The world of wireless networking for consumers is getting exciting again. In the last year alone, we have witnessed the commercial launch of a new wireless standard - Wi-Fi 6 - and mesh Wi-Fi systems becoming commonplace. This year, ASUS is trying to lead the market with its ZenWiFi family of mesh Wi-Fi systems. Here is what makes them stand out, and why ASUS manages to offer the best of both worlds in one package - wireless routers, and mesh Wi-Fi systems:
Wi-Fi 6 support is becoming mainstream
ASUS was one of the first vendors to provide wireless devices with support for the new Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) standard. They launched ASUS RT-AX88U, which was the first wireless router with support for this standard, and then ASUS RT-AX92U - the first AiMesh Wi-Fi system with support for Wi-Fi 6.
With ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8), the company plans to take things further and deliver the fastest Wi-Fi 6 mesh Wi-Fi system on the market and the best wireless coverage to date.
Generous port selection: both Ethernet and USB
Many mesh Wi-Fi systems come with just two Ethernet ports, and they do not have USB ports at all, or the ones they do have aren't enabled and usable. The latest generation of mesh Wi-Fi systems from ASUS stands out in this regard. For example, on the ASUS ZenWiFi AC (CT8) and the other ZenWiFi systems, you can find one USB 3.0 port and four Ethernet ports on each station.
You can use those Ethernet ports to create a fast backhaul for your mesh Wi-Fi, connect desktop computers to the network, a NAS (Network Attached Storage), and other types of devices.
The same advanced firmware as on ASUS wireless routers
Many vendors of wireless devices have developed separate firmware for their mesh Wi-Fi devices, which is less advanced than that of traditional wireless routers. Still, it is also easier to understand and use by novice users. ASUS has chosen a different approach, and their firmware for mesh Wi-Fi systems is the same as on their wireless routers. This means that users familiar with ASUS wireless routers feel at home when installing their first mesh Wi-Fi system. They also get the same level of control and the same advanced features as those found on ASUS wireless routers: AiProtection, Adaptive QoS, AiCloud 2.0, Traffic Analyzer, VPN support, and more.
This advanced firmware also comes with the benefit of being able to use different network names for each Wi-Fi band, which isn't possible with mesh Wi-Fi systems from other brands.
AiMesh works for both ASUS wireless routers and mesh Wi-Fi systems
ASUS has developed its firmware for wireless routers and mesh Wi-Fi systems so that they are compatible with one another, with the help of a technology called AiMesh. If you have an ASUS AC1900 wireless router or higher, or a mesh Wi-Fi system from ASUS, you can build your own mesh Wi-Fi system with the help of AiMesh.
This approach gives users flexibility, and it helps them upgrade their wireless network at a lower cost. Other vendors tend to provide compatibility between their mesh Wi-Fi systems so that users can combine different models, but they don't do this for their wireless routers also. ASUS was the first to extend this approach to wireless routers, not only their mesh Wi-Fi systems. As a result, you can create a mesh Wi-Fi system using various wireless equipment such as an ASUS Blue Cave wireless router, an ASUS Lyra Trio station, and one ASUS ZenWiFi AC (CT8).
Integration with Amazon Alexa and IFTT (If This, Then That)
ASUS invested a lot into integrating their Wi-Fi devices with smart services like Amazon's Alexa voice assistant and the IFTT automation service. Therefore, if you have a mesh Wi-Fi system or a mid-range or high-end wireless router from ASUS, the latest firmware versions are going to provide integration with both.
To take things further than other vendors, ASUS has also created ASUS Lyra Voice and the upcoming ZenWiFi Voice, which combine the benefits of a wireless router, with that of a dedicated Alexa device, a Bluetooth speaker, and with the AiMesh platform.
As a result, you can save both space and money by lowering the number of devices that you buy in your home.
Remote management from anywhere on the internet, with advanced configuration options
ASUS mesh Wi-Fi systems are administered using the same mobile app as their wireless routers: the ASUS Router app for iOS and Android. When you set it up, you can choose to enable remote management from anywhere on the internet.
Most vendors offer separate mobile apps for their mesh Wi-Fi systems, which are simple to use, but also have limited configuration options. ASUS stands out because it chose to maintain one single app for all their wireless devices, which gets updated with new features and configuration options regularly. As a result, the ASUS Router app is both easy to use and more advanced than similar apps from other manufacturers. With it, you can configure many things, from Parental Controls to the built-in antivirus and to your wireless settings. The app is useful when you want to troubleshoot problems remotely.
What do you think about ASUS' newest line-up of mesh Wi-Fi systems?
When you look at the inside components of mesh Wi-Fi systems, they aren't very different. They all use the same processors and chipsets from the same vendors. What's different is how they look, their firmware, their apps, and how they can be used. Mesh Wi-Fi systems like ASUS RT-AX92U, ASUS ZenWiFi AC (CT8), and ASUS ZenWiFi AX (XT8) aim to bring more features and control to users, in a world of devices that offer little in terms of ports and advanced features. Before closing this article, tell us whether you like what ASUS has to offer, and what else you might want from their mesh Wi-Fi systems.