AiMesh is a mesh solution developed by ASUS as a solution for seamless, stable and secure wireless connection. ASUS claims, it is an ultimate home WiFi solution bundled together with a few powerful features such as seamless roaming, self-healing, intelligent band management and AiProtection as standard across the product range. The purpose of AiMesh is not only to provide a greater wireless coverage, it is also responsible to allow, more AiMesh compatible node, i.e. routers or mesh to the existing network with a single step needed. AiMesh, provides an excellent maintainability characteristic since, it allows centralized management.
Read Here: Guide on setting up ASUS AiMesh
History of AiMesh
TL; DR: ASUS team noticed the trend of moving from the standard traditional router towards a more professional and centralized mesh system back in the year of 2017. This trend is initially growing, particularly in North America and some European region. Kick-starting their involvement in this project, ASUS began to experiment their Lyra series in the market and compete against a few mesh system providers that already available in the market during that time. Based on the experiment made, the feedback received was quite average and this due to the technology used by networking companies like Eero, Netgear and Linksys is much ahead of them. Looking at the feedback, ASUS team held a discussion that took about a month and they have decided to build a project, called ASUS Intelligent Mesh or AiMesh.
As a kick-start in the project, ASUS pick a few hot-selling router models, i.e. RT-AC68U and RT-AC88U to be experimented. The goal of AiMesh is, it was meant to be used flexibly in a cross-product, cross-platform and cross WiFi standard technology, i.e. 802.11ac with 802.11ax, under a same feature. The experiment on the selected models undergoes a few weeks of implementations and tremendous testing (white-box and black-box) to perceive the progress of the development. The same rule cannot be applied when it comes to a cross-product models since it requires more time by dedicating a pair of software development teams and a quality assurance team to conduct research, testings and quality of the AiMesh. By the end of 2017, AiMesh was ready to be released to the public and a few routers noticeable the RT-AC68U was one of the first wireless router model to receive AiMesh feature as standard via the firmware issued. This adds joy to networking enthusiasts group as, AiMesh can be used in cross-product models, seamlessly.
AiMesh received positive reviews from reviewers and the public as one of the best alternatives towards a pure mesh system. Despite of a few minor bugs present in the feature initially, thanks to the collaboration between the development team and the public, the AiMesh undergoes tremendous bug fixes before becoming one of the top mesh solution alternative provider in the networking industry. This phenomenon sparks ideas for other networking gear manufacturer such as TP-LINK to come up with their own mesh solution.
Features of AiMesh
AiMesh offers seamless roaming. As the name suggests, it creates one single network under the activation of Smart-Connect, that allows the system to monitor the strength of the signal of your device and intelligently switches another source if needed. Also, separating the network bands is possible.
Next, living in a huge home requires a good investment in networking gears, especially if you’re using internet demanding smart-devices. Features like self-healing allows a constant internet connection without disruption if one of your mesh nodes, malfunctioned.
Intelligent band switching refers to dedicating a ‘backbone’ of AiMesh routers that intelligently switches between wired and wireless backhaul if needed. In most cases, for wireless backhaul, 5GHz always recommended and for tri-band routers, this is an advantage to dedicate one of the 5GHz band as a backhaul.
List of Compatible AiMesh Models
ASUS is now planning to expand the compatibility of AiMesh on Broadcom-based routers to multiple platform, Qualcomm-based, Intel-based and Realtek-based ASUS router and mesh models. As per current time being, these are the AiMesh-enabled routers:
|Wireless Protocol||Mesh Type||Wireless Class||Model||Chipset|
|AC1750||RT-AC66U B1||Broadcom BCM4708C0|
|AC2200||Lyra Voice||Qualcomm IPQ4019|
|AC2600||Blue Cave||Intel (Lantiq) PXB4583EL|
|LTE WiFi||AC1900||4G-AC68U||Broadcom BCM4709A0|
|DSL Modem||AC1900||DSL-AC68U||Broadcom BCM4708A0|
|AC2200||Lyra Mini||Qualcomm IPQ4018|
|Lyra Trio||Qualcomm Atheros QCA9563|
|AC3000||ZenWiFi CT8||Qualcomm IPQ4019|
|RT-AX89U||Qualcomm QCA IPQ8078|
|Mesh System||AX6100||RT-AX92U||Broadcom BCM4906|
|AX6100||ZenWiFi XT8 (RT-AX95Q)||Broadcom BCM6755|
ASUS are now standardizing both AiMesh and AiProtection feature as standard across their product-range. This includes RP-AC55, a dual-band wireless repeater from ASUS. AiProtection uses Trend Micro engine to always protect your home device from being directed to malicious sites and protecting your home network from cyber-criminals. AiProtection updates its signature automatically everyday giving you a hassle free experience of using the device wirelessly.
Next, AiMesh allows centralized management. This means only one single router or mesh (master unit) can be accessed through ASUS Router smartphone apps or through web-administrative interface at one time by the authorized person. This acts as a safety measure to protect non-authorized individuals to bypass the management control via connecting to a different node (slave node). AiMesh allows you to control wireless signal emission time, content filters, parental controls and many more features.
Back on the 31st of July, 2019, the development of customized versions of ASUSWRT firmware, Asus-Merlin, states that his firmware now fully supports the AiMesh feature as standard only for the selective Merlin-compatible routers. The AiMesh feature officially bundled together with Build 384.13 and only routers flashed with Merlin-firmware can use AiMesh, this includes both master router and the slave router. ASUSWRT’s flexibility wins here.
Advantageous of AiMesh
- Straight-forward installation
- Flexible in adding more nodes to the network
- Supports multi-platforms (processor-based) models
- Supported by Asus-Merlin OFFICIALLY
- Suitable for enterprise-based environment
- Bundled features such as AiProtection, VPNs, QoS and many more as standard
- Manageability via smartphone application
Disadvantageous of AiMesh
- WPS function should be enabled by default
- SSID should be set to shown otherwise it will affect AiMesh performance
ASUS Intelligent Mesh or AiMesh, is one of the best mesh WiFi solution currently. Due to their flexibility of supporting cross-platform, AiMesh is an unique mesh system. For networking enthusiasts who don’t really like to spend money on buying a newer network gear, AiMesh certainly is the best choice here. Don’t get me wrong, buying a new router costs money and the current Wi-Fi 5 router resale-value drops drastically due to Wi-Fi 6 router entry. ASUS brilliantly allows you to maximize your investment by allowing you to turn the old ageing ASUS router with a condition, the unit must be compatible with AiMesh feature, and put the old router to a good use as a mesh node.
AiMesh truly deserves our appreciation by giving out 5 flying stars for not only providing a good mesh solution, as well as making our investment in their networking gear products, worthwhile.