Reviews

ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – Secure Wireless Coverage, Everywhere

ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review - Secure Wireless Coverage, Everywhere

ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4)

RM 888.00
9.3

Build Quality

9.0/10

Hardware Specification

8.5/10

Features

9.5/10

Mesh Experience

10.0/10

User Experience

9.5/10

Value

9.0/10

Advantages

  • Rigid built quality
  • AiMesh 2.0
  • Customizable firmware profile
  • WPA3 Support
  • Supports 802.11 k/v
  • Centralized management
  • Able to handle heavy network usage

Disadvantages

  • Expensive for a pair units
  • RJ45 port limitation
  • No IPS under AiProtection

ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) is the latest WiFi 6 entry-level mesh system solution designed for regular household users and small business owners. The unit is offered in pairs, and an additional unit is offered (tri-pack) for users who own a huge office premise or home.

Figure 1: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review - Introduction
Figure 1: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – Introduction

The ZenWiFi XD4 is a spiritual successor of Lyra series from ASUS. Unlike its tri-band relatives;- ZenWiFi CT8 and ZenWiFi XT8, the XD4 is a dual-band wireless solution with wireless rating of AX1800. ZenWiFi XD4 utilizes a quad-core processor from Broadcom at a clock speed of 1.5GHz with 256 MiB of RAM. Speaking of advantages in terms of processing power, the ZenWiFi XD4 wins over its top competitor, Deco X20 from TP-Link.

Figure 2: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review - Accessories Overview
Figure 2: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – Accessories Overview

Once unboxed, the ZenWiFi XD4 comes with 3 – power adapter, a CAT 5E RJ45 cable, a quick start guide and a warranty card. There are two color options given, white and black. The unit given to me for the purpose of this review is white.

Figure 3: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review - Design Overview
Figure 3: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – Design Overview

When it comes to wireless coverage as advertised by the manufacturer, I don’t normally believe the specs in the sheet. Said to cover up to 4800 sq.ft. for the tri-pack, when it comes to real-world experience, the specs shown in the datasheet is useless since the wireless coverage actually depends on your residential environment. The design of the ZenWiFi XD4 is pretty simple, like an ice-cube. A small LED indicator is equipped for each unit to indicate the status of the ZenWiFi XD4 activity.

Figure 3A: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review - I/O Options
Figure 3A: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – I/O Options

Most of the mesh solutions out there only comes with a pair of gigabit RJ45 port with once act as a WAN/LAN port while the remaining port is dedicated for LAN only. Now, I am pretty sure that most of the users complain of the lack of RJ45 ports. Fear not dear comrades, as you can actually purchase any unmanaged gigabit switch to expand the LAN options to be used with PCs, consoles or even smart TVs. ASUS did well in terms of labelling the RJ45 ports with two different colors. Each ZenWiFi XD4 comes with a reset button and a WPS button.

ModelASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4)
Wireless ClassAX1800
ProcessorBroadcom BCM6755 Quad-Core @ 1.5 GHz
Flash Memory256 MiB
RAM256 MiB
WiFi Data Rate802.11a : up to 54 Mbps
802.11b : up to 11 Mbps
802.11g : up to 54 Mbps
802.11n : up to 300 Mbps
802.11n TurboQAM : up to 400 Mbps
802.11ac : up to 867 Mbps
802.11ax (2.4GHz) : up to 574 Mbps
802.11ac : up to 1733 Mbps
802.11ax (5GHz) : up to 1201 Mbps
FeaturesAiMesh 2.0
AiProtection (no IPS feature)
Parental Control
VPN
Guest Network
Table 1: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – Specification

The ZenWiFi XD4 is easy to setup, and the process is similar to how you set up an ASUS router for first use. I am pretty sure not many local internet subscribers use IPTV, so you can proceed with UniFi-Business profile or Maxis-Business profile or custom settings with a correct VLAN value.

Figure 5: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review - ASUSWRT Network Map
Figure 5: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – ASUSWRT Network Map

ZenWiFi XD4 now utilizes 386-RC2 with a few improvements made in the firmware in terms of feature implementation to fit the usage scenario of the users. For those who used to handle ASUS routers, you will find some of the features missing from the firmware such as traffic analyzer, USB application and AiCloud. Well, there is a reason for doing so to optimize the processor and RAM the system workflow without causing the system to undergo kernel panic, all the time. I did monitor the CPU usage graph when there is torrenting process going on through my dedicated NAS. The cores never maxed out and always maintain under 50% even there is 60+ torrenting process going on. During the heavy torrenting session, the ZenWiFi XD4 still able to handle other connected device without freeze, thanks to its powerful quad-core processor.

Figure 7: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review - AiProtection Overview
Figure 7: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – AiProtection Overview

ZenWiFi XD4 features AiProtection as standard. However, the only sub-feature missing from AiProtection is Intrusion Prevention System or IPS. The feature was put into test to see, if AiProtection is really, working. Surprisingly, the feature did protect the device from accessing to the identified malicious site. Under parental control settings, you won’t be given much options apart from managing the internet access time for individual clients.

Figure 8: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review - Quality of Service
Figure 8: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – Quality of Service

I recently started to use QoS engine to limit the bandwidth for each connected clients for better data usage based on device profile. I’ve used the similar settings in ZenWiFi XD4’s bandwidth limiter. I did carry out a small speed-test and it works.

Figure 9: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review - Internet Speed
Figure 9: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – Internet Speed

Although most of the signature feature of ASUSWRT removed, ASUS did include the internet speed test for basic troubleshooting purpose to examine the current network strength in terms of maximum bandwidth achievable. You can further use the data from the previous test to compare the internet speed for settings optimization later on, if needed.

Figure 10: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review - IPv6 Analysis
Figure 10: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – IPv6 Analysis

IPv6 feature is very crucial these days especially for consumer routers. Fortunately, ASUS standardize this feature across all their router model lineup. When I put the IPv6 to the test, the ZenWiFi XD4 passed with flying colors.

Figure 11: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review - VPN (OpenVPN) Analysis
Figure 11: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – VPN (OpenVPN) Analysis

Figure 11 on above shows the vpnclients log of my VPN provider. The connection status from the log shows successful. I proceed further to test with my preferred site and the ZenWiFi XD4 doesn’t show any signs of IP / DNS leaking. ASUS seriously take the matter seriously by providing a proper development in terms of fraction of VPN feature in ASUSWRT. I am glad that ASUS didn’t remove VPN feature to further optimize the mesh system performance. Well done.

Figure 12: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review - Wireless Throughput Analysis
Figure 12: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – Wireless Throughput Analysis

ZenWiFi XD4 supports 802.11k/v roaming but not 802.11r (fast roaming) due to in exchange towards security over speed. With current 802.11k/v utilization, you a 1 to 2 seconds delay will occur when you roam from node A to node B, however this won’t really cause a huge impact in terms of wireless performance quality. Being a privacy driven guy, I don’t mind sacrificing 1 to 2 seconds delay in between nodes in exchange of secure wireless encryption. Remember, speed kills!. When it comes to wireless performance analysis, especially for WiFi 6 performance, I’ve used Archer TX3000E, a WiFi 6 client. Based on my test, I able to hit above 700Mbps on ax mode (make sure to enable the ax mode during setting up the ZenWiFi XD4 and your WiFi 6 network adapter) via 5GHz and 200Mbps for 2.4GHz.

Figure 13: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review - ASUS Router App (iOS)
Figure 13: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – ASUS Router App (iOS)

ASUS also makes life easier to manage the ZenWiFi XD4 via ASUS Router application. The app is available for both mobile platforms. The application offers of accessible features, just like the web admin interface. The icons were well mapped to guide even inexperience users to browse through to customize the feature they would like to use or disable it. Speaking about manageability, ASUS wins here.

Figure 14: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review - Conclusion
Figure 14: ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – Conclusion

To conclude my review of ZenWiFi XD4, my personal experience using the mesh solution to expand the wireless coverage was good. The price may seem expensive compared to other competitors in the market, but for the price paid, a decent number of usable features, plenty of customization offers, and secure wireless encryption was bundled together. In terms of firmware support, the ZenWiFi XD4 will continue to receive firmware updates and it is advisable to always check if there is any firmware issued through the web admin interface (through blinking ‘!‘ mark or through firmware update page) or through official product site. The ZenWiFi XD4 is suitable for regular home consumers and small business owners who looking for a secure mesh wireless solution under RM1000.

0 comments on “ASUS ZenWiFi AX Mini (XD4) Review – Secure Wireless Coverage, Everywhere

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: