Asus ZenWiFi Professional XT12: Two-minute evaluation
There are full PC methods which might be smaller than Asus’ ZenWiFi Professional XT12 nodes. These twin towers are filled with highly effective parts and a channelled-air cooling system that’s partnered with beefy heatsinks. The thought is to create an overpowered Wi-Fi 6 mesh (with a devoted backhaul channel between nodes) that’s sturdy sufficient for SMBs and demanding prosumers.
First: efficiency. It utilises a 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz bands for a theoretical most throughput of 11,000Mbps. You’ll be able to set which band acts as a devoted backhaul hyperlink between the nodes or depart it (as we did) set on Auto. Previous expertise tells us that devoted backhaul hyperlinks make mesh Wi-Fi a lot quicker. You can too use Ethernet to create the backhaul and release one of many 5GHz bands.
We ran our normal exams from a Sydney weatherboard cottage. This concerned setting the primary node up within the center room, subsequent to the modem, and the secondary node two rooms away on the entrance of the home. We examined subsequent to each nodes and 25m away within the again backyard. Up shut it scored 627Mbps, which is quick however nonetheless 100Mbps slower than different prime Wi-Fi 6 rivals. Subsequent to the secondary node, it scored 609Mbps – only a 3% drop-off and the quickest velocity we’ve ever seen from a secondary node! Outdoors, on the backside of the backyard, nevertheless, this dropped to 46.6Mbps, which remains to be very respectable for a standalone router, however it’s crushed by mesh kits with a 3rd node.
The 2GHz quad-core processor, 10 antennae and inside smarts are in a position to deal with a number of, demanding and concurrent machine connections far more robustly than equal client routers.
Different notable performance-related options embrace every node having a 2.5GbE WAN port, a 2.5GbE LAN port and two 1GbE LAN ports which will be aggregated for 2GbE. This can please folks wanting to attach NAS bins and such like.
Each towers look spectacular with their distinctive design and glowing graphics. Setup is straightforward through the app, which is intuitive and presents glorious monitoring and administration instruments, together with highly effective QoS choices and a helpful Perception tab that gives recommendation relating to configuration. The app additionally lets you entry the whole lot remotely. Energy customers and sysadmins will heat to the in depth options accessed through a desktop browser that are additionally quick to entry.
In the meantime, Asus’ AiProtection Professional (powered by Development Micro) presents Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) safety, WPA3, real-time malware blocking and the same old parental/consumer controls. Often up to date lifetime safety is included. Customers can even entry a separate On the spot Guard app to filter site visitors through the router, for safety, when looking utilizing public hotspots.
Different SMB-friendly options embrace utilizing as much as 12 separate SSIDs to segregate customers, though the firewall entry management used to handle these separate networks is fairly primary. There’s additionally a built-in VPN server, the power to dam protocols like BitTorrent and Goal Wake Time which permits networked gadgets to power-down and save electrical energy when not getting used. Plus, it’s appropriate with Alexa and Google Assistant.
Finally, the entire SMB bins are ticked, however though important tinkering will be executed below the hood, some energy customers and system admins will need extra earlier than they let it take cost of their enterprise’ Wi-Fi.
Asus ZenWiFi Professional XT12: Worth & availability
- Retails for $800 / £699 / AU$1,499
- Obtainable now
The Asus ZenWiFi Professional XT12 is offered now in most main markets and prices a whopping $800 / £699 / AU$1,499. This makes it some of the costly Wi-Fi router/mesh kits accessible.
It’s in a comparatively new market section for prosumers and SMBs that was just lately delivered to the fore by Synology’s RT6600ax. The issue is that whereas the Synology is way uglier, it presents much more options, equally spectacular efficiency and prices (gulp) round one-third the worth of the XT12, relying on the place you’re on the planet.
The Synology can be designed to behave as a mesh (with devoted wired or wi-fi backhaul) when a number of items are related, so you should purchase two of these and nonetheless save important cash versus the Asus ZenWiFi Professional XT12’s commonplace twin-pack.
Nonetheless, for a lot of, the XT12 will likely be cheaper than a full, business-class Cisco Meraki deployment however, should you’re weighing up that as an choice, don’t neglect to factor-in on-going assist prices as a part of the overall price of possession (aka TCO).
If each gadgets supply an excessive amount of business-grade complexity, however you continue to just like the efficiency parts, take a look at Asus’ glorious, consumer-friendly ZenWiFi XT8 mesh kits, that are 30% cheaper than the XT12 and nonetheless filled with options.
Worth rating: 3.5/5
Asus ZenWiFi Professional XT12: Design & options
- Huge and delightful
- Easy setup
- Looks like a souped-up client router with SMB options
The Asus ZenWiFi Professional XT12 nodes are large, imposing towers, however we will’t assist however be impressed with their industrial design. The principle chassis concurrently dress the highly effective internals in a trendy cladding that matches in nicely, each at dwelling and within the workplace, whereas performing as a cooling tower that channels air and makes use of considerable heatsinks.
On the prime, a glowing lamp modifications color relying on standing whereas concurrently masking 10 antennae which might be angled for optimum efficiency and vary. All LEDs will be turned off if desired.
Wi-fi connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), tri-band 2.4GHz and a pair of x 5GHz
Processor: Quad-core Broadcom 2GHz
Ports: 2.5GbE WAN; 2.5GbE LAN, 2 x Gigabit Ethernet LAN
Dimensions (HxWxD): 175 x 320x 200mm
Setup is straightforward. You merely obtain the app, comply with the essential community setup directions and it really works. Including the second node merely requires it to be powered on. Too simple.
Every node has 4 Ethernet ports: 2.5GbE WAN, 2.5GbE LAN and twin 1GbE LAN. The later will be aggregated for a 2GbE connection which is nice for attaching issues like NAS bins. Every node additionally has WPS and reset buttons, plus an influence change. Be aware that there are not any USB ports.
The app is nicely featured and intuitive to make use of. It presents complete particulars relating to community and shopper standing, whereas an Perception tab presents recommendation on issues like what’s accessible that’s not been activated and configuration boosts. There are the same old parental controls, plus an Superior tab that permits the connection of different Asus AiMesh gadgets, QoS settings, the same old router choices like Port Forwarding and voice assistant setup. You can too entry the On the spot Guard function – it will channel the site visitors from any public Wi-Fi hotspot you connect with by the XT12 in order that its AiProtection scanning can test for malware and different cyber-nasties.
The app is beneficial however, with so many options, it’s price going by an online browser to configure the extra complicated settings.
The AiProtection Professional service offers on-going safety updates and real-time malware scanning for the whole lot on the community, and it lasts for the lifetime of the router. Past scanning your community for primary vulnerabilities, it may well block malicious websites and stop contaminated gadgets from connecting.
The Parental/Consumer Controls allow off-time, scheduling and web utilization timer for machine. It may well additionally block varied kinds of inappropriate content material (word that is by no means 100% dependable), messenger providers, P2P and file transfers, plus streaming and leisure websites.
QoS settings are in depth and might make sure that something from net conferencing, by video streaming to gaming will be prioritised on varied gadgets.
Enterprise and prosumers will like the thought of having the ability to use as much as 12 SSIDs to group customers and gadgets onto separate community segments – every with totally different ranges of entry. Nonetheless, the entry controls for these segments are very broad and nothing like (once more) the Synology, which presents quite a few, IoT-optimised, firewall and sharing configurations for every community. 9 of the SSID networks are basically types of visitor networks.
SMBs will just like the built-in VPN server.
Every part is so nicely automated that even a novice can get a safe community up and operating rapidly and simply. Skilled community admins can get as down and soiled with intricate settings as they need.
Finally, the options on supply make the XT12 really feel like a souped-up client router with SMB-friendly options, which is not any unhealthy factor. In some methods it’s like a consumer-friendly Draytek router – a model that’s all about no-nonsense SMB Wi-Fi with out the bells, whistles or efficiency boosts discovered right here. However we’ll have to attend and see whether or not that’s sufficient for SMBs to truly use it as the inspiration of their core community although – that stage of adoption tends to take years of belief to develop.
After all, within the meantime, there’s the Synology RT6600ax all the time lurking close by. It doesn’t a lot have net browser “configuration” however a complete working system replete with third-party apps. It presents the entire above options together with many extra methods to configure them.
Design rating: 4.5/5
Asus ZenWiFi Professional XT12: Efficiency
- Quick, however not extraordinary peak efficiency
- Impressively low efficiency drop-off throughout the mesh
The Asus ZenWiFi Professional XT12 is a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router with two 5GHz channels and a 2.4GHz channel that supply a mixed, theoretical throughput of 11,000Mbps.
We ran our normal exams in a single-storey Sydney weatherboard cottage. This concerned setting the primary node up within the center room, subsequent to our modem and related by Ethernet to our Synology NAS. The secondary node was two rooms away on the entrance of the home. We examined by downloading massive information to a Wi-Fi 6 laptop computer subsequent to each nodes after which 25m away, outdoors, within the again backyard.
Up shut it scored 627Mbps, which is quick however about 100Mbps slower than different prime Wi-Fi 6 rivals. Subsequent to the secondary node it scored 609Mbps – which represents solely a 3% drop-off and the quickest velocity we’ve ever seen from a check by a secondary node on a mesh!
Outdoors, on the backside of the backyard, nevertheless, the velocity dropped to 46.6Mbps. That is nonetheless very respectable for a standalone router, however it’s crushed by mesh kits which have a 3rd node in the back of the home. After all, you’ll be able to add a 3rd node to the XT12 setup fairly simply… however it is going to be very costly!
Efficiency rating: 5/5
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[First reviewed October 2022]