ASUS AiMesh – Mesh Wi-Fi Router alternative | Review

OVERVIEW

Living in a huge house, but less wireless coverage does really concern most users. Some, may, overcome the weak wireless coverage by purchasing a power line or a repeater as a solution. However, some, may not satisfy with the performance of the wireless, as the dead-spots still available at their houses. In order to overcome this, ASUS created an alternative way by making their own high-end routers to support AiMesh feature. An AiMesh is a feature to turn your ASUS router to become the nodes in addition to your main routers. AiMesh is an alternative to Mesh Wi-Fi routers.

Supported AiMesh Models (Malaysia):

RT-AC68U, RT-AC86U, RT-AC88U, RT-AC5300 and ROG Rapture GT-AC5300

ROUTER’S USED

I used two router’s I tested previously. Their models are respective as below:

RT-AC68U and RT-AC86U

IMG_0051

Figure 1: AC68U (Right) and AC86U (Left) – Front View.

The AC68U comes with the standard diamond pattern design like the most ASUS routers while, the AC86U comes with a futuristic cyber-looking design with two red stripes carved at the front cover.

IMG_0052

Figure 2: AC68U (Right) and AC86U (Left) – Rear View.

The rear view of the both routers is identical except for the antenna’s used. The AC86U have more thicker solid antenna’s with “ASUS” leathering carved in each antenna’s while, AC68U comes with a standard dual band antenna’s.

SETTING UP AIMESH

Disclaimer:

Both of the router’s are running on the stock firmware(s).

Main Router: AC68U

Secondary AiMesh Node: AC87U

The setting up of the AiMesh is pretty straightforward. In order to use this feature, you have to turn on the WPS feature of your main router.

Step 1: Click on the AiMesh Node button. Click on the “Search” button on the given panel on the right.

Step 2: Turn on your WPS feature, or, the main router will turn on the feature automatically for you.

mesh 5

Figure 3: WPS feature.

Remarks:

Figure 3 shows the WPS feature was turned on in order to use the AiMesh feature. If you disable the WPS, then you can’t use the AiMesh properly.

Step 3:  Once your router identified the AiMesh node, the system will display the secondary router. Click on the given node (Just like in the picture below).

mesh1

Figure 4: The AiMesh identified by main router.

Step 4: The system will add the node in your router. This will take around 2 to 3 minutes.

mesh 2

Figure 5: The system is adding a new Mesh node.

Step 5: Once the process successfully, you will get the success message popup’s, indicating that, the secondary router successfully added as a node in your router system.

mesh 3

Figure 6: The success message displayed.

Step 6: You’ve added the AiMesh node in your router. Now you can place the secondary router at any place you wish to put.

mesh 4

Figure 7: The AiMesh node in the displayed in the AC68U system.

WIRELESS PERFORMANCE

Similar to Mesh Wi-Fi routers out there, AiMesh features an advance version of it.

Wireless Settings

The settings of the wireless only can be done with the main router, thus, the connected nodes will follow the rules defined in the main router.

For this test, I placed the AC86U at the downstairs while, the main router, AC68U at the upstairs.

download

Figure 8: The download analysis.

Analysis of Downloads:

I able to achieve over 90% of subscribed bandwidth both on upstairs and the downstairs. By using a single router previously, I encounter problems such as slow wireless coverage, few attempts of failed wireless network test and some old devices couldn’t even get connected to the router. But, with the added AiMesh node, now, I able to access to the internet from anywhere in my house.

upload

Figure 9: The upload analysis.

Analysis of Uploads:

The upload speed seems to be similar to the download analysis. However, during the test, not even a single test was failed. In other word, the test was done continuously.

Iperf3 Testing

iperf 3 test

Figure 10: The iperf3 test.

ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES

Part 1: Compare with the other products.

Comparison aimesh meshwifi

Figure 11: The comparison between AiMesh Router(s), O-Mesh Wi-Fi and Commercial Routers.

Part 2: Within the AiMesh feature.

Advantages:

  1. Easy to setup within the main router.
  2. Less time taken to complete the setting up process.
  3. Wireless settings can be changed in the main router.
  4. Achievable subscribed bandwidth.
  5. Nodes can be added up to 5 inclusive the router itself.
  6. Excellent wireless coverage.
  7. Stable wireless experience and wired (when get connected to the secondary mesh node).
  8. Stable firmware and offered feature are awesome.

Disadvantages:

  1. The wireless settings only can be done at the main router.
  2. WPS feature has to be turned on (security).
  3. Only high end ASUS router has this feature currently.

FINAL VERDICT

Although the technologies move fast as the newer technology were introduced, the manufacturer of the technology eases our task by minimizing the time taken by the consumer to setting the things up.

As for the AiMesh feature, you don’t really need to waste time, unlike setting the routers as a repeater or bridge in an old school way. The setting up process of this were pretty straightforward and easy to understand, even for novice users.

Next, the good thing about the AiMesh is, you get the subscribed bandwidth even if you place the router further than the main router. You also can plug your laptops or PC to the secondary nodes as well.

35992933_361575944365504_7024074281352953856_n

Figure 15: The AC86U placed at the downstairs.

Finally, if you’re looking for a Mesh Wi-Fi router alternative, why not give a try to the ASUS router’s that supports AiMesh? I can say that, from my experience using this feature, I feel satisfied and it’s definitely worth for your pennies.

My Recommendations: 10/10


In case if you wanted to temporarily or permanently to remove the AiMesh, it is easy. 

Step 1: Click on the AiMesh button.

Step 2: Click on the “Minus” button. The system will show a message.

1

Figure 16: The removal process of the AiMesh nodes from the main router.

Step 3: Click on the “Apply” button, thus, resulting the AiMesh node will be automatically set to the factory settings. By doing so, your current router settings won’t be affected.

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Figure 17: The AiMesh node successfully removed.

Friendly Reminder:

Immediately turn off the WPS feature in your main router once you removed the AiMesh from your main router.


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