Up until recently if you’ve wanted to improve the coverage area of your home WiFi network, your simplest options were to invest in a router with better range or pick up a WiFi range extender.

But over the past few years a number of companies have released mesh networking routers that are designed to let you place two or more routers throughout your home to help extend your home network to hard-to-reach corners.

One problem with those mesh networking solutions? They tend to be pretty expensive, with many popular systems selling for between $300 and $500. That can be particularly annoying if you’ve already got a good router or two lying around..

Now Asus has a solution that lets you set up a mesh network without necessarily buying any new hardware. A firmware update for some of its recent WiFi routers can turn them into mesh systems.

The new feature is called AiMesh, and it basically lets you link multiple Asus routers together to create a single wireless network.

You could place one router right next to your cable modem and put another a few rooms (or floors) away to extend the network.

Here’s how it works: you install the latest Asus firmware on all the routers you want to use, set up the first router to create a network, and then search for other routers using the AsusWRT interface or or Asus Router app, then add them to your AiMesh network.

Aside from saving you some cash by letting you use a router you may already have, AiMesh could result in faster speeds since it works with some of the fastest Asus routers available.

Right now the system supports 14 different Asus routers with AC1900, AC2900, and AC3100 speeds. Support for the Asus RT-AC5300 and ROG Rapure GT-AC5300 routers is also in the works.

Meanwhile, Google WiFi and eero both use AC1200 WiFi, the Linsys Velop system uses AC2200, and Netgear’s Orbi uses AC3000.

via The Verge

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4 replies on “Asus firmware update can turn old routers into mesh networking devices”

  1. Looking at the explanation on Asus’ website, this looks quite promising. Just yesterday, I was thinking of replacing the firmware on my Asus routers to enable the use of VLANs to extend a guest SSID to a second router in AP mode. There seemed to be a lot of command line configuration involved to set that up. I don’t mind that, but I’d rather not be a network admin at home too. It seems like they’ve made it pretty automatic. I especially like that it will use a wired connection if available. Using a Wifi “backhaul” would obviously impact throughput.

  2. Hi all. Is this different to and better than using wifi repeaters? Daft question probably…

    1. Not daft, at least not in my eyes; I was wondering the same thing. I’ve been repurposing older Apple routers as extenders (repeaters) or wired/wireless bridges (or both) for many years as I’ve purchased new ones; is this different from that? I.e., how is “mesh” networking different from a “range extender”?

      1. A range extender divides the throughout of one connection to the router in 2. Say you have a 300 MB wireless N connection. You have a repeater and end device. The device will get at most 150. A mesh system uses a separate channel, called backhaul, between routers so the end device gets 300 anyway.

        It’s a big improvement on throughput.

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