If WiFi routers have an enemy, that would be thick walls. The Asus ZenWiFi AX Hybrid XP4 Mesh Router aims to solve this problem by combining the features of a Mesh Router and a powerline network.
This is definitely an uncommon approach, nor is it affordable at the MSRP of RM1,298. So how does it perform in my house, where some rooms have thick structural walls blocking the way?
- House Size: 2,372 sq. ft
- Stories: Single story condominium
- Locations Tested: 8 (4 Rooms, 3 Common Place)
- Internet Service Provider: Time Fiber
- Internet Subscription Plan: 100Mbps
- Wall Thickness: 20cm
Asus ZenWiFi Mesh Router Specifications
|Processor||64bit 1.2 GHz quad-core processor|
|Antennae||Internal antenna x 4|
|Interface||RJ45 for Gigabit BaseT for WAN x 1, RJ45 for Gigabits BaseT for LAN x 2|
USB 3.2 Gen 1 x 1
AC Power Jack with PLC x 1
|Data Rate||802.11a : up to 54 Mbps|
802.11b : up to 11 Mbps
802.11g : up to 54 Mbps
WiFi 4 (802.11n) : up to 300 Mbps
WiFi 4 (802.11n) TurboQAM : up to 400 Mbps
WiFi 5 (802.11ac) : up to 867 Mbps
WiFi 6 (802.11ax) (2.4GHz) : up to 574 Mbps
WiFi 6 (802.11ax) (5GHz) : up to 1201 Mbps
|Network Standard||IEEE 802.11a|
WiFi 4 (802.11n)
WiFi 5 (802.11ac)
WiFi 6 (802.11ax)
HomePlug AV2 MIMO
|Operating Frequency||2.4 GHz / 5 GHz|
The Asus ZenWiFi AX Hybrid XP4 has a clean design and a compact form factor, which fits well in most modern homes. At the back, each router has two Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB 3.2 port that allows you to connect a hard drive or storage device to your network.
Setting things up can be a tad confusing, as I had to deal with a wall of text. The confusion is compounded by powerline connectivity options getting thrown into the mix.
For new users unfamiliar with how networking works, its best to consult an expert to avoid dealing with the frustrations.
Asus Router App
Thankfully, the Asus Router app is straightforward and easy to use. As with most routers, I have the option to create two separate networks for 2.4 Ghz / 5 Ghz bands, or combine them into one network (network switching will be done automatically as the user moves around the house).
Aside from that, the AX Hybrid XP4 has quite a new neat features over lower priced counterparts. First of all is the parental controls feature. I get to choose over a few preset profiles, or create my own customised profiles to control internet access of the young ones, ranging from blocking messaging apps, age-restricted sites and a variety of content filtering.
QoS can also be set up via the app, where I can prioritise specific tasks such as gaming, or video streaming which often takes priority to avoid lag or buffering.
For more advanced users, there is still the web interface option; but for the rest of us who just want things to work out of the box, the app works just fine for our needs.
Location Download / Upload Speed (Mbps) Living Room 63.3 / 49.6 Master Bedroom 78.3 / 35.5 Master Bedroom Toilet 41.3 / 9.06 Guest Room 1 73.3 / 2.45 Guest Room 2 81.2 / 12.0 Kitchen 81.4 / 4.05 Laundry Area 11.4 / 0.57
I am currently subscribed to the 100Mbps Time Fiber plan, it is by no means fast but is sufficient for most home users. The Asus ZenWifi AX Hybrid XP4 performs well at penetrating thick walls even without relying on the powerline feature. Speed is consistent except at the furthest reaches of my home, such as the laundry area.
For our needs, we did not need to use the powerline backhaul feature, but I can imagine it working well in larger houses (think two-storey or semi-detached homes) and office buildings.
Multiple Device Efficiency
I have a total of 27 separate devices connected to the AX Hybrid XP4’s mesh network (including our Xiaomi Smart Pet Food Dispenser). Turning them on or giving commands felt instantaneous, except for the farthest reaches of my house. Even so, the lag was only minor for the most part.
The master bedroom toilet and the laundry area are the WiFi dead zones in my house. Both are far from the stock router and I often experience dropped signals due to thick walls blocking the path. Placing the AX Hybrid XP4 in the right locations alleviated this problem somewhat as the WiFi coverage has been extended.
The Asus ZenWiFi AX Hybrid XP4 is a niche product, and it caters to people with specific needs. For example, if you have issues setting up mesh networks over thick walls, then a powerline backhaul + mesh WiFi hybrid is your best solution.
To learn more about the Asus ZenWiFi AX Hybrid XP4, check out Asus’ official website.