Customer Review

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 3, 2021
Summary: Well-priced, WiFi-6 mesh system with tri-band WiFi (so can use with wireless "back-haul" for high speed data transfer with remote node/satellite). Doesn't work well with 2.4ghz devices (received intermittent drops; needed to tweak settings). You'll notice this device is well reviewed by sites like CNET, PC Magazine, etc. I think this is because the product impresses well at first, but after living with the system for weeks you start to really see how a system functions, and tech sites tend not to do long-term system analysis. They give you a good snapshot of initial performance, but it's impossible to know how well a system will function until it's been in place day after day for weeks. So here is my experience...

I'll start with the negative, then finish with the positive points. Would I buy it again? Probably. But I have had to spend several hours getting it to work well with my 2.4ghz "smart home" / IoT (internet of things) devices. These are things like smart wifi power plugs, video doorbell cameras, security cameras, etc. I wish they would use 5ghz WiFi, because all my problems would be solved! 5ghz band works great but 2.4ghz band has issues. Anyway, I had to turn off WiFi-6 mode on the 2.4ghz band in order to get my smart devices to stay connected to WiFi. Next had to turn off auto channel selection, so now 2.4ghz has a fixed band. I would rather have it auto select, but it seemed every time the channel changed, 2.4ghz devices would disconnect. I got tired of having to power cycle plugs in order to get them to re-establish connection after a channel switch by the router, so guess I will leave 2.4ghz on manual channel mode for now.

Next, my doorbell video camera and other security cameras won't stay connected to the 2.4ghz band at all. Initial setup works fine, but then I'd discover hours later a camera/doorbell would disconnect from WiFi and refuse to reconnect. Even power cycling the device wouldn't fix it. I didn't bother checking to see if rebooting the router would fix it, because taking down the network several times a week to fix camera connectivity (with no idea when they would go offline) would be too disruptive. I fixed this by pulling 2 old WiFi extenders (WiFi 5; 802.11ac!) out of the closet, configuring them in bridge mode with a new WiFi network, and then connecting my doorbell and other cameras to those. So now those devices stay connected rock-solid 24x7. Been 2 weeks without issues so I believe that is now fixed.

I'm a bit frustrated that such an expensive mesh system can't get basic 2.4ghz connectivity working properly. I shouldn't have to set up a convoluted network with a mix of mesh and WiFi extenders, when the goal was to replace *everything* with a brand new (and quite expensive) WiFi 6 mesh network. Oh well! At least I got it working.

Final negative point: The base station/router is rock solid, but the node/satellite would get partially disconnected every 1-2 weeks. I would notice when using the node that speeds would drop about 60%. The fix? Configure automatic, scheduled reboots once a week. The ASUS router software offers this feature, so I suppose they know their tech has issues and requires rebooting! I'm thankful it has this feature though, since after configuring it, now the entire mesh system works consistently. Just needs a weekly reboot. Must be a memory leak in the software or something. I haven't bothered to open a bug with ASUS but probably should at some point.

Positives: The range is SUPERB. I get very strong signal everywhere in my multi-floor home. That's why it is so annoying to have to use wifi range extenders for 2.4ghz wifi.. but anyway. I get full speed (100%-120% of what I'm paying for) on the 5ghz wifi network everywhere in the house. I am using 400mbps internet and have no speed issues anywhere. The devices look great (I think they're asthetically pleasing and look like art). When people see the ASUS mesh device they don't think it is a router. It blends in nicely with other decor around the home since all the antennas are internal and there aren't a bunch of protruding antennas that scream out, "I'm a piece of technology!" So well done on that.

Overall, I'm happy with the system. Now that everything is working I'm pleased. Just wish the 2.4ghz network stuff worked better, and that it didn't need weekly reboots. I upgraded from a Netgear Nighthawk R7000, a single WiFi 5 router (802.11ac) that served our needs flawlessly for over 5 years. It was a single router that provided coverage to nearly the entire home! We decided to upgrade because the last few firmware updates totally broke the router.. each time I had to factory reset and reconfigure the wifi network from scratch. Was disappointed by that, so that's why we tried ASUS. Overall a good product but like any tech, there are often some issues.

BTW the mobile app ASUS offers for this system is also very good. Allows you to get a good overview of the network with which devices are connected to which node, signal strength, data downloaded, etc. You can do a lot of configuration from the app itself. This system also allows you to configure the system via web interface/website, which is WONDERFUL. Companies like TP-Link force you to only use a limited app, which is why I tried TP-Link but then had to switch to ASUS. So keep that in mind when shopping around too! Good luck.
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