Mesh, in which one satellite transmits a signal to another, or in Ethernet Backhaul mode, in which both modules emit a signal with the same power. Here, too, we can solve the connection of this mode in two ways – either by connecting the modules to each other wirelessly or by connecting them to a wired network. For example, if we have RJ-45 ports distributed at home or in the office, we can connect modules in separate rooms to them and both will broadcast Wi-Fi networks with the same name. It’s worth saying that you don’t need to configure them as two separate routers. Of course, as befits a decent Mesh system, we don’t have to limit ourselves to just two units. If there is a need and the budget allows, there is nothing to stop you from adding more nodes to ZenWiFi Pro ET12.

    What the Asus Router mobile app can do

    The Asus Router mobile app itself is quite easy to use. You can use it to set up your Mesh system, access its management, and enable all the basic features and capabilities I listed above.

    Here we find almost all the basic features, and even a little more, the program also offers the ability to monitor clients and offers parental control and QoS tools. Thus, the mobile application is a big plus, it is hard to find fault with anything here, maybe except for the graphic design itself, which could be a bit more transparent and modern, this also applies to the browser version of the software. In this respect, Asus software is a bit different from competitors who offer more visually appealing tools.

    It’s worth saying that for most of the testing I used the mobile application – I turned off and on the lighting indicators, checked the status of the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 units themselves. It is much more convenient and easier, so feel free to install the application and control this “eye” of Sauron.

    detailed settings in the web interface

    But after the firmware update is complete, it’s worth delving deeper into all the available settings and further customizing the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12. While the Asus Router app is useful and easy to use, if you want to access all the features this mesh Wi-Fi system has to offer, I recommend accessing the admin interface on your PC using a web browser. There you will find all the advanced settings and tools Asus has created for its ZenWiFi Pro ET12.

    The user interface for managing this Wi-Fi Mesh system is easy to use, well organized into logical sections, and available in twenty-five languages. You can control everything you want, and both novice and advanced users will be pleased with the level of control they have. Help documentation is easily accessible: when you hover over a setting that you don’t understand, a question mark appears. Click on the question mark and you will see explanatory information. Unfortunately, the documentation has not been updated to provide information on all the features Asus has included in their latest firmware, so this method does not work for all settings. I would like to see Asus extend this feature to all of their new settings related to Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E to make it easier to work with all of the new configuration options related to these standards.

    Throughout the entire testing period of the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12, I was very happy with the wireless coverage. In fact, this mesh Wi-Fi system is overkill for my apartment as it can serve much larger homes or even small offices. The Wi-Fi was fast everywhere and I didn’t find any places where there was no signal or the network was slow. The only minor complaint I have is that when I was transferring data on the 2.4 GHz Band, the variability in network transmission was quite high. However, when switching to the 5 GHz Band, the transmissions were very stable and fast.

    If you want to know more about the real-world performance of the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12, please go to the next section of this review, where I will present more detailed measurements and comparisons.

    What can Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 do?

    It doesn’t brew coffee, but otherwise this networking equipment will be used in every home, apartment, office, and even a small business. With a maximum bandwidth of 11000 Mbps, we can connect many devices at the same time without worrying about losing bandwidth in one of them.

    With 2.5 Gbps LAN and WAN ports, the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 even allows you to set up an environment for remote video processing using assets stored on the server.

    However, the biggest advantage of the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 router is the use of the new Wi-Fi 6E network standard. Wi-Fi 6E differs from “regular” Wi-Fi 6 not so much by increasing speed as by a completely new separate 6 GHz Band that communicates only with other devices equipped with Wi-Fi 6E. And as I’ve been able to see in recent weeks, this changes everything.

    I live in an apartment building with reinforced concrete partitions, where not only do the walls interfere with the signal, but the signal from the neighboring network reaches everywhere. Just at the moment, my laptop shows me 9 detected networks. And a lot of networks means a lot of interference and noise, especially in the 2.4 GHz Band, although the 5 GHz Band has also become quite crowded in recent years.

    The use of the 6 GHz Wi-Fi Band allows you to completely cut off unwanted noise and get a faster, and most importantly, more stable connection with less latency.

    How Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 works in practice

    Having such powerful network equipment at my disposal, I wanted to experience all its advantages and capabilities in practice. Frankly speaking, I’m sure that those who buy Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 will not be disappointed. The ultra-modern design, powerful processor, the necessary set of ports and connectors, and 10 antennas do their job perfectly.

    Anyone who lives in an ordinary apartment building with its thick reinforced concrete walls, various obstacles, extensions, etc. knows how often there are so-called “dead zones” at home, where the router simply cannot reach or its signal is unstable. In such cases, we buy, for example, repeaters-amplifiers or other more powerful network equipment. But Mesh systems are designed to eliminate this problem.

    If we talk about the wired connection, then there are no special surprises. Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 showed results close to those declared by my provider – 1 Gbps. This is where I first regretted that my provider can’t give me 2.5 Gbps yet, because the tested Mesh system has such ports, and I’m sure they would have brought their own pleasant surprises and unsurpassed speed.

    Since I had a set that included two stations, I decided to take full advantage of the Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 by placing one unit in the living room and the other in the hallway.

    Usually, I choose five control points in my apartment to test the signal and its strength, but with this router, I decided to choose a sixth one:

    • 1 m from ZenWiFi Pro ET12 (in one room)
    • 3 m from ZenWiFi Pro ET12 (with 2 walls in the way)
    • 10 m from ZenWiFi Pro ET12 (with 2 walls in the way)
    • 15 m from ZenWiFi Pro ET12 (with 3 walls in the way)
    • in the stairwell 20 m from ZenWiFi Pro ET12 (with 3 walls in the way)
    • the first floor of a house 35 meters from ZenWiFi Pro ET12 (with 10 walls in the way).

    I was very pleasantly surprised by the test results, even at the experimental sixth control point.

    Since I’m used to using the Smart Connect function, which allows me to not split the network, I don’t see much point in showing the results of each range separately. I will only note that at four points, i.e. inside my apartment, the results were very similar.

    Sometimes it seemed as if the devices were connected by invisible threads and smoothly transferred my smartphone or laptop while moving around the apartment. You really begin to understand the essence of the mesh system. It’s a really cool feeling. It is also worth mentioning the support for a 160 Hz channel.

    It is worth noting the excellent signal stability. At any point in the apartment, the ping remained almost unchanged, the signal from the Mesh system was consistently high. There were no breaks, failures, drops, not to mention dead spots in the apartment. All devices connected to it seemed to be flying: smartphones, laptops, security system, my KIVI TV easily played content in 4K. No problems arose.

    I already wrote that Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 has support for the new 6 GHz Band. I was lucky enough to test it, because now I’m testing the Samsumg Galaxy S22 Ultra, which supports Wi-Fi 6E. It was really worth it, because only the Hero of my testing worked on this Band in my house. That is, no interference and noise from the neighbor’s router. The connection is stable, and the speeds are also impressive. It’s really cool to feel like the King of the Mountain!

    I did not have the technical ability to test the Mesh system, for example, in a two-story building with reinforced concrete floors, but I assume that it will work similarly there. It should also be borne in mind that in the building where I tested the routers, at least 20 other 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi networks are active, so the conditions are definitely more difficult than in a single house where there is no such interference.

    Energy consumption

    Nowadays, this aspect is one of the most important. The manufacturer claims a maximum power consumption of 24.5 W for one device from the set, but in my tests the results were much lower and amounted to exactly half of this Mesh system, which, of course, cannot but rejoice.

    Even with the maximum load, Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 did not want to pull more than 15 watts from the outlet. Of course, if you multiply this value by the number of nodes, it may seem like a rather impressive figure, but in my opinion, this is a low price for the capabilities offered by Asus’ Mesh system.


    During testing, I asked myself only one question: “Does Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 have any drawbacks?” Well, maybe there are, but I didn’t find them. During the entire test period, there was not a single situation in which the equipment would work poorly or do something incompatible with the configuration. Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 works as a router should: it’s fast, quiet, and almost invisible. And at the same time, it provides a high-quality signal to every corner of the apartment.

    The ZenWiFi Pro ET12 router is the most powerful mesh router available, with the great news that we finally saw the 6GHz Band in action. This is a customer-specific Band, while 5 GHz is shared by the mesh backbone, so data is excellent in all cases, as is coverage and average ping, perfect for consuming 4K streaming media without tearing or crashing.

    I liked that the whole Asus Aimesh ecosystem allows you to add other routers as needed, which become part of the mesh system. This way, you can combine the router and the network without using cables between each device. It’s easy to set up using the Asus app or browser.

    The Asus ZenWiFi Pro ET12 is expensive, but it’s lightning fast, very stable, and one of the most flexible systems out there. So I can’t say that ET12 is not worth the money. Yes, it is expensive equipment. But it’s a really modern Mesh system, and I got the best experience with networking equipment I’ve ever had. I should also mention the very interesting design, which is not like classic routers or other Mesh systems. If you can afford it and want to enjoy super-fast connectivity for years to come, go for it, you won’t regret it.

    Son of the Carpathian Mountains, unrecognized genius of mathematics, Microsoft “lawyer”, practical altruist, levopravosek

    Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 – tower router with Wi-Fi 6 and 2.5 Gb LAN

    Routers, for the most part, are not among the design-appealing devices you’d want to show off. They are usually white or black boxes with antennas sticking out of them and you hide them somewhere behind your computer, TV or in a closet. But that doesn’t have to be the rule, and the new Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is proof of that. In addition to the unconventional design, the tested model impresses with its FOCUS on mesh networking, which Asus routers are known for.

    Packaging and exterior

    The XT12 has not avoided the traditionally colourful and beautiful design of the box, and the description on the back is also aimed at presenting the mesh solution and its advantages.

    Since it’s a two-pack, there’s double of everything inside the box, so two routers, power cables and adapters. Somehow, however, there’s only one LAN cable, and you only need one documentation as well.

    The XT12 impresses at first sight with its unconventional design. It is a kind of cube with a square base, 11.5 cm long and 24.1 cm high, the top is transparent and one of the corners is bevelled.

    Most routers have two or four antennas. The XT12 received up to ten internal ones, which is understandable given its support for up to three bands, but still quite unique.

    Routers targeted for use in a mesh network typically do not offer the same features as dedicated routers sold one at a time. Still, you get two for the price of one. The XT12, however, is somewhat unique in this area. It offers a quartet of RJ-45 connectors, two of which are 2.5 Gb and the other two 1 Gb. One of the faster pair is designated as a WAN port and the other is used for LAN.

    As we already know from tests of the AX88U, for example, we can transfer speeds higher than 1 Gb over Wi-Fi 6, which means that the wired connection is slower than the wireless one, which is quite illogical. The top model AX89X solved this problem with 10 Gb ports, which are not yet found in cheaper models. When testing the inexpensive RT-AX53U, I introduced the idea that 2.5 Gb connectors would make a lot of sense for Wi-Fi 6 routers, and the XT12 is the first model where we can see this idea in practice.

    What did not please me, on the other hand, is the complete absence of USB ports. I consider this a big oversight, as even the cheapest pieces already have at least USB 2.0, although the 3.0 standard would have been better. I’ve been using the USB port for a year now to connect a 2.5″ SSD and fast and easily accessible storage that you can connect to a PC anytime if you need to, but the vast majority of the time the drive is just connected to the router. Among other things, the USB port could also be used to connect a printer or other accessories, and you’ll unfortunately lose all of that with the XT12.

    The RGB backlit logo, which also serves as an information LED about the router status, tries to save the situation. Inside the router we find 256 MB Flash, 1 GB RAM and a 2.0 GHz quad-core 64-bit processor, which makes it one of the better pieces. Important from the router’s point of view are the configurations of the individual bands. The XT12 offers a 4×4 configuration for both the 2.4GHz and both 5GHz networks, making the theoretical maximum speeds 1148 Mbps for the 2.4GHz and 4804 Mbps for each of the 5GHz networks. Overall, the router thus offers bandwidths of up to 11 Gbps (114848044804), but this is more of a marketing designation, especially when the manufacturer refers to it as the AX11000 ultimate AX performance. But it doesn’t change the fact that the XT12’s wireless connectivity is really excellent. It is also important to mention that the router offers the important 160 MHz Band, which was introduced along with Wi-Fi 6 and is one of the important features of this standard.

    Of the Wi-Fi 6 new features, OFDMA and TWT are not missing, which is just a plus. The overall equipment of the XT12, except for the lack of USB ports, looks very good on paper and in practice. Another interesting feature is the ability to aggregate 1 Gb LAN connectors to achieve 2 Gb speeds for connection to, for example, a NAS. A better solution would be to have all ports 2.5 Gb, but we will hopefully see that in a future model. Software support and installation via the web GUI but also the app is great as always and there is probably no point to elaborate on this topic anymore. If you’re interested, I recommend reading some of the older Asus router tests.

    Routers, for the most part, are not among the design-appealing devices you’d want to show off. They are usually white or black boxes with antennas sticking out of them and you hide them somewhere behind your computer, TV or in a closet. But that doesn’t have to be the rule, and the new Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is proof of that. In addition to the unconventional design, the tested model impresses with its FOCUS on mesh networking, which Asus routers are known for.


    The aim of the tests is to show the real transfer speeds between the router and the client in a panel building environment, not under laboratory conditions. This means that there are many other Wi-Fi networks in the area, and during the 10-meter distance test, the signal must pass to the third room, with the individual rooms separated by reinforced concrete walls but open doors.

    Upload and download tests are performed using the TamoSoft Throughput Test application, where we select the results of TCP upload and TCP download. The router is connected to a MSI GE76 Raider with a 2.5 Gb LAN connector and a Killer 1675x Wi-Fi 6E card, and a second laptop with an Intel Wi-Fi AX210NGW, which also supports Wi-Fi 6E. The transfer takes exactly one minute. All tests are run three times and the results are the average of the three measurements.

    Routers, for the most part, are not among the design-appealing devices you’d want to show off. They are usually white or black boxes with antennas sticking out of them and you hide them somewhere behind your computer, TV or in a closet. But that doesn’t have to be the rule, and the new Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is proof of that. In addition to the unconventional design, the tested model impresses with its FOCUS on mesh networking, which Asus routers are known for.

    In the immediate vicinity

    The new product achieves very good results in Wi-Fi speed tests, which thanks to the 160 MHz bandwidth and 4 × 4 configuration is not such a big surprise, but rather a confirmation of paper assumptions and expectations. Still, it’s nice to see how the inexpensive AX53U fares. The AC88U, on the other hand, is already starting to show its age.

    From a distance of ten metres

    Ten antennas and Rangeboost Plus also achieve high numbers in the distance test and especially in the upload. Surprisingly the AC88U did well in downloading, but this is more of an exception proving the rule.

    Wired transfers

    When testing cable transfers between the two devices, we see that the XT12 offers very balanced upload and download numbers, offering 30–50 % higher rates compared to the other models.

    Power draw

    We measure the power draw with a new methodology using a UNI-T UT71E multimeter. We compared the power draw at both idle and full load during the speed tests. The AX53U had the lowest power draw, with an idle power of 3.1–3.2 W; after the LAN cable and Wi-Fi tests, the power draw increased to a maximum of 4.4 W. Second in order was the XT12, which hovered around 11 W and only slightly exceeded 12 W at maximum. The oldest AC88U had the highest power draw with an idle draw of 13.3 W and a peak of 14.5 W. An interesting finding during the test was that when the LAN cable was plugged in, the power draw on all routers increased by about 1 W.

    Routers, for the most part, are not among the design-appealing devices you’d want to show off. They are usually white or black boxes with antennas sticking out of them and you hide them somewhere behind your computer, TV or in a closet. But that doesn’t have to be the rule, and the new Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is proof of that. In addition to the unconventional design, the tested model impresses with its FOCUS on mesh networking, which Asus routers are known for.


    Asus ZenWiFi Pro XT12 is a stylish and very unconventionally designed router that definitely does not deserve to be hidden somewhere in a corner or closet, quite the opposite. It has the potential to become a fashion accessory that you display in your living room or bedroom and every visitor to your home will be interested in it.

    Often, however, such fashion oriented pieces of hardware fail in all other aspects and offer no qualities other than design. Fortunately, this is not the case with the XT12, as it is a very capable router with very solid speeds as well as excellent software features.

    I also very much welcome the use of 2.5 Gb LAN/WAN ports, which solve the problem of the vast majority of routers with Wi-Fi 6, namely slow wired connections. What I consider to be a missed opportunity and a rather large step in the wrong direction is the absence of USB connectors, which, as I mentioned, I use on a daily basis and would miss them with the XT12. Apart from that, I can only criticise one thing and that is the price.

    The XT12 is on sale as both a standalone router, and in a two-pack, which we had for testing. The price of a standalone router is around 440 EUR and a two-pack costs 730 EUR, which is quite a lot. And I write this as an owner of the top model AX89X, which hovers just over 500 EUR, but offers two 10 Gb ports, eight LAN ports, USB ports, etc, etc.

    Of course, the FOCUS of XT12 and AX89X is completely different, but I can’t help wondering if it’s not better to save a bit more and buy two AX89X, connect them with a 10 Gb cable and achieve even significantly faster transmissions and enjoy the richer equipment offered by the rather cut down XT12 in comparison.

    English translation and edit by Jozef Dudáš