Friday, August 27th 2021

ASUS Teases ZenWiFi PRO Router

ASUS earlier today teased its upcoming premium home networking product, the ZenWiFi PRO router. Designed in a vertical, cuboidal body with an acrylic top that shows off its MU-MIMO antennas, the ZenWiFi PRO is designed to be space-saving on your desk, while not compromising on range or bandwidth. As an ASUS Zen product, it's likely to be high on the aesthetics, with its matte black body that resembles a skyscraper. The "penthouse" (if you can call it that), features the antennas resembling pillars, as well as an RGB-illuminated ASUS logo that probably serves other functions. The teaser already reveals that the router is designed for 6 GHz Wi-Fi 6E. It's also possible that ASUS throws in goodies such as 2.5 GbE wired LAN and WAN ports, USB 3.x type-C and type-A ports to plug in the next crop of 5G dongles, DAS, and much more. It also wouldn't surprise us if ASUS designs mesh repeaters with the same design scheme as optional accessories, or part of whole-home mesh kits.
Add your own comment

59 Comments on ASUS Teases ZenWiFi PRO Router

#1
zlobby
Ooh! They got my attention with the 'PRO'! Insta-buy!
Posted on Reply
#2
Makaveli
zlobbyOoh! They got my attention with the 'PRO'! Insta-buy!
lol PRO and RGB don't go together ever!
Posted on Reply
#3
zlobby
Makavelilol PRO and RGB don't go together ever!
In ASUSland they apparently do.

Jokes aside, ASUS probably are trying to hook up some SOHOs with that thing too?
Posted on Reply
#4
ZoneDymo
Not sure what all the snarky comments are about, pretty sure Asus's routers were some of the more solid around.
Posted on Reply
#5
zlobby
ZoneDymoNot sure what all the snarky comments are about, pretty sure Asus's routers were some of the more solid around.
For sure. If only in the 'Hey, mom! I need a gaming router!' category.
Posted on Reply
#6
Makaveli
ZoneDymoNot sure what all the snarky comments are about, pretty sure Asus's routers were some of the more solid around.
I own an Asus AX88U and it is solid.
Posted on Reply
#7
zlobby
MakaveliI own an Asus AX88U and it is solid.
You don't know what a solid router is until you are presented only with a console to configure it and you need a degree to know how to configure it. :D Now these are really solid. Like 100% most of the time.
Posted on Reply
#8
Tardian
zlobbyYou don't know what a solid router is until you are presented only with a console to configure it and you need a degree to know how to configure it. :D Now these are really solid. Like 100% most of the time.
The main difference in brands IMNSHO is the ease of configuration. Some involve minutes of pleasure, whilst others are RTS after a weekend of cursing and swearing.
Posted on Reply
#9
Nordic
It is like they have to make these routers pretty to sell them because outside of enthusiasts, very few people have devices that can make full use of their features. That teaser picture is pretty. My Asus AC-56u can get fairly hot sometimes. I wonder if those grooves are heat sinks. I doubt it though.
Posted on Reply
#11
Tardian
Minus InfinityMesh or go home IMO.
I have my house cabled with Cat 6 but some love their WiFi despite that.

Awaiting review of the Zen WiFi Pro as a potential multiple unit buyer. On-topic?

Offer rescinded. I am that good IMNHO.
Posted on Reply
#12
Khonjel
Minus InfinityMesh or go home IMO.
Newer ASUS routers are already AiMesh-compatible. I don't know why this wouldn't either.
TardianI have my house cabled with Cat 6 but some love their WiFi despite that.

Awaiting review of the Zen WiFi Pro as a potential multiple unit buyer. On-topic?

Offer rescinded. I am that good IMNHO.
If you already got CAT 6 cabled throughout the house, buy any mesh router that has wired backhaul. If the mesh router isn't tri-band (2.4 Ghz, 5 Ghz, 5 Ghz) iirc the secondary routers get half speed of the primary router. Usually the 3rd band acts as wireless backhaul.
Posted on Reply
#13
chodaboy19
2.5 GbE wired LAN and WAN ports
Does this mean that all ports will be 2.5GbE? If so then it's quite desirable for my use case...
Posted on Reply
#14
TheLostSwede
ZoneDymoNot sure what all the snarky comments are about, pretty sure Asus's routers were some of the more solid around.
Yes and no. If you buy the models supported by Merlin, then yes. Some of the "lesser" models are shite and barely get any updates from Asus. I guess those models aren't sold in the US, as they're legally bound to provide regular updates there after their spat with the FCC.
Minus InfinityMesh or go home IMO.
Mesh is actually not particularly good, it's better to wire up your home and use multiple AP's and roam between them.
Mesh is only handy when you have a big place and can't wire it up.
chodaboy19Does this mean that all ports will be 2.5GbE? If so then it's quite desirable for my use case...
Hopefully, but unlikely. If they do that, it would be the first router to offer that.
There are WAY too many routers with a single port that's faster than 1Gbps, but clearly the manufacturers don't seem to cater for those with wired devices any more, so that single port is only for the minority of people that can get faster than 1Gbps internet connection. Oh well...
Posted on Reply
#15
Ferrum Master
TheLostSwedeThere are WAY too many routers with a single port that's faster than 1Gbps, but clearly the manufacturers don't seem to cater for those with wired devices any more, so that single port is only for the minority of people that can get faster than 1Gbps internet connection. Oh well...
Imho for home usage it ain't about internet, but NAS... dump your data to your backup device way faster.

Shame there ain't any miniPC boxes with dual 2.5Gbe.. while RTL8125 is around plenty of time already... to my needs, slapping openWRT on anything that boots is fine... but I guess even that has something to do with CV19 induced deficit.

The heck I even have setup a RPI with openWRT as I have near spam like amount of smart 2.4GHz devices around home, like Light bulbs, AC, Temperature sensors, power switches etc... and one router cannot handle it anymore... it runs into device limits. first world problems tho...
Posted on Reply
#16
TheLostSwede
Ferrum MasterImho for home usage it ain't about internet, but NAS... dump your data to your backup device way faster.

Shame there ain't any miniPC boxes with dual 2.5Gbe.. while RTL8125 is around plenty of time already... to my needs, slapping openWRT on anything that boots is fine... but I guess even that has something to do with CV19 induced deficit.

The heck I even have setup a RPI with openWRT as I have near spam like amount of smart 2.4GHz devices around home, like Light bulbs, AC, Temperature sensors, power switches etc... and one router cannot handle it anymore... it runs into device limits. first world problems tho...
Exactly. Which the router makers don't seem to get.

Yeah, I don't get the combo of one 2.5Gbps and one 1Gbps port on anything, since as I've pointed out elsewhere, even Intel charges less than 70 cent's more for their 2.5Gbps chips over their 1Gbps chips and that is list price, so I would expect the actual cost difference to be less. Realtek should be even cheaper.

I'm not sure OpenWRT would be the right thing for x86 hardware though. Besides, I'm not even sure the routing capabilities of Intel's "Atom" CPUs would be good enough to use it as a main router. See link below. For whatever reason, that thing can't even do porper Gigabit speeds running iPerf with Ubuntu installed. If you read the comments, you'll see it gets even worse when he tested with pfSense installed, although that might be a FreeBSD related issues.
www.cnx-software.com/2021/08/23/liva-q1l-review-pfsense-ubuntu-20-04-windows-10-dual-ethernet-mini-pc/

The RPi's make terrible router, no offense meant, but the hardware lacks a lot of features that are needed for proper router functionality. In fact, the RPi's are pretty terrible for a lot of things, least not due to the lack of AES hardware encryption.

As to what your router can handle, all comes down to what hardware it's based to, no? If you've got an old MIPS based router, the single or in best case, dual core CPU isn't likely to be able to keep up with too many wireless devices, but it'll most likely have no routing issues. On the other hand, most ARM based SoCs require hardware acceleration for the routing performance not to suffer once you get above 200Mbps or so. Many also have integrated Wi-Fi accelerators, although Broadcom moved this into their Wi-Fi chips instead. This is why router chips aren't just any random ARM SoC.

Sorry, been a bit too involved with these types of products for a while :p
Posted on Reply
#17
Ferrum Master
TheLostSwedeSorry, been a bit too involved with these types of products for a while :p
Hah.
RPi is perfect for controlling dumb device zerg swarm and you just power up and config it... and it works pretty fine, without much tinkering on the linux side, Luci is enough after you set it up. Just for what is intended to do, control an army of IoT's, that basically needs only some toggle bits. I can expand multiple USB Wifi dongles and create more radios to cover more devices. I am using a RPI3 B+ so for 30€... I had the device gathering dust in my shelf anyways. I dunno... it works for me, it is dog slow, but stable. If I do to my older crap EA6400 on 2.4GHz it stalls and reboots... I don't change it because it is enough as it provides me stable 500Mbps 5GHz AC wifi speeds on my mobile devices... and again, if routers will not carry 2.5Gbe on LAN side I will not spend money on EOL hardware.

When it comes to linux it is all about drivers, you can't just compare anything. It is all about drivers. Some combo may suck hard some not. Well I am just playing with the idea getting some Atom with AES-NI mini PC and slap some recent Intel AC wifi. Maybe there are some multi wifi boards, there are adapters to proper pcie and then you can put a 2.5Gbe NIC... But that's too much work. I am lazy on things like that.
Posted on Reply
#18
TheLostSwede
Ferrum MasterHah.
RPi is perfect for controlling dumb device zerg swarm and you just power up and config it... and it works pretty fine, without much tinkering on the linux side, Luci is enough after you set it up. Just for what is intended to do, control an army of IoT's, that basically needs only some toggle bits. I can expand multiple USB Wifi dongles and create more radios to cover more devices. I am using a RPI3 B+ so for 30€... I had the device gathering dust in my shelf anyways. I dunno... it works for me, it is dog slow, but stable. If I do to my older crap EA6400 on 2.4GHz it stalls and reboots... I don't change it because it is enough as it provides me stable 500Mbps 5GHz AC wifi speeds on my mobile devices... and again, if routers will not carry 2.5Gbe on LAN side I will not spend money on EOL hardware.

When it comes to linux it is all about drivers, you can't just compare anything. It is all about drivers. Some combo may suck hard some not. Well I am just playing with the idea getting some Atom with AES-NI mini PC and slap some recent Intel AC wifi. Maybe there are some multi wifi boards, there are adapters to proper pcie and then you can put a 2.5Gbe NIC... But that's too much work. I am lazy on things like that.
You're aware that client Wi-Fi adapters are a no go to use in a router, right? What you're doing with your RPi and some trinkets aren't going to translate well if you're going to try to build your own router.
What you'd need to get is something like this, but I'm not sure if there are drivers for a DIY build for it.
www.qnap.com/en/product/qwa-ac2600

A client Wi-Fi adapter, such as the ones from Intel, will crap out after you connect a handful of devices to it, if even that. They weren't designed for routing traffic from multiple devices.

I used to work for a router manufacturer, so I'm well aware of not just driver issues, but also the amount of tuning that can be done to make the drivers work well for specific hardware combinations. The big problem with anything Wi-Fi is that there just aren't any good open drivers and the binary blobs from the hardware vendors tend to have their fair share of bugs, that sometimes never gets fixed. We ran into an issue with a Wi-Fi chip from MTK and it took them three months just to acknowledge there was an issue and another couple of months to fix it. If that's how it is to be a paying customer, it's no wonder that so many retail products work as well as they do. The router hardware vendors really need to step up their game, but alas, it seems like that's not going to happen until they get slapped hard by some court.
Posted on Reply
#19
Ferrum Master
TheLostSwedeI used to work for a router manufacturer
We all already know that.

The fact that there is a huge mess around compatibility is know for years and will not change, for most problems exactly language may be the cause, as half of the remarks probably are in mandarin and the coder is long gone. Well QCA9984 based devices are also in the wild... lightning strikes always open up possibility to hoard those things from dead routers... if it comes cheap... you know...

But as I said, I am still tinkering around the idea, at least when building my own, and I will have the royal option to blame only myself. And a mainstream device that ticks all the boxes for a device that would last like 5 years+ without needing to upgrade doesn't exist yet...

Thus the discussion... what for are these devices like this ASUS? For fashion? Bring us the real deal already, darn multigig switch on the port side.
Posted on Reply
#20
zlobby
Ferrum MasterImho for home usage it ain't about internet, but NAS... dump your data to your backup device way faster.

Shame there ain't any miniPC boxes with dual 2.5Gbe.. while RTL8125 is around plenty of time already... to my needs, slapping openWRT on anything that boots is fine... but I guess even that has something to do with CV19 induced deficit.

The heck I even have setup a RPI with openWRT as I have near spam like amount of smart 2.4GHz devices around home, like Light bulbs, AC, Temperature sensors, power switches etc... and one router cannot handle it anymore... it runs into device limits. first world problems tho...
First world would go for HP, Ubiquiti, etc. APs + decent controller. Then you will hardly reach any limit in SOHO scenario.
Posted on Reply
#21
Ferrum Master
zlobbyFirst world would go for HP, Ubiquiti, etc. APs + decent controller. Then you will hardly reach any limit in SOHO scenario.
For home usage? I am not at work. Spending so much to have ability to say hey google-all lights off?

Bonkers :roll:
Posted on Reply
#22
TheLostSwede
zlobbyFirst world would go for HP, Ubiquiti, etc. APs + decent controller. Then you will hardly reach any limit in SOHO scenario.
Uhm... Seriously, these things mainly use the same base hardware as most consumer routers, just with wider temperature ranges or some additional features.
The core IP blocks are all the same.
In fact, some Ubiquiti AP's still use old QCA MIPS chips, much the same as TP-Link does in their low cost devices.
Posted on Reply
#23
Tardian
My ISP insists I use its router or else no VOIP telephone service. My router caused me about fours hours of pain today. It took three telephone calls to a genius friend and several/many Google searches to solve the problem.
Posted on Reply
#24
TheLostSwede
TardianMy ISP insists I use its router or else no VOIP telephone service. My router caused me about fours hours of pain today. It took three telephone calls to a genius friend and several/many Google searches to solve the problem.
Is it a Technicolor or Huawei perchance?
Posted on Reply
#25
Makaveli
zlobbyYou don't know what a solid router is until you are presented only with a console to configure it and you need a degree to know how to configure it. :D Now these are really solid. Like 100% most of the time.
lol i'm at home I don't need a cisco router at home would be total overkill and unnecessary. In an enterprise environment sure you would have a point.
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment