A simple home networking setup may involve a modem and one or more wireless routers. For larger homes, mesh networking has become popular to simplify the process of maintaining consistent connectivity and speeds in all areas. Asus has decided to implement mesh networking features in a variety of its existing routers to bring new life back to older hardware.
Asus is issuing a firmware update to allow pairing of several different routers using AiMesh. Normally, all access points in a mesh network are the exact same model and run the same software. In this case, mixing and matching any of the supported models is possible.
An upgrade to a full mesh system can be a few hundred dollars depending on how many access points are needed.
Several different models are eligible for new firmware; the RT-AC5300 and ROG Rapture GT-AC5300 will be added later this year. Additionally, the Asus Lyra home WiFi system will be receiving AiMesh support even though it already has its own mesh networking system.
Routers that currently have AiMesh support
For those with Asus routers on hand, setting up an AiMesh network is relatively simple.
Choose the best piece of supported hardware to be the primary router since all other nodes will inherit the features from the main router. Factory reset all routers that will be used as secondary nodes and then simply add them to your mesh with the Asus Router app. It is helpful to keep all secondary nodes close to the main router during setup. Once all nodes are added, location labels can be added to each node to make it easy to reconfigure in the future.
Not everyone has old hardware lying around ready to be turned into a new mesh network but this is a welcome feature from Asus. These firmware updates can help get several more years out of older hardware and greatly improve the overall user experience.
For the latest firmware and list of supported routers, check out the full details of AiMesh.